Hot Attraction (Lisa Childs, 2016)

hot attraction

Why did you choose this book?

I’m trying to read through a variety of Harlequins to get a sense of the differences between imprints.  So far I’ve tried Special Edition, Presents, and Blaze.  I didn’t review the Special Edition but suffice it to say it was a little too bland and cheesy for me.  My favorite so far is Presents.

What’s it about?

Reporter Avery Kincaid is looking for a story while spending some time in her hometown.  Elite Hotshot firefighter Dawson Hess is putting out forest fires, saving lives, and trying to keep to himself.  After he rescues Avery’s nephews from a fire, he’s on her radar and she won’t let him get away without giving her a scoop!

Categories

Harlequin Blaze, romance

Other recommended reads?

Besides the other entries in this series?  I would try authors known for their steamy romance like Maya Banks or Lora Leigh.

Review

My favorite is still Presents, of the Harlequins I’ve tried so far.  This one was mostly romance and not much plot, which I guess is why you read a Blaze in the first place.  My major issue is that the plot revolves around an arsonist (who tries to kill Avery multiple times), yet no one investigates to determine the arsonist’s identity.  He or she is still unknown at the end of the book.  Unless they unveil the arsonist in another volume of the Hotshot Heroes series, I feel that’s a very unsatisfying conclusion.  I also thought it was unrealistic for Dawson to remain on that Hotshot team after his past is revealed.

Up next?

We have two choices:

Dead Presidents by Brady Carlson

Devoured by Sophie Egan

 

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Passenger (Alexandra Bracken, 2016)

passenger.jpg

Why did you choose this book?

Partially for the premise, but primarily for the cover.  So stunning!

What’s it about?

Teenage Etta steps onto the stage at the Met for her first solo violin performance with a full orchestra.  As she begins to play, she is interrupted by overwhelming feedback only she can hear.  Another musician grabs her and pushes her through a portal, where she awakens in a ship’s cabin with a frantic battle and roaring cannon fire overhead.  To give you the basic premise, the head of the travelers is a ruthless grandfather-type-figure who is holding Etta’s mother hostage and will harm her unless Etta returns in a week with an astrolabe that can be used to further his power.

Bracken has a fascinating premise in these books.  Essentially, there were four families of “travelers” who could use passages throughout the world to travel through both time and space.  These four families have now been consolidated into one under the power of “Grandfather.”  The passages are an intriguing idea.  The passage in the Met of 2015 leads to 1776 Nassau.  Passages only connect two times and places, however, so to get to, say, mid-1500s Damascus, travelers would have to take multiple specific passages.  It’s mind-boggling, especially because travelers have to keep track of their movements to avoid crossing paths with themselves.

Categories

Fantasy, teen, time travel

Other recommended reads?

Although it doesn’t have daemons, the portals in this book reminded me of those in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series.

Review

I started to lose interest toward the end, but it’s a smart and engaging fantasy.  I appreciated the fact that there were no magical powers and the passages were the only fantastical element.  It was also an intelligent read for teenagers and didn’t over-simplify, though I certainly wish that the characters had spent more time getting immersed in many of the eras to which they traveled.  The second book is due out next year and is entitled Wayfarer.

Up next?

Hot Attraction by Lisa Childs

Funny Girl (Nick Hornby, 2015)

funny girl

Why did you choose this book?

A short, sweet answer: July Fiction Book Discussion Pick!

What’s it about?

Barbara from Blackpool is determined to become the next Lucille Ball.  She turns down the title of Miss Blackpool and heads to London, where a chance encounter with an agent and a lucky break at casting lead to a sitcom that makes her a national idol.

Categories

Fiction, beach read, British humor

Other recommended reads?

Other Hornby books.  He’s written several and has a very unique writing style, of which I just can’t get enough!

Review

I liked this much more than I expected to.  The book isn’t completely about the female protagonist, but also her male co-star, her shy and sweet producer, and the pair of writers struggling in marriages of different sorts.  I liked all of the supporting characters (except maybe Bill – he was quite gruff), and I’m sure that I failed to understand some of the distinctly British humor, but it was an enjoyable, quick read that I devoured over Independence Day weekend (I’m a bit behind on posting, I know).  I’m now inspired to try some of Hornby’s other books.  I also really liked the format.  It was separated into chapters by the series of the TV show, and after the show ended, it skipped several decades and provided a fitting and satisfying epilogue.

Up next?

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction (Neil Gaiman, 2016)

cheap seats

Why did you choose this book?

I’ve been meaning to read Gaiman for quite some time now, and my favorite yearly reading challenge asked for a collection of essays.  This seemed as good an option as any, though I did fail to realize it was over 500 pages long until after picking it up from the library.

What’s it about?

It is, most simply, a collection of written speeches and essays by a well-known author.  Most have to do with art, comics, literature, film, and other authors.

Categories

Nonfiction, essays

Other recommended reads?

Probably authorial memoirs.  The one jumping to mind is In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri and Ann Goldstein, though I can’t say why exactly.

Review

My interest in these pieces waned and waxed in accordance with the topic of each section.  I certainly learned a few new things, and if I wasn’t interested in the topic, it was nice that the pieces were fairly short and diverse.  There was one anecdote that cracked me up completely.  Gaiman recounts his experience at the Oscars, when he was in line behind a woman in a beautiful watercolor dress (Rachel McAdams).  Someone stepped on her dress.  She stopped for a photo, and he used the time to inspect her dress for footprints.  Much to his surprise, a photo of her graced the cover of The Guardian, with him front and center, staring at her dress in rapt concentration.

Up next?

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby

The Infidel Stain (MJ Carter, 2016)

infidel stain

First, an announcement!  The blog has been online for a full year now.  Thank you to everyone who reads these posts and follows the blog.  Now, onward to more biblioventuring!

Why did you choose this book?

I won this book from a Goodreads First Reads giveaway, in audiobook format.

What’s it about?

Blake and Avery were comrades in the British military during the occupation of India.  This is the second novel in the series, and I did not read the first, entitled The Strangler Vine.  Blake works as a private inquiry agent and dons various disguises to investigate a variety of crimes.  Avery has settled into domestic life, with his wife expecting their first child at their country estate.  The two are reunited to dig into the matter of a pair of printers, grotesquely murdered and arranged very specifically over their presses.

Categories

Historical mystery, London, 1800s

Other recommended reads?

This is a harder question for me, since I don’t typically read mysteries involving a pair of detectives.  The best British historical mystery I’ve read lately was A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn, which may be one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Review

Admittedly, my perspective of this book may be a bit different since I listened to it, rather than reading it.  That being said, I struggled with understanding the narrator at points and found some of his accents rather odd.  More importantly, this was a novel that involved an extremely large quantity of dialogue and rather less action and investigation.  A very “talky” mystery.  A good read, but not one of those you are compelled to finish in one sitting.

Up next?

The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman