Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Madeleine's 2013 reads

Use this section to record the books you read in 2013. One thread per member, please.
User avatar
Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 5651
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Madeleine's 2013 reads

Post by Madeleine » Tue January 8th, 2013, 10:15 am

January

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey - this is a debut novel based on an old fairytale (there are various versions available) in which and elderly couple build a snow-child, which then comes to life. In this book, Jack and Mabel, who are probably in their mid-forties (they're described as old but I don't think they are that old as in being of pensionable age), have moved to Alaska to start a new life as farmers, having left their previous fairly comfortable existence after losing a baby. Jack struggles to make a go of the land in the inhospitable terrain, whilst Mabel is still grieving. One night they build a child-like figure, and the next day discover it has been knocked down, but there are small footprints leading away from the figure. They keep spotting a young girl darting through the trees, and she is finally enticed into their home, although she never stays overnight and, when the spring comes and the snow thaws, she vanishes until the following winter. I quite enjoyed the book, although I found the main story a bit thin and did wonder how the author would keep it going for the whole book. But it's a nice read, and the harsh lifestyle and severe weather are depicted very well, and there are some good supporting characters, especially Esther, a neighbouring farmer's wife who be-friends Mabel and has a tendency to be rather domineering, but in a nice way. 7/10

A Storm of Swords Book 1: Steel and Snow by George R R Martin - the 3rd book in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series has been split into two parts in the UK, and the first part spends quite a bit of time catching up with the characters not mentioned, or mentioned very little, in the second book, which is useful as it's also a good chance for the reader to catch up too. It's another well-written, pacy instalment, with some great scenes which I hope are included in the TV series, and some real character development too. I won't say much as I know from my own experience how annoying spoilers can be; suffice to say it's an excellent read overall, and I've heard the second part is even better. 8/10
Last edited by Madeleine on Thu February 21st, 2013, 11:24 am, edited 3 times in total.
Currently reading "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas

User avatar
Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 5651
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Post by Madeleine » Tue February 12th, 2013, 9:35 am

February

A Storm of Swords Book 2: Blood and Gold by George R R Martin - oh wow it's difficult to know where to start with this one; so much happens and it's impossible to talk about it without giving anything away - suffice to say there are reveals, twists, cliffhangers; at times it felt like I was on a rollercoaster, and some parts left me feeling physically drained. Everything I've heard or read about this book is true, and I know exactly what people mean now when they talk about it (again, I can't go further without revealing spoilers, but if you've read it you'll know what I mean!). I've heard the TV show's producer describe the forthcoming series as a "rise and fall" series and that's a pretty good way to sum up this book; not one character escapes some sort of experience - fortunes change, sometimes for good, sometimes for worse, and sometimes unexpectedly (and sometimes all three!) - but no one is left untouched. There are some nice, albeit brief, moments of dry humour - Tyrion and Jaime both have some good one-liners which I hope they keep for the show - and I liked the way in which one character becomes an unlikely hero. A few minor quibbles, mainly Martin's habit of listing ships, knights, sigils etc, but generally this barrels along at a furious pace; in fact, it's pretty much relentless. Be prepared to put the book down several times, and say "I don't believe that just happened". 10/10

Dead Scared by S J Bolton - second book in a modern crime series featuring young detective constable Lacey Flint and her superior, Mark Joesbury. Lacey is sent to Cambridge to pose as a student, after several suicides, especially amongst young female students, have taken place. She is soon in danger but, as she is undercover and the only other person who knows her true identity and reason for being there also seems to be a target herself, she has very few people who she thinks she can trust. Personally I found the whole book rather unconvincing - Lacey is already pretty unstable and it's hard to believe that she'd be sent on an assignment like this (although Joesbury does admit to having serious misgivings about this job) - and the ending is frankly rather silly; she is so slow to realise the trap that's being set for her that I felt like throttling her myself! Not a bad read; it's well-written and definitely a page-turner, and the short chapters make it a fast, easy read, and the early scenes are genuinely creepy, but I much preferred the first book in the series "Now You See Me", with the two detectives on the trail of a Jack the Ripper copycat killer - not particularly original, but I found it much more gripping and unsettling than this follow-up. 7/10

