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Madeleine's 2013 reads

Use this section to record the books you read in 2013. One thread per member, please.
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Madeleine
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Currently reading: "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Post by Madeleine » Mon March 18th, 2013, 11:54 am

I don't think they'll go as far as your last spoiler suggests, because if they stop short of the end of book 3, that means Tyrion can be in the 4th series, or some of it at least. I hope they don't make too many changes.
Currently reading "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas

rebecca
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Post by rebecca » Tue March 19th, 2013, 12:53 am

[quote=""Madeleine""]I don't think they'll go as far as your last spoiler suggests, because if they stop short of the end of book 3, that means Tyrion can be in the 4th series, or some of it at least. I hope they don't make too many changes.[/quote]

I don't really know what is going to happen in the third series, because the book SOS is so explosive....but usually there is a death of a main character in every series so far.

SPOILER
Bec :)

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Madeleine
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Posts: 5651
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Post by Madeleine » Tue March 19th, 2013, 9:50 am

I don't think they'll go right to the end of the book, simply because there would be so much to cram in. Going by the episode titles, it looks like
But then of course I could be wrong :D

Not long to wait now! ;)

New trailer up on IMDB. It looks like a cross between LOTR and Troy!
Last edited by Madeleine on Tue March 19th, 2013, 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Currently reading "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas

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Post by rebecca » Wed March 20th, 2013, 3:15 am

[quote=""Madeleine""]I don't think they'll go right to the end of the book, simply because there would be so much to cram in. Going by the episode titles, it looks like
But then of course I could be wrong :D

Not long to wait now! ;)

New trailer up on IMDB. It looks like a cross between LOTR and Troy![/quote]

I think you may be spot on ;) and I didn't have to use the spoiler button :p lol.

Bec :)

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Madeleine
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Posts: 5651
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Currently reading: "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Post by Madeleine » Mon March 25th, 2013, 3:55 pm

[quote=""rebecca""]The spoilers are OK :cool: ...I've been trying to find the season 3 episode guide and came up with this.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ga ... s_episodes

29 9 "The Rains of Castamere" David Nutter David Benioff & D. B. Weiss May 26, 2013[8]

As you know I've been re-reading the book and this title suggests....

SPOILER
So much happens in SOS that it's not easy what the producers will leave in or throw out. I did hear a rumour that the producers *may* deviate from the novel and keep some characters alive(which may differ from the books). For instance I can't imagine having a season which doesn't include Tyrion. But in Feast for Crows I don't think there is a single chapter on Tyrion(if my memory is correct?).....I can't wait for the show to begin(in April here)wooohooo :cool: :D

Bec :) [/quote]

I sneaked a peek at the chapter headings in Book 4 and there aren't any for Dany either - yay ;) - although she could appear in other people's chapters I suppose. Lots of Jaime and Brienne chapters though :) I love what Martin does with these two, as I have simply no idea where they're going to go next. In fact all his "couplings" are brilliant, it's fascinating how he throws people together and then to see how he has them handle various situations.
Currently reading "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas

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Madeleine
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Posts: 5651
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Currently reading: "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Post by Madeleine » Wed April 3rd, 2013, 9:30 am

April

Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris - 9th in the True Blood series and one of the better books. The fae take centre stage, culminating in a horrendous fight, after which many of the characters will never be the same again. It sets things up nicely for the next book in the series. 8/10

Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris - book 10 in the True Blood/Southern Vampire series and one of the best so far. There is still fallout from the fairy war from which Sookie is still recovering. However there are still a few problems with the winged folk, and then Eric's past starts to catch up with him too. Another great escapist read which I thoroughly enjoyed - so much better than the TV series which has sadly gone completely off the rails. 9/10

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde - first in a series of fantasy novels in which we meet LiteraTec Thursday Next, who works in a sort of parallel Britain where Wales is a separate, rather secretive nation, and the Crimean War is still raging, although the fighting has more or less died down. Thursday is a veteran of this war with bad memories, for her brother was killed and made a scapegoat for the Charge of the Light Brigade, and she blames her former lover. Then an old adversary starts stealing original manuscripts of classic novels, and killing off characters from these books, and Thursday and her small team have to try to stop him. But he is virtually indestructible - and then he steals the manuscript for Jane Eyre, and kidnaps Jane herself. I found this a fun read, with lots of literary references but the author thankfully doesn't drown the reader with his cleverness, and there is some nice humour. I loved the idea of fictional characters paying a visit to the real world in times of need, and the idea that the world of novels is rattling along somewhere, parallel to our own universe. And there are also airships, and pet dodos. A fun start to an intriguing series, which would probably appeal to readers of Ben Aaronovitch's series of novels featuring Peter Grant. 7.5/10

