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Hazel

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Everything posted by Hazel

  1. Hazel

    Rest in Peace

    Awww, Margot Kidder has died aged 69 - can't see yet what she has died of. Her and Christopher Reeve, awww.
  2. This is definitely a book that should warn possible readers to proceed with caution - it's not a subject matter for the faint-hearted but I genuinely believe that it is a fascinating read. Celeste Price is a paedophile. Everything she does is calculated to progress her agenda. She has married a wealthy man, who is happy to trade a healthy sex life and marriage for parading his trophy wife on his arm for his friends. She chose a career, teaching, to place her wholly in front of the 14 year old boys she desires so much every day. She showers in the morning with them in mind. She dresses in the morning with them in mind. She structures her curriculum in such a way to bring up controversial subjects to test her targets. She weighs up the pros of one boy, (quiet, secretive, harder to groom) to another (easily persuaded but more likely to boast). She calculate the risk of walking down a corridor and being able to ass up gropes as accidental collisions. She breaks up fights with the sole purpose of getting between two boys for however short a time it will allow. She is consumed by her choice. We meet her as she begins at a new school and on her very first day she appraises her classes for her next target. Jack, a quiet 14 year old boy is quickly found. She wastes no time in isolating him and testing the waters for his likely compliance. They begin a 'relationship'. But the time is ticking already, almost before it even begins. Not only will Jack age but as she forces him into an adult relationship, she baulks when he treats it like an adult relationship - she doesn't want to say 'I love you', she doesn't want to think about future plans, she doesn't want demands made of her - and that's the curse of the choice she had made, what drives her to fufill her desires. Obviously, her carefully laid plans start to fall apart. It's inevitable and in some ways, it's surprising how quickly Celeste becomes bored after forcing events to her will. Is she entirely hateful? No, she's actually incredibly sad and pathetic. Nutting, it's quite remarkable, has managed to get so deeply into Celeste's character that I was both mesmerised and horrified. I was never completely disgusted by her nor never completely sympathetic. Celeste is not painted as the victim at all, but you can't help but feel that she is the damaged, sad one here. Yep, it's a controversial subject. Yes, it's stomach churning. Yes, it's well worth a read.
  3. The third book in Helen Fields' Callanach and Turner series which has fast become one of my favourite crime series. A young girl is found at the top of Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, naked and quite dead. It appears that she shed her clothing and simply fell asleep. Across Edinburgh, units of people; families, lovers, sisters are grieving the loss of a loved one and a recent friend is proving to be an invaluable shoulder to cry on. Meanwhile, Turner and Callanach try to solve the death of a scrapyard dealer with connections to their old DCI. It leads them into the dangerous underbelly of organised crime. But Turner and Callanach are struggling with a widening chasm between them. I love this series. They are pretty much flawless crime novels. Great, well rounded characters in Callanach and Turner, a female lead as important and believable as the male lead, no cliches such as female death and rape as a glorified, easy crime, gritty crimes, tightly woven plots, complex layers that tie up satisfyingly. You absolutely cannot go wrong with these books.
  4. Andrew Compton is a serial killer, a necrophiliac, and he has recently escaped from prison. He makes his way to New Orleans where he crosses paths with another serial killer. It's like love at first sight and together they make plans for their first 'date'. To us, that would suggest a romantic dinner, candlelight, bunch of roses...for these two, it means much the same, though dinner would be a young man and torture would be dessert. I found the pace of this book quite odd. Brite takes a while to set up the main event and often I found myself becoming disengaged from the story, then all of a sudden it races to the denouement in a bloody mess of violence and gore. This book came recommended through one of those '25 thrillers to keep you up all night' lists you get, and I knew the author's name. Thanks to the wonder of BGO I searched and found that I had abandoned another of Brite's books, Lost Souls, in 2009. Pretty sure I never picked it up again. 3/4 of this book would have seen me doing the same again, but the last 1/4 was pretty horrific so, for me, a horror fan, it saved the book. I did enjoy Exquisite Corpse, maybe not enough to pick up another Brite, which is pretty telling.
  5. I kept seeing this come up on my recommended list on Netflix but I totally avoided it because I thought it would be like Heroes which was terrible, but the other day someone on Twitter was talking about it and how much of a profound effect it had had on him and he was devastated that it got cancelled after two seasons (with a finale film coming this year). He was so enthusiastic about it that I felt I had to give it a go. In cities across the world, 8 people find that they are completely connected to the point that they can switch in telepathically to each others' locations and a few of them find they have a completely all-consuming connection. The 8 are able to share thoughts, knowledge and skills. Obviously there is a crazy scientist and shady corporation chasing them - we need conflict after all. What is remarkable about this show is that it is hugely positive and emotional. The connections between the 8 show us, actually remind us, what it is to be human, to be in love, to rely on those close to you, to be a family, to be needed. Accomplishing all of this, it also manages to be hugely LGBT positive and sex positive. Rarely have I seen sex dealt with in such a beautiful and loving manner, as a deep connection between people rather than just...sex. It's wonderful. It's a tragedy that it has been cancelled but I am looking forward to re-watching the series with my son, and of course the finale.
  6. Season 4 dropped the other day - anyone started watching it?
  7. Hazel

