I read a novella called River of Teeth. It was super fun! A caper. (“It’s not a caper! It’s an operation.”)
A great middle-grade graphic novel is Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham. It’s about how it’s hard to make friends and being friends is cool, but sometimes complicated.
Greenglass House, by Kate Milford the main character is a 12-year-old boy who lives with his parents in an old weird huge B&B. Snowed in over winter break, he and his friend start LARPing a D&D campaign in the inn! THERE ARE SO MANY MYSTERIES maybe a secret identity or two, I dunno. It had a satisfying ending. The second book is also good, though it drags a bit.
You should read Ladycastle by Delilah S. Dawson. There’s references to Hamilton, Oracle from the Batman universe, Beauty and the Beast, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Monty Python.
Someone to love by Mary Balogh was pretty boring, and has a bit of unnecessary cultural appropriation. I guess it’s the first in a series and she’s introducing more interesting characters than the two main ones. I dunno. Sadly there is absolutely nothing original about the book (even the cultural appropriation) and the hero isn’t fleshed out enough (or the sex scenes sexy enough) for it to stand on merits other than plot. Someone to Wed was better than Someone to Love. It’s the third but for some reason the library got it before the second, so I requested them out of order. Worth a library read, but not a purchase, I think. The second book, Someone to Hold, started off strong with a really great heroine (someone finding herself), but the hero was meh and the romance was rushed. It would have done better to meander and grow throughout rather than have sex and misunderstandings. Another worth it from the library but don’t need to own. The fourth was also fine, but not great, so I’m glad our library is invested in getting Baloghs when they come out so I can try without having to buy.
The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne could have been good, but it wasn’t. Also: this is the second “lady auctioneer tries to save auction-house despite her older brother’s whatever” plot I’ve read in the past month. The other one was better. The main failing of this one is a hero who deliberately ignores the heroine’s express no, which somehow is supposed to be fine when it is the hero. In a sort of meta thing, once she does surrender she loses her voice and herself and the book becomes all about him. Pretty blah. I wouldn’t have finished if it weren’t for wanting the missing brother thing to be resolved. But then that was resolved off-screen, so… I assume book 3 or 4 has the actual on-screen bits. I’m not sure if I want to bother or not. Probably not. :/ I mean I’ve read worse, but… Right now I’m feeling the need to reread a regency in which we discover that consent is super sexy. Sooo sexy.
The Lightning-Struck Heart. Gay humorous fantasy. It’s hilarious but also packs in a surprising amount of emotion. However be prepared for MANY sex puns. It has excellent dialog among a group of friends as well as between the love interests. When I first started reading it, I was like, this is too cutesy to live. But it turned out to be good. Sadly the second turned into a weird anti-Trump thing and just wasn’t that enjoyable. The first one’s still brain candy.
I thoroughly enjoyed Miss Buncle’s book. It’s in the Pippa Passes line of literature which I generally enjoy (like Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day or Cold Comfort Farm). Very fresh for something written in the 1930s (there’s some stuff that is a bit dated, but overall, surprisingly fresh for something that was never made into a movie!).
Kelly Bowen is my newest love. You should all get Between the Devil and the Duke. It has a plot, mystery, and adventure! blackmail! intrigue! highwaymen! military veterans! businesswomen!(plural!) It is a little bit sordid and it does have a few sex scenes if you’re not into that. The hero falls in love with the heroine early in the book when she asks him to choose between different mathematical scenarios, which, not coincidentally, is when I fell in love with the book. And it has a completely satisfying climax and denouement. I now need to get the rest of her books even though my library only has 3 of them. (I’m buying this one.) The first two in that series (Duke of my heart, A duke to remember) are fine, but not as good. They’re also more sordid and have rape (including child/teen rape) as a back story but don’t go into much detail. Note that with all three of them, historical accuracy is not a priority.
Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare is an odd but fun romp. The hero isn’t particularly likable or multi-dimensional (your standard brooding Duke) and if you care at all about historical accuracy this one is not for you (there are Star Wars jokes!) but it’s over-the-top silliness makes it worth at least a library read. Just don’t start it expecting anything serious. Cosplayers! Bats! Secret passageways! Ermine! Total brain candy.
I enjoyed Cat Sebastian’s latest, Unmasked by the Marquess, but I know it really wasn’t that great a book. Like, I kept reading it and thinking about how amazing KJ Charles is. And yet, it was silly and unbelievable, and I do not begrudge the $3.99 I spent on it nor the fact I will probably reread it some day.
I gave up on two library checkouts: Six Impossible Things by Elizabeth Boyle which wasn’t bad, but also wasn’t any good. I tried, but I just could not care and the book needed editing. Books like these make me really appreciate imperfect books like the Cat Sebastian or the Tessa Dare above– silly, unbelievable, but at least one likable believable character in each (most of the main characters in the Cat Sebastian were likable). Couldn’t get into Jane Ashford’s Once again a bride. Skipped to the end and wasn’t impressed by the ending and decided there was no point in trying out the middle. I had gotten lucky with my last few new tries. Now I have to decide whether it’s worth paying money to take a chance of the Kelly Bowens I haven’t read yet or if I should try more of what my library has to offer even though that sometimes means spending more time looking for books than actually reading them. (Or I can reread some that I already own– there’s one book that I really want to reread but I can’t remember which one it was! Right now I’m thinking maybe it was one of the temptation books by Lauren Royal, but maybe it’s a Loretta Chase that I never purchased… I don’t know!)
It’s summertime! What are you reading?