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review 2020-01-21 13:23
Ruddy Gore (Phryne Fisher #7) - Kerry Greenwood
Ruddy Gore - Kerry Greenwood

These books never disappoint. Not only was this book delightful, it was also a quick enough read that it allowed me to finish the long weekend having read more books than my 11 year old. 

 

If you ask her, she'll say my lack of enforced bedtime allowed me to win. That might be true. I still won. 

 

Dates read 1/19/2020-1/20/2020

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review 2019-05-08 13:19
Earthly Delights
Earthly Delights - Kerry Greenwood

This was a bit of a weird reading experience for me. I liked the characters and the mysteries and the descriptions of the food and the goings-on in Corinna’s bakery, and yet I kind of hated the writing style. It’s in first person with occasional stream-of-consciousness-esque shifting verb tenses which drove me up the wall, and the solution to one of the mysteries is kept back until the very end even though the reader is in Corinna’s head and should have seen her figure it out. Quite a few things Corinna does are kept from the reader until Corinna explains the solution to other characters, and it was so jarring that I was flipping back through pages to see if I’d accidentally skipped some before I realized it was either a cheap trick or lazy writing. Withholding info from the reader like that just doesn’t really work in a first person narrative. So I was annoyed by the writing style and the first person and Corinna’s inexplicably knowing things the reader doesn’t get to see her discover or work out on her own, but I still had a hard time putting it down and will probably read the next book if I can find it at the library.

 

TL;DR: I’m entertained and annoyed and seriously craving fresh bread.

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review 2019-05-05 02:14
Murder on the Ballarat Train
Murder On The Ballarat Train - Kerry Greenwood

My husband has family in Ballarat and I have been there several times. I thought it would be pretty cool to read Greenwood’s 1920’s version of the city, so imagine my mild chagrin when not a single piece of the action took place there. It’s not the book’s fault; I played myself. “The Ballarat Train” being in the title is no guarantee the train ever makes it to Ballarat. Oh well. The next book in the series is called Death at Victoria Dock. In an effort to better manage my expectations, I shall make no assumptions about any of the book taking place dockside.

 

Though I was robbed of descriptions of 1920’s Ballarat, I enjoyed the murder mystery and the side mystery and the side-side mystery, and the different ways they all connected. I think Greenwood did a much better job this time around blending the darker elements of the story with the lighter, cheekier elements. Even though the story dealt with human trafficking, rape, and murder, those swerves into Darkville weren’t nearly so jarring. Either the writing is improving or I’m acclimating to Greenwood’s style.

 

Speaking of the writing . . .

 

One of the things I love about this series is that Phryne unabashedly goes through a series of flavor-of-the-month lovers. She’s not here for long term relationships, but she’s sure as hell here for great sex. Move over, Bond Girls. Here come the Fisher Boys! Or the “pets,” as Phryne’s household staff call them. This book’s pet seems like a nice enough chap, though at first he feared Phryne was a tease who would string him along and leave him with blue balls. And then during the ensuing sex scene appears a paragraph which, if I didn’t know better, I would swear was written by a man in a work of “serious literature”:

As the lips closed, Phryne gave a soft cry, and Lindsay was inside her, the strong but liquid, blood-heat tissue and muscle clutching and sucking, and Lindsay realized that she did not mean to cheat him.

I’m not turned on so much as I’m wondering if Phryne’s been possessed by some sort of alien vagina monster.

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review 2019-05-03 03:30
Flying Too High
Flying Too High - Kerry Greenwood

It’s been years since I read Cocaine Blues (I think it was in The Before Times), and I feared I’d have to go back to it for a refresher, but I needn’t have worried. Greenwood helpfully explains any references to past adventures whether they were in the first book or not. It seems to be the kind of deal where Phryne’s backstory is dropped in little snippets whenever one of her astounding skills needs to be explained, so I find it less likely I forgot that she had piloting experience in book one, and more likely that I won’t find out about that time she climbed Mount Everest until Greenwood needs to explain how Phryne can suddenly ascend sheer rock faces with the greatest of ease.

 

One thing I do wish I remembered about Cocaine Blues is whether or not it also switched from lighthearted and snarky to downright disturbing and back at the drop of a hat. Several times Flying Too High was rolling along pleasantly on Cheeky Street before hitting the gas and taking a hard turn onto WTF Drive on the way to Darksville, only to take another screeching-tire turn onto What A Lark Avenue. Spoilery examples include:

 

 

Sexual assault played for laughs and not even viewed as sexual assault. Posing nude for an artist is not an invitation to have your nipples sucked by said artist who is frustrated with the lack of tension in your body. And the whole thing is played for laughs. And then they have consensual sex, because yay for sexual agency, I guess? And then they go out to dinner and Phryne asks to buy the sculpture she just posed and was assaulted for, because who wouldn’t want to have a tangible reminder of that time a guy you’d never met before sucked your nipples without permission?

 

Making a deal with a pedophile to smuggle a child to him in prison so he can get off one last time before his execution. In exchange for him not dobbing in one of his fellow kidnappers, no less. But don’t worry, folks, it’s not an actual child Phryne’s sacrificing to the gods of criminal obstruction of justice. It’s a physically underdeveloped adult lesbian who gets her rocks off turning tricks for pedos in prison. HOW VERY CONVENIENT THAT PHRYNE KNOWS ONE OF THOSE.

 

(spoiler show)

 

So yeah. I can’t tell if there are actual tonal problems there that should have been addressed or if I’m reading them as tonal problems because of the flippant treatment of things on my ick list. Either way, the book made me laugh more than it tried to make my eyebrows climb up past my hairline, and I’ll keep going with the series for now.

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text 2018-12-02 19:19
24 Tasks of the Festive Season - Day 9 / Task 3 - Thanskgiving
Cocaine Blues - Kerry Greenwood

Task 3: Name a book you’ve read this year that you thought was full of “stuffing”.

 

The first book in the Phryne Fisher series is stuffed with Phrynes clothes. There were so many descriptions of Phrynes wardrobe, at some point I thought I was reading the Vogue magazine.

 

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