Judylou's 100 in 2015
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Looking forward to following all my friends from 2014.
The Walking Dead
1. Days Gone By
2. Miles Behind Us
3. Safety Behind Bars
4. The Heart's Desire
5. The Best Defense
6. This Sorrowful Life
7. The Calm Before
8. Made to Suffer
9. Here We Remain
10.What We Become
11.Fear the Hunters
12.Life Among Them
13.Too Far Gone
14.No Way Out
15.We Find Ourselves
16.A Larger World
17.Something to Fear
18.What Comes After
19.March to War
20.All Out War: Part One
21.All Out War: Part Two
22.A New Beginning
Saga Volume 4
Lock and Keye
1. Locke and Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft
2. Locke and Key, Vol. 2: Head games
3. Locke and key, Vol. 3: Crown of Shadows
4. Locke and Key, Vol. 4: Keys to the Kingdom
5. Locke and Key, Vol 5: Clockworks
6. Locke and Key, Vol 6: Alpha and Omega
2. The Garden of Evening Mists
4. Twin Oaks
5. The Wonders
6. When the Night Comes
7. Confessions of a QANTAS Flight Attendant
8. Mr Phillips
9. Mr Mercedes
12.Crazy Rich Asians
14.A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing
15.The Faster I Walk the Smaller I Am
16.Heads in Beds
18.The Country of Ice Cream Star
19.New Finnish Grammar
21.The Lost Swimmer
22.The First bad man
23.The Girl on the Train
24.The History of the Rain
26.The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy
The Walking Dead: Volume 1 Days Gone By
The Walking Dead: Volume 2 Miles Behind Us
Love the TV series, so thought I would take a look at the graphic novels. It was interesting to see the origins of all the characters . I was not disappointed with these first two. Very enjoyable. So I have ordered the next six volumes from the library. Hope they come in soon.
Harvest by Jim Crace
I think Crace is a great writer. I have read a few of his books and hold him in high regard. This one was also very good. Set in Medieval times in a small village where everyone who does not belong is regarded with suspicion, a small group of travellers become the scapegoats for all the villager's troubles.
I was looking forward to this because of my familiarity with its setting. I've spent time in Malaysia and have been to the Cameron Highlands a few times so I could picture the area easily. But the book just didn't hold my interest. I cannot work out why! The writing was OK, the storyline was OK, the characters were OK, but there was something about it I didn't like. Oh well, on to the next one.
The final book in the Southern Reach Trilogy failed to excite me. I thought it dragged a bit. Not sure if that was because I wasn't in the right mood for this book, because I thought the first two books were great. It is a really innovative and unique kind of story, so I would still recommend it.
This Early Reviewer book sort of crept up on me. Set in a small suburban community, all the homeowners take turns in telling their stories. It starts with a rather disturbing late night gardening session in one home and the story slowly reveals to its climax. An interesting and entertaining book.
The Wonders by Paddy O'Reilly
Three very special people are brought together to perform for the public. Christos has altered his body in the name of art; Kathryn had a rather incredible reaction to the cure for her fatal disease; and Leon has a heart unlike any ever seen before. This was a beautifully written story which delves into the celebrity phenomena.
Loved Parrett's first book, and this one did not disappoint at all. It is a beautifully written, moving and deeply emotional story. The Nella Dan, a Danish ship, was an Antarctic expedition ship used by the Australian Government from 1953 to 1987. This is a story about the ship and one of its galley crew, Bo, who befriends a young mother in Hobart. The story's point of view moves between the children and Bo, being told in very short chapters of sometimes unrelated incidents and outlooks. But it all comes together quite perfectly. Loved it! Can't wait for her next one now!!
Did not like this one at all. A big disappointment after enjoying Capital so much last year. I ended up skimming through the second half very quickly. The entire book (or at least the parts of it I read) seemed to be about a middle aged man's sexual fantasies. No Interest.
I am just glad that this wasn't the first of his books that I encountered; if it had been, I would probably not have risked reading any of the others.
Love an end of the world story and this one is one of the best I have read. It all revolves around an actor - Arthur Leander. He has a number of ex wives and one young child. On the night he dies, the virus begins to decimate the population. But years into the future, his legacy lives on in many different ways through many different people. This is, dare I say, an intelligent story which is beautifully conceived and brilliantly written and a stand-out in this genre.
Set in the not too distant future, a team of astronauts is sent into space to travel further than any man has travelled before, then to turn around and come back to earth. A very clever story with lots of surprises, I really enjoyed it's characters and it's slowly revealed story. However, I thought the second half dragged a bit and could have been a tad shorter.
I read a copy from the library and then bought it so I could share it with family and friends.
While the story itself was not exceptional, I did enjoy this tale about the antics of these extremely rich Singaporeans. The author has captured the language and mannerisms of Singapore beautifully. I love the constant arguments about the best places to eat hor fun, poh piah, etc, etc, because that is just the way it is there. A good book to read if you are travelling to Singapore, lah.
