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    • Michelle

      Important Announcement!   07/28/2018

      Dear BCF members,   This forum has been running now for many years, and over that time we have seen many changes. Generalised forums are nowhere near as popular as they once were, and they have been very much taken over by blogs, vlogs and social media discussions. Running a forum well takes money, and a lot of care and attention, as there is so much which goes on behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly.   With all of this in mind, and after discussion within the current moderator team, the decision has been made to close this forum in its current format. I know that this will disappoint a lot of our long term members, but I want to reassure you that it's not a decision which has been taken lightly.    The remaining moderator team have agreed that we do not want to lose everything which is special about our home, and so we are starting a brand new facebook group, so that people can stay in touch, and discussions can continue. We can use it for free and should be easier for us to run (it won't need to be updated or hosted). We know not everyone has FaceBook, but we hope that those of you who are interested will join the group. We will share the link, and send invites as soon as we are ready to go. Added: We may as well get this going, find us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/195289821332924/   The forum will close to new registrations, but will remain open for some time, to allow people to collect up any information, reading lists etc they need to, and to ensure they have contact details for those they wish to stay in touch with.    The whole team feel sad to say goodbye, but we also feel that it's perhaps time and that it feels like the right choice. We hope we can stay in touch with all of you through our new FaceBook group.   I personally want to thank everyone who has helped me moderate the forum, both in the past and the present, and I also want to thank every single person who has visited, and shared their love of books.. I'm so proud of everything we've achieved, and the home we built.   Please visit the new section in the Lounge section to discuss this further, ask questions etc.
bobblybear

Bobblybear's Book List - 2017

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2 minutes ago, frankie said:

 

Maybe it was, yes :)  It's been so long since we had RC! Makes one rather nostalgic. Just the other day I was thinking about Stef Penney's The Tenderness of Wolves, and how I can still remember it's atmosphere. Just because it was an RC book and we talked about it for a month on here. Good times :)

 

 

How funny that you should mention The Tenderness of Wolves!! I was thinking of it last night, and looked up Stef Penney on Amazon to see if she has written anything recently. She has written a book several months ago called Under A Pole Star that looks like it might be similar to The Tenderness of Wolves. I'm just waiting for it to come down in price as it's nearly £10.

 

Actually, I've just checked my local library catalogue and they have a copy on hand, so I might pop down next weekend (they aren't open on Sunday) and borrow it. :readingtwo:

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13 minutes ago, bobblybear said:

 

 

How funny that you should mention The Tenderness of Wolves!! I was thinking of it last night, and looked up Stef Penney on Amazon to see if she has written anything recently. She has written a book several months ago called Under A Pole Star that looks like it might be similar to The Tenderness of Wolves. I'm just waiting for it to come down in price as it's nearly £10.

 

Actually, I've just checked my local library catalogue and they have a copy on hand, so I might pop down next weekend (they aren't open on Sunday) and borrow it. :readingtwo:

 

That's so funny, what a coincidence :D    I have very fond memories of that particular reading circle, as I think all the participants really enjoyed the book. That's rather rare. 

 

Have you read The Invisible Ones? I borrowed a copy many moons ago, but never started it before taking it back to the library. I feared it wouldn't be up to par with TToW. :unsure:

 

Great to hear your library has copies of the novel! Saves you some money :)  I read the blurb of UaPS, and I have to say, it's not as interesting as TToW. :unsure: But maybe it's a case of the blurb not revealing all that much, and the actual storyline being one helluva ride. Penney, as we know, is very skilled in setting the mood and creating a very believable atmosphere! 

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Yeah, I've read The Invisible Ones, and it wasn't up to par with The Tenderness of Wolves:( It wasn't bad, it just didn't meet my high expectations! I do hope Under A Pole Star is good, but it has many mixed reviews. :unsure: I'll give it a go anyway, I'm sure I'll enjoy it. :D

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A Time for Silence - Thorne Moore

 

Sarah is looking for a way to distract herself from a personal tragedy; digging into her past she finds her grandparents derelict farm is up for sale and buys it with the idea of renovating and eventually living in it. It had been left to the elements since the 1930s when her grandfather Jack was shot dead – a crime which has never been solved, and one which Sarah intends to get to the bottom of.

 

The story moves between the 1930s (when Sarah's grandparents were alive) to the current time. There are many twists and turns with Sarah following some wrong leads in trying to solve the mystery, and the truth ends up being evident to the reader before Sarah realises it. It's been a while since I read it (back in February - so far behind with reviews :blush:) so I can't remember the details. I know I enjoyed it and that it was quite a dark tale, but I don't think I was blown away by it.

 

The Kindle formatting was also a bit odd, with no obvious section breaks. Sometimes the next paragraph was a completely different situation, but it ran together with the previous section and took me a while to realise what was going on. I've read a couple of Kindle books like that,  and I assume it's just poor e-book formatting. 

 

3.5/6

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Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

 

It's the year 2044, and most of the planet has been overrun by some crisis or another and the majority of people now spend their time jacked into a virtual reality simulator (OASIS), which is more appealing than real life. The creator of OASIS has just died and in his will has declared his fortune to be left to the person who finds the Easter Egg he has planted in his virtual world.

 

Wade Watts is a teenager who like most other people spends his life plugged into OASIS. He becomes the first person to obtain one of three keys which are the first clue to the Easter Egg.

 

From there, follows a relentless hunt for the remaining keys, with Wade Watts struggling to maintain his place at the top of the leaderboard.

 

This book is chocka full of 1980s references, especially video game references, so it's brilliant fun for those (like me) who grew up in the time period. This book would be especially appealing for people who have played a lot of video games, and I found it exciting to recognise many of the movie, game and music references peppered throughout.

 

A genuinely fun and entertaining read.

 

5/6

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4 minutes ago, bobblybear said:

Yeah, I've read The Invisible Ones, and it wasn't up to par with The Tenderness of Wolves:( It wasn't bad, it just didn't meet my high expectations! I do hope Under A Pole Star is good, but it has many mixed reviews. :unsure: I'll give it a go anyway, I'm sure I'll enjoy it. :D

 

 

Ack, that's a shame about TIO :(   I'm grasping at straws, but maybe she didn't do as fine a job because she was out of her own element - writing about things taking place in a cold climate? :shrug::unsure:  Maybe she can only write amazing fiction when it's set in a cold climate. That would mean UaPS has a really fair chance of being a great read! :exc:

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Bird Box - Josh Malerman

 

Malorie has two children, however they are all living a very unusual life. Something catastrophic has happened to the world and all of them need to wear blindfolds whenever they go outside. If they don't, they will see something which will send them insane. The story flips between Malorie's life now, and what it was like 5 years ago when this 'disaster' happened.

 

I wanted to like this book so much, but I found it just lacked depth. The longer the book went on the more frustrated I got as it just felt like a whole lot of nothing was being drawn out endlessly. And it breached the lines of believability. I mean, walking 3 miles fully blindfolded and managing to find your way home? Same with driving? Really?? :rolleyes: And the ending was pants. :rolleyes:

 

There some very creepy sections but ultimately the lack of story let it down.

 

Luckily the book was pretty short and it only took me a day or so to read it. Not recommended, but I am in the minority. 

 

2/6

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11 minutes ago, frankie said:

 

 

Ack, that's a shame about TIO :(   I'm grasping at straws, but maybe she didn't do as fine a job because she was out of her own element - writing about things taking place in a cold climate? :shrug::unsure:  Maybe she can only write amazing fiction when it's set in a cold climate. That would mean UaPS has a really fair chance of being a great read! :exc:

 

That's what I'm hoping. :lol: If I manage to borrow it, then at least I won't have wasted any money if I don't like it. :D

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2 minutes ago, bobblybear said:

 

That's what I'm hoping. :lol: If I manage to borrow it, then at least I won't have wasted any money if I don't like it. :D

 

Exactly! :yes:

 

A quick look at Goodreads statistics say, that Under a Pole Star has been rated 0.02 stars better than The Tenderness of Wolves! :o Of course, there are only 233 people who've rated the book (as opposed to the 8985 people who've rated TToW). The book has 608 pages :o 

 

Good luck! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you :smile2:

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The Selfish Gene - Richard Dawkins (unfinished)

 

I thought I read this book many years ago, but on my attempted second read-through, I don't think I did. I must be confusing it with one of his other earlier books.

 

This is supposed to be written for the layman but I struggled a bit. Actually, I struggled a lot and ended up giving up on it about 30% through. :wacko: His writing style was very difficult to process, and I found it convoluted with such long sentences rather than straightforward points. This was the updated version and lengthy footnotes were added, mostly around responses to the book when it was first published, as well as where the book has been quoted etc.

 

There was just too much detail to the point where I felt like I was studying rather than reading it for enjoyment.

 

The subject matter interests me greatly, but for me the delivery just killed it. I don't know.....maybe I will re-visit it at some point but for now I will focus on books that I can understand! :blush:

 

2/6

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Death and the Devil - Frank Schatzing

 

Oh, this book is responsible for killing my mojo for many weeks! :rolleyes: I loved his previous book – The Swarm – but this was so, so different.

