Recent Reads

I’m never going to get organised enough to post my monthly reads on a regular basis or to review every single book I read (or even every other book), so here are some quick thoughts on a few books I’ve recently read.

I loved Karen Chance’s “Midnight’s Daughter” (urban fantasy), but I’d have to say it’s probably not one for new readers.  Even though it’s the start of a new series, it’s set in the same world as her Cassie Palmer books and I suspect that without having read the Cassie books, the world-building would leave you a bit lost.  This book also references a novella in the “On the Prowl” anthology, which I vaguely recalled, and so helped me to understand some events that occurred off-stage, so to speak.  But I love Ms Chance’s writing and I enjoyed exploring more of her world through a different viewpoint.  I want more.

I also read Mary Stewart’s “The Gabriel Hounds” (romantic suspense).  I’m fascinated by contemporaries written decades ago because of the insight you get into everyday life and cultural norms back then.  What life was like without mobile phones and the internet.  When you had to go through an operator to make international calls.  When it was acceptable to have a heroine who smokes.  Anyway, I liked this one, especially the Middle East setting and the mystery of the reclusive and eccentric grand-aunt who styles herself after Lady Hester Stanhope.  But I was wondering about the romance: [slight spoiler] – surely first cousins are slightly too close, especially if their fathers are twins (identical, I’m assuming)?  Or was that considered acceptable back then? [/spoiler]*

And then I read Laurell K Hamilton’s “Swallowing Darkness” (err… paranormal romance?  I’m not entirely sure how to classify this).  I wasn’t going to read this one as I’ve almost given up on the Merry Gentry series, but my curiosity was piqued by several posts asking if this was the final Merry book (it isn’t, btw), which sort of implied that the overall story arc had reached a conclusion.  It wasn’t as bad as one of the previous books (can’t remember which now, the one that pretty much consisted of a couple of scenes and nothing else) but it was almost a DNF for me, because I was just… bored.  The bad guys would attack, Merry (or rather, the Goddess) would save the day and heal everyone.  Repeat.  Even the sex scenes felt tame to me (or maybe the heat-level that’s prevalent in romance nowadays has raised the bar a bit).  FWIW, yes, there is some sort of conclusion to the whole Merry-Cel saga, but it’s definitely a borrow, not buy, book).

And I finished Richelle Mead’s “Succubus Dreams” (urban fantasy – I think) yesterday.  As always, an entertaining read.  I like the fact Ms Mead’s not afraid to have her characters move on and change, the series doesn’t feel static to me.  And Georgina is a very likeable character.  However, while I know I will probably get the next book in the series (and will enjoy it), I don’t feel as though I must know what happens next.  I guess I’m not as invested in the series as I am in others.


*Spoilers in comments as well


7 thoughts on “Recent Reads

  1. Re: The Gabriel Hounds — this one was never a favorite of mine, though the exotic setting is cool.


    Yes. I think the romance is sort of weird in this one, which is maybe one of the reasons I don’t love, love it. My sister and I actually had an argument about this a couple weeks ago, because I had it in my mind that one of them was adopted or something (making the whole first cousins thing just fine). But I went back and reread and realized that they are indeed first cousins. I guess it didn’t matter back then. Definitely taboo now.

  2. You’re the second one to review the Richelle Mead book this week-end. I have the first one, but have yet to read it ^_^;

    Who’s the heroine in the Karen Chance new series?

  3. Hey Li,

    I’ve been trying to find an email address for you but can’t! I wanted to see if you’d be interested in doing a guest post over at our blog…

    Could you email me (thebooksmugglers at hotmail dot com) if you’re interested?? 🙂

    And–on topic–I was a bit torn about picking up the new Karen Chance…but now I think I shall! 🙂

  4. Good point about the “Gabriel Hounds.” Let’s just say I would never even consider marrying one of my first cousins! But randomly, here in the States, it isn’t illegal in several states to marry your cousin…hmm.

  5. Jennie and Rachel – Yes, def first cousins. She even made a point about how they looked so much alike. Actually, thinking more about it, I’m pretty sure I’ve read first cousin romances elsewhere – possibly Elizabeth Mansfield and/or Georgette Heyer romances. Interesting how conventions change over time.

    Nath – I think the Richelle Mead would be a quick way to spend a couple of hours. It’s a light and easy read, but not traditional paranormal romance. Re Karen Chance, it’s first-person POV from a new character, Dori, but the events are set after the 3rd Cassie book, IIRC. Excerpt here:

    Thea – Yes, def – will drop you an email tmrw! And I do love Karen Chance. Haven’t really tried to pinpoint why, though. Part of it is her world (love the time-travelling aspect), but it’s also her characters and their interaction.

  6. The cousin thing in THE GABRIEL HOUNDS squicks me out a bit as well, Li. It was the only one of hers that was like that and I’ve always wondered why she chose to make it so. That book is strange on so many levels. Although I do reread it. I love the descriptions of Lebanon.

  7. Angie – Yes, I love her vivid descriptions, they really bring the background to life. I think maybe the first cousins thing was just accepted back then, so she didn’t even think twice about it. I decided to ignore it for the rest of the book 🙂

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