That moment when post-filling your BINGO card, you realise the first 5 books you read this month made BINGO?
Yeah. Note to self: Be more Organised.
Anywhoo. This month’s BINGO; brought to us by the fabulously sagacious Shallowreader
My BINGO reads, shown here in random order.
Delusional: The Scribe, Elizabeth Hunter
This has been in my TBR since it first came out. I just never felt like it. Also, that cover y’all? How could any book possibly live up to that?
Short Answer: It can’t.
Not TERRIBLE-AWFUL-PURPLE-SPOTTED bad. But cliche. And probably I would have liked it better if not for the HORRENDOUS cliff hanger. You have been warned.
Ava hears voices in a language she can’t understand – she goes to Istanbul to look for answers and finds Malachi. Also searching for *something* he sees Ava and whamo- insta-love. Lots of reasons to fall in and out of love; angels come into it somewhere. I have the other 2 but I can’t bring myself to complete them. The ANGST people, the ANGST.
Glacial: The Sun at Midnight, Rosie Thomas. Review (plus optional rant about THINGS) here. Surprisingly good. The book, I mean – not the rant. 😉
Evil Side Eye: The Restorer, Amanda Stevens.
First in a trilogy. I honestly don’t know how I got sucked into these ones. (It is highly possible I am just a cover whore). They contain all things I find ridiculous in paranormals: a snowflake heroine who can see ghosts; a brooding hero who has ghosts attached; long looks and a tepid-at-best suspense/mystery element. But suck me in they did.
Amelia Gray is a Graveyard Restorer (is that an actual job???) her commission to facelift a graveyard in Charleston, drops her smack bang in the middle of a murder. Her skills (not that we see much of them) are needed by John Devlin (brooding hero) to solve the mystery. A set up for the next two novels (which I also read, because I apparently have no shame); not a huge amount happens apart from lingering looks and almost kisses. Some voodoo stuff adds a little life. Evil Side is the weird ghosty-peoples she sees and has to pretend she doesn’t…they come up right close touching her and trying to get her attention. They really are BAD y’all. (*shudder*)
I’m Not Worthy: The Kingdom, Amanda Stevens.
Ahem. So book two of the Graveyard Queen series. I am officially just calling this indulgent reading. This one was actually FAR more interesting than the first. Amelia gets a job in the Asher Falls Cemetery in South Carolina.
Mysterious Portents Occur. This book has EVERYTHING: Wicked Beautiful Other Women, Mysterious Old Man in Wheelchair, Odd Flashbacks to things that didn’t occur, Car Crashes, Local Witchy-Witches who Make Mysterious Proclamations; Random Attempts To Kill Heroine.
It is NUTS.
And yet I still read.
Amelia spends most of the series feeling not good enough for various people. Particularly in this one. The shoe does indeed fit.
Would You Like a Cuppa Tea, Love: The Prophet, Amanda Stevens.
Last one I PROMISE. But totally fits the square because one of the weirdo sisters in the story owns a tea shop. (Sans cockney accent, sadly, but what can you do?)
Back in Charleston with brooding John Devlin, this has voodoo galore. Way to much in reality. It starts to pal after a while. You see one sacrificial goat/person/snake, you’ve kinda seen them all…. but at least it is FINISHED.
And they weren’t terrible-no-good books. Just so damn DURGY. But clearly addictive, otherwise I could’ve stopped at one. I NEEDED to find out the next horrible life event Amelia was going to slowly plough her way through…Like if Eeyore was a graveyard worker…
….I just checked – apparently there are another TWO books in this series. Really, TWO more books? Too much. Just TOO much.
The second of two O’Neals I borrowed. The first being a superficial and artificial look at the world of cheffing (A little like Bradley Cooper in Burnt – not realistic at all – but Cooper twinkles oh-so-charmingly at the camera)
The Garden of Happy Endings takes a hefty look at religion. Specifically Unitarian Universalism and Catholicism.
Reverend (of the Unitarian variety) Elsa Montgomery has a crisis of faith and returns to Pueblo, Colorado to work in a soup kitchen with her best-friend-once-engaged-accidental-lover Father Joaquin.
There’s gardening and dogs, a sister, a community garden and a love interest. Plus soul-searching – SO much soul-searching.
You know when you give a 5yr old some pastry and they decide to make cookies out of it? And they roll it out and squish back up and roll it out and squish it back up, on and on, until the buttery yellow pastry starts to look grey and grimy and you know its going to be as tough as boots – but you still can’t convince them to let it go????
Friends: meet The Garden of Happy Endings; the grey-over-squished pastry cookie of the book world.
Dreaming: Hindsight, Melanie Casey.
An excellent paranormal suspense, with a wee romance. Felt a little Nora Roberts in execution – but without all the redecorating porn or ANGST.
Cass Lehman has retrocognition (which sounds a little like an unfortunate rash), meaning she can see the past, specifically the moment people die. If Cass is standing in the place it happened, she sees it through their eyes and experiences their final breath with them.
