Howdy! That was some break, there. It worked out great for me, though, as I think I finally got some of my blogging mojo back. I’m gonna try this weekly round-up thing again and see if I can stick to it.
Meanwhile, I have been (semi) active on Twitter and VERY active on Goodreads, so if y’all want to follow me on either of those channels in case this one ever goes dark again. Which it might do, as I’m still in library school (and working 2 jobs) and the semester starts up again in late August.
Anyway! This week I read:
The Necromancer’s Dance by S.J. Himes ★★★★ is the first book in the Beacon Hill Sorcerer series, an urban fantasy/romance something along the lines of the Dresden Files mixed with Alexis Hall’s Kate Kane series. It was so great! Action/exciting thrills, magic, romance, mystery! Gooey vampire feelings and a tiny dragon friend! Admittedly, the protag did kind of keep forgetting important plot developments and then going “omg I forgot about the thing,” which was a little dumb, and the sexytime scenes were kinda bland. But! Overall it was very charming and I will definitely read more in this series. In fact, I have book 2 on my Kindle ready to go.
The Private Secretary by Summer Devon ★★★ is a historical romance set in Somewhere Victorian and is about a youngish man in Reduced Circumstances having to Find Employment. He becomes a secretary– not to the romantic interest, but it’s how they’re introduced! There’s also a subplot with misunderstandings and terrible previous boyfriends being big fat liars, and also rescuing people from insane asylums. While the actual plot wasn’t anything exciting, despite the asylum aspect, the characters were lovely and there were some very funny bits. It’s a sweet and occasionally humorous story about looking beyond the surface to see someone’s inner worth.
Sex Criminals: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky ★★★½ was one of those series that everyone was talking about several years ago, and now nobody really is and I’m not sure why? Did it end? Did people not like it? Who knows. This first volume was pretty darned good– wonderful art, funny bits and sad bits and even some icky bits. Tbh, though, I didn’t like it enough to want to keep reading the series. Just didn’t get that WOW feeling, y’know?
I’ve had Beta Test by Annabeth Albert ★★★★, the second in her #gaymers series, on my Kindle basically since it first came out, as I loved the first book and was very excited about this one. AA always does such lovely and sweet romances– even if the characters themselves are not necessarily lovely and sweet, and are in fact sarcastic bastards. This one is an office romance! And it was very, very lovely.1
Deductions by Lyn Gala ★★★, the first in her new Abherrant Magic series, is an urban fantasy set in an alternate world where wizards and such are common, but (mostly) despised. It has excellent worldbuilding! Pig-headed protagonists who fall in love! And a lot of “but how can you be this powerful yet untrained and untested, this has never happened before, I’ve never seen anyone do that etc etc” which tbh I find a little annoying.
Wallflower by Heidi Belleau ★★★★, the second in the Rear Entrance Video series, has a lot of interesting gender-bending plot points, multiple characters of color (including protag and boyfriend), and is heavy on the protag’s character development, all of which I like.Especially because protag is such a wonderful character! Because it was so heavy on those elements, however, I think the romance was a little off. The romantic interest kind of just showed up, said a few cute things, and then they were in love. Same with the protag’s sister, who was presented as a perfect being and then never allowed to actually be a real person. And the other members of the household weren’t much developed beyond their initial appearances. The first REV book was better at the secondary character development, maybe. Despite that pitfall, I still really enjoyed it!
Out! by J.L. Merrow ★★★, the third in the highly enjoyable Shamwell Tales series, is much like the previous two books in that it is both cute and funny and forces its protagonists to Deal with Things like Adults. This one involves: age differences (14 years), being a divorced dude only recently accepting of his sexuality, having a huge chip on your shoulder, multiple misunderstandings, overcoming preconceptions, and handling Teenage Daughter Problems.
And finally, my last book of the week was read in the wee hours of the morning because I started it at, like, 11pm and then couldn’t put it down. Somebody Killed His Editor by Josh Lanyon ★★★★, the first Holmes & Moriarity2 series, is a murder mystery set at a writer’s conference somewhere in the wilderness. It’s almost entirely unlike the other Josh Lanyon writer-gets-involved-in-murder series, except for how multiple people keep dying. There’s humor in this one! Mostly sarcastic things about the publishing industry and mysteries, but not necessarily in a bitter way? More like “look at how crazy this is.” And there’s stuff about missed chances and regrets, failing literary careers, excellent secondary characters, and a villain who, if this were a Midsomer Murders episode, would probably be played by Lucy Punch.3 Can’t wait to read the next book!
That took me three hours to write and format! Ugh. I need to speed this up or I’ll tank on posting again. Tips on that, y’all?