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On 15/11/2019 at 11:27 PM, Raven said:

No, no typo!  I'm talking about the Benedict Cumberbatch series Sherlock that was on a few years ago.  Their take on HotB was... poor, to say the least.

 

 

I see what you meant now.  Thought that was meant to be either 'Brett' or 'Rathbone' instead of 'Sherlock'.

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28 minutes ago, Raven said:

The first series of Sherlock was very good and - with the excerption of Hounds - series two was as well. 

After that, however, it got a little up it's own bottom and went down the pan. 

Series three was poor and the Christmas special they did after that was a joke.

I cannot tell you about series four because I haven't watched it.

 

Pretty good summary! It lost me round about the same time.

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ur.jpg.fbcaed2cd8d5984b98d7160eb5264689.jpg

 

Unreliable Memoirs

By Clive James

 

Just squeaked over the line with 20 books for the year, the last one being Unreliable Memoirs from the late, great, Clive James.

 

For those who have not had the chance to read this, it is an account of James' life from childhood though to University and his leaving Australia for the UK in the early 60's. 

 

James knew how to spin a tale, and this book is chock full of them.  By his own admission this isn't an accurate autobiography, with a lot of the characters being facsimiles of real people and sometimes combinations of several, but that doesn't make it any less interesting for that.  Reading the book you get the impression James is his own harshest critic, but there is a lot to entertain, and he paints a vivid picture of what growing up in post-war Australia was like.

 

Highly recommended.

 

Volume 2 is Falling Towards England, but that may have to wait as I've picked up a few books over the last few days!

 

Edited by Raven

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I always enjoyed watching and listening to Clive James over the years, but (weirdly) never thought to read anything other than the odd article by him.

 

That may have to change! 

 Happy New Year Raven. :)

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19 hours ago, Chrissy said:

I always enjoyed watching and listening to Clive James over the years, but (weirdly) never thought to read anything other than the odd article by him.

 

That may have to change! 

 Happy New Year Raven. :)

 

Happy New Year to you too!

 

I can recommend his books, or at least the two I have read to date!

 

I've actually gone straight on with Falling Towards England myself.

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On 31/12/2008 at 12:43 PM, Raven said:

Wot I've Read in 2020:

 

Nuffin.

 

Stop judging me.

 

 

A slow start to the forum's longest running book blog. 

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5 hours ago, Raven said:

 

A slow start to the forum's longest running book blog. 

Is yours really the longest running book blog?? Congratulations! I haven't finished a book yet either, but clearly I'm in good company :lol: 

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19 hours ago, Raven said:

A slow start to the forum's longest running book blog. 

 

Wow, how cool you have the forum's longest running book blog!!

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20 hours ago, Hayley said:

Is yours really the longest running book blog?? Congratulations! I haven't finished a book yet either, but clearly I'm in good company :lol: 

 

6 hours ago, Athena said:

Wow, how cool you have the forum's longest running book blog!!

 

It's amazing what you can achieve by not reading much or posting very often!

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On 10/01/2020 at 1:34 PM, Raven said:

It's amazing what you can achieve by not reading much or posting very often!

That would make it a lot easier to stay up to date with reviews :giggle2:

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14 hours ago, Hayley said:

That would make it a lot easier to stay up to date with reviews :giggle2:

 

Long periods of posting no reviews at all tends to help as well.

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6 hours ago, Raven said:

 

Long periods of posting no reviews at all tends to help as well.

I'm already really good at that :blush::D

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Okay, so here's a question for you charming peeps...

 

I always buy the Waterstones versions* of the Rivers of London books because they have a short story tagged on at the end.  I finished the main novel on Saturday night, and read the short story tonight, so I have - for the first time - listed both separately on my reading list. 

 

Is this a cheat? (even though I have marked up the latter as a short story?)

 

I'll reserve my opinion until others have commented! (always assuming someone does!).

 

*Hardback as well, as I can't wait for the paperbacks of these books!

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I thought the same thing with the last book and I think I left them together in the end, but I don't think it should feel like a cheat. They are always completely separate stories. We'd review it as a separate short story, so why not list it as one?

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I don't think it's a cheat to list them separately, especially if they are both separate stories. I've had such a situation once before, and I just listed it as one entry, but when you think about it, it does make sense to put it as two separate entries. When I read an omnibus that contains, say, two or three novels, I list them seperately too (then again with Fruits Basket Collector's Edition I don't, but that's also because it's not said in the book where one original volume ends and the next one begins so I couldn't say pagecounts for individual volumes). Anyway, I think it's definitely not a cheat, go for it!

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I'd say it was completely up to you and how you feel about it.  If you think you're 'cheating', then you are, and if you don't, you aren't; when all said and done, this is not a competitive sport, and how you record your reading is up to you.