The Betrayal of Trust by Susan Hill - sixth in the Simon Serrailler series of detective novels; this is probably one of the weaker entries although it starts off promisingly enough: torrential rain and floods cause a landslide on the outskirts of the small town of Lafferton, and two skeletons are revealed - one is quickly identified as that of a teenage girl who disappeared 16 years ago, the other is believed to date from a similar time, but apart from it being female, no one has any idea as to her identity. Simon sets about re-opening the cold case and trying to find out more about the other body. However much of the novel is taken up with the work of his sister, Cat, a local GP who is desperately trying to raise funding for the hospice, which leads to many sub-plots involving various horrendous illnesses and the euthanasia debate. At times this seemed to dominate the novel and although it did eventually tie in with the criminal side of the story (I had worked most of it out by then) I did find it somewhat depressing, too repetitive and at times, a bit boring and it almost seemed as if the main story had been forgotten,and sometimes it felt that this was the author's personal crusade - a very worthy cause and I'm not disrespecting it for one moment, but it felt a bit heavy-handed to me. The ending, as some Amazon reviewers have mentioned, does feel a bit rushed, although there are some loose ends which I assume will be carried over into future books. There was also a rather unconvincing, I felt, sub-plot involving a possible love interest for Simon. Slightly disappointing and not the best in the series. 7/10

Buried in Cornwall by Janie Bolitho - aspiring artist Rose Trevelyan is shocked when she hears a woman's screams whilst she is painting in an isolated area, near the ruin of an old mine. The police investigate but find nothing, then on a second visit she again hears screams, but is too embarrassed to report it again. Then one of her friends goes missing, and is found dead on a local beach; the police finally decide to search the old mine shaft and find a woman's skeleton - could the two cases be connected? Rose finds herself and all her friends under suspicion, and can't resist carrying out her own investigation. This was a fast-paced, enjoyable "cosy" crime read, set in Cornwall, which breezed along and tied most things up at the end. 7/10
Last edited by Madeleine on Tue May 28th, 2013, 10:19 am, edited 11 times in total.
Currently reading "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas

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Madeleine
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Posts: 5651
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Currently reading: "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Post by Madeleine » Mon May 6th, 2013, 7:28 pm

May

As the Pig Turns by M C Beaton - light mystery set in the Cotswolds, latest in a series in which retired PR exec turned private detective Agatha Raisin finds herself the prime suspect in 2 murders: one victim is a very unpopular local policeman, the other his ex-wife, and Agatha had been heard threatening him hours before his murder. Her agency is told to keep away from the case, but Agatha just can't leave it alone, and soon her whole team could be in danger. I enjoyed this, despite the many plot holes; it was a fast read, and Agatha is on spectacularly bitchy form. And there's even a brief, if unconvincing, trip to Las Vegas. 7/10

The Riddle of the River by Catherine Shaw - crime novel set in late 1890s Cambridge, in which Vanessa Weatherburn, a happily married mother of young twins, is asked to see if she can identify a young woman found floating in the river Cam. However, once she discovers who the young woman is, the crime seems to involve close friends of Vanessa and her husband's, and she feels compelled to investigate further (don't they always!) although she does at least keep her policeman friend informed of any discoveries she makes. I enjoyed this - I thought it was well-written (apart from a couple of scientific filled pages which I sort of skimmed) and I also found the heroine a likeable character. There are a few books in this series (3 of them are being re-issued in the UK at the end of May, as well as a new hardback) and this one obviously isn't the first, although it didn't detract from my reading, and I look forward to reading the others. 8/10

Murder at the Laurels by Lesley Cookman - second in the series of cosy crime mysteries set in the Kent village of Steeple Martin. Libby's friend Fran comes up from London to celebrate the birthday of her elderly aunt Eleanor, who is a resident of a nursing home called The Laurels. However, Eleanor dies suddenly and the post-mortem reveals she was murdered. Despite the advice of the police, Libby can't help investigating, and Fran is also curious, as her family, many of whom she hadn't seen for years (and in some cases didn't even know they existed) are involved. But some bad memories are uncovered, and once again the two women find themselves in danger. I found this a fast-paced, enjoyable read, and Libby is a likeable character, although I find Fran a bit "wet", but she's getting better! 7/10