This is a memoir written by a man working in the Hotel industry. He gives an interesting oversight of how Hotels work, how the staff are treated in the USA, by both customers and management. Conditions appear to be pretty poor and it is a real dog eat dog industry. But this book was full of humour as well. So an interesting read.
Mathea is invisible to everyone. She has lived her whole life being overlooked and ignored. At school her name was not on the roll call and she was forgotten when graduation certificates were handed out. She was not even remembered after being struck by lightning in the school grounds. Now that she is old and alone, she finds it impossible to speak to anyone or to be acknowledged by anyone. This is a powerful little story. Mathea's musings on her life makes the reader wonder on one hand whether her's was a wasted life, or a life lived as she wanted it.
Thanks wookiebender for piquing my interest in this series. Very well written and a great story. Now reading Volume 2, and waiting for Volume 3 to arrive!
The story continues. It gets more creepy as it goes. Great writing!
Did I imagine reading this book? I cannot find it anywhere. I cannot find it in LibraryThing. I cannot find it on GoodReads. I cannot find it on Amazon. I cannot even find it on Google. But I borrowed this book of three short stories from the library. I know I did. I'm sure I did. I think I did . . . .
Anyway, it was OK.
A very strange book. Not even sure why I kept reading it, but I did. A very flawed middle aged woman (think OCD, Asperger's) unable to sustain any relationships finds herself having to share her apartment with a young woman - the daughter of her bosses. Every character in this book is wrong. The therapist, the receptionist, the bosses, their daughter, just everyone. Even the gardener! Some parts of the book were so weirdly physical that I had to read it with my head half turned away! Strange.
Rachel is the girl on the train. Every day her train stops outside the house of a young couple for whom she has imagined an entire life. As we read further, we discover that all is not as it seems and Rachel is not just the innocent observer she appears to be. Told from two different perspectives, this is a real thriller of a book. I can only surmise that a movie will be made soon enough.
Ruth is a reader. The attic room where she is bedridden is lined with books - many belonging to her dead father. As she faces her illness, Ruth tries to make sense of her family and the past through which they have struggled. I loved the language of this book. There is nothing like the Irish turn of phrase. But I felt the book got a bit tedious. Just a bit too long for me I think.
This was a gem of a book. Set in the near future, it presents a really believable view of a world in decline. Everything that we hear is happening to the planet now, has continued to happen. The temperature has risen, the ice is almost gone, most animal species have disappeared, the birds are gone and people are struggling to live in a hostile environment. Superbly written with characters you miss after finishing the book, this will be up there with the best for me this year.
The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce
Just what I needed to read right now. For those who enjoyed The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, this one will finish off that story beautifully. Now we know the story about Queenie and the real reason why Harold Fry took off on that walk.
The second in the series which started with The Explorer, this is a fascinating story. 20 years after the Ishiguro is lost to the Anomaly (a strange blank area in space) the Lara sets out to discover what the Anomaly is. I really enjoyed the story, but felt it was a little bit too long for me. But I will be on the lookout for the next one nevertheless.
In the late 1800's a little girl succumbs to an illness which leaves her deaf. Unfortunately, she also suffers from cataracts which eventually cause blindness. She is a wild child until Lottie arrives. Lottie can finger speak - using her fingers in the palm of Liza's hand to speak. Finally Liza begins to understand her world. Up to this point I was thoroughly enjoying this book, but from about halfway, it degenerated into a bit of a melodrama. Unfortunate!
Edited to add: Forgot to mention that the Visitors of the title are ghosts. Liza is able to see and hear them.
The Town that Drowned by Riel Nason
Another good one. In the 60s a small town in Canada was to be lost due to the building of a new dam. Told through teenager Ruby's voice, we see how the loss of their homes effects different townspeople. Ruby has a difficult time. When her only friend leaves town she is at the mercy of the "mean" girls. With a younger brother who is seen as very odd (obvious these days to be autism) she does not have an easy time. Beautifully written.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
A real ripping yarn, this one. Great story with suitably strange characters, magic and weird beings from another world. Quite creepy, and not only because of the monsters, but because of how alone and vulnerable the little boy is.
A nice story - told through 91 year old Vivian's present and her past. In the present a wayward teen must help the elderly lady to sort through her attic full of memories from the past. Every object sends Vivian's memory back through her life, from her arrival in America from Ireland to her journey into the country on the Orphan train.
I had a bit of a crush on Mr Smythe a few months ago. The Machine is set in the not too distant future where society is slowly breaking down. Beth's husband returned from war with debilitating memories. He undertook treatment which removed those memories. But something went wrong and all the "memory" machines were taken out of service. Beth's internet research has led her to a possible cure. The question is, will she get her husband back or not?
