August novels: reviews

The photo shows the front of our house in August.

I read a lot of novels in August – mostly in the back garden over extended lunches under our parasol. Apparently, I didn’t read any short stories or fanfiction. That shouldn’t surprise me, really, because having reached the end of my long tbr list I haven’t (yet) started downloading like a maniac again!

It occurs to me that I ought to explore in more depth what makes books truly memorable (or not) for me and that will probably be my next post. Meanwhile, here are August’s recs and non-recs.

Two superb:

War for the Oaks by Emma Bull***** A gorgeous urban fantasy written in 1987 and considered seminal in the genre. Exciting, beautiful and romantic (m/f).

Subtle Blood by KJ Charles***** A totally gripping end to the Will Darling mm inter-war spy trilogy. The story would make a good film. I won’t give any spoilers here. I also read the short interlude To Trust a Man on his Oath, sent as a pdf in her newsletter and that was a lovely prequel to this novel.

Seven extremely good:

Jared by RJ Scott**** (Boyfriend for hire Book 4) An endearing story about a young boy trying to rent a boyfriend for his widowed father.

Winter Cowboy by RJ Scott****Daniel and Micah and a lot of angst.

Summer Drifter by RJ Scott**** Continues the story of Micah and his sister but adds Quinn and Levi for another angsty romance – with horses on the ranch. I make no apologies for the number of RJ Scott books here – this author can be trusted to deliver an interesting and exciting story, beautifully told.

A deal with the elf king by Elise Kova**** Luella is chosen as the new human queen and must come to terms with her elvish husband and the problems of both their lands. Nice magic and well developed characters. There’s a series, but the book is adequately standalone.

Stranger at the Dower House by Mary Kingswood**** Murder and fraud (not associated with each other) wrapped up in Regency romance. A good read if you have no Heyers to re-read. Some echoes of Austen, but faint.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen**** (re-read). The satire seems a bit heavy handed on a second or third reading. Not sure if that’s my tastes changing or whether satire (and other humour) works best when completely fresh. Take note, writers in this group of reviews, that I’m comparing you with Austen…

Love’s Legacy by Blake Allwood**** Two young men inherit, respectively, a motel and a ranch. There are family problems to grapple with and some violence, as well as their growing attraction to each other. A nicely rounded story with excellent minor characters and some good world building.

Six readable but not specifically recommended:

The House in the Woods by Mark Dawson *** Combined police procedural and PI investigation. Rather long winded and I never really took to any of the characters. First in the Atticus Priest series but I won’t be looking for the sequel.

The First Time Ever by L M Krier*** Police procedural (book 1 of a series) which has a gay detective and some nice local detail (set in Stockport) but the dramatic highpoints are muted and there is too much fairly mundane police station stuff.

Her Missing Daughter *** by DS Butler. Some poor writing and proofing. In the final all-action scenes there’s a sudden switch from 1st person to 3rd. We don’t know the dog’s breed till the epilogue. The plot hinges on the villain being insane. I read to the end because I wanted to know who dunnit but then wished I hadn’t bothered. This author comes highly recommended by the UK Crime Book Club but I don’t really know why.

A quiet place to kill by NR Davis*** Set on a WWII airbase. Another one with a mad villain. . A series is promised/threatened

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black*** Great world building, but I disliked all the characters intensely, so I won’t be reading the second volume (The Wicked King) of The Folk of the Air. Scrapes into Urban Fantasy by a whisker, but mostly set in a modern fairyland.

Serial by Casey Hill*** Forensic investigation that is mostly boring and occasionally unrealistically exciting. .

Two abandoned, but not because the books themselves deserve criticism:

Turning Point by Jeffrey Deaver. The story follows the criminal rather than the investigators so doesn’t appeal to me.

More than this by Alexa Milne. The book starts with sex (f/f) between largely unknown protagonists so I put it down. I need to know the characters before I can read explicit scenes.

I know perfectly well that both these books will appeal to a lot of people and both authors are good writers. It was just that in these instances, their work was not for me.

2 thoughts on “August novels: reviews

  1. I know Northanger Abbey involves satire/humour because I was frequently told so when studying it for O-level. Even though I’ve reread it since, it’s forever tainted by my teenage dislike.
    I don’t like the villain being mad being the explanation.

  2. It’s certainly not my favourite of Austen’s books! In fact, I only really love Emma and Pride and Prejudice. I can’t imagine doing Northanger Abbey for O-level but then we did The History of Mr Polly which was dire.
    I feel cheated, somehow, when the villains are insane. It seems such a cop-out.

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