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bobblybear

Bobblybear's Book List - 2015

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Yay! My memory doesn't always let me down, then. :) Aw, that was a sweet thought.  :friends3:

(I also thought that you might not love it as much as I did, so I went with something else. It would've been for a Birthday or some such.)

 

 

 

:giggle2:  Very good!

Thank you! I think I was inspired by the Winter Queen :lol:

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Great reviews, Bobbly, especially The Curse of the House of Foskett and Random Acts of Senseless Violence. I haven't read the latter yet, but I wish someone had forewarned me of the animal cruelty in the former. :( It was particularly distressing given my love of cats. :(

 

I hope you enjoy your recent purchases. I loved A Walk in the Woods and The Guernsey Literary... Under the Skin sounds creepy indeed, but I remember Frankie rated it quite highly. I'm getting more and more intrigued by it. I really should bump it up my TBR pile!

 

Thanks, Kylie. I thought it was Poppyshake who mentioned the animal cruelty in The Curse of the House of Foskett, but it may have been Karsa (as he mentioned earlier). I was kind of anxious reading it, as it was at the forefront of my mind, and I do think the book could have done without it. 

 

I've finished A Walk in the Woods, but have yet to review it. It was a re-read and even better this time around. I just love Bill Bryson. :boogie:

 

Loads of people are recommending The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society so that's fairly high up on my TBR pile now, as is Under The Skin (for sheer curiosity).

 

Excellent reviews, BB.  I really want to get to The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, and soon! 

 

I've read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and loved it.

 

I loved The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, but you know how our tastes differ. :lol: And you loving The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.....well, I don't know if that means I should rush to read it, or avoid it. :P

 

Ooooh, hella loads of books! :lol: I loved The Guernsey book, I really hope you enjoy it! :smile2: And I see the Journal book which someone just recently recommended... :D The power of persuasion of BCF members' reviews... :giggle2:

:lol: Yeah, I know...I'm very easily swayed.

 

 

For what it's worth, and in my humble opinion, there was nothing putdownable in the novel. You read true crime and other gory stuff, right? (If I remember correctly :o) If so, you'll be fine with it. I thought it was a riveting read. Nothing I expected it to be, though, but that was just so cool. When things started unraveling... The way the story's constructed, especially in the beginning. You'll know what I mean if and when you read the book :cool:

I'm not massively bothered by gore in novels, as long as it's not cruelty to animals. It's the psychological aspect that bothers me more, and I do have a morbid curiosity about things that people do to each other. I was put off true crime for many year after reading about The Black Dahlia case, but I'm starting to get interested in it again. :lurker:

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Yes .. both Steve and I mentioned the animal cruelty in The Curse of the House of Foskett .. however given the rest of the waffle (in my review .. I'm not saying that Steve waffles .. perish the thought!! :D) I wouldn't be surprised if people missed it. It was only one line .. I should have put more emphasis on it  :blush2: 

There is also animal cruelty in the next Gower Street book .. Death Descends on Saturn Villa .. I hope this isn't going to be a regular feature as it's not an enjoyable one :( 

 

Hope you enjoy The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society bobbs  :smile: I'm another reader that thought it was brilliant. 

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There is also animal cruelty in the next Gower Street book .. Death Descends on Saturn Villa .. I hope this isn't going to be a regular feature as it's not an enjoyable one :( 

Ugh, really?  It's so unnecessary! :banghead:

 

Hope you enjoy The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society bobbs  :smile: I'm another reader that thought it was brilliant. 

Looks like I'll have to bump it up my TBR pile given so many recommendations. :readingtwo:

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I'm not massively bothered by gore in novels, as long as it's not cruelty to animals. It's the psychological aspect that bothers me more, and I do have a morbid curiosity about things that people do to each other. I was put off true crime for many year after reading about The Black Dahlia case, but I'm starting to get interested in it again. :lurker:

 

There's no cruelty towards animals in Under the Skin. And I hope that's not a spoiler :D There is a psychological aspect, but... I can't say anything after the but without ruining things! There's not a massive amount of gore in itself. It's the idea itself. I'm pretty sure you could deal with the book just fine :yes: 

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Ahh, ok, I was worried about that. Hmmm, I'm really intrigued now. I think I'll make it my next read after The Silence by Tim Lebbon and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.

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It almost became my next read.  I picked up a Catherine Ryan Hyde book first though :blush2: Soon, soon.  Enjoy!  Sounds like a fun ride ;)

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It's very good so far! Very exciting! :exc:

 

Oooooh, ooooooh!!! :D How far are you??

 

Edit: Oh, you are talking about the Lebbon book  :doh:    :D

Edited by frankie

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Oooooh, ooooooh!!! :D How far are you??

