Tag Archives: 2010s

The Hating Game, by Sally Thorne

28 May

…or how I DNFed a book most everyone else seemed to love.

The Hating Game, by Sally Thorne

For months, I heard everyone and their pet poodle praise this book, so I snagged it at some point when it was on sale.

I don’t know how it was that I didn’t realize it’s written in first person present tense–which I do not like. As far as I’m concerned, first person is incredibly difficult to do well, and present tense can be gimmicky. I have enjoyed first person present tense before (Ann Aguirre’s Grimspace books, for example), but it’s very rare.

One of the reasons first person is tricky is that it’s harder to read for the other characters, when you don’t connect with the main character.

I also didn’t realize this is the author’s debut until I looked up the blurb; the writing does not read like a first effort.

The first few pages are smooth and engaging, and I felt myself pulled into the story. Among the pulls is the fact that the story is set is the offices of two ailing publishing houses merged into one, still failing, company.

Blurb:
Continue reading

Catify to Satisfy, by Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin

18 May

This review is for our very own, awesome, Queen Librarian of the Universe, SuperWendy’s TBR Challenge.

The theme for this month is Something Different, and boy, oh boy, this is different.

How different? Well, it’s somewhere between interior design and self-help, neither of which I ever read.

(Spoiler: if you enjoy either of these types of books, or the show, you’ll probably want to skip this review)

Catify to Satisfy, by Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin

A dude at work often gets print ARCs directly from publishers, and every so often he goes around the office, handing them over to people according to what he knows of their interests. This is…a very hit and miss way of giving books away.

Because I rescued two kittens. back in the fall of 2015, he just knew I would love this book, and so he handed it to me, with an admonition to let him know my thoughts.

Seventeen months later…::crickets::

But where are my manners? Here, allow me to introduce you to our characters, via the blurb:
Continue reading

The Girl Who Knew Too Much, by Amanda Quick

9 May

thegirlwhoknewtoomuch

I received an ARC for this novel sometime in late 2016, and it was one of only two new books I read in the months following my mother’s death.

Although I have not yet written any reviews for them, I own and love all of Ms Quick’s early historical novels (Surrender, Mystique, Ravished, etc). In later years, I had given up on her books, after growing a bit fatigued by some writing tics, and frankly tired of the Arcane Society novels.¹

However, the cover caught my eye, and the blurb makes it clear this novel is not part of a series. Best of all, it’s set in California in the 1930s!

Warning: there are a couple of murders, though not much gore; there’s adult language, and sex on the page. If any of these bother you, avoid this one.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much, by Amanda Quick

I liked many things about this novel, starting with how well the setting is rendered. I felt immersed in the period without awkward lectures or info-dumping. Both of the main characters are complex and three dimensional, and their world is populated by three dimensional, complex people.

The suspense thread is a lot more layered than the blurb would make one think, and the story is told from several characters’ point of view, which allows the reader to believe she knows more than our hero and heroine.
Continue reading

Murder on the Last Frontier, by Cathy Pegau

16 Feb

Some time ago, the inestimable Miss Bates talked about this novel. I made a mental note that it sounded very interesting, so when the opportunity presented itself, in the form of a sale, I snagged it.

Then it languished in the TBR Cordillera of Doom for months, until I realized it fit the theme for SLWendy’s TBR Challenge for February, as I had not read anything by Ms Pegau yet.

I have only one warning for this book: it is not, strictly speaking, genre romance. There is no HEA, or even HFN. It is, however, a well written historical mystery, with romance elements.

Murder on the Last Frontier, by Cathy Pegau

Two things this novel has going for it from the get go: it’s set in the Alaska Territory during the Prohibition, and the heroine is a journalist and suffragette in her mid-twenties.

Charlotte Brody may be single, but she’s not an innocent, cossetted, naÏve little thing–which is crucial to me given what she does. But I’m getting ahead of myself. This is the first in a series (three titles currently out).

