Monday, August 12, 2019

What I’ve read this summer

I’ve somehow managed to avoid updating my book blog this summer. But I haven’t stopped reading. I’ve read ten books since my last post, but since I don’t have the energy to write a post for each, you’re getting one big post. The books fall neatly in three categories, contemporary romances, historical romances, and urban fantasy, so I’ll lump them together that way.

Beard science by Penny Reid

First up, the contemporary romances. They’re from one author, and belong to one series: Winston Brothers by Penny Reid. I introduced the series in the previous blog post where I reviewed Truth or Beard, which I loved. I skipped the second book—and didn’t miss anything—to the third book, Beard Science. It was every bit as wonderful as the first, as was the third in the series, Beard in Mind, though I had some issues with that one, namely that there weren’t enough chapters in the heroine’s point of view. We only had her point of view when she visited her therapist. It defined her through her mental illness, which was the opposite of what the book tried to achieve.

Beard in Mind by Penny Reid

What made these three books so charming where characters who, after finding someone to love, strived to become better persons because of that. Each book had secondary plots too, to add some spice into the love-stories, but nothing to distract from the main story.

Dr. Strange Beard by Penny Reid

However, the fourth book in the series, Dr. Strange Beard, was a great disappointment. I would’ve given it two stars, but refrained from giving any. It had nothing of the charm of the previous books. The characters were selfish and didn’t strive to become better, and their love-story suffered greatly for it. I didn’t root for either of them individually or as a pair. But the worst part was that there was a totally unnecessary five year jump to the future. During that time, interesting things had happened to the characters of the previous books, and I felt left out—a feeling which didn’t disappear the whole time. And the secondary plot that had been building in the previous books was abandoned completely. The book was so bad that I gave up on the series altogether.

It's Getting Scot in Here by Suzanne Enoch

Next up, the historical romances. It’s Getting Scot in Here by Suzanne Enoch was a solid but unexciting Regency romance that I gave three stars to. She’s digressed far from the books of her early career where plot twists made my stomach ache in anticipation. But it wasn’t a bad book. Three brothers are pawns in their parents’ bad marriage, and try to organise their lives despite. I’ll keep my eye on the next books, but I’m not sure I’ll read them.

The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

The Governess Game by Tessa Dare is a second book in her Girl Meets Duke series. The first book was great, but this one was barely ok. I gave it three stars anyway, as it had some humour, and the characters weren’t your everyday aristocrats. But there were too many plot-fillers and out-of-the-hat events that weren’t foreshadowed and which ended up meaning nothing. But the sample chapter to the next book in the series seemed promising, so I guess I’ll read that one when it comes out this month.

Lucifer's Daughter by Eve Langlais

And finally, the urban fantasy, which is a more eclectic bunch. I started with a steamy paranormal romance, Lucifer’s Daughter by Eve Langlais, the most prolific indie author that I know. There’s a new book every month. In her customary style, the book was funny, steamy and over the top. And while it was a first in a series, the ending was satisfying enough, and I don’t feel the need to continue with it.

Brave the Tempest by Karen Chance

Brave the Tempest by Karen Chance is book nine and the latest in her Cassandra Palmer series. I think the books keep getting better in the sense that the author has gotten better at writing them. They used to be mad dashes from one plot to another, which often left the poor reader behind. But in the past couple of books, there has been slower sections too that allow for reflecting the plot and, in case of this one, all the previous books too, which was much needed. In this book, Cassie finally turns into an active operator in her life, instead of being pushed this way and that, and that made the story more enjoyable too.

The October Man by Ben Aaronovitch

The October Man by Ben Aaronovitch is a shorter book in his Rivers of London series, which I love. This one I almost skipped though, because it’s set in Germany and doesn’t have Peter Grant or any other familiar characters. But it was a good, solid detective story in the style of the other books. Tobi was much like Peter, and the plot was familiar in its oddity. There were even some rivers involved. I’m not sure if the author will continue with these characters, but perhaps there will be a cross-over book later.

Reticence by Gail Carriger

Reticence by Gail Carriger ends The Custard Protocol, her third Parasolverse series. It’s been very uneven four books, with the first being good, and third a horrid disappointment in all respects. But this fourth book was a charming ending to it all. Percy, the hero, has been my favourite throughout the series, and Arsenic, the new addition, was a good match to him. The plot was fairly simple—as opposed to some of the earlier books—and the love-story was satisfying, although it developed so slowly that I was sure there wouldn’t even be a kiss before the book ends. As it was a series ender, most favourite characters from throughout the books made an appearance, which was nice.

Angelfall by Susan Ee

Angelfall by Susan Ee was a new book to me, but it was published already in 2012. It’s marketed as a young adult book, and the age of the protagonist, Penryn, matches. But the hardships she faced and survived made me often think that she must be twice the age she was.

It’s set in a post-apocalyptic world. Angels have come to earth and destroyed it completely. The few survivors have soon learned that nothing is off-limits when it comes to survival. Penryn has to look after her paralysed little sister Paige, and her mother who is schizophrenic and violent. Having learned to survive with her mother, Penryn has an advantage when it comes to coping with this new world. And then the angels steal Paige, and in order to get her back, Penryn teams up with a wounded angel Raffe.

Though the plot is fairly straightforward, the things Penryn has to go through to achieve her goal aren’t your everyday YA. The book is fairly violent, and the imagery, especially towards the end of the book, is somewhat disgusting even. The romance, which has become a hallmark of YA, is almost absent. But the gritty style works, and carries to the end. I instantly picked the second book too.

So this was what I’ve read this summer. I try to return to regular service from here on. Stay tuned.

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