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About this blog

I'm trying my hand at queer book reviews. Short reviews on Audible can become longer ones on Goodreads and may be extended or rethought again for here. They'll focus more on my thoughts and responses; less on a rehash of the plot and characters. It'll be a mixture of stuff. I don't review by rote. Mostly positive, but not always...

Entries in this blog

'The Murderbot Diaries' by Martha Wells

Martha Wells The Murderbot Diaries My rating for the series: 4.5 (out of 5 stars); individual stories vary from 3 to 5 stars I went through a phase of reading sci-fi in my teens but very little since. When one of my Goodread's acquaintances posted a rave review of the latest instalment of The Murderbot Diaries, I read the review, shrugged, and passed on. Then someone else did the same. This time, I both read the review and wandered off to see what all the fuss was about.  Martha W

northie

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'Sparrow' by James Hynes

James Hynes Sparrow My rating: 4 out 5 stars For a nearly eighteen hour long book, this was peculiarly riveting. Even more so when you realise there are hours of the story during which nothing much happens. And yet, those hours draw you in with their vivid descriptions of life at the tavern / brothel which forms the central locale of the novel. They make you care about the various characters, especially the young boy who narrates from old age what it's like to be a nameless slave livin

northie

northie in Review

'In Memoriam' by Alice Winn

Alice Winn In Memoriam My rating: 5 out of 5 stars Enthralling. Poignant. The horrors of war and a tender love story. You might think there are already too many stories about young Englishmen from privileged backgrounds who find themselves amidst the unspeakable events of World War 1. I half thought so too when I finally started this book after having it for several months. The opening chapters are a volley of names, characters, and their interactions at a 'public' school whi

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'A Nobleman's guide to seducing a scoundrel' by KJ Charles

A Nobleman's guide to seducing a scoundrel by KJ Charles My rating: 4 out of 5 stars One of many things to love about KJ Charles' books is how anchored they are in their particular historical period. She doesn't hit you around the head with facts, or elevate research over plot. Instead, we join A Nobleman's guide to seducing a scoundrel in the early 1820s when Gothic novels are still the rage, medievalism is becoming an academic study, the Napoleonic Wars are over, and smugglers now op

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'The dangerous kingdom of love' by Neil Blackmore

The dangerous kingdom of love by Neil Blackmore My rating: 5 out of 5 stars How do you like your Bacon? Francis Bacon is an important cog in early seventeenth-century Jacobean royal circles - not titled, not a favourite, but he has the ear of the king nonetheless. James I (and VI) has been transplanted from Scotland to the English court. Bacon's role as administrator, facilitator, maybe procurer, to the crown means he's a man to be watched. James is different from old Queen Elizab

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'Pansies' by Alexis Hall

Pansies by Alexis Hall. My rating: 5 out of 5 stars Why bother with a predictable or exotic location for your queer romance when South Shields in the NE of England works perfectly well? I love the way Alexis Hall sees beyond the surface drabness of a run-down coastal town to find so many points of character, fascination, and natural beauty. And surely it's important some queer tales take place in forgotten geographic corners. Not everyone lives in London, Manchester, or Brighton.

northie

northie in Review

'Mr Loverman' by Bernardine Evaristo

Mr Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo.  My rating: 5 out 5 stars If, like me, you spend much of your time reading queer fiction, it's very easy to fall into the trap of assuming the majority of main characters are young(ish), white(ish) and come from (more or less) privileged backgrounds. It's a phenomenon that's particularly prevalent in romance but can carry over into other genres. The hero of 'Mr Loverman' is none of these things. And it is such a pleasure to encounter an authenti

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'Syncopation' by Anna Zabo

Syncopation by Anna Zabo My rating: 4 out of 5 stars In music, syncopation is the idea of cross-beats, a rhythm that stands out against whatever else is going on. Yes, it can be a cause of musical conflict or tension, but syncopation is also an important part of the musical whole. Those different, independent beats often enhance whatever else is going on. They add strength. This is where we meet Ray van Zeller and Xavier Damos. Ray's band is going through tricky times. So is Xavie

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'A Marvellous Light' by Freya Marske

A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars This book contains magic, Edwardian society, arcane puzzles, soul-deep connections, and the British civil service. What a mix. And you know what? It works. It really works. Some reviewers complain there's not enough emphasis on the magic. For me, it's enough. Magic drives the plot, steers the action, and has sufficient internal logic to hold the story together. I don't want to be sitting through pages of lore or mechanics.

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