Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

What Jia’s Been Reading, Late September

I should have known better than to say anything. Shortly after my previous reading list went up, work exploded and it’s been tough finding time to read! I suppose I should be glad that I now have a reason for the reading slowdown, but it just doesn’t feel right.

Hellbent by Cherie Priest. Requested this one off NetGalley after having read and enjoyed the first one. I wasn’t as enamoured by it as the previous outing but it was decent. I was expecting this to be an ongoing series but I heard it was only part of a two-book deal with a continuation being up in the air (dependent on sales). Kind of disappointing since Raylene is different from the other urban fantasy heroines out there and I wanted to see where it was going. It does explain why certain things were resolved the way they were though. (Full review here.)

Cold Fire by Kate Elliott. I’ve been anticipating this book for a year and I don’t know if that wait built up the expectations in my head or if my mood was slightly different but this didn’t quite hit the spot I was hoping. It was one of those books where I liked the themes and ideas that were explored but I didn’t quite like the way they were executed. Not enough emotion for me — or rather, not enough emotional nuances I could empathize with. (Full review here.)

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger. A Lysistrata retelling for the YA set. A surprising choice of subject matter but then based on Keplinger’s previous novel, The DUFF, the frank exploration of sex and teen girl sexuality was to be expected. I don’t think this was as well put-together as The DUFF in terms of characterization but it was a quick, easy read. (Full review here).

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen. I received a review copy of the second book, Beautiful Days, but I wasn’t sure if I needed to read the first one beforehand or not. Thankfully, either due to a special or a pricing error, Amazon listed this book (plus those oft-discussed ebook bonus materials) as being free on Kindle so I snatched it up quickly. I really do enjoy Godbersen’s voice. If her previous series was set in the Gilded Age, this one is set in the Roaring 20s during Prohibition. It follows the lives of three girls: Letty (an aspiring singer), Cordelia (an orphan hoping to reunite with her bootlegger father), and Astrid (a socialite). I really enjoyed it and am hoping to get to Beautiful Days soon. I really like the unusual time period.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Read any of these? What did you think? Have any recommendations for books set during the Roaring 20s? What are you reading now? I’m currently reading Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which is modern fantasy but is so different from the other YA fantasies and paranormals out there right now.

Jia is an avid reader who loves fantasy and young adult novels. She's also currently dipping her toes in the new adult genre but remains unconvinced by the prevalent need for traumatic pasts. Her favorite authors are Michelle West and Jacqueline Carey. YA authors whose works she's enjoyed include Holly Black, Laini Taylor, Ally Carter, and Megan Miranda. Jia's on a neverending quest for novels with diverse casts and multicultural settings. Feel free to email her with recommendations at [email protected]!


  1. Amy Kathryn
    Oct 06, 2011 @ 10:56:27

    I downloaded the free copy of Bright Young Things, also. I am glad to hear you enjoyed it. I will probably bump it up the list since I like to read about more unusual time periods.

  2. Cara Ellison
    Oct 06, 2011 @ 12:51:24

    Same here – I downloaded the free version. I loved the cover. So pretty!

  3. Estara
    Oct 06, 2011 @ 13:50:32

    Re: 20s books – Jia, if you haven’t read Whistling in the Dark yet – run, don’t walk to get it! Have a Booksmuggler Ana squee review ^^ – although she didn’t enjoy Bright Young Things as much as you did.

    I’m sure John will second the recommendation as soon as he sees your request for these ^^.

    Oh and Jayne liked it, too ;-)

  4. John
    Oct 08, 2011 @ 09:58:59

    I have to go with Estara once again. WHISTLING IN THE DARK was amazing, and I was so happy to read it last year. Tamara Allen writes a phenomenal romance.

    The YA series that starts with VIXEN by Jillian Larkin really got me going. I loved every minute of that book, but I’ve heard it’s extremely similar to BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS, so don’t read them close together if you want to try it.

    Laini Taylor’s other fantasy books are definitely up your alley. Her book BLACKBRINGER, which is a standalone & a part of a series, really blew me away. Her world building is second to none, and her fantasy is just so classic – and the earlier stuff is even less PNR ish than DAUGHTER, most likely.

  5. REVIEW: Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen - Dear Author
    Oct 17, 2011 @ 16:20:30

    […] once I was able to clear some time to devote to reading, I devoured the first book in this series, Bright Young Things, in an afternoon. The same thing can be said about this book. What can I say? I’m a sucker for […]

%d bloggers like this: