October reading

A very photoshopped version of a photo of the big window arch in Bolton Abbey.

The highly recommended:

The Scarlet Dress by Louise Douglas***** An elegant mystery set on the Severn Estuary. Beautifully told and beautifully resolved. Old bones are found under a funfair that is being demolished. Not a police procedural but as the evidence unfolds the reader feels like a detective.
 
Stalked by Shadows, Marked by Shadows, Conventional Shadows (newsletter novella) and Possessed by Shadows by Lissa Kasey***** An exciting paranormal mm romance series set in New Orleans. The characters (including the minor ones) are beautifully realised and the ghosts and/or demons are interesting and chilling. I bought the first volume then signed up to the newsletter and read the other two novels on KU. I’m so glad somebody (forgotten who) recommended the first! This was my pre-Halloween reading and it was truly memorable.

The recommended:

The I Hate To Housekeep Book by Peg Bracken**** A re-read. This time around (I’ve read it at about 10 yearly intervals) I was struck by the quaintness of some of the things – hat wearing, using canned soup in dinner party recipes, husbands who are not involved in housekeeping, etc. But there are still some good ideas!  

Love’s Heirloom by Blake Allwood**** A great sequel to Love’s Legacy – it was good to see more of the same characters. There was a spooky element too so it was perfect reading for Halloween. This author writes beautifully but like all of us has the occasional typo – I blame our word processor spell checks which don’t quite grasp homonyms. Anyway, I hope Blake won’t correct this one because it had me smiling all day: ‘Desolate planes interrupted by the occasional mountain.’ I’m delighted to see there’s a further volume in the Big Bend series.

Monster in the Maze by Fiona Glass**** is a delightful short story featuring a grand country mansion with extensive gardens (echoes of December Roses), a lord of the manor, a reliable gardener, and of course, a monster.  

A Spell for Master Vervain by Lee Welch**** Another good short story. I almost wanted it to turn into a novel or at least a novella. A student with a crush on his tutor uses a spell to summon an incubus. What could possibly go wrong?

Island Detective by Sue Brown**** Sixth in the Isle of Wight series. Nice sense of place and an interesting cast of characters who form a group of families and friends. An interesting first case for Olaf’s new venture as a PI.

Fathers of the Bride by Marshall Thornton**** Funny and romantic story about a divorced gay couple planning their daughter’s wedding. I’m not usually ‘into’ humour as the focus of romance novels but this had me both laughing and hooked.

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/view/grumpygreenwitch/665812784231202816 ****A lovely short fantasy fic with no title! I understand the monster is based on one from D&D.  

The readable:

Torn by Louisa Mae*** Paranormal Halloween romance novella. Intriguing story but the constant tense switching made it hard for me to read. .  

The Flat Tyre by Stella Shaw (Tom’s Tricks #1)*** Quite a nice introduction to a new rent boy series – a short story which didn’t really go far enough in character development. I might read more to see what happens. Well written and constructed.

The Hidden Girl and Other Stories by Ken Liu*** The first couple of stories in this well written sci fi collection were impressive but gradually all the tales seemed to merge into a long rant about modern society, extrapolating from current trends. One, at least, was more of a political debate disguised as a story rather than a story with an underlying political point to make. I like my sci fi to have a message but it shouldn’t overwhelm the fiction aspect.  

Abandoned:
 
 Her Perfect Family by Teresa Driscoll. If I don’t care who, why, how, etc. by p 36 I’m not going to. I think it was going to be supposed to be a thriller.

Fanfic

I got three birthday gift fics in October – all of them delightful!

The Mouse that Soared by Small_Hobbit https://archiveofourown.org/works/34675825 1k words (Sherlock Holms AU)
Pull My Corners Gently Through by MistressKat https://archiveofourown.org/works/34692130 674 words (Harry Potter)
Cake!!! by pushkin666 https://archiveofourown.org/works/34692757 A drabble and a half. (The Hobbit)
 
Also read:

Doin’ Okay (But Not Very Well) by Brumeier**** https://archiveofourown.org/works/34142959  8720 words. SGA – Evan sees a murder. Probably sufficiently AU for the uninformed reader to enjoy though the cameo roles for other characters add to the interest.

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