Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • 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.
Hayley

Hayley's Reading in 2017

Recommended Posts

Thank you Athena!  :smile: I hope you'll enjoy the book when you do get to it. There were definitely parts that had me hooked. 

 

Based on those comments I don't think I'll be rushing out to buy the second one though  :giggle2: . I did think in the first book that the character's personalities seemed a little bit unpredictable. I might give the second one a try if I come across it in the future because part of me does still want to find out more about the secret of the book but, like I said, I won't be rushing out to buy it!

 

I finished this a few days ago so slightly late review:

 

post-8023-0-67394100-1487623969_thumb.jpg

 

Written in Bone by Simon Beckett

 

Comment: Gripping and Shocking

 

I only realised when I added this book to Goodreads that it's actually the second in a series but it definitely works as a standalone novel. I think there might be a couple of facts in this book that spoil the ending of the previous one though, just to warn those who might want to read them.

I really enjoyed reading this book. Some of it was quite disturbingly gruesome but it was always fitting and it added to the urgency as four men try to find the murderer on an island that's been completely cut off by a storm. At first I thought this sounded a bit cheesy in a 'well isn't that convenient' sort of way but it really doesn't feel like that when you're reading, the writing makes the whole thing very believable. The twists are extremely clever and although I don't think it would have been impossible to work out who the murderer was in hindsight, I don't think many people would get it before it's revealed. I changed my mind so many times about who I thought it was!

I really liked the main character too and found him very believable. I think I liked that there was nothing particularly special about him or his abilities but that he was just a normal person doing his job. I would definitely read the next one at some point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I forgot to say in my last post that I bought some new books while I was in Hay-on-Wye at the weekend! There's so many bookshops there, it was impossible not to get at least one  :giggle2: . I had some money that somebody gave me for Christmas and I still hadn't used so I bought a lovely Folio set of the Brontë novels with it! The books are silk bound, purple on the spine and then a sort of teal colour on the front and back, they're so pretty! I've already read Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre so I didn't add them to my acquired list but I have added Shirley, The Professor, Agnes Grey, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Vilette, all of which I'm excited to read :D.

 

I also realised, when I went to add those books to my acquired 2017 list that I had missed some books out of my shelf list at the start of the year. I seem to have just got halfway across a shelf and forgotten to do the rest :doh:. They're all added now anyway, mostly Arthur Conan Doyle and H.G. Wells.

 

I'm just over half way through The Hanging Tree now and it's not disappointing! Part of me really doesn't want to finish it because I know I'll have to wait ages for the next one but the bigger part doesn't want to put it down. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope you enjoy your new books :)!

 

On 21-2-2017 at 7:41 PM, Hayley said:

I'm just over half way through The Hanging Tree now and it's not disappointing! Part of me really doesn't want to finish it because I know I'll have to wait ages for the next one but the bigger part doesn't want to put it down.

 

I recognise that feeling. Being a book reader can be tough :o.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oops I really got behind on here! Two very quick reviews, to catch up...

 

 

post-8023-0-71371100-1489345028_thumb.jpg

 

The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch

 

Comment: Another great part of the story

 

I already knew this was going to be good before I started, based on the previous books in the series. This one really gave the impression that it was building up to something a little different, expanding the world that's established already with some interesting new characters and concepts and introducing a slightly more political theme. There wasn't quite as much of a basis in folklore and history in this one, which I did think was a shame since I really like that personally, although there was plenty going on to make up for it (and definitely some revelations that I wasn't expecting!).

It was nice to see characters from the previous books being worked into the story too, it added to the feeling that this is a well-established and thought out world, but it's still one where literally anything could happen, since it is magic, and that's always exciting :D

Now I don't want to have to wait for the next one! :doh:    

 

 

post-8023-0-61696700-1489346120_thumb.jpg

 

Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

 

Comment: I want a pet dodo and a job in jurisfiction!

 

I love this crazy world. It's so brilliantly imaginative and so cleverly put together. But even through all the craziness and humour you still really feel for the characters and there are so many likeable characters (and some you really, really hate)!

