The Ghost Woods – C.J. Cooke – 21.11.11

I quite liked this book. It is a period piece, about girls sent to a mother and baby home with some unpleasant and eerie secrets. At the beginning of the book, the main character has no memory of how she came to be pregnant and the book slowly unravels her repressed memories along with the secrets of the house. There are some supernatural and magical realism elements, and it is quite spooky, but I didn’t love it as I found myself getting a bit bored of it all in the middle and I was glad when it was finally over.

Small Things Like These – Claire Keegan – 08.11.22

Set in Wexford in Ireland in 1985 this beautiful novella follows Bill, a loving husband and father who works hard selling coal and timber and making deliveries around the town. When he delivers coal to the Magdalen laundry (an institute run by the Catholic Church in Ireland and now famous for the horrible abuse to girls who fell pregnant out of ‘wedlock’ and were sent there) he struggles with his reaction – should he help the girls and risk alienation and persecution in the town very much under the thumb of the church?

I read this short book in one setting, and was enraptured by the fabulous writing and the evocative story.

Once There Were Wolves – Charlotte McConaghy – (BOOKGROUP) – 07.11.22

This was my book group read for November, and as you will see if you look at the My Book Group Reads page of my website, the group had a great discussion based on this (in my opinion at least) fabulous book.

Here’s part of what I wrote about it on my book group reads page:

The story follows Inte, who suffers from mirror image synesthesia and is one of two identical twins while she is in Scotland heading a team re-introducing wild wolves to the ecosystem.

The books seems to span several genres, it’s a murder mystery, a family thriller, a book about nature and ecology and a study on relationships and human behaviour. We talked about all these things, including how our actions and feelings are molded both by our genetics and our experiences, we talked about the shocking prevalence of domestic abuse and child abuse in the world and if this makes us more or less like wild animals.

I loved the book, and the other members in my book group all at least liked it, although so of them found it a bit too strange.

This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don’t Touch It

Book 2 of 4: John Dies at the End   – David Wong – 05.11.22

Book three in this series was in the audible £3 sale, and I had read and enjoyed book one, and owned book two on kindle so I bought book three and read this one to get caught up.

I think David Wong’s writing is genius! The books are goofy in places, and almost a parody of sci fi/horror writing, but never at the expense of great plotting and characterisation.

David, his friend, John, and his girlfriend, Amy, have to fight off evil spider like monsters that no one else can see but that turn their hosts into murderous zombies. They have the help of the amazing Molly the dog who is loyal, intelligent and adorable.

I’m excited to listen to book three now.

The Invisible Ones – Stef Penney – (AUDIOBOOK) – 28.10.22

I was very quickly drawn in to this story and became gripped by the missing person mystery set in the gypsy traveller community. I loved the language and character development and was having a lovely time until about half way through the book, when I suddenly worked out the mystery twist completely. I know it’s nice to work out some bits of the mystery, as it makes the reader feel clever, but because I worked out everything so early, the rest of the book started to annoy me because it seemed so obvious to me and I couldn’t understand how the characters didn’t see it themselves. It is true that the reader gets several points of view, and the characters don’t all have all the pieces of the puzzle that the reader does, but still. On the whole though, I did like the book.

The Magpie Key (Crow Investigations Book 8) – Sarah Painter – 30.10.22

This latest installment in the Crow Investigations series is quite dark and scary, as Lydia has dealings with her boyfriend Fleet’s estranged dad who is a very bad being. The ending is very dramatic and interesting and of course I now can’t wait for the next book in the series!

A Marvellous Light (The Last Binding Book 1) – Freya Marske – 27.10.22

I did enjoy this book set at the turn of the twentieth century. It is both a polite comedy of manners (at least that is the phrase they use on Amazon to promote it!) and a period drama urban fantasy, in that the protagonist stumbles upon a magical underworld which most ‘normal’ people know nothing about. In fact the usual practise is to give the ‘muggles’ a tea which has the same effect as the obliviate charm in the world of Harry Potter so they forget everything.

I was somewhat jarred by the strong language and very explicit sex scenes between the two male protagonists, as it felt out of place with the otherwise gentile feel, although one supposes that beyond the polite social conversation, swearing and having sex all happened in the Edwardian times, they just weren’t included in books written during that period (at least not any I’ve read!).

I did feel invested in the story though, and I liked the magical world. I will look out for more books in the series.

About Time: The Time Police, Book 4 (AUDIOBOOK) – Jodi Taylor – 26.10.22

Another fun romp with the loveable Time police (not so) rookie (anymore) team. I do get a bit confused with the chronology between this series and the St Mary’s books and because I was listening to an audiobook rather than reading a physical or kindle version I couldn’t flick to the dramatus thingammy at the beginning if I forgot who was who. Still, I very much enjoyed the listen and learning more about the team’s past and seeing their characters and relationships develop. I think Jodi Taylor is very good at handling the love interest side of things without being annoying – her burgeoning relationships are relatably bumbling and embarrassing while still being sweet.

The Sandman Act 3 (AUDIOBOOK) – Neil Gaiman – 22.10.22

For some reason, when I listened to The Sandman Act II it didn’t blow me away as much as Act I, but, for me at least, Act III was back to cracking form and I loved it!

I was gripped with the stories which were both exciting and emotionally deep, I loved the cast of fabulous actors who really brought the stories to life and I can’t wait for the next one (and I can’t wait for the next installment of the TV adaptations!!)

Keeper of Enchanted Rooms (Whimbrel House Book 1) – Charlie N. Holmberg   – 20.10.22

I enjoyed this magical book set in the eighteen hundreds. An author, Merritt Fernsby inherits a haunted house in a remote part of America, and forms a relationship with the woman from the society that preserves magical buildings as they try to work out who is haunting them, while at the same time a very bad man is after them both.

It was more cosy mystery then horror, although with some gentle horror elements and the inevitable romance between the two main leads was overall more sweet than annoying.

I’ll look out for more books from the series.