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deirdrebeecher

deirdrebeecher

Joined September 2016

Voracious Reader
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deirdrebeecher
I'm Glad My Mom Died | Jennette McCurdy
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I honestly think this book will save lives. Jennette's unflinching portrayal of her childhood will help those who haven't yet recognised growing up in emotional chaos is abuse. To name inappropriate touching by females as abuse. To understand the difficulties of recovering from eating disorders, the mental illnesses with the highest death rates. It is clear film and tv need to do a lot more to keep kids safe or avoid using them altogether. Pick

deirdrebeecher Dammit I hate when I accidently blurb a book I mean to review. 2mo
14 likes1 comment
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deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed the experience of reading this book, I love the way she writes. The secondary characters, the world is so beautifully vivid.

But there were some plotting issues for me. I disliked the ending, I felt at times younger Lucrezia didn't mesh with her older self.

But I still devoured it, so a pick.

Also if a Portrait inspires an author's novel, publisher please put a picture of it in the book.
Lucrezia de Medici by Allori

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deirdrebeecher
Pickpick

Very enjoyable, great characterisation, great worldbuilding, action packed, fresh plotline. Although there are grim aspects to the story, the authors sense of humour and energetic writing style saves it from grimdark. Defo one for those who are enjoying P Djèlí Clark's Cairo books.

Since Ahmed is now doing extremely well as a comic writer it is unlikely we will get to revisit this world anytime soon which is really the only negative.

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deirdrebeecher
The Three Evangelists | Fred Vargas
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Pickpick

I feel like there is a whole layer of witty humour to this book that I am missing because I'm not French. I didn't mind it that, I prefer a book to go over my head than speak down to me. The other thing is that it is heading into vintage territory. Apart from that it is a very engaging, slightly surreal and satisfying mystery. A good option to try for people who might be a little bored with US/UK/Scandi crime novels.

7 likes1 stack add
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deirdrebeecher
The Grief of Stones | Katherine Addison
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Pickpick

Addison is a very good writer and I did enjoy this a lot. But I can't help comparing the Witness books against the Goblin Emperor. And they just lack something, for me. Probably the humour you could always sense in Maia. Thalar is just so depressed. These are escapist books give us a little touch of joy here and there.
Still a strong pick.

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deirdrebeecher
Sleep Well, My Lady | Kwei Quartey
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Pickpick

I feel like this is a Mystery lovers mystery. Everything gets paired back to essentials and it about the puzzle of the crime. Which made it feel very fresh, a modern take on a classic mystery, with a very satisfying ending.

If you like a thriller style, this is not for you.

It did take me a few chapters to acclimatise to the slight structural differences of Ghanaian English, but I've worked harder to understand Scottish novels and I'm Irish!

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deirdrebeecher
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Panpan

I can only hope that this is a blip, that she pushed this book out during some dark days of the pandemic, because I really love Goddard's world. But three quarters of this book has appeared in other work, she has simply switched the POV to Pali. The original material in this book would barely fill a novelette. I feel quite angry about it.

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deirdrebeecher
The Thirteenth Tale | Diane Setterfield
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Pickpick

I feel like it has been a while since I read a really good book and this is really fecking good. Beautifully written at a slow pace that allows for very rich description and atmosphere while not sacrificing tension. The Characters are vivid, even the 'girl listening to the story' is herself an interesting character. Technically it is a country house mystery, but more in the vein of Rebecca or Atonement. Strong pick.

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deirdrebeecher
Slow Horses | Mick Herron
Mehso-so

I've read three books in this series now, because I have zero executive function at the moment and it's easier to read these than find a series I'll like more. And they are very readable, technically competent, decent plots. But it is an ensemble cast of characters and I am only engaged by one. I keep reading to find out how this one character is getting on while being mildly annoyed by the rest. Also not enjoying the humour.

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deirdrebeecher
Rubbernecker | Belinda Bauer
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Pickpick

Well written, original mystery. But I found myself uneasy with how the autistic MC was portrayed, it was a bit narrow. I wanted to see how autistic ppl viewed it and the below review confirmed my unease. So read for the mystery, with the understanding that this is a limited view of autism. Pick with a caveat.
https://neuroclastic.com/review-of-rubbernecker-by-belinda-bauer-a-novel-with-an...

