slemslempike: (books: slemslempike)
[personal profile] slemslempike
Brighter than the Sun - Julia Quinn
Nancy, Canadian Schoolgirl - Phillis Garrard
Broken Elements - Mia Marshall
Summer Term - Susan Pleydell
Corsets and Camoflage - Kate Adie
The Ballad and the Source - Rosamund Lehmann
A Young Man's Fancy - Susan Pleydell
Friends, Lovers, Chocolate - Alexander McCall Smith
Love is in the Air - Diana Gregory (Sweet Dreams)
Te Amo Means I Love You - Deborah Kent (Sweet Dreams)
Ask Annie - Suzanne Rand (Sweet Dreams)

I don't like Julia Quinn's books, but I keep reading them when I find them. They are Georgian romances with sex scenes, and quite a few anachronisms. in Brighter than the Sun two people get married to save a fortune, and they agree not to have sex until she wants to, but he attempts to get her to want to. And there is a veryjealous niece who pins things on the bride, and it was all a little tedious, actually.

I had been vaguely looking for Nancy, Canadian Schoolgirl for a while! Phillis Garrard wrote the Hilda series about a New Zealand schoolgirl, and I'd already read Nancy, Young Canadian and liked it. It's from the 1950s, and has such a different atmosphere to contemporaneous British school stories. Nancy skives a lot, and helps to look after her kid brothers and sisters, is sometimes troubled by matters of honour but mostly by matters of fun.

Broken Elements is the first book from a new publisher, and also by a friend of mine so I was very eager to read it. The cover is beautiful, and the writing's lovely, especially the dsense of place, but my final conclusion is that urban fantasy and I just do not get along. still glad I read it though, and if it's your thing then I suggest you give it a try. (The link's to the paperback, and there's a Kindle version too.) The Elements are a race of people living among humans who can control different elements - we're introduced to ones who can control ice, water, fire, earth, and there are hints of more to come (it's the first in a series), and they are trying to track down and stop a killer who appears to be one of them.

Summer Term is an adult novel set in a boys' boarding school, mostly centred round the Headmaster's family, particualrly his daughter, who is stepping into her mother's shoes for the term to host tea parties and the like, and Frances her beautiful cousin, who causes difficulties among the masters. A Young Man's Fancy follows it up with a look at the younger daughter, also coming back to Leadenham after a time, and her own relationships. I liked these a lot - I borrowed them from a colleague, and wouldn't necessarily want to reread them though.

I really liked Corsets and Camoflage until the very end. The historical aspect is great, lots of information about women in the services, and how their dress affected their participation and was changed by it, as well as analysis about what women were assumed to be incapable of and what attitudes informed this. The last chapter, however, is about the current situation with women in the armed forces. It has a huge tone of, well, equality has gone too far, focusing on women not being strong enough to carry weapons, and really we should remember that the main purpose of the armed forces is to protect and women might jeopardise that. Really disappointing. There were some interesting stories of her own time as a war reporter in Iraq.

The Ballad and the Source was the first Lehmann I've read, I think, and I definitely want to read more. It's got a child protagonist, which I almost always enjoy in an adult novel, who develops a friendship with a grandmother who is using her to tell her own stories. There's lots of conflicting information, and changing relationships, distrust and outright lies.

I got Friends, Lovers, Chocolate from the charity bookstall at work, and nearly wish I hadn't bothered. I did like reading about Edinburgh now I live here, but the terribly well-heeled and somewhat bland characters are just not engaging.

In Love is in the Air the girl tries to win a typewriter so that she can set up a business to impress her dick boyfriend, but wins flying lessons instead. She's going to swap them, but then gets goaded into trying them herself. She breaks up with the dick boyfriend and falls in love with her (teenage) flying instructor, and can fly pretty well herself by the end. Te Amo Means I Love You was actually pretty interesting - a Hispanic family move from a hispanic neighbourhood to a thoroughly white suburb. The girl feels out of place, but is looking forward to it. She meets a boy who is really into her being hispanic and claims that lifts her above mundane matters. When she takes him back to the "barrio" he can't cope with the noise and the danger and the food and the Spanish (really), so they pretty much break up. In Ask Annie, Annie doesn't have a boyfriend but doesn't let that stop her giving boys advice on their relationships. The other girls don't like this very much, so she stops, and also gets her own boyfriend.

[ profile] whatho told me about the Amazon Vine programme, where if you write respected reviews for them then they GIVE YOU FREE STUFF. I want free stuff, so I hve been starting to write reviews on amazon. If you see the reviews and find them helpful, then you could perhaps click the button that says that they are helpful, which propells me up the rankings. (I don't know how the Vine programme works, but I assume that being higher than 38,262 would be a good start. I would be higher, but quite a lot of people didn't find my brief excoriation of Ellie Levenson very helpul.) So if you had the time and the inclination then you could go to look at my amazon reviews. If you have reviews I will assess their helpfulness too!

Date: 2012-10-10 01:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Isn't it annoying when people vote the helpfulness of your review down just cos they don't agree with you? Especially if you're not being that extremely positive or negative. I would totally review more stuff on there except I made the mistake of not being that keen on Jon Pertwee's Doctor Who and now my ranking will probably never recover

Date: 2012-10-10 03:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, I was in fact being extremely negative. BECAUSE IT DESERVED NOTHING MORE.

Date: 2012-10-10 05:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I realise that this is not a very generous offer, but I will send you free things of my stories if you will review them on amazon. Or even if you won't, actually (especially if you would be saying "this is dreadful" - unless you're saying "this is SO dreadful you really need to read it to APPRECIATE its dreadfulness" which would be fine :) )

Date: 2012-10-10 09:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I would be happy to read your stories! I bought and read your novel and enjoyed it. I may not be the best person to review them as I am not huge on romance, but I would like to read them.

Date: 2012-10-11 08:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Are any of these books likely to end up in a bookswap near me...?

Date: 2012-10-11 09:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The ones I didn't like, perhaps.


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