Monday, 1 August 2016

Short reviews

I caught sight of this readalong on the twitter, organised by the lovely Care from so with my usual grace and style,  I barged in ;)

I'd had the book for a while and I'm trying this new thing, where I actually read the books I bought in a couple of book depository BUY ALL THE BOOKS sprees instead of ... not reading them,which is my usual MO.

Anyway. There's a disease spreading like wildfire (pun intended) through the population. The experts call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton which doesn't catch on really. Instead, everyone calls it Dragonscale. And it's thought to be entirely fatal (the whole spontaneous combustion thing.)

Harper is a school nurse, trying to emulate Mary Poppins and do her best, when everything starts going downhill. Dragonscale is everywhere, she finds out she's pregnant AND she has Dragonscale AND her husband is actually a giant bag of tiny dicks.

Enter the Fireman, and a kind of community of people who also have Dragonscale, but seem to be immune to the whole spontaneous combustion thing. Good news for Harper, but there are still Evildoers out there, determined to. Do Evil.

I did enjoy The Fireman, but I felt like I was waiting for The Big Thing to happen, and it just kind of never came. Harper is very derring-do and practical and she has the worst timing ever in the history of everything ever, which I found a bit annoying.

I gave it 3.5 stars on Goodreads, and I think, honestly, I enjoyed the concept more than I enjoyed the actual novel itself.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys is based on one of the worst maritime disasters of World War 2 - the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff.

Four young people are trying to flee Germany in the dying days of World War 2. Their stories - told in alternating narratives - make up the novel's narrative.

It gives the overarching tragedy - which I had never heard of - that all-important personal touch. It's very readable though I found trying to follow all four narrative strands did get a little bit confusing at times.

After my two previous  and fairly heavy reads, I was on the lookout for something a bit lighter. Also, I had just watched The Unicorn and the Wasp, so was in the frame of mind for a mystery.

I could have picked up one of my many Agathas but I decided to go in a different direction.

Snow White Red-handed is the first book in a new cosy mystery series by Maia Chance. The stars of the show are former actresses Ophelia and Prue.

Having been given the boot from their show, they need new jobs, and Ophelia manages to blag them into jobs as maids for the very rich Mrs Coop, who is heading to the Black Forest with her husband to take possession of a castle.

Ophelia is plucky and clever and Prue .. well, Prue is pretty. But both girls are resourceful when they need to be. Set mid-19th century, with the story of Snow White (not the Disney version I have to say) weaving in and out of the mystery, this was just what the book doctor ordered.

Great fun.

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