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deirdrebeecher
Rubbernecker | Belinda Bauer
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Pickpick

Well written, original mystery. But I found myself uneasy with how the autistic MC was portrayed, it was a bit narrow. I wanted to see how autistic ppl viewed it and the below review confirmed my unease. So read for the mystery, with the understanding that this is a limited view of autism. Pick with a caveat.
https://neuroclastic.com/review-of-rubbernecker-by-belinda-bauer-a-novel-with-an...

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deirdrebeecher
The Ghost of Marlow House | Bobbi Holmes, Anna J McIntyre
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Pickpick

Slightly gothic cozy crime, first in a fairly incredibly long series. Perfectly average and I mean that as a huge compliment. Just take me away to average land with an decently written historic murder mystery, some light romance, a missing diamond and emerald necklace. Ok the fact that the MC is attracted to a sexy ghost is a bit weird but I can live with it. Vanilla escapism and that is pretty much what I want in March 2022. 💛 💙

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deirdrebeecher
Mehso-so

Its a good concept and when Grace is in action it is entertaining. If the writer had trusted her audience (who lets face it bought a book called How to Kill your Family) and just went all out with murdering and wrote an entertaining novella this could have been solid. But no she must also try for social satire and satire is hard and it just comes across as ranting. Then a character comes from nowhere in the last third 😡.
Good start, bad ending.

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deirdrebeecher
The Twyford Code | Janice Hallett
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Pickpick

A Guy Ritchie movie in book form. I liked this more than The Appeal. This one is 90% transcribed voice notes which I thought was crazy but actually really worked. There is an immediacy to it and an intimacy with the character of Steve which is really engaging. But then the ending didn't really work for me. Email, who wants to read emails in our fiction in 2022. I really wish this author would add a bit of prose to the mix. 4 stars.

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deirdrebeecher
Measure for Murder | Clifford Witting
Panpan

Other Witting books have stood the test of time but I don't think he pulls this one off. The first 18% is one big infodump. Then there is a dramatic twist midway which forces a change of jockeys that I found disconcerting. About 90% of the book is setting up one reason for the murder. Then the murderer reveal fell flat for me.

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deirdrebeecher
She Who Became the Sun | Shelley Parker-Chan
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Pickpick

I think this might be my favourite ever protagonist/antagonist pairing. But the entire ensemble of characters is excellent. Lots of twisty political shenanigans, lots of gayness, lots of mayhem. By a very skillful and clever writer. Strong pick.

8 likes1 stack add
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deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

Fast paced and entertaining read about the Gucci family and brand. Who were so incredibly messy. I mean Patrizia is the notorious one, but your half way through the book before her crazy starts to eclipse the generations of crazy preceding her.

Forden does a really good job of explaining the family dynamics as well as making the business side of things understandable for finance morons like me.

Better than the movie by all accounts.

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deirdrebeecher
The Stranger Diaries | Elly Griffiths
Mehso-so

I found this book quite pedestrian if I'm honest. Readable but uninspiring. It has a habit of jumping into the view of the pov character who has the least at stake in a scene. We observe Claire's pain rather than going through it with her. It also means the tension doesn't build in a satisfying way. The are some well written red herrings, but I found the ending ultimately uninteresting.

jenniferw88 I really enjoyed this one on audio! 12mo
6 likes1 comment
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deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

This is a solid 4 star for me. Good concept, well constructed, eerie atmosphere, good flow. The characterisation felt a little paint by numbers. The exception being Elsa, but she is in the 'past' timeline and we spend most of our time in the 'present'. Everyone in the present is a little obvious for lack of a better description. But not in a way that would make you put the book down. Well worth a read, won't blow your mind.

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deirdrebeecher
Death of My Aunt | C H B Kitchin
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This definitely holds up. What distinguishes it from other British Crime Classics is a more realistic approach to the impact of the crime. While the flawed protagonist isn't overly fond of his Aunt. Witnessing her death and the days afterwards cause him a great deal of emotional turmoil, which he attempts to deal with by analyzing the situation. As the mystery unfolds it just proves how futile and unrewarding murder is.

