It’s a pity peonies are so fragile and short-lived. Still, they’re glorious while they last.
June was a good month for novels, a lot of them read in the garden, near the peony!
Agent Running in the Field by John le Carré*****
This is le Carré’s last book, published or at least ready for publication shortly before his death last year. The title is slightly puzzling till you realise it should read something like ‘agent-running: in the field’. It’s an absorbing novel about spies and spying rather than about a specific incident, though there’s a very specific new agent in view. Excellent writing and an exciting conclusion. Recommended. (This was a requested Christmas present though it took me ages to get round to reading it.)
Cinder by Marie Sexton*****
A really lovely mm version of Cinderella. If you like alternative fairy tales this is one to treasure.
Job Hunt by Jackie Keswick*****
The first of the Power of Zero books to take place once Jack is grown up. This is the one that begins Jack’s relationship with Gareth and tells how they found Nico and Dan. The whole series, based around a found family theme, is full of intriguing characters with amazing back stories. I had read the books about Jack’s teenage years and was delighted (though not really surprised) to find this one just as good.
Spencer Cohen by NR Walker**** (Spencer Cohen series 1)
A lovely start to a new series by a really good author. I shall be following this series about Spencer, who plays ‘new lover’ to help finalise decisions about relationships.
The bucket list by RJ Scott****
A slightly too sweet story about Jason coming to terms with his brother’s death, helped by his blossoming relationship with Mark. Did Andrew mean them to get together? I enjoy RJ Scott’s writing.
The Gardener and the Marine by RJ Scott.****
Possibly a novella rather than a novel, first published as a serial in her weekly newsletter. A nice look at PTSD and memory loss. I looked forward to the weekly updates and I think she is going to publish it as a ‘whole’.
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen**** (re-read).
Not my favourite Austen. I hadn’t re-read it for years and wondered why; I couldn’t quite remember the plot. The social commentary is as sharp as ever and the details are fascinating, but I don’t empathise with the heroine who is too good (and prudish) to be true and I don’t like the way the final romance is told rather than shown, in haste in the final chapter.
Marked by death by Kaje Harper****
An excellent story about magic users Darien and Silas. Misses five stars simply because of the focus on demons which don’t really appeal to my reading tastes – for anyone who likes them, go for this!
Accused by Leona Windwalker****
Space, aliens, mpreg, slavery etc. etc. However, I was so curious to know what happened to Matty and Duane that I also read Judged, the sequel. Lots of space opera and I think the series is ongoing but I got tired of the eventually saccharine alien/human relationships and decided the ending of book 2 was sufficiently satisfactory.
Chance to be King by Sue Brown****
A good mm romance story with thriller elements. I must say I always like romance novels to have something else as well. Well written.
Lost and found by Rick R Reed***
A sweet story about a dog that is lost and found; in the process he brings Flynn and Mac together despite a rocky start. Barley (a.k.a Hamburger) steals the show.
Wild Retaliation by Ethan Stone***
A shifter cop thriller which is something that I usually enjoy but this was a bit too short so that we didn’t really get to know the characters. The case was interesting but there were not nearly enough clues for the reader to follow.
I didn’t read anything dire in June but I did give up on a few books, not because of the way they were written but because the contents didn’t appeal to me.
Hunger makes the wolf by Alex Wells.
Sci fi but still an army/mercenary story. Not for me and I gave up fairly quickly. I think I’d expected a shifter story…
A Magical Team by Edward Kendrick.
A police team of magic users dedicated to catching criminals who evade normal capture. Boring and slightly distasteful – they seemed about as bad as the villains.
The Intersect by Brad Graber.
A novel about the way lives intersect. It’s a theme that can be fantastic (e.g. Girl, Woman, Other) but I found all the characters in this totally boring and abandoned them.