Lost for Words, Stephanie Butland
An enjoyable read, set in a bookshop, though Loveday Cardew’s big secret wasn’t so secret to me. I easily worked out what was coming, although other elements were more of a surprise at the end. I’m not a fan of first person, so this, together with the way the book is structured, meant it took me over 100 pages to truly drop into Loveday’s world. Once I did, I found this more enjoyable. I liked the characters, good and bad, and in-between — like people, characters aren’t always perfect citizens; that would be boring. I struggled a little with why Loveday found it so hard to confess her story to ‘anyone’, even a single soul — I would hope we’d be more understanding these days — but then she’s worked so hard to cut herself off from any form of risk. She says one horrible thing towards the end that jarred, though it’s so small it didn’t put me off the book — that ‘people are imperfect’ thing again, and we all have an uncharitable or selfish thought occasionally. I liked the locations in the book. The plot and conclusion were satisfying. Archie was a fun addition to the cast.
Road of Bones, Christopher Golden
A road named because of the number of prisoners who died there forced to work by the Soviet Union, bodies left in the ice in Siberia. I’ve read Christopher Golden before but can’t remember when I enjoyed one of his books as much as this. The unusual setting is as much a character as any of the people that populate the story. I felt for any of them, even those I barely got to know. A short slow start after which momentum rarely lets up. The plot is fantastical, but I felt so immersed in it, I found it easy to suspend disbelief — easier, no doubt, because of the wilderness. Not what I expected, but better for it. The only slight negative is I expected the ‘road’ to have more to do with the major story, whereas it’s more of a subplot.
The Red House Mystery, A.A.Milne
The one and only detective novel written by the author of Winnie the Pooh. This is light-hearted and fun. The amateur detective asks all the right questions and comes up with all the right pro and con answers. This kept me guessing until almost the end, when I worked out what had happened but not why, though the clues were there. I’m just sorry there’s only the one, though for this to be a series, A.A.Milne would have had to improve with each book. Even if this was an author just having a little fun, this would have been a solid effort of its day. It understandably has a ‘classic’ feel. I thoroughly enjoyed this, though mostly because of the author’s excellent style. Makes me want to read my childhood Pooh books again.
Growing Pain and Other Stories, Paul Tremblay
This book is going to be polarising from loving to loathing it, and all the levels between. Some stories felt as though they needed more of a resolution. Others read like a metaphor. Then there comes the “What the hell did I just read?” portion. A few certainly linger in the mind. I loved three — Where We All Will Be, Her Red Right Hand, It’s Against the Law to Feed the Ducks — liked others, hated none, but felt somewhat indifferent to a few. These stories are experimental, even slipstream in parts, and unique to this author’s style.