January Reads

Alternative post title: Better late than never.

No, really, I have an excuse!  I’m still trying to figure out how to cross-post between Goodreads and here.  And I did get all my January reads eventually logged onto Goodreads, and then realised it would also make sense to get them here as well.

So, without further ado, here are the books I read in January – not full reviews as such, but pretty much my response to Goodreads’s question “What did you think?”.

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A Grand Deception (Signet Regency Romance)A Grand Deception by Elizabeth Mansfield (historical romance)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fun farce of hidden identities, though you’ve to suspend disbelief at times. It did go down the road of “love at first sight”, which is not a favourite trope of mine, but oh well. I liked the charity schoolmistress aspect – with the caveat I’m not a stickler for historical accuracy.

 

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Blood Challenge (World of the Lupi, #7)Blood Challenge by Eileen Wilks (urban fantasy)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Definitely one of the stronger installments in this series – while I wouldn’t recommend this to someone new to the series, I thought this book built on existing relationships beautifully. More Rule/Lily, more Isen and his sons, and without going into too many details, I loved Arjenie and thought she was a breath of fresh air.

It’s funny how you love some books so much that aspects that would usually bother you otherwise don’t – here it was the info-dumping. Some scenes were pretty exclusively info-dumping sessions, but you know, I love, so Ms Wilks gets a pass.

I am a bit more meh about the “Great Bitch” plot arc, but having said that, I thought the book ended on a really good note and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

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Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter, #1)Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh (paranormal romance)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A slightly shaky start to the book – a bit too much info-dumping and some rather over-the-top melodramatic scenes. However, once the hunt for the fallen archangel started in earnest, I was drawn into the story, and yeah, the sequels are now on my list of books to buy.

The angel twist – very unlike the angels in, say, Sharon Shinn‘s Samaria books. Instead, it was more of “right, what can be more bad-ass than a vampire… let’s have angels!”. Or archangels, rather.

I’d have liked more exploration of the angel mythology, possibly one for later books? And there was sequel-bait everywhere, not that I’m complaining – I vote for Ilium myself!

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The Magicians of Caprona (Chrestomanci, #4)The Magicians of Caprona by Diana Wynne Jones (children’s fantasy)

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Fun read, but not as addictive as the first two Chrestomanci books, IMO.

I think this is partly to do with the numerous POV characters – I suspect I’m not quite the right audience for this book. Also, there was a slight lack of Chrestomanci himself in this book – sigh. I’ve a soft spot for that man.

It is a nice play on Romeo & Juliet and I loved the Marco/Rosa subplot. And like all DWJ books, very inventive storytelling and a villain that would probably have given me nightmares had I been younger.

On a sidenote: I borrowed my copy from my library and it dated back to the 1970s, IIRC, and had a totally old-school cover.

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Wings of EquityWings of Equity by Sean Kennedy (m/m fantasy)

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

An imaginative setting – though I have to admit I’m still trying to get to grips with steampunk and am wondering if this is it? Certainly this book appears to be tagged as steampunk in various places.

It was a quick and easy read, but it’s the world, rather than the romance, that has left more of a lingering impression.

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Buffalo West Wing (White House Chef Mystery #4)Buffalo West Wing by Julie Hyzy (mystery)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So, the bad first: Some of the secondary characters are very black and white, and really become very annoying in a frustrating way, as they appear to have no redeeming characteristics at all. I suppose this could be viewed as a plus point – the writing is good enough to actually have the characters annoy you?

I’m still loving the White House backdrop and the whole Presidency transition thing reminded me of Ellen Emerson White‘s President’s Daughter series, except from the other side of the fence, so to speak, which was intriguing.