I have enjoyed Lohrey's writing in the past and her writing in this one didn't fail me. The subject matter was something else though. I'm not sure why I liked the book as much as I did. Richard Kline is in IT when IT was just starting to be a thing. He had always been unhappy and angry and questioning his life. He attempts to find answers via a number of different things including meditation and gurus. Not a book I would have chosen myself, but a librarian friend thrust it upon me, and somehow (and I'm still wondering why), I'm glad she did.
Greg is a teenager, beset by school bullies, phobias and mental health issues. His family is dysfunctional. An absent father; a mother who compensates for that by constant renovations of their home; and a sister who doesn't seem to care about any of them. Greg is fixated on a girl from school and circumstances finally bring them together. This is a very bleak story. Told through Greg, but interspersed with police interviews that give hints as to the very dark conclusion.
I borrowed this book because I read an article which included it as one of the most frightening stories ever. Don't know if I'd agree with that, but it definitely is a great and scary story. A woman is alone in a house with two small children. There is something going on, but it takes a while to understand what the threat is. The children have been trained from birth to compensate for the horrors outside. Anyone who sees whatever it is will go mad and kill themselves. This woman and the children set out to find a place she has heard of where they might find a new life.
A really enjoyable book. The three Alter sisters are all single, childless and heading for middle age. One of them has a terminal illness and they make a pact to end their lives together. But stuff happens that gets in the way.
They come from a family of noteworthy and influential people but their lives have been very ordinary.
Give the sisters time to grow on you; their dark humour will make it all worthwhile.
Once I had allowed myself the time to get into the story, I found that I loved this book. Mitchell had a lot to say too. From 70's feminism to class wars to climate change, he covers a lot of ground. It starts out as a teenager's story. She is betrayed by her best friend and sets off on her own. What happens from there includes too much to go into here. If you like a big story with lots of opinions and some supernatural stuff thrown in, read it!
A collection of dystopian stories from classics to modern. With authors from Dick, Bradbury and Silverberg to Le Guinn, Gaiman and Bacigalupi writing these stories it is guaranteed that many of them are fabulous tales. But as with all compilations there are a few that didn't quite make it. But still this collection is worth the time.
#86 Will find this, thanks for the bullet !
Set in Detroit and moving from the 1940's to the present, this was an interesting book. Told through the different eyes of one of the many Turner family siblings and their parents. The Turner house was once in a "nice" neighbourhood and all thirteen children grew up and left from there to start their lives. But now that their mother is too feeble to remain in the house, it is empty and now in a not so nice area, so the children must make some hard decisions.
I have always enjoyed Lansen's books. Happily, I enjoyed this one too. Wolf Truly is telling the story of the time he was lost on the mountain with three strangers to his son. Wolf was dragged up by his father - a drunk, drug taking gambler - after the death of his mother when he was a very young boy. When they moved to live with his aunt, Wolf found his first true friend, Byrd. They loved the mountain, but a tragedy sent Wolf out unprepared one day, and th ensuing story became a real page turner.
Was not overjoyed with this one. Two girls discover that they have both been the girlfriends of Charlie who is (as the title suggests) presumed dead. They go off on an adventure to discover the truth about his death, or otherwise. I just found it all a bit silly really.
I liked this story about Harry who is born in 1918, lives a life, dies, then is born again. He lives each of his lives differently. Each time searching for something to explain his existence. Luckily he is not the only one with this affliction and there is a whole society of similar people who strive to make the transition to remembering as easy as possible during each life. Worth a look.
I was so looking forward to this book. The climate has changed enough to kill off all animals and most plantlife, society has deteriorated and one man has gathered together a large group of "good" people to survive into the future on a ship. Sounds good so far. But there were just too many silly things going on. This clever man has managed to stock his ship with enough food to keep them going happily for years. Where did it come from? There have been food shortages for many years already. He has stocked the ship with clothes for everyone. A personal change of outfit every five years (from memory). Seems silly to me. Anyway, the end of the world suddenly became a teenage love story and I lost interest. What a shame!
I don't know. Maybe I'm just getting old and grumpy, but I didn't much care for this one either. Xhea can see ghosts. She also has no magic at all - which makes her an outcast in this land where the privileged live in towers spinning in the sky held up by magic. However, Xhea and other less privileged people live on the ground in the remains of a city where they scavenge for a living and dodge the monsters. Of course Xhea gets mixed up in some funny business in the city and gets herself into trouble. Meh.
not sure why there isn't an English version here, but take it form me, I didn't use my high school French to read this one ;o)
I really enjoyed this story. Guylain Vignolles catches the 6:27 to work every morning. He sits down, removes an assortment of pages from his case and begins to read. The pages can be from recipe books, novels, memoirs, anything. You won't believe where the pages come from. A quick read, but an absorbing one, do yourselves a favour and find this little gem.
