March 2023 Reviews

Bought daffodils. The ones in our garden are the mini variety and we don’t pick them.

Both reading and viewing in one post this time.

The best of what I read:

Sloth and other delights by TJ Nichols***** I adore this series. The characters are so complex and interesting and the world building is amazing. To say that it follows a human cop and his dragon shifter partner doesn’t give it any of the nuances it deserves. I know there are at least two more volumes and am not sure whether to gobble them up or ration myself.

Keeper of Enchanted Rooms by Charlie N Holmberg***** Gorgeous mf romance set in an alternate universe where magic is normal but rare. Merritt inherits an enchanted house and Hulda is sent to help him adjust. There is plenty of danger, not least from the house, but also from a fascinating villain. The magic is interesting and unusual. Apart from the added magical element the period (mid nineteenth century) is beautifully evoked.

Deliverance by Jason Bray**** Fascinating real life Merrily (crime series about diocesan exorcist) and it seems Bray helped Rickman create some of Merrily’s cases and solutions. Probably mostly of interest if you follow the Rickman series.

The Knight and the Necromancer by AH Lee**** Interesting and three dimensional characters plus good world building and some fascinating magic. This is volume one; Roland and Sair have started to bond and Queen Daphne might be safe for now, but there is no resolution or even a HFN. I shall be reading the sequel.

Postscript by Anne Barwell**** A delightful mm romance featuring a magic bookshop and a possibly ghostly cat. I enjoyed both threads of the story, past and present, but am still slightly confused by the apparent time travel, something that always plays havoc with my brain.

Run Wild, Run Free by Fiona Glass**** Pleasant gentle romance set in ‘50s UK though I was a bit puzzled by the way 18 was referred to as a special birthday. At the time, 21 was the usual celebration. I was also concerned that Joe couldn’t access further education at an art college. He would have left school at 15 and gone ‘down the pit’ or stayed till 18 at which point his local authority would have provided further ed without cost to his parents.

Stone Skin by Jenn Burke**** Lovely sequel to Stone Wings. The cursed gargoyles make fascinating characters.

Queer Weird West Tales ed. Julie Bozza.**** As is usual for an anthology, this is a mixture of excellent and merely good. One story,The Train Ticket by Dannye Chase, really resonated with me. In my alter ego on AO3 I’m partially responsible for a collection of stories that echo this one: Ain’t no rest for the wicked: tales of the train ed moth2fic and rubyelf. The tales are not specifically fanfic but use fandom tropes and in some cases backgrounds. )

Safe House by Chris Ewan**** Unusual spy thriller set on Isle of Man.

The Peacekeeper by BI Blanchard**** Some brilliant world building in this crime story set in an AU where America was never colonised. However, although I enjoyed the details of the twentyfirst century life of Native Americans, I realised who the killer was long before it dawned on any of the police/peace keepers. Worth reading but I won’t follow the author.


Clueless by E Broom*** Cute story but the magic didn’t quite ring true

The Christmas Rescue by VL Locey*** Nice romance featuring the snowed-in trope.

Pole Position by Kristian Parker*** Thoroughly readable mm romance set in the world of Formula 1 motor racing and in the Queen’s Crescent ‘universe’ that the author is developing. I find it hard to get into the mindset of top sports people and although I watch and enjoy Formula 1 this didn’t appeal to me as much as I hoped.

Year of the Rat by Marshall Thornton*** Competent private investigator story about freeing an innocent man from prison. There were a lot of mysteries about the PI narrator and then right at the end he was linked to a different series and I was somehow disappointed.

Blinding Light by BL Maxwell*** A Rocktoberfest novel and this time there was plenty of interesting information about management and backstage things. However, the mm pairing agreed not to explore their feelings till after Rocktoberfest then when that was over we saw them leave, and the next chapter was an epilogue which assumed they were together. There was some explicit UST earlier but I found the ending disappointing.

On the third kiss by George Loveland. *** Pleasant mm romance, nicely written but with some tired tropes.

