Read Bramble and Blood and really enjoyed it– the first chapter is pretty clunky, but by chapter two the writing is smooth. The world building was really neat. I liked it so much that I immediately bought Birdsong and Bone which was also excellent. Then I bought Shadows and Souls. These were a nice break from the maybe too predictable stuff I’d been reading lately. (Note: The third book had a completely unnecessary Pathos death. Disappointing, given the second one made a different choice about another potential Pathos death.)
I returned Destiny’s Embrace unfinished because ugh… the hero force kisses the heroine who his mother has employed as his housekeeper on the first day that she meets him after they get into a verbal argument. I am just OVER “heroes” kissing women they barely know without consent, and doubly over “heroes” kissing the heroines they employ. Kissing strangers is not normal and kissing employees is harassment. The book didn’t get better after that, so I gave up. Which is a shame because the set-up was interesting. (I’m willing to give some leeway for the hero and heroine being in a working relationship while falling in love if the author can make it work in a way that’s not squicky– not the case here.)
Chance of a Lifetime by Jayne Ann Krentz was similarly terrible, by which I mean the hero force kissed the heroine he has employed as his housekeeper on the second day she meets him after they get into a verbal argument. I wish the first goodreads review had been on amazon– I wouldn’t have bought it! I’m considering recycling the used copy I have instead of passing it on. I need to be better about checking all reviews, though in fairness I thought this was from 1994 (Krentz was mostly better by then, so long as it wasn’t a Stephanie James reissue), but it’s actually 1987.
Merry Inkmas was similarly irritating though not quite as bad. I did finish it, but I deleted it off my kindle.
Lady Osbaldestone’s Plum Puddings was better than the second in the series (which I do not regret reading and have not deleted, but definitely dragged a bit) but not quite as good as the first.
Death Beside the Seaside was another fun Lady Hardcastle.
A Delicate Deception was a nice meandering book, though the ending seemed kind of abrupt. It would have done well with a five years later epilogue, though I know that sort of goes against the message of the book. Still… life does go on, and it’s nice to get a peek into the happily ever after. I assume they’ll show up in a future book as minor characters but by then I’ll have completely forgotten who they were.
The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics was pretty good except for the heroines losing each other for no good reason. I hate it when the drama has to be achieved by sensible characters not talking things out. The end was a bit wishful, but still nice.
I liked the novella One Bed for Christmas. IIRC this also had some stupidity drama, but it was resolved much more quickly, and in a way that’s more realistic– sensible characters had sensible friends who told them to stop being dumb.
The Magician’s Angel was a good library read but I didn’t feel the need to buy– very much a novella.
I reread Lord Perfect and decided to buy it. I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t the first time around. (Maybe because it’s overpriced for an older kindle book and we were on half salary at 2x expenses at the time?)
I impulse bought My Fake Rake and wish I hadn’t. It took all my favorite tropes… and then was just kind of dumb. It would have been an ok library read if I didn’t have better stuff, but I think I may have deleted it off my kindle.
Devil Take me was a great selection of m/m short stories. Some of them were astonishingly good.
I bought a series of four super silly m/m novellas by Jordan Castillo Price. They probably weren’t worth what I paid for them, but they hit a silliness spot that I needed.
Restless Spirits by Jordan L. Hawk was fun. I find most of Hawk’s books just really easy to read, even though they’re not entirely predictable. I’m hoping for more omnibuses to be available in the future. You can already get some of their series in omnibus form, like SPECTR, the complete first series, which is a steal at $4.99. Did I say that in the last books post? Must not have– it’s been a long time since the last one of these posts!
Charmed and Dangerous was fine, but not as good as Devil Take Me, even though many of the authors were the same across the two anthologies.
I can’t remember what I thought about the Duke I tempted by Scarlett Peckham. Obviously this feature needs to be done more frequently. I think it had some unnecessary angst, but… I can’t actually remember.
I do remember that A Rogue by Night and Night of the Scoundrel, both in the Devils of Dover series were delightful, though I do think there was more that could have been done with the hero in Night of the Scoundrel– usually the mysterious King in these books is given a full novel finale rather than a short novella with a Mary Sue heroine, but that’s an interesting direction to take the trope.
Gilded Cage by K J Charles was wonderful!!! Not anywhere near the mindflip as the first book in the series, but I think the simpler nature of this book nicely parallels the differences between the two different Lilywhite boys featured as heroes in the two books. There’s also some nice followup to the characters in the rat catcher’s daughter short, which is an excellent read.
Flowers in the Storm by Laura Kinsale was Gawdawful. Just don’t.
I think I liked Lady Isabella’s Ogre by Emily Larkin. I read it way back in October though! I bought it before I read a huge dud of hers, and haven’t bought anything else from her. I wish the library had more of her stuff so I could try before buying.
What are you reading? Anything you recommend?