Jodyreadseverything in 2012
Join LibraryThing to post.
This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.
Started this years thread in last years group (thanks DrNeutron for the heads up) so will be linking in a moment.
Didn't quite make it to 75 books in 2011 (unless you count all the children's books I read to BRE, in which case I had this challenge all sewn up by the end of January) but I am off to a good start for 2012.
1. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (4 1/2 stars)
2. Conference at Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (3 1/2 stars)
3. Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine (1/2 star)
4. Twilight: Photographs by Gregory Crewdson (5 stars)
5. The Tooth Fairy by Graham Joyce (2 1/2 stars)
6. Toxic In-Laws by Susan Forward
7. Blue Monday by Nicci French (3 stars)
8. Daughters In Law by Joanna Trollope (1 1/2 stars)
9. 77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz (2 1/2 stars)
10. A Brief Madness by Karisha Kal'ee'ay (2 1/2 stars)
11. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (5 stars)
1. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
This one was very good, in a 'similar to I Am Number Four' in terms of bits of plot but vastly superior and much better written' kind of a way.
And it has such wonderfully creepy and odd vintage photographs to go with it.
When Jacob is sixteen he witnesses the final stages of a terrible and confusing family tragedy and as part of his emotional recovery he is taken to the remote island off the coast of Wales where his grandfather was evacuated to during WW2.
Jacob searches for and finds the ruins of the children's home, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and discovers that, impossible as it may seem, Miss Peregrine and some of the children his grandfather spoke about may still be alive and living on the island. And that they were more than peculiar, they were gifted and dangerous in unimaginable ways.
The ending has been left open for a sequel and apparently this first book is being considered as a film by Tim Burton.
It wasn't the horror story I was hoping for (a Graham Masterson style home full of mad ghosts) but it was a very good and very thought provoking book and the photographs alone made it fascinating (the author used vintage photographs, most of which have something odd or seemingly supernatural about them, to develop the plot and characters of the story).
I gave this book: 4 1/2 stars
2. Conference at Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
Lovely follow-up to Cold Comfort Farm, not quite as good as the first book but still very nice to catch up with Flora and the Starkadders.
When Flora receives an invitation to return to Cold Comfort Farm for a conference being held by the pretentious International Thinkers Group she can't resist returning to see how the Starkadder's have progressed since her last visit.
Unfortunately things have not progressed as they should. The farm has been turned into a twee conference centre, most of the Starkadders are gone and the remaining one (Reuben) has sworn an oath preventing him from asking for their return to save the farm. Flora sees at once that she must do something to set things right once more.
It's not quite as lovely and funny as the first book, but I was still delighted to find it following it's release by Vintage Classics.
I gave this book: 3 1/2 stars
I was hidden under the camouflage of posting in the wrong group
I must re-read Cold Comfort Farm one of these days! And I was dimly aware of a follow up, but didn't know the details, so thank you for that.
3. Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine
The modern part of this book is Twilight, without the sparkling.
The historical part is quite interesting, and Matilda de Braose was the saving grace of an otherwise truly dire and dreadful book.
Joanna Clifford is a journalised living in London and writing a series of exposé articles, one of which is based on hypnotism and past life regression.
Jo doesn't remember, but her last experience of regression almost ended in her death, something she was ordered to forget. So when she decides to try again, sixteen years later, she is not expecting to be hypnotised successfully and she is certainly not expecting to describe her past life as Matilda de Braose, Lady of Hay, a noblewoman living in the time of King John.
As Jo delves deeper into Matilda's life, those around her are also deeply affected. Her on/off boyfriend, Nick, his brother Sam and her friend Tim all seem to be deeply connected to her life as Matilda 800 years earlier. Her neighbours start to see and hear ghostly apparitions and Jo fears that a spirit from the past is trying to fulfil Matilda's destiny by taking Jo's life.
