November 2015 reads

>> Tuesday, December 01, 2015

This was a pretty good month. I even read a romance I really liked!

1 - A Taste of Heaven, by Penny Watson: B+
review coming soon

Contemporary, set in a cooking competition. Our amateur heroine, a recent widow, is paired for the competition with a grumpy Scottish chef, for whom the competition is his last hope to save his restaurant. It's fun and really sweet. I liked it very much.

2 - Walk On Earth a Stranger, by Rae Carson: B
review coming soon

First in a new trilogy set during the Gold Rush. The heroine has the power to sense gold, and this book covers her journey west. It's fascinating to see just how difficult that journey would have been, and I liked the characters (except for the villain, who seemed a bit OTT), but this book really feels like the setup of the real story.

3 - Brother Grimm, by Craig Russell: B-
review here

Serial killer mystery set in Germany. I liked the detectives and their relationships very much, and I liked the initial setup of fairy tale-related crimes, but the development of the mystery wasn't as good as it could have been.

4 - My Favorite Countess, by Vanessa Kelly: C+
review coming soon

The heroine was the villain in a previous book. She needs to marry a nobleman with lots of money, but finds herself much too attracted to a doctor. This started out pretty good, but I kind of lost interest, as the conflict felt forced.

5 - All Of You, by Christina Lee: C+
review coming soon

New adult with a heroine who is a commitmentphobe and a virgin hero, who is determined to wait until he meets the right girl. It was ok.

6 - Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff: DNF
review here

Futuristic YA. The two main characters are teens who used to date, and broke up the day before their planet was attacked and they had to evacuate. It's narrated through a collection of documents. I had high hopes for it, but the snarky tone really didn't fit with what was going on.

7 - The Yiddish Policemen's Union, by Michael Chabon: still reading
review coming soon

This has a fascinating setup. It's a noir mystery set in an alternate history, one where the state of Israel never got started and Jews settled in a small piece of land in Alaska. That land is about to revert to the US, so what's the point of investigating a murder? I'm almost done with it and I've mostly enjoyed it, although I've found it hard to care about what happens to the characters.

8 - The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu, by Dan Jurafsky: still reading
review coming soon

Non-fiction. Food and linguistics. For instance, the first chapter analyses the types of words used in menus in different kinds of restaurants, and it's fascinating. I'm kind of struggling with the writing, even though the material is interesting.

9 - Unnatural Death, by Dorothy L Sayers: still listening
original review here

Lord Peter is intrigued by the tale of a doctor who isn't convinced that an apparently natural death is that natural, all evidence to the contrary. It's a neat case and I enjoyed following the steps of the investigation. Lord Peter is still in his pre-Harriet Vane 'silly ass' persona, but you can see the glimmers of the real person beneath that.

The book also works very well as a portrait of the time it was written (and set in). This is good, but also brings up some issues. There's a cringeworthy portrayal of a black man -he's a sympathetic character and there's no overt racism in our main characters (although a secondary character speaks quite shockingly), but some of the ways in which he's described felt very uncomfortable. Also, the sort of 'theme' of the book is women who don't live the society-sanctioned role of wife and mother, whether by choice or by lack of opportunity. Some of the ways in which this is portrayed verged from patronising to homophobic. This was very of its time, I guess, but it was still hard to take.


Post a Comment

Blog template by

Back to TOP