TV and films
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Russell T Davies version)***** Absolutely gorgeous with lots of magical effects and slight twists on characterisation. BBC but I think it’s available to buy.
Valerian and the city of a thousand planets***** A re-watch. I love it. Lots of well done aliens and an underlying standard thriller plot with endearing main characters.
Science and Islam (BBC 4)***** I’ve watched one or two of this history of science series. Excellent. (I knew most of the history but my grasp of the science was shaky…)
Vera Series 3***** Still loving this – set in my native region with a quirky but extremely competent female detective.
The brilliant non-fiction
Becoming Human: New Scientist Collection***** Excellent collection of articles about up to the minute research about evolution.
Pale Rider by Laura Spinney***** The Spanish flu of 1918 and how it changed the world. Excellent historical research. Stunningly relevant to our current pandemic even though it was written a couple of years ago.
Myths of Gender by Anne Fausto-Sterling***** As the author says:‘…an extended argument against lodging social difference in the body’. Fascinating account and critique of research into gender differences.
How Baking Works by James Morton*****This really explains why we whisk, fold, etc. and how ingredients can be substituted. Kept for reference though I would prefer a hard copy.
The brilliant fiction:
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo*****Wonderful interweaving of black female lives in modern Britain. Amazingly good use of tense changes to underpin different periods and points of view. (And that’s something I never thought I’d say!) Well worth the Booker Prize!
A Carriage of Misjustice by Charlie Cochrane***** Vol 4 of the Lindenshaw series. As usual, I enjoyed the mystery and loved the dog, Campbell, who somehow manages to cement the relationship between the policeman and his teacher husband. A masterclass in how to juggle large numbers of suspects and witnesses – something I really needed for the book I was writing at the time.
Finders Keepers by N R Walker***** Heart warming story of two guys brought together by a dog (who gets lost) on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Thicker than water by Becca Seymour***** Thatch and Callen are shifters in law enforcement in Australia. Interesting characters and location.
You let me in by Lucy Clarke**** Psychological thriller with a very gripping plot but the final mystery had no real clues in story which I found disappointing. I guessed ‘whodunnit’ or rather ‘wasdoinit’, but the why was totally unclear until the last chapter.
Song for the Basilisk by Patrician Kilip**** Lovely story about music and magic with fascinating characters. However, too much purple prose with no breaks became hard to read.
Thicker than Water by J D Kirk*** Sequel in the DCI Logan series. Well written and plotted but not as exciting as the first one. ‘Tartan noir…’
The poor and the dire:
Lost Hills by Lee Goldberg** First in the Eve Ronin series. Poor world building and some unpleasant characters
Canis Falls Academy: Year One by Imani L Hawkins* Dire structure, characterisation, plot…..
And the abandoned: (Only one this month)
Sword Dance by A J Demas. A confusing Graeco-Roman/mediaeval Japanese world with fantasy and mm elements being introduced too slowly. I simply gave up.
Not highly recommended but others might like both these:
Under the Law by JP Bowie*** More of a novella, perhaps. Tired tropes and unmemorable plot but the writing was competent and anyone who likes short mysteries with an mm focus might enjoy it.
Australia: a Romance Anthology. Various authors.***
OMG. I bought this because the profits went to Australian wildlife victims of the fires. Good value with a lot of stories, all but one of them het romance (and the mm one was a vampire tale). Too many were spin-offs from series but could be read stand-alone. However, I will never (?) complain about the amount of explicit sex in mm romances again. I am still reeling from the content of some of these! One or two really good pieces; all readable.
I frequently recommend Small_Hobbit and some of her collaborators on things like the Marylebone magazine. I do enjoy their writing but I think the main reason they keep cropping up here is that their work, as well as being good, is often accessible to readers who don’t share their fandoms. This month I also read a number of stories by Brumeier (another writer I like) but they all needed in depth knowledge of SGA for true enjoyment.
Five times Lucas met Pooh Bear and friends by Small_Hobbit***** (all you need to know is that Lucas, Adam, Ros and Harry are spies and that the inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood sometimes stand in for Sherlock Holmes) https://archiveofourown.org/works/24352783
Welcome to Castle Elsinore https://archiveofourown.org/works/24004696 and On to March Ides Woods https://archiveofourown.org/works/24115366 *****by Small_Hobbit. Imagine a coach tour and people the staff and tourist groups with characters from Shakespeare, The Hobbit, and other classics. Short but powerful!
Reclaim (poem by okapi)**** https://archiveofourown.org/works/6848800/chapters/58468873