Continue reading

Death Among the Doilies, by Mollie Cox Bryan

12 Jan

deathamongthedoiliesBack in August of last year, driven by sheer desperation at not having been able to read pretty much anything for months on end, I requested a bunch of ARCs for mysteries, in the hopes that tweaking my reading a bit would help me overcome the horrible, terrible, no good reading slump from hell.

Like so many good plans, it was derailed by life.

Then, in mid-December, I pulled it up on my phone and started it. Almost a month later, and barely 18% in, I’m throwing in the towel. This is the first book by Ms Cox Bryan that I read. Sadly, it will also be the last, as neither the voice, the setting, nor the gimmick worked for me.

Reader, beware: I did not, and will not, finish this book; however, I will rant about what I did manage to read of it, in detail. If you are a fan of this author’s work, you really want to avert your eyes, and go read a glowing review in GoodReads or amazon.

Death Among the Dolies, by Mollie Cox Bryan

Looking over Ms Cox Bryan’s page in fantasticfiction.co.uk, she has a number of books published, and this is the first installment on her second series, the Cora Crafts Mysteries.

Here, have a blurb:
Continue reading

The Book Club Murders, by Leslie Nagel

7 Jan

bookclubmurdersI confess that, despite knowing better, I was attracted to both the cover and the blurb for this cozy mystery, and was happy to get an ARC some time ago. However, what with one thing and another, it took me a while to get to it.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had a really hard time reading anything new to me, for going on two years now. (Pity me.) Therefore, any novel I manage to read all the way through these days feels remarkable in some way, on that basis alone.

As usual, reader beware: there’s a romance alongside the mystery, but there’s no sex on page, and very little ‘objectionable’ language.

The Book Club Murders, by Leslie Nagel

I didn’t know before I started reading the story, but this is Ms Nagel debut release. It is also the first in a series set in Oakwood, OH.

I confess that, after reading a few chapters, I did suspect that this was either a debut, or perhaps a second book, because some of the elements of the story seem to fit rather awkwardly next to each other–such as the romance between our intrepid leading lady, one Charlotte “Charley” Carpenter, and the cop in charge of solving the improbable murders that, apparently out of the blue, are happening in the very quiet community of Oakwood.

Here’s the blurb:

Continue reading

Kiss of Steel, by Bec McMaster

23 Jul

KissOfSteelIt’s TBR Challenge time again, and I’m late (like, three months and change late, but who’s counting, right?). July’s theme is “Award Winner or Nominee,” but after last year’s Nazi ‘hero’ dêbacle, I just couldn’t look for a Rita book this year.

On top of which, I’m still struggling to read new stuff.

However, I had read “Tarnished Knight,” the novella that follows this story,  sometime ago, and liked it quite a bit; and Steampunk hits all my “I wanna read it right NOW!” buttons.

So when I saw that I had this in the digital TBR of doom, bought sometime ago (probably during one of those 99¢ deals), of course I had to try it.

Kiss of Steel, by Bec McMaster

Let me begin by saying that I like how Ms McMaster introduces the reader to her world–I love it when authors credit readers with enough smarts to deduce things, instead of explaining everything at the first opportunity. Here, the author lets the characters show us her world, bit by bit, in a very organic way.

Our heroine, Honoria, is a gently reared lady whose circumstances have been drastically, and irrevocably, changed. Six months before the novel starts, her father was murdered, leaving her in charge of her younger sister, Lena, and her much younger brother, Charlie. He also entrusted a number of diaries, containing important information that must be both preserved and hidden, to her keeping. Hiding from the authorities, and other, more sinister interests, the small, nigh destitute family struggles to survive–and hide–in the rookeries of London.

Where Blade rules with an iron and merciless hand. For fifty years, he has kept the aristocracy at bay, biding his time to exact revenge on the creature who made him. And Honoria just may give him the means to do so.

Here, have a blurb:
Continue reading