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2016/47: It -- Stephen King
Home is the place where when you go there, you have to finally face the thing in the dark. [loc. 1605]
not very spoilery, maybe some structural spoilers )
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2016/46: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street -- Natasha Pulley
‘Well, I know that light is fascinating and full of scientific mystery, but mostly I use it for not walking into objects, and mostly I use ether for not walking into events. It’s there, it’s useful, it’s … not something I can study for more than ten minutes at once without falling asleep. I like mechanics. I’m not the right person to ask for mathematics.’ [loc. 4163]
not significantly spoilery review )
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First came Nine Worlds: love the new venue (Hammersmith Novotel) and felt much less frazzled than in previous years. My Historical Headcanon (concerning Christopher Marlowe) seemed well-received and I was on a couple of interesting panels about historical fiction, fanfiction, writing, etc.

Then to Edinburgh to skew my monthly averages for various types of Culture. I like the shorter-than-usual performances (they averaged an hour): leaves plenty of time for climbing the hills of which Edinburgh is composed, and pausing for refreshment at each summit.
theatre, gigs, circus, literary stuff, opera, comedy )
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The Foxhole Court
The Raven King
The King's Men
Neil realized he was happy. It was such an unexpected and unfamiliar feeling he lost track of the conversation for a minute. He couldn't remember the last time he'd felt this included or safe. It was nice but dangerous. Someone with a past like his, whose very survival depended on secrecy and lies, couldn't afford to let his guard down. [The Raven King, loc. 1050]

some spoilers but not for plot events )
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Queens of Syria, Young Vic, 8th July
Read more... )

Derek Moss, Open Studios -- Cambridge, 17th July
Artwork made from bog oak, driftwood, bronze, teeth, bone ... all displayed in a hot sunny garden with the sound of bees and the scent of roses. Beautiful work, though some of the descriptions were hard to unravel.
website here

Ghostbusters, Greenwich Picturehouse, 23rd July
Read more... )
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2016/42: The Silence of the Sea -- Yrsa Sigurdardottir 18JUL16
Ægir had become fired up by the idea; this might be their only chance to sail the ocean in a luxury yacht, and the voyage would also solve a specific problem that had been troubling him. [loc. 373]

A repossessed luxury yacht crashes into the harbour wall at Reykjavik. It turns out that there's nobody on board at all. So what has happened to the crew of three, and to the family of four -- banker Ægir, his wife Lára, and their twin four-year-old daughters Arna and Bylgja -- who have sailed from Lisbon to Iceland? Thora Gudmundsdottir, engaged by Ægir's parents, is determined to find out: not just because it's an intriguing case, but because she wants to secure the future of the third daughter, Sigga Dögg.

It's a classic locked-room mystery and Sigurdardottir unravels it in two parallel strands: the events on board the yacht, and the investigations of Thora and her team in Iceland. Is the yacht cursed, as some believe? Is there some supernatural force at work? Why did nobody radio for help? And where are the missing persons?

The mystery unravels slowly and in a generally satisfactory way (though I have to say I found Ægir, in particular, annoyingly stupid). I was less interested in Thora and her domestic, social and professional relationships: perhaps if I'd read other novels in the series I'd be keener to see how these evolved. 
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2016/41: Arcadia -- Iain Pears
The English were a different matter. As their lives were so dreary and constrained, the fanciful exuberance of the human spirit was forced to take refuge in the imagination, which was the only place it could exist without attracting disapproval. [loc. 2553]

slightly spoilery )
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2016/40: Carry On -- Rainbow Rowell

"I thought it was a myth."
"One would think, after seven years, you'd stop saying that out loud."
"Well, how am I supposed to know? There isn't a book, is there? All the Magickal Things that Are Actually True and All the Ones that Are Bollocks, Just Like You Thought."
"You're the only magician who wasn't raised with magic. You're the only one who would read a book like that." [loc. 834]
not significantly spoilery )
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2016/39: The Good, The Bad and The Furry: Life with the World's Most Melancholy Cat and Other Whiskery Friends -- Tom Cox
Nobody ever asked the question ‘Who Let the Cats Out?’ in a pop song because the answer is obvious: it was the same person who let them in again two minutes later, and out again two minutes after that. Doors are a classic example of that ‘I hate this – it’s fucking great!’ mantra that seems to be part of the permanent internal monologue of all cats. [loc. 1350]

Occasionally very moving, frequently very funny, and capable of bestowing a warming sense of schadenfreude on any reader who lives in a household where cats do not outnumber humans. Also, several instances of 'thank god it's not just me / my cat'.

