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The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary was great! A lovely feel-good book with people healing.
I enjoyed Sleep No More by Jayne Ann Krentz. It could have used a little tighter editing, particularly in the dialogue, but overall I appreciate how modern she’s made things. It’s the start of a new sub-series (probably a trilogy since there are 3 heroines) in the Arcane universe with the start(?) of the Drake line that you see in her Jayne Castle Harmony books and a cameo by a Jones with the matchmaking talent (but using it for jobs, not couples). Lots of standard Krentz tropes with lost nights and drugs and variations on paranormal powers you will recognize. Of course, if you’re a Jayne Ann Krentz fan you already know all this because you read it as soon as it came available! But for those of you who can’t reserve books from the library that aren’t out yet, maybe you’re still on the waitlist and have something to look forward to.
I remembered first that I had DNF and then why I DNF Uprooted by Naomi Novik this time around. It is insane to me how someone who wrote the Schoolmance series could have this book that has an attempted rape right away and then (spoilers) has the magic apprentice sleeps with her MUCH older master trope. Also the master was *yawn* Howl/every character Benedict Cumberbach has played/etc. you know, the sexy grumpy jerk used to getting his own way and not explaining things and somehow that’s just part of his charm. I’m hoping the MeToo movement has killed this trope and much older masters can be professional or fatherly figures and not romance interests for 18-22 year olds. Because it is GROSS.
If this gets out by Sophie Gonzales was lovely and tightly written. An exemplar of this genre (did you know there’s a boy band members falling in love genre?) and not painfully awkward like some YA fiction is. Would recommend.
DNF Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fall by Ashley Herring Blake. I just didn’t like one of the heroines at all. I do not like meet cutes where one of the people is a real jerk. (Slightly ok if you’re in the head of the jerk and not the head of the person who is not being a jerk.)
Boss Witch by Ann Aguirre was ok. I liked it better than the first in the series, probably because it is most problematic with how it treats non-magic people and the hero and heroine in this one were both in the know. It also did a good job with the third act separation, which is one of the few of these I’ve seen that makes total sense in context. I will read the third.
Seances are for Suckers was ok, but slow going. DC2 loved it and devoured the sequel, Portions are for Pushovers, but I decided life is too short.
The Stand-up Groomsman by Jackie Lau was fine. Not one of her best works– I won’t be buying it, but very readable. Really stupid 3rd act breakup and the hero and heroine spend very little time together overall. Also a bit too much banging over the head about the heroine sacrificing her childhood to raise her siblings– lots and lots of telling over and over again instead of showing. We get it.
Who Pays the Piper by Patricia Wentworth was quite enjoyable. No Miss Silver, but Earnest Lamb and Frank Abbot are on the case.
By the Book by Jasmine Guillory was fun. Not as sketchy as one might worry given the work situation. Tighter that some of her other books that I’ve read.
Magic Tides by Ilona Andrews was a fun novella. You probably want to read the original Kate Daniels series first though. Thoroughly enjoyed it and finished in one sitting.
Clutter Corpse by Simon Brett was odd and off. Wouldn’t recommend– the reviewers who say it’s written by a man who has no idea how women think are probably right, though I think it’s a bit more than that– He doesn’t think like modern people do, he thinks like an old-fashioned man and a lot of that comes through and feels false because women just don’t think that way. Plus a lot of odd drama and a very unsatisfying mystery.
Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert was a lovely YA romance.
The World Record Book of Racist Stories by Amber Ruffin was lighter and funnier than it had any right to be while still making important points. Also, dude, do not touch other people’s hair unless they have asked you to!
I’ve been enjoying the Brandon Brothers trilogy by Stella Riley. In particular, the second book, Under a Dark Moon, was great. And it was especially great because the otherwise intelligent heroine is NOT too stupid to live. When she gets a mysterious note telling her to come alone somewhere, she does not follow the standard trope of getting kidnapped! She actually acts like a reasonably intelligent person would. That alone gives it five stars in my mind, but there’s also other good stuff going along. One weird thing with this author is the insistence of no sex before marriage and the standard heroine must be a virgin but hero must not be thing. But otherwise, she’s good at having an actual plot and not just a pastiche of tropes.
There were some more murder mysteries that I checked out from the library but just couldn’t get into. I don’t know they were necessarily bad, just not what I was looking for. One had a crossword on the cover and was about an unlikely trio including an older lady who writes crosswords solving murders. I can’t remember what the others were.
I’m trying to read the highest rated Nora Roberts, The Black Hills, because she’s written so many books but it really just doesn’t seem like my thing. Not enough humor maybe? Or perhaps I’m just not into the romantization of rural North Dakota? I love Jayne Ann Krentz, and I loved Barbara Michaels– romantic suspense has always been something I’ve gone for, but there’s probably a reason I haven’t already read all of the Nora Roberts books. Do you have a favorite Nora Roberts I should try?
Grumpy Nation– how’s your recent pleasure reading been?