    Amazon

    Excellent, I'll get that done.
  8. I looked yesterday at our local Tesco, they don't say where the money goes to, just says "all donations for charity". Not even sure where you put your money!
  9. Hazel

    Amazon

    Funnily enough, World of Books is the seller that has sent me the worst two books! Book Depository are usually fine if a little slow.
  10. Hazel

    Amazon

    I thought if you received a full refund you couldn't leave a review? That's why I have never left a review...I'll need to check that because other buyers should know. It's fine getting a full refund but its frustrating.
  11. Are any of us actually Audible members? I am seriously considering signing up as I am increasingly enjoying listening to books and podcasts when I walk the dog, so interested in joining Audible.
  12. This is the second novel in Helen Field's DI Callanach Edinburgh crime series. Really, it should be Callanach & Turner series but that's by the by. In the middle of a music festival, someone brushes by a man and in an instant the man is gutted. Across Edinburgh so begins a series of bloody and brutal murders. On one hand, some of the murders are inventive and sadistic, carried out with macabre finesse and on the other hand murders are carried out that are violent, messy and primal. It's up to Callanach and Turner to solve these murders before anyone else dies. Meanwhile an old flame of Turner's appears in Edinburgh, DCI Edgar - the star of the cyber crime force and a bit of an ass. Turner and he rekindle their romance much to Callanach's bemusement. Edgar is there to take down hacker wunderkind, Ben Paulson, but Ben is fast becoming one of Callanach's loyal, inner circle, putting Callanach on a crash course with Edgar. Field's crime series, having read just the two so far, is probably one of the finest I have read, and I read a lot of crime. Yes, crime can be a bit formulaic: troubled detective, graphic crimes, conflict from the boss or other detectives, but Field's takes all of that and weaves a story around all of the elements while making her two central detectives very real and very likeable. Especially so when they are up against some really nasty people, not only the perpetrators but colleagues like Edgar (or Harris from the first book, Perfect Remains). I am totally on board for this series.
  13. Hazel