Elijah's Mermaid by Essie Fox - second novel from the author of "The Somnambulist", and this is more Victorian Gothic, set mainly in London. Twins Elijah and Lily are orphans, and are rescued from the Foundling Hospital in London by a family friend (who was their father's employer), and brought up by their grandfather in the Herefordshire countryside. Later, on a visit to London, their paths cross with Pearl, a strangely beautiful, ethereal girl who was also abandoned at birth, and brought up in a brothel after being rescued from the river Thames. The three young people find their paths crossing as they grow up, but it is only when they are adults that they are find out they are linked by more than coincidence. I quite enjoyed this, although I found the asylum scenes went on a bit too long, and the first part of the book dragged somewhat. Some might find it a bit over the top, but then Victorian Gothic is by it's nature rather sensationalist, and all the usual ingredients are there, along with the pre-dominant theme of water. I'd recommend it for those who like Victorian fiction (it reminded me quite a bit of "Fingersmith"), it's very atmospheric and there are some great characters; notably, albeit for all the wrong reasons, the pimp Tip Thomas and brothel madam Mrs Hibbert. On balance though, I think I preferred "The Somnambulist". 7.5/10

Hasty Death by M C Beaton - second in the author's Edwardian crime series featuring amateur sleuth (and bored debutante) Lady Rose Summer, who once again finds herself investigating murder when an acquaintance, Freddy Pomfret, is found shot dead. It looks like blackmail was the motive, and Rose's unlikely ally, Captain Harry Cathcart, engineers a country house party where all the suspects will be thrown together. More mayhem ensues, and along the way Rose finds herself in danger from jealous secretaries, unscrupulous doctors, and also briefly tries her hand at actually working for a living. It's a light, fun read, with quite a bit of atmosphere; and it's entertaining enough as a breezy read. Rose is a likeable character and it's fun to "watch" her and Cathcart sparring. 7/10
Last edited by Madeleine on Mon June 3rd, 2013, 9:53 am, edited 11 times in total.
Currently reading "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas

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Madeleine
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Currently reading: "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Post by Madeleine » Wed June 12th, 2013, 10:16 am

June

Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich - I've slowly getting back into the Stephanie Plum series now, after some of the earlier books started to get a bit repetitive. This one is one of the better ones - we finally find out more about the secretive and elusive Ranger, Stephanie's fellow bounty hunter, when he takes centre stage after he is wanted for a kidnapping and a murder, and Stephanie, as usual, finds herself in great danger. This part of the story is quite gripping, but there's the usual light relief and chaos with Stephanie's grandma up to her usual tricks, work colleague Lula joining a band, and the bonds office team having to interview prospective new bounty hunters. An entertaining, amusing read. 8/10

Thornyhold by Mary Stewart - my first MS book in a long time, and this is a gentle tale about Geillis, or Gilly, who has had a sheltered upbringing with her father, a vicar, who is kind but timid, and a cold, domineering, unsentimental mother. The one bright light is her much older cousin, also called Geillis, who turns up occasionally and enchants Gilly with her slight other-worldliness and free spirit. After both her parents have died, Gilly finds herself potentially homeless (for the church will want their vicarage back) until she discovers that Geillis has also died, and bequeathed her Thornyhold, her house in the country. Gilly duly moves in and soon discovers her neighbours could well be involved in witchcraft, whilst strange things start to happen around her, and there's also the possibility of a romance. It's a nice tale, possible a little bit twee by today's standards, but a nice read, with no great surprises, and MS is excellent at conjuring up atmosphere. 7/10

