What I’ve Read – April 2015

Breaking All Her Rules – Maisy Yates (library e-book)

Buttoned-up financial consultant Grace Song lives life by her own strict rules. Spontaneity leads to chaos. Always play it safe. So when she shares a Manhattan cab with a handsome stranger and they accidentally swap cell phones, her first instinct is to track him down and put things right. Stay on track. Stick with the plan.

But when beyond-gorgeous Zack Camden answers the door draped only in a towel, Grace is suddenly inspired to ditch her rules for a day…and a night. Indulging in one delicious encounter with a perfect stranger is just the break she needs. But one turns into two, then three mind-blowing nights—and soon Grace is in danger of breaking the biggest rule of them all—never fall in love….

Still traumatised from ‘Only Ever Yours‘ last month. I found this on the e-book site and read it on the morning commute. It was simple, straightforward and happy.

Anticipation – Sarah Mayberry (borrowed from Ruth)

Blue Sullivan knows a player when she sees one. And Eddie Oliveira—charm and sex personified—was born to play. She never wanted him to say goodbye, so for the last ten years she’s ignored the sizzling attraction between them and focused on being the best sidekick a guy could have. Smart girl, right?

Then Blue has a serious accident, and overnight Eddie changes. Suddenly he’s more intense and singularly devoted…to her. With all this sexy attention, it’s hard to stay within the boundaries she’s scrupulously drawn. The temptation, the anticipation builds and, finally, she has to have what he’s offering. Of course Eddie proves to be brilliant. Now, she worries he’s ruined her forever, as well as the friendship that is so important to her….

Ruth was all ‘you have to read this, it gives me, the happy book noise’ I read it in a day. Happy book noise… and just what I needed before diving into River of Stars.

River of Stars – Guy Gavriel Kay (Kindle TBR)

In his critically acclaimed novel Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay told a vivid and powerful story inspired by China’s Tang Dynasty. Now, the international bestselling and multiple award-winning author revisits that invented setting four centuries later – a world inspired this time by the glittering, decadent Song Dynasty.

Ren Daiyan was still just a boy when he took the lives of seven men while guarding an imperial magistrate of Kitai. That moment on a lonely road changed his life—in entirely unexpected ways, sending him into the forests of Kitai among the outlaws. From there he emerges years later—and his life changes again, dramatically, as he circles towards the court and emperor, while war approaches Kitai from the north.

Lin Shan is the daughter of a scholar, his beloved only child. Educated by him in ways young women never are, gifted as a songwriter and calligrapher, she finds herself living a life suspended between two worlds. Her intelligence captivates an emperor—and alienates women at the court. But when her father’s life is endangered by the savage politics of the day, Shan must act in ways no woman ever has.

In an empire divided by bitter factions circling an exquisitely cultured emperor who loves his gardens and his art far more than the burdens of governing, dramatic events on the northern steppe alter the balance of power in the world, leading to events no one could have foretold, under the river of stars.

I really enjoyed this and now I need to know more about the Chinese history on which this is based. It’s just epic and I got caught up in it. I guessed it wasn’t going to have a ‘happy’ ending and it really didn’t which I think is why it took so long for me to read.

Glamour in Glass – Mary Robinette Kowal (Library Book)

Jane and David Vincent, both glamourists of some repute, are enjoying a blissful honeymoon on the continent when their romantic getaway goes horribly awry.

They are in Belgium when they learn that Napoleon Bonaparte, the deposed emperor, has fled from exile throwing Europe into turmoil. Suddenly Jane and David find themselves in great danger, with no easy way back home to England, no possibility of rescue from abroad, and no real way to tell friend from foe.

When David is taken prisoner, Jane determines to put herself at risk, using her most cunning, strongest magic to save her beloved, herself, and their unborn child from harm. . .

This is the sequel to ‘Shades of Milk and Honey‘ (and I’m sensing a pattern, as I read that straight after Guy Gavriel Kay’s Under Heaven – also set in China). I liked this just as much as the first one. I enjoyed watching Jane (and Vincent) learn how to be married and deal with the expectations and limitations placed on her. I really like that although she’s strong enough to rescue her husband and take risks, she’s not stupid or headstrong about it. It’s lovely to read a book set in the Regency, that reads like it could have been written in the era.