 

It's set in Cologne in the 1200s, and is based around the building of a cathedral. The key people in power are involved in a conspiracy, and set out to murder the architect. Jacob 'The Fox', witnesses this murder and then has to outwit the assassin who is constantly on his heels.

 

The premise doesn't sound bad, but I just found it dull, dull, dull. It was far too long, with more filler than story. It's a shame because his other book, The Swarm, was so good that I read it twice (completely different subject matter, mind you).

 

In retrospect, I should have put it to one side, instead of struggling with it for weeks, and maybe my mojo would have survived. One to avoid.


1/6

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Insomnia - Stephen King

 

This was a re-read, and I picked it up in order to kick start my mojo after reading the dreadful Death and the Devil. For the most part it did the trick, as many re-reads do.

 

Ralph Roberts has been unable to sleep properly following the death of his wife. Despite all the remedies, he begins waking earlier and earlier, until he is barely getting a couple of hours sleep a night. Soon after, he starts to see auras around things, which he assumes are hallucinations from his insomnia. But then, he starts seeing little bald doctors who seem to appear whenever there is death.

 

This is classic King and I loved it. It hooks you from the start, and Ralph is such a great character to carry the story along. Of course, as usual King writes his characters in so many dimensions you feel like you really know them.

 

My only criticism is that it was a touch too long, and could have been shortened by 100 pages or so without losing the story (it was just over 900 pages long). I also loved The Dark Tower connection. Highly recommended.

 

5/6

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Great reviews :)!

 

14 hours ago, bobblybear said:

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox - Maggie O'Farrell

 

I'm putting this one on my wishlist :).

 

12 hours ago, bobblybear said:

The Clan of the Cave Bear - Jean M Auel

 

I read the first four books in this series many years ago, and I have to say that book 1 was my favourite. I read book 1 several times back when I was a teenager, but I haven't re-read it in some time. I bought myself a copy in English (I read my parents Dutch copies when I was a teenager), but I haven't yet gone and read the English version. One day :)..

 

10 hours ago, bobblybear said:

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

 

Great review, I really liked Ready Player One too :).

 

53 minutes ago, bobblybear said:

Insomnia - Stephen King

 

I believe I was given a Dutch copy of this book a few years ago, glad to see a good review for it :).

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Thanks, Gaia! I remember you saying that Ready Player One was one of your favourite books. :) 

 

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox is such a good read, so I hope you enjoy it when you get to it. Same with Insomnia:)

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Grunt - Mary Roach

 

I love Mary Roach's books; she has a very curious mind and it shows in her research. Her latest foray is into aspects of war.

 

The book covers clothing and the detail and research required for the perfect piece of military garb (balance between weight, the strength of the material, whether it's combustible, easy to move in etc.). She also covers surgery done after injuries from war, sleep deprivation and the impact on the soldiers, diarrhoea which apparently is very common, and many other things. As usual she injects a bit of humour into it, usually at her own expense. It's a very interesting study into things that most people don't get to experience.

 

The book ended very abruptly with no summarising closing chapter. It felt strange, like something was missing. It was a fairly short book – under 300 pages – and I felt it probably could have been longer, but that's just my opinion. 

 

4/6

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The Sheep Look Up - John Brunner

 

The earth is slowly dying. Everyone has to wear gas masks just to get through their day, and acid rain is causing untold damage; human life is gradually deteriorating due to excess use of chemicals and pesticides, and the rising popularity of cars.

 

Austin Train is an environmentalist who many years ago started the fight against the corporations and government who were killing the planet. He has gone into hiding but his followers, 'Trainites' are still carrying out his message, sometimes violently.

 

This is all told through numerous characters – not all of whom seem to have a purpose. I found the number of characters a bit distracting, and because they often appeared sporadically I struggled to remember their story. The narrative is broken up by snippets from new stories, interviews, articles etc., all of which give an insight into the state of the world.

 

It's a very bleak read, but also quite prescient, being published in the early 70s. So much is relevant to what is happening to the environment today, so it doesn't feel too dated. Highly recommended if you are a fan of dysoptian fiction.

 

4/6

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We Were Liars - E Lockhart

 

Cadence (Cady) is one of the Sinclairs – a privileged family who live on an island off New York. She is narrating the story and from the start we know she is recuperating from an accident. However, because she is suffering from amnesia as a result, we aren't told what happened to her. In fact, we find out at the same time that Cady does. We are introduced to her closest friends – her cousins – and the relationship she has had with them before and after the accident.

