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text 2020-06-16 16:44
Reading progress update: I've read 4%. - already ditched the audiobook version
The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafón

This is off to a spectacularly gothic start. Who among us wouldn't have liked to have been taken, at the age of ten, to a secret library in a ruined castle, especially when it's called 'The Cemetry Of Forgotten Books' and you're not allowed to tell anyone about it?


Unfortunately, the narrator of the audiobook, Daniell Philpott, seemed determined to such the life out of the book. He was slow, deaf to the rhythm of the prose and altogether too English for this book. I had wondered why a book of 500 pages was going to take 17 hours and 33 minutes to listen to - that's 90 minutes more that I expected and my guess is that much of it is accounted for by the narrator's pace and inappropriate hesitations.


So, I've claimed my refund for the audiobook and then got a version from Kindle for £0.99 (how does the author or the publisher make any money from that?)



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review 2019-08-04 19:14
"Body On Baker Street - Sherlock Holmes Bookstore Mystery #2" by Vicki Delany
Body on Baker Street - Vicki Delany

I think I would have enjoyed "Body On Baker Street" more  if I'd left more of a gap between reading it and the first Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery, "Elementary, She Read". "Body On Baker Street" deserved to have me come at it fresh rather than for me to be constantly comparing it the first book.


That said, I enjoyed myself listening to "Body On Baker Street". The plot involves the murder of a flamboyant author of a set of Holmes pastiche novels.


This was a great vehicle for exploring some of the more bizarre aspects of publishing and promoting books and the extremes of "Sherlockian" fandom.


I loved the premise of the pastiche: that Mrs Hudson was secretly having an affair with Holmes and worked alongside him to solve the mysteries of the day, I can imagine the outrage this would cause.


The plot was a clever way of having the murder take place where Gemma Doyle and her friend and business partner Jayne Wilson can't help but become involved. The flamboyance of the author, the strangeness of her fans and detractors and the secrets in her entourage all fed into the humour of the book while making it more and more difficult to figure out whodunnit.


At one point, Gemma loses all perspective - who in their right mind breaks INTO a police station?- and I liked the way Vicki Delaney used Gemma's friends to keep her from crossing the line from determined investigator to total nutjob.


The resolution was as well worked out and as satisfying as the misdirection along the way. Gemma got to work it all out without stretching my belief too far and we got a little more development of the relationship between her and her friends.


I'll be back for more of this series but I'm going to leave it a month or two so I can get the most out of the books. Besides, book three is called "The Cat Of The Baskervilles", how could I resist that?



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review 2019-07-11 09:32
"Elementary, She Read - Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #1" by Vicki Delaney - wonderful fun.
Elementary, She Read - Vicki Delany

My wife and I listened to "Elementary, She Read" on a five-hour car drive. The audiobook is eight hours twenty-five minutes long, so we ended up spending the evening listening to the rest of the book. It made us laugh several times but it also had us discussing the characters (why we liked them, why they liked each other, what we had in common with them) and admiring how cleverly put together the book is.


I was uncertain about the book because it seemed to be set up to press too many must-read-that buttons: it's set in a bookshop, it's set in a SHERLOCK HOLMES bookshop, it's set in a Sherlock Holmes bookshop IN CAPE COD, it's set in a Sherlock Holmes bookshop in Cape Cod that is linked to MRS HUDSON'S TEA ROOMS, and the main character is A DIFFICULT BRIT WITH A LIKEABLE, PRETTY, AMoERICAN best friend and business partner. Add in the fact that the bookshop has an adorable cat (Moriarty) who likes everyone except our main character and that our main character has a soft love-me-feed-me pet dog and we have a Royal Flush of cuteness. It seemed to me unlikely that, with that much icing on the outside, the fruitcake inside would be worth eating.


I tried the book anyway because I'd read good things about the series on BookLikes and because, if anyone can pull off a cosy mystery that plays on the foibles of the Brits and the Americans, it's going to be a Canadian writer.


Happily for me and my wife, locked into a long drive across some of England's least interesting Motorways, "Elementary, She Read" turned out to be pretty much perfect. The fruit cake inside the icing was rich, textured, met all my expectations and added a couple of "Hmm, is that cinnamon or quince giving that extra tang?" moments.


What made it work was that Vicki Delany made the story character-driven. Although there was a Sherlock Holmes-related mystery, involving multiple killings and a suspect-rich environment it seemed to me that the real mystery at the heart of the book was the personality of Gwen Doyle, the owner and manager of "The Sherlock Holmes Bookshop And Emporium".


Gwen is a wonderful creation, made even more interesting because we learn about her only through her own eyes. Gwen is very bright, very observant but her complete inability to see the world as anything but a frankly-not-that-challenging puzzle, constantly causes offence and conflict through inappropriate remarks and behaviour. Gwen's logic and determination made "Elementary, She Read" into something much more rigorous in terms of plot than other cosy mysteries I've read. Gwen's lack of social skills and her assumption that it will be obvious to anyone with even half a brain that's she's right, at least, it will once she's taken the time to explain it to them slowly so they can keep up, lands her as the prime suspect in the murder. Watching her dig that hole deeper without realising she's doing it was a lot of fun.


