Not the sort of book I ever thought I'd enjoy, but Beth bought it and said I should read it, so I shrugged and began... and then was hooked! Absolutel...moreNot the sort of book I ever thought I'd enjoy, but Beth bought it and said I should read it, so I shrugged and began... and then was hooked! Absolutely fascinating stuff indeed, in the end I loved it.(less)
One of Beth's books which I saw today after I'd finished my previous book and thought, well that looks short enough to be a quick read. And luckily I...moreOne of Beth's books which I saw today after I'd finished my previous book and thought, well that looks short enough to be a quick read. And luckily I was right!
1. A Dooryard Full of Flowers - made me really want to read Patience and Sarah! I loved the narration of the first half especially, the simple country chap who describes the ladies so vividly and fondly, without quite understanding who they are. It's comfortable and cosy to read. 2. Hope Deferred - the one in the navy, short and interesting. 3. A Change of Heart - the one with the mother-in-law; as above. 4. Tildy - quite too short to get into, or get a feel for the characters. 5. The Outsider - the one with the gay mother. I liked the narrator a lot and would like to read more of her life! 6. Strangers in Camelot - the story was interesting, but the way it was written I found a little jarring. It was as if someone was writing a letter to Isabel Miller, describing a tale that she ought to write into a story. Kind of a strange idea. 7. Paid Up - I just couldn't get into it! My eyes seemed to glaze over and I had no idea who anyone was after half a page. Too many characters to keep track of. 8. Beginning - not really a great ending to the collection, alas. Another where I couldn't say what it was about five seconds after finishing.
On the whole, while I mostly liked the writing, the execution of these stories was just so quiet - in a couple of cases that did work, but in general they were just not engaging enough. I was usually interested, but rarely compelled to read on. (less)
Absolutely lovely story! Starts "in the middle" where Anna and Gilly are ghosts who have remained in their house after death and are horrified when a...moreAbsolutely lovely story! Starts "in the middle" where Anna and Gilly are ghosts who have remained in their house after death and are horrified when a loud and arrogant man wants to move in with his wife... they do their best to scare the pair away ;) Then we go back to the beginning of the story, where they met, as singers in an all-girl band during WWII. The band is sent to the Philippines to boost morale and entertain the troops there, but eventually Anna and Gilly are found out, sacked, and sent home in disgrace. At the end of the story, another couple is wanting to move into their house... this time, a pair of young ladies. So you have Anna and Gilly watching them, amazed at how much times have changed.
I really loved this book, but I kind of wish it had only had the 1940s setting, because that was just so beautifully done. And it was about 75% of the book in any case - the "bookends" at the start and finish, in present day (well, the 1990s or so) were fun enough but not the highlight of the story by any stretch. Although it was cute when Anna and Gilly borrowed the young couple's bodies, and went out dancing for the night... at last able to dance together in public :)
It was so cruel and unfair the way the girls were treated in the 1940s... everyone just ganged up on them! And they were sacked based on rumours alone, and then flown home quick-smart because the poor trooups fighting the war don't need to be surrounded by such "filth". lol, did anyone ask the red-blooded males what they thought of two hot dames making out on the beach? ;)
The setting was just divine. You know me and WWII stories :)(less)
I had no crime shelf before this! o.O I guess I don't read a lot of crime though, as much as I love stuff like Law & Order.
I would be interested t...moreI had no crime shelf before this! o.O I guess I don't read a lot of crime though, as much as I love stuff like Law & Order.
