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review 2018-11-16 19:40
24 Festive Tasks: Doors 3, 21 and 24 - Books for Melbourne Cup Day, Kwanzaa and Epiphany
Field of Thirteen - Dick Francis
The Guards - Ken Bruen,Gerry O'Brien
The Clock Strikes Twelve - Diana Bishop,Patricia Wentworth


Dick Francis: Field of Thirteen

I've owned this collection of short stories since forever and decided our Melbourne Cup Day book task was the perfect occation so pull it out and finally read it.  Candidly, I'm not sure why Dick Francis didn't write more short stories: both his style of writing and his plot construction lent themselves perfectly to the short form, and I tend to view even some of his novels as short story constructs extended to novel length rather than books conceived as novels in the first place (even though they probably were).  Be that as it may, this is a very enjoyable collection featuring some of Francis's best writing, set in the world of racehorse breeding (and stealing and betting), and against the great race events of Britain and the U.S., from the Grand National, Ascot, Sandown Park, the Marlborough Racing Club Gallops, Cheltenham and Stratford to the Kentucky Derby, plus the odd imaginary racetrack (unfortunately, not also the Melbourne Cup).  Not all of the mysteries involve a death, and not all the deaths that occur are caused intentionally -- word to the wise, however, steeplechase racing is a hazardous sport for humans and horses alike, and Francis makes no bones about this particular fact.

 


Ken Bruen: The Guards
(Narrator: Gerry O'Brien)

Ken Bruen's Jack Taylor series has been on my radar ever since I watched the first episode of its TV adapatation, starring Iain Glen.  The Guards provides as gut-punch an opener as is conceivable to the series; we see how and why Taylor is dismissed from the Gardaí Síochána, and though the motif of the loner detective who struggles not only at socializing but also with a range of other things, most notably including full-blown alcoholism, is a veritable staple in today's detective fiction, I can think of few other series where particularly the protagonist's addiction is explored this forthrightly (well, OK, Harry Hole comes to mind).  Taylor is -- literally -- not afraid to pull punches, but he is fiercly loyal to those to whom he feels loyalty is due ... and ready to take his loyalty all the way if necessary.  I've never been to County Galway, where the series is set, and I can't shake the feeling that I'd get even more out of it if I had, but even so, this is one series I'm glad to have finally added to those that I'm now following (and I'm not exactly sad I have a bunch of installments to catch up on first).  Gerry O'Brien's narration, too, did a stellar job in transporting the book's tone and atmosphere.

 

I listened to this for the Kwanzaa square (a book with a black cover). 

 


Patricia Wentworth: The Clock Strikes Twelve
(Narrator: Diana Bishop)

This came with high praise from both Tigus and Moonlight, so I knew I had a lot to look forward to -- and I was certainly not disappointed!  This is a New Year's Eve story and the "family patriarch publicly announces 'I know someone here has betrayed family interests and you've got until midnight to come forward and confess your sins'" classic mystery plot variant ... seriously, someone should have told those Golden Age family patriarchs not to do this sort of thing because it'll invariably get them killed.  Anyway, Wentworth had comfortably settled into her formula by the time she wrote this book, and I agree with Moonlight -- this is now my new favorite entry in the series, too.  Though written strictly to Wentworth's formula (cozy rural setting with bickering family [or village population], lovers to (re)bond, a reasonable but not impenetrable amount of red herrings, a perhaps not entirely unexpected villain, and an investigation by thoroughly compentent police inspectors who are, nevertheless, easily "bested" by Miss Silver), the characters and their various conflicts are finely and credibly drawn and jump off the page as real people ... and Miss Silver, as always, is a sheer delight.  Well done, Maudie!  And Patricia -- and Diana (Bishop), whose reading of the Miss Silver books I've thoroughly come to enjoy.

 

I'm counting this book towards the "Epiphany" square of "24 Festive Tasks" (a book with the word "twelve" in the title).

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text 2018-11-12 20:03
Reading progress update: I've read 5%.
The Guards - Ken Bruen,Gerry O'Brien

A book with a black cover -- listening to this for the Kwanzaa square.  A series I've long wanted to look ino.

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review 2017-12-23 00:00
Guards! Guards!
Guards! Guards! - Terry Pratchett Dragons with indigestion, a man named Carrot, and a dysfunctional secret society. This novel is a lot of fun, and turns the fantasy genre on its head.

Unfortunately, it doesn't go much deeper than that, and I never connected with any of the characters (besides Errol, the pet dragon. But that's a given.)
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text 2017-01-15 19:14
Week 2 of 2017
Oranges are Not the Only Fruit - Jeanette Winterson
The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane - Nicolas Gessner,Martin Sheen,Jodie Foster
Guards! Guards! - Terry Pratchett
A Dance With Dragons - George R.R. Martin

I've seen several people do a weekly update of what they've read during the previous week and I'm going to attempt to do the same. I've been feeling really unmotivated over the last couple of months, I've walked past the same Netflix disc sitting next to our front door for two weeks straight and I just now managed to walk the extra five feet to the mailbox, so I'm hoping if I stick to a weekly update it'll keep me on track.

 

Books Read: 4

 

A Dance with Dragons: This is the only book I completed for my first Reading Challenge of the year, which I'm not counting towards my goal, since I didn't actually participate. I wish I had taken my time to finish this book. I enjoyed it, as I have the other books in the series, but now I have to wait for the next one, if it is ever finished. 4 1/2 stars

 

Oranges are Not the Only Fruit: This was just okay, in fact I enjoyed the introduction by the author more than I did the book. The story jumped around way too much for me and I think going into this I was expecting too much. I had several people recommend this to me, the fact that none of them had a copy to lend to me should have giving me something of a heads up. 2 1/2 stars

 

Guards! Guards!: Not much to say about this, out of all the Discworld books I've read so far this is my favorite. 4 stars

 

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane: Ugh! I saw the movie first and liked it, so I read the book. I should have just stuck to the film. This is probably one of the few films that stay true to the book, unfortunately what kind of works in the movie, falls flat in the book. The book actually ends with "Rynn sat very still." On top of that, the ebook had clearly been created from a scanned copy that had been updated without anybody even taking a glance at it. 1 1/2 stars

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review 2016-08-20 21:17
Hardcore Green (Sector Guard, #17.5) by Viola Grace Review
Hardcore Green - Viola Grace

Sylvain has lived her whole life in the Eckobar Carnival. She travels from world to world, growing things, ensuring crops and bringing life to dead soil. Her talent for bio-forming has saved thousands of lives, but when one world does not want to let her go, the Alliance has to call in assistance. Station 13 has offered up one of its own, Hardcore, to come to her rescue. With steel for bones, Hardcore is surprised to find his heart pounding at the sight of the slight leaf-winged pixie. Something flares to life between them and the people of Porvin want it to stop

Review

Most of the time, I am happy to enjoy a short story. It is the perfect bite of science fiction romance when I am pressed for time.

 

However, this story begged to be more developed. The carnival setting is grand. The heroine's coming into her own wonder. The hero is interesting. But everything from the romance to the action is rushed, stunted or dangling without closure.

 

Still, good but could have been great.

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