Matilda fulfils her fathers dying wish to marry William de Braose, a much older nobleman she does not love. Almost immediately that they are married, Matilda meets Richard de Clare and falls deeply in love with him. As William is sent to the boarders of England and Wales, committing some terrible acts to show his loyalty to the King, Matilda is left to fend for herself and raise her children. However she makes a powerful enemy of Prince John, and when he becomes King she and her children find their lives are in danger in a story that is set to span the next 800 years.
I hated the modern day story and the characters involved, and I felt the author swung between two plot lines for them that were never quite decided upon.
There was nothing to recommend them. The women were meant to be strong and independent, focused on their careers. But they spent much of their time fighting to win back a man who was a liar, a cheat, violent towards them and guilty of rape. They forgave all of this, passing it off as being their own fault, or the fault of being possessed by a violent ghost, or the fault of a mad hypnotist. When they weren't doing that they were putting each other in danger (anything for a deadline or a good story), shrieking at each other or being deliberately thick (for the sole purpose of provoking me!)
The men were controlling, violent, manipulative, backstabbing and in one case insane. Most of this was forgiven as being the fault of the women, past and present, or because they were fulfilling their ghostly destiny and couldn't help it.
There was a great deal of "I love you...but I can't be with you because I think I murdered you in a past life and I'm going to do it again" and "I love you...I don't care if you murdered me once before, I think you have to do it again, history demands it."
I would have been happy to have any one of the modern day characters manifest themselves in front of me just so I could throw this book at them.
The author seemed torn between having everything hinge on ghosts from the past or on a mad hypnotist, and the blame for Nick being a vile, violent rapist was placed on both, even though he was vile, violent and a rapist before he was ever hypnotised or aware of his past incarnation.
The only thing this book has to recommend it is the fascinating story of Matilda de Braose, which sadly was not told here as well as it could have been. There was more than her fair share of violent, controlling men in her life too, but she was a strong character who never behaved in the way her modern incarnation did. I would love to find a decent book about her and her life, although I think too little is really known of her and much is speculation, folklore and legend.
Although her husband was hated by the Welsh, Matilda came to be loved and revered and many legends have been told about her, variously as Matilda, Maude, Maud, Moll Walbee, Malld Walbri and Mallt or Mawd.
Her death at the hands of King John, after being hunted down across England, Ireland and Scotland, so shocked the country that it was responsible for a clause being written into the Magna Carta.
No man shall be taken, imprisoned, outlawed, banished or in any way destroyed, nor will we proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land.
Matilda's story was fascinating even though much of it in the book is fiction made up by the author because the real facts are not known for sure. Even the place of her death is uncertain, known only as either Windsor or Corfe.
Her story could have been told beautifully, without the need for the modern story, and been a much better book.
4. Twilight: Photographs by Gregory Crawdson
With an introductory essay by Rick Moody, this book of surreal and creepy photographs was a recommendation by Booksloth that I am very, very glad I took. The book is beautiful and eerie and every single picture deserves time being devoted to it so not a detail is missed.
Some of the photographs show very clearly that something unusual has happened, is about to happen or is happening right at that moment.
The front cover has an image of a normal living room with a staircase along one wall. On the staircase are two abandoned slippers, a discarded dressing gown and a red torch, still lit but with the battery dying and the light dim. Light is coming in through the windows, but it isn't clear if it is daylight or a spotlight of some kind. The room is about one foot deep with water and a woman in a nightgown, perhaps drowned but still appearing to be lifelike, floats on the water. Nothing else appears to be disturbed, other than a plant in a wicker pot, which has tipped over and is also floating on the water. A glass of clear liquid and a bottle of what may be pills stand on the coffee table, but the woman appears to be the owner of the slippers and dressing gown, so must have come from upstairs.
Other photographs in the book have less obvious signs of something being wrong.
A house at dawn, with all lights blazing while its neighbours are in darkness, doesn't seem to reveal any secrets until you notice that the garden has been completely churned up and what appears to be blood is smearing the outer walls of the ground and first floors.
