read_warbler (read_warbler) wrote,

Books read in January

January was quite an interesting reading month for me. Interesting because of the mix of fiction and non-fiction and also the mix of genres in the fiction... horror, crime and science fiction... all big favourites of mine of course.

Let's start at the very beginning (Julie Andrews moment):

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer. The last of her Twilight series and a much maligned series it is. I liked them. I will not, as some do, be rereading and re-re-reading... I'm happy that I've read the series and also happy to cross it off my (too long) series list. I will just add that I thought Breaking Dawn was by far the best of the four books and I thought it a cracking good read.

Wait For Me! by Deborah Devonshiire> My review is here. Loved it.

At Winter's End by Robert Silverberg> My review is here. A really excellent sci-fi read.

In Tearing Haste: Letters Between Deborah Devonshire and Patrick Leigh Fermor edited by Charlotte Mosley. My review is here. Adored it.

I'll just add a few words about my last two books of January.

Presumed Guilty by Tess Gerritsen is not one of her Rizzoli and Isles books, it's a stand-alone that she wrote for MIRA a few years before she embarked on her famous series. Miranda has been having an affair with her newspaper editor boss. She decides to finish it but he won't leave her alone. He calls her one night to say he's coming over so she leaves the house. When she returns he's lying dead on her bed having been brutally murdered. The prime suspect is obviously going to be Miranda. Bailed by persons unknown she, along with the murdered man's brother, sets about finding the murderer and clearing her name. This is one of those pageturners. Wonderfully readable, pacey to the point of a headlong gallop, I loved it. It was full of suspense, yes the characters - especially the hero - were a bit Harlequin/Mills and Boonish, but that doesn't worry me if the story is engrossing and it was. I also loved the very strong sense of Maine where the story is set so will be adding this book to my American states challenge. I'll also be picking up more of Gerritsen's stand-alone books when I spot them in the library.

I picked up Fete Fatale by Robert Barnard a couple of years ago after Nan at Letters from a Hill Farm reviewed something by him and said how good it was. It wasn't this book as far as I remember. Anyway, this one involves Helen, the first person narrator, who is happily married to the local vet, Marcus. They live in Hexton-on-Weir, a town in Yorkshire and it's a town which the couple have observed is ruled by women. realised that the dominant tones that you heard were female. It was a woman laying down the law to a shopkeeper, a woman who was haranguing a police constable in the square about dog shit on the pavements, a woman who was exchanging heavy pleasantries with the tea-shop proprietor. And these dominant tones were a sort of Middle-class lingua franca, with only occasional notes of Yorkshire.

All this makes for an awkward atmosphere when a new vicar is apponted and it turns out he is a celibate by choice. Certain women take against this as they believe a vicar should be married, plus it smacks of Catholicism, and they start a campaign of trying to force him to resign. Things come to a head during the church fete when someone is murdered. I'm not saying any more than that as the murder victim was a shock to me and it should be for anyone reading this for themselves. I thought when I picked this up that it was a 'cozy' crime book, and it certainly does have many elements of humour. But there is also quite a dark streak running through this book, human nature sharply observed and some of it thoroughly unpleasant and very true to life. I thought the characterisation was spot on and all of it beautifully written. Highly recommend this to crime readers who maybe want something a little bit different. I loved it.

So here we are in February already. Before you know it it'll be Christmas again. (I'm only half joking.) I'm not sure what my reading plans for this month are. I've just started a book of Victorian vampire stories and will probably choose something else to read alongside it. The only book I really must read this month is Doomsday Book by Connie Willis but only because I want to include it in my list for Carl's Sci-fi experience. Other than that I think I will just please myself. Happy reading!
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