Showing posts from May, 2022

Protecting the Lady

Protecting the Lady Amanda Radley, 2021 Premise: Eve quit being a bodyguard, but she's drawn back home for one more job that demands her talents. Falling in love with her client has never been a problem before... (It's time for a short reaction to a short book!)  After enjoying her holiday-themed Humbug , I decided to try another light romance by this author. Unfortunately, this time I was disappointed.  I don't have any inherent problem with a bodyguard/client romance, or a romance between an aristocrat and an anti-monarchist, but neither of these dynamics were compelling or convincing to me in this book. Eve's hatred of the monarchy was presented as this deep-seated part of her life, as was the past trauma that had led her to initially quit working in security, but all of this was waved away very quickly once the plot demanded it. Katherine's discomfort with her own background and exceptional ability to turn her family ties to good causes was more convenient than

Oak King Holly King

Oak King Holly King Sebastian Nothwell, 2022 Premise: Shrike is trying to make a name for himself in battle, but it goes too well, and now the traditions of Faerie decree that he shall die within the year. Wren Lofthouse has never heard of fae or actual magic, although Arthurian romances provide some of the only comfort to a man who must hide his attraction to other men. Of course, they're perfect for each other. It's been a long while since I've taken a chance on a book because of a lovely cover. (Of course, this being an ebook, the cover led to a sample, and only then to the full book, but the point still holds.) Happily, I liked this quite a bit.  It's longer than a lot of romances, but I liked that, actually. It's a fantasy novel where the A plot is a romance, not a romance set only vaguely in a fantasy world. It had space to dig into the details of the two characters' lives and how they fit (or didn't fit) together. The story wasn't just two people

The City & the City

The City & the City China Miéville, 2009 Hugo Winner - 2010 (tie) Premise: Borlú is a detective in the city-state of Besźel, a unique place to live and to keep the peace. One investigation leads him to the edge of what can be seen and understood. My final takeaway on this book is that it's a cool premise that doesn't really go anywhere satisfying. The two cities of the title occupy much of the same physical space, but the occupants of each train themselves not to see the other. Some streets and buildings are officially in one city, some in the other, and some are "crosshatched" or overlapping. The inhabitants are very careful only to "see" what is in the city they are currently in, and "unsee" anything in the other. Yes, this means people are avoiding traffic accidents with cars they can't admit that they notice and other bizarre behavior.  Breaking this rule draws the attention of Breach - both the name of the crime (acting/perceiving acr


Witchmark C.L. Polk, 2018 Premise: Miles is a doctor, trying desperately to help the soldiers coming back broken from the war. But there are so many, and he might be the only one who sees that there's more going on under the surface. And it's his magic that lets him see that; his magic that he must keep hidden for his own safety.  There's a lot to like about this book. The characters are mostly interesting. The malady that only Miles can see is a compelling mystery. The romantic interest (a mysteriously beautiful man named Tristan) is charming and sexy. And yet it wasn't a slam dunk for me. I think the world-building was a little too vague, the magic a little too vague, and the ending a little too vague.  For example, this book isn't set in Edwardian London, although it often feels like it is, or maybe was in some previous draft of the book. I'm not sure why it isn't, honestly. Yes, not-England and not-(Germany? Austria? It feels like France except that it a