I would be interested to read more in the series. I like Kate, and once I got into it this was a very quick read, and lots of fun - I don't mind a good whodunnit :) (view spoiler)[Although... for the whole book we're so obviously looking at Guy as the prime suspect, and that pretty much means that Guy ISN'T the killer. But then it turned out that he was! So that just wasn't as fun. (hide spoiler)]
I do like Katherine V. Forrest's writing for the most part as well, so if I'm going to read whodunnits then this is a series to continue with. (Or, you know, Agatha Christie!). This one had a lot of racial slurs and other terms that you just wouldn't say these days, but that was due to the era as much as the characters. My only real quibble was how damn quickly Ellen and Kate got together. Sure it took over half the book, but in "real time" that was what, two days? And not two days where they were together the whole time... two days where they really didn't interact that much at all! I didn't buy it. There was just no build-up, no tension between them to make you think something was going to happen. It seemed like it was just thrown in to really market this as a lesbian mystery, rather than just a mystery where a couple of the girls happened to be gay. For me, unnecessary. But then I'm kind of PG-rated when it comes to sex in books... as in I much prefer a fade to black. *shrug* :P
Oh, I loved Billie's tirade over the PA after she'd been fired as well. That was brilliant!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Soundtrack to this book: Every Heartbeat, because the love interest's name was Aimee Grant... song popped back into my head every time I read her name...moreSoundtrack to this book: Every Heartbeat, because the love interest's name was Aimee Grant... song popped back into my head every time I read her name! It was one of my childhood favourites though so that was cool :)
I LOVED this book!! Definitely my favourite of the series so far, which was funny considering Beth thought I wouldn't like it and it's her least favourite of the first four. It was my favourite though because of the awesome communism/HUAC angle to the crime. We learned a little about HUAC in one of my film classes, and I was also interested in the communism 'scare' from when I worked on Pack of Lies, so a lot of the background in this story absolutely fascinated me. I also found the mystery to be extremely engaging and the other characters to be extremely vivid. Hazel was especially fun, what with her four urns of Jerome's ashes, which she kept in different rooms so she didn't have to carry him around to talk to him. For important discussions though she'd get all of the urns all together in the one room so she could talk to him all at once... hee!
One thing that surprised me was how Kate didn't know what HUAC was at first. She was over 40 in the mid-80s, I learned about that when I was a teenager in the 21st century! Oh god I loved all the name dropping too though, real names mixed in with fictional ones when discussing who had informed, and who had been informed on. There was some real history in there, a LOT of facts, and it was fascinating.
As usual though, I could have done without the romance. After three books it just feels too formulaic - there's a murder, one of the witnesses happens to be gay, she and Kate sleep together after two days. I actually ended up skipping the sex scenes here because I really didn't care, nor did I buy it. Kate spent the first half of the book (which btw spans all of about 36 hours) lusting after Paula. Then she's visited by Paula's niece, Aimee, who she's barely noticed. And like ten minutes later they're in bed. I've said it before, I'd really like these books more if they were just decent murder-mysteries, where the lady cop happens to be gay. She doesn't have to go and sleep with a different witness each time, does she?! After all of two days...
Although I must confess that I did warm to Aimee eventually, probably because after that the time actually passed at a fair speed and by the end of the book, they'd been together for over a month. So this one, despite its beginnings, is a lot more solid. Now let's just keep Aimee around so that Kate can quit sleeping with her witnesses, okay?!
I was a little let-down by the ending, and the eventual capture of the killer. (view spoiler)[Who, in case I forget, was Dorothy. (hide spoiler)] It seemed a little removed from Kate and Taylor, sort of a hasty post-script.
One other thing that made me exclaim with disbelief was the whole "dumb mistake" over Dorothy Brennan's name:
Kate: How could her [married] name be Brennan if her husband had English parents? Me: Um... wtf?
Apparently Brennan is an exceedingly Irish name. So Irish, in fact, that it's completely unfeasible for ANY English person to be called Brennan! Seriously? THAT'S your logic?! That there can't possibly be any Brennans living in the entire of England who aren't fresh off the boat from Ireland? (Oh yeah, and of course the husband's surname was the very English Smythe. Stereotypes abound...)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I really enjoyed this book, definitely more than I did Amateur City (the first in the series). I guess the murder was a more interesting one to read a...moreI really enjoyed this book, definitely more than I did Amateur City (the first in the series). I guess the murder was a more interesting one to read about - 19-year-old girl outside a gay nightbar, instead of a middle-aged business man, with its supporting cast of characters being mostly all the other lesbians who frequent said bar rather than more boring old business men :P It also reminded me a LOT of an episode of SVU, which I guess added to the interest? I could get into it more because of that, and there seemed to be more mystery this time as well, more piecing together. (view spoiler)[And this time, the obvious one WASN'T the culprit! I didn't suspect the mother at ALL! Wow the killing of her husband was gruesome too, as was her confession. What. A. Psycho. (hide spoiler)]
I found all the other lesbians at the bar to be enormous stereotypes, not terribly appealing... they were pretty much all butch, man-hating bulldykes. :P Was that what the 80s were like? Did pretty little quiet lipstick lesbians not exist then? Or are they just too subtle to warrant the attention, not obvious enough? I was also amused at how much purple they all seemed too wear. lol.