The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas - the shawl of the title is a family heirloom, which is found by Mair whilst she is clearing out her family home following her father's death. She also finds a photograph of 3 women - one of whom is her grandmother - and a lock of hair. At something of a crossroads in her life, Mair decides to try to find out the story behind the shawl and the other items, and sets off for Kashmir. All she knows is that her grandmother married a Christian missionary and they went out to Kashmir not long before WW2 started; whilst she is there she meets a few people who knew her grandma, and also becomes friendly with a Swiss/American couple and their small daughter, with whom she travels for a time, and who also, she discovers, have a link to her family history. The book focuses mainly on the grandmother's story, and is nicely written, although I felt it was a little too long, and the ending fizzled out a bit. Personally I would have liked a bit more "closure" on the grandmother's story - although things did tie in quite well - and I thought the present day story was a little bit predictable; I'd expected to find the ending more moving, whereas instead I just thought "oh well". However, it's an enjoyable, gentle story, and I'd read more by this author. 7.5/10

Real Murders by Charlaine Harris - the first in a series (about to be re-issued) of small-town crime stories featuring Aurora Teagarden, who lives and works in the Atlanta suburb of Lawrenceton. She's a member of the Real Murders club at the library where she works; a group of people who meet once a month to discuss real-life murders. It all seems harmless enough, until the members start to be killed in ways that mimic some of their most notorious cases, and the remaining members are left wondering who will be next, and who is the killer. I found this a fast, entertaining read, although at barely 200 pages it was difficult to get to know the characters that well, but Aurora is an engaging, honest and likeable heroine, and I look forward to reading more of her adventures. 7.5/10
Last edited by Madeleine on Thu June 27th, 2013, 2:56 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Currently reading "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas

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Madeleine
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Posts: 5651
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Currently reading: "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Post by Madeleine » Tue July 9th, 2013, 11:33 am

July

The Cadaver Game by Kate Ellis - this is part of a now well-established series set in the Devon town of Tradmouth (based on Dartmouth) featuring Detective Wesley Peterson. It's the first one that I've read, and it was an enjoyable mystery in which Wesley finds himself investigating the double shooting of two teenagers during a mysterious "drag hunt", and a woman found murdered in a house. It soon turns out that the killings are connected, and there's another mystery when a skeleton is unearthed during an archaeological dig in the grounds of the former stately home near to where the teenagers' bodies were found. It's a standard police procedural which moves at a quiet pace to a tense climax and I enjoyed it, finding it an easy read with engaging characters. There's also a historical element too, as the stately home owner's father uncovers details of similar hunts as he researches his family history, and the rather pretentious artist involved with the dig provides a bit of light relief. Wesley, the main character, is very likeable, and I look forward to reading more in this series. 7.5/10

The Lewis Man by Peter May - this is the second book in a trilogy set mainly on the Scottish island of Lewis, which is beautifully described and is almost a character in it's own right. The central character from the first book (The Blackhouse) is Fin MacLeod, and in this instalment he has resigned from the police force, and returned to Lewis to restore his parents' old croft. However, when an almost perfectly preserved body is found in a peat bog, and turns out to be a murder victim from the 1950s (rather than a several-thousand-year-old body, as originally thought) an investigation is launched and Fin can't resist getting involved, especially as DNA tests show that the man was somehow related to the father of Fin's childhood sweetheart, Marshaili. As with the first book, the story is told in flashbacks, especially as Marshaili's father is now in the grip of severe dementia, but his memories of his childhood and his teens are very clear, and Fin gradually peels away the layers of time to try to find out what really happened, and old wounds are re-opened, and some of Scotland's unpleasant, recent history is also revealed. I enjoyed this book, although I didn't find it quite as gripping as the first one, and I think the author occasionally gets carried away with his descriptions of the landscape and weather. However, it's very well-written, the characters are believable and vividly drawn, and I look forward to the 3rd book in the trilogy and would love to visit Lewis someday! 7.5/10

