The accidental abduction by Darcie Wilde dragged at the beginning and then told not showed with a stupid out of character trite thing at the end.  It felt like she had a deadline that she wasn’t going to make because she spent too much time having the main characters thinking in great detail about sex and not enough time thinking about the full plot.  (Come to think of it, this is similar to the problems Olivia Wilde’s books have… though I don’t think Oscar Wilde was particularly afflicted with this problem.)

Beyond Compare by Candace Camp was no good.  Hero and heroine not particularly likable.  Plot not particularly tied together.  Also an attempted rape near the end.  Glad I didn’t read it first, and I’m glad I didn’t buy it, because I liked the older sister Thisbe’s story a lot.  Read a bunch of other Candace Camps, and some were good and some were not.  A lot of attempted rape as a backstory or meet cute etc. throughout, though I assume it’s more in her older books than her newer.

Jackie Lau continues to be solid.  And without stupid third quarter out of place unnecessary drama (or if it’s there it lasts less than a full chapter).  Her characters seem more true to themselves.  As her books go on, she has more developed characters, more different characters, and more organic plotting.

I skipped most of Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur.  I will not believe that someone who likes things to be on time and neat and orderly will be able to live with an astrologer who cannot get anywhere on time and is a complete and total mess and vice versa.  That’s a disaster waiting to happen.  They can’t live together and they can’t get together.  It has nothing to do with emotional reserve.  Reserved people need caring optimistic sweet people like Amy in the Cider Bar Sisters series, not people who would be their nightmare roommate.  Flaky disorganized free-spirits need indulgent partners who are amused rather than annoyed by the other heroine’s quirks.  Also third act girl loses girl over misunderstanding thing.  Blech.

DNF The Christmas Husband Hunt.  The hero is a jerk– he has asked the impoverished dependent heroine for a favor, is not paying her, and proceeds to find fault with everything she does as well as being insulting about it.  (As she says, multiple times, if you don’t like what I’m doing, do it yourself, but yet, he never does.)  The idea that he has to wear fancy waistcoats is nonsensical (I think they’re trying to make him like the Scarlet Pimpernel, but he only wears the fancy waistcoats when the suspected spy is around and otherwise does not seem to play a role).  The husband hunter is ridiculous– like it’s ok to have a minor character/mcguffin who is TSTL, but nobody questions her bizarre choices (like why DOES she have to find a husband by Christmas?  She says it often enough that you’d think *someone* would be like, ok, why Christmas?  But no.)  I gave up at a third.  Hopefully that’s the last of the Christmas romances on my wait list.

Never fall for your fiance by Virginia Heath was fine, but it had too much repetition and dragged a bit.  It would have made a better novella, OR instead of repeating the hero’s same worries and the heroine’s same worries in their thoughts over and over and over again, maybe it could have had more of them interacting with each other.

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher was quite good.  I do think a middle schooler could read it even though it has death in it and even though it’s under Ursula Vernon’s YA name.  It dragged a bit in the third quarter but picked up.  It’s also got a lot of messages for today even though it was initially written pre-Trump (according to the author note in the back– she had trouble getting it traditionally published and yet it’s won and been nominated for a number of prestigious awards).

I cranked through the Rockliffe books by Stella Riley.  They’re not always perfect (occasional stupid third act misunderstanding, one of them has rape (and a villain that died before the series started was killed because he was a child rapist) as a backstory (though it’s never discussed in detail), and it is difficult to keep all the characters in order (especially since she isn’t careful about names!), but they’re pretty engrossing.  Some of the books you can read without having read the earlier books, but most of them you really can’t.  I think there was one I didn’t buy (of the three my library had, I bought two, and I bought all the ones the library didn’t have, one at a time, though if you’re smart you’ll get the box sets instead).

Enjoyed, as always, the latest Shinigami detective book, Death Over the Garden Wall, by Honor Raconteur.

If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy was a surprisingly angst free story (given it’s about a reality show).  It’s definitely light– there could have been a lot more character development and relationship development than there was, but it was a nice read.

Started reading a number of regencies (and Georgians) by Laura Matthews.  These are a bit old fashioned, but not bodice rippers and so far strong heroines and delightfully absurd other characters and everybody worthy of getting matched (and some who aren’t!) gets matched in the end.  The Nomad Harp was so delightful I bought myself a copy.  A Very Proper Widow was fun.  The Lady Next Door was more of an ensemble production without any deep insight into character, but charmingly funny just the same.

One of the problems with reading a bunch of excellent books in a row is that one has way less patience for the mediocre right after.

What excellent and mediocre books are you reading, Grumpeteers?

17 Responses to “Books”

  1. The Chronicles of History Says:

    I am currently in the second book of the All Souls series after reading the first book A Discovery of Witches. I am finding it a little long winded but enjoying it. I am so glad I found your book blog! I will not so happily be a grumpeteer. ✌️

  2. Leah Says:

    I’ve finally read a book that overlaps with you! I liked Written in the Stars, but maybe because it was set in my hometown. I also found the romance surprising, tho stranger things have happened.

