July Reviews

Well, yes, we’re half way through August but I’ve been on holiday. I didn’t forget my reviews but simply didn’t find time to write them. Here you are at last!

TV and films

A brilliant film and a brilliant TV season.

The Dark Crystal ***** I rewatched the original Jim Henson movie after seeing the new prequel series that was a homage to Henson. Amazing film work and fascinating story.

Vera Season 5***** Never ceases to delight.

Then a disappointment.

Local Hero. Abandoned – plodding US comedy set in Scotland.

Books

The highly recommended:

A Gentleman Tutor by Harper Fox***** This story of a job that was too good to be true, followed by a nail-biting rescue was beautifully written and fascinating from start to finish.

All That Remains by RJ Scott***** Lancaster Falls Bk 3 The whole Lancaster Falls trilogy has been a delight with small town detail, interesting characters, mm romance, and the ever present undertone of evil and murder.

Rather be the Devil by Ian Rankin***** A typical Rebus novel that covers so much about Edinburgh, modern Scotland and individual psychology that it’s hard to point to specific parts. I like Rankin’s writing very much indeed.

Thornfruit by Felicia Davin*****The Gardener’s Handbook Bk 1. A gorgeous start to a trilogy set in another world with a strong ff main pairing fighting a terrifying attempted coup using magic, intelligence and courage. Needless to say, I have bought books 2 and 3.

The History of Underclothes by Willett and Cunnington**** An intriguing look at how underclothing changed over time (mediaeval period to WW2) and how it both supported and mirrored changes in fashion and in social mores. A pity this was written in the ‘50s because I’d really like to have read more about the immediate post war period which they didn’t cover. Beautifully illustrated and worth reading for anyone with an interest in fashion or social history.

The reasonable reads:

Divided House by JK Dalgliesh*** Dark Yorkshire Bk 1 A police procedural in which the main police detective doesn’t follow procedure. Surprisingly gory and not quite believable.

The Woman on the Cliff by Janice Frost*** A woman starts to reinvestigate a death that occurred when she was at uni, when her daughter starts to study at the same place. Interesting but not really memorable.

Miracle in the Library/Lessons in Love/Pride of Place by Helena Stone***. Three novellas that form a sweet trilogy about romance between Mitch and Cian. Well written but student romance is not my favourite genre. For anyone who likes it, this is lovely.

The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan*** Quite a chilling thriller in which pieces of a doll house keep turning up. Lots of suspects though I guessed the solution quite early.

The Pick, the Spade and the Crow by Bill Rogers*** A police procedural with a lot of info dump and so much procedure that I got bored. I prefer some character development, even in the crime genre, and would point to Rankin’s Rebus as a model.

The Woman in Our House by Andrew Hart*** Creepy thriller in which a nanny not only turns out to be not quite who she seems, but involves the family in a dangerous problem.

The poor:

Forsaken by JR Gray** Titus is part of a religious cult, He rescues Angel who has been beaten and abandoned. Romance and escape ensue but there were too many plot holes and I never really got to care for the characters.

Short Stories

When the Smoke Clears: edited by Meg Bawden**** An mm romance anthology set in the aftermath of last year’s Australian bushfires and sold in aid of associated charities. The stories were mixed but mostly good. I was pleasantly surprised I was able to enjoy them despite my Portuguese experience of wildfires.

Love starts with a smile by Nick Thiwerspoon**** (ficlet) https://nikolaos-thiwerspoon.blogspot.com/2020/07/love-starts-with-smile-ficlet.html
A nice though very short story by a writer who is a friend and member of the writing group that helped me at the start of my writing career.

Taxes and TARDIS by N R Walker**** This was almost a novella. It’s set in Australia, like most of this writer’s work, and deals with the attraction of opposites.

Abandoned

The Visionary by Charli Coty. I gave up. I think it was about zombies and paranormals but I’m not altogether sure.

Firebolt by Adrienne Woods (Dragonian series 1) Dragon shifters in a magical boarding school…

Fanfic

Only one recommendation – a murder story set in the world of Lewis, but capable of being read as a stand-alone.
Et Mors Ludos In Arcadia by asparagusmama **** https://archiveofourown.org/works/24853942

Everything else I read needed too much fandom knowledge to have general appeal.

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