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review 2019-01-07 21:39
Very Good, Jeeves / P.G. Wodehouse
Very Good, Jeeves! - P.G. Wodehouse

Whatever the cause of Bertie Wooster's consternation — Bobbie Wickham gives away fierce Aunt Agatha's dog; again in the bad books of Sir Roderick Glossop; Tuppy crushes on robust opera singer — Jeeves can untangle the most ferocious muddle.

 

What an excellent first book for 2019! Wodehouse writes like a charm, making me giggle whilst turning a gorgeous phrase. And it’s as if he knew the women in my family when he says, “Hell, it is well known, has no fury like a woman who wants her tea and can’t get it.” My sisters, my niece and myself frequently suffer from being hangry if we are not fed & watered on a regular basis. Having a pleasant outing requires copious amounts of coffee, regular feedings, and sufficient snacks for the day. So Jeeves plan to disrupt Mrs. Bingo Little’s school friendship through depriving her of lunch plus delaying tea-time was entirely believable to me.

I love Bertie’s willingness to flee the house to avoid unpleasantness, his suffering being known as a lunatic in order to avoid jobs & women. He is the ultimate peace-at-any-pricer. The all-knowing expertise of Jeeves is the perfect foil to the very fallible B. Wooster.

If you haven’t yet made the acquaintance of Mr. Wooster and the inimitable Jeeves, what are you waiting for?

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review 2018-12-31 09:42
"Bleeding Empire" by C. L. Raven - abandoned at 38%
Bleeding Empire - C.L. Raven

Humour's a funny thing, until it isn't. Then, it's a complete waste of time.

 

I started "Bleeding Empire" hoping for a zany and original approach to the Apocalypse,

The opening fitted the bill. The Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse (five because Death is twins) arrive in a city centre (without horses - banned by Health and Safety - but with motorbikes) to find that everyone is so busy with Christmas shopping that their, slightly bumbled, entrance goes unnoticed. Then they checked into a cheap TravelInn and bickered endlessly about what to do next.

 

By the 20% mark, I was beginning to realise this book might not be for me. I felt it was trying too hard. There was lots of brittle, clever-clever dialogue exchanged between the five horsemen of the apocalypse as they behaved like sadistic, murderous, children on a sugar-high with a tendency to sulk or throw tantrums when not killing people. This got old VERY quickly.

 

The graphic violence had already palled. The witty dialogue had slipped into juvenile jibes with a bleeding edge vocabulary. There was some gleeful anarchy at the heart of everything but it was SO anarchic that the story seems to have no purpose or direction.

 

I hoped that a plot might emerge or, failing that a character or two I might care about, or even a clever twist that explained why this video game level carnival of carnage was interesting.

 

I gave up at 38%, after a series of murders and a violent riot that were described in detail but without any flair. Who knew that blood and gore and pointless, spiteful aggression could be so boring?

 

Now I'll never know if this bunch of back-biting, sulky, incompetent demi-gods ended the world. The upside is, I won't have to spend any more time with them in my head.

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text 2018-12-31 08:17
Reading progress update: I've read 38%. - I'm DNFing this
Bleeding Empire - C.L. Raven

Who would have thought that graphic violence preceding the end of the world could be boring? 

 

I'd thought this would be my book for the New Year door in 24 Festive Tasks but now I'll have to look for something else.

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text 2018-12-29 23:18
Reading progress update: I've read 20%. Oh dear . this is not going well
Bleeding Empire - C.L. Raven

So far this book has been trying to hard. Lots of brittle clever-clever dialogue pasted over four horsemen of the apocalypse who behave like sadistic, murderous, children on a sugar-high.

 

The graphic violence has already palled. The witty dialogue has slipped into juvenile jibes with a bleeding edge vocabulary. The gleeful anarchy is there but it's SO anarchic that the story seems to have no purpose or direction.

 

I'll give it to the 30% mark to show that it's going to be worth my time or I'll move on.

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review 2018-12-26 11:02
"Agatha Raisin And Kissing Christmas Goodbye - Agatha Raisin #18" by M C Beaton
Agatha Raisin and Kissing Christmas Goodbye - M.C. Beaton

I don't normally start a series at the eighteenth book but I wanted something linked to Christmas and there it was. It turned out that being in the middle of everything was not a problem, it may even have skipped all that "who is Agatha Raisin and how did she get here?" stuff that can make the start of a series a little slow.

 

The Agatha Raisin I saw was someone who has started a second career, done well and become bored, Someone who sees herself as a tough cookie who has used sheer force of personality to climb from a bad home to being a successful woman, running her own small detective agency. Someone with an instinct to kindness and fairness that she hides, even from herself, with ex post rationalisations about return on investment that maintain her tough cookie self-image.

 

The story revolves around a new client, a rich old widow who lives in a stately home and owns the village around it, who asks Agatha to investigate who in her household is trying to poison her. Agatha imagines a sort Poirot investigation. A lot of the humour comes from how far away the reality is from Agatha's imaginings.

 

What I liked most about the book was Agatha's slow realisation of her changing desires. Hiring (rescuing might be a better description)  a very young but brilliant (and lucky) detective from a background similar to her own, holds up a mirror to Agatha. It allows her to see that she's become older but that that isn't a bad thing. It lets her review her strengths and her achievements and puts her in a position to think about what she really wants.

 

At the beginning of the book, what she really wants is to have the perfect Christmas meal, in her cottage, with all her friends and to end up under the mistletoe in the arms of her ex-husband. By the end of the book, what she wants has changed as she slowly acknowledges who she is and how much she likes being who she is.

 

This was a light read with a funny and clever plot and engaging characters. A good book to settle down with before Christmas (or to bring Christmas back when you feel the need for it.

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