I read a lot this month. Both new and rereads.
I reread all of the books in the Bastion Club & Black Cobra Quartet by Stephanie Laurens, still in pursuit of my summer thesis on The Ever ‘Evolving’ Hero in Regency Romances.
This brings me to the first of the library books
The Secret Mistress by Mary Balogh – apparently this is one in a series but I haven’t read the others. It’s ok. Angeline is looking for a non-rake to marry. Her father & brothers have given her her fill of rakes. She meets the dull & stuffy Earl of Heywood & falls in love, but it takes the Earl awhile to come around to the idea.
See, one of my gripes about swashbuckling heroes is – what do they do of an evening once all the buckles have been swashed? What do they have to talk about it? What do they really have in common with the heroine or even know about each other half the time? Let’s face it, between hunting bad guys & finding new & different places to have mutual orgasms, most romance characters don’t talk about other things much. And the men never seem like the sort that are given to intellectual things. Oh sure they are all very intelligent in heroic subjects like warfare & politics, but they never mention other interests & they never pick up a book or mention having read on.
I think most of them would be rather dull to deal with after a bit.
Especially with no TV as a distraction.
Edward, the Earl of Heywood, is intellectual. He does read & carry on thoughtful & intelligent conversations about a variety of topics & interests. As a long term relationship prospect he scores high.
But as a hero…he needs a swordfight or maybe to take out a highwayman. He’s lacking a bit of …dash. There is not much conflict in the story, so he doesn’t get to really be heroic.
What I want is a hero with a sword in one hand and book in the other. (preferably not a book on “The Heroic Art of Swordfighting, or How to Swashbuckle & Get Girls”)
Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz & David Heyward -This was an interesting book. It’s a modern day murder mystery featuring a pot growing brother & sister who find a dead body in their yard, dump it elsewhere, only to have it returned the next night. In addition to the main plot there is something else going on. The authors apparently have some unresolved hostility from a prior venture. The take turns each writing a chapter & they leave messages for one another at the end & we get to read along as their working & personal relationship falls apart. It’s actually quite funny & freaky at the same time. The ending seemed a bit abrupt but it was clear that it just needed to end for everyone’s sake.
The ExBoyfriend’s Handbook by Matt Dunn -Eddie wants to get his ex girlfriend back and with the dubious help of a friend & the far more useful help of a personal trainer, he sets out to become again the man she fell in love with years earlier. She helpfully left him a list when she cleared their apartment out. It was a good read. It’s a nice story. I liked Eddie and enjoyed being along for his early morning jogs & attempts at speed dating (to gauge how he is improving)
Royal Pains by Leslie Carroll – Non fiction about the hijinks of the British Royal family starting with Charles II. Humorous & entertaining.
Catherine of Aragon by Giles Tremlett – Very readable non fiction about Henry VIII’s first queen.
On the Kindle I read
The Real Macaw by Donna Andrews – The newest Meg Langslow mystery. A man is found dead instead of helping with the raid on the country animal shelter (to save them from being euthanized as a cost saving measure). He was having a few affairs. He was found in the wrong part of town. He had been investigating the mayor about some bad loans. The city has taken out loans on county owned buildings & defaulted on the mortgages. Who killed him & why? Meg is involved because the animals ended up at her house as usual & because in order to raise money to pay the mortgages the mayor was going to have her property taken through imminent domain & sold to developers for a golf course. It’s ok. It’s awkward, in some ways. Meg has 4 month old twins & working a sleuth around that logistically is very hard to do believably. Andrews tries & manages to deal mostly by working in a very short timeline. but I think a live in Nanny who is not a plot point herself like Rose Noire often is, needs to be in Meg’s future.
Chickens, Mules & Two Old Fools by Victoria Tweed – Non fiction memoir about an English couple who decide to retire to Andalusia in Spain for 5 years & buy a house they can renovate. The renovations to get covered but this is mostly a story about she & her husband adjusting to life there. It is very funny, especially the bits about the chickens
Big in China by Alan Paul – Nonfiction memoir about a man who moves to China with his wife & kids for 3 years. They moved for her job so he became a stay at home dad & started a jazz band. He was just about the only stay at home dad he knew of & his attempts to fit in are funny. The band, which was mostly made of Chinese members, became a big hit in China right around the time he had to leave the country. Overall it was a great story.
Life from Scratch by Melissa Ford – Fiction. It’s the story of Rachel Goldman who is newly divorced after 12 years & is trying to adjust to her new life by learning to cook. She keeps a blog about it and about her life as she tries dating again. It’s very well done & is nice, quick read.
From Audible.com I listened to
Ragtime in Simla & The Palace Tiger by Barbara Cleverly – Both are mysteries set in 1922 India, featuring Scotland Yard detective Joe Sandilands. He is India to teach about new police techniques and as his time there is ending he is borrowed by Sir George Jardine to investigate some problems he is having. The first is in Simla, when a Russian opera singer is shot and the other is in Ranipur where two heirs to the throne have died in different mysterious circumstances. I enjoyed them both so much I found others in the series used at Better World Books & ordered them.
Did you read anything interesting last month?