Without a Summer – Mary Robinette Kowal (Library Book)

Summer, 1816. Glamourists Jane and David Vincent return home to an unseasonably cold Long Parkmeade. Cooped up inside with Jane’s fretful sister and father, they soon become restless, so when they receive a commission from a prominent family in London, they decide to go – taking Melody with them. Perhaps the change of scenery will brighten their moods (and Melody’s marriage prospects).

The capital is fizzing with talk of crop failures and unemployment riots in the north. Finding it difficult to avoid getting embroiled in the intrigue, it’s not long before Jane and David realise they must use their magic to solve a crisis of international proportions . . . and get Melody to the church on time.

Because I reserved books 2,3 and 4 in the series, I get to read straight through, which is always fun. I was still completely absorbed by the story and the sense that even after two years, Jane and Vincent are still learning about each other. I can’t recommend them enough. The Prince Regent makes an appearance here and I’m afraid that I really didn’t think that he was self aware enough to know that he was fundamentally useless (he was actually too busy pretending that he single handedly won the Battle of Waterloo!

One issue, this is the back of the book.Yes, that does say 1916, for a book set in 1816. Whoops!

Valour and Vanity – Mary Robinette Kowal (library book)

When a family celebration brings Glamourists Jane and David Vincent to the Continent, they seize the opportunity to voyage for Murano, to study the world-renowned glassblowers at work. But their ship is set upon by Barbary corsairs en route – and they arrive in Murano penniless.

Fortunately, they meet a gentleman banker who arranges for a line of credit and a place to live. But just as the Vincents start to relax, a solicitor arrives at their house and it becomes clear they have been the victims of an elaborate heist.

The fourth in the series, there’s one more that hasn’t been released yet, this is also good and features Bryon, who was in Venice at the time! Once of the things I really enjoy about this series is the way that three years after these two got married they are still working through how to be married and things that come up take time to be worked out, no-one waves a magic wand, Jane is still working out stuff that happened in previous books, I really like that, to see Jane and Vincent growing and changing as the reality of their partnership affects how they deal with things. Also the nuns were pretty amazing!

The Darkest Part of the Forest – Holly Black (library book)

Near the little town of Fairfold, in the darkest part of the forest, lies a glass casket. Inside the casket lies a sleeping faerie prince that none can rouse. He’s the most fascinating thing Hazel and her brother Ben have ever seen. They dream of waking him – but what happens when dreams come true? In the darkest part of the forest, you must be careful what you wish for..

I loved Holly Black’s last book (The Coldest Girl in Coldtown) and I’ve been wanting to read this for a while, thankfully the library reserve service is my friend and unfortunately works faster than I thought it would, I have a 9 books out at the moment all of them from my reserve list, they’re coming in faster than I can read them. I also thought that it would be good to have a small break from The Glamourist Histories. This was perfect. Hazel is a frustrating ‘hero’ but that’s understandable given her history and relationships. I liked almost all of it. Hazel rescues herself even though she’s not quite aware she’s doing it and even though she’s scared and the fairies are really scary and not human. Some of this book is about parents, all of the major characters have parent issues and I like that the book shows consequences good and bad of parenting choices. The writing of the book felt like a fairy tale too.

Getting Out of Hand: Sapphire Falls Book One – Erin Nicholas (Kindle free)

Genius scientist Mason Riley can cure world hunger, impress the media and piss off the Vice President of the United States all before breakfast. But he’s not sure he can get through his high school class reunion.

Then he meets the new girl in town. Adrianne Scott loves Sapphire Falls. The sleepy little town has been the perfect place to escape her fast-paced, high stress lifestyle. Her only plans now include opening her candy shop and living a quiet, drama-free life. Until Mason Riley bids four hundred dollars just to dance with her.

It was on Smart Bitches and lots of people liked it and it was free. I know, I’m easy when it comes to books and this was fun and I liked it, although it was all a bit too easy!

A King’s Ransom – Sharon Kay Penman (library book)

This was fairly delightful. I never expected to feel sympathy with Richard I but Penman makes a convincing case for PTSD and the changes after he was ransomed. As ever, the book is pretty well researched and easy to read.




About nicdempsey

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