The whole book built up to a rather fast-paced and action-filled climax, which I was not expecting, but it was in a good way! I am surprised Ms Hyzy is hinting at a new love interest, which is an interesting choice in a cozy mystery IMO – on the other hand, I don’t read that many cozies myself…

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The Fifth KissThe Fifth Kiss by Elizabeth Mansfield (historical romance)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This one had a massively intriguing back cover blurb – the heroine kissing her brother-in-law. How does the author redeem both the heroine and hero after that?

A sweet regency (published in 1981), and I really enjoyed the romance. Not sure I was entirely comfortable with some of the underlying messages – she marries him to look after his children, six months after the wife/her sister died, but at the same time I did believe in the romance.

I’ve a soft spot for Elizabeth Mansfield and ended up buying quite a few off Better World Books over Christmas – I’m glad I’ve a few more to read!

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So that’s it for January.  And yes, I’m currently working on my February books list – but don’t hold your breath ;-)

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9 Comments

Filed under Reviews

9 responses to “January Reads

  1. Yes, it seems there are all kinds of gadgets and widgets for GoodReads but no real way to mirror the full review – I guess they want people to go to their site for that.

    Martha Wells has a widget on her site that lets you add the book she has on the specific page to your GoodReads account, and you can see what the average rating for the book is and how many people have added it.

    • I think there is a way to automatically cross-post your review on your blog from Goodreads, but I haven’t explored that yet – and didn’t want to have eight separate posts popping up anyway! I just copied and pasted the code they provide, and edited slightly.

      I’ve just checked out Martha Wells’ widget – interesting (and useful)!

  2. Re: Buffalo West Wing — If you’re referring to Peter, Virgil and that other chef — the one Ollie went out with — they’re shallow, self-serving, and egotistical — I doubt they have any redeeming qualities to begin with. ;-) Sure, Peter may be versed in all the protocols and traditions of different cultures, but he thinks that makes him superior to everyone else. And those chefs — well, they think they’re rockstars. :-D People who are “me me me” all the time are one-dimensional. And annoying. It makes you appreciate Ollie’s attitude, that it is a great privilege to work where she does and she’s humble about it.

    I’ve posted my rather lengthy review. Stop by when you have sometime to kill. ;-)

    And, you’re not alone with being behind…

    • Christine – Oh, they really really annoyed me. Sargeant especially. I just read your review and commented, loved your in-depth analysis of everyone’s motivations :-)

      • Thanks, again. :-) I commented on your comment. ;-) Where you called Peter a villain.

        Sargeant and co are really annoying. The sad part is, there are people like them out there. People motivated by their own ego.

  3. Hey Li :) A pretty good month!! LOL, you can cross-post? I usually just copy-paste ^_^;

    I think I need to pick up Ms Wilks again. I stopped a while back, but seeing you enjoy them… Need to check it out :)

    Angel’s Blood wasn’t so great, in my opinion. Like you say, shaky start… but it does get better :) Ms Singh is really a great author :)

    • There is apparently a way to do it – I found the page once, but can’t find it at the moment.

      And yeah, I really like Eileen Wilks’ Lupi books – can you tell ;-) Some blips, but overall a strong series.

      Angels’ Blood – I will read the next book at some point, but not feeling the need to rush out and get it. Now Hawke’s story, on the other hand…

  4. Hi Li! I’ve to cross post from Goodreads a few times too, but in the end I just copy and pasted. I just couldn’t figure it out.

    You had a good reading month. For some reason I liked Angel’s Blood and the novella, Angels Pawn — I liked the premise and world — but although I’ve attempted to continue with the series, I’ve not been able to finish that second book. Singh’s Psy/Changeling series is one of my favorite (Kiss of Snow!), but… I don’t know what it is about the second book that’s just not doing it for me. :(

    PS: By the way Angel’s Pawn goes into the Angels — not Archangels — and vampires’ world and how that works.

    • Ah, I meant to get “Angels’ Pawn” before I read “Angels’ Blood”, but forgot – I guess I should have.

      And totally with you on “Kiss of Snow” – I am counting down the days, fingers crossed it doesn’t disappoint!

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