The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney - Ray Lovell, a private investigator working in a small town in Surrey, is asked to track down the missing daughter of Leon Wood. Rose disappeared 7 years ago when, not long after marrying into a gypsy family, she left her husband, and all contact between her and her family has been non-existent ever since. She married into the close-knit Janko family, a small clan of Romany gypsies whose family has been decimated by a hereditary illness which only affects the males; the youngest child of Rose and her husband Ivo, develops the disease as a baby and this is thought to be one of the reasons why Rose ran away - that she simply couldn't cope, and young Christo is brought up by his father, grandparents, aunt and cousin JJ. But once Ray, who is part-Romany himself, although his father gave up the life and became a postman, starts to investigate, it's obvious that the family is hiding something, and his suspicions get even deeper when a body is found on a former gypsy site. The book is narrated in alternating chapters by Ray and the teenage gypsy boy JJ, who is attending school and, like Ray, seems to fall between two cultures. Family secrets are revealed, and there are some surprising revelations as Ray gradually, and obstinately (he's in grave danger at one point - no spoiler here as the book opens with him in hospital following a car accident) finds out more about the family, and the lengths they will go to in order to preserve their family line. I loved her first book "Tenderness of Wolves" and whilst I found this one to be very well-written (and Ray Lovell is surely crying out for a series of his own) ultimately I was a bit disappointed. The 1980s setting slowed things down a bit, and I found the final "reveal" rather unconvincing - like "Tenderness", I thought the ending felt slightly flat. However it was a fast read, and I liked the use of the two narrators, and JJ himself is a very likeable, believable character, who also wonders just what his family is capable of and how far they would go to protect themselves. 7/10

The Lost Years by Mary Higgins Clark - Mariah Lyons finds her father dead from shotgun wounds one night, and it looks as if his wife, Kathleen, is the culprit, for she recently discovered that he'd been having an affair for some time. However, Kathleen is in the cruel grip of dementia, and Mariah doesn't want to believe that her mother could have done such a thing. Her father also recently revealed that he believed that he was in possession of a legendary letter, allegedly written by Christ to Joseph of Arimathea, and he wanted to return the letter to it's rightful home - the Vatican. However many of his colleagues would also love to get their hands on the letter, and their motives aren't always as well-meaning as his. The police are fairly convinced that Kathleen is the killer, however both Mariah and an old family friend, who is now extremely wealthy thanks to a Lottery win, are still unconvinced as to her guilt, and set about with their own investigation. This was a fast read, although not very convincing - I thought that the amateur lady detective was rather silly, and I did manage to guess the killer's ID about 2/3rds of the way through. Ok but not one of MHC's best books. 6/10
Last edited by Madeleine on Wed July 31st, 2013, 1:13 pm, edited 6 times in total.
Currently reading "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas

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Madeleine
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Currently reading: "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Post by Madeleine » Mon August 5th, 2013, 10:51 am

August

Red Dragon-White Dragon by Gary Dolman - this is a review copy I got from Library Thing (my first!) and is a historical crime novel (according to the author's website, it's aimed at older teenagers but it's pretty gruesome, even by their standards) in which a married couple, Lucie and Atticus Fox, are summoned from their Harrogate home to the Northumberland estate of Sir Hugh Lowther, to investigate a gruesome murder of one of the local residents. It's a far cry from the Foxs' usual work, which is looking for lost pets/possible affairs/servants who've run off with the silver, and Lucie in particular is keen to use her newly acquired forensic skills of fingerprinting, of which the local police have mixed feelings, and she's also unfazed by gore, which is lucky as bodies soon start to pile up, especially amongst the Lowthers' staff. All the murders have a link to Arthurian legends, including the prime suspect, who's convinced he is Uther Pendragon and that Arthur and Guinevere regularly visit him. However, as the book goes on, I thought it became fairly obvious who the killer is, and Lucie and Atticus find themselves in great danger as matters build to a final showdown - and this is where the book fell down slightly for me; I felt the confession seemed to go on forever, and the final scene, by contrast, seemed rather rushed and the book came to a rather sudden end. Having said that, I thought it was well-written, atmospheric and quite exciting, and wouldn't be surprised if Lucie and Atticus - who are both likeable and believable - get their own series. A promising author. 7/10

The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy - one of Hardy's slightly less-known works, I decided to re-read this after a recent visit to Dorset and seeing what was possibly the real Egdon Heath, although it's actual "provenance" is rather vague. Anyway the Heath is one of the stars of the book, looming over everyone and everything, including the main story, which is basically a love quadrangle involving Clym Yeobright, his cousin Thomasin, Damon Wildeve and Eustacia Vye, who longs for something better than life tucked away on a windswept heath and surrounded by furze and ponies. When she hears that Clym is returning from Paris, where he worked in the diamond industry, she's convinced that he can take her away from the countryside and will whisk her back to the bright lights of that city or, failing that, Budmouth (in real life, the busy port of Weymouth). However, Clym has actually come home for good, and the whirlwind romance can only lead, in true Hardy fashion, to disaster. I'd forgotten how much description there was in this book, I'm sure some of Hardy's other books don't have so much rhetoric in them and i found it bogged the story down sometimes, but the cast-members (both the main players and the amusing supporting cast of country folk) are all vividly drawn, and whilst the story moves towards an inevitable tragedy - I suppose you could say that Eustacia, possibly one of literature's most selfish heroines, is the rock on which many of them broke themselves - there is a happy ending, at least for some of the characters. 7/10

Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths - the 5th in the Ruth Galloway series, and one of the best so far. Ruth receives sad news from an old university friend that another pal from those days has been killed in a house fire; then she receives a letter from her late friend, a fellow archaeologist, saying that he thinks he's made a momentous discovery, would like her opinion, and is scared. Intrigued, Ruth decides to visit his university, which is in Pendle, Lancashire, and combine the trip with a holiday in Blackpool, so she sets off, accompanied by her toddler daughter, Kate, and her irrepressible druid friend, Cathbad, who also has some old friends in that area. Soon Ruth starts to receive threatening text messages, and when she finds out that the police think her friend's death was suspicious, she realises there are very few people she can trust amongst the small, and rather odd, university community, and that a white supremacist group may also be involved. Detective Harry Nelson is also in Blackpool, visiting his family and in-laws, as well as his old detective friends, and he also finds himself drawn into the case. The text messages get more threatening, and mysterious cloaked figures start appearing too, and everything builds to a tense climax at, of all places, Blackpool Pleasure Beach. The writing is excellent, there's some great relationship development especially between Ruth and Cathbad, more tension between Ruth and Harry, and there's also the possibility of a few new characters too, and the author's dry humour is very much in evidence, with some lovely, if slightly waspish comments, about life in general. Hugely enjoyable, one of the best in the series so far. 8/10

Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters - the first in the Vicky Bliss series of adventures, set in the German town of Rothenburg, famed for it's mediaeval architecture. When Vicky and her boyfriend (and rival) Tony discover that there may be a lost artefact in the form of a small shrine which was carved by the legendary Riemenschneider hidden in the town, they challenge each other to track it down. But when they arrive in the picturesque town and check into the original Schloss, now a hotel, they find that they're not the only ones in search of the shrine and, naturally, some of their fellow treasure-hunters will stop at nothing to get it. And is there a supernatural force at work too? This was a fun read, with the small town and the castle/hotel well-described, and with some genuine suspense - the claustrophobic atmosphere in some scenes was very vivid! An enjoyable romp which would appeal to readers of books like the Stephanie Plum series, and Vicky is a likeable, believable heroine and narrator, with a great sense of humour. 7.5/10

A Treacherous Likeness by Lynn Shepherd - 3rd in the Charles Maddox series; I was really looking forward to reading this after loving "Tom All-Alone's" last year, however I was slightly disappointed as I didn't think this book flowed as smoothly as "Tom". This book focuses on the tangled love life of the poet Shelley, when Charles is asked to find out what really happened during that notorious stay in Italy, which culminated in Shelley's death by drowning, and other incidents in the past, such as his first wife's suicide and the death of several of his children, although of course in Victorian times this was sadly not uncommon. The poet's son and daughter-in-law want to stop the possible publication of various letters that might reveal some nasty skeletons in Shelley's closet, and Charles discovers that his great-uncle, also Charles Maddox, was previously involved with the Shelley entourage - but Maddox senior is now almost completely lost to the combined effects of dementia and a recent stroke-like condition, and his great-nephew finds himself drawn into a very unsavoury case indeed. I actually found this book quite confusing - it's told in a mixture of flashbacks, diary extracts and letters and at times I found it difficult to work out whose voice the author was using. The final third of the book was much better - the author took us back to the time when Maddox senior became involved with the family, and this part was engrossing, but overall I have to admit I found this book somewhat lacking, and was glad of the author's explanatory notes at the end. Beautifully written, but definitely a tangled web, and prior knowledge of Shelley's colourful life would definitely help - I did have some background knowledge, having read Jude Morgan's "Passion" a couple of years ago, but still found it confusing. However she is an excellent author; apparently her next book will be based on Dracula! 7/10
Last edited by Madeleine on Tue August 27th, 2013, 11:30 am, edited 12 times in total.
Currently reading "The Likeness" by Tana French & "My Lemon Grove Summer" by Jo Thomas

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