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deirdrebeecher
Passing | Nella Larsen
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Anything starring Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson is going to catch my attention, I think they are both brilliant actors. So I decided to read the book their new movie is based on.
*Sigh*
I'm half way and I am both hugely excited to continue reading this masterpiece and utterly disappointed that I had never heard of it. Hope the movie kicks publishing up the arse Nella Larsen deserves to be shelved with the giants of 20th century literature.

Smrloomis Never heard of this either! Thanks for posting it 😄 1y
9 likes1 stack add1 comment
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deirdrebeecher
The Secrets of Wishtide | Kate Saunders
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Pickpick

This was exactly what I was in the mood for. A very well-written mystery which has a certain degree of coziness but is not kitschy. I found the characters very engaging, the historical detail solid and enjoyed that it had a broad perspective of women's experiences not just the privileged. It felt very natural and easy to read. Stong pick.

9 likes1 stack add
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deirdrebeecher
Stargazy Pie | Victoria Goddard
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Pickpick

I read this after reading the two books in Goddard's next series and it does suffer a bit from comparison as Goddard is clearly getting better and better.
There are still lots of great elements, an engaging cast of characters, lots of action. But it has a fairly chaotic plot. I'm not sure if I had read this book first if I would have read on in the series, which would have been a pity because I loved the rest of the series.

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deirdrebeecher
The Hands of the Emperor | Victoria Goddard
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Pickpick

Wow, I loved this. The first third is absolute perfection. There are moments afterwards which my critical voice pointed towards the odd plothole but the rest of my brain gagged that voice because overall it was so lovely and so entertaining. All I can say is that after finishing this book I gleefully binged the sequel as well as her other completed series.
A must read for fans of The Goblin Emperor. 5 stars.

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deirdrebeecher
Crystal Soldier | Sharon Lee, Steve Miller
Mehso-so

As I was reading this book I was kind of forgiving it some of the bumps because it felt like a book written in the 80's which has been overtaken by modern tech and ideas. Then I checked the pub date 2005! This feels like 36 yr old book, not a 16 yr old book.

I mean apart from that it is not terrible, there are good ideas, and it is pretty well written. Just a lot of small reality bumps which make me wary of continuing with this world.

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deirdrebeecher
Architects of Memory | Karen Osborne
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Bailedbailed

Got 70% through it before bailing. In the main the writing is perfectly fine. But the plot felt tortured. I hoped as the strings came together the plot holes might resolve themselves but I found myself hating all the characters so bailed.

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deirdrebeecher
Girl A | Abigail Dean
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Pickpick

Like Room, this is about the survivors of a terrible act. While there is a thriller aspect, it is more about the terrible things you have to do to survive and the long term impacts of it than a mystery to solve. It is very well written, very psychological, very gritty and dark. Fans of Gillian Flynn would likely enjoy it. Strong pick.

9 likes1 stack add
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deirdrebeecher
The Raven Tower | Ann Leckie
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Pickpick

Leckie style always takes me a moment to get into. I frequently reread the first chapters of her books in order to snap into it. My nerd side really enjoyed how she built up the culture of her world. The story itself is original and interesting. I just think there was something to the way the climax built which didn't quite work. 4 stars rather than 5. Still a pick.

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deirdrebeecher
Blackdog | K. Johansen
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Pickpick

This is classic epic fantasy. Johansen takes her characters struggles seriously there is no grimdark style black humour. The characterisation is layered and interesting. The consequences of actions explored well. The villain in particular is one of the best I've read. Feel like this is trad enough to engage old school fantasy fans of Conan etc, updated enough to engage modern audiences. Strong pick

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deirdrebeecher
The Chianti Flask | Marie Belloc Lowndes
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Pickpick

I have a feeling when Belloc Lowndes died she was reincarnated as Shirley Jackson. This book is a very nuanced vintage thriller, it treads a very thin line of belief and disbelief. Belloc Lowndes just knows people and her characters are so deftly drawn. Her red herrings are faint mirages which catch the eye just enough, make you doubt just enough. Reminds me most of DuMaurier's Rebecca. Strong pick

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deirdrebeecher
Malibu Rising | Taylor Jenkins Reid
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Pickpick

TJR writes perfect summer reading books imo. This book is about the adult kids of a Icon, who grew up in Malibu before it was Malibu and the scars they bear from a childhood which contained lots of love and lots of neglect. This book feels as glamourous as a Jackie Collins book while being considerably better written. I don\'t think Nina is as interesting a character as Evelyn was in her other book. Really enjoyed, 4 star rather than 5.

