Monday, June 29, 2020

What I've been reading in between picking strawberries and raspberries

 I've read some good stuff lately, but none of it has inspired me to write a blog post, for various reasons. I can still recommend the books, though, so a round-up post seems the way to go.

Deeplight, by Frances Hardinge, is a Frances Hardinge book, so it's gorgeously written and crazy imaginative and full of deep understanding of the human psyche. It was a difficult book for me to read for two reasons: it verges a little too close to horror, with some really weird, grotesque, possibly Lovecraft-inspired but really even weirder monsters. I like it when fantasy is delightful, and these guys were not. At all. But if you're into creepy and twisted and intriguing, you'll probably find them a lot of fun. (Hardinge and Ursula Vernon (when she's T. Kingfisher) should design a steampunk-horror theme-park. I wouldn't go, but it would be awesomely cool!) The other reason I found this an uncomfortable read is there's a very well-depicted emotionally abusive relationship. I will say that the resolution of it is both realistic and satisfying (see "deep understanding of the human psyche"), but there were bits at the beginning I really didn't enjoy. A very good book that I appreciated but that I likely won't read again, unlike most of Hardinge's books, which I loved and—actually, now that I think of it, I don't think I've re-read any of her books. Possibly because they are all very dense, and I usually choose to reread light and easy reads. Anyway, you should read Brandy's review of Deeplight, because she does a great job of explaining what's so wonderful about it!

Call Down the Hawk, by Maggie Stiefvater. This is the first of her trilogy about the Lynch brothers, and if you've read and enjoyed her Raven Cycle, then you have to read this book and you will love it, because Ronan. Also Declan, who I didn't love before but now I do. And Matthew, who, ah, my heart! If you haven't read the Raven Cycle, you should just go do that, and then you will want to read this, so I don't have to tell you anything, really. I was not as enthused about the bad guy characters as I was about the Grey Man in Dream Thieves, and I felt ... ambivalent about Jordan Hennessy. But yeah, it was awesome, and I need the next book now.

The Physicians of Vilnoc, by Lois McMaster Bujold. The latest Penric and Desdemona novella, and it is predictably good, though not my favourite. I felt pretty much the same way as Rachel Neumeier about it. But it's always a treat to get another episode of our favourite sorcerer and his chaos demon.

Three fun romances: Well Met, by Jen DeLuca, cute, cozy hate-to-love story set in a small town with a Renaissance Faire; The Bromance Book Club, which delivers on its hilarious premise (bunch of guys reading romance novels to learn how to rescue their relationships); and Bringing Down the Duke, about sparks flying between a suffragette and, well, a duke. Looking forward to the sequels of all of them.

And here are some of my berries!