What I’ve Read – June 2015

This month’s reading was all from the library, I really need to start tackling my TBR pile.

The Bees – Laline Paull (library book)

Enter a whole new world, in this thrilling debut novel set entirely within a beehive.

Born into the lowest class of her society, Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, only fit to clean her orchard hive. Living to accept, obey and serve, she is prepared to sacrifice everything for her beloved holy mother, the Queen.

But Flora is not like other bees. Despite her ugliness she has talents that are not typical of her kin. While mutant bees are usually instantly destroyed, Flora is removed from sanitation duty and is allowed to feed the newborns, before becoming a forager, collecting pollen on the wing. She also finds her way into the Queen’s inner sanctum, where she discovers secrets both sublime and ominous.

But enemies are everywhere, from the fearsome fertility police to the high priestesses who jealously guard the Hive Mind. And when Flora breaks the most sacred law of all her instinct to serve is overshadowed by an even deeper desire, a fierce love that will lead to the unthinkable . . .

One of my colleagues has been raving about this and had promised to lend it to me when she gets back from her holiday but I was in the library and there it was. It’s an interesting book, I had to start looking up information on bees to see how much of it was based on actual bee behaviour! which is probably a sign that I was pulled in. I really enjoyed the book and I’m still thinking about it.

Shadow Scale – Rachel Hartman (library book)

As Seraphina travels the Southlands in search of the other half-breeds to help in the war effort, the dragon General Comonot and his Loyalists fight against the upstart Old Guard – with the fate of Goredd and the other human countries hanging in the balance.

The gripping sequel to the bestselling Seraphina

I really, really wanted to love this. I loved Seraphina but this one, I just didn’t really connect with it.

The Road To 1945: British Politics and the Second World War Revised Edition – Paul Addison (library book)

1940 has long been regarded as the time when political parties put aside their differences to unite under Churchill and focus on the task of war. But the war years witnessed a radical shift in political power – dramatically expressed in Labour’s decisive electoral victory in 1945. In his acclaimed study, Paul Addison traces this sea-change back to the Thirties and goes on to recapture the powerful spirit of post-war reconstruction

After the election, this book has been mentioned a lot so I decided to see if the library has a copy. It did and it was fascinating, I’ve been annoying Ma by talking about it loads and I may actually have to buy a copy and read it again.

The Friend Zone – Kristen Callihan (ebook – bought)

So more new adult comfort reading. Ok, I don’t like the ‘happy ever after’ quality of new adult (it can happen, but I know exactly one couple who’ve managed meeting at college and getting married and are still together 25 years later, so experience teaches me that it’s rare) and this book gave the couple all sorts of last minute issues that didn’t seem to fit with the scope of the story. However, one of the things I love about this series is that it perfectly captured the ridiculous amount of angst you experience in your early 20’s, when everything new and shiny especially emotions and romance. I remember it well but I did spend a fair amount of the book rolling my eyes and muttering about the importance of USING YOUR WORDS.

First Comes Marriage – Mary Balogh (library ebook)

This is the fault of the Smart Bitches. There was a review of one of Balogh’s books (Only a Promise) and it was all ‘go and read this now’ but they didn’t have it at the library probably because it was only released on 9 June!) but they had this one and when I wasn’t coughing my guts up, I was able to read this and keep track of it. Then I reserved all the ones I could at the library, apart from these I have another 11 at home to read…

Slightly Married – Mary Balogh (library book)

I really enjoyed this, Mary Balogh lives in Canada but is originally from Wales and that shows here. I liked the hero and heroine, that the made the best of a difficult situation and both had a sense of themselves.

Only Enchanting – Mary Balogh (library book)

The hero of this book is a cavalry officer injured by getting shot through the head, falling off his horse onto his head and then getting ridden over. He is called Viscount Ponsonby, which I can only hope is a shout out to Frederick Ponsonby, who depending on your point of view was either one of the luckiest or unluckiest men at Waterloo (shot in both arms, sabred off his horse, stabbed in the back and abandoned on the battlefield where he was robbed, used as a shield by a French skirmisher,  ridden over by Prussian cavalry, roughed up by a Prussian looking for plunder and spent the night on the battlefield. He lived and was nursed back to health by his sister, Caroline Lamb (presumably during one of her more stable periods!).

Apart from that, I really enjoyed this. I liked that the couple come to support one another, that their partnership helps but doesn’t heal everything, the power of love does not miraculously cure our hero’s wounds or stutter but makes dealing with it easier. There is a section of the book where the heroine basically says, ‘this isn’t ideal but we will make it work because you and I matter. I’m a person and I’m worthy of respect and happiness’. Which is nice. Generally, if Balogh has a theme it’s that happily ever after doesn’t exist, what you get instead is happy and safe and content and communication, which is pretty much what it should be.

Talon – Julie Kawaga & Rogue – Julie Kawaga (library e-books)

To the outside world Ember Hill is an ordinary girl, but Ember has a deadly secret. A dragon hiding in human form, she is destined to fight the shadowy Order of St. George, a powerful society of dragonslayers.

St. George soldier Garret is determined to kill Ember and her kind. Until her bravery makes him question all he’s been taught about dragons.

Now a war is coming and Garret and Ember must choose their sides – fight to save their bond or fulfil their fate and destroy one another

Godchild 2 was reading these and wanted me to read it too because “I don’t know what to make of it”. I know what she means, I wanted more detail and at the same time less detail. There’s a lot of info dumping and what seems to be a love triangle being set up…which I don’t like all that much anyway. Given how much info dumping is done, the things I want to know aren’t covered, how did Garret become a member of St George, why is Talon so evil, I have a feeling this is going to be series rather than a trilogy. Also Ember is a pain in the arse, for someone who has brought up in a super secret organisation of dragons and trained to be an assassin, she’s pretty dumb. She keeps doing things that put her and everyone else in danger because she’s bored or a hothead. I’m hard put to understand why we should care about her. It was weird, when I was reading them they were hard to put down but when it was time to pick them up again, I wasn’t all that bothered!

 

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About nicdempsey

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