6 likes1 stack add
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deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

This novel has many things in common with Becky Chambers work, although published before Chambers first novel. Light on plot, heavy on characters and looking at how SF can envision better futures for humanity. It also has the slowest of slow burn romances. Tectonic plates have gotten together faster than the love interests in this book. Heavy on growing together as people romance, zero erotic content. Which is how I like. Strong Pick.

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deirdrebeecher
The Shape of Darkness | Laura Purcell
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Pickpick

This is one of those situations where you can see the talent of the author, you can see the fine craftsmanship and the depth of characterisation. You can easily read the whole thing and find plenty of moments of excellence. Then you finish it and are left with a vague feeling of dissatisfaction.

I think with these types of books it is just a case of an author and reader not being kindred spirits. I am confident that others will really enjoy.

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deirdrebeecher
Phoenix Extravagant | Yoon Ha Lee
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Pickpick

I was seduced by this cover. Fortunately the book within is equally exciting and memorable. An alt-hist influenced by the occupation of Korea by Japan in the early 20th century. It features Automata, Art, twisty political machinations, romance, family conflict over assimilating with invaders, dueling, revolution, and a they/them protagonist whose journey has nothing to do with they being they/them. Oh and of course a really great dragon.

7 likes1 stack add
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deirdrebeecher
Hamnet | Maggie O'Farrell
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Pickpick

What a beautiful, heart-wrenching, jewel of a book. It deserved all the prizes it won. I fell into the world O'Farrell created and the incredible characters who came so alive for me. Then of course she stabbed me in the heart repeatedly. Don't read in public if you don't like strangers seeing you cry. A work of art!

18 likes2 stack adds
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deirdrebeecher
Harrow the Ninth | Tamsyn Muir
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Pickpick

Anyone who enjoyed Gideon the ninth, is going to love the next installment in the series. I spent most of it thinking *what the hell is going on?* but in the best possible way. For a book which features so much blood, bone, death and ghosts. It felt very refreshing. Very strong pick for me.

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deirdrebeecher
Magic for Liars | Sarah Gailey
Pickpick

Overall I really liked this book. I felt it was a really focused story with a strong plot and world. There were times it made me feel uncomfortable. Ivy is such a wreck and her emotional upheavals through the book sometimes set my teeth on edge. I can't quite work out if that is a negative reflection on me, or on the book. Will definitely read more by Gailley.

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deirdrebeecher
Rage of Dragons | Evan Winter
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Bailedbailed

This is very much a it's not you it's me DNF. I've just moved away from fantasy books which mainly focus on War etc. But I can see fans of military fantasy like The Poppy War really enjoy this work. The writing, world building is all very high standard and original. I just prefer twisty political fantasy or cozy community building fantasy.

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deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

My only regret is that I didn't re-read A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet before I read this book. As one of the minor characters in that book is fleshed out here and I had kind of forgotten her.

Apart from that it is another brilliant Becky Chambers book. As usual nothing much in the way of plot, just an immensely satisfying deep dive into some very special characters. Loved it.

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deirdrebeecher
A Desolation Called Peace | Arkady Martine
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Pickpick

Another twisty, turny, political Sci-fi thriller from Martine with a very interesting LGBT+ romance subplot. Tackling powerful themes about how power differentials in an unequal universe can affect relationships.

Also political mind games, space battles, scary aliens, and kittens. A strong sequal to A Memory Called Empire and defo a pick. Five out of five.

