October reviews

A cartoon from The Spectator. Brit readers will understand.

TV and films

The excellent – see if you can find them anywhere!

Vera Season 7***** Great, as usual. I really look forward to this show and will be sad when I catch up with myself. I know I’ve seen the whole of Season 10 but am not sure about Season 9. I’m currently watching Season 8 but ITV has a habit of ditching the show for a week or two to allow for other programmes.

Mystery Road Seasons 1 and 2 ***** I adored this entire series and will be writing a more in depth critique later in the month.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri ***** A really well directed and acted film about a woman who finds herself pitted against the police who have failed to find whoever raped and murdered her daughter.

Honour  ***** A fictionalised account of the investigation of an ‘honour’ killing In South London. I recall the actual case but had forgotten the details. Keeley Hawes plays the detective well.

The good.

Lawrence of Arabia: Britain’s Great Adventurer**** I have seen both the film and a previous documentary, and read about Lawrence’s life. This programme summed it all up and added more glimpses into the life and times of a man whose legacy feeds into the problems the Middle East faces today.

Roadkill Season 1 **** A British political drama with some excellent acting by Hugh Laurie. It isn’t as good as the original House of Cards, but it does make the viewer think hard about politicians.

Abandoned.

Adult Material. This drama centred round the porn industry sounded intriguing but managed to be boring.

Books

The highly recommended:

The Sugared Game by KJ Charles***** The second book about Will Darling and his occasional lover. A really good period romance and thriller.

The Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire***** I think this was one of the best October Daye books yet, with a focus on the Selkie and the Merrow. It included a novella, Hope is Swift **** That was less gripping, probably because it was not told from October’s point of view so my sympathies were not altogether engaged.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini***** I cried more than once during this searing account of the experiences of women in modern Afghanistan. I will be looking at the novel in more depth later in the month.

Halloween Knight by K-lee Klein ***** A delightful Halloween themed story with all the angst and darkness associated with the night of Halloween but with a fairy tale ending. I read it on 31st and it was perfect!

The good

Physical Therapy by ZA Maxfield **** This is the second book in the St Nacho’s series. It’s a pleasant enough mm romance but it didn’t, for me, have the same impact as the first book. Good writing.

Where the Forest meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah**** This started out as a mystery with hints of sci fi, but although the story was satisfactorily resolved I found the ending disappointingly mundane after all the promise of the early chapters. A research student finds a young girl on the doorstep and needs to find out where she came from. Well written.

The merely readable

The Gift of Cockleberry Bay by Nicola May. *** Third in this chicklit series. I liked the first and then went and bought the other two. Unlikely characters, situations and resolutions led me to wish I hadn’t but lovers of the genre might find them entertaining.

Short stories

Chinatown by J Scott Coatsworth **** Clever sci fi in which 1984 meets Inception with the Chinese in charge. Well written.

Animal Control by Brumeier *****   A story in her After the Eclipse series, which is original work but archived with her fanfiction. After an eclipse, a town starts to have strange experiences. The characters and situations are incredibly well developed in very short pieces which are reminiscent (though not in any way related to) The Night Vale radio series. https://archiveofourown.org/series/839529  If you haven’t read the earlier stories in the series already I suggest you follow the link then go back to the beginning!

Abandoned

Shield series by Anna Butler. I couldn’t get past the space battles at the start. Military fiction is not my scene and I suspect the role of the military was going to figure large in the books.

The Angel’s Mark by SW Perry (and the sequel) I borrowed these from the Amazon Prime library. Present tense mediaeval whodunnits. Just no. Returned swiftly.

Enchantress by James Maxwell (Evermen Saga Bk 1) A very derivative plot with strange name choices. I gave up.

Fanfic

I’ve read a lot this month. I contributed to an October MonsterFest and read the other entries. You can find them all at: https://archiveofourown.org/collections/Shoobie_Monster_Fest.

For some reason WordPress refuses to link to the collection but if you type the link in your search bar it should work.

I can recommend:

Monster Fest 2020: Astro Edition by InterstellarBlue in which K-pop meets the world of mermen.

The recs I followed up from the comm holding the fest led me to:

Either Side of the Surface by lavvyan***** https://archiveofourown.org/works/14347482 wordcount 1616 which is Hawaii 5 O  but you don’t need to know the fandom

and I was reminded of the first fanfic I ever read (recced by my daughter)

The Water-Horse by Thamiris***** This is in the Arthurian legend fandom. https://archiveofourown.org/works/1630331

Other contributions and recs were too fandom specific to recommend here.

Then it was, of course, October, which always means The Professionals Big Bang. I have all the stories downloaded but have not so far had time to read many. Those of you who enjoyed Buen Camino, Bodie by Sharon Ray last year might want to read The Road to Finisterre which completes Bodie’s journey to the end of the pilgrim trail, but be warned, this is what the author calls a heartwarming death fic. My heart was not warmed but because of the content – the writing was excellent. https://archiveofourown.org/works/26336557

2 thoughts on “October reviews

  1. I loved The Sugared Game too, if possible even more than the first book in the series! Not so keen on Mystery Road 2, though. We gave up after two episodes spent shouting at the telly because of all the formulaic devices, unrealistic scenarios, obvious plot twists and inconsistencies. Shame, as we enjoyed the first series…

  2. I saw your comment on FB about Mystery Road 2. I agree about the formulaic devices but thought them justified. It was never really a detective series – more a vehicle for getting Indigenous actors and issues known, and in that I think it succeeded really well. I imagine they thought a detective series would reach a wider audience. They’re a smallish newish Australian company, too, so kudos to them. I certainly looked up some of the actors and would now look out for them in other things. And, after visiting Australia and discussing the issues with friends, it was good to see the ideas, especially the more complex ones, presented in prime time TV. I’m sorry you felt obliged to shout at it!

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