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deirdrebeecher

deirdrebeecher

Joined September 2016

Voracious Reader
review
deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

This uses the concept of the multiverse in a really interesting way, to explore how small differences in circumstances and personal choice change people. The characters in this books are vivid, flawed and engaging. The plot has some solid twists and turns. The themes deal with complex ethical questions. Maybe not for those who like hard science in their SF, but for those of us dying for some good adult SF, it's a strong pick.

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deirdrebeecher
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Saw this recommend on booktube with the very nice Del Ray cover on the right. Went to check the sample and was confronted with the hideous H&S UK cover on the left. I was viscerally repulsed. Wondering if it's just me or do other ppl find it hideous. Feel really sorry for the author.

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deirdrebeecher
Winter's Orbit | Everina Maxwell
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Pickpick

I read Maxwell's other book, Ocean's Echo first and it was a five star for me. This is more of a 4, a very solid debut. Their ability to create vivid interesting characters is very evident in this book but the world building is a little muddier, the plotting a little weaker. Still a very enjoyable read and it was nice to see how much of an improvement they had btw the two standalone books. Still a pick, but also go read Ocean's Echo.

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deirdrebeecher
The Saint of Bright Doors | Vajra Chandrasekera
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Mehso-so

I wanted to love this book. There are moments from it that are seared into my brain in the best possible way. The quality of the writing is excellent and the world is unique. A deeply political allegory set in a parallel reality with mobile phones and magic side by side. Fans of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, NK Jemisin and China Mieville should give it a go.

Ultimately I just couldn't connect with the MC. For those who do, likely it will be a 5*

7 likes1 stack add
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deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

I was sick this weekend and I blew through this whole series over a couple of days in bed. Very readable, enjoyed the ride. That being said KJ Parker does re-write the same characters over and over. It is a problem. If they could hold the attention of my foggy brain then that has to be a major plus point, but certainly there are a few ruts he's been digging into for twenty years now where I'm like oh we're doing this again. Soft pick.

LiteraryinLawrence Hope you feel better soon (but it‘s awesome you did lots of reading while sick)! 2mo
12 likes1 comment
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deirdrebeecher
The Tainted Cup | Robert Jackson Bennett
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Pickpick

Yup, give me all of these RJB can write. A fantasy-mystery, this combines two of my favourite genres. But it is way more about the fantasy world and the characters than it is about the mystery. The mystery chugs away doing it's job but the fantasy world is spectacular and the character unique and engaging. I would highly recommend it for fans of Martha Wells Raksura books and Katherine Addison Speaker for the Dead books. Easy 5 stars.

12 likes1 stack add
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deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

After finding the first book a 4, this was a 5 for me. I just thought it explored such interesting themes. Ironically I think for a lot of ppl who thought book 1 was a 5, will find this a 4 because we spend less time with the main MC's. I understand how this would disappoint some people. I just felt like this was a book that engaged my adult brain fully which is what I had been craving in the previous book. A quality series so far.

TrishB Just got this week- so I‘m ready to read both now 😁 3mo
11 likes1 comment
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deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

I just read the first two books in this series. Both are picks. They have complex, layered and unique world-building. MC's are very engaging. There is a romance subplot but no spice. I have always considered Lawrence a very good writer, but he is definitely stepping up a level here. I'm too old for coming of age stories to be 100% in my lane. I think it will be a 5 star book for a lot of fantasy fans but it's a 4 for me.

10 likes1 stack add
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deirdrebeecher
Ocean's Echo | Everina Maxwell
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Pickpick

This was a lot of fun. Character driven queer SF romance. The focus was on developing the male characters and a deep emotional bond between them. Supporting that was a plot of twisty politics and space magic. Not one for the hard SF fans. But there was substance, medium stakes and very good execution

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deirdrebeecher
Nothing But the Rain | Naomi Salman
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Pickpick

Edit
I gave this book a so-so originally and now I'm revising to a pick. Why, because I keep thinking about it. I still think there is a disconnect between the first third and the rest of the book. But that is less important now a few months down the line. The ending just keeps swimming into my consciousness and making me think.

