Saturday 24 December 2022

My Top Ten Books of 2022

...not necessarily published in 2022, but that was when I read them.   This isn't a top ten countdown; I've just listed them in the order they were read. 

If you would like to read my review and those on Amazon/Goodreads, please click the title/author.

Happy Reading!!

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Dark psychological family drama

An Idle King by Andrew Paterson

Military Drama, Afghanistan

Rizzio by Denise Mina

Novella about Mary, Queen of Scots

What Was Once Home by B K Bass

Post-apocalyptic, alien invasion, set in southern USA

The Last Princess by Shelley Wilson

YA Historical, Vikings and Saxons

Michel The Giant: An African in Greenland 

by TÊtÊ-Michel Kpomassie

Memoir - young man from Togo explores Greenland in the 1950s/60s

Sisters at the Edge of the World by Ailish Sinclair

Pre-Christianity Scottish historical drama

Captive of the King by Gemma Lawrence

Book 4 of a series about Lady Jane Rochford, set during the downfall of Anne Boleyn

Tales of Empire by Tom Williams, Penny Hampson, Jacqueline Reiter and Antoine Vanner

Four long-short stories set in the 19th Century

Murder & Mischief by Carol Hedges

Stand-alone Book 10 of a Victorian murder mystery series



Sunday 18 December 2022

MURDER & MISCHIEF by Carol Hedges @riotgrandma72 #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

5 out of 5 stars

On Amazon (universal link)
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book: it was submitted to Rosie's Book Review Team, of which I am a member.  But I would have bought it anyway ;)

In a Nutshell: Victorian Murder Mystery

This is Book Ten of the series and I have read the other nine; you will, therefore, gather that these books absolutely work for me.  They're linked, in that the same detectives appear in all books, and each story has cameo appearances from characters found in the earlier ones, but they're completely stand-alone.  My advice is to start with #1, though - you'll want to read them all, I promise!

Murder & Mischief, set mostly in London in the mid-19th Century, features a mysterious snow-covered corpse in the garden of a wealthy and unscrupulous land developer, an even more mysterious top hat, two children who have escaped from workhouse drudgery, a clever private detective (female, shock horror!), a community of bohemian artists, and Ms Hedges' trademark supporting cast of grimy folk in dingy pubs and lodging houses, doing what they feel they must to stay afloat ... a prostitute here, a social climber there, all crowded into Victorian London at its best, worst and every level in between.  Then there is the ancient and dilapidated Ships Head down at the Docks, almost a character in itself.  The 'formula' is similar in each one, but it never gets tired, and I always hope there will be more.

It's not easy to review a Book 10 in a series without repeating oneself, so I'll leave it with this: it's great.  They're all great.  Curl up on the sofa with cushions, a blanket, a cup of hot chocolate and a candle or two (to feel like part of the setting!), and you're in for a treat!

Sunday 4 December 2022

CROW COUNTRY by Emily Sullivan

 4 out of 5 stars

On Amazon (universal link)
On Goodreads

How I discovered this bookfreebooksy

In a Nutshell: Bleak post-apocalyptic world in which men are mean and crows are ... huge.

“Everyone was, in one night, made basic again. For when the Lord snapped his fingers, the Devil took the stage. What tremendous music he made”.

A strange book ... highly atmospheric, and that was what kept me reading.  That and wanting to know if the main character, Judge, would make it.

It's almost three decades after some event that caused a blackout across America, a situation never reversed.  Alas, we never find out what happened on October 9th, nearly thirty years before, or why fertility has been affected.  This isn't really a criticism as the book is about the events of the present; I just like to know the full story!  Judge lives in Colorado, in the new town of Genesis, run by a man known only as Law (at first).  Gradually, little bits of information are dropped in to show the reader details about the past.  I liked the way this is done, as by the time this appeared I really needed to know what the backstory between Law and Judge was.

As well as dealing with the usual horrors of a post-apocalyptic world, the inhabitants of Genesis must take cover from the crows, grown huge and predatory.

I found the writing style compelling (in that I couldn't have not read until the end) yet frustrating at times, when something was not explained as much as I would like; at other times, though, this was most effective.  Occasionally there were odd word choices, unusual ways of describing a feeling, the weather, the atmosphere that mostly worked very well but now and again had me thinking, what does she mean?  I noted afterwards that the author writes Westerns, and this book is very much in that vein.  It's raw, bleak, with little comfort for the characters and a dark portrayal of the worst in man.

I liked it.  It's good.  Now I want to read a prequel!