What made Gwen real to me was her relationship with her best friend the petite, pretty, open and honest Jayne Wilson. Jayne is a woman other women like and nice men fall in love with but who prefers to spend her time with arty bad boys who know how to have fun. Jayne understands Gwen's strengths and weaknesses and discretely compensates for them, protecting Gwen from her blindspots with regard to personal relationships, her poor ability to assess personal risk and ordering an extra portion to accommodate the fact Gwen never orders food but always eats of Jayne's plate.


The friendship between these women works well. It makes the plot run smoothly, adds a lot of humour and avoids Gwen coming across as the kind of arrogant ass Sherlock Holmes so often seems to me to be.


The plot is convincing and kept me guessing. The dive into Sherlockian culture was a lot of fun, referencing every Sherlock movie, TV series and pastiche I've ever heard of and describing the avidity of the collectors and the playful curiosity of the casual readers with gentle humour.


My wife and I have to make the return journey today. I have the next book in the series "Body In Baker Street" (yes, the bookshop is on 222 Baker Street in West London Cape Cod) ready to play. We're both looking forward to it.



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url 2019-05-24 06:53
Online Book Library in Gurgaon| Bookpal Library| Book on Rent

Bookpal is an online book library located in Gurgaon. They have a wide range of books available for the toddler to teens and dabblers to bookworm. By subscribing Bookpal's membership you can order online and they will deliver at your doorstep. Also, you can take a book on rent in Gurgaon anytime. So try Bookpal and read something which will help you to gain knowledge.           

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review 2017-01-01 00:00
The Corner Store Witch: Book 1: You Meet at an Inn
The Corner Store Witch: Book 1: You Meet at an Inn - H.D. Lynn I received a free copy through Xpresso Reads by agreeing to review after reading.

Basically: Being sucked in by the blurb + cover leads to disappointment based on inaccuracies and an amateur white woman writing out of her lane.

--Title = Misleading Fail. She’s not a witch, she’s a chosen one. Her nerd shop is great, but not some corner store people go to for witchy assistance.

==Blurb = Hooked me, but it so affirmative while the whole book it’s just denial and trying to be normal again.

++Cover = Absolutely gorgeous. Look at her with her hair out, her stance powerful, her body covered, and just radiating black girl magic while her shop is in ruins around her.

++I LOVED their response to the interdimensional interloper dropping from the ceiling. I could totally see nerds, myself included, doing this. Since the questions got nowhere, why not see what he knows about magic with contemporary references?

+Author clearly knows her geeky stuff.

--Stereotypes abound.


--The plot was convenient, obvious, and generic. The unique elements of this chosen tale dragged it down instead of pulling weight leaving the plot’s ass exposed.

--Cliffhanger. It’s so short I was torn between being grateful and frustrated.

--Leone’s group is a dynamically impaired mess. There’s hardly time to get to know them before they rush off and begin bickering through Anime-Land. Shandi, the geek encyclopedia and organizing extraordinaire on the Autism spectrum, is the only one besides Leone and her sister that comes through for me. I really liked her, but while I’m aware enough to recognize the stereotype and feel uncomfortable with it, I cannot ascertain whether the portrayal is good or problematic rep. I was glad she was there, especially given everything else, but I don’t think I’m supposed to be.

Here She Comes Around the Mountain of Salt

The Corner Store Witch is written by a white woman and I’m a white woman. I didn’t know the former fact before I signed up to review. I didn’t do my due diligence. The blurb and cover was enough to win me over, I leaped without looking.

I should not have done that.
I should not have done that.

I thought things were fine, if a little repetitive and shallow, until they traveled to Anime Wannabe World. No, I’m not calling it Japanese inspired. That’s insulting like saying Chuck e Cheese is Italian inspired because it has pizza on the menu.

There is racism in Japan like everywhere else though it has it’s own special history and dynamics. Leone and her crew being discriminated against was to be expected. Except it was only the demons and not the Japanese people that acted this way.

The DEMONS said their skin was an abomination but the townsfolk, the guards, the priests are all cool as shit with them off the bat? When they’ve never seen people like Leone and her friends? When they don’t have black people running around there except from vague south area that haven’t traveled out in decades?

Nope, not buying it. It’s artificial and fishy to absolve humans of their ways and foist it upon corrupted demons from another dimension.

In the end it reminds me of A Mortal Song in the same sense, it’s obvious this was written by an outsider without the experience and loving touch of #ownvoices.

Even if you’re desperate for non-white and non-western fantasy, I can’t recommend The Corner Store Witch.It’s not badly written, I don’t think, and it’s easy to fall into but that’s part of the problem. Diversity, overthrowing and overcoming the white supremacy in publishing is not easy. Reading white authors use marginalized characters is a cop out. It will continue to support the current structure with the shallow understanding of marginalized people and different cultures.

Say no to this.

Previous Updates:: I actually finished this a bit ago, I'm so bad at staying up to date. Review will come shortly, on the 20th at the latest.
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