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deirdrebeecher
Master of Djinn | P Djeli Clark
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Pickpick

I adore this world, alt Magical Steampunk Cairo is chefs kiss. My SFF side was incredibly happy with this book. My mystery reading side guessed an important plot point. *Damn you brain* Which meant I had a couple of significant bumps. But it was not a deal-breaker. Do read the two short Cairo novellas before this book.4 stars out of 5

bethanysea I also predicted the plot point I suspect you‘re referring to, but the book was so wonderful it didn‘t even bother me. 1y
5 likes1 comment
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deirdrebeecher
Fugitive Telemetry | Martha Wells
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Pickpick

This novella goes back in time before Network Effect. And I think if I had read it in chronological order I would have been fine with it. But I felt a bit frustrated because NE moved things on so much, I felt like FT was treading water. But I will take any murderbot I can get. Still a pick.

deirdrebeecher I did a murdererbot reread recently and switch up the order to read this before network effect and I liked this a lot more. 14mo
4 likes1 comment
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deirdrebeecher
Bartimaeus Trilogy | Jonathan Stroud
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Pickpick

Having a slumpy month so re-reading this classic. Still as fun and funny as ever. I love the deeper meaning embeded within these books which make it as interesting to read as an adult as it is fun for kids. It can be a little difficult to work out where to start because Stroud did write a prequel. But The Amulet of Samarkand is the best place to start imo.

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deirdrebeecher
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo | Taylor Jenkins Reid
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This is a great book, smoothly written and entertaining, while also making some important points. Evelyn Hugo is telling her story of battling her way to Hollywood success and what it cost her. It explores issues of identity, power dynamics and sexuality. But ultimately it is a story the different spectrums of love between people.
I see it as a perfect book club novel, because I think so many people would enjoy it as much as I did.

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deirdrebeecher
The Last Astronaut | David Wellington
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Pickpick

There is a lot to enjoy in this book, a realistic near future space adventure. Perfect for fans of The Martian, although the tone is more pessimistic.

There are moments which frustrate, because it is a complex and ambitious story, and he doesn't always manage to get it right. I enjoyed it more intellectually than I did emotionally. Nevertheless I was always driven to finish it and I think a lot of sci-fi fans will engage with this story.

RachelAmphlett Oh, brilliant - glad you enjoyed this. I‘ve just remembered I‘ve got it on my kindle to read! 2y
7 likes1 stack add1 comment
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deirdrebeecher
The Russian Cage | Charlaine Harris
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Panpan

I don't think Alt-History is Harris forte. The first two books are readable because she writes character really well. However here it all just becomes a struggle. The world building is not brilliant and the politics of it is leaden and weighs the plot down. To escape she has Lizbeth Rose act in ways which didn't feel like her character to me.

But Harris has that magic touch where I find her easy to read even as I see the flaws.

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deirdrebeecher
A Longer Fall | Charlaine Harris
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Mehso-so

I am a fan of Harris, I think she writes really interesting female characters and Lizbeth Rose is no exception. My lockdown exhausted brain couldn't focus on any book this week until this one took me somewhere else for a few precious hours with action adventure and a sex-positive love story.

However a story about Southern race relations, no matter how well intentioned, to have no developed black characters is not a good look.

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deirdrebeecher
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Me: Look a trailer for Shadow and Bone
Also me: We've read some Leigh Bardugo haven't we.
Me: Yes here it is on our Kindle, completed.
Watches trailer, reads first few chapters of book.
Me: I have no memory of this.
Also me: none whatsoever.
Me: Is it covid brain or menopause.
Also me: I'll start looking up old folks homes.

Scochrane26 😂😂 2y
5 likes1 comment
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deirdrebeecher
The Mask of Mirrors | M. A. Carrick
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Bailedbailed

It is not a badly written book. My issue was that I didn't believe in the protag. She is running a long con but for me the premise of the con was fuzzy and I couldn't suspend my disbelief. Which gradually grew into a deep frustration with the character.

But I can see others enjoying it because the writing is good as is the world-building.

It has too many characters but that is endemic to fantasy at the moment *shakes fist at GRRM*

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deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

A vintage-style mystery with a good dash of Woodhousian silliness. I was very impressed by how good she was at balancing the humour within the story, very solid writing which made reading the story effortless. I was able to switch off my brain the same way I do with Agatha Christie.

I think that the super-loyal Asian servant trope can die. But apart from that this was a very enjoyable 4 stars.