Hello, happy Sunday! I’m sick or something and my throat hurts and I have no energy and it stinks. But I have a bunch of mini-reviews for the 11 books I read this week! Still heavy into m/m romances, too, btw.
I remember seeing a few reviews of Little White Duck by Na Liu ★★★ back when it first came out, so I snagged it when I spotted it on the shelf at one of my libraries. It’s snippets of the author’s childhood in 1970s China and it’s a good balance of cute/depressing. Cute, because she’s only about five years old the whole of the book. Depressing, because 1970s China was still finding its feet in many ways and things weren’t entirely hunky-dory. The author’s husband did the art, which has lovely muted colors and reminds me a little of ink wash art.
Next was Agamemnon Frost and the House of Death by Kim Knox ★★, the first in the Agamemnon Frost series which is an alternate history scifi (with romance) novella series set in the late 1800s. There are aliens, and they want to take over the world, and it’s not hokey or cute. Also the aliens really like using Latin, for some reason? And there is definitely not enough actual romance or plot and it’s way too short. And yet, also very confusing in parts? Fantastic covers, though!
I needed something cute to pick me up after the slight disappointment that was Agamemnon Frost, so I read How Not to Summon Your True Love by Sasha L. Miller ★★★, which I got from the publisher via NetGalley. It’s is a forthcoming m/m romance/fantasy with an asexual protagonist and a ROAD TRIP! It comes out in March, so nix on the details– but it was cute. More review will show up in a few months! (Interesting thing of note: I was the first one to rate it on Goodreads. Kind of exciting! I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen before.)
Black History Month starts in about a in a week! We have a display at work, and I picked out two picture books to read: Nappy Hair by Carolivia Herron ★★★★★ (you may remember this for the controversy a few years back) which has amazing art and a totally cute story, and Ellen’s Broom by Kelly Starling Lyons ★★★★, which is set during the Reconstruction and is also an adorable story about family and history and love.
Then I found Good Books, Good Times! by Lee Bennett Hopkins (editor) ★★★★½ sitting on the counter for whatever reason, and was immediately sucked into a lovely collection of poems about books and reading and people who love books and reading. Super cute, and it’d make a great gift for any bookish person.
Have not been making good use of my free Marvel Unlimited subscription this month, which stinks. It particularly stinks when I use it to read dreck, which unfortunately 15-Love by Andi Watson ★ turned out to be. It’s a contemporary story about a girl who just wants to be good at playing tennis, except it has no heart and no excitement and iffy character development and REALLY iffy art and it’s super, super boring.
So even though I didn’t super enjoy the first book, I still felt compelled to read Agamemnon Frost and the Hollow Ships ★★, the second AF book, because I frickin’ bought it and it’s not that big of a book anyway and it takes practically no time to read. This one has kissing in it! Finally! And more weird Martian stuff. And some angst, which is nice. I am totally over these tiny romances, though. Give me large pagecounts with meaty plotlines!
Next up was Provoked by Joanna Chambers ★★★, a historical romance starring a skittish lawyer and a dickish noble with quite possibly the WORST name I’ve ever seen in a book: Murdo Balfour. Good grief. Anyway, there’s some class stuff, and a mystery (kind of), and horrible realistic time period things (hangings!), and it ends UNhappily and nothing is resolved. So now I have to get book 2, even though I don’t even like terrible Murdo and his possessive alphahole tendencies. Not knowing if they’ll get a happy ending or not is killing me!
Then I read The Crimson Outlaw by Alex Beecroft ★★★. It’s set in historical Romania, with a romance forming between an ex-knight-turned-bandit-king and a spoiled-but-traumatized lordling who runs away from an abusive father. They meet, sparks fly, and they both shyly move into a relationship. And then they overthrow the horrible father! I liked the bones of this story, and with like a hundred more pages I might have even liked the rest of it. Because it’s relatively short, though, I felt like the characters and worldbuilding never really got as deep as I wanted them too, and the romance felt super rushed.
I found some Kobo coupons lurking in my spam folder, and so I went on an tiny shopping spree. I ended up getting several books I’m really excited to read, one of which was A Beginner’s Guide to Wooing Your Mate by R. Cooper ★★★½, a paranormal romance! I’d previously read the first two books in this series, and while I’m not typically into werewolves, I do love pining. R. Cooper’s werewolves do a ridiculous amount of pining, and they’re also really sweet and not dumb macho guys who never talk about their feelings. Woohoo! I also ADORE second-chance/friends-to-lovers stories, which this one kind of is, and it is ALSO set in a small town (another favorite). There is major miscommunication! And somewhat stupid relationship rules that would’ve fixed like half the problems in the book if they’d ever just talked outright. But it’s also very sweet and somewhat gooey, and I very much enjoyed it.
So that’s what I read this week! What about you? What’s a good book you’ve read lately?
Fingers crossed for me getting better before grad school starts up again on Thursday, please. 🙁