Reading List by Jennie for April and May
Tangle of Need by Nalini Singh
This series is becoming a bit like the J.R. Ward Black Dagger Brotherhood series for me: I continue to read the books even though they irritate me quite a bit. I will say that the BDB books are at least 50% more ridiculous, but that’s more a reflection of how ridiculous those books are rather than the Psy/Changeling series’ non-ridiculousness. Epic joint review with Janine here.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
Better known as The Bloggess, because, um, she has this blog, Lawson’s written a “mostly true” memoir detailing her unconventional childhood, adventures in taxidermy (an enthusiasm/profession of her father’s), her current life with her husband and daughter in West Texas, and struggles with depression, severe social anxiety and rheumatoid arthritis. Entertaining, funny and an easy read, but I’ve discovered I prefer this author in fairly small doses. (One of my favorite posts by her can be found here.)
Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
This is the first book I’ve read by Lawrence. I would’ve gone with Lady Chatterley’s Lover, but I was limited by what was available through Kindle for free. It’s okay, I guess. I’ll steal this blurb from Wikipedia to encapsulate the story: “Semi-autobiographical…an evocative portrayal of working-class life in a mining community, but also an intense study of family, class and early sexual relationships.” My uncultured take would be that it’s about the clash between high-minded ideals and the drudgery of daily living, with a fair amount of angst centered around base earthly appetites (specifically, lust) which at the time had to be dressed up (as undefined “passions”) rather than addressed head-on.
Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
I got into the HBO miniseries rather late, watching the first season after it had ended its initial run. I was pretty absorbed by it (as I have been by the second season), and had heard good things about the books, so I picked the first one up. So far, it’s okay (it’s taking me a long time to read), but it suffers a bit for the fact that I’ve already seen on screen everything that is happening or about to happen in the book. Maybe I’ll be more involved once I get past that part (I’m not sure when that’ll be, though). I’m mostly in it for Daenerys, whom I LOVE.
Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
Popular, Pulitzer-prize winning biography. Pretty good stuff. I often find bios of people who lived before, say, the 19th century lacking a bit, simply because of the dearth of reliable and detailed information about their lives. This is the case with Cleopatra, obviously, but I have to say Schiff does a good job with what she has to work with. She includes interesting details about what *was* known of life at that time, and presents various perspectives on the notorious queen with enough background to let the reader know if the source needs to be taken with a grain of salt (as most of them do). Worth reading.
Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris
Review to come. I think I’ve said before that I have a hard time evaluating this series, for several reasons. One is that the series is special to me and even a sub-par entry into it engages me in a way that a lot of books don’t, maybe because I know the characters so well at this point. Also, though each book more or less has a plot and various subplots that are at least semi-resolved by the end, the books really flow into each other quite a bit (for one thing, not much time passes in Bon Temps between one book and the next, usually). So at times it feels like one really long story with sort of arbitrary start and stop points, making it more difficult for me to see each book as a discrete story. Anyway, that said, I’ve had a moment or two of Sookie fatigue over the past several books. But for some reason I felt sort of an uptick in my interest in this one. I’ll have to see if I can work out why in my review. My short synopsis: there are those trying to make trouble for Sookie (what else is new?), which in this case involves killing a woman at a party at Eric’s house and trying to pin it on Eric. Eric and Sookie are also having big problems, and there’s a fair amount happening with the fae, too.
Beguiling the Beauty by Sherry Thomas
I pretty much always love Sherry Thomas, and this book was no exception (I gave it an A-/B+). I think what I liked most about it, besides the homage to Judith Ivory’s Beast, is that it featured a beautiful heroine and really made her beauty something that set her apart and even caused her problems at times. Beautiful heroines are a dime a dozen in romance (actually, it’s probably more like a penny a pound), but generally their beauty is not treated as something unusual or something that actually affects their lives, and I really appreciate it when a book does. You can read Jane’s review here.
A Gentleman Undone by Cecilia Grant
I commented on Dabney’s review, but I just want to reiterate that I loved, loved, loved this book. My favorite book so far this year, and Grant has, with two books, shot up the list of my favorite romance writers. I am eagerly awaiting her next book. This book was a straight A for me.
Mockingjay Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
I reread these in preparation for seeing the The Hunger Games on the big screen (I liked it quite well, by the way). These were just as compelling as the first time I read them. I can’t wait for the next film! (And I wonder what Suzanne Collins is up to these days?)