Book Review

Summer Book Reviews – Part 1

For the first few months of the year, I was powering my way towards my Goodreads target of 50 novels read in 2019. However, when we discovered I was pregnant at Easter after a long struggle to conceive, I spent so much  time stressing about making it to the 12 week scan that I just couldn’t settle to a single book until I had a fortnight’s holiday after passing the three month mark.

I got through a heap of books while on leave but have since procrastinated like mad on actually reviewing them. As there are 10 to review, I’m going to do two posts of short wee reviews rather than detailed ones. Now if I can only find the motivation to continue reading again.

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Book Review

Book Review: Mr Midshipman Hornblower by C.S. Forester

After last month’s series of Revolutionary/Napoleonic-era biographies, it was back to historical fiction for me as April opened. It’s been a long time since I read the Hornblower books – I think it must have been something like 2005 originally – and I took a notion this week that I wanted to go through both the novels and TV series again.

Although Mr Midshipman Hornblower was not the first book C.S. Forester wrote chronologically to feature the character, it is the book wherein Horatio Hornblower’s career in the navy first begins.

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Book Review, History

Women’s History Month Book Review: Josephine by Kate Williams

As you can probably tell from previous posts on this blog, I have a tremendous interest *cough*obsession*cough* in the life of Napoleon Bonaparte. My bookshelves are packed full of biographies, studies of his campaigns and historical fiction set in the period in which he changed the face of Europe forever.

However, March is Women’s History Month and so this week I’ve been reading about his wife instead, in a fascinating biography by Professor Kate Williams. It made an interesting follower to last week’s biography of Marie Antoinette; containing as it did so many contrasts, similarities and parallels.

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Book Review

Women’s History Month Book Review: Marie Antoinette by Antonia Fraser

March is women’s history month and will be the theme for the rest of my book reviews for this month; a great excuse to get through some fascinating biographies!

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Book Review

Book Review: The Mystery of the Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah

The world’s favourite moustachioed detective is back for a new mystery by Sophie Hannah. I got this book at Christmas time so was well overdue for reading it. (The review will be spoiler free).

Returning home after lunch, Hercule Poirot finds an angry woman waiting outside his front door. She demands to know why Poirot has sent her a letter accusing her of the murder of Barnabas Pandy, a man she has neither heard of nor ever met.

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Book Review, Geekery

Book Review: Victory of Eagles (Temeraire 5) by Naomi Novik

Happy New Year, everyone! After a couple of slightly lax months, it’s back to the book reviews.

My first read of 2019 was the fifth of Naomi Novik’s wonderful Temeraire series. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, they feature an alternate history in which sentient dragons are teamed up with human captains to form the Aerial Corps, a branch of the armed services which exists alongside the army and navy.

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Film Review, Geekery

Film Review: Fantastic Beasts – The Crimes of Grindelwald

It’s been a looong two year wait to finally see the continuation of Newt Scamander’s adventures in the wizarding world. I remember my husband and I coming home from the midnight opening in 2016 absolutely full of excitement and adoration for this new part of the franchise and complaining “I can’t believe we have to wait two whole years to find out what happens next!”

Last night we went to the midnight opening of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (yeah, we’re die-hard geeks; who needs to go to the cinema during civilised hours?!) and all I can say is: it is most assuredly worth the wait. Don’t worry if you haven’t seen it yet though – this review will be completely spoiler free.

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Book Review, Geekery

Books Reviews: Three Sherlock Holmes Pastiches

I have something of a complex relationship with Sherlock Holmes pastiches – sometimes I really enjoy them, sometimes I’m completely ambivalent, sometimes I loathe them – but invariably I pick them apart with the relish of a pedant. Partly it’s because I’m too much of a book snob for my own good, but largely it’s due to the fact that Sherlock Holmes is a series so close to my heart that, although I always want more stories, I have almost unreasonably high standards when it comes to other people playing in the sandpit.

In the last ten days or so, I’ve got through three very different pastiches that between them showcase some of the best elements of Holmes imitations and also some of the reoccurring niggles I have with them. Here is a brief summary of what I thought about them – I will keep it spoiler free for any Holmes fans looking for a new mystery to enjoy.

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Book Review

Book Review: Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

As I’ve spent the month rereading Jane Austen’s published works, it also seemed appropriate that I should get through the most recent of her many biographies: Jane Austen at Home by the queen of TV historians, Lucy Worsley.

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