Again, I was much more into the whodunnit than the romance, and really could have done without that at all... call me a prude, I guess? But wahey, random sex scene after, once more, Kate and (view spoiler)[Andrea (hide spoiler)] have known each other like four days... I'd have loved there to just be some chemistry there without them acting upon it. At least this one was less out of the blue than last time, I guess? But it still felt kind of shoved in there, just to really make this a Lesbian book rather than just a story that happens to have a gay cop at its helm. I'd like it more the latter way, though. I was more into Kate getting all het up about rights and stuff, than her going off to bed one of the women from the bar. (view spoiler)[Also, random continuity error? Kate tries calling Andrea, and then realises that Andrea doesn't have her number so Kate will have to just try again later until she gets through. But she HAD given Andrea her card earlier, and Andrea purred "so, you'd like me to call you"... seriously, Kate just went and forgot that?! Tch. (hide spoiler)]
For all my little whinges, I did love this. It's gripping and fast-paced, and I like the way Dory is at first shown in such a sympathetic light, then goes through being not sympathetic at all before everything really comes out. Oh, and I adored the epilogue at the Pride parade :D["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Oh this one was absolutely stellar! I love how it was half investigation, then half court-room drama... just like an awesome episode of SVU. Aw man, I...moreOh this one was absolutely stellar! I love how it was half investigation, then half court-room drama... just like an awesome episode of SVU. Aw man, I miss SVU.
Totally giving this one five stars, because it really is my favourite so far. I've liked each one more than the last, funnily enough! And as incredible as #3 was, it was the fact that this one actually went to court for the second half of the book that made it win.
Btw I love the descriptions of Linda as having stylishly frizzy hair and oversize glasses... like, I'm sure that she really was a trend-setter back in 1989, but NOW it just makes me cringe a little. At least the size of her shoulderpads was left to the imagination ;)
I was super glad to see Aimee and Kate still together as well. For once, Kate didn't have to go and sleep with one of the witnesses! Finally, she has a stable partner to go home to and everything's just nice and normal and not gratuitous. Perhaps that's another reason why this is the first to get five stars. For the first time, she really was just a cop who happens to be gay and KVF didn't need to force that down our throats and constantly remind us. Because duh, we KNOW by now. And there was enough gay already what with the hate murder, that to have Kate finding a new chick to hit on would have been a bit too much. Not to mention really out of place, given the serious nature of this crime and the ensuing trial.
(view spoiler)[And yes, I totally cheered at the guilty verdict, even though I knew it had to be coming! Linda's closing arguments were absolutely brilliant, and the defense simply never had a leg to stand on. I loved when Pritchard objected to Linda insinuating that the defendant wasn't the only gaybasher present, before realising that either he had to admit he thought she meant him, or just shut up. XD
Also, considering that the defense's case was justifiable homicide in self defense because this GAY MAN was daring to come onto a normal, 100% straight guy, I was surprised that I never once wanted to throw the book across the room in disgust. The lame, bigoted arguments were kept to a minimum and for that I was glad.
Like with Sing You Home, it's extremely clear-cut who is right and who is wrong, without the book being unnaturally biased, and I like that. I love what Jodi Picoult did, and I love what KVF did here. There's no bias here, there's just obvious right and obvious wrong. And luckily, in both cases, the good guys do come out on top. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Television-tie-in novel! That was actually loads of fun... even if it did only mention H.G. Wells three times - and each time just a name in passing,...moreTelevision-tie-in novel! That was actually loads of fun... even if it did only mention H.G. Wells three times - and each time just a name in passing, listing off the bad people, never once mentioning that she was a woman. Hmph, the Myka/H.G. shipper in me was not happy :P At least she warranted a mention in the Christmas episode... pals, lovers, grappler... you get the idea.
Anyway, this was pretty fun. It was like a movie-length episode or something, and made lots of mentions of past, actual episodes. The characterisations were good, except for the bit about Myka having auburn hair... but whatever. It's basically just a really long fanfic, but the fact that it was in a book and not on my computer screen meant that I could actually read it - I kind of balk at fanfics that are over 1,500 words or so! (Even if they are Myka/H.G.)
The idea was a good one and it did feel very real, like it could have been a real episode. The totem pole going postal was absolutely brilliant, and the gloves story was really well plotted out. Everything came together very neatly :) Good, fun reading for a fan of the show!(less)