Unexpectedly Good Reads (Pun Not Intended)

More books I read during June – some good ones in here.  As usual, reviews originally posted on Goodreads, but now with some additional comments added.  I feel like I should come up with a name for these posts.


The Demon's Surrender (Demon's Lexicon Trilogy #3)The Demon’s Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan (YA urban fantasy)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One-word summary? WOW.

THE DEMON’S SURRENDER was everything I expected and more (and trust me, I had pretty high expectations after The Demon’s Covenant).

Sarah Rees Brennan is not afraid of taking her characters to very dark places, which just makes it all the more satisfying when they triumph – a heart-wrenchingly wonderful sort of book. And I was hooked from the very first chapter – my heart was in my mouth so many times and the twisty fast-moving plot (my internal commentary was along the lines of “Could it be? Nah! It is! Nooooo!”) kept me reading well into the early hours of the morning.

If I could have had anything more in SURRENDER, it would be more POVs (and more Jamie!), but that’s really a reflection of the fact I fell in love with the story and the world and just wanted to know EVERYTHING and more. Alan and Nick and Mae and Jamie were as fantastic as they have been in previous books. As for Sin – I admit I had doubts about her as the main narrator initially – I’m not sure why I ever doubted now, she was the perfect narrator and I was cheering her on throughout.

SURRENDER is, well, it’s action-packed, full of feeling – you laugh and weep with the characters – and I closed the book feeling thoroughly satisfied. And as a bonus, it’s set in London. What could be better?

Gosh, I can’t believe I didn’t post this on my blog last year.  Or perhaps I did and can’t remember?  Ummm.  Great trilogy, and yeah, this ended up on my 2011 favourites list.  I can’t wait to read Sarah Rees Brennan’s next release.


A Very Dutiful DaughterA Very Dutiful Daughter by Elizabeth Mansfield

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A fun read, but not a memorable one. The Big Misunderstanding came across as very contrived, and I didn’t really warm to the h/h.

Not one of Elizabeth Mansfield’s best, IMO.

Someone asked me on Goodreads which Mansfields I would recommend.  With the caveat that it’s been a while, here are four I really liked: The Phantom LoverHer Man of AffairsPassing Fancies, and Love Lessons


When Tony Met Adam (Troubleshooters, #12.5)When Tony Met Adam by Suzanne Brockmann (m/m romance)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really really liked this one – and it definitely got bonus points for letting me revisit the Troubleshooters gang (loved Sam!). While heavy on the social commentary as per usual Brockmann style, it felt relevant to the characters’ lives and plot line. And she pulled off the impossible and managed to redeem Adam.

This book left me with a smile on my face – you’ll obviously get a lot more from this story if you’ve read the previous books, but I think I would go as far as saying this would work even for new readers.

Another June read that ended up on my favourites of 2011 list – in hindsight, June was a really good reading month for me.  This was a e-only novella, IIRC.  


Bad Company (Bad in Baltimore, #1)Bad Company by K.A. Mitchell (m/m romance)

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I loved KA Mitchell’s previous book, No Souvenirs, and had high expectations going into this one, but I didn’t really connect with the story.

I didn’t get the whole “he’s my best friend” thing after being parted for goodness knows how many years. And I guess I never really felt the relationship – part of it is the GFY element (meh), but it just never rang true.

I’ll still get KA Mitchell’s next book, but this isn’t one of her better ones, IMO.

Yeah, this one just fell a bit flat for me.  The second book in this series was much better though – think I read it towards the end of the year?  Maybe. 


Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, #5)Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think I over-anticipated this one somewhat.

It took me a while to really get into the book with a couple of false starts, but once the pace picked up, I was engrossed until the end. The book struck me as more plot-driven than character-driven, and this meant I wasn’t as invested as I could have been. I do like that the authors aren’t afraid to put their characters in dangerous situations – there is always the risk something bad is going to happen and it lends a bit of an edge to the story.

Overall, a satisfying read, though I didn’t love it as much as previous books in the series.

I had to glance through the book description because I really couldn’t recall the storyline.  Which probably sums up my feelings about this book – it was a good read, but not a memorable one.


Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book made me cry. Sigh.

It’s a satisfying, but quick read – so much story and character packed into a short book.

I could have sworn I read this based on a recommendation from Angie, but I’m coming up blank on a review search.  Hmmm… did anyone else review this during the first half of last year?


9 thoughts on “Unexpectedly Good Reads (Pun Not Intended)

  1. Okay, okay. I definitively have to read Sarah Rees Brennan! IT’s on my list to do this year LOL. It’s a trilogy right, so that’s the last book?

    Magic Slays is the latest right? With all the titles starting by Magic, it’s sometimes difficult to keep up ^_^; I think it’s a good decision by the authors to look at other characters such as Andrea. There’s just so much they can do with Kate and Curran, especially now that they are officially a couple. Still, it was a good book 🙂

    Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie sounds interesting. YA?

    • Yep, all three books out now – no excuses 😉

      I get the branding decision on the MAGIC titles, but it does get confusing! Same with JD Robb and the IN DEATH titles, I have no idea which is which.

      And DRUMS is a YA book. It’s a bit of a tear-jerker though (I’m sure it’s not just me!).

  2. I totally agree with you about Magic Slays, Li. I enjoyed it, you know I love the Kate Daniels series, but it also took me a while to get into this book. It was solid, but for me not a great, outstanding read as the two previous ones in the series. 🙂

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