A car on fire in the street seems bad but straightforward, until you realise a police officer is checking the boot and another is further along the street, peering into a kerbside drain at an eerie orange light. Another fire, this one underground? An ambulance is speeding to the scene and standing on the road, between it and the fire engine, stands a lone figure, staring at the scene.
The book is fascinating and I'm keen to see more by Crawdson. Even the photographs at the back of the book, showing the staging as a work in progress, are interesting and tell a story of their own.
There might not be much to read in this book, but I think it will still take up many hours of my time while I study the photographs and turn back and forth, linking details and images and trying to work out what links them and what the story, if there is one, is trying to say.
I gave this book: 5 stars
5. The Tooth Fairy by Graham Joyce
Odd one. I liked it very much but it wasn't quite what I was expecting when I found it on-line.
Sam loses a tooth and wakes that night to find a foul-mouthed tooth fairy in his bedroom. The tooth fairy is shocked that Sam can see her (him?) and from then on seems bound to Sam, influencing his life, causing him harm but also trying to help him. One night the tooth fairy insists that Sam's friend Terry sleeps over. It's the night when Terry's father shoots the rest of his family as they sleep, before shooting himself. As Sam grows up he wishes the tooth fairy would leave him and his friends alone, but can he find a way to make her leave?
I was expecting some kind of supernatural horror book and instead I got a fairy tale about the journey from childhood to adulthood. It was still very good, just something of a surprise. I'm glad that I found it on-line, because if I had seen it in the shop I wouldn't have picked it up. The cover looks like a 'teen' book and in some places it reads like one, but I would have missed out by judging it based on that.
I enjoyed The Silent Land (not a teen book, but the only other of his books that I have read so far) and am looking forward to the release of Joyce's new book, Some Kind of Fairy Tale, which is released in June and this one has served to make me more impatient to get my hands on that one.
I gave this book: 2 1/2 stars
6. Toxic In-Laws by Susan Forward
I've read Susan Forward's other book, Toxic Parents and found this one to be just as interesting and more relevant to me.
Both books take a look at Susan's case files and talks the reader through different types of 'toxic' families and their effects on the lives of those who have grown up with or married into them.
They don't have all the answers, but they have been very interesting reading and helped with the college course where I have been studying counselling skills, and I would recommend them to anyone who thinks they might have a toxic parent or parent-in-law as being an interesting starting point in working out a strategy to cope.
I had wondered about the Cold Comfort Farm follow-ups. I love that book and was looking for some more Stella Gibbons books, but they are hard to find and rarely have descriptions or reviews, so I'm happy to read someone's impression of one of them.
7. Blue Monday by Nicci French
This one was alright. Nicci French novels are usually stand alines with no returning characters but this one is the start of a series featuring a psychoanalyst called Frieda Klein.
When a young boy is snatched on his way home from school, comparisons are made to the disappearance of a young girl over twenty years before.
Frieda Klein starts to wonder if a new patient has the information the police need to find the young boy and starts to investigate matters further on her own.
I guessed the two big plot twists and felt very frustrated that the characters didn't and it was a bit confusing as to who was responsible for the earlier kidnap and why.
All in all it wasn't a bad book, but I hope the Nicci French team won't stop writing their other books now they have a series on the go. It was one of the things that made them stand out a bit from the others in the genre for me and I liked the style of them, with ordinary people in extraordinary situations which tends to be lost in a series with a recurring hero or heroine.
I gave this book: 3 stars
8. Daughters in Law by Joanna Trollope
This one was given to me as a joke, otherwise I wouldn't have picked it up.
It's not the best story in the world. Rachel and Anthony have three sons, the youngest of which, Luke, is getting married at the start of the book and bringing in the third daughter-in-law, Charlotte.
The eldest brother, Edward, is married to a Swedish woman named Sigrid and middle brother Ralph is married to Petra, a student on Anthony's who has no family of her own and who Rachel and Anthony have claimed as their own, even before she met Ralph..
The wedding acts as a catalyst to upset the family dynamic and Rachel, who was once the centre of the family, finds herself on the outskirts as her daughters in law assert their independence and their sons realise they are adults with families of their own.
