I read a couple of books by Jasmine Guillory, The Wedding Date and The Proposal. She does a fantastic job on the meet cute and has really adorable epilogues. But the last 2/3-3/4 of these books are such painful if only they talked to each other … then they’d realize it was all a big misunderstanding. Especially the they really like each other but are afraid to say anything after they’ve spent a good portion of the book having sex. (Also: with sex scenes she’s too detailed for PG-13, but also just cuts stuff out so it never actually gets steamy. Pick a lane! Cut out earlier or go through with the entire thing.) So… I think she needs to figure out how to put conflict or substance in her books– maybe wacky hijinks (her intros would make fantastic movie material), or really cool projects that aren’t just about the relationship (see The Boyfriend Project) or just make them a ton shorter (see Jackie Lau). Still, she’s selling well so who am I to tell her what to do. It’s just… the intros are so GOOD I wish the entire novels could follow through on their promise instead of being boring and disappointing (with a little adorable bon-mot at the end that is as good as the beginning).
Read Red, Royal, and Blue also had a great start and dragged in parts, with a very wish fulfilling ending. It’s set in a parallel universe with a slightly different royal family (Prince Charles is instead daughter Charlotte and next in line for the throne), and Trump did not get elected in 2016, and did not even run.
Then I’ve been rereading the entire Miss Marple series and the entire Hercule Poirot series (I get David Suchet talking in my head– such a perfect perfect Poirot). Miss Marple has anti-semitism and racism I didn’t remember. Many of the books have occasional use of the n-word (with respect to Indians, not African-Americans, who they call “Black slaves” . . . ), which I thought had been struck from the American editions of the book and replaced with the word Indians or n— or just replaced entirely (see: And then there were none) back in the 1960s, but…apparently not all the current kindle versions. Also the early books have so much with young women conniving to get doting older husbands instead of those age differences indicating power differentials and controlling husbands. And Nemesis is really disgusting with the lengthy diatribes about how all rape accusations are false accusations (one wonders what rapist Christie was friends with…)–I’m pretty sure middle school me just put the book down at the first such diatribe, but middle-aged me is pushing through. And the Miss Marples are a very interesting study of how Agatha Christie treats the subject of hired help and people of the lower classes over the decades she wrote the Marple stories. She definitely becomes more egalitarian. Of course, her mysteries also become much more sordid. I haven’t gotten to my favorite Miss Marple yet, the last one, Sleeping Murder. (“With hands… like monkey’s paws.”) [Update, still excellent, though some small anti-Semitism I didn’t remember and you might miss if you’re not reading closely] And of course, she provides us modern folk with a reminder about how important the MMR vaccine is in an earlier Marple. All those anti-vaxxers could use a read of… well, I can’t say which because it is a plot point, but the movie version is even more creepy and compelling. There are a LOT of Agatha Christie books.
Read Cousin Cecilia by Joan Smith. It was a pleasant old-fashioned regency romance about a matchmaking miss who ends up with the man she’s trying to thwart. I will probably read more of her once I’ve finished the Christies. I’ll probably do a run through of the Sayers again sometime as well– I think my last read through was in graduate school. (#2 owns them and reads them much more frequently– I generally use the library, though I did at one point have a book of Sayers short stories, I think including the one with their kids. Not sure what happened to that book.)
Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall was tremendously funny. Even if you don’t like romances, this was a hilariously funny novel. I literally kept laughing out loud. It was so hilarious I made my DH read it even though he almost never reads romances (unless I force him) and I caught him laughing out loud at least twice. I mean, I have not laughed so hard so honestly since Summer of 2016. I’d say it’s a B+ romance interwoven throughout an A+++++++++++++ British-style comedy. The side characters are gut-bustingly funny. The social commentary is droll. The little repeated gags really do get funnier every time. It is BRILLIANT. I am scared to read any more Alexis Hall books because what if my expectations are too high, as regression to the mean would suggest? But I’m going to try them anyway because even a fraction of funny would probably be great. DH and I both want a second book in the universe set with one of the second hero’s friends (we’re not picky about which, we just want to see more of them in their natural environment, with the heroes of this book as minor characters who do cameos.
Tried Indexing by Seanen McGuire but just could not get into it. Not light enough (not that brutal murders are fluffy, but Agatha Christie is rarely difficult even when you don’t figure out whodunit). It would probably have been a decent read back in 2015, but not for me today.
DC2 has run through all the Rick Riordan presents and has loved them. Now I’m going through the Newbery winners/honorees starting with the most recent year, basically checking another year’s out each time zie runs out. Zie seems to like them as well, even though a lot of them are difficult books about difficult situations. (“Why are all immigrants to the US girls? Are there ever immigrants to the US written about in kids books about boys?”– I don’t know, DC2, I don’t know. Similarly, DC1, I don’t know why white boys need a white boy or a dog to die to come of age, white girls need a horse to die or to fall in love to come of age, black girls need a black boy to die to come of age, and black boys need to be accused of killing a white woman or have some other jail sentence to come of age. Tropes can really suck, DC1, they really can.) I feel like a lot of the Newbery winners from my childhood didn’t really stand the test of time. Like… I haven’t reopened The Indian in the Cupboard, but just looking at my old copy makes me cringe. I mean maybe it’s not as bad as I’m imagining, but I suspect it is worse.
I reread Redshirts because some random comment somewhere made me think of it and feel like rereading it. Still good!
The Rainbow Cat and other stories was so lovely. I had dug this up on gutenberg (free) because of the short story of the princess who couldn’t cry, but the rest of the stories were lovely as well. A soothing balm.
I know this is pretty soon after the last books post, but don’t we all need soothing books? Don’t we all need something to keep our mind off things? Well, maybe not everyone, but definitely this one does!
What is soothing you?