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deirdrebeecher
The Will of the Many | James Islington
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This has been getting a lot of hype but when I checked the premise and saw that it was Chosen One goes to Murder School in Ancient Rome, I lost my initial enthusiasm. I decided to proceed and was glad I did because this is a complex and well executed book, suitable for a range of readers from older YA to Adult. I can see why it gets the hype it does and while I'm not on the 'this is the best book ever train' I did enjoy it a lot. Strong pick.

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deirdrebeecher
Pickpick

I was wary of this, so many cosy reads lately I have found too saccerine. But this is in the vein of the Lady Trent books and I enjoyed it a lot. The main secondary character is Irish and I was very pleasantly surprised to find zero hint of stage Oirishness in the book. Strong pick.

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deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

Somehow the town of Salcombe is both toxic and cozy. Coming to life for the summer the small community of frenemies are backstabbing each other one moment and enjoying wholesome summer fun the next. I have huge admiration for how Rosenblum yoked those two opposing forces together to create characters we love to hate. There are mystery elements but really it is a social satire eviscerating rich New Yorkers, perfect summer read.

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deirdrebeecher

My current read very entertaining but I never cease to be amazed how bad a system monarchy was for governance and how utterly lacking in dignity the so called nobility were. In every Aristocratic family tree are a bunch of grovelling scyopants who lickspittled their way to wealth and power.

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deirdrebeecher
Panpan

This is not cosy. I'm not quite sure if the author just did a cynical jump on the bandwagon or if their characterisaton skills weren't up to the mark. But the ratios are all off, too much unpleasantness, not enough warmth. The mystery is no great shakes either.

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deirdrebeecher

Ngl I am struggling. There is a mean spirited tread weaving through this book. It makes me ask myself does the author not understand the point of cosy and cosy adjacent mysteries.

mabell I wonder that often with cozies! They are supposed to be lighthearted and fun (despite a murder or two!) 6mo
deirdrebeecher @mabell I feel like it is a recent thing, I like it when there is a balance of light and dark, but there should always be a warmth to the characters and their community. 6mo
12 likes2 comments
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deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

I imagine this is a divisive book, that you either read it compulsively, like I did, or you are entirely repelled. It is a sharp, dark and mischievous satire of Gothic literature and Late Victorian society but that really doesn't explain how weird it also is. I will be thinking about it for a while. Anyway give it a try, you'll know quick if it's a yes or a no. Loved the illustrations.

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deirdrebeecher
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Mehso-so

This is a short, humorous, Sapphic fantasy on drugs. Unfortunately I didn't click with the humour, which is a pity because I do think it is well written and original. So this is a So-So for me but I would still urge people to try it because I know those who do click with the humour will absolutely LOVE it. It also might be one to try on audio.

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deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

This was a perfect way to dig myself out of the post Christmas slump. A unique Sci-Fi setting with a cozy atmosphere, a solidly executed mystery plot, a little touch of romance, light but not insubstantial. I love a short novel or novella and this book was exactly long enough for it's story.
My one critique is that the initial descriptions were a little light for me. It took me a couple of chapters before I could picture the world. Strong pick.

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deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

Low stakes, Woodhosian humour, with a well thought out puzzle. Maybe a touch too many characters but if you are in search of a light hearted but not dumb read you can't do better than an Anty Boisjoly mystery.

mabell Oh this sounds fun! 8mo
8 likes1 stack add1 comment
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deirdrebeecher
Pickpick

Pleasantly surprised, I've mainly been reading the mysteries and they are very enjoyable. I think any Christie fan would enjoy these books. For their vintage they are low on classism, sexism and xenophobia. So if you want a cheap kindle stuffer it is well worth buying.

batsy That's good to know! I've been keen to check this out and there's a Christmas-themed one I might start with 😁 8mo
6 likes1 comment
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deirdrebeecher
System Collapse | Martha Wells
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Pickpick

This is a solid entry into my favourite series, but perhaps an A- rather than A+. Wells is shifting direction on the series and in this book is tying up the threads of the last book and building a launchpad for the next. Necessary work but it results in a book which feels a little laggy in the middle third, feels a little less cosy without most of the Preservation characters. Then the last third kicks into pure Murderbot chaotic fun.