In the near future a virus causes some its sufferers to become locked in - fully aware but unable to move or use their bodies. Threeps (artificial robot-like bodies) are developed which enable them to move about in the world. This is a great premise, but unfortunately (for me) it was really just a murder mystery type book which I'm not overly fond of. I read until the end, but it didn't do a lot for me.
I loved the plot of this book, I just wished that someone else had written it. It had the potential to be a truly frightening story, but it somehow missed the mark for me. Other friends loved it, I didn't. I loved the setting but! A cold and wind swept island off the Scottish coast with nothing but a lighthouse and one cottage with spotty phone reception and things that go bump in the night. The twins of the title are little girls; sadly one dies; but the question is, which one?
It might have been a bit of a slow start, but by the end I was enveloped in this wonderful book. It is all about water rights. The climate has changed enough to leave some cities struggling to keep their water source for themselves. The water knives are ruthless tools in the almost impossible fight to keep or take the water from others. It is a dark story of refugees on the move just trying to survive by getting water from less than reliable, and costly Red Cross public water pumps, while the rich live in communities with ostentatious displays of waterfalls and fountains. The characters are great and very believable. Read it!
A virus has hit America. Those who survive the initial illness lose all their memories and then die. But some don't. A hospital is set up where a group of people are isolated to see what will happen - whether they can survive or not. The story wasn't bad. It was one of those books where nothing is explained, and it can be a bit confusing.
One day a small girl disappears down a hole and finds herself being held in what appears to be a giant buried hand. She grows up to become a physicist who is in charge of the project to discover the other parts of the giant and whether it can be utilised. She leads a team of experts in diverse fields who each have a part to play in this assignment.
This was a fast and exciting read. The characters were interesting, the range of action was vast and the tension will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The story is told mostly through interviews, yet we never discover the identity of the interviewer. The mysterious Mr Burns is the most enigmatic character I have come across lately. Is he the one driving the project? Or is he answering to someone else? Perhaps we will never know.
Lucy is forced to spend weeks in hospital after complications from a simple operation. Her husband struggles to visit often; between his job and caring for two small girls, he has little spare time. He calls on Lucy’s mother to come from their small town to be with her in New York.
The dialogue between the two opens the reader to understanding the difficult childhood Lucy and her siblings suffered. They were poor, abused, isolated and often went hungry and unwashed. But Lucy left the small town and all its restrictions for New York where she met and married a good man and started her writing career.
Despite being set in a hospital room over just a few days, so much is going on in this very readable book. Lucy and her mother talk about societal issues and about people they knew back home. But they are never able to talk about themselves and what happened in the family while Lucy was growing up.
This is a beautiful book, written with such care and insight. Lucy remarks on people who she has come into contact with over the years, from the dentist who seemed to hate them for being poor to her best friend Jeremy who lived upstairs. Both positive and negative relationships are treated with the same respect and careful consideration.
This is a book without much action, but still, you will not be able to put it down.
Loved this book! What's it about? That's difficult to say in a few words. But I'll try. There's Gods; and apprentices; there's talking to the animals; there's love; there're disasters and nastiness; the whole universe (and other universes) are involved; but the question is . . . will humanity win out in the end? You will have to read it to find out.
Ethan Burke wakes up after a car accident in the small town of Wayward Pines. He is confused and becomes increasingly angry and suspicious when he is unable to contact anyone outside the town. Weird things happen and it seems that Ethan will not be able to survive. These two books are very readable. I enjoyed them a lot. On to the third in the trilogy now.
I was very much looking forward to this apocalyptic story set in Paris. But I was disappointed. I hoped to get swept away by the characters and their fight for survival, but I wasn’t able to get involved in their plight. This was in part due to the fact that you discover in the first pages that they are all going to die except for the main character. It was also due to the fact that not one of them held any redeeming qualities. Such a shame!
Seven year old Jasmine is a mixed race girl returning with her parents from South Africa. After an unexpected stop in Sierra Leone some of the passengers show signs of an illness when they reach the USA. They run from the airport into a nearby mall and Jasmine and her mother are swept along with them. There is a retreat for mall workers happening and they barricade themselves into the first floor. The others remain on the second floor.
Jasmine’s mother is injured leaving her to navigate between the levels. She is not accepted by those on the second level because she is not dark enough, but on the first level she also does not fit in with the mostly white mall workers.
There are a number of current issues covered in this book. But the main focus is on race, bigotry and tolerance. As young Jasmine watches the adults on both Levels, it is plain that she is confused by the attitudes of these grownups.
I felt that the characters required a little bit more depth to overcome the fairy obvious allegory. There were a few things that didn’t quite ring true, one of them being the ending. Surely, in this day and age with this scenario would not be possible.
However, this was a fast read and I was hooked from the beginning. I was compelled to read it to the end to discover the fate of Jasmine.