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Search tags: Strong-female-protagonist
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review 2018-09-18 01:47
Mistress of Mellyn - Victoria Holt for Genre: Suspense
Mistress of Mellyn - Victoria Holt

Maybe it's nostalgia, maybe it was the disappointment of the last book, maybe the potato finally got digested, whatever it was I quite enjoyed this. Unlike the heroine I have a bit of familiarity with gothic conventions, so there weren't a lot of surprises, not that I expected any. But now I would like to do some kind of survey of the genre, noting popular locales (Cornwall and Scotland, of course, but where else), characteristics of the leads, relationship with the servents, what happened to the first wife, etc. No doubt the time of the writing has more influence on these attributes than the supposed setting year.

 

Fun times with old houses and dark doubts.

 

Library copy 

 

Would also work for Romantic Suspense, Terrifying Women, Gothic, Country House Mystery, and Amateur Sleuth.

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review 2018-09-16 02:31
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black

  Clever chicks who kick ass and go back to save people and are kind to smaller children...I love Tana. There's plenty of creepy atmosphere, and vampire slaying, and gore for days, but there's no swearing or sex (if that's something you look for) and in its own way it's rather wholesome. Tana and Buffy would get along well together.

 

Library copy

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review 2018-09-13 00:01
Sleeping Beauties: A Novel - Stephen King, Owen King for Modern Masters of Horror
Sleeping Beauties: A Novel - Stephen King,Owen King

  I enjoyed this enormously. There were some surprises and some poor reading on my part (my earlier race comment was wrongish, because of my failure to notice and/or remember the race of characters, but also kind of accurate given later developments - it's complicated). Anyway, nice work with archetypes and fairy tales and a premise that is clearly fantasy, but also very grounded and concrete. There's a large cast and lots of plot. But also really nuanced and generous, kind even. Stephen has always showed an understanding of and sympathy with abused women, so a whole lot of compassion towards the inmates of a women's prison is no surprise. But there is also a lot of anger, some of it directed at people behaving badly and some of it directed at society for creating and exacerbating iniquity. Dickensian.

 

Good on these two for writing a book that is absolutely entertaining, but more than just entertaining.

 

Good for many squares, and recommended to those who don't care for horror in general.

 

 

Library copy

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review 2018-09-07 04:20
Tess of the Road - Rachel HartmanĀ 
Tess of the Road - Rachel Hartman

Woah. I will try and write something more reviewish after time  to reflect. For the time being there is nothing about this book that isn't fabulous.

 

Amusing coincidence: the author photo shows Hartman in an orange blazer. The author photo for Naomi Novak, who has also written a bestselling series about dragons, shows her in an orange blazer. Orange is my least favorite color, but clearly it works for some people.

 

Library copy 

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review 2018-09-02 15:25
The Day of the Dead - Nicci French
The Day of the Dead - Nicci French

  Read for the Darkest London square. 

 

Nicci French books are a counter to all those serial killer/women in peril books: there are women in peril, but the women are the protagonists, not some guy coming in to save them. More recent authors in the same vein would be Gillian Flynn and Carol Goodman. I love these sorts of books.

 

The Frieda Klein series is set primarily in London and one of the notable quirks  of Frieda is that she walks when she can't sleep, which is often all night. There's an interesting parallel with Aaronovitch's Peter Grant series, in that both have the rivers of London running through them as a motif. Anyway Frieda spends a lot of time traveling around London, so the category brought it to mind immediately. That, and the books have a very dark side. But I love them because they also have a great warmth to them. Frieda is a therapist who ends up helping the police with their inquiries when one of her patients is murdered and over the next decade she is involved in other cases in various ways. Anyway, Frieda is a naturally solitary and intensely private one, but she is also very kind, consequently she has a large circle of friends and relations who care deeply for her, and get all up in her business. So despite having dark and brutal crimes, there is this woman on her own in a charming and snug little house, and the varied people who exasperate her with their drama but whom she remains helpful and available for. There is a balance between the two poles of alone and attached that pleases me and soothes me.

 

This book was a truly satisfying conclusion to the series. There's no attempt to tie up all tje loose ends, but there's quite a bit of resolution. 

 

Highly recommended, and good for Suspence, Terrifying Women, maybe Modern Noir, Murder Most Foul, Amateur Sleuth, and arguably Slasher Stories. The first Frieda Klein novel , Blue Monday, is also the 13th Nicci French novel.

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