As a reader, I take the words of Jane Austen for my motto: ‘I always deserve the best treatment because I never put up with any other.” I deserve good books and will accept nothing less — and if I have to, I’ll rant about what I and fictional characters deserve until I find it! We’re coming in hot today with some loves, some hates, and some ranting about books that try to pretend bad behavior is charming. Let it never be said that this reader is without opinions!
The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susanna Clarke: After falling in love with Piranesi and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, I decided to check out Clarke’s short stories, and if anything, I love her even more. These are wonderful old-fashioned fairy stories, as comforting as they are disturbing, and I highly recommend them to anyone who has enjoyed her novels.
The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa: Another funny, steamy, romantic winner from Mia Sosa! The Worst Best Man gave me high expectations, and I’m glad to say this follow-up does not disappoint. Solange and Dean were great together, and I loved spending more time with the aunties. The only thing missing was drunk break-up poetry, but I guess no one can be Max but Max.
Figure of Speech by Kasha Thompson: Before I was even a chapter in, I was hooked. Kasha writes with assurance and humor, and there’s never a dull moment. My main criticism is that it’s single perspective, and I think a dual perspective might have forced Thompson to make the male lead engage with the stakes and learn to be less of a selfish asshole. He’s hot and he loves her, but I got tired real fast of the female lead always being the “problem” in their relationship when he refused to take her concerns about a workplace romance with the president of the United States seriously. As much as I liked the book and even enjoyed them together when they weren’t fighting, I was disappointed that she went back to him in the end because she deserved better. My thanks to NetGalley and Webster Avenue Publishing for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Mr. Wrong Number by Lynn Painter: This romcom is fast-paced and steamy, but unfortunately, the female lead is perfectly designed to annoy me. Unbelievably klutzy? Check. Unable to see past her own nose? Check. Blames anyone but herself for her own screw-ups and takes offense at the slightest opportunity? Double check. The male lead is neither great nor terrible, but it’s not hard to look good standing next to a nightmare wreck like her. Hard pass.
Murder at the Masked Ball (Kitty Worthington Mysteries #3) by Magda Alexander: A light, breezy murder mystery set in the upper echelons of London society. The writing is unfortunately clunky — and the language oddly stiff for the 1920s setting, making one wish for a master of mystery and words like Dorothy L. Sayers. Still, the characters are likable, so I could see myself going back to read more from the series if I need mindless entertainment and have nothing better to read. My thanks to NetGalley and Hearts Afire Publishing for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
All in all, the reading week was mostly positive — two winners, one major loser, and and two that left me with mixed feelings. But, as Anne Shirley says, tomorrow is a new day with no (reading) mistakes in it yet! In fact, I’ve gone back to Anne after the frustration of these last few books, and that allows me to think that tomorrow will be a very good reading day, indeed, with her in the mix.
What books have been on your win list lately?