• Gemma

BookCosy Reads 2011

Updated: Feb 14, 2019

After a year of discovering the joys of The Help, The Vanishing Act of Esme and The Hurting Distance we were all keen to see what books would lie in store for us in 2011.

Below is a list of the books we manged to devour with a brief description about each one and our group's average score. There are no spoilers, so feel free to scroll through the list and perhaps chose your next novel to read? For more information about each book please see the individual blogs and what each individual member scored it.

Our first book was The Snowman. This was our first encounter of the Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbo. The book was quite fitting for the time of year as we had had lots of snow. The story centres around inspector Harry Hole's investigation into a series of missing women and he finds himself confronted with a serial killer. This was a brilliant thriller, it was fast paced, unpredictable with lots of twists and turns. If you like thrillers or crime novels than this is a great book. We all enjoyed the novel, there are some vivid and disturbing descriptions but that didn't stop us giving it an average score of 7 out of 10.

A great start to the year.

Our second book was Water For Elephants. This was a charming book. It starts with Jacob Jankowski in a nursing home. When the circus comes to town it sparks his memory and he recalls, through flashbacks, his life as a young man working as a vet in a travelling circus. The setting for the novel is 1930s American, a time of the Great Depression where there was lots of uncertainty and chaos. Amongst the circus crew are the drifters, the misfits, the freaks and of course the animals. The real star of the novel is Rosie, the performing elephant who captivates your heart from the onset. This book, mainly due to its subject matter, was a delightful change from other books we had read and although it didn't knock our socks off it was engaging and endearing. Our average score was a 6 out of 10.

Two books down and a great start to the year. Both books offered something different, something unique and were memorable. We were all wondering if book number 3 would continue in the same way or break the spell. Little did we know that this next book would be one we would talk about for years to come...

Into The Darkest Corner. This is a gripping and terrifying psychological thriller about a young woman called Catherine who has been in a controlling and abusive relationship. After escaping her past and trying to overcome her trauma we see her begin to trust again and form a new relationship. But then she gets the phone call that throws everything off balance again, her ex boyfriend is being released from prison. This novel felt very realistic, and it was almost like you too were living with Catherine's OCD and PTSD. It was disturbing, dark, scary and twisted but a book you could not stop reading. The book alternated between the past and the present where her story unfolds. We all loved this book and all scored highly. Our group average score was an 8 out of 10.

An amazing group score, the highest yet to date. So with three books down and each one being great reads we were all anticipating what was next to come.

Pompeii, a novel that brings together a fictional story with the real life eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the devastating effects it had on Pompeii. The events are told through the eyes of Attilius, a water engineer who is concerned with the water supply and the disappearance of his predecessor. Overall the story was informative but lacked suspense. The characters weren't interesting enough and the story not gripping enough.

Due to the previous reads perhaps our expectations had been raised and this book just couldn't compete with them, therefore leaving us with a sense of disappointment and creating an underwhelming read.

Our group average score was a 4 out of 10.

Such a shame considering the excellent previous reads we had. Anyway onward and hopefully upwards.

Book number four, Is There Anything You Want? The story is centred around a hospital cancer clinic where it follows various female characters. Although the subject matter is harrowing the book isn't sad or depressing. The chapters are long and it can sometimes feel confusing as the author jumps from one character to the next. There are connections made between the characters as the story evolves, one of the strongest links being that all of the women are survivors in their own right. The characters actually lacked depth and were hard to emphasis with, this was unexpected given the subject matter. The book was a slow read, it wasn't very interesting and unfortunately lacked plot. We gave it an average score of 4 out of 10 with one member not even finishing the book.

Our Summer read, The House At Riverton. The story is told through the eyes of Grace, now 98 who worked at Riverton Mannor as a house maid back in the 1920s. In 1924 a tragedy occurs on the estate with a WW1 poet taking his own life. This event is now sparking interest from a film producer who wants to record what life was like at Riverton during this time. Grace is asked to recount her memories of these years as well as revealing the many secrets she has also kept hidden. This is a story of family, mystery, love, hatred, sadness and happiness. Although the book is long and probably could have been shortened there is a shocking twist at the end and well worth the read to get there. Overall we all enjoyed the book and gave it an average score of 6 out of 10. If you enjoyed Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier you will no doubt want to give this book a read.

Book number seven, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Well what can I say about this book? It is intriguing, annoying, ridiculous and just plain weird. Never have I come across a book like this before but strangely I did enjoy elements and I know it will be a book I will remember for a long time. Nine year old Rose discovers that she has a special gift, when eating food she can taste the emotions of the chef or the person who has prepared it. The emotions of others consume her whilst eating and affect her enjoyment of food. Her brother also starts to behave strangely and this causes disruptions within her family life. There are a lot of negative emotions weaved through the book and some shocking revelations around her brother's behaviour. You truly have to read it to understand the ridiculousness of the plot. It's a bit like Marmite, you will either love it or loath it. As a group we gave it a score of 3 out of 10.

After finishing The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake we were eager to start reading anything, then along came book number eight, The Death Instinct. The book begins with an explosion in the heart of Manhattan's financial district, the year 1920. The book then centres on the three main characters who survive the attack, a policeman, a war veteran and a radio chemist. Together they travel around the world following trails of evidence to discover the truth behind the bombing. The genre includes a mixture of mystery, crime, historical fiction, and psychological thriller. It has a good amount of twists, gives insight into the 1920 bombing in New York as well as delving into Madam Curie and Freud's work. Although we didn't 'love' this book we all agreed that it was an interesting read and gave it a group score of 5 out of 10.

Our final book of the year, The Glass Castle. This is a book of memoirs about Jeannette's unconventional parents and family life. Her early childhood was spent living like nomads and moving among Southwest desert towns. They then move to West Virginia where the family seem to fall apart and the children have to fend for themselves. Jeanette, in the last part of the book moves away from her family to New York where she graduates from college and finds love. This is a tale of unconditional love. Jeanette never judges her parent's choices throughout this book she just presents the information about what it was like growing up in this unconventional way. The book finishes leaving the reader to make up their own minds about the 'truth' of her upbringing. As a group we scored the book a 4 out of 10.

Well we only managed to read nine books this year. On reflection there were some good books but disappointingly we also had a lot of 'below average' reads too.

Our group favourite book of the year goes to Into The Darkest Corner.

Our least favourite book of the year goes to The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, making this Pamela's second time in receiving this award for one of her book choices.

Although Into The Darkest Corner only received a score of 8 out of 10, as a group we do believe we found our 'wow' book. Only one member of the group scored it lower than a nine which brought the group average down. Already this book has been recommended to others and will continue to be a favourite amongst our members. This is the book to beat next year. Can we find a book where all members agree on a score of nine or above? This will remain our goal for the coming year.

To find out all about the books read in 2012 please see the blog BookCosy Reads 2012. If you have any recommendations for future reads please get in contact with us at thebookcosy@yahoo.com and if you would like to add your comments/opinions on any of the books in our blog please do so by commenting below.

Happy reading.

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