River of Destiny by Barbara Erskine - this book covers 3 time-frames: the present day, the Victorian period, and the 9th century, during which Viking raids were common along the East coast of Britain. Zoe and Ken leave London to live in Suffolk so that Ken can indulge his love of sailing; his wife is more reluctant to do so. They buy a renovated old barn, but soon find strange things happening - they hear horses moving around, rusty horseshoe nails keep appearing and they both see a ghost ship sailing up the river. It turns out their barn, and the other conversions belonging to their neighbours, were all built on the site of the original barns and forge belonging to the old estate - and it soon becomes apparent that something terrible happened in the past, and the threat is still there. I found this an enjoyable read; it's typical Erskine and it's fun to guess the parallels between the historical characters and the present-day people. It is a bit predictable, and I found the Viking storyline the least interesting, but it's an atmospheric bit of escapism, even though I found many of the characters a bit cliched and rather annoying! Her heroines are usually a bit more gutsy than Zoe - one of the men in the book calls her the bravest woman he's ever met, but I don't think she does anything that spectacular. Not her best work but better than the last one I read (Daughters of Fire), so a sort of return to form for her. 7.5/10
Last edited by Madeleine on Fri March 15th, 2013, 10:21 am, edited 6 times in total.
Currently reading "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas

User avatar
Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 5651
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Post by Madeleine » Fri March 15th, 2013, 10:21 am

March

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - book-of-the-moment in which seemingly happily married couple Nick and Amy are torn apart when Amy goes missing on the day of their 5th wedding anniversary. With signs of a struggle and a large amount of blood in their home, Nick is the prime suspect, and the story is then told from the couple's alternating viewpoints, of how they met, their life together up until the disappearance, and what happens following the disappearance. There are several twists, although I guessed the first one and the book got more ludicrous as it carried on. I can't remember the last time I read a book with two more obnoxious protagonists. It's easy to read and a page-turner, and I'd recommend for a holiday/long journey read, but I can't see why there's so much fuss about it to be honest - it reminded me a bit of an extended episode of CSI or Law & Order (Special Victims), both of which love this sort of story. 7/10

Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant - I'm afraid I ditched this one about 2/3rds of the way through. It's beautifully written and atmospheric, but so dry and frankly rather tedious. 5/10 for writing and atmosphere.

From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris - back to Bon Temps to catch up with old friends - number 8 in the True Blood/Southern Vampire series and this one is a lively read. It feels like more of an interim book which catches up with the Weres and Vamps, both groups of which are undergoing a leadership crisis, which Sookie finds herself inevitably being drawn into; meanwhile, she has some unexpected family issues of her own to deal with, and her small circle of friends and family suddenly seems to be growing. A fun, fast-paced read with some nice humour which looks like it's setting things up for the next in the series. 7.5/10
Last edited by Madeleine on Mon March 25th, 2013, 3:49 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Currently reading "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas

rebecca
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 798
Joined: July 2011

Post by rebecca » Sat March 16th, 2013, 2:53 am

[quote=""Madeleine""]March

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - book-of-the-moment in which seemingly happily married couple Nick and Amy are torn apart when Amy goes missing on the day of their 5th wedding anniversary. With signs of a struggle and a large amount of blood in their home, Nick is the prime suspect, and the story is then told from the couple's alternating viewpoints, of how they met, their life together up until the disappearance, and what happens following the disappearance. There are several twists, although I guessed the first one and the book got more ludicrous as it carried on. I can't remember the last time I read a book with two more obnoxious protagonists. It's easy to read and a page-turner, and I'd recommend for a holiday/long journey read, but I can't see why there's so much fuss about it to be honest - it reminded me a bit of an extended episode of CSI or Law & Order (Special Victims), both of which love this sort of story. 7/10[/quote]

I found this book thorougly boring and can't understand the praise it received. I don't mind villains(they can be interesting)but two boring villains is death to a novel.

