Not long ago, a friend asked me what books I had been reading lately – and apart from one or two that had left a strong impact – I had trouble remembering all the books I had read. She suggested it would be nice to have some sort of record of the books one read – and she was right.
So – I have decided to begin a regular “my month in books” post.
I’ll talk about some of the books I’ve read – what I liked and didn’t like about them – and maybe even nominate the best book of the month.
September started on a flight from NYC to London. I always take a paper book as well as my Kindle in flights – for those take-off and landing moments when you have to turn off the e-reader. I have no desire to be stuck circling JFK airport for 40 minutes with the Kindle turned off and nothing else to read.
I did a lot of travelling in September… so a lot of aircraft reading.
Here’s a selection of them.
The Exile of Sarah Stevenson by Darci Hannah is set in 1814 and follows the fortunes of the pregnant and disgraced daughter of celebrated Scottish lighthouse designer Robert Stevenson.
There’s a time slip element to this book – and it is very well written.
I liked the developing romance between the girl and the damaged and slightly frightening lighthouse keeper.
At times it was a little slow moving, but every time I thought to set it aside, I just couldn’t do it. I had to see how it ended. It’s not the best book I have ever read, but it was still an enjoyable read.
Jeffrey Deaver followed – The Burning Wire.
This is another in the series featuring crippled detective Lincoln Rhyme – played so well by Denzel Washington in the film of the first book – The Bone Collector. I still see Denzel in my head when I read the books.
As always, it’s a great plot, fast moving and utterly believable… but I did not like the last chapter.
No spoilers – but he did something to Lincoln which, in my opinion, makes the character less interesting.
I don’t know if he is planning another Rhyme novel, but I would be reluctant to go any further – because it will have lost something for me.
However, I am slightly intrugued by his new series character – Kathryn Dance, so I may be going that route with the next Deaver book.
I tend to avoid books that are really hyped in the media – at least until the fuss has died down a bit. But this month, I finally gave in the all the hype and started reading the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy.
I am not a reader of erotica. Don’t get me wrong – I like an erotic love scene as part of a wider story. But erotica for it’sown sake leaves me a bit – bored really.
I downloaded the free ‘teaser’ sample onto my Kindle. I often do this if I’m not sure I will like a book. I read the sample – about the first 50 pages of the book… and felt no desire to read on.
I knew in advance (who doesn’t) that this book had started as Twilight fan-fic. When I read the first Twilight book, I couldn’t put it down. It captivated me. No so this one. The character traits that I found interesting and appealing in teenage Bella Swan were not so appealing in a grown woman. The flaws that were intriguing in a teenage vampire who has been around for almost a century did not work for a late twenty-something businessman.
This isn’t sour grapes – good for Ms James and the success she has had. Any author who encourages people to take up reading does us all some good. But I have to say this one was not for me.
For some reason, this was a month of historical reads for me.
I heard Madeline Hunter speak at an RWA conference and picked up two of her books as give-a-ways. I don’t usually read Regency novels – not quite my cup of tea, but I enjoyed her talk and was willing to give her a chance.
I read Provocative in Pearls a little while ago – and enjoyed it enough to give Ravishing in Red a try. That is, or course, reading them in the wrong order – but that didn’t matter. Each help up in it’s own right.
I enjoyed both more than I expected – mostly I think because of the rather dark and fabulous heroes.
I might just give the next book a try – although as I am not usually a fan of Regency romance, I don’t know if that is a good or bad review?
And now to THE book of the month…
(Drum roll please)
There was no question for me on this one. The Scarlet Kimono by Christina Courtenay. Another historical.
Now – full disclosure here – the author is a friend of mine – and that’s why I started reading the book. It took me two pages to forget this was written by a friend – and just totally lose myself in the story.
I LOVED it!
Christina paints a fascinating portrait of Japan just opening up to western traders in the early 1600s. It’s not a part of history I am very familiar with – and I very quickly found myself transported.
There are two clashes here – the first is, or course, the clash of cultures between the English traders and the Japanese. But our hero and heroine are also facing their own inner culture conflicts. Both are intelligent and thoughtful people who find themselves forced to re-evaluate the things they have been taught all their lives.
I was totally on the heroine’s side – enjoying her adventure – and her struggle to find a way to marry the clash of cultures. And, simply put, the hero is to DIE for! I very much liked the fact that I just couldn’t see how the conflict was going to be resolved. When it was – it was a perfect solution. But right until the last moment, I didn’t see it coming.
I looked on the Choc Lit website and am thrilled to see there is a sequel on the way – I’ll definitely be there for The Gilded Fan – BTW – isn’t the cover just beautiful!