I'm trying to work out how much I can say without any spoilers but I absolutely love the idea of jurisfiction in this book. It's like every book-lovers dream world where you can literally be inside any book you want. What's not to love!?

The part where she's in the library containing every book in the world, even unpublished ones, having a conversation with the Cheshire Cat, I started thinking 'why can't this be real life!?' :giggle2:  

 

It also has a really gripping plot with some outcomes that I'm pretty certain nobody could possibly guess! 

I can't wait to get the next one, I'm so glad it's already out  :D

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've only read the first Thursday Next book - the Eyre Affair - and really enjoyed it, I want a pet dodo too!  Although according to Jodi Taylor they're noisy and they smell, but still.... He's got such a great imagination (ditto the Peter Grant series).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Thursday Next series is so good isn't it?  :yes: I'm really glad you are enjoying them.

 

As for The Hanging Tree. I have to buy that soon. It's sitting at the top of my wish list (alongside the next Jodi Taylor), but I was trying so hard to be good.  :giggle2:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll add to the love for both series too!  I think I'm going to save The Hanging Tree for the summer, as I think I've read most of the books in the series on holiday, so it gives me something to look forward to. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the first in the series of those Aaronovitch books. I really, really must start it soon!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've only read the first Thursday Next book - the Eyre Affair - and really enjoyed it, I want a pet dodo too!  Although according to Jodi Taylor they're noisy and they smell, but still.... He's got such a great imagination (ditto the Peter Grant series).

 I loved the first one but I actually think there are things about the second one that made it even better, I would definitely recommend it! And I think it's the 'plock!' it's just so cute  :giggle2:

 

The Thursday Next series is so good isn't it?  :yes: I'm really glad you are enjoying them.

 

As for The Hanging Tree. I have to buy that soon. It's sitting at the top of my wish list (alongside the next Jodi Taylor), but I was trying so hard to be good.  :giggle2:

Thanks, it really is, I can't wait to get the next one too! I was also trying to be good, but I just looked at my 'acquired 2017' list and I am not doing well so far this year  :doh: . Peter Grant and Thursday Next are worth it though :D  

 

 

I'll add to the love for both series too!  I think I'm going to save The Hanging Tree for the summer, as I think I've read most of the books in the series on holiday, so it gives me something to look forward to. :D

That's a good holiday tradition!  :D  I always find it hard to decide which books to bring on holiday but I don't think I could resist long enough save the next book in a series for it!

 

 

I have the first in the series of those Aaronovitch books. I really, really must start it soon!

I really loved the first one, I hope you like it!

 

 

I've just updated my 'acquired 2017' list to include Bedford Square by Anne Perry, Batavia's Graveyard by Mike Dash (both swapped with vodkafan - thank you again if you're reading this  :smile: ), The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley and His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet (I realised I had some money on my Waterstones card, and these were on offer!)

 

I'm reading Bedford Square at the moment and really enjoying it. I love a good mystery and anything set in the Victorian period so this is definitely my kind of book! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After an incredibly busy couple of weeks I actually can't wait to get back to reading properly again! I've updated my recently acquired list to include the first five books in the Railway Detective series (which I found as a boxed set on sale in The Works for £4) and Francis Hardinge's The Lie Tree (found in a Marie Curie charity shop for £1), both of which I'm pretty excited about!

 

Time for the first review with the new update so I hope this ends up looking ok!

 

b4b2d80565b2517123308b054d43b750.jpg.b6d17e58d361751384954643e637cdc0.jpg

 

Bedford Square by Anne Perry

 

Comment: A very Victorian detective novel

 

This book isn't just set in the Victorian period, it's very clearly inspired by Victorian detective novels in the focus of the plot and the style used, which I really liked. I think Victorians would have liked it too, it's packed full of social scandal, violent death and shocking twists, as most good detective novels were :lol:

I think it's possible, but very difficult to solve crime before the reveal, which I know is a feature a lot of people do like, I was very shocked at the end though!

There were a couple of small moments where I thought 'is that really what someone would have done in that time?' but not enough to really change by opinion of the book in general.

