I didn’t read much in December. Nine books might seem like a lot but I took most of the month to read Gentleman Bastards book and A Darker Shade of Magic. Most of the rest were read in the last week of December after Christmas!
Once Upon a Christmas – Sarah Morgan (Kindle TBR list)
I love Sarah Morgan, this one is a category Mills and Boon which I’m guessing has been re-packaged. The men are steely and determined, the woman virginial but at least they have a career. As I get older, I get less tolerant of the ‘alpha-hole’ in romance and the hero verged on that in this. Having said that, snowy Cotswold setting and I’m happy.
Managed – Kristen Callihan (bought)
I liked this so much better than the first one. Read it in a day, it had all the usual NA ridiculousness that I know and love.
A Darker Shade of Magic – V. E. Schwab (Kindle TBR list)
I really enjoyed this one and read it at the right time, I have the next on the TBR list AND the third is due out either this or next month! I loved the concept of the different London’s and loved that there’s still more to learn.
The Lies of Locke Lamora: The Gentleman Bastards – Scott Lynch (Kindle TBR list)
This was recommended to me ages ago and has been sitting on the TBR list forever, I think I bought it as Kindle deal before I started to limit my book buying in 2015! It was clever and detailed and I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I will read the others at some point.
Fast and easy reading which I really enjoyed. One of my issues with NA is that the settings are so unrealistic. A theme through all three of the books is about things not working out as you planned and how you come back from that. This was the least dramatic. I know nothing about Vermont or apple growing or cider making. If the hero was making calvados with his apples (or maybe even gin a la Chase) I would have been more invested! But I liked that both the hero and the heroine still had things to learn and that neither of them was sure about their lives all the time. Also that the hero worried about doing the right thing by his family and farm and employees.
Steadfast (True North Book 2) – Sarina Bowen (borrowed)
I wasn’t sure about this. The whole thing looks pretty hopeless and was quite NA in that both hero and heroine had horrible parents AND the hero was an addict. I liked that her chapters started with a song (and that I recognised some of them!) and his with a craving scale. I really liked that it dealt with addiction head on and had some stuff about chemical help for that. It was a bit melodrama-rama but there’s a scene near the end of the book where the heroine’s mother wakes the hell up, which I cheered at! I also really liked the realistic way the heroine described her career choice and not choosing to sing for a career. Like I said the books seem to reflect some of the growing up that happens in your 20’s..
Keepsake (True North Book 1) – Sarina Bowen (borrowed)
I liked this one least, because the heroine really annoyed me but I still read the book in a day, I liked that the hero wasn’t pushy and that he did the right thing, even though he wasn’t sure. I also liked the theme of family that ran through all the books but really played up in this one.
More Singh book crack. Although I got that this was about the change that Ellie had on Raphael, I really, really could have done without the repetition. I get it, they have a love for all the ages but show me, don’t tell me. Also and this is something I’ve noticed in all of her books, she tries to have the characters make jokes but they aren’t funny! Still read the hell out of it though!
Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor – Rick Riordan (library book)
One of the things I really like about Rick Riordan is how he’s introducing diversity to his books. I don’t know if someone talked to him about it or he’s always wanted to do it and can because the books are so sucessful. However, Magnus has a Muslim character (who has to work out how to be Muslim and work for Odin) and her brother/sister, Alex is gender fluid (which makes perfect sense given who his/her father is). This book didn’t question the right of the character to be who the hell they wanted but did deal with the confusion of other characters (Magnus) about how to understand and be appropriate. I don’t know how a trans person would view it but I liked that Magnus notes that he’s never felt like that and the closest he’s come is being made to right with the wrong hand, which he knows isn’t the same but is the best he can come up with to try and understand the sense of wrongness a transgender person might feel. I’m all for diversity in books and for explaining and then getting on with it. I also really liked that Alex is better than Sami at some stuff because Alex knows who she/he is (and I’m using he/she because the character specifies that using ‘they’ doesn’t work for him/her, although it may work for others). Other than that, it’s a typical Riordan romp through the Viking deities and in the next book, Percy Jackson. Fun times…