For my list, it is rather subjective.  I have included novellas like Christmas Carol, even though it's usually published as one story amongst several as Dickens' Christmas Stories, and some children's books as short as the Paddington novels (they take me about an hour so to read at most).  I think I've even included Asterix books - and they are a scant 64 pages or so long (and not many words, although I do try and read them in French so they take a bit longer than usual!).  But they are only occasional reads - not sure what I'd do if they and similar took up more of my reading - I don't think I'd count them as it really would give a false figure (for me). 

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Thanks for your comments all.  

 

I hadn't really thought about it before reading False Values, because I usually go straight on and read the short story so I finish both of them on the same day, but in this case it was a few days before I could read A Dedicated Follower of Fashion, and it was so tonally different from False Values that I was already thinking of it as a separate from the main novel before I had finished it (which, of course, it was).

 

In the past where I have read novels that have been combined into single volumes (such as three of the Raymond Chandler books I've read over the last year or so) I've listed them separately because there have often been several books between the different novels.  I also have a Murakami book that contains two novels (Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973) that I will almost certainly list separately as well.

 

So, in summary, I don't think this is a cheat, and I'm happy to stick to listing them as I have!

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shit.jpg.3fa55cec56e06da35aa17e2cb728a50d.jpg

 

The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind

By Jackson Ford
 
Teagan Frost can move things with her mind, but right now she's in a spot of bother because someone has been murdered and only someone with her specific skill set could have done it.  Can Teagan find whoever is responsible and clear her name before her Government employers catch up with her?
 
Yep, it is yet another Urban fantasy novel! (although I’m not sure if and how that term applies to a story where the main character has superpowers rather than a magical ability).
 
The book is set in modern day Los Angeles, and tells the story of a young girl with psychokinetic abilities (basically, she can move non-organic items just by thinking about it).  Teagan works for a covert government agency that – between official jobs – has a cover as a removal firm.  When framed for a murder she didn’t commit, she and her colleagues are forced to go on the run to try and clear her name and keep their agency from being closed down.  They are an ill-assorted group from the start, and a lot of the book revolves around their patching up their differences to get the job done. 
 
Though the plot is a little formulaic in places, the story is well told and paced and moves along quickly.   My only real quibble is that the end of the book seems to ramble a bit after the main plot has been resolved - this is the only place the story could be said to drag at all - and the conversation in the penultimate chapter definitely feels out of place (something that should have been covered in the next book, possibly?).
 
Teagan is likeable character; bolshie and sarcastic (or having plenty of “snark,” as I believe the Americans say) but she is also unsure of herself and her abilities which she feels places a barrier between her and those around her.  This combination keeps the character grounded and gets the reader onside with her pretty much from the start.  The supporting cast has a good mix of characters, which I think bodes well for future stories.
 
The cover of the book has a quote that describes it as being a cross between Alias and the X-Men, which makes me think the person being quoted was grasping for a spy show with a female lead because I couldn't see the link to Alias otherwise (the situations certainly don't compare and, if anything, Teagan is the polar opposite of Sydney Bristow!)  If I had to give a comparison, to go with the X-Men, I would possibly go with 24 for the pacing of the story, but that would be rather misleading as well.  If I was forced to draw a parallel of my own I would say the book feels like an American version of Paul Cornell’s Shadow Police series, but not quite as dark, and it also reminded me of Daniel O'Malley's The Checquy Files.
 
So, in summary, an entertaining read, and a good opener for what looks set to be a series of novels (which I believe are already being referred to as The Frost Files).
 
Book 2, Random Sh*t Flying Through the Air, is out in paperback in July.
 
Recommended (certainly for fans of this ever growing sub-genre).
 
Edited by Raven
Restoring image, which seems to have gone missing!

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^ I forgot to add: Yes, I totally bought this based on the title alone.

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Nearly half way through the year and I'm probably on target for 10 books by the end of the month.  I had expected to be a lot further ahead than that, given the current situation and the fact that I'm confined to being at home most of the time, but I used to read books on my Kindle when sitting in the pub, which I am obviously no longer doing, and this seems to have had a bigger effect on the amount I am reading than being at home is countering.

 

The thought has crossed my mind I was probably spending too much time in the pub, but - pff - how can that be remotely right? 

 

Either way, I found myself flicking through the first 40 pages of my current book again this evening (Inversions, by Iain M Banks, which is excellent, by the way) because I've read it in such a disjointed manner - a few pages here and there over the last couple of weeks - that I wanted to make sure I hadn't missed anything.  I should give this one more time, because it is shaping up to be a very good book indeed.

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I have Inversions on my TBR, I'm glad it's excellent so far! Happy reading :).

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On 6/13/2020 at 9:58 PM, Raven said:

Nearly half way through the year and I'm probably on target for 10 books by the end of the month. 

 

Well, I did make it to 10 books by the end of June, but then I went through what I think is termed "a fallow period".