It's a good classic-style detective novel and I'll definitely be keeping a look out for others in the Inspector Pitt series (even though I really need to stop buying books...)

 

Edited by Hayley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't believe it's been three weeks since my last update! I did at least get some more time to read in those three weeks though and I've finished Batavia's Graveyard by Mike Dash and Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman since my last post. I literally only finished Fragile Things about an hour ago though so I'll just do a quick review of Batavia's Graveyard for now...

 

5910e20b3e581_51NanmFUahL._SY344_BO1204203200_.jpg.5b8851c078378da0bce4a11ab8d3f9bc.jpg

 

Batavia's Graveyard by Mike Dash

 

Comment: Intense

 

If I didn't know this book was about a true story I probably would have thought it was too far fetched! As well as the dramatic story of shipwreck and mutiny some of the characters have entire backstories which are equally eventful. There were a couple of sections of historical detail where I just felt like I wanted to get back to the story but the detail was actually interesting, it's just that you can't help but wonder what happens next in such a seemingly unlikely series of events.

The style of the book was actually not what I expected at all. I don't really know why but I thought it would be a sort of standard third person novel format, based on a true story but embellished with details, such as the speech, which couldn't be known. It's actually more of a history book with no real dialogue and is incredibly accurate (the author gives all the sources for his information in detailed notes.) Dash is a good story teller and the book feels action-driven and compelling to read, particularly the last few chapters.

I think the thing that stood out most for me and which I ended up thinking about long after I put it down was the very deeply psychological questions it raised. I had quite contrasting emotions about who I should feel sorry for.

I would recommend it, but definitely not as a light read! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I forgot in my last post that I needed to update my acquired list at the start of the thread, which I've done now to include Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine. It was a random buy from The Works as it was on sale, had a very pretty cover and is about books :P. It was also my birthday a couple of weeks ago and I got a really beautiful new hardback edition of Terry Pratchett's The Wee Free Men from my sister and a book from a friend called What Would Alice Do? which is a pretty little book of advice based on Alice in Wonderland quotes. I haven't added these last two to my acquired list since one is a book I've already read (although I do definitely intend to re-read it) and the second isn't the kind of book you sit and read from cover to cover, I think the idea is you open it randomly for an inspirational Alice quote.

 

Since my last post I also finished reading A Symphony of Echoes  but I need to put Fragile Things up first before I forget!

 

91Li82OxMfL._SL1500_.thumb.jpg.a8d0015662cc17e4548279b8cf36eee6.jpg

 

Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman

 

Comment: A brilliant mix

 

I think the best thing about this book (and probably about Gaiman in general, actually) is you never know what you're going to get. It's writing that always feel original and different. As soon as I started the first short story (an attempt at combining Sherlock Holmes with the style of H.P. Lovecraft) I knew it was going to be interesting.

There was only one story in the collection that I didn't like and that was 'The Problem of Susan' which is set after the events at the end of The Chronicles of Narnia. The following spoiler is actually for the Narnia books rather than the Gaiman story...

Spoiler

The Problem of Susan refers to the fact that end of the Narnia books the other children return to Narnia after a train crash while Susan does not, because she doesn't believe in Narnia any more. Gaiman calls this ending problematic and I agree when I read it myself I found it really sad. He then says he wanted to write an equally problematic story and talk about the remarkable power of children's literature. So at that point I was really excited to read this story. I don't know if I just massively missed the point but I can't see how it was about the power of children's literature. It seemed to basically be about sex and violence, which in Narnia just felt weird and kind of creepy. It almost felt as though, annoyed by Susan's ending, Gaiman to decided to completely destroy the innocence of Narnia in the most disturbing way possible.  

 

Apart from that one though I really enjoyed this collection, although it did deal with some quite disturbing themes sometimes the characters are brilliant, the settings often have that dreamy edge-of-fantasy quality that I love and I was pleased to find a little American Gods story, which was very good.

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I should really read some more Neil Gaiman books. I'm glad you enjoyed this one!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2017-5-16 at 11:41 AM, Athena said:

I should really read some more Neil Gaiman books. I'm glad you enjoyed this one!