As for SOS I'm re-reading it(in preparation for season 3) and I love the one liners from the ever brilliant Tyrion and his infamous brother Jaime. A great read where an author can make a villain interesting.

Bec :)

User avatar
Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 5651
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Post by Madeleine » Sat March 16th, 2013, 11:37 am

[quote=""rebecca""]I found this book thorougly boring and can't understand the praise it received. I don't mind villains(they can be interesting)but two boring villains is death to a novel.

As for SOS I'm re-reading it(in preparation for season 3) and I love the one liners from the ever brilliant Tyrion and his infamous brother Jaime. A great read where an author can make a villain interesting.

Bec :) [/quote]

Yep they're two of my fave characters, I love what Martin does with them in this book, although I'm still a bit unsure about Tyrion's final scene in that book - I think
Currently reading "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas

User avatar
Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 4177
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favourite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Post by Vanessa » Sat March 16th, 2013, 11:57 am

I've just finished Gone Girl and thought it got quite far fetched towards the end. I think it could've done with being a little shorter, too. It seemed to go on forever!
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

User avatar
Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 5651
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Post by Madeleine » Sat March 16th, 2013, 6:28 pm

Yes I started to get bored with GG towards the end too. I don't think you'll be bored with SofS, though - enjoy!
Currently reading "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas

rebecca
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 798
Joined: July 2011

Post by rebecca » Sun March 17th, 2013, 3:06 am

[quote=""Madeleine""]Yep they're two of my fave characters, I love what Martin does with them in this book, although I'm still a bit unsure about Tyrion's final scene in that book - I think
[/quote]

I know, but you can see why. It's one of the reasons why I love Martin's work, he's not scared to kill main characters off(altho at times I've wanted to throttle him! :eek: :p )and to see how each different character is changed by circumstances.....I think I can remember reading(somewhere) where Martin said that the Lannister who most resembles Tywin is...Tyrion-not Cersei and not Jaime, I found that interseting.

SPOILER BELOW
I will be looking forward to watching GOT S 3 in April. As we wait and wait and wait and....for Winds of Winter....

Bec :)

Bec :)

User avatar
Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 5651
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Post by Madeleine » Sun March 17th, 2013, 12:06 pm

Yes the way they deal with what happens to them is fascinating, especially Jaime, and I agree with you, Bec, about Tyrion.

Going by the episode titles, it looks like they are doing
and a bit beyond that,
Which would leave
which would presumably carry straight on into Book 4 (
Apologies for all the spoilers! ;)
Currently reading "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas

rebecca
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 798
Joined: July 2011

Post by rebecca » Mon March 18th, 2013, 1:18 am

[quote=""Madeleine""]Yes the way they deal with what happens to them is fascinating, especially Jaime, and I agree with you, Bec, about Tyrion.

Going by the episode titles, it looks like they are doing
and a bit beyond that,
Which would leave
which would presumably carry straight on into Book 4 (
Apologies for all the spoilers! ;) [/quote]

The spoilers are OK :cool: ...I've been trying to find the season 3 episode guide and came up with this.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ga ... s_episodes

29 9 "The Rains of Castamere" David Nutter David Benioff & D. B. Weiss May 26, 2013[8]

As you know I've been re-reading the book and this title suggests....

SPOILER
So much happens in SOS that it's not easy what the producers will leave in or throw out. I did hear a rumour that the producers *may* deviate from the novel and keep some characters alive(which may differ from the books). For instance I can't imagine having a season which doesn't include Tyrion. But in Feast for Crows I don't think there is a single chapter on Tyrion(if my memory is correct?).....I can't wait for the show to begin(in April here)wooohooo :cool: :D

Bec :)

Locked

Return to “Member Reading Logs - 2013”