 

Edit: Oh, you are talking about the Lebbon book  :doh:     :D

 

Yah. :D  Did you think I was talking about Under The Skin? :giggle2:

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Elizabeth Is Missing - Emma Healey

 

Maud is an elderly lady, living on her own, who is starting to suffer from dementia. Her daughter Helen and occasional carers come by to help her out with daily tasks, and the remaining time Maud relies on many notes that she makes to help her remember things. Although her memory is failing fast, she can recall her best friend Elizabeth, who she knows she hasn't seen in a while. Various notes that she has left around the house also confirm that Elizabeth is missing, and unable to get a clear answer from Helen or Elizabeth's son, she begins her own investigation into what has happened to Elizabeth.

 

Intertwined with this story, is another missing person from Maud's past – her older sister Sukey. Sukey disappeared many years ago (must be about 50 years prior) and that has remained an unsolved mystery. The story jumps between the past and the present, with the past being recalled usually to reference something happening in the present time.

 

I was very impressed with this novel, especially that it is a first novel by Emma Healey. It's very well told, and also sympathetically as obviously dementia is a delicate subject. There is some wry and gentle humour, but we are never made to laugh at Maud's expense. The confusion is captured and described very well, and can be quite painful to read. However, it is not told in a heavy handed manner, so there is always a certain 'lightness' to the story telling.

 

It's outstanding for a debut novel, and will most definitely be looking out for the authors other work.

 

5/6

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Elizabeth Is Missing - Emma Healey

 

5/6

 

Good review, BB.  Sounds like the author hit the right note.

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Great review BB. I've seen so many positive reviews for this, I really must bump it up the TBR. 

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A Walk In The Woods - Bill Bryson

 

I've read most of Bill Bryson's books, and I think this one may have been the first one I read. I was inspired to pick it up again after watching the movie trailer for it, and also my memory of it was very sketchy. And also as someone who has recently discovered the pleasure of a nice long walk, I was interested on a personal level.

 

Kind of on the verge of a not-very-serious mid-life crisis, Bill Bryson decides to hike the Appalacian trail, which is a 2,200 mile long trail along the Eastern coast of the US. He finds an enthusiastic (if ill-prepared) volunteer in Stephen Katz who accompanied Bryson in an earlier adventure (Neither Here Nor There).

 

As usual, his approach to things are very humorous – from his research on bear attacks, and how to survive them, as well as dealing with some of the more irritating people on the trail (of which there are a few).

 

The book doesn't only cover the walk, which ended up being broken down over many months. There are many issues which are obviously close to Bryson's heart, relating to the environment and it's preservation, and he goes off on quite a few tangents about these different things. This helps to break up the book, so you are not only following his adventures on the Trail, but getting some background information about the Trail, and it's development, and also his view on various related matters. His enthusiasm is catching, even when he is grumbling (which is often :lol:), and it's always easy and interesting to read.

 

It was engaging all the way throughout, and I'm very glad I picked it up for a re-read.

 

5/6

 

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The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith

 

Much has been made of JK Rowling's first book published under a pseudonym. It was on offer on Kindle so I figured I would give it a go as I generally like crime novels – provided they are detailed and interesting.
 

There are two main characters. Robin is a young woman looking for temporary employment and ends up working for a very small private detective's office. The detective is Cormoran Strike (yeah, odd name), who is not in the best place in life. He has just ended a long term relationship, been kicked out of home and is now having to live in his office. Nevertheless he reluctantly agrees to employ Robin, figuring she will be gone in a week or so.

 

A few months earlier, a very famous model - Lula Landry – fell to her death, and the official channels mark it down as a suicide. However her brother has his doubts, and asks for Strike's help in finding out what really happened. What follows is a very long chain of events, with a large number of showbiz and privileged characters, who inhabit a very different world to Strike's. Some of the characters are more caricature like, to the point of silliness, but that wasn't what put me off. I thought the story was a lot longer than it needed to be, and my big criticism was that although Strike had worked out the truth of what happened, none of this was revealed until the end. Had the reader been let in a little bit more it would have felt a bit more involved and therefore interesting. I'm also not a huge fan of everything revealed at once....I like some breadcrumbs to follow (even if I usually get it wrong).

 

I don't know if I shall bother with the sequel. Perhaps if my TBR pile gets down to zero then maybe I will consider it.

 

2/6

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I don't know if I shall bother with the sequel. Perhaps if my TBR pile gets down to zero then maybe I will consider it.

