Wednesday 29 November 2023

Redundancy Short Reads

My NetGalley November hasn’t been as big as success as I would have hoped when I first thought of doing this, hence why I might carry this over till I go on my Christmas/New Year blog holiday (I still need to figure out when that will be and for how long? It was going to be for a month, but things have changed as I will explained below). 

Reason why? Before I went on my little sunshine/reading holiday, I was suddenly and unexpectedly made redundant. Which was fun (insert heavy sarcasm here). I was made redundant, then went on holiday and then, once I got home, sent next few days trying to find a job. 

So, as you can expect, while I did blitz some NetGalley proofs reading, there were one or two times when my brain went “Nope. I need something short and achievable!”.

The three novellas I did were The Thief by Ruth Rendell, Serpentine by Philip Pullman and The Christmas Guest by Peter Swanson. 

The Thief by Ruth Rendell was a Quick Reads novella (2003?) which follows Polly who is a liar and a thief. There was her aunt, a girl in her school, a boyfriend who dumped her. But she stopped and is trying to be better for her new boyfriend. But when a man on the plane leaves her scared and humiliated, she takes his suitcase, not knowing that the things will take a dark turn…

Serpentine by Philip Pullman is set in the His Dark Materials world and is set a year after Lyra’s Oxford. Lyra and her dæmon Pantalaimon have left the events of The Amber Spyglass behind them, though the events still lingers… In this little snapshot of their lives, the pair return to the North, when they discovers somethings aren’t exactly as they first appear…

And, finally, The Christmas Guest by Peter Swanson follows Ashley, an American who is happy to be alone at Christmas. One Christmas Day, she is cleaning her apartment and discovers her diary of 30 years ago when she was an Art student in London and she’s invited by her friend, Emma, to stay at her country home for Christmas. But when she arrives, this Christmas isn’t going to be cosy as the little country village is still recovering from the shocking murder of a woman who looks just like Ashley…

Each of these little novellas were lovely reads and all have pros and cons. The Thief was a dark insight of someone unlikeable unravelling due to her meeting of someone even more unlikable. Serpentine was a lovely return to a world I love with characters I often think about. And The Christmas Guest was a slow Christmas crime where you know something awful is going to happen. 

But, like I said, all have cons. The Thief’s ending felt very weak, the audiobook editing of The Christmas Guest wasn’t as good as it could have been (we kept getting page turning effect every few seconds when our lead is reading her diary and it is very jarring) and Serpentine was just so short and I wish it was a faction longer. 

But, like I said earlier, my brain needed short reads to cope in that moment. And I am going to keep reading my NetGalley proofs for the next few weeks and I apologises in advance if it’s very Christmas, as well as attacking some of my physical books and some kindle books I have bought. 

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