Thursday, 30 June 2011

June books

I'm just back from a few days in South Wales, armed and dangerous with loads of photos - the beautiful gardens at The Museum of Welsh Life, Caerphilly Castle, and the Welsh coastline - a few of which I'll try to post over the weekend.

In the meantime it's the end of the month and time for a run-down of what I've managed to read in June:

33. Cloudworld - David Cunningham
34. The Chatham School Affair - Thomas H. Cook
35. Body Double - Tess Gerritsen
36. Death at La Fenice - Donna Leon
37. Storm Front - Jim Butcher
38. The Warden - Anthony Trollope
39. Flying Visits - Clive James
40. Paradise Barn - Victor Watson
41. Voice of the Violin - Andrea Camilleri
42. Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare

Ten books this month. This sounds a lot for me, who averages five to seven books a month, but several of these were quick reads and some were the 'unputdownable' kind which you just have keep reading until you've finished... Tess Gerritsen for instance. Any rate, *all* were excellent books and June goes down as a very good reading month indeed.

My final two books for the the month were, firstly, Voice of the Violin by Andrea Camilleri:

This is book four of the author's Inspector Montalbano series, set on the island of Sicilly. Montalbano discovers the body of a woman, bound and suffocated on her bed. The suspects for the murder are many, including her husband, her lover, a slightly retarded admirer, a doctor, and even the victim's best friend whom Montalbano is attracted to. The inspector has his work cut out this time, not only to discover the perpetrator of this hideous crime but also defending himself against his superior officers, who lack confidence in him.

I decided to give up on this series a while ago because I didn't like Montalbano very much, but I changed my mind. I'm glad I did. This is the best so far... not confusing as a couple of them have been... but a good, solid, easy to follow plot that was fast paced and surprising. Not to mention peppered with the usual humour and excellent cuisine. I'll not be giving up on this series again.

And secondly, Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare:

Sixteen year old Tessa Gray arrives in Victorian London expecting to be met by her brother, Nathaniel: he's not there. Instead, two very strange women escort Tessa to their home where things very quickly turn bad. It seems Tessa has some latent talent, which the sisters need to bring out... and not in a kindly manner - Tessa is a prisoner. Eventually Tessa discovers that the talent she possesses is to 'change' into any person she wants. Her other discovery is that the sisters are preparing her to be the wife of 'The Magister', but who this person is, Tessa has no idea. She escapes and takes refuge with a band of Shawdowhunters whose mission in life is to uphold the laws of the magical world. But they all know that the Magister will come after her with every weapon he has... daemons, vampires, warlocks and even an army of clockwork automatons. And Tessa still does not know where her brother is...

Very enjoyable this, if you like YA horror yarns that keep you on your toes with their twists and turns. Characterisation is good, the young people all feel like real people with real reactions, jealousies and faults. There's a bit of a romantic aspect to the books, which I liked, and a very real mystery element. The magical elements mix very well with Victorian London and it's suitably seedy and at times frightening. It should be explained that this is book one of a new 'prequel' series to Cassandra Clare's 'Mortal Instruments' series, which I've not read. Book two is out in December and in the meantime I'll probably read that previous series which is connected but set in modern times. I gather it's very good so the wait until December should not be too arduous.

And now I can't decide what to read. I have Barchester Towers already started on my Kindle but I like to read a proper book alongside a Kindle read. My grand-daughter loaned me Magyk by Angie Sage to reread, as she wants me to read the rest of that series but I can't remember a lot of what happens in that first book, so I may reread that. Or Vanish by Tess Gerritsen, or I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett which I picked up in Cardiff. I also picked up two crime books by Karin Slaughter, people tell me she's an excellent crime writer. I don't know... decisions, decisions.


verity said...

Ooh, look forward to seeing your photos.

Silsbee said...

Tess Gerritsen! I just finished my first novel by her, and you are right: she is un-put-down-able!

It is so hard choosing the next book to read, isn't it? ;)

fiction-books said...

Hi Cath,

Love South Wales, after being introduced to it by my brother and sister-in-law. Tenby and the surrounding ares are stunning, with The Mumbles, the Gower and the area around Rhossili and Bracelet bays boasting some fine beaches.

Andrea Camilleri is another new author to me, but obviously one that I need to check out sometime soon!! Just mention the word detective and I have my reading specs out!!

Thanks for the recommendation and look forward to seeing the holiday snaps soon.


DesLily said...

wow sis, you really read a lot!!.. I go thru the "what next" thing too lol. but for a change, when I finish the Jackie Cooper bio I DO know my next book!! woo hoooo!!! I just received the newest Pern book!!

Chris said...

Though I haven't read it yet, I'm saying go for the Pratchett ;p Can't go wrong with him!! And so awesome reading 10 books this month! I read 10 too \o/ Best month I've had all year!

Cath said...

Verity: Downloaded them yesterday and luckily some of them look quite nice.

Silsbee: Another TG convert! Excellent. It's worth reading the first R & I books if you can.

Oh goodness, I fnd choosing the next book to read so hard. And that's only because I have far too much choice... a mountainous tbr pile, library books, and now a Kindle with about 40 books on it. I'm my own worst enemy. 8-S

Yvonne: South Wales is just a really lovely area. I'd like to explore the Pembrokeshire coast a bit more at some stage too but it's such a way over.

Yes... yet another detective series for you to try. LOL!

Did you ever manage to get hold of the Daisy Dalrymple books? I have the first 3 going spare if you would like them? Can easily pop them in the post.

Pat: Yeah, a good few books read this month but they were quick reads and all good enough that I wanted to keep picking them up.

I seriously need to get back to where I left off with the Pern books. Would also like to reread the Harper Hall trilogy this summer, as I haven't in a couple of years.

Chris: this is my best month too, I don't often read 10 books in one month... maybe 2 months in 12. I'll be reading the Pratchett very soon as I've read all the other Tiffany Aching series but that one. I decided to reread my grand-daughter's book first though, (Magyk by Angie Sage) as she clearly wanted me to read the complete series so that we can chat about them. She's 11 and an extremely keen reader and I want to encourage her as much as I can. :-)

animewookie said...

Ooooo, Clockwork Angel looks delightful!!! Great review Cath :D

DesLily said...

wow cath you have a lot of books on your kindle!!! are most of them free??? if so where do you get them?

Cath said...

Kelly: I really think Clockwork Angels is your kind of book. :-)

Pat: Yeah, most of the books I have on my Kindle were free. I probably paid for about 6... the rest were free downloads from Amazon or The Book Depository. Amazon have a lot of classics free but also some newer ones which change all the time.

Anonymous said...

Oh, interesting. I just finished reading a book called, The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge which I enjoyed quite a lot (I reviewed it on my blog). It's also a YA horror set in the victorian period, with well fleshed out characters and a likeable heroine. This one kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way, its creepy and suspenseful. Definitely recommend!


Cath said...

Sharry: It seems we both have a taste for steampunk horror type stories so I'll definitely be picking up The Iron Thorn, probably for Carl's RIP challenge. You might see if you like The Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt, another steampunkish yarn. It takes a bit of getting into but I thought it was worth it in the end.

Kailana said...

I have been a bit overwhelmed with choices lately myself. I think that is actually why my reading decreased in number for a bit there.... Strange, but true!

Cath said...

Kelly: Yep, I find that having such a huge tbr pile, not to mention a library pile *and* books on Kindle makes the choice about what to read next almost impossible. And, not being content with all that, I've started borrowing books from my grand-daughter. 8-S