What the Wenches Are Reading
Our month off was pretty productive, with lots of books read from a whole host on genres! Click through to see what we've been up to, and share what you've been reading, in the comments or on one of our social media pages. Welcome back, Saucy Readers!
Angela: Over the break I’ve done a ton of reading. I started a new series by Anna Lee Huber, The Anatomist’s Wife (Lady Darby #1) and Mortal Arts (Lady Darby #2). I quite like the relationship dynamics so far in the series, although the mystery in Mortal Arts was a little too predictable for my liking. I’m now up to date after reading The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastards #3) by Scott Lynch. It was okay, though a touch overlong for my liking. It easily could have been a good 200 pages shorter, and the chapters set in the past were a slog. House of Chains (Malazan Book of the Fallen #4) by Steven Erikson was a great read, but slightly let down by a more lacklustre ending. I’m still in love with the series over all. Thunder Bay (Cork O’Connor #7) by William Kent Krueger was my favourite read over the break. Easily a five-star read and just a wonderful contemporary mystery series. It goes from strength to strength. I read two more first-in-series books. First was House of the Rising Sun (Crescent City #1) by Kristen Painter. The book didn’t have enough special pizzaz for me to want to continue. It takes something pretty special in urban fantasy to hook me these days, and this book didn’t have that magic ingredient to make we want to read the next installment. Malice (The Faithful and the Fallen #1) by John Gwynne was an excellent first-in-series fantasy book. Compelling characters and fast-paced action in the latter half of the book. After closing the last page, I was keen to carry on with the series. I have to wait to September, as I’ve promised to read the series as a buddy read.
Anne: I read quite a bit during our summer break. I reread Wildfire and Into the Fire, plus a lot of fanfiction. I listened to Half-Blood Prince, Fire Touched in the Mercy Thompson series, and my husband and I listened to the Fifth Wave series on our road trip to Florida and back. I also started the Deathly Hallows. I will also be rereading the Devil's Isle series soon in anticipation of the release of book #3, The Hunt.
Barb: I think that six and a half books since we've been on break isn't too shabby. My theme seemed to be Dark Romance, although none of them were quite as visceral as my first few dark reads that have stuck with me for years, but interesting diversions nonetheless. First was Deviant by Natasha Night. It was okay; the main relationship was very not my cup of tea, but the writing was interesting and the plot gripping. Next up was Wanderlust by Skye Warren. I couldn't put that book down but the "relationship" was super problematic. The bottom line is that the relationship started with rape, there was at least one more rape, but I ended up understanding why he did what he did. Not condoning it, by any means! But I understood. You know, I find it good writing when an author can make me understand stuff I hate, so bravo, Ms. Warren. Next I finally read the final book in Sylvia Day's Crossfire series, One with You. It was a whole pile of blah for me and, frankly, I'm glad that series is done. I doubt that I will remember anything about these characters in a year. Next was Prisoner by Sky Warren and Annika Martin. This was my favorite Skye Warren book, deeper and darker, less problematic but ultimately a great story with a couple I couldn't help rooting for. Next was Debt by Nina G. Jones, a book I've been meaning to read since I first discovered the genre. This was was twistier than a mountain road, brutal and horrifying but with an underpinning of love and redemption. Not the very best dark romance I've ever read, but an enjoyable dark romance that checks all the boxes. Now. The very best book I read over break was not a dark romance, but just a regular contemporary romance, Porn Star by Sierra Simone and Laurelin Paige. This book was superb. A pretty much perfect contemporary romance, equally balanced with filth and life lessons, memorable quotes and a believable, organic relationship that keeps you rooting for the idiotic couple through the end. Absolutely wonderful. Right now I'm reading another Skye Warren book, Deep, as well as an anthology of fairy tale retellings, Glamour.
Care: This summer has been a bit of a whirlwind for me. Each time I thought I knew which way was up... it changed again. I'm not too terribly pleased about that, as it's not only stressful, but it's not good at leaving free time to read! I did, however, manage to get through Curly Girl: The Handbook, which has, at this point, left me with prettier hair than I've ever had in July and August!