 

2/6

:giggle2: Such a condition on my TBR would mean not a chance - unless someone discovers the elixir of life anytime soon ;)

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I'm a gazillion reviews behind...... :blush2:

 

Beowulf's Children (Heorot series book 2) - Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle

 

I had such high hopes for this because I loved the prequel, so I was very disappointed that this one wasn't nearly as good as The Legacy of Heorot.

 

The story is set on the same planet – Avalon – 20 years after the events in the first book. Some of the characters have been carried over from the first book, but most of the main characters are the children of the first colonists. Unfortunately, I couldn't warm to any of these new people, with their very different attitudes and lifestyles. There were far too many to keep track of and everything about them was so fundamentally different from the prequel,  and it just didn't fit in with the timescales. I don't think that much could have changed about how these people live in only 20 years.

 

On top of that there wasn't a coherent storyline. It was a mishmash all over the place, with no real progression of a story. For example, there was a major event towards the start of the book, which was all but overlooked throughout the rest of the book, until the very end, when it was suddenly a key point. To me, the whole thing lacked the originality and excitement of the first book.

 

The ecology of the planet was probably the best part and explained in a lot of detail, but I just wish there had been a better story to hold my interest.



2/6

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The Silence - Tim Lebbon

 

This is set in November 2016, and through news flashes we hear that a cave in Moldova has been opened and entered by humans for the first time in several million years. Through broadcasted live footage, we can see that strange flying creatures have been released, and immediately start hunting people – the first ones being the cave explorers whose deaths are unintentionally shown on live TV. Soon, these flying creatures – named vesps – start spreading across Europe and within days have taken over and destroyed many countries.

 

The story is mostly told through Ally – a 14 year old deaf girl – who has been aware of the story since it broke. She uses her tablet and bits of social media to tell her story, while she and her family flee London in order to hopefully find safety in the Lake District.

 

It was very fast paced and none of the excitement let up at any point. It made it very easy to read and I finished it in just over a day. Overall it's very good but there are certain parts that weren't very plausible, and you just have to roll your eyes and carry on past. If you're a fan of doomsday situations, then you'll probably enjoy this one.

 

Also, the ending is open-ended, which leaves room for a sequel. I'd definitely read it, if one were ever published, but I'd hope that it took the story in a different direction.

 

4/6

 

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer, Anne Barrows

 

Juliet Ashton is a young columnist living in London, just after the end of World War 2. Out of the blue she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams, from Guernsey who happened to come across a book of poems of which she was the previous owner. His letter – in which he mentions the secret of a stolen pig - piques her interest and she replies to him, asking for more information. Over the course of the next few weeks she begins a communication with various friends and acquaintances of Dawsey, each with a story to tell about their experiences of the Germans during the war, their love of literature, and their beloved and missing friend, Elizabeth.

 

At first I found it very difficult to keep up with the characters, and I was distracted by the style of the book – which is told solely through letters. I wasn't aware of this before I started, and to be honest it did put me off a bit, as I hated Dangerous Liaisons which was written in the same format. (I know it's wrong to compare them simply because of the style, but that was my gut reaction :blush2: ).


 

I was about a third of the way through before I started to succumb to it's charms, largely due to the charismatic Juliet, who is plucky and curious and friendly. But on the whole, I found my feelings very uneven. Some sections I just loved, and then others were a real struggle to get through. However, I am in the minority as most people seem to love it.

 

3/6

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Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel

 

The book opens with a production of King Lear. Part way through, the lead actor – Arthur Leander – suffers a heart attack. A few audience members make an effort to save him, but are unsuccessful. One of these audience members is Jeevan, and shortly after leaving the theatre he gets an alarmed phone call from a friend who is a doctor at a local hospital. An epidemic - Georgia Flu - has finally taken hold in North America and people are dying within hours. Jeevan gets a head start and begins gathers resources, and stays with his brother to wait things out.

 

The story then jumps twenty years later and introduces us to a new group of characters. It's obvious that the world has very much changed and that the Flu did indeed wipe out the majority of the population. The band of people we follow is a group of thespians who go by the name of The Travelling Symphony. Their job is to bring entertainment and theatre (usually Shakespeare) to the various settlements they come across.

 

The story jumps back and forth in time and to different characters, all who have a link to Arthur Leander. It is very multi layered, and not simply about the events and devastation of the apocalypse. It's more about humanity and existentialism and the search to find meaning and something to live for. It's very evocative and when I finished it I felt quite sad but not entirely sure why.

 

It was very beautifully written, especially some passages towards the end with Arthur Leander thinking back on his life and all his regrets.

 

And I loved the concept of “Station Eleven” and how it was so key to the story.

 

This is one to read again. I can't recommend it highly enough....probably one of the best books I've read this year (and in the last few years).

 

6/6

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