 

There are a few twists, one in particular, but I didn't find it too surprising as you can kind of tell something big is about to happen. It was an enjoyable read, and I had wondered about it as I kept seeing this book everywhere I went. I'm glad I read it but I don't think I would read it again.

 

It's a surprisingly quick read, only 240 pages long. It could easily be finished in a day or so. It's classed as YA, but I don't particularly know why. I wouldn't have classed it as that, and I can't see why it is aimed at that age group, just because the characters are teenagers. :wacko:

 

4/6


 

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IT - Stephen King

 

Another re-read – this is my third re-read in as many months, no doubt because my mojo was limping along. I was also spurred on by seeing trailers for the remake which is due to come out later this year.

 

This is my second favourite King book, so I only have good things to say about it. However, I have to admit that I struggled a wee bit reading this again, because I know the story so well.

 

It has a split timeline, the 1950's and the 1980s (27 years apart to be exact) and the book alternates between the two. In the 50s story line 7 young kids become firm friends (calling themselves The Loser's Club) bonding over the fact that something (possibly not human) seems to be killing off the kids in their town, Derry. Each of them has an experience with this creature (which they calll 'IT'), which usually takes the form of a clown.

 

The sections set in the 1980s catches up with these characters who are now of course adults. Each character has left Derry (bar one) moved on with their lives, and have all but forgotten about their past. Then they get a phone call to say that IT has returned to Derry and they must fulfil their childhood promise to end it once and for all.

 

The book is a whopper at just under 1,400 pages, but there is so much rich detail around all the characters (even the minor ones) and events. I've always said that King writes people so well and gives them real dimensions and this is more evidence of that. 

 

I love this book, and look forward to seeing the movie, but I think I will have to leave it for a long time before I pick it up again as I remembered virtually everything.

 

6/6

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The Memory Man - David Baldacci

 

Amos Decker is a police office, who returns home one day to find his wife and daughter have been brutally murdered. But Decker has a secret weapon: after a football injury years ago, he has developed an ironclad memory, as well as a unique way of visualising certain events (through colours). When it becomes certain that these murders weren't random, he sets out to find who has committed them and to bring them to justice.
 

Well, this was just a bit silly. It was an easy read, full of action but the story and writing was cheesy. It's the first in a series, and I won't be bothering with the rest. I know I have read Baldacci before and while I can't remember what I read, I'm sure it was better than this. Disappointing.

 

2/6

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The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement - Eliyahu M. Goldratt

 

This is a 'business-improvement' book which I find I'm having to read more of in my new job. The difference with this one is that it is told via a fictional story. It is set in an American manufacturing plant and the lead character (production manager) has been given ninety days to turn his failing plant around, or lose his job.

 

This will probably only be of interest to people who work in some kind of production management capacity, because it covers concepts of bottlenecks, cashflow, inventory holdings etc. However, what sets it apart is that it wraps a fictional story around it, and using elements of that to make it's point. It was very effective and a very clear way of illustrating these concepts. It didn't feel like I was reading a text book, but it had all the educational benefits of one. I'd go so far as to say it should be mandatory reading for anyone entering any kind of management role in a production factory.

 

6/6

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The Joy of Sin - Simon Laham

 

This is a study about the pros and cons of each of the so-called seven deadly sins, and whether they should even be classified as sins. There was clearly a lot of research done and it was highly illuminating to see how these sociologists and psychologists do their testing to find out the effect these 'sins' have on people's behaviour in other areas (ie. More or less charitable, overall happiness etc.).

 

I found it fascinating – not sure I can apply the knowledge to anything but it was just a fun thing to read. Also, as it's split into such clearly defined sections it can be picked up and put down when the mood suits.

 

4/6

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Nice reviews :)!

 

I'm glad you liked most books of these reviews :). What is your favourite Stephen King book? I've re-read IT several times, I can see that it becomes less nice to read if you've read it lots of times so you remember everything that happens. It's my favourite King book, but it was also my first and has strong nostalgia ties which other King books don't have for me, so I think it will always remain a favourite for me (The Stand being my second favourite King book). I last re-read IT in October 2013, and I don't plan on re-reading it any time soon. But it is an amazing book and I'm glad you enjoyed re-reading it :).

 

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement sounds like an interesting way of writing an educational book! It doesn't sound like something I would be interested in, but I do think it's an interesting way of getting the information across and am glad you found it useful :).

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Great reviews - well done for getting so many done!

 

I'm gutted you didn't like Bird Box lol - the ending was definitely questionable, but I absolutely loved it!

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