Wyvernfriend Reads

I read a lot of books, I like fantasy, romance and some non-fiction

I work as a librarian, I'm an avid knitter. I collect Dragons, fountain pens, notebooks and filofaxes. And Yarn, lots and lots of yarn.

pretence and anger

The Governess Heiress (A Year of Scandal) - Elizabeth Beacon

I think this would have been just as good a story without the secondary mystery (your mileage may vary)

 

Miss Eleanor Hancourt was living as Nell Court as a governess, escaping family scandal and predatory fortune hunters, taking the best care she can of her employer's wards when she bumps into a man she assumes is the new estate manager, he's actually the Earl of Barberry, her employer, but he goes with the fiction to find out more about his estate.  Along the way they fall for each other but both have issues with the other finding out who they are, can the love survive the truth.

 

And then there's the treasure subplot that just didn't really add to the story.  The ending of it was all wrapped up way to easily as well and I felt like there were parts missing when the villains were confronted, it felt quite rushed.  Not a bad read, has potential.

Assassins ahoy

The Reapers - John Connolly

peripherally a Charlie Parker story, this is more about Louis and Angel; mostly about Louis and his past and what happens when that catches up with them both. 

 

A wealthy recluse sends Louis and Angel on a mission to a town where things aren't as they seem and where they find themselves in serious danger. Charlie Parker has to come to their rescue but things are quite perilous and survival won't be easy.  This will make and break relationships.

 

Not so much of the supernatural but a lot of assassins and killers being brutal to each other.  I liked Willie, the mechanic and his story drew me in (as I'm sure the author intended).

 

There was a great piece: "When the three men had gone, Brooker sat silently at his kitchen table while his wife rolled dough behind him, and tried to ignore the waves of disapproval that were breaking upon his back." (p. 336 in my edition) I liked the imagery.

 

There were some very gory parts to this... not for the squeamish, the relish some of the characters had for killing was chilling.

 

Falls into Murder most foul, probably serial/spree killer (several of those in the story); In the Dark, Dark woods. I intended it for American Horror Story, it's more the horrible things people can do to each other but I'm going to count it.

Carmilla (Valancourt Classics) - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, Jamieson Ridenhour

So this is a short book, today it would be a novelette and the publishers apparently decided that 85 pages of story needed a 37 page introduction and 72 pages of other matter. I should have skipped the other stuff. It turned the story into a school read and I was not well disposed to that.  The footnotes were also occasionally intrusive, the editor provided a dictionary (from the Oxford English Dictionary) definition of things like "languor" and "traces" so the reading experience felt like a school edition.

 

It's an early vampire novel, one set in Austria, and honestly my only previous experience of stories set in Austria are of The Chalet School stories.  From what I've read of Le Fanu's life he never went to Austria, but he did have experience of a sickly sister.  Maybe some of the ideas of there being some sort of cure was wish fulfilment of sorts, that the defeat of Carmilla would be like the defeat of the illness his sister suffered from? You know what, I could speculate (and the editor of this edition did, at length) but overall it was an interesting read of a root text, rather like reading Dracula a few years ago, to see where some of the ideas and tropes came from that have lingered into modern fiction.  It is also interesting in not being very judgemental about the lesbian overtones but mostly the story left me wanting more from it.  The illustrations were pretty overt as well with mostly bedroom scenes depicted (yes you can see Carmillas body through the nightgown on the cover), so the sexual overtones of the vampire legend are present, even in this ur-text.

 

Without the surrounding literary matter this would probably have been 3.5 stars but the matter got in the way of the story for me. It's the Bookclub read, and I'm glad I did but I wouldn't recommend this edition for the casual reader.  It falls into gothic, vampires, genre: horror, classic horror, and could be used for supernatural in all likelyhood, I'm using it for Classic Horror

I was right!!

A Blunt Instrument - Georgette Heyer

During the last third of the book I had a sudden conviction of who was the murderer, and I was right.I feel rather chuffed about that, pleased with myself over it.

 

And I will spend the next few days thinking, writing and speaking in early 20th Century English. Some authors do that to one.

 

Ernest Fletcher (and yes, the Murder She Wrote theme music was a regular feature of my reading of this) is found bludgeoned to death. Most of the people around him describe him as well-liked but this is on the surface only.  When he's found dead and there doesn't appear to be a very long window of opportunity Superintendent Hannasyde has to investigate, helped and hindered by his bible thumping Constable Glass and the indolent nephew of the deceased Neville.  As the layers begin to be scraped off the stories a lot of suspects begin to mount up and things get more and more complicated. Then a second body turns up...

 

I enjoyed it, inter-war fiction is some of my favourite reads and this was a good example, yes the characters behave in strange-to-a-modern-reader manners but I just let the story flow and enjoy.  While I did work out the murderer it was still interesting to see what would happen with the main characters.  I found it enjoyable.

 

This could fall into Terrifying women and Murder most foul and I've used those.

Now that's more complicated

World After  - Susan Ee

Penryn is still dealing with the fact that her mother is unstable, that her sister Paige is messed up by the angels and that Raffe has left her to hunt for his wings and that everything is complicated.  The world is messed up, the angels and demons have plans that are going to make things way to messed up for everyone and many of the humans have not realised that this isn't something that they can ignore and hope goes away.

 

Penryn is strong but doesn't really realise it and there is hope for her and her family, she makes mistakes but owns up to them and the sword is subtly changing her.  I'm very curious as to what happens next.

 

Could be supernatural, demons, monsters (these angels are quite monstrous); diverse voices, terrifying women but I'm using it for Chilling Children for what's happening to Paige

During Secondary School this was particularly true.
Reblogged from Angels With Attitude Book Reviews:

Reading progress update: I've read 50 out of 439 pages.

World After  - Susan Ee

Reading this for Chilling Children, her sister is seriously messed up.

Light romance novella

The Rose And The Rebel - Valerie Holmes

a little over 190 pages in large print is really a novella, not really a modern full novel and to some degree it does show. You don't get to know the characters too much before and after the meeting.

 

Miss Penelope Rose decides to escape her house and take a swim in the local pool only to be discovered by Mr Lucas Bleakly, the eligible bachelor son of the local reverend and things get complicated from there.  Features a mild side plot of scheming and dealing with smuggling undercurrents in the locale it's an interesting read but I did want more.

 

There were some elements of romantic suspense but this is a read because I kinda have to because someone is waiting on it.  Now back to the Halloween bingo.

The Snark Was A Boojum - Gerald Verner, Chris Verner

There is a minor element of locked room mystery in this story but it's sorted by the detective quite quickly, almost as if the author was trying to play with the expectation of locked room and subverting it. This was apparently a story found in Gerald Verner's papers and finished by his son.

Featuring the eccentric Simon Gale and told from the perspective of a junior solicitor who Simon inveigles into helping him (with some excellent moments of terror on a motorcycle, without a helmet!). It does still feel somewhat unfinished but the twists and turns were interesting with each character having reasons to kill the various people who turn up dead. I enjoyed it and look forward to more by this author.

 

I'm going to use it for locked room as it subverts it nicely (the detective works out the how, while the cops look on in awe). It would also qualify as a cosy mystery, country house mystery, murder most foul, terror in a small town, amateur sleuth, there's an element of romantic suspense here too.

Bayou Shadow Protector (Bayou Magic) - Debbie Herbert

Honestly it's been a day or two since I read it and a lot of the details are just floating away.

 

Chulah Rivers hunts evil spirits and sends them on their way. April Meadows appears into his life and she knows a lot about him, his work and what happened the day his dad died.

 

It's messy and complicated and the world seems somehow shallow but has potential.

SPOILER ALERT!

Time travel has issues

IMMORTAL BILLIONAIRE- PB - Jane Godman

Not a bad read, it did keep me reading and wondering what was going on but the time travel aspect didn't work for me.

 

Spoilers abound and I will try to keep them under wraps to a degree but I can't talk about the problems without them.

 

Connie Lacey copes with the trauma of being cut up and watching her mother being killed in front of her and being stalked and taunted by her stalker by running. Now she's offered an opportunity to go to to the Island Corazon to a family gathering, a family she knows very little about, and to have a month away from her cares, she hopes.  When she gets there she starts to feel like the place is familiar, is very attracted to the island's owner, Sylvester, but things start to go wrong and suddenly the past is catching up with the present.  She knows some of the people here but some of the others are strangers.

 

They all get trapped and then bodies start to accumulate. 

 

It's the lovechild of Ten little Niggers /Ten little Indians /Then there were none and The Time Traveller's Wife and/or Outlander, with bonus reincarnation, and ghosts!  If it was me I'd be inclined to be a little less passive, but she's not me.  

 

The spoilery stuff:

Basically he has been immortal in order to send himself back in time to found his own dynasty and the people who were on the island, but she travels back too, and if she does that he ages and she disappears from continuity, so she could never have been born if he wasn't immortal and he stops being immortal when she returns to him and my brain almost exploded from how messed up it all was.

