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by Patricia Wiltshire

I am counting this book for #Popsugar prompt 39: Revolving around a puzzle or game
For what greater puzzle is there than catching a killer?

This book is very interesting as Wiltshire takes us through both the theory and practical application of forensic botany.
Pollen, spores, leaf fragments and the such can help the learned eye place body or a crime very specifically in time and space. I think that that is amazing.
Wiltshire mixes her development as a botanist into her role as the first forensic botanist in Britain with her personal life with references to marriages, children and parents.
She is clearly brilliant professionally but had some horrible real life events to deal with along the way.

I thought this book well written and fascinating – really worth reading if you are even vaguely interested in solving puzzles.


Remarkable Creatures

by Tracy Chevalier

This is my book for #Popsugar prompt 8: Book about a hobby
A gentle story about two women, both fossil hunters, in the early 1800s.
I didn’t realise until afterwards that it is based on the lives of two women who really were fossil hunters. Knowing this made me happy.

Mary and Elizabeth are an unlikely friendship – Elizabeth is a spinster from a somewhat moneyed London family living in Lyme to allow her brother the family home. Mary is a dirt poor local girl, collecting fossils from the beach to sell to tourists to keep the family from starving to death.
Add to that a 20 year age gap and these two women should never have even acknowledged each other, never mind become actual friends.

But a shared interest can be a powerful thing. And combined with the times and the way women were treated these women found great strength and support in each other.

Beautifully written, this book tells of both the women and their friendship, and society of the time. That any women managed to achieve anything at that time is truly extraordinary.

Lovely book

by Harriet Lerner

I read (well, listened to) this book for #Popsugar prompt 16: a question in the title
I picked this book solely because it had the required question in the title.
However, I wasn’t far into it before I was really glad to have found it and read it.

Lerner looks at the processing apologising from both sides of the situation; both that of the person apologizing and the one receiving the apology.

I learnt so much about how I both apologise and respond to apologies. I shall certainly behave differently after experiencing this book.

This book is wonderfully worth it.

by Michelle McNamara

This is my #Popsugar prompt 13: Published posthumously book
Riveting stuff – such a pity the author didn’t live to see the awful man caught.
Well researched and well constructed with a balance between hard facts and a narrative which engaged.
Really top of the true crime game

The History of Bees

by Maja Lunde

This is my book for #Readharder prompt 10 – written by and/or translated by a woman. This book is both.

This was an odd read for me – I alternated between absolutely loving it and slogging through it.
I do like the basic premise of the book and I loved separate stories that are ultimately woven together so I am not sure why I wasn’t completely gripped by this book.

I am left feeling oddly out of sorts by this book.

I loved the three time periods included and how bees are experienced, or not. I loved the environmental relevance. I even really liked the characters in the stories and was invested in all three stories when each presented itself.
So I should really have loved this book but just found it okay.

Murder has a Sweet Tooth

by Miranda Bliss

I read this book for #Popsugar prompt 22 – a book with SWEET in the title
and it was fine.
Cosy mysteries are generally nothing much more than fine – they are simple and easy and a relaxed read that requires very little from the reader.
And as an example of that, this book is above average.
The characters are likeable and the sub plot is sweet and believable

What this genre lacks, and that may its value to many readers, is any involvement by the reader in the move towards solving the crime. No clues are provided or red herrings thrown at the reader – there is no way we can work out what has happened before the protagonist does.
For me, that’s the thrill of reading the old classic who dunnits, and what is always missing in cozies.

But I still read them for a break from heavier stuff – and I’d read another Bliss for the same reason.

by Margot Lee Shetterly

I am using this book for the #ReadHarder prompt 6: A book by an AOC set in or about space.
While space is not much of a character is this book it is the story that made any space travel possible.

This is an incredible story well written and wonderfully narrated.
These human computers were amazing women with crazy smarts who did unbelievable work – all behind the scenes while the white male engineers stood front and centre stage.

Not only did these women overcome sexism and racism, they were also brilliant minds. There is so much in this story – these women were literally computers before computers existed. Just amazing.
And considering the position they were in in society at the time – what they achieved is mind blowing.

Fabulous book and now I want to watch the movie immediately
We need more of these books; books that tell the other stories, the stories hidden behind the straight white man version of the past.

Hidden Bodies (You #2)

by Caroline Kepnes
After being absolutely riveted, absorbed and horrified by You I found this book wishy washy and unconvincing.
So much of it was just ridiculously unbelievable and Joe became ordinary and nasty rather than dark, creepy and, in some way, understandable.
He used, for me, to be commentary on society, on men’s sense of their own rights, on the slewed way those in power see society
In Hidden Bodies he is a stroppy little teenager acting without thought – his creepy has been replaced by pedestrian ideas and actions
He used to be everyman – this is what made You so terrifying – on every street we women knew Joe lurked, watching one of us, wanting to control some of us
The Joe of Hidden Bodies is someone from some slightly ridiculous American true crime adaptation
(and I’ve just been submerged in Ted Bundy and still Joe was not believable).
The book ends with a perfect start to book 3 but I doubt I will ever be interested enough to bother with it
On its own maybe Hidden Bodies would have been better than just okay but following You it, for me, just crashed and burned

by Ann Rule

I am counting this for #Popsugar prompt 17 – set on a campus, because so much of what Bundy did was centred around various college campuses.
What a horrifying 15 hours of audiobook this was; and impossible to put down.
The starting point of this book is astounding on its own – Ann Rule was contracted to write a book about the as yet unidentified serial killer while close friends with a young man called Ted. That they were the same person was inconceivable to her – until it wasn’t.

Bundy’s story is so horrifying because he seemed so ordinary – or even better than ordinary. A good looking, smart, seemingly caring man who murdered and murdered and murdered.
He could be anyone any of us know! And that’s scary.

Rules takes the reader along in an almost conversational way making the content of what she is saying even worse.
This book was well worth the time it took to consume

by Anne Tyler

This is my book for #Popsugar prompt 15 – retelling of a classic. This is Tyler’s retelling of The Taming of the Shrew.
To start with, The Taming of the Shrew is an awful story, and then add to that the fact that Tyler writes with such connection about middle class America and this was always going to be a challenge.
The book is perfectly well written but it is hard to connect with the characters and their rather odd decisions and actions.
A father getting rid his wayward daughter to a man who wants to tame her – how the hell do you modernise that story?
Tyler does it by bringing immigration laws into it, making it at least plausible.
I found Pyotr, the husband and ‘tamer’ the character easiest to relate to, and his incredible loneliness in a foreign country was beautifully captured.

On it’s own this was a bit meh for me, but as a retelling and therefore within quite strict confines, it was better than meh.
I have loved other books by Tyler so my 21/2 star rounded up to a 3 star meh rating is for this book only, not the author in any way.