There wasn't one really likeable character in this book, which is filled with non-events. It was all very dull and I found myself waiting for someone to shout "I can't take this anymore" and wade out to sea to stop the boredom. Even the big problems, one which was the whole point of the book (which I think was meant to be how mothers and daughters in law struggle to accept the 'other woman' in their lives) was boring and came to nothing
I gave this book: 1 1/2 stars
Whenever I read a book that bad I always think to myself that I should try and write a book because I should be able to write better crap than that!
9. 77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz
Better than some of his recent ones, but still not as good as it could have been.
The residents of The Pendleton become aware, too late, that something sinister is taking place in the old mansion house which was converted into a series of luxury apartments. Odd sightings, almost but not quite human shapes, alien creatures, strange blue lights, voices coming from television sets that aren't switched on, all begin to take place over a day or two in early December. Only one resident is aware of the violent history of The Pendleton, with deaths and disappearances happing there every thirty-eight years. But he is too late to stop the cycle happening again and the residents are plunged into a nightmare they could never have imagined.
The start of the book was very creepy but as things progressed I found myself wishing for a more straightforward ghost story (the cover states "This is not a ghost story - it's something far scarier") as I think it would have been much better that way.
It was difficult at first to really take to any of the characters because they were all a bit predictable and flat. And they had names like Twyla and Sparkle so they seemed like cartoon characters rather than real people.
But at least there were no magic dogs in it.
I gave this book: 2 1/2 stars.
10. A Brief Madness by Karisha Kal'ee'ay
I was pleased to receive this book from LTER but having received it I found it wasn't quite what I was expecting.
The story focuses on the family of Richard Dayle, a teacher who was well respected in his community until the day he is found dead of a heart attack in his garden...with the half buried bodies of two women beside him. The book begins with a description of how his wife Ember has been shunned by their neighbours since Richard's crimes as a serial killer have been exposed. His mother, ex-wife and daughter have similarly suffered.
I wasn't sure what the point of some of the characters was (Tony and Irene for example) and found Jill the grief counsellor to be an annoying distracting. All the characters were a little odd or quirky, taking things in their stride that would be quite bizarre in everyday life, and I'm still not sure if this was a result of discovering Richard's crimes or not. After all, what could surprise you after you had discovered the man you thought you knew was really a serial killer? And although I like it when you find one or two characters like this in a book, it can be a little exhausting when they are all like it.
Ember's statement towards the end of the book, that Richard was so focused on himself that the only reason he was in love with her was because he was in love with her, struck a chord with me and was my favourite quote from the entire book.
I would read more by this author and recommend the book.
11. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
This book will be my first entry into the BOMBS group as well, because it's been sitting neglected on my book shelves for a long time.
When I first bought it I was disappointed to find that I couldn't really concentrate on it for more than the first couple of pages. I don't know what was wrong with me because when I started reading it again I loved every single word.
Kote is an inn-keeper in a village struggling to survive thanks to a distant war. One night a small handful of customers are surprised to be disturbed by a villager who has been attacked. At first they think it was by bandits but he reveals the body of a demon killed by his horse as it fell down dead from fright and blood loss. Kote, who is not all he first appears to be, disposes of the demons body in the traditional way and while doing so he meets Chronicler and saves his life.
When Chronicler realises who Kote really is, Kote agrees to tell the story of his life so far, just to set the record straight. He warns Chronicler that this will take at least three days and this book spans the first day of storytelling (and many years of Kote's eventful life to date).
Halfway through I realised that I had to order the second book in the series just to make sure I would have it when I finished the first one (and so far, it's just as good).
I gave this book: 5 stars
I loved that book.I really need to get the second in the series. When I read the first one the second wasn't released yet. I'm anxious to see what you think about it.
Well, so far I am loving it! It's more than living up to the first one.
12. The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
Second in the Kingkiller Series and now I am impatiently waiting for the third.
