I didn’t write a What I Read: 2014 Edition in December, because I was run ragged after my winter finals, working, and trying to get back into a writing routine since returning to school, so I’m writing a mini-Edition now. My last year in this program starts this week, and I didn’t want the entire summer to go by without writing something on my blog (follow me on Twitter, I’m very good at expressing myself in 140 characters or less), and I made up for lost time, reading-wise, since my break started. I checked my 2015 book spreadsheet (yes, I still have one of those), and I read 38 books between May 1st and August 31st. Daaaamn, I can’t believe I read that much, either.
My usual What I Read rules apply: I only write about the books I enjoyed. There were not-so-good ones in the bunch, of course, but this isn’t a book review blog and I don’t throw shade at books online. I don’t post spoilers; however, all links lead to Goodreads, and they happen over there sometimes. I also read a lot of romance this summer, and I seem to have finally developed a taste for the New Adult subgenre. Trust me, I was just as surprised to find out that Last Hit wasn’t a fluke.
Unbelonging and Rebelonging, Sabrina Stark
These two showed up in my Kindle Recommended Reads (or whatever it’s called), and they were totally over-the-top and very fun. There are a couple of tired-out tropes in New Adult romance here: the hero, Lawton is a self-made millionaire bad boy and the heroine, Chloe a waitress and housesitter looking after a home in his upmarket neighbourhood. It’s been done before, but Ms. Stark makes it work, makes it fresh, and makes both situations believable. Lawton’s kind of a d-bag for a big chunk of the first novel (it ends on a cliffhanger, which is why I included Rebelonging in this listicle, and I think the cost for both full-length novels is something like $6, so go buy them) (a d-bag hero is also a common trope in NA), but I really liked Chloe, who redeemed both books for me. She isn’t a doormat, but she also picks her battles carefully, particularly when dealing with her family and boss from hell. They’re fun summer reads, as were the other books loosely connected to Lawton and Chloe’s story (Illegal Fortunes, Jaked and Jake Me).
The Do-Over, M.K. Schiller
I had to decide which book of M.K. Schiller’s I was going to post here, and I went with the first one I read (I loved A Girl By Any Other Name and The Other C-Word as well). It wouldn’t have been something I would have usually read going by the blurb, but I downloaded a sample (thank you, Kindle, so much better than Kobo!) and…yeah, the back cover copy doesn’t do this book justice. We have another tool of a hero, but Kyle knows about and is very upfront about his being a tool, and Lanie acknowledges it and accepts it right from the beginning of their “fake” relationship (I’m sure you can see where this is going). What I really liked about both characters was that they didn’t change each other; they changed for the better on their own while faking it as a couple.
Malevolent, Jana DeLeon
I really enjoyed the Miss Fortune mystery series, and I was not disappointed with the first volume of Shaye Archer. Malevolent is much darker than anything set in Sinful, Louisiana, which tend to be light, very funny cozy mysteries. In this new series, we’re introduced to Shaye Archer, a 24-year-old a brand-new PI with no memory of the first 15 years of her life: the age she was found wandering around New Orleans with obvious physical trauma and total amnesia. As soon as she moves into her new office, she takes on a stalking case with a twist. Her client, Emma, is being harassed by her abusive husband…except the husband is dead. This isn’t a paranormal story (just throwing that out there now), it keeps the reader guessing until the end, and it really reaffirmed how much I love a good mystery.
NOS4A2, Joe Hill
This has been on my TBR list for what feels like forever, and it was worth the wait. I’d already read a bunch of his short stories (“Thumbprint” and “Twittering From the Circus of the Dead” are recommended by yours truly) and Heart-Shaped Box and while comparisons to Stephen King are valid, Joe Hill is very much a force to be reckoned with. I didn’t know when I bought it that NOS4A2 is a vampire story, which is a good thing as I probably would’ve been reluctant to read it (I’ve said before how picky I am about my vampires). It focuses on Vic McQueen, who discovers her supernatural talent for finding lost things at a very young age, using her bike and a covered bridge only she can access. She isn’t the only person who has these kinds of abilities, as she finds out the hard way when she meets and escapes from Charles Talent Manx, a child kidnapper whose 1938 Rolls-Royce can do similar things as her bike. Rather than a covered bridge, his car takes children to Christmasland, which…well, it’s horrifying. Manx wasn’t even the most terrifying part of the book for me; that honor (??) goes to the Gasmask Man. It freaked me out to walk home when it got dark out thanks to him.