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deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

Halloween appropriate mystery with a spooky edge. Has a decent start but then a third in there is very well executed twist which kicks it up a level. It lacked a little on characterisation for me, they were competently written I just wasn't engaged. So when the plot was in the drivers seat it was a fantastic experience, when the characters were carrying it, it lagged a little. A 4 star read for me, I'm sure it will be 5 star for lots of ppl.

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deirdrebeecher
The Family Ship | Sonja Yoerg
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Pickpick

This is an underrated gem. Told from the perspectives of multiple members of the same family from 42 year old Maeve to 6 year old Cyrus. The characters are beautifully crafted with distinct voices, the family dynamics explored in a nuanced and authentic way. While there are some hard moments it is a relatively low stakes book with a fairly straightforward plot. But this is a strong pick for anyone who loves exploration of character.

Anna40 Great review 9mo
9 likes1 stack add1 comment
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deirdrebeecher
Miss Pym Disposes | Josephine Tey
Mehso-so

This was a re-read and it was a jarring one. I still think that Tey from a literary stand point is probably one of the best vintage mystery writers. There is an elegance to her writing and storytelling.

But this time what leapt off the page was the eugenic descriptions and classism. Perhaps my original edition had scrubbed the worst of these, or my lazy celtic brain had shunted them to one side, but couldn't escape them this time.

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deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

Funny isn't it how a very good book which ends a little flat feels so much worse than an okay book which ends on a high. I thought this would be an automatic 5* and yet somehow it isn't. McMasters is a school for murderers. Cliff, Dulcie and Gemma all have very good reasons for signing up. Plots, characters, writing all great. Feel they got too caught up in making it cozy and tying up all the loose ends. Still recommend as a 4*

julesG I like the cover on this edition. Very fitting. 10mo
13 likes1 stack add1 comment
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deirdrebeecher
An Ordinary Wonder | Buki Papillon
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Pickpick

I loved it. Accessible for teen readers but adult readers will also get a lot from this too. Orto is intersex and lives in Nigeria, forced to live as a boy and hide his shameful secret, Lori, the girl he is meant to be.

A lot of bad things happen in this book but they are handled with great sensitivity, in a way that is not traumatising to the reader. There is a lot of hope and beauty to balance the negative, with touches of magical realism.

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deirdrebeecher
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Mehso-so

The frustrating thing is, I like a lot about this book, it could have been very good. I just feel the author really blocked my bond with the characters with his meta-textual commentary. Also he could have pushed the amorality of his characters further, he played it safe there. My Sister the Serial Killer still has no competition in this category.

One for those who read mysteries for the twists and turns, and don't mind a some character weakness.

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deirdrebeecher
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I'm 66% through and feel frustrated. There is a lot to like in this book. But the MC is a writer who writes about crime books and he keeps having these little fourth wall breaking, meta textual asides and they keep breaking my flow. I just want to slap him.

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deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

PG Woodehouse is hard to imitate and those who try are usually doomed. So I was very surprised to find myself really enjoying this mystery series which has a distinct Woodehousian feel. A perfect book for turning off your brain and enjoying a comic mystery which is easy but not dumb.

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deirdrebeecher
Mehso-so

I've seen this conceit executed a lot better. The book has some funny moments and was easy to read. But overall plot and characters were half baked. I still might have given it a soft pick but the way he glides over the care of the comatose body of the MC made me so angry on behalf of carers. That is so much hard work and he treats it like it's nothing.