Continuing Kvothe's story where the previous book left off, in some places it felt a little rushed.
Kvothe travels away from the university this time, returning later on, and much of the book focuses on his time away.
Some of this time away felt hurried in the telling and other parts didn't quite ring true, including some of the parts with Felurian and bits of his time in Ademre.
However on the whole the book was very, very good, gripping and made me very reluctant until I put it down.
I gave this book: 4 stars
I need to find The Wise Man's Fear. I enjoyed the first book but I read it so long ago!
It was very good. It was a little different to his other books, no vampires or zombies, but every page was unsettling to say the least. There were so many different horrors right from the first page but I don't want to spoil it by trying to explain. I would have liked just a little bit more at the end, a resolution of some sort but really, where it ended was still very good because it lets you reach your own conclusion about what might have happened next. I really liked it.
It sounds like a real Lindqvist. It is moving to the top of my wishlist :D
15. The Wind Through The Keyhole by Stephen King
Dark Tower 4.5!
16. The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino
Liked the story and the characters but not sure what most of the fuss was about, was expecting something much less subtle and straightforward than this.
17. The Woman He Loved Before by Dorothy Koomson
Meh. Was given two of these books as a gift and so am reading them, but meh.
18. I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan
Young adult book that has somehow ended up on my bookshelves. I loved Lois Duncan when I was a young teen but don't remember reading this one before.
19. The Ice Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson
Second of the two books I was given. Still meh.
20. Dark Echo by FG Cottam
Very, very good. Can't believe I forgot it was lurking on my TBR pile because I really enjoy his books and have been waiting very impatiently for his new one, Brodmaw Bay, to be released.
When Martin Stannard's father buys a boat to recondition and sail across the atlantic Martin is unnerved by the series of accidents and superstitions that surround the Dark Echo.
His partner Suzanne is a researcher for the BBC and agrees to look into the history of the boat and it's previous owners. What she discovers makes her realise that the Dark Echo is not just unlucky, it is evil, as was the man Dark Echo was built for. Harry Spalding was a soldier and sorcerer, linked to devil worship and hideous atrocities of war. He committed suicide, and subsequent owners of the boat are also believed to have died in violent and mysterious circumstances. Suzanne fears that Martin and his father may become Dark Echo's latest victims.
I gave this book: 5 stars.
21. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I loved every word of this book.
That is the best review for this book I've read so far, and I agree!
22. Brodmaw Bay by FG Cottam
Felt like a slightly different tone of writing to his previous books but I think that makes it more accessible. His others have what I think of as a traditional ghost story tone and this is a more modern read.
However it's still of his very high standard and the more of his books I read, the more I admire him as an author and look forward to his next book.
James and Lily Greer are shocked when their son is badly injured in a vicious but seemingly random attack. James wants to move his family away from London to Brodmaw Bay, a village in Cornwall he has recently discovered and believes will be a place of peace and safety for his family. He's wrong. Before the decision to move is even fully made the family are experiencing visits from ghosts and catching sight of a deformed and inhuman figure lurking in their garden. But the real terror is waiting for them in the Bay.
I gave this book: 4 1/2 stars
23. Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce
Tara Martin has been missing for over twenty years, having disappeared while walking in the local woods. Over the years her family have come to believe that she must be dead so her brother Peter is startled to receive a telephone call from his Father on Christmas day, insisting that he come to visit at once because Tara has finally come home.
Tara claims to have been travelling all these years but her story doesn't add up. She looks not one day older than the day she disappeared and insists on wearing dark glasses as the light hurts her eyes.
Eventually she tells a story that implies she has been in the woods the whole time, and although she doesn't say the word the family are shocked to realise she is claiming to have been living with the fairies that travel through the woods from time to time. They don't believe her but eventually Peter comes to realise that something the woods might not have finished with his sister and his family.
This book was good but not quite as good as I had hoped. There were no real surprises but the story was still interesting. Most of the characters were not great but Jack and Mrs Larwood were quite interesting and more could have been made of Genevieve I think.
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.