When a serial killer appears in her sleepy town, Cass, tired of being a recluse because of her gift/curse, volunteers to ‘see’ the last moments of the victims to try and solve the case.
She is paired with Resident Sceptic, Detective Ed Dyson.
Though set in a fictitous town in South Australia, it doesn’t feel distinctly Australian, which works well with the story.
A tendency to use awkward Australian slang (that I have never heard anyone use is real life except Paul Hogan) and overuse of exclamations, but overlooked because of excellent sense of pace and tension and a unique and slightly scary hard-to-figure-out bad guy.
I will definitely be reading more.
So Utterly Perfect: Between Two Thorns, Emma Newman
Pride: Any other Name, Emma Newman
Gaslight: All is Fair, Emma Newman
Grouping this series together because although in three seperate books it is basically the LONGEST story ever.
There are four main characters that start the series unrelated; but as plots get all twisty, their stories start to entwine (heh). The novels are set in an alternate world that has been split into three: The Mundane (where we live); Exlilium (where the Fae live) and the Nether, which is in between and favoured by the great and rich fae-associated families because there, one never ages.
Whilst the Mundane is modern with tablets and smartphones, the Nether is Regency-era and Exlilium is…just odd.
Catherine is the MAIN protagonist, sold into an arranged marriage, battling with ordinariness and no magical powers, it is mainly her decisions that propel the story forward.
It’s interesting. It’s long. It is epic on the world building. Your own milage may vary, depending on whether you can get through the first book, which is a little over plotted. I am on the 4th one currently, but set it aside from reader fatigue. I may pick it back up.
A+ Bestie: The Reluctant Bachelorette, Rachael Anderson.
A new-to-bluecastle author. Anderson writes a sweet romance that takes an over-used plot device (bachelorette show) and breathes new life into it.
Taycee is shanghaied into being the bachelorette on an online fundraiser to save Shelter Springs. (She is the obliging A+ bestie). Luke Carney is a veterinarian who decided to move back home. He is one of 12 bachelors who have to vie for Taycee.
There are a few twists in the run-of-the-mill plot that make is sparkle and Annderson write small-town romance and character really well.
Definitely worth checking out.
Homecoming: Inland Paradise Joyce Dingwell.
After my August TBR, I had such high hopes for this one. Such promise this held. Such disappointment ensued.
I can’t even begin to articulate my sads at this badly done girl-dressed-as-boy trope.
A rather unique dystopian debut from McCoy. It’s 2256, People live in sewers to escape the Cull: genetically spliced bug people. One abduction later and Syl (heroine) is gene-spliced, slowly turning her into Evil_Bug. She escapes to find a cure and instead finds an entire civilisation of androids who aren’t allowed to have any feelings.
Meet Bastion: an android sex worker. (Yeah, even as I write this I am aware it sounds RIDICULOUS) who unfortunately HAS said illegal feelings. There are rescue plots and android murders galore. Romance is only barely there, and despite the sex working industry, practically no sex.
It is convoluted and at times feels like a weird mash up of the Hunger Games and Ann Aguirre’s Razorland series, and Yancy’s 5th Wave, but with a whole lot of ‘other’ thrown in. A testament to McCoy’s writing, that even with all that, it’s still an enjoyable read.
I like. I am waiting for the next.
Soft Focus: The Innocent & The Playboy, Sophie Weston.
I am not a huge fan of titles that involve ‘The [something] And The [something]’
The laziness of it irks me. It makes me think some publisher has yelled at their long-suffering assistant: ’Quick tell me what’s trending in ROMANCE right now in 30 secs’ and the answer has been – ‘well there’s this thing for virgin-flight-attendants-with-only-one-leg and sheiks – sheiks are hot right now.….And bonus – we also have a title.’
BUT this is delightful swoony addition to the Sophie Weston catalogue (of which I am a 89% fan) A little dated, and the plot is a bit stoopid – but dang, can Weston write!
Rachel had a run-in (of the kissy-kissy kind) with Riccardo di Stefano when she was 18. It ended badly and she resolved to put it all behind. Now, 9 yrs later he is head of a multinational company, threatening to buy out the corporation where Rachel works.
Lots of lingering looks and sparks flying – but Rachel is no wilting lily – she has no compunction in telling Di Stefano where to go, and does it with panache. With the addition of two well-rounded and interesting step-children, this is a not-your-run-of-the-mill virgin/playboy drama-llama. I liked.
So. Lessons learnt. Next month I will attempt to fill out the BINGO card as I finish the books. Much more likely to win that way. My fingers and toes are crossed.
Valancy: thinking about putting a bracket cap in place, because looking back over this post – one can sense a definite over-use. Again.
(Not that there’s anything wrong with that…)
Header Image: E. Phillips Fox, A Love Story, 1903, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Ballarat, Australia