 

Not quite sure what has happened to my reading mojo; I completed Inversions and being the first Iain M. Banks book I have read for a long while, and having rather enjoyed it, I went straight on to Surface Detail, which is a very different book - though still enjoyable - but I just ground. to. a. halt...

 

Then, a couple of weeks back the following popped up in the Kindle Deal of the Day, and I just finished it tonight...

 

ace.jpg.c2d36ec88fcb38b8677a58ef85283abc.jpg

 

Doctor Who: At Childhood's End

By Sophie Aldred

 

Once upon a time, there was a girl who travelled through time and space in a blue box with an impossibly old man, but one day they parted and went their separate ways in less than cheery circumstances.  Many years later, the girl now grown, met up with an impossibly young woman, who claimed to have once been an impossibly old man...

 

Side note: I'm beginning to think this whole COVID situation is starting to drive me crackers...

 

So, a Doctor Who book written by Sophie Aldred about an older Ace (her companion character in the late 90's, for those who don't know) meeting up with the current Jodie Whittaker incarnation of the Doctor.  I loved Ace when I was growing up; she was strong, feisty and pretty damn hot - she also famously took out a Dalek with a baseball bat!  Her pairing with Sylvester McCoy's Doctor worked wonderfully well, and following on from one of the less successful periods in the show's history they started to turn it around and do the kind of character development with Ace that wouldn't look out of place in the new series.  It was therefore disappointing that in 1989 the BBC pulled the plug on the show and we never got a third series with Ace and - crucially for this book - no departure story.

 

Scroll on 30 years and now that tale can be told, and I'm sorry to say its a little disappointing itself. 

 

McCoy's Doctor - again, for those not watching at the time - had a tendency to be rather manipulative when it came to those around him, and that character trait is used as the reason for Ace's departure from the TARDIS.  Whilst the reason's for Ace's departure are utterly plausible, I can't help being a little sad that is how one of my favourite pairings in the show came to an end.

 

But that isn't the end of the story, it's just the beginning!

 

Ace (or to use her real name, Dorothy McShane) is now the successful CEO of a global charity* that is trying to save the planet, but that's just the day job; in her spare time, she's a cross between James Bond (fast cars and secret lairs) and Marie Curie (if the latter had been into explosives, rather than slowly poisoning herself).  Teenagers are going missing from the streets of London, and Ace is on the case, but chasing a thread from the other end of the story, so are the Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz.  To be honest, it's a bit of a convoluted plot, and one that makes use of one of the less impressive elements of Ace's backstory (and one that already had an explanation to boot!) but that's all fluff; if you are reading this book, it is probably to catch up with Ace and to see how she interacts with a different, female Doctor.

 

The former largely works; Ace being in charge and distant from the people in her life is very believable (and draws an interesting parallel with her former mentor) but for all the good she seems to be doing in the world, she doesn't seem to have been able to move on from her travels with the Doctor.  The Doctor, on the other hand, has certainly moved on and the two characters together make an interesting pairing, but not one that is really explored very deeply in this book (without giving anything away, the end of the book is rather abrupt, and it feels as though it is missing some wrap up scenes, especially one that I felt was needed between Ace and Yaz).

 

Overall, there is quite a bit here to like, and there is a good hit of nostalgia for the older fans, but the story itself is rather weak and after the initial, interesting mystery, it devolves into a rather run of the mill resolution.  If you are not a fan of Ace, or the current incarnation of Doctor Who, then it's probably not one for you.  For my own part, I think it just misses the mark (I don't normally give books ratings out of five, but if I did this would be a solid three).

 

Entertaining enough, but definitely one of the fans.

 

Oh, and if Big Finish don't end up spinning off a series of audio adventures from this, I will eat my baseball bat.

 

*A Charitable Earth, geddit? - you can thank Russell T Davis for that one...

 

Edited by Raven
Big fingers...

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On 22/09/2020 at 11:28 PM, Raven said:

(Ace and the Doctor) the two characters together make an interesting pairing, but not one that is really explored very deeply in this book (without giving anything away, the end of the book is rather abrupt, and it feels as though it is missing some wrap up scenes, especially one that I felt was needed between Ace and Yaz).

 

Entertaining enough, but definitely one of the fans.

 

When you responded to my post in the reading thread, I wondered how I had missed your review - but my forum negligence knows no bounds this year, so there we go. 

 

I read your review, and all I can say is that I was clearly not critical enough in even my thinking. I had been waiting for, and very much looking forward to the Ace and Yaz conversation that the story seemed to be heading toward, and it did not happen! How did I manage to miss that? Upon proper reflection I am additionally miffed at the skimming over of the Ace/Dorothy and the Doctor relationship, only touched upon by a couple of exchanges. 

 

Yep, I was fangirling, and enjoying the ride rather than bringing any proper thinking to my reading. That about sums up my reading of the past couple of years! :blush:

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