Reading Roundup #49: Bookheart

There are so many authors out there that trying a new one can feel like a gamble — sometimes, it pays off and sometimes, it doesn’t. But what if you’re not in a gambling mood? That’s when it’s great to have a list of reliable favorites, authors you can turn to and know you’ll get something good. While I gambled on one new-to-me writer this week, the other three were favorites who rewarded my trust in them. And I’m willing to call three winners and one middling book a successful reading week!

The Luckiest Lady in London (London Trilogy #1) by Sherry Thomas: If you know me at all, you know there are two things I love in a hero: being a charming rat bastard and offering abject groveling to make up for it later. The male lead here does both, with no holds barred. What makes it entertaining is that, while Felix is charming and conniving, our heroine Louisa is, too — the difference being that her scheming has limits and she would never hurt others to achieve her goals. Felix has no such compunctions, making them interesting foils for each other as they outwit and outmaneuver each other in this game of hearts.

City of Shadows (Counterfeit Lady #5) by Victoria Thompson: This latest entry in the series is one of the strongest, highlighting all our favorite characters and introducing a few more (Freddy? I love you!). After a couple books that had Elizabeth orchestrating everything from the shadows, I loved seeing her take on an active role once more — especially in a story that involves multi-leveled cons, with multiple con artists working with and against each other. The shenanigans were delightful!

Swordheart by T. Kingfisher: If violent fluff is a genre, T. Kingfisher has it cornered. The way she balances darkness with humor and heart is truly masterful, and this book has it all. It’s skews heavier on the romance than her other books from this universe (the Saint of Steel books typically have more of a mystery going on), but I’m not complaining because the leads are so great. And we got to spend a lot of time with Brindle and Zale, who are the best.

While all my other reads this week were hits, sadly, Targeted (Deadly Ops #1) by Katie Reus was not. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great, either — I put it squarely in the “meh” category. There were elements that felt very paint-by-numbers, and the author employs a lot of tropes that I don’t care for. Using a woman’s sexual trauma to drive a man’s development and romanticizing government black ops teams without engaging with the ethics wasn’t a great look in 2013 and certainly hasn’t aged well since. I don’t feel like I wasted my time, but I also wouldn’t recommend this, even to fans of the action romance genre.


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