Still Life with Murder by Patricia Ryan*** Competent crime investigation story set in Boston, US, in the aftermath of the civil war. I wasn’t sufficiently drawn to the female sleuth to continue with the rest of the series.

Less recommended:

Bear and Fred by Iris Argaman** Intended as a memorial to children uprooted by WWII, this is a disappointing book that glosses over some of the worse aspects of the children’s experiences and relies on the ‘ahh’ factor of the teddy bear. It’s a children’s book and is not, I think, the best of its kind. It compares very unfavourably with books like Judith Kerr’s When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, and whilst it is perhaps aimed at even younger readers I feel if they aren’t old enough to hear sad stories they should perhaps be made to wait a while. It is also worth noting that the book is not really suitably formatted for ebook reading. I got it ‘free’ as an Amazon Prime first read but would have felt let down if I’d paid for it.

The Christmas Ghosts of Rothery Hall by Graham Peace. Abandoned. The style simply wasn’t for me so this isn’t an actual criticism, just an expression of personal taste.

Windswept and Interesting by Billy Connolly. Abandoned. Somehow, Billy’s humour and fierceness don’t come across in the written word the same way they do in live performances. I got bored very quickly.

I have been culling my tbr pile on my Kindle and have deleted a large number of books I should never have downloaded in the first place. I haven’t listed them and it wouldn’t, in most cases, even be fair to say I abandoned them as I didn’t read more than a few pages. (Less than the ‘sample’ Amazon tend to offer!) I think once upon a time I was beguiled by offers of free books, and in some cases of extremely cheap ones. I hope I have learnt my lesson. The cull continues…

Excellent viewing:

The Third Man***** I didn’t mean to watch but got hooked for yet another viewing. Brilliant as ever.

Vera 12:Episodes 2 and 3 (ITVX)***** As I’ve said before, I love this series, not least because it’s set in my native city.

The Bay Series 4**** (ITVX) I think the cop show set in Morecambe has developed well and it’s good the way the cops’ personal problems are not only made very real but don’t overshadow the crime plot. They also feed into it in unexpected ways.

Unmasking my autism – Charlotte McGuiness BBC**** Interesting programme looking at autism in women.

The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse.**** Animated film for children and adults first shown at Christmas and still available on iPlayer for the rest of the year. Recced last month and it got an Oscar for best animated short so I thought I’d mention it again.

The Night Stalker My5**** Real life crime in Perth, Australia. It was interesting to compare their policing with ours (UK), and the reactions of the victims added to the effect of the show.


The Blob***(and the real one***). I can’t recall the name of the ‘real’ programme (or which channel both were shown on) but it was about slime mould and was fascinating at times. Then we watched the old film which, although dated, had some extremely tense moments.

Rocketman*** The Elton John biopic. I quite enjoyed the music.


The Wall. All4. Canadian noir. ** Almost abandoned but husband was watching. The entire thing is filmed either in semi darkness or against snow, both of which are presumably correct for the Canadian mining town setting, but the French Canadian accents were difficult and many of the subtitles were set against snow… Virtually all the cast spent their time in winter weather gear and it was often impossible to tell who was who. The plot, or what I gathered of it, was less than inspiring.

Better BBC iPlayer. I actually abandoned this even though husband was watching. The lead character is a female, ethnic minority, corrupt cop and the whole thing seemed so full of stereotypes and attempts to break some kind of wall that I just couldn’t watch.  

2 thoughts on “March 2023 Reviews

  1. So sorry you didn’t enjoy my book more. Joey’s experiences were based on my own great-aunt who was pulled out of art college by her ageing parents (who wanted her to come home and look after them) because she would have needed their permission to stay on. I assumed (perhaps wrongly) that it was the same for everyone.

  2. I did enjoy your book – hence the four star review! I grew up in a mining community so the age thing confused me as did the education part. That didn’t detract from the lovely characters and story.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.