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text 2017-09-09 03:05
Halloween Bingo - Country House Mystery
If We Were Villains: A Novel - M. L. Rio

I read If We Were Villains where the crime is committed after a party at the Castle, the isolated building on the campus of Dellecher Classical Conservatory where the 7 fourth-year theater students live. Because they live on the other side of a lake from the rest of the student body, the only suspects for the case are the fourth-years since everyone else had left the party long before the actual crime takes place. And each fourth-year has means, motive, and opportunity to have done it. I decided to use this for the County House Mystery square.

 

 

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review 2017-06-01 15:53
Best Book Read in May
If We Were Villains: A Novel - M. L. Rio

Looking back at the month of May, I am astounded to find that I read 24 books.  Even better, only one of them was a dud.

 

But this book, this book stood out from the crowd.  An excellent, twisty mystery, lots of Shakespearean drama, and a surprising ending.  For a first novel, it is amazing, but since the author holds a Master's degree in Shakespeare Studies from King's College in London and Shakespeare's Globe and was herself an actor, she seems uniquely qualified to write this fabulous tale.

 

I would highly recommend it.

 

Happy June, everyone!

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review 2017-05-23 16:41
If We Were Villains / M.L. Rio
If We Were Villains: A Novel - M. L. Rio

Enter the players. There were seven of us then, seven bright young things with wide precious futures ahead of us. Until that year, we saw no further than the books in front of our faces.

On the day Oliver Marks is released from jail, the man who put him there is waiting at the door. Detective Colborne wants to know the truth, and after ten years, Oliver is finally ready to tell it.

Ten years ago: Oliver is one of seven young Shakespearean actors at Dellecher Classical Conservatory, a place of keen ambition and fierce competition. In this secluded world of firelight and leather-bound books, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingénue, extra. But in their fourth and final year, the balance of power begins to shift, good-natured rivalries turn ugly, and on opening night real violence invades the students’ world of make believe. In the morning, the fourth-years find themselves facing their very own tragedy, and their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, each other, and themselves that they are innocent.

Part coming-of-age story, part confession, If We Were Villains explores the magical and dangerous boundary between art and life. In this tale of loyalty and betrayal, madness and ecstasy, the players must choose what roles to play before the curtain falls.

 

Wow, that was a first novel? For me, it was perfection. A good twisty mystery, lots of Shakespeare, and THAT ENDING.

Dellecher Classical Conservatory is like Hogwarts for Arts students and this novel focuses on the fourth year Drama students. They’ve been marinating in Shakespearean drama for four years and have maybe absorbed more than they think. The narrator, Oliver, is most often cast as a supporting character and the others agree that he is a giving actor and a giving person. Despite that, the reader realizes that he seems to be pretty clueless—not very observant, he makes some of his most important realizations during performances of the Shakespearean tragedies.

The little that we see of Oliver’s family indicates that there is something desperately wrong—Oliver doesn’t want to go home to them and can hardly wait to leave. One of his sisters has a serious eating disorder and Oliver resents that his family can’t pay for her treatment AND his tuition. There is a serious attitude of entitlement, not only in Oliver, but in all of these students. I didn’t like a single one of them, but I loved the story!

I would love to be able to conduct conversations in Shakespeare quotes! That level of expertise in the plays would delight me. If nothing else, this book has certainly inspired me to continue with my project to see all of Shakespeare’s plays.

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text 2017-05-17 18:08
Plan of Attack
If We Were Villains: A Novel - M. L. Rio
The Maid of the North: Feminist Folk Tales from Around the World - Lloyd Bloom,Ethel Johnston Phelps
The Vampire Defanged: How the Embodiment of Evil Became a Romantic Hero - Susannah Clements
Shadow Games - Glen Cook
Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard - Laura Bates
The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

So, I am once again overwhelmed with library books and I have to get cracking!

 

I should be finished If We Were Villains in one more evening, if the cat lets me and I can stay awake.  (Mr. Cat leaped on me in bed this morning at 5:45 a.m. to let me know he was ready for me to get up.  And he'd been such a polite bed-partner until then).

 

Maid of the North is an interlibrary loan which can't be renewed, but it reads fast.  I will finish it this weekend for sure.  Same thing with The Vampire Defanged.

 

Shadow Games has been put on hold far too frequently and I really want to finish it up quickly, too.

 

Then the next 2 library books to tackle are Shakespeare Saved My Life and The Three Musketeers.  I've renewed them both on at least a couple of occasions and I'll soon not be able to renew again.  Gotta get cracking!

 

My mission is clear.

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text 2017-05-17 14:49
Reading progress update: I've read 256 out of 368 pages.
If We Were Villains: A Novel - M. L. Rio

All his peers call Oliver 'the nice one.'  So why do I dislike him so much?

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