 And again with people who are vaguely immortal or long-lived he doesn't show the smarts he should from a long life, it's one of my bugbears with long-lived characters where stupid will probably get you killed.

(show spoiler)

 

 

Falls into ghosts, supernatural, Country House Mystery, murder most foul, romantic suspense, serial/spree killer, probably gothic, haunted houses (basically the island is haunted); monsters, terrifying women.  I'm going to use Haunted Houses, edited because I discovered I'd used ghosts.

 

complex, confusing and powerful

The End of the Day - Claire North

This I've been reading on-an-off for a while, getting distracted by other books and going back.  It's a messy book, a book with some characters that you meet only for a while and then some that pop up over and over.  Plus there's overheard snippets presented as occasional chapters, like those conversations you half-hear in airports and coffee shops, the ones that distract you from what you're doing.  There are times that the book was a bit of a slog but overall I found it quite powerful.

 

Charlie works, through an office in Milton Keynes, for Death.  He is given assignments to meet people and give them something, usually a significant token.  Death will come to these people, as it comes to everyone.  Charlie has been in some hair-raising places and had to deal with people to try to negotiate with Death, some more forcefully than others but this books is more a meditation on life and death and how we need to carpe diem as hard as possible because some day we all will die.

 

Sometimes it got lost into the meditation but this is a book that by the end I was lost in. Not a book to read lightly.  It's a book that will linger for a long time in my head.

 

No-where do I have a space for it on my bingo card, it would fit into supernatural, Magical realism and Terrifying women.

Book Bingo update

So I'm now waiting for some calls to get some lines.  I have a few potential full lines but I'm now down to 8 squares.

 

American Horror Story (which I presume doesn't include reading the news) I might slightly cheat here and read The Reapers by John Connolly, set in the US and written by an Irish Writer, reading an American author would be easy.

Gothic (I have a few Daphne Du Maurier lined up)

Classic Horror (probably will read the book group read)

Genre: Horror - should be pretty easy.

Haunted Houses 

Witches - I will have to work on this one but I'd say I can do it

Locked Room

Chilling Children - I have a few YA that might do

 

So now, head down and read more. I'm enjoying how this is forcing me to stretch my usual safe road.

I was right...

Haunted - James Herbert

Thought so.  That was creepy, disturbing and strange.  I read it as 80s Horror and could have used it for ghosts and haunted houses.  This is the story of a man working for a psychic research institute who mostly debunks psychics and haunted house stories finding himself in a house that the occupants claim is haunted.  There's a lot of strange stuff happening when he arrives and his usual crutch of alcohol may not work this time.  There's no phone and it's the 80s.

 

Oh man, that was twisted. I'm not sure how some of the events in the plot worked but that was a twisted story that I'm not sure David Ash is going to recover any time soon from.  I did get one of the major twists fairly early on, but still I was creeped out by it all.

 

It did feature 80s treatment of female characters and does linger a bit too much on value based on looks. A product of it's time.

stupid move on my part

Soul Fire - R.F. Long

Disclaimer: I know Ruth, we hang out at conventions, talk geeky about mythology and libraries and generally get on well with one another, my copy is signed to me by Ruth.  I try to be unbiased in my review but I'm sure bias will creep in.

 

I enjoyed this, even if I made the stupid move of starting it last night, that did mean no sleep for me until it was over, I also made the tactical mistake, in the Booklikes Bingo of not checking what I needed for the last 8 squares in my bingo card.  I got drawn in until I finished the read.

 

Daire is looking for his brother in the human world and he finds him beside the house of a mortal woman, Rowan, who has a lot of creative energy.  Everything is going quite straightforward until powerful enemies turn up, now they're in trouble and she's in trouble and one of their keys back is gone missing. Daire enlists Rowan in his quest for the key, finding her and her energy attractive. In the meantime the mundane world is getting involved and both their lives will never be the same again.

 

It kept me reading and I was rooting for the main characters throughout.  I really liked the use of the myth and legend without the disneyification.

 

This could fit for romantic suspense; supernatural; In the dark, dark woods, terrifying women and monsters in the Halloween Bingo; all of which I've either already used or don't have.  Ah well, still enjoyed it.

Reading progress update: I've read 128 out of 228 pages.

Haunted - James Herbert

why do I get the feeling that almost everybody in this story is dead apart from a small few? I have no idea how this is going to pan out but I'm starting to suspect some things here.

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