Thank you, I hope you enjoy them if you do decide to read more Neil Gaiman books!

 

So much has been happening since I last updated here I'm not sure where to start. For the last few weeks my Nan has been very unwell. She started having quite a lot of falls (one of which was so bad I don't even want to think about it. The paramedics took photographs of the house in case it was a crime scene.) She was then referred to a rehabilitation centre where she would see a physiotherapist and they would work out why she kept falling. She kept having periods of serious confusion while she was there though, saying things like her daughter was her sister and not being able to remember who she'd seen that day. She was given a dementia test but apparently answered 9 of the ten questions correctly so that was dismissed. Then, after four weeks, they said she had to leave, because that was the maximum time she could stay there. In that time we had rearranged her house to make it as safe as possible and it was arranged that she would have four carers a day to help her. With that and my family visiting between those times we thought she might be ok. Within a couple of weeks though the carers had to call out paramedics three times because she'd fallen again. Now she's in hospital, again, but nobody seems to be able to agree what's wrong or what the best thing to do is. The social worker who was in contact with my dad (because of the multiple falls) said she wasn't safe in a normal home environment. But the hospital are now suggesting everything that's wrong with her is down to a urine infection and she can come home any day now. Although it would be lovely to think it's as simple as the latter explanation, I just can't see it being the case. She has been a little forgetful and struggling to think of the word she wants to use for a while but she couldn't even answer when her own birthday was at the hospital and she often repeats the same question or comment three or four times in a row. I just can't see what the answer is, the whole situation has been so stressful and sad.    

 

Then I thought my laptop was broken. Luckily when I gave it to my boyfriend, who is much better with computers than me, he took the battery out and it worked again. I just can't use it not plugged in any more.

 

But... that rant out of the way and on a happier note... 

 

Before all that happened I had a really nice couple of days in Hay-On-Wye with some friends. Obviously, being the town of books, I came back with some pretty and old editions, including:

London Labour and the London Poor, vol.2 by Henry Mayhew (this is the one I was most excited about, I've only ever read sections of it online. It isn't dated but, based on other books, I definitely think it's nineteenth century)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

The Heroes and The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (I have already read this but it was on sale for £1 with the Kingsley and Hugo books and is much prettier than my old paperback copy)

English Short Stories from the XVth to XXth Century, ed. Ernest Rhys

Heroes of Welsh History by David W. Oates (I fell in love with the cover of this one, even though it's water damaged across one half, when I spotted it on a stall. It's a reprint from 1928)

 

Before that I went to an event at Sarehole Mill (which is supposed to have been one of Tolkien's inspirations) and bought Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch, from a stall which was helping to raise money for the upkeep of the mill. 

 

I also saw that they had some pretty Heron hardback books in my local Oxfam so I bought the Selected Tales of Edgar Allan Poe and Frenchman's Creek by Daphne Du Maurier. 

 

IMG_2961.JPG.cb733521d020804b401950d10525beca.JPG

thumbnail_IMG_2962.jpg.9eca1b4dd6f4fe840b1c8921f5e95afc.jpg

 

I completely forgot to do a review of A Symphony of Echoes so I'll do that soon. I'm reading Bleak House at the moment and really enjoying it. There's always something comforting about Dickens' books. I was thinking of doing a Discworld re-read soon as well. I didn't read them in order before so I think it would be interesting to do that. It's been a really long time since I read some of them too, and I want to make sure I haven't missed any!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm so sorry to hear about your Nan :(. It's a difficult situation for her and you and your family :empathy:. I hope the doctors will be able to find the real cause and that your Nan can be helped and made more safe and comfortable.

 

I'm glad your laptop works again plugged in. You might be able to buy a spare battery for it, that's possible for some laptops. Mine is quite old, I always use it plugged in as the battery loses its charge quickly.

 

I hope you like the books you bought :).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry to hear about your Nan, I have heard that urine infections can cause a lot of confusion and even delirium, has she had her balance checked, and also her ears, as ear problems can cause dizziness and balance problems. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone.

