SMRC - R through to U

Author: Sara Eames

Date Published: Nov 5th 2018, 2:36pm

I have read a few book in my alphabet reading challenge - but am still behind schedule, so will be moving the deadline once again. I will strive to finish the challenge before the year is out. As I only have 5 books left to complete the challenge, this could be achievable (even if I do get regularly distracted by my TBR pile and my most recent purchases).

So, here are my updated reviews in this challenge:

R - Remains of the Day, The by Kazuo Ishiguro

Loved this book - it was beautifully written and a joy to read. This book is very different from the books I normally read, but I am glad I read this one. It is a beautifully written story. The main character, Stevens, is an aging butler of Darlington Hall who embarks on a leisurely holiday that will take him deep into the countryside and into his past. He reminisces on the subject of dignity and whether his life has been well lived.

Throughout his journey, Stevens thinks on his past life. It is fair to say that he (Stevens) has spent most of his time building barriers between himself and others. His sole reason for living has been to serve Lord Darlington, whom we gradually realise is undeserving of such loyalty. Meanwhile, his feelings for Miss Kenton, and hers for him, are poignantly revealed. Kazuo Ishiguro is an excellent author and much of the substance of this outstanding novel lies in what he doesn't say (or write), as much as what he does. His gentle unveiling of the absurd posturing of Stevens, his inability to deal with either his own, or others, feelings, his sad regret, and Miss Kenton's attempts to breach his defences are heart rending. This is close to being one of the best novels I have read this year. Highly recommended.

S - Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I really wanted to like the book, I had been looking forward to it - but it just wasn't for me. The author did not seem to be able to make up her mind whether she was writing a dystopian novel or a love story - the story seemed to switch wildly from one to another of these ideas. The characters were fairly well-written but not very likable and quite irritating. The plot dragged on (especially in each of the love scenes - I mean, for goodness sake, how many times do we need details of Juliette kissing someone - but did pick up towards the end. However, the ending was not enough for me to want to read any more of this series - I'm just glad I got to the end of book one.

T - Toast to Murder, A by Michele Scott

A fun, cosy mystery with good characters and a plot that moves at a steady pace. I shall look for more books in this series.

U - Under the Dragon's Tail by Maureen Jenkins

This is a good book - however, if you are expecting the characters from the TV series Murdoch Mysteries, you stand a chance of being somewhat disappointed. The characters in the book are nothing like those on TV - as is so often the case. Provided you keep this in mind, you should enjoy this book if you like murders (reading about them, that is, not committing them).

The characters are well-written and the plot moves at a steady pace. The murder is solvable (although I didn't solve all of it) and you don't feel cheated when you find out whodunit. The ending to the book is a little vague, but that doesn't really detract from the rest of the book.

So, that's my challenge up-to-date so far. At the moment, I am reading A Very Special Year which is my V book.