This post is a follow up to my earlier Books I’ve Read This Year – Q1 (which was inspired by Maggie’s post documenting all the books she read during 2014). Sadly, I haven’t had much time to ready any new books over the past month; most of this list is the result of a week-long beach vacation in March, during which I read a book a day. These days, I’m spending all my time working or house-hunting, which is even more stressful than work and takes up almost as much of my time. (Thank goodness pot is legal in Denver, otherwise I’m not sure I’d sleep at night – just kidding! Mostly. But that’s another story for another day.)
Aimee Leduc Investigation books 3 – 7 (Murder…in the Sentier, in the Bastille, in Clichy, in Montmartre, on the Ile Saint-Louis) by Cara Black. Rating: just the right amount of predictable. The first two books of this series were included in my earlier post. While there’s nothing groundbreaking about the series (the lead character, Aimee, swears she’ll stay away from police investigations and focus on the cyber security business she has with her partner Renee, but inevitably gets pulled into murder investigations anyway), the plot lines are absorbing, the characters are likable, and the descriptions of Paris make me want to travel back. They’re great beach/pool reads; perfect for when you want to be entertained, not necessarily educated or surprised.
The Golden Key by Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Roberson, and Kate Elliott. Rating: highly recommended, if you have the time. At a whopping 912 pages (which I didn’t realize when I downloaded to my Kindle), this book took me awhile to get through. In the fictional world of Tira Virte, contracts are painted, not written, placing the artistic Grijalva family in a uniquely essential position in society. When a talented young painter discovers lost magic, he becomes powerful beyond his wildest dreams. The story spans centuries and weaves in various story-lines skillfully, introducing new characters and tackling issues like arranged marriage, discrimination, coming of age, familial loyalty, religion, and class oppression. My favorite part of the book was the character development – people were neither wholly good nor wholly bad, they were simply people making choices.
Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal. Rating: not what I expected at all; pass. This book showed up on my “Amazon Recommendations” list, and based on Amazon’s description, I gave it a shot. “Shades of Milk and Honey is exactly what we could expect from Jane Austen if she had been a fantasy writer: Pride and Prejudice meets Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. It is an intimate portrait of a woman, Jane, and her quest for love in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality.” I guess I should have read a bit further, because it turns out this was romance novel, not a sci-fi book. Maybe the Jane Austen reference should have clued me in? Or the sappy title? There were a lot of clues here, not sure why I thought this was a good purchase.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Rating: pure childhood bliss. This was one of my absolute favorite movies growing up, and I can’t believe I hadn’t read the book until now. It’s the famous story of spoiled, unloved children learning to love a garden and each other. The characters are realistic, quirky, kind, and a little bit magical. I love this book. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy. I will stop gushing now. But seriously, go read it now.