 

@Athena I did have a look to see if I could get a new battery but the one with the connection I need seemed to be out of stock everywhere! I will keep a look out but it's not too bad the way it is, there's usually somewhere to plug it in.

 

@Madeleine No they haven't checked her ears as far as I know, I'll bring it up, thank you. Nobody has actually been able to speak to her doctor at the hospital yet, I suppose she's really busy. We were concerned that they didn't check for stroke as well, particularly as on the morning of one of her falls she had slurred speech and drooping on one side of her face and since then has been dragging one of her feet. She has had mini strokes in the past as well. It seems like no matter who you tell these things to they just get lost as new nurses and doctors etc. get involved. A lot of people have said about urine infections causing confusion but then her own doctor has been diagnosing her with it and giving her antibiotics for over 6 months, probably closer to a year and they don't seem to be helping very much. Maybe they can prescribe something stronger for them at the hospital though. I feel like it's too much to hope for that it could be so simple and solvable.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

18816588.jpg.051698a8e527d48cdf5e2af778abd003.jpg

A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor

 

Comment: A bit of everything

 

I think as soon as I saw 'Dr Max and the team visit Victorian London in search of Jack the Ripper' on the blurb, I was fairly convinced I was going to love this book. Like the first one it is completely crazy and you never quite know what to expect next. I don't think I've ever read a book where you're thrown into quite so many environments and different scenarios. It gives the book a very fast paced feel and it's a lot of fun. Aside from the fun though this books also throws you through a range of emotions. There's a really scary part (I really wasn't expecting something that freaky to happen!), a really sad part, a really shocking part and all kinds of relationship issues mixed in. It's crazy, but in a good way.

I would definitely recommend this as a fun, fast-paced read, but one which also has a really good story at the heart of it. Can't wait to see what happens in the next one!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love that series, as you say every emotion. from hilarious to quite shocking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really sorry to hear about your nan, that sounds super stressful. I hope she starts improving soon.

 

I had the same problem before with a laptop, it was some issue with the way the battery interacted with the circuitry on the laptop. Just wouldn't pull power from it anymore, some kind of damage or something my brother said.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry about you Nan, it's really upsetting when one doesn't know what is the root of the problem and how to take care of it. I hope she'll get better soon! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you both. Quite a lot has happened since I last posted but, long story short, the hospital decided it wasn't safe for my Nan to go home, she has to go into a care home. There are a lot of positives, I know she'll be safer there and have constant access to the medical staff she needs to be healthy but, at the same time, it's hard not to feel sad about it.

 

Bleakhouse_serial_cover.jpg.39eed0310d7579c296c3e5c6c76df368.jpg 

 

Bleak House by Charles Dickens

Comment: Beautifully complex

 

I should probably point out that I've used a picture of the original serialised edition of Bleak House rather than the one I read because I don't have a picture of my edition and couldn't find a decent one online. The one I actually read was from Guild publishing and it was a really nice edition, very pretty hardback in dark green and gold and it had a list of characters with a brief description at the front, which was useful. As the character list suggests, there are a LOT of characters in this book. In every Dickens book I've read I've really enjoyed the way that different character's lives, interesting in their own right, are intertwined to create the main body of the story. Bleak House is definitely the best example of this I've read. It's done in such a clever way, using so many characters with very distinct and memorable personalities. 

I thought it was interesting that the story is divided between the first person account of one of the characters (Ester Summerson) and a third person omniscient narrator. Often the latter was used to deliver the more damning social commentary on everything from the law system to politicians, to housing and treatment of the working class. Ester is a very positive character, possibly one some people might find too perfect but I thought the two parts balanced really well.

I would definitely recommend this, it has such brilliant stories from different areas of life at the time, a really compelling mystery and some very tense page-turner moments. Like all of Dickens' books it also really pushes the message that individual acts of kindness can often have a great, far-reaching, impact. So it's a good choice if you need cheering up too.     

 

I decided to read His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet next, so far it's really interesting so looking forward to reviewing that! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×