Donna: I don't think I'm alone in announcing that I'm currently reading Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. The fantastic television adaption recently concluded Season 1 and has been nominated for multiple Emmys. Atwood's masterpiece has never been more relevant and is striking a chord with so many people.
Kathi: I enjoyed an eclectic mix of fantasy during July. Each book was completely different, yet completely engrossing, so I feel like I’ve been on several more vacations than the one I physically went on. The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter was a clever, entertaining, and humorous spin on some classic horror favorites (review coming soon). Sleeper was a fast-paced YA espionage adventure written by a co-worker and set in London during WWII (review coming before too long). American War speculated about the second U.S. Civil War, 2074–2095 (review coming when I can get around to it). And last, but not least, and a desperately needed dose of comfort to offset wartime horrors, A Fugitive Green was the Outlander short story/novella I’ve been waiting on that explained how Lord John’s brother Hal met his future wife Minnie, when she led a life of intrigue as a procurer of saleable information and he had a stash of scandalous letters. I’ve been verra curious about her surprising past ever since Hal made some bawdy references in The Scottish Prisoner about their meeting. This story and others appear in the recently released anthology Seven Stones to Stand or Fall, which I’ll continue reading.
Merit: Having an excruciating backache for 2 weeks enabled me to read a lot. First I read Trickery (Curse of the Gods#1) by Jaymin Eve. A clumsy heroine in a fantasy world build on classes, from servants to gods, and mythology, five drop-dead looking guys and a lot of fun reading. I admit that the gorgeous book cover was what really drew me to The Last Necromancer (The Ministry of Curiosities #1) by C.J. Archer, set in Victorian London, this YA fantasy started so well and intriguing, something didn’t add up for me in the end, still a good story with a surprising side kick. Next book is The Siren (The Original Sinners #1) a contemporary BDSM romance. I’m not sure “romance” is the right term. This may go beyond your comfort zone, an exploration of deep emotions, broken people, love, hate and trust. I really loved it. My list continue with Slouch Witch and Star Witch, books #1 & 2 in The Lazy Girl's Guide to Magic series by Helen Harper. I started reading it because of the series name and ended up laughing all the way. Light urban fantasy,murders mysteries, a sexy but stiff, incompliant hero and an hilarious, clever talking cat. Great summer read. Now, I'm reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, quite a different story. This one is a geeky sci-fi, dystopia ? utopia? I don't know yet. If you love video games and grew up in the 80s, this is the place to be.
Shau: I've read Suzanne Wright's Fierce Obsessions (The Phoenix Pack #6), Elizabeth Peters's The Curse of the Pharaohs (Amelia Peabody #2), and I'm currently reading Ilona Andrews's Wildfire. Busy busy busy.
Zee: I haven't got nearly as much reading done as I would have liked. There were a few I could not finish, Lori Foster's Fighting Dirty was so promising, but I just found myself skipping pages, although I might give it another go, Wicked Fall was just not interesting enough, and Strip was just... bad. Then there were a few fun smutty books Sosie Frost's Sweetest Sin, Lauren Blakely's novella Out of Bounds, Victoria Dahl's Talk Me Down and Harlot, and probably the most fun of the bunch, Laurelin Paige and Sierra Simone's Porn Star. I was in the mood for a good thriller after rewatching a lot of Hannibal (which I cannot recommend highly enough) and read Will Lavender's Dominance, and I really did enjoy the suspense. There's nothing like a good thriller. I started Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me, it comes so highly recommended but I think it wasn't the right fit for my mood so I haven't gotten past the first couple of chapters yet. I also finally got around to Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series, I've only read the first one, Darkest Night, and as much as the mythology intrigued me, it was too much like Black Dagger Brotherhood for me to want to invest myself in the series. Someone on twitter suggested Whitney G's Sincerely, Carter. And you guys, I loved it so much even though I wasn't sure about it initially. I read the short sequel novella to it, Sincerely, Arizona, which I also loved. I just finished Aliyah Burke's What The Earl Desires, and am now reading Christie Kelley's Every Night I'm Yours. I think that's pretty much it. I have Liane Moriarty's Three Wishes up next on my list.