August reviews

Films and TV

Good Omens*** I confess to being disappointed. It stuck to the book but took too much time reaching some of the more exciting parts and skimmed over some aspects too quickly. Good acting, and I loved the introduction and final illustrations.

The Whaley Bridge dam disaster…. As I’ve already pointed out, in the post before this one, we spent the first half of the month glued to the local news.

The second half has been taken up with UK politics (ongoing…!!!)

Neither of these is something for which stars would be appropriate!

I have also watched quite a few natural history programmes but have forgotten their titles. An octopus in the home and the discovery of a frozen woolly mammoth were highlights.

Books

The excellent:

The Cracked Slipper by Stephanie Alexander*****
A delighful and intelligent exploration of the marriage of Cinderella and her Prince Charming, who turns out to have a lot of flaws. Well written (though better proof reading would have been good) and with echoes of Arthurian legend with Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot. I loved this book. It was one of the free novels I got either from the Smashwords sale or from Prolific Works, and was a really good find!

The Lodestar of Ys by Amy Rae Durreson***** Another freebie that was excellent. The mm romance in the royal arranged marriage between Celyn and Sjurd was intriguing but the major delight was the world building. The hanging islands became a character in their own right and I am hoping to read more stories set in them. I hadn’t realised, because the author name on the Smashwords blurb was not the same, that this was by an author I already liked. However, the cover showed the correct author name.

I would highly recommend the above two books.

Also very good:

Love in Every Season by Charlie Cochrane**** Four short stories. I liked the first – Horns and Halos – best. It centred on the work and training of people on school governing bodies and I appreciated the details since I’ve experienced that myself. I also enjoyed a further free short story by Charlie: Once we won matches****. This is set in the Cambridge Fellows series and was re-issued in honour of the cricket season.

One Night by RJ Scott**** A nicely written romance between a winery owner and a rich lawyer, set during a conference on the West Coast of America. What Lies Beneath**** is a mystery story with an nderlying mm romance by the same author. It was an enjoyable read but left a lot of loose ends. I’m assuming these will be addressed in the rest of the Lancaster Falls trilogy which I shall buy! I liked the world of the small town near the dam and reservoir, and was perhaps more intrigued than usual because of our Whaley Bridge connections.

Pluck and Play by Clare London**** A lovely story about an American rancher and a British courier set in the London ‘world’ of the author’s invented ice cream business With a Kick. I also enjoyed Freeman****, by the same writer, which was very well written. However, the mystery of the main character (Freeman of the title) was too drawn out and I never really managed to empathise with him.

Eagle Man and Mr Hawk by Dawn Sister****. A really enjoyable romance about an animal trainer; the animal crew was delightful. See you smile**** by the same writer was an exciting story featuring an author who meets a much younger guy who is deaf, and who is having problems with a possible stalker.

Perfect Love by A.M. Burns**** Ethan and Dusty are paranormal PIs. I loved the story though the book has poor editing and lacks tense control. The plot and the relationship were sufficiently amusing and exciting to keep my interest.

The mediocre

Critical Mass by Sara Paretsky*** Flashbacks to wartime Vienna again, and an unlikely plot. I was disappointed, since I usually enjoy this author.

Till Death do us Part by Addison Albright*** Sam thinks Henry is dead in an air crash and agrees to marry Nash. Meanwhile Henry survives on an island. The story had a strange structure and a lot of the focus was on the survival techniques. I found it quite interesting but then realised I was doing a lot of skimming.

Blue Fire by Z.A. Maxfield*** A pleasant novella about a firefighter who falls for the man he rescues.

Shifting Sands by Kiernan Kelly *** I realised this was a re-read and I liked the concept of the shifter ranch all over again, but the story has too much explicit sex and I won’t be reading any others in the series. Well written.

Making it by Christine D’Abo*** Devan’s husband Eli, a boxer, leaves him but comes back to find baby Matthew. I got bored and won’t be following the series but the writing was of a good standard.

Passing on Faith by A.M Leibowitz*** This was quite an exciting novel with a family mystery as well as romance. However, it was too religious for my tastes, perhaps because the churches concerned were very American and outside my real understanding.

Risky Behaviour by L.A Witt and Cari Z***. A competent thriller with a newly partnered pair set against what seems like the entire police force and local government. However, it was basically forgettable so the character development was clearly not stellar.

Synchronicity by Keira Andrews*** A nicely written short story about divers at the Olympics.

It happened in Vegas by various. An anthology *** Mixed – all the stories had happy endings but I was worried that some of the stories would turn out to be ‘dark’ which rather spoilt the experience.

And the rest…

Long Shadows by Kate Sherwood** A thriller with hints of romance between the (female) sheriff and a local criminal, with added ‘interest’ in the shape of a cop from LA. There were plotholes galore.

Hidden Talents by Claire Cray – abandoned. This set out to be a trilogy about psychics. It was very dark, which is not to my personal taste, but the main criticism was poor characterisation.

I also started and abandoned a number of ‘freebies’ because they turned out to be things I didn’t really want to read. I won’t bother listing them but can say I am relieved to have made inroads into my to-be-read list!

Fanfic

Nothing to recommend this month. What I read was mixed, but all needed a knowledge of canon.

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