3July E Savage City**** – Sophia McDougall. The final part of the Romanitas trilogy. Excellent and gripping writing but… During the first two books I got incredibly attached to some of the core characters. Now that I know their fates and futures (some dead, some on unexpected paths) I don’t think I will ever be able to re-read the first two parts. That saddens me in some ways because I adored those books. The third – well, clever and satisfactory but not quite as special.
4July E Beneath the Neon Moon** – Theda Black. I usually like werewolf stories but this was strange. Two guys, strangers to each other, are kidnapped and chained together in a cellar. One is bitten and will soon ‘change’; the other is intended as his first prey. They have to trust each other in order to escape though the bitten one will still be a werewolf. Unsatisfactory.
5July E Blind Items*** – Kate McMurray. Forgettable, though well written, m/m romance between a left-wing journalist and the son of a conservative senator.
6July E Blind Space*** – Marie Sexton. Space pirates. Some rather dubious non-consensual sex, fetishes, justifications of piracy, and insufficiently developed characters. I was sufficiently interested to read to the end, and the actual writing was quite good but I wouldn’t recommend it wholeheartedly.
7July E Human for a Day**** – edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Jennifer Brozek. An intriguing anthology of stories where something or someone becomes human for twenty four hours. There are swords, cities and statues as well as robots and zombies. As usual in an anthology the quality was varied but there were more memorable stories than poor ones.
7July E Are You There, Blog?*** – Kristen Lamb. This was an attempt to show authors how to use social media to sell themselves and their books. Despite the blurb, I learnt nothing new, and found the style (and humour) too American to read happily. I’m sure I probably ought to be on Facebook and Twitter but for now I won’t be following the advice. But it might inspire me to post about it…
8July E Forgotten Soul*** – Natasha Duncan Drake. Another story by this author who is a friend. I can admire the writing and plotting but as I am less than enamoured of most vampire stories I am unlikely to read the sequels.
9July E The Only Gold***** – Tamara Allen. Unusual thriller with an m/m sub-plot, set in nineteenth century New York banking circles. Pinkerton’s agents end up chasing bank robbers through one of the worst ever snow storms which paralyses the city. Interesting and well written.
10July E City Falcon***** – Feliz Faber. Intriguing m/m romance based around the research into using birds of prey to control bird strikes at airports.
11July E The Book of Dragons* – E. Nesbit. Collection of Nesbit’s short stories about dragons. I vaguely remembered enjoying her children’s books but this irritated me. The narrator voice was omnipresent and alternated between condescending and coy. Even at the time these were written this must have grated on a large part of the readership.
12July E Floaters** – Joe Konrath and Henry Perez. A short and competent thriller. Konrath is a good writer but in his attempts to have lots and lots of ebooks available I feel he has lost the interest of this reader at least. This story, co-written with Perez and involving both writers’ detectives, never really gets into the character of either.
13July E Hammer and Air** – Amy Lane. This was intended as an m/m fairy tale but I thought it was heavy handed and had far too much explicit sex for the genre.
14July E A devil’s own luck**** – Rowan McAllister. Competent and entertaining m/m version of a typical Georgette Heyer style Regency novel.
15July E The Song of Achilles** – Madeline Miller. A disappointing retelling of the Trojan Wars which got rave reviews (which was why I bought it). Unlike other modern versions of old legends and ancient history this was too short, and it was impossible for me to become sufficiently involved in the story to forget the ending. The narrator was Patroclus and he was an interesting character but Achilles never really became three dimensional.
17July E His Hearth** – Mary Calmes. Forgettable story of a demon hunter who needs a ‘hearth’ or human to ground him.
19July E Enlightened* – J.P.Barnaby. An unlikely tale of teenage m/m romance. Very American and very annoying as it turned out to be the first part of a serial, not a series as the title page suggested. I won’t be reading the rest.
21July E Kill for me***** – Karen Rose. The third part of a story started in Die for me, though the books can be read alone. Excellent convoluted thriller, which, as usual for this author, has the reader on edge until the last minute.
26July E Stolen Moments** – Ariel Tachna. Long and boring story detailing the difficulties of a gay relationship in the southern states of America. I felt sympathy for the characters but kept wanting to yell at them to emigrate to Europe. The writing was good and I’m sure the author had the best of intentions. Maybe the book just wasn’t directed at me.
I read more original fiction than usual this month, perhaps because I was in Portugal with no TV, magazines, etc. Unfortunately, the books I had loaded on my Kindle didn’t include many ‘keepers’.
24July The Prestige**** Interesting film, with some good acting by Hugh Jackman and Christian Bayle. The story concerns the deadly rivalry between two stage magicians at the end of the nineteenth century and moves between England and America. The insights into stage magic were fascinating. The plot was occasionally impenetrable.
25July The Bridge***** Final part of the Swedish/Danish TV thriller based around police co-operation between the two countries after a body is discovered on the centre of the bridge between them. Some excellent acting and suspense – this was a ten part story with each part taking an hour. Subtitles.
31July Mirror Mirror**** An interesting take on the story of Snow White. The plot is tweaked slightly to good (and feminist) effect. Some lovely special effects and clever fight scenes. I adored the monster. Some of the humour was rather heavy handed. Altogether a pleasant experience but not a film that I would bother rewatching.
Fewer films etc. than usual, because in Portugal we can only get news channels on TV and I hadn’t taken DVDs.
For anyone who’s wondering, the photograph is of a wall of cut plaster work in Alsfeld, Germany.