What can one say about a book of cat observations, interspersed with anecdotes about the author's (delightful) parents? Reminds me of the best fan writing. This is a compliment.
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2016/38: The Outcast Dead -- Elly Griffiths
... bodies and treasure are often found buried in marshes, to mark that boundary. Was Liz stuck in her own liminal zone, dazed from sadness and lack of sleep, unable to distinguish between dreams and reality? [loc. 1405]

non-spoilery )
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2016/37: The Raven King -- Maggie Stiefvater
It was a far more terrifying idea to imagine how much control he really had over how his life turned out. Easier to believe that he was a gallant ship tossed by fate than to captain it himself.[loc. 4176]

I don't think I can write an interesting and critical review of this final novel in the Raven Cycle without spoilers. ye be warned )
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2016/36: Blue Lily, Lily Blue -- Maggie Stiefvater

...what she didn't realize about Blue and her boys was that they were all in love with one another. She was no less obsessed with them than they were with her, or one another, analysing every conversation and gesture... spending each moment either with one another or thinking about when next they would be with one another. Blue was perfectly aware that it was possible to have a friendship that wasn't all-encompassing, that wasn't blinding, deafening, maddening, quickening. It was just that now that she'd had this kind, she didn't want the other.[loc. 1288]
still no major spoilers ... )
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2016/35: The Dream Thieves -- Maggie Stiefvater
Gansey was polite in a way that squashed the other party smaller. Adam was polite to reassure. And this man was polite in a keen, questioning sort of way. He was polite the way tentacles were polite, testing the surface carefully, checking to see how it reacted to his presence.[loc. 2937]

non-spoilery review: it is getting harder to be non-spoilery )
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2016/34: The Raven Boys -- Maggie Stiefvater
With the words 'ley line' spoken aloud, a memory was conjured: [he was] in a dense wood, sweat collected on his upper lip. He was seventeen and shivering. Every time his heart beat, red lines streaked in the corners of his vision, the trees darkening with his pulse. It made the leaves seem like they were all moving, though there was no wind. [His friend] was on the ground. Not dead, but dying.[loc. 907]

non-spoilery )
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2016/33: Enemies at Home -- Lindsey Davis
We sent Polycarpus in a haze of myrrh to whatever gods he had honoured. He may have had none at all, but everyone has gods imposed on them at their funeral. This is the divinities' revenge for lack of belief.[loc. 3080]

non-spoilery )
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2016/32: The Ides of April -- Lindsey Davis
As a female I had no rights at all in matters of law, but why let that stop me? [loc. 116]

non-spoilery )
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2016/31: Europe at Midnight -- Dave Hutchinson
I still wasn't sure whether England was in Europe or not; I had the impression that the English would have quite liked to be in Europe so long as they were running it, but weren't particularly bothered otherwise. [loc. 4054]

Second in the trilogy that started with Europe in Autumn: I liked that very much, and Europe at Midnight is equally engaging whilst having quite a different tone.maybe vaguely spoilery, but for setting not plot )
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2016/30: The Jargoon Pard -- Andre Norton
Were I to so kill — yes, that deed would be but another key to lock me inside the beast. Maughus was my enemy, a threat to me — yes. But as such he must be fronted man to man. If I drew his blood with claw and fang, I trapped myself in the wilder breed. [loc. 2639]

I first read this novel at school, and adored it (though I'm not sure I realised that it was set in the Witch World universe). Reread recently after Justina Robson mentioned it in an interview. It's aged pretty well, though I now find Norton's prose rather overblown.
slightly spoilery )
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2016/29: Glorious Angels -- Justina Robson
The cool engineer inside her was charmed, amazed, impressed, marvelling and calculating as the animal part of her lay flat and domesticated entirely in its mortal terror. The bizarre contrast of two such simultaneous experiences was exhilarating in a way she had never experienced anything before, like joy. She felt a second of immense gratitude to a universe that could contain so much wonder and power and strangeness even as she was completely at its mercy, all her pride and her sense of independence, of mattering, stripped away [loc. 5269]

Justina Robson's latest novel is a delight: elements of fantasy and science fiction, seasoned with a steampunk aesthetic and set in a complex, cultured society which has forgotten its roots. non-spoilery )
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2016/28: Crazy Love You -- Lisa Unger

For Fatboy, she was lover, avenger, and friend. Once upon a time she was all those things for me as well. Somehow, somewhere along the line, for me the real Priss and the one on the page had kind of morphed into one. The truth was that the more I had of her in ink, the less I wanted or needed her in life. [loc. 208]
non-spoilery )


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