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deirdrebeecher
Camp Damascus | Chuck Tingle
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Pickpick

I think if you come into this with the right expectations most will enjoy this book. Is it the book of the year, no. But it is an easy to read, enjoyable hero. What elevates it is the perspective on the cruel practice of conversion therapy. Which I think we have gotten used to treating as a joke, because it is so ludicrous. And Chuck reframes that to what it really is for the vulnerable teens who are subjected to it, a horror story. Soft pick.

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deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

This book is about two Early Medieval Queens whose lives read like a fantasy novel. I was very impressed by how this writer pulled together the facts of their lives and the context in such an accessible way. It is an excellent entry point into the Merovingians and a glimpse into how Roman Europe turned into Medieval Europe. A strong pick for anyone who doesn't normally read history but would like to get into it.

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deirdrebeecher
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Mehso-so

While largely competent, this is missing a dimension and I would say what is missing is charm. There is something lacking in the characterisation and tone which makes Gwinny feel quite Karen. While many of the other characters are just blanks. Which is a problem because community is such an important part of cosy crime. Even the dogs become annoying after a while.

deirdrebeecher Also Gwinny is not penniless, she is cash poor but has inherited her father house in Chelsea and has a flat in Islington with only eight years left on the mortgage. I would love to be that poor. 🙄

12mo
mabell A terrific review! 🤣 12mo
4 likes2 comments
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deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

This is the UK title of The Last Cuentista. For anyone who enjoys MG fiction this has to be a strong pick. A beautiful book about the power of story. It throws absolutely devastating emotional punches, has a wonderful Latina hero and very well paced adventure. Anyone who loves MG and wants to bawl their eyes out should read this book.

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deirdrebeecher
Death in High Heels | Christianna Brand
Mehso-so

This is not Brand's best book, but it has a lot to interest a social historian. She is great at exploring the group dynamics of working women and here she focuses on shop girls. Who she shows they are a more interesting group than their vapid stereotype.
She does not deal with her homosexual character as fairly and the homophobia is vile.
Mystery itself is ill-paced and mediocre.

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deirdrebeecher
Obelists at Sea | C. Daly King
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Wtf is this shit!
It was recommended in a recent article in the Washington Post on vintage mysteries. But it is a firehose of antisemitism, way beyond the norm in a group of books where antisemitism is already a big problem. And when the attention turns for a time to a non-Jew, an admitted thief, they have no qualms about beating the shit out of him. Then it's back to the antisemitism. Pure Fascism!
There are some books I'm ok with not reissuing.

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deirdrebeecher
House of Hollow | Krystal Sutherland
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Pickpick

I feel the best way to describe this is a a mystery, it is also fantastical horror. But a bit like Stranger Things it leads with mystery and so the horror isn't that scary. It is not high tension/jump scare horror.
Well executed with good characterisation, beautiful description, and an ending that delivers a satisfying emotional wallop. Feels YA but worth an afternoon of anyone's time.

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deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

This book has something for everyone who loves fantasy. It starts with a slow immersion but blossoms into a complex and original story. It doesn't shy away from combat and death, but it is also full of hope and love. I don't have any comps. But it made me feel the way I did reading Suzanne Clarke and NK Jemison for the first time. Oh this writer can WRITE and they are writing something NEW.

11 likes1 stack add
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deirdrebeecher
Witch King | Martha Wells
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Mehso-so

I find myself torn. I want my Spec Fic writers to swing for the fences. But while I really enjoy the originality and ambition of the worldbuilding it is too much for a standalone. There were too many characters and important relationships were not given the time to gestate. Now I read the whole thing in a day with ease, so it is not fatally flawed. Just not at the same level as Raksura and Murderbot.

