November reviews

TV and films…
…apart from the pandemic, Brexit and the US election!

DNA ***** Complex, well acted and satisfying Danish crime series.
Vera Season 8***** Wonderful as ever. They seem to have stopped airing any more for now, so I can’t find out how much I’ve already seen of Season 9. Possibly all of it.
Lucy Worsley’s Fireworks for a Tudor Queen***** 90 mins and I was totally gripped. Fascinating reconstruction of a display Robert Dudley put on for Elizabeth 1st. However, it vanished from iPlayer tonight (2nd December)

Monsoon*** A rather ‘different’ mm romance set against a fascinating background of modern Vietnam (both protagonists are just visiting but have links with the country’s past). However, despite the storyline and the location I got tired of the way the protagonists, and others, gazed moodily into the distance for no apparent reason. I’ve noticed this trend in modern films and dislike it intensely. Also, the plot was quite convoluted and not always well clarified. I don’t mind having to work for my dose of ‘culture’ but I would still prefer stories to be told from A to Z and have details to cue me in to all parts. Recommended if you haven’t seen it but I wouldn’t watch it again.

Apostasy. This sounded intriguing: sisters in the Jehovah’s Witnesses community have problems when one is ‘disowned’.  But I abandoned it. Poor filming, direction, etc. made it virtually unwatchable for me.

Books

The excellent:

Scarlet Odyssey by CT Rwizi ***** High fantasy with African echoes. Despite the present tense and the high fantasy elements I’ve been raving about this novel and have pre-ordered the sequel. See my  post on November 25th for more details.  
On wings of song by Anne Barwell ***** WW1 aftermath. Aiden and Jochen. Am angst filled but eventually delightful romance between men who fought on opposite sides in the war.
Sympathy by JCP***** Slightly Halloweeny story in which a disabled landscape gardener meets a potter at Hook House, where he suffered fright as a child.
The Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iyer***** I love one pan cooking where I can just shove everything in the oven and leave it to look after itself. This book (a birthday gift by request) has a lot of new recipes and techniques to explore
Narrow Dog To Indian River by Terry Darlington***** Another requested birthday gift. Absolutely wonderful account of two pensioners and a whippet sailing their canal narrowboat down the east coast of USA. Hilarious and lyrical by turn. You need the paperback, not the e-book, because you need to be able to flip frequently to the maps at front and back.

Something Like Love by Beverley Jenkins. **** Well written chicklit set in late nineteenth century US in an all-black township. Some interesting historical detail accompanied by too much sex. Olivia, independent seamstress and mayor meets Neil July, an outlaw. Recommended if you like mf romance. One real flaw: pov changes from one paragraph to the next without warning.
The Riley Brothers Collection by E.Davies**** 7 novels and 2 short stories with varied mm romances among members of a Canadian family. I loved getting to know everybody but  despite the good plots and characters there was too much sex and I struggled with one book that had a focus on hockey. Sports romances send me to sleep.

The readable:

Off Leash by Daniel Potter ***  Endearing concept (wake up as a cougar) but the magic is so convoluted I felt as if I was taking a physics course and there might be an exam.               


The abandoned:
 
The Dragon who didn’t fly by CM Barrett. I just didn’t somehow connect with the style or the story. Urban fantasy.
Mount Zero by Douglas Gellatly. I didn’t like the style, which I found wooden. I also tend to dislike books that begin with a sex scene before I have got to grips with the characters. Australian outback romance/saga

Short stories  

None this month


Fanfiction

Never Settle by Brumeier*****  A new ‘take’ on Cinderella. Fairy tale fandom. Meeting the prince with a difference.https://archiveofourown.org/works/27112592 500
Paint my love by nagi_schwarz*****This sci fi/fantasy story about a soul painter is SGA fandom but you don’t need to know the fandom to enjoy the story. http://archiveofourown.org/works/14377038
Greenlit by nagi_schwarz***** A soul bond that goes wrong. Again, SGA but you don’t need the details. https://archiveofourown.org/works/8416765?
I went searching for wings by Fledhyris***** https://archiveofourown.org/works/27745312 A gorgeous modern fairy tale that was written for a real person fiction challenge but in fact casts the two actors from Supernatural as characters in a fantasy world. I did the beta and loved every minute. (Disclaimer: the author is my daughter.)
 

2 thoughts on “November reviews

  1. I deliberately held back from reading about Monsoon until I’d seen it myself. And totally agree with you. Amazing ‘slice of life’ of modern Vietnam but in a way I wasn’t watching for the travelogue element, but for the romance. Because the characters had no backstory I found it hard to understand why they were attracted to each other (apart from the obvious lol). And yes, even a smidge of resolution would have been helpful. Felt rather like an art college project…

  2. I wonder if that’s exactly what it was? I gathered that was the genesis of Apostasy, the film I abandoned. I do wish, in that case, they’d all do some market research! I really enjoyed seeing Vietnam, especially because another friend was recently living there with her husband who’s an English teacher. I saw lots of her photos but this was stunning. However, as you say, we weren’t actually there for the travelogue! Both protagonists were attractive and their backgrounds were interesting, but oh dear… the confusion plus the moody glares left it at a three star level. Better than Apostasy’s none, though!

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