Saving Time: A Time Police Novel Book 3- Jodi Taylor, Narrated by: Zara Ramm – 19.01.22

I enjoyed this third installment in the Time Police series, which is a spin off from the St Mary’s books about historians observing events in contemporary time (or time travelling).

It follows ‘team weird’ who are a group of three not long qualified time police with interesting back stories and personalities who we are getting to know and love more with each exciting and fun episode of trying to thwart the time travelling bad guys that they get themselves into.

Still Life – Sarah Winman – 17.01.22

This is a beautiful, epic, exuberant and joyful story and I loved it!

During WW2, a young British soldier is stationed in Italy when he saves the life of an Italian man. The book follows his fortunes and those of the people he loves as he returns to London, and later back to Italy as the man he saved leaves him his home and everything in it.

It’s about love and life and family and community and I just found it so uplifting and beautiful and so evocative of what it would be like to find your place in the world somewhere as lovely as Florence.

Come Again (Audiobook) – Robert Webb (Author), Olivia Colman (Narrator) – 16.01.22

The first part of this book is a funny, sweet and wise look at a woman in grief after losing her husband. I was very quickly drawn in and enjoyed that. Then she somehow finds herself reliving the time in her life where she met her husband during freshers week when they were both students. She must try to warn him that he has a slow growing brain tumour even then that isn’t discovered until decades later when it’s too late to do anything about it. This is very hard as from his perspective she’s some crazy woman he’s never met. I liked that bit too. The third part of the book gets a bit action adventury which I don’t like so much with car chases and shooting etc. Still on the whole I really liked this audiobook.

The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy: Hogwarts for Muggles (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Book 22) – William Irwin, Gregory Bassham – 13.01.22

I don’t often like this kind of ‘Pop science’ book, but this one was on a 99p deal and I love Harry Potter so I gave it a go. Hmmm. It seems to me that philosophy is just either stating the bleeding obvious in a really longwinded way, or talking total nonsense in a really longwinded way. Still, I was reminded of a few things from Harry Potter that I’d forgotten about, which was nice, although I thought some of the HP references or puns were too contrived or cutesy.

If you like that kind of thing, then you’ll probably like this.

The Apollo Murders (Audiobook) – Chris Hadfield – 10.01.22

I heard Chris Hadfield interviewed about this book on the radio, and I remembered him from the images on tv of him singing ‘Ground Control to Major Tom’ whilst floating in a space ship and thought he seemed like a fun guy and I was intrigued to read his book. I love the Andy Weir books that are set in space and was hoping for something similar. Sadly, I was disappointed.

I found this book really slow to start, and then it dragged in the middle, and the ending wasn’t great (other than the relief of it finally being over). There seemed to be an awful lot of boring detail (and I love all the sciencey detail in Andy Weir books, so it’s not that I don’t like to learn stuff….). I didn’t warm to any of the characters, and I often lost track of who was who, and where our sympathies were supposed to lie (and if I even cared…). There was a lot of ‘Isn’t America Great’ baloney, and nobody should be subjected to that.

Yeah, didn’t like it. Sorry.

(Oh, I just remembered that there was one fun fact that I learned and that made me smile, and I remember thinking that I should mention it in my review so it wasn’t all bad, but now I’ve forgotten what it was…. It’ll come back to me, maybe…).

The Silence of the Girls – Pat Barker – 03.01.22

This is a novelisation of the Trojan War from the perspective of a female slave inside the Greek camp. I’m not well up on Ancient Greek history or mythology, but other reviewers on Amazon says it’s pretty true to the Iliad and other texts. If I’m honest, I was quite bored by it and found it a slog to get through.

The Day That Never Comes: The Dublin Trilogy – Caimh McDonnell – 22.12.21

I’m only realising now that I had read this book before. Only because when I was trying to save the book cover image, my computer already had it saved from 2018! That aside, it’s the third book by Caimh McDonnell that I’ve read in a row, and I’m starting to think you can get too much of a good thing, because I found myself getting a bit annoyed, or maybe bored, by it. It could just be that this book wasn’t to my taste as much as the others by the author, which could explain why I abandoned the trilogy back in 2018 and promptly forgot all about it!

It’s another murder mystery set in Dublin and I’m maybe being unfair, because it was pretty good, just not for me as good as his others.

Angels in the Moonlight: A prequel to the Dublin Trilogy – Caimh McDonnell – 17.12.21

Having loved The Stranger Times so much, I revisited Caimh McDonnell’s Dublin Trilogy with this prequel. It gives you some backstory to  Bunny McGarry and I couldn’t help but fall in love with his character – the epitome of gruff heart of gold beat up the bad guys to save the vulnerable type of person, and even though that is kind of a cliché, when it’s done this well you don’t care. The book was funny and heart wrenching and intriguing and I enjoyed it very much.

The Stranger Times: Stranger Times, Book 1 – C. K. McDonnell – 12.12.21

This is just the kind of book I love (in a guilty pleasure kind of way, although, there’s nothing to feel guilty about!). It’s set in a failing newspaper company that produces paranormal stories. The head editor is a grumpy Irishman (like your man in Black Books who owned the shop and shouted at customers) and we see things unfold through the eyes of a young woman who comes to work at the paper. There is humour, and magical realism and murder and mystery – a good British urban fantasy. I don’t think I realised when I bought it that C. K. McDonnell is in fact one and the same as Caimh McDonnell who wrote the Man With One of Those Faces Dublin Trilogy comic police murder mystery books. I liked it so much, I got my daughter to read it on my kindle when she came home at Christmas and she really liked it too. I can’t wait for the sequel which I have pre-ordered as an audiobook.