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deirdrebeecher
Wrong Place, Wrong Time | Gillian McAllister
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Pickpick

A really well executed page-turner which delivered it's twists with an emotional punch. There is a time travel device, but it is not at all sci-fi. It not going to force you to use too much of your brain capacity, but it certainly isn't dumbed down either. Just a really good, well balanced, highly entertaining read.
It is miles more interesting than it's very boring cover would make it seem.

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deirdrebeecher
Death In Captivity | Michael Gilbert
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Pickpick

This is an interesting one if you read Vintage books as historical documents. Gilbert was a WWII POW in Italy and he brings the camp and characters vividly to life. It's an entertaining read.

However this book also reminds you that Eugenics was invented by the English, and the way Italian are described made me grit my teeth at the Superiority complex. Also at the Classism, officers had orderlies, even in Prison Camp?!

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deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

Well she's won me over. This is the book where her epistolary style works 100% for me. The mystery is very good I don't want to say a word more than that. But people who love a complex plot will be very happy. I will say that I feel both The Appeal and The Twyford Code had cozy aspects to them. There is nothing cozy about this book, everyone has sharp edges. But it is very well done, original and hugely entertaining.

LiteraryinLawrence Excited that there‘s another one! I‘m planning to read The Twyford Code this month and I liked The Appeal. 1y
deirdrebeecher 😁@LiteraryinLawrence I think Twyford and Angels are much stronger books than Appeal. Angels from a technical stand point is the best. Twyford has a really engaging MC. But they are much darker, so its all about preferences. 😁 1y
8 likes2 comments
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deirdrebeecher
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I knew I was going to respect this book, but I was worried I wouldn't enjoy it. Once I started reading, several hours just flew by and I'm loving it so far. The Jonathan Strange comp is accurate for style, tone and ambition. Content is uncomfortable but it is supposed to be.

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deirdrebeecher
Like a Sister | Kellye Garrett
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Pickpick

This is a very solid 4 star for me. I was engaged and entertained for most of the book Thought the pace was very well handled, the MC has good complexity to her character. The quality dipped a little when it came to the ending, it was fine, but it wasn't a wow. Half a point off there. There are a couple of minor hindsight plotholes, another half a point off there. But definitely above average and worth a couple of hours of anyone's time.

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deirdrebeecher
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Pickpick

Five star writing, five star characterisation, four star plot. This book is crime genre, but the writing is so good that I feel a lot of lit fic fans would also enjoy. I had to read it in chunks because I felt like I was skin grafted to the character and my fear for her would overwhelm me. But at the same time I had to keep going back to it. A slow burn so maybe not for people who like a lot of pace. Everyone else needs to try this book.

4 likes1 stack add
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deirdrebeecher
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Mehso-so

They are a good writer, no question, I would never have hated their main character this much if they hadn't crafted him so well. If Morse was French and even more of a narcissist. It evokes the South of France beautifully and develops an interesting cast of characters. But there is a lot more of MC and Ex relationship than there is following clues for the mystery, not a problem unless you hate the character.

CarolynM I really enjoy this series, mostly for the descriptions of Aix-en-Provence and the French way of life. I don‘t love Verlaque, but I don‘t dislike him as much as you😆 2y
8 likes1 comment
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deirdrebeecher
Bunny | Mona Awad

If any book could have lured me into reading a dark academia book it is would have been this one. I absolutely loved the writing. But I left third level education twenty years ago. The crushes and the cliques and the imposter syndrome are so far in my past that it makes me feel a hundred years old. So I DNF'd.

But a great writer and I'm sure it's a great book and I wish her well in all her endeavours.

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deirdrebeecher
Shrines of Gaiety | Kate Atkinson
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Panpan

I am quite surprised by how much I disliked this because Kate Atkinson is a very talented writer. But the mystery plot in particular is very poor. There are way to many characters and we seem to spend most of our time with the least interesting ones. Hope it's her pandemic book and she will return to her usual form.

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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. 2y
14 likes1 comment