So we start again with a new year of reading.
Hard Hitter – Sarina Bowen (Kindle bought)
We have already established that I like Sarina Bowen and her books are more or less autobuy for me. So, this is the second book in the Brooklyn Bruisers series, continuing my love of books involved sports I don’t understand and think are a bit silly (my list of sports that I do understand is football, I even understand the offside rule!). Anyway, I liked this one much more than the first. O’Doul is the hero who has mostly moved off from his troubled upbringing and is captain and enforcer (apparently ice hockey is pretty violent) of the team. Basically, all he has is hockey but the violence is getting to him. Our heroine, Ari is the team massage therapist and yoga teacher. She’s coming off a split with her boyfriend of eight years who turned controlling and abusive. O’Doul needs physical therapy but doesn’t like being touched. Sparks fly etc. Ok what I really love is that O’Doul is violent for a living and it’s wearing on him although he’s well able to physically defend himself but it’s always a last resort outside the hockey arena. He accepts that Ari isn’t where he is and although he wants more, he handles being told no. He doesn’t push, he isn’t posessive and he doesn’t solve Ari’s problem with her ex with more masculine toxicity. Sure he’s around but Ari has her own agency and he recognises that. His relationship with Ari also cause him to open up more to he’s team mates which is good because the biggest problem he has is that he’s isolated and doesn’t know how to ask for or receive help. Ari is a more straightforward character, she needs to learn to start trusting her judgement and recognising when she needs to ask for help and be honest with people that care for her. What I really liked is even during the ‘happy ending’ epilogue you can see she still isn’t being entirely open about what’s going on with her and he has to puzzle it out.
The Hanging Tree – Ben Aaronovitch (library book)
I feel like I’ve been waiting on this for ages. We’re back in London and Peter is more sure of himself in London and at work. You can see the Folly starting to grow, the addition of another doctor to help Dr Walid, but Peter and Nightingale are the practitioners and they are overstretched, there is the introduction to the Americans and another set of ‘rogue’ ie outside the influence of the Folly practitioners (and there’s something going on in that mother/daughter combo that I think will be developed in other books, one of them taught the Faceless Man some of his techniques) and Peter is trying to learn as well as help bring the Folly up to date. I like that none of that is explicit, except the growing list of things that Peter has to add to the paper that he’s writing. Lesley appears with her face and we find out who the Faceless Man is but it’s a revelation curiously lacking in urgency or twist. There has been some comment about the way Aaronovitch has Peter describe people by the colour of their skin and I actually really enjoyed that. When I read, I pretty much assume that people are white, like me, unless I’m explicitly told. I think that Peter does it the other way round and I think Aaronvitch is pointing out the subtle ways that race impacts our thinking. The Faceless Man also seems to be a racist (definitely a UKIP supporter) and he and the book seem to hint that he picked Lesley because she was white and connected (still) in some way to Punch. Another thing that becomes clear is how much Peter respects Nightingale and the ways that they are changing one another. Peter’s Mum calling Nightingale for updates on Peter and making sure he turns up to family things was nice. It’s also clear that people are in the habit of underestimating Peter and I really think it’s going to bite Lesley at some point because I don’t think that she’s realised how much he’s changed. I enjoyed returning to the world, but I really want to get on with finding out what the villians are up to. Maybe the next book…
Miracle on 5th Avenue – Sarah Morgan (Kindle TBR)
Do I need to tell you how much I enjoyed this? Nope, I don’t think I do!
This is a strange cross in tone between alt reality and a boarding school story and I loved it. A lot happens and I’m not quite clear on the timeframe. Having said that, I really, really liked the first, bought the second to read straight after and am trying really hard not to throw caution to the wind and buy and read all the others and the short stories (the library doesn’t have them, I checked!)
Size Matters – Alison Bliss (borrowed)
I read this in a day so it was easy and mindless to read but it didn’t leave me happy or content. No good book noise was made in the reading of book. Because it didn’t have any heart. The heroine’s mother kept putting her down and no one called her on it, eventually the heroine did but it and the other descriptions of family life never rang true, there was no depth to them. Good for an afternoon of not thinking too much but apart from the grandfather’s driving, I can’t remember too much about it.
A Gathering of Shadows (A Darker Shade of Magic #2) (Kindle TBR)
I liked the first one enough to buy the second and I will get the third when it comes out in February because I’m anxious to find out what happens next. I really felt for Kell and Holland for that matter, even maybe because of the mistakes that that they make. It was nice in this to have a PoV from Rhy although what I really want to know is where Kell is from because it’s weird the way that Rhy’s parents behave towards him. Anyway, this left us on a cliffhanger and I haven’t been this frustrated since Sarah Rees Brennan did it in Untold.