In month seven of this year, I read:
The Dark Days Club – Alison Goodman (library book)
This book had me at it’s second line.
In 1811, his son, the Prince of Wales – fat, frivolous and forty-nine…
Summed up and destroyed a man’s character in three words. I could also completely buy Napoleon as a Grand Deceiver (of course I could). Although I found Helen frustrating, the book did a really good job of making me understand why she was struggling which of course was because of how she was raised and what was expected of her. This is set in the Regency and apart from the demon hunting bits was well set in it’s period. Helen is different from everyone else in that she’s a Receiver but she’s properly situated in her historical time, she’s not aiming for more than to do what is expected of her and all this Dark Days Club stuff is bewildering to her as it would be. She isn’t jumping in to be the heroine and that plot gives her a real choice of which to pick and points out the real cost to each option. I can always do without love triangles, or more accurately for this book ‘attraction triangle’ but it did represent very nicely the choice that Helen had to make and the pros of each choice. I took a long time to read this but that was more because I started to read it the same week that I became totally infatuated with the Hamilton soundtrack and it’s difficult to concentrate on reading when you are listening to that.
League of Dragons – Naomi Novik (library book)
I’ve been waiting for the last of the Temeraire books since I finished all the others last year and I enjoyed it but… Ok so I know that this is an alternative world but first off, Napoleon undoubted genuis that he was, was also, especially by the time we get to the Russian campaign, an arrogant general with little regard for his troops, yes they loved him but he was not really concerned about them. Laurence wants to beat him but admires his manners etc, Laurence is beset by the Admiralty, which I’ll concede full of idiots, I can’t buy this wholesale portrayal of incompetence and worse. Novik is American and it seems to me that apart from Laurence she generally can’t have the British do anything remotely good, clever or sensible. At one point in the book, Laurence decides that if a course of action is taken, he’ll go over to Napoleon. That action is not taken and he is appointed to take charge of the entire allied ‘airforce’ but we don’t see it. We see captains who don’t like him and have let him down assume that he’ll go over to the French but nothing else. Which leads me to the next problem, great chunks of action are missed out and we from one thing to another. Temaraire is injured without Laurence and we go straight to him and Laurence and Tharkay doing something else; what happens to Jane? I think she gets made a duchess but that’s not very clear and almost nothing is resolved in her relationship with Laurence (are they together, friends with benefits? who knows), apart from Granby we don’t really know what happens to Laurence’s friends in the service, we know that Laurence and Temaraire are going to settle down on Tharkay’s land in the Peak District and that Temaraire is going to go to Parliament but what about reform to the Service? Which surely needs to be addressed.
So I’m pleased it more or less ended well but this book felt unfinished and patchy.
Marrying Winterbourne – Lisa Kleypas (library book)
This made me so happy, after a tricky week, I read it in a day. I like her historicals and this one has not changed my mind.
The Voyage of the Basilisk: A Memoir by Lady Trent – Marie Brennan (library book)
In the Labyrinth of Drakes: A Memoir by Lady Trent – Marie Brennan (library book)
I’m going to take all three of these at once. I really enjoyed them. Isabella’s narration of her adventures from the perspective of her old age, the assumption that we know what happened and the world itself are delightful. I find myself wanting to know more about the world, the religion, the countries and the political set up as well as wanted to see what she does next.
Make Believe Wedding – Sarah Mayberry (Kindle TBR – free book)
I had a whole Sunday of doing nothing but reading this was a quick book, Sarah Mayberry can make even really silly plots interesting and can make you root for heroines while rolling your eyes at her. Even though you could see where this was going and she set a couple up for another book, I enjoyed it.
A Certain Magic – Mary Balogh (Kindle TBR – bought)
This was a re-release of an earlier book and it was delightful although you can see the writer learning her craft. I really struggled with the typos though ‘1 am’ for ‘I am’ and so on. Mind you it was on offer when I bought it and I will re-read it again so probably worth the quid I paid for it.
Not Quite Dating – Catherine Bybee (Kindle TBR – free book)
I’ve seen this knocking about and it’s book as wish fulfillment. Rich guy disguises his riches to see if the poor waitress with a kid will give him a chance. Of course she realises she loves him and there are a couple of bumps as well as setting up the next book. It was good enough that I read it all the way through more or less in one sitting but it was all a bit to easy, I didn’t see the relationship.
The Viscount’s Christmas Temptation – Erica Ridley (Kindle TBR – free book)
This is a novella and kicks of a series and it’s all a bit silly and a bit modern for a Regency but it was designed to get you to read the series and it’s hard to develop characters and motivation in such a short space of time. One thing that did make me stop and check was the reference to using Vauxhall Bridge to get to the Gardens but she was spot on, the book is set in Christmas 1816 and the bridge opened in June that year.
My Life Next Door – Huntley Fitzpatrick (re-read)
I read this a while ago and I liked it, H is reading it and so I read it again and I still liked it. Then I read two more by Fitzpatrick.
The Boy Most Likely To – Huntley Fitzpatrick (Kindle TBR)
This isn’t a sequel to My Life Next Door but features two of the characters from it. I liked Tim, a lot. I liked Alice too but I felt that Tim had a lot of growing up to do but he never let Alice look after him (which is what she needed). It’s interesting having a story about a 17 year old alcoholic who fathers a kid and doesn’t remember but takes responsibility for the kid. It’s about standing up and being a grown up even when the grown ups in your life don’t approve.
The Things I Thought I Knew – Huntley Fitzpatrick (Kindle TBR)
This one set in the same area but and one connection to the other book that I could see, was more straightforward YA and I liked both the heroine and her parents, how they muddle through their difficult choices and still are ‘good’ people. None of these books sugar coat bad choices which is nice, I like it when characters muck up. What I really love is that they come back, choices define you but none of the situations are hopeless.
I picked this up free and finally got around to reading it. Look I love most Grace Burrowes historicals, they drive me batty and I cannot stop reading them. And I liked this one, hero wasn’t or at least didn’t seem that jaded but what do I know. Heroine was capable and damaged in a very recognisable way (well to me I have daddy issues!). They have a HEA and that’s all I needed.
Idol (VIP Book 1) – Kristen Callihan (Kindle – bought)
I liked this well enough but I am a little bit tired of 25 year old millionaire rock stars. I’m still looking forward to the next Game On book by Callihan because apparently I’m not tired of 20 something american football players (I know!). I think ultimately, I didn’t get the second half of the book which is when it all seemed to get wish fulfillment-ish and unreal.
Listen to Me (A Fusion Novel) – Lisa Proby (borrowed)
This is the first of a series, based around five women and the restaurant they own. I loved the way the group support each other, I love that they are smart, clever and capable. Although heroine is an ex model and hero is ex rock star, why I’m tired of rock stars maybe. It was a bit to up and down for me, I felt they both should have used their words both with each other and with their issues. Will I read the next one, probably because I’m a sucker!