Pretty much done with the Agatha Christies– there’s a handful of singletons that weren’t available at the library that I haven’t read/reread, but I’m mostly done. I quite like the Harley Quinn short stories for the most part (the last/second to last depending on your viewpoint, that is, the one directly before the Harlequinn Teaset is stupid).
I’ve been cranking through Lord Peter Whimseys as well. My local library didn’t have Murder Must Advertise and I wonder if it’s because of the completely unnecessary use of the N word or if it’s just that their copy fell apart. (But they have two copies of 9 little tailors, which is the next book in the series, so…) I swear, the number of times I have read the N word in the past year from these 1930s British mysteries. Ridiculous. In any case, my university library had a first edition of Murder must advertise, so I as able to continue my reading mostly uninterrupted. The Nine Tailors was … boring. I ended up skipping large chunks even though I had no problem with the previous Scottish Five Red Herrings case which is supposed to be one of the duller Whimseys. Then I read Gaudy Night which continues to be a masterpiece. I’m not sure how good it is if you haven’t read the previous two Harriet Vanes, but it really is a classic. I also read through the short stories again (except the last one which I’m saving for after Busman’s Honeymoon, though I should have also saved the second to last for then too!) and with the exception of the Harriet Vane novels, I think the short stories might be better than the novels.
The big city library recommended Nina Coombs Pykare to me. They are for the most part forgettable retreads, but go down easily. A Man of her choosing was TERRIBLE and I eventually gave up on it– TSTL heroine who is not like other girls (because she likes horses) and thinks she’s ugly “a wren” and says so about every other page. Hero who has no personality other than occasionally jealously shaking the heroine and yelling at her. The Lost Duchess of Greyden Castle was a nice Gothic that may be worth trying out if you can get it for free from your library. A Daring Dilemma and A Matchmaker’s Match were both soothing and forgettable (unless you care about historical accuracy, in which case you should completely avoid this author).
I tried a few more Alexis Hall books but none of them have quite jelled. They have good bits, but haven’t really been cohesively good like Boyfriend Material was. I have to wonder if what was lacking was an excellent editor, or if this is a matter of becoming a more experienced author.
The big city library also recommended Emily Hendrickson and I tried A Man of Her Choosing… and it was just super boring and forgettable so I didn’t even bother reading the last couple of chapters, I just DNF.
Joanna Shupe was pretty fun… reading her books in rapid succession left a bit to be desired because she reuses tropes and characteristics and turns of phrases and so on. But The Prince of Broadway was pretty good. A scandalous deal not as good, but readable. The rogue of fifth avenue, similar. The Lady Hellion was a fun romp (cw: a serial rapist/murderer is the MacGuffin), though the heroine had some TSTL manic pixie tendencies, but I think the hero with his interesting anxiety disorders made it readable, AND it had the smartest “how to get someone killed without actually doing it yourself” thing I have ever seen. Magnate had a great set-up but was ultimately a huge disappointment– it would have been 10x the book if she had spent more time on the heroine and heroes’ fascinating careers (steel magnate and wall street consultant) and less time on boring married-too-soon tropes (and interminable filler sex scenes… literally the first sex scene went from 62-72% on my kindle, and it wasn’t the only one.) The Devil of Downtown was solid and maybe even a bit better than the previous two books in the series.
I tried out a Shana Galen bundle based on the library recommendation… Couldn’t get into The making of a duchess or The making of a gentleman, but the Rogue’s pirate bride was worth reading the first few and last few chapters and skipping the middle.
The Trouble with Harry by Katie MacAlister is silly and pretty funny (and also I kept going… did I accidentally check out an erotic novel? but maybe this is too silly to be erotic?)
The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie was interesting. The hero was nice. There’s a mystery (more dead prostitutes, though only two this time around). It’s got gothic bits. I’d like to read the second from the library (but not buy it because I am not a fan of the estranged spouses trope and the hero doesn’t seem so great from his appearances in book 1), but alas, neither library has it available, so I guess I will skip and try the third next.
I’m not sure how to feel about In for a Penny by Rose Lerner. I LOVED the way that the protagonists spent a day writing up a list of rules for marriage together (No Mistresses)– that was cute and fun and unique. I had been hoping that the second half of the book would be watching them quietly building up the hero’s falling down estate while falling in love. Instead, the second half was full of so many tropes… all together (no carriage accidents though… well no important ones anyway). There was a two pager that had at least 3 things that would have been stunning drama game changers in another book, right after another from the beginning of the chapter. Finally, I almost threw the book across the room (if it hadn’t been a library book, I might have) when I realized the entire story was just a huge long walk to get to a terrible terrible pun. I think I may have to buy it. And maybe read some more by this author.
Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas was solid. It’s another in a series and I found myself wishing I’d read the other ones more recently because I think it would have been more rewarding. I may have to reread these someday. This one by itself isn’t really worth owning, but maybe it is if I reread it as part of the entire series? I’m not sure. Update: Apparently I didn’t read all of the prequels because I got annoyed by too many attempted rapes on the heroine in one of her books and just gave up on the author entirely.
The latest Jayne Ann Krentz, “All the Colors of the Night” was a solid Jones book in the Fogg Lake sub-series. I also wished I’d read others in that series more recently (amazon tells me there’s only one, but I feel like some of the other Jones books must have overlap). (Also… I wondered if twitter was making fun of her recently by riffing off authors who use the book’s title in the book’s last sentence…)