    I just finished Weather Girl. It’s another romance set in Seattle. I thought it was cute. It’s a quick, fun read. Great language around consent.

    I am on book three of the bakery mystery series by Bailey Cates. It’s about a witch who runs a bakery and solves mysteries. Light touches of romance. Fluffy reading but still fun.

    I’m also reading Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green. It’s short essays on random stuff. I like it, but I also like John Green stuff in general. Reading on Libby so it’s my nursing baby to sleep book.

    Also reading Ghosts of Greenglass House by Kate Milford (second in series). Engrossing and enjoyable. I am so looking forward to reading more during nap time.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I’m in the mood for mysteries— I will have to see if the library has the witch bakery stuff!

      I got Anthropocene reviewed for Christmas but may never read it since I’ve been listening to the podcast instead (!). (Between dear hank and John episodes). I like John green nonfiction but am not crazy about his fiction.

  3. Linda T Says:

    I really liked Joan is Okay by Weike Wang. It was a quick read with an interesting character.

  4. FF Says:

    I recently finished You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld (short story collection). Currently reading Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (historical novel about a Korean family in Japan).

  5. Debbie M Says:

    I recently re-read The Nun in the Closet (1976) and I’ve decided it might be my favorite book by Dorothy Gilman (of Mrs. Pollifax fame). Two nuns investigate the property they’ve just inherited. It’s so ancient now! (I was in high school then–that means I’m so ancient, too!) I mean, they brought their own flour, but are planning mostly to live off the land. The book is also a bit silly, though I can really use that right now. But it also addresses problems that migrant children have, and I’m pretty sure that’s still just as bad nowadays.

    I also enjoyed Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being (2013) until the end when she went all zen/physics to get out of wrapping up a bunch of the loose ends. But at least she does wrap up the big loose ends. There are two viewpoints. 1) There’s a high school girl writing partly a journal of her life and partly a biography of her great grandmother (who she still visits). Her father lost his US work visa, so they had to move back to Japan, jobless and broke. And it’s just heart-rending, but she has a fun voice.

    2) The other is a woman who finds this journal and ends up reading it. So we read part of the journal, and then we read her (and her husband’s) reactions to it, repeat. Some reviewers find this part of the story boring, but I don’t. She has also made a fairly drastic move, from a big city to a tiny remote town in Canada.

    I have a friend who knows someone who never reads a book unless she has time to finish it in one sitting. This second character would drive her nutso the way she reads a bit, then talks about it, dreams about it, googles about it, then reads a bit more, etc. But it also illustrates how it can be fun to savor a book.

    There are themes of bullying and other morality. And suicide. And how it’s really hard to help people sometimes–like a guy’s older colleague was taking abuse and he stepped in, but the colleague had preferred taking the abuse himself. I cried my head off once. I’m keeping this book, but I did put a post-it note near the end where I decided that was the real end of all the good stuff.

  6. teresa Says:

    Currently re-reading a lot of T. Kingfisher- bought Paladin’s Hope but then decided to re-read all the books in that universe in order before reading it. I also thought A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking was middle school appropriate- couldn’t decide whether it was primarily meant for middle school or adults even though it’s published under the T Kingfisher name actually. The death and darkness are less than some required middle school books and those don’t even have the magical cookie bit to add some levity.
    My other favorite this year was Becky Chambers’ A Psalm for the Wild-Built. Which has a sequel coming out in a few months :)

  7. Steph Says:

    I remain unable to actually finish books, but I’m over halfway through Super Volcanoes by Robin George Andrews. It’s a fun overview of volcanoes here on Earth and elsewhere in the Solar System. I particularly like that he includes plenty of discussion of the impact of volcanoes on humans – including where it’s other humans that have made life more dangerous for people who have historically coexisted with volcanoes.

  8. accm Says:

    Recent reads: Quicksilver Court – the series is getting to be a little over the top, but still fun. The City We Became – weird and excellent. Invisible Library – finally, and have books 2 and 3 lined up. Invisible Sun – loved the original premise of the series, not so thrilled about the warmongering later on, but it needed finishing. Now reading the Clinton/Penny book because.

  9. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    I read the latest Veronica Speedwell mystery (okay, but they always end on a cliffhanger!); The Mystery of the Sorrowful Maiden, which I enjoyed; A Marvelous Light (Freya Marske) which was wonderful and I can’t wait for the second one; The Bone Spindle, which was mostly good but a little over-baked; Castles in Their Bones, which wasn’t good and suffered greatly from ‘kill off all your heroines tragically’; and The Viscount Needs a Wife, which rambled on and then fixed everything in the last 50 pages (this is not a compliment).

  10. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    Also, I tried to read The Cat Who Saved Books, and although it was well-written, it was just not my flavor that week.

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