July 2018 books

Strange Fascination (Essex Witch Museum Mystery, #3)Strange Fascination by Syd Moore

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Essex Witch Museum is a series that’s quite fun to read but it’s not my most favourite. This one, Strange Fascination, felt a bit too long and it felt like it only really properly got going about half way through. This one looks more into the disappearance of Rosie’s grandmother, as well as a series of events that occurs when a rock covering a witch’s grave is moved.

The Mermaid and Mrs. HancockThe Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I know that people rave about this book but it wasn’t for me. It tells the tale of Angelica, an 18th century high class whore and Jonah Hancock, a merchant who unexpectedly has a mermaid come into his possession. It’s a long book and for most of it, the pacing is glacial, now I don’t mind long, meandering books, if by the end I’m so invested in the characters that their every move is achingly beautiful but as much as I hoped that would happen, it didn’t for me. I was glad when the plot picked up and things started to happen but I was never really rooting for Angelica and Jonah. On the plus side though, the writing is rather beautiful.

East of Hounslow: A funny and furiously fast-paced debut thriller for 2017East of Hounslow: A funny and furiously fast-paced debut thriller for 2017 by Khurrum Rahman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this up on the basis of the glowing words from Ben Aaronovitch on the front cover and I am very glad that I did. If you like Aaronovitch’s books, you’ll like this, okay there’s no magic in East of Hounslow but if you like books set in London with authentic sounding first person narration, this is for you. East of Hounslow is the story of Jay, a twenty something Muslim guy who still lives at home with his mum, no job other than a side line in dealing cannabis. Jay’s your pretty average guy but there are people interested in him and when a friend appears to be getting mixed up with the wrong crowd, Jay gets involved.

I really liked this book for its tone of voice and how it both at the same time doesn’t take itself too seriously yet tackles sensitively why young Muslim people may get radicalised.

Thin AirThin Air by Michelle Paver

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Thin Air is a ghost story set during a 1930s climbing expedition in the Himalayas. Stephen and his brother Kits, with friends, set out to conquer Kangchenjunga, having been bought up on the story of an ill fated expedition there, twenty years earlier. Stephen, who doesn’t get on with his brother and is only a last minute replacement, starts out bemused by the local superstitions but once he’s on the mountain, things happen that start to change his mind.

I quite enjoyed this, I like ghost stories with ambiguity, ie is it a ghost or is there a rational explanation. I read / listened to this on Kindle / Audible and I thought that the narrator did a particularly good job with the panic, claustrophobia, nightmareishness of the story.

Dreadful Company (Dr. Greta Helsing, #2)Dreadful Company by Vivian Shaw

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this, the second in the Greta Helsing series, it’s definitely found its feet. Greta is a human doctor who treats supernatural patients and she hangs out with a vampire and a vampyre. In Dreadful Company, Greta is invited to give a talk in Paris, whilst there she spots something odd going on and attempts to alert the city’s werewolf but things don’t go to plan. I can’t wait for the next book!

No Time to Cry (New Series James Oswald Book 1)No Time to Cry by James Oswald

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love James Oswald’s Inspector McLean books, so of course I was going to read his new series featuring Constance Fairchild but eek not Inspector McLean and double eek not set in Scotland, how was I going to cope? I love the McLean books for their Scottish-ness and their subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) other world-ness and I was worried that this would be a more straightforward metropolitan crime thriller. Well, I should have had more faith, it took me a few chapters to get used to a new hero and location but after that I soon settled in and I am pleased to report that those other worldly touches are still there, there’s still a cat, Scotland gets a look in (with a description that makes me want to jump in a car and drive the hours to the nearest loch), there’s the familiar theme of copper from a rich family AND there’s a special guest appearance from a character from the McLean books. Anyway, in this there’s an undercover operation gone wrong, hitmen, a missing teenager and locations up and down the country and I highly recommend it. I hope that there’s more Constance Fairchild books.

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