    Amazon

    Has anyone else used Amazon Marketplace sellers recently to buy books? Usually I have been happy but the last couple of months, the books I have bought have been really shoddy. I usually only buy Marketplace offerings if they are significantly cheaper than the new price and if the seller has 99% feedback and the book is sold As New. But the last 5 books I have bought, under these conditions, have been delivered in very, very poor condition and I have had to receive a refund on each case. One book had its spine coming away and was twisted. Another was absolutely filthy and was so water damaged that pages were welded together. It's extremely disappointing and I have decided to give up buying from the Marketplace.
  14. Ooh, I think I'll take a closer look at our wee bookshelf when I am next there. I usually walk right by.
  15. Nope, read whatever you want. Read for pleasure first and foremost. I love lots of CYA books.
  16. My husband and I are having a wee competition this year - to see who reads the most books and watches the most films. Silly I know, but after 19 years of marriage...anyway while we were discussing current numbers, I asked him if audiobooks counted as books, as I listen to the odd one when walking the dog, and he immediately said "no". I asked why and he said "they just don't count...make up a new list for them if you want, audiobooks and podcasts." It's not as if it would have been a challenge to him because he listens to audiobooks and podcasts more than me, I just thought it was really interesting that he had an immediate and definite response to them possibly being classed as books.
  17. Bought a pile of books today - You, Caroline Kepnes A Lesson in Violence, Jordan Harper Still Life, Louise Penny Tampa, Alissa Nutting The Grip of It, Jac Jemc Fever Dream, Samata Schweblin The Shining Girls, Lauren Beukes The Woman in the Walls, Amy Lukavics IQ, Joe Ide The Sluts, Dennis Cooper Speakers of the Dead, J Aaron Sanders The Darkest Secret, Alex Marwood Exquisite Corpse, Poppy Z Brite
  18. My local Tesco, Luna, has this bookshelf of books but I didn't realise what it was for. Obviously, I knew that it was for people to buy the secondhand books and donate money, but I thought it was for a local charity and not a widespread thing. Interesting - what is the charity this year?
  19. That is bizarre, but I agree that it is probably being culled from FB. It's a good way to collect a name you recognise and apply it to a email address to get you to think that it is an honest email. The email addresses aren't even close to looking real. Delete, delete, delete. Unfortunately nothing online these days is secure, just get in the habit of deleting stuff you don't immediately recognise.
  20. This is the first in the DI Callanach series by Helen Fields. I read a lot of crime fiction, by male and female authors, and most of it is good but occasionally one comes along that really impresses you, and this is one of those books. It features 2 main DIs : DI Luc Callanach, a half French half Scottish detective who has recently transferred from Lyon to Edinburgh under a cloud and DI Ava Turner, a feisty, laidback and amiable Scottish detective. Together they make a great investigating team, one you'll want to stay with. A woman's body (isn't it always?) has been found in the Cairngorms. All signs point to it being the body of the recently reported missing lawyer, Elaine. Then another woman goes missing. Then another. The squad is under pressure to solve the case before any one else is taken. Meanwhile, Ava investigates a case involving newborn babies being found in an Edinburgh park. Luc and Ava become fast friends as they help each other out. This isn't a whodunnit - we know from pretty much the outset who it is but it's the horror of what he is doing that keeps us reading. That and the hugely successful pairing of Luc and Ava who make a great investigating duo. An appearance by an infuriatingly smug consultant makes your blood boil and you really want him to get his comeuppance. All the characters are particularly well drawn and get under your skin. This is really one of the best crime novels I have read, and I immediately went onto the next one in the series, Perfect Prey. Well worth your time.
  21. Nora hasn't seen her ex-boyfriend or friend Clare for years, at least ten, and one day an email pops up in her inbox inviting her to Clare's hen party. Nora has no idea why Clare would want her there or even if she should attend. Buoyed by her other school friend, Nina, who she is still in touch with, Nora decides to go and start to make amends. The hen party is held at the house of the slightly unhinged Flo's aunt - Clare's now BFF. It is is the middle of the countryside, isolated and hidden and yet completely exposed as it is made of glass. At first things go okay - there's a few awkward moments when it is revealed that Clare is marrying Nora's ex-boyfriend, James - the boyfriend that Nora has never gotten over. Flo and Clare seem strange and Nora and Nina feel that they have been propelled straight back to high school where Clare was Queen Bee. Then one night someone breaks into the cottage and Nora wakes up in hospital. One of their number is dead and Nora doesn't know who it is, how she ended up there and why there is a police guard at her door. This is a interesting story well told. I was compelled to keep reading to find out what had happened and the characters are particularly well realised, especially the unhinged Flo, who I just didn't know how to feel about - is she crazy? is she just vulnerable? Everything hinges on the past and why Nora was so unable to get over James, and this is the most interesting aspect. It was a good read, but not one that will particularly stay with you - perfect for a holiday. Why on earth would the Kindle book be a quid more than the actual book? That makes no sense...
  22. It was really goo iff, one of those slow moving dramas with a post-film punch. I should point out that there is quite graphic sex in it...just in case!
  23. I think Makaton is a growing thing up here with more primaries and nurseries getting involved and introducing it to early years. It's an interesting thing to me as I have deaf parents and was brought up in a primarily BSL household. I think it actually hindered my speech so it is curious that Makaton aids speech especially in non-verbal children...or should I say it aids communication? I was speaking about it to a colleague the other day.
  24. Excellent - look forward to it.
  25. I accidentally watched God's Own Country today. I thought it was an adaptation of the Ross Raisin novel which I read a few years ago. It wasn't but what a happy accident. Johnny lives on an isolated Yorkshire farm with his father and gran. His father has had a stroke and so Johnny does most of the work on the farm while his Dad berates him and his Gran tolerates him. It is a lonely, grim, sad life completely devoid of human love or affection. Johnny is gay, and when he is away from the farm, at an auction he has sex with random guys. It is purely a physical need being met and nothing more. He doesn't want to go for a drink afterward, even though he spends most nights drinking till he throws up. Then Gheorghe joins them on the farm. A Romanian immgrant, he is employed to help with the grunt work on the farm. At first Johnny hates him, doesn't see the need for him to be there. It's as if Johnny resents his life so much that he can't be pleasant to anyone, or sadly, he has forgotten how. When the two men have to camp out on the top field during lambing season, Gheorghe teaches Johnny how to love, really love. This was a truly beautiful film, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I reckon it will stay with me for a while.
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