Oh Hey Bookworms,
Looks like I missed last week. IN MY DEFENSE, Labor Day threw a whole wrench into my mojo and it was rainy and gray ALL WEEK. I was in full survival mode. Plus, we all got our flu shots. Surely that has earned me some grace from the universe at large. Anyway, I have read some things. Shall we discuss?
Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean- It’s official: Whit AKA Beast is my favorite Bareknuckle Bastards hero. He’s big and burly and such a complete and utter marshmallow. Lady Henrietta Sedley hopes to inherit her father’s shipping business, and doesn’t expect to marry, so she has chosen to ring in the big 2-9 with an evening of pleasure… At Covent Garden’s premier brothel catering to ladies of the ton. Her plan is derailed somewhat when she discovers Whit tied up and unconscious in the back of her carriage looking utterly scrumptious. Talk about a meet-cute, am I right?! When Beast wakes up at Hattie’s feet, he is intrigued by the strange woman and her plans. Too bad she unceremoniously tosses him out of the moving carriage. But Beast knows all the ins and outs of the Garden- he’s on his own turf. He decides to seek out Hattie and volunteer his services… In exchange for information. The book is as delicious and scandalous as you might expect. Battles of wits, battles of Whits, bargains, brawls, unexpected passions: it is a very good time, y’all.
Daring and the Duke by Sarah MacLean- Whit may be my favorite Bareknuckle Bastards hero, but Grace is my favorite heroine! She runs a brothel for women so the gently bred ladies of Mayfair can experience freedom and pleasure under the nose of a society that denies them both. Though they’ve risen to near royal status in Covent Garden, Grace and her brothers Devil and Whit share a traumatic and dangerous past- one that continually haunts them, in the form of the Duke of Marwick. Ewan was once part of a quartet of children pitted against each other to illegally inherit a Dukedom. In winning the title, Ewan gave up his greatest love- a love he hopes to win back by any means necessary. Grace and Ewan have an impressive amount of emotional baggage. Like, these two do NOT travel lightly. You know. First love, shared trauma, assumed attempted murder. It’s a whole thing. Do they both need extensive therapy? Certainly. But as they’re living in Victorian London, that’s not much of an option. Instead, they must bumble around figuring things out for themselves. Luckily, this is a romance novel, and thus, love conquers all. But not before hijinks ensue.
Everfair by Nisi Shawl- What a conundrum. I wanted to LOVE this book. Nay, expected to. A fantasy Steampunk alternate history of an African colony? Sounds super great. Only. I wanted more, uh, punk? with my steam? Possibly more metaphorical steam with my actual steam, too. Everfair was very heavy on the history and politics portion of this alternate world (I was unaware just HOW much Leopold II sucked until I read this. Unfortunately, that bit wasn’t “alternate” history. Nasty colonizers exploiting native people and stealing the profits of their natural resources and labor is, alas, a familiar tale.) About halfway through the book, there was a bit of magic I found SUPER INTERESTING, but it was glossed over too quickly. Nearly every character in this book was massively flawed, and not in ways I found I could connect with. For example, there was a character who started out pretty great but then turned out to be something of a eugenics proponent, so that was gross. I don’t know. The elements of a great book were all there, it just didn’t come together for me. That doesn’t mean it won’t work for you, of course. If you’re into alternate histories and steampunk, Everfair is definitely worth checking out.
So, what am I reading now? Well. I decided it was high time I read The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow- I’m reading this one with my eyeballs. As for my ears, we’re listening to Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall. That one is going particularly well- yesterday I was listening during Sam’s nap time and started cackling. I confused my husband (also working from home) terribly, but I didn’t think I’d be able to explain the joke, what with the barrister wigs and all. Anyway. It’s shaping up to be an excellent reading week. How’s your reading going, Bookworms?
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