Recommendations Dec 2022

Slumberland was a lovely film, visually stunning with a pleasant story. Nice to see Jason Momoa not taking himself seriously and I’m in love with the pig.

Finished watching Wednesday and liked it, but can’t say we loved it. Preferred it when it was just Wednesday and Thing as opposed to having her family around, but also felt Wednesday should have made a better sleuth and not made so many (sometimes arrogant) mistakes. Would watch another series but a little disappointed. I knew who the monster was from about the second episode in part because they dropped the biggest, most blatant hint ever for the audience that I thought, no, they can’t have just told us.

The Old Man starring Jeff Bridges and John Lithgow is one of the best series I’ve watched in a long time, which makes me interested in reading the novel.

On a sadder note, not only is Henry Cavill not appearing after season three of The Witcher because he doesn’t like the direction they’re taking the series, a decision I hate to support but do if the story becomes far removed from the books, they’re dropped him from Superman because he’s not suitable. They’re saying it’s not an origin story but they’re going backwards in Superman’s timeline so can’t use him, apparently a decision made after the announcement. Sounds like an origin story to me and frankly I’m not interested in watching that, and on principle won’t be. DC has apparently done this with a few actors, so just as we’ve become invested in them (despite less than perfect stories) they’ve gone. Seems like they’re more interested in trying to win a race against Marvel than they are in giving fans what they want.

I seldom watch BBC, but we caught up with Death in Paradise by watching the Christmas special. We had also wanted to watch Detectorists for ages, so with the Christmas special coming up, we sped through the lot and loved it. Excellent gentle comedy.

I’d Kill for That, Multiple Authors
Published in 2004, this is a multi-authored novel for charity with too many names to mention, but I picked it up because one of those authors is Jennifer Crusie. Apparently not a new idea, but this is the first time I’ve come across a published novel with a different author writing each chapter. Starting with the first and the next author carrying on the story until the last author writes the ending. A murder mystery with little romance. The novel has a lot happening, with a large and entertaining cast, and it all felt a bit of a jumble but was impressive, with many fun sections. Not sure it’s a book I would want to read twice, but it was worth checking out.

An Autumn Crush, Milly Johnson (audio), Read by Colleen Prenderghast
These aren’t the type of books I would usually read in print, but enjoy largely to Colleen Prenderghast’s excellent performance. This story is touching, funny, sad, and the author deals well with the way people get the wrong idea, and jump to conclusions. I wouldn’t usually go for books that head-hop, but part of the delight of this story is knowing immediately that two characters have got what’s happening completely wrong.

Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit?, Gary K.Wolf
At the start of this book, I felt I would not enjoy it as much as the first, but as soon as a short relative of Jessica’s was introduced, I laughed all the way to the end. Gary has the witty patter down p-p-p-perfectly. I have such fond memories of the film, but feel as though the rabbit written here is worth loving all over again. I’m also left feeling a mite sorry for him, which only adds to the charm of these stories. Another surprise to enjoy was a whole new take of how Gone With the Wind was cast.

Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo Del Toro & Cornelia Funke
If you’ve watched the film, there’s no real reason to read the book, though I wanted to, and the lovely illustrations, and the stories within the story, which aren’t told on screen enhance the experience. The book’s a charming keepsake and complements the film somewhat as it’s always nice to get internalisations which almost no film provides. Also, the book is English, whereas the film is Spanish with English subtitles (not that I find subtitles a problem). Neither the book nor the film is a fairy tale for young children owing to the violence and imagery, but is a wonderful fantasy for some teens and adults alike.

Getting Rid of Bradley, Jennifer Crusie
Another fun little read by this author with a fabulous cast and snappy dialogue, plus lovely dogs and a psychotic cat. I had cause to question Lucy’s decisions, especially when her life’s in danger, but this moves the plot and gives the character plenty of room for change. Light fiction, but enjoyable.

Dragon Tears, Dean Koontz
A re-read for me. This novel’s an interesting concept, one that explains why people often label Koontz a horror writer (when I think of him as a supernatural thriller writer) — a mysterious, changing antagonist who’s seemingly impossible to escape. This is definitely supernatural, regardless of what explanation the reader imagines while speeding through the pages. I have to admit, despite my love of dogs, the author lost me a bit using a dog’s POV, though that’s pivotal to the plot. Using human descriptions like ‘policeman’ which a dog would have no concept of pulled me out of the story, but eventually, I just went along with it and enjoyed it, finding it cute it places. This feels like a book of two halves. The first when we don’t know the cause, the second after we have some inkling and have identified the baddie. Koontz has taken a well-known creation and used it in a modern setting to excellent effect. Perhaps not his best, but certainly imaginative and a reminder of why I loved early Koontz novels. Some of the social problems mentioned in the book seem almost ahead of their time, or perhaps it’s that those problems have worsened and were only beginning then; even so, the author included them, though a few of the societal issues and scenes go on too long and feel overly described. I didn’t enjoy reading the sections from the antagonist’s POV possibly because he’s a little cliched and several of the horror elements weren’t necessary for me to dislike him. Worth a read and even a re-visit many years later.

The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes, Jennifer Crusie, Eileen Dreyer, Anne Stuart
A great example of a collaboration between authors, though more degrees of emotion would have made the book better. In a sense, this is park your brain at the door romance, but there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, and to give the characters the depth to make this something more would have required a far longer book. Three writers, three central protagonists, three love interests, and three romances with some magic, and a villain woven in. I wanted a light read over Christmas week and this was perfect for that, though with enough threads to keep the story interesting.

About Sharon

Writer of Dark and Light Fiction. Fact, fiction, poetry, short stories, articles and novels. Cross-genre, slipstream, non-traditional romance, gothic, horror, fantasy and more... Visit this diverse writer's site.
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