I’d heard a lot about the Netflix adaptation of this book series by Julie Quinn, so when I started the book this month, I knew the outline of the story: regency-era boy and girl pretend to date, end up together for real and are very surprised by this shocking turn of events.
I even managed to watch an episode earlier this year before I got a copy of the book and decided I was going to read it first, because I never seem to learn my lesson.
Unsurprisingly, the TV version is different to the book, as the book focuses solely on Daphne and Simon’s fake courtship, told through their perspectives, with a couple of scenes each chapter from the points of view of Daphne’s family, while the TV series also covers her family as well as some of the other society families.
That being said, time is still spent developing the dynamic of the Bridgerton family members, and I found it refreshing that all the siblings got along together and Lady Bridgerton was the complete opposite of every upper-class regency era fictional mother (i.e. nice).
There were a few encounters which were questionable (I have chapter 18 in particular in mind here), but on the whole, the simple plot made it very easy to read, and the ideal cure for my reading slump.
September felt like it lasted a lot longer than a month, so I’m glad it’s over.
I was starting to feel a bit disheartened with work, because it’s been so busy lately and the customers seemed to be getting more and more short tempered, which in turn made me start dread talking to them and put me in a bit of a low mood.
I know it’s only going to get busier in the run up to winter, but it does help having nice colleagues to work with, and nice managers.
Coming home at the end of a crap day to a good book also helps, so here are my September reads.
The links in the book titles will take you to their pages on Goodreads.
It’s historical fiction, which at the moment is one of my favourite genres, and the main female character wanted to be more than somebody’s wife, and was very vocal in her beliefs that women should be given the same opportunities as men.
Unfortunately, that same female character was also the main reason I didn’t enjoy the story, because she mentioned at least once EVERY chapter that she ‘wasn’t like other girls’.
The first couple of times I could forgive, but after three times, it got too much to ignore.
Other than that, I’m torn about how I feel about the book. On the one hand, I liked the idea of Audrey Rose defying society and convention to get an education for herself and to use that knowledge to try and solve the Jack the Ripper murders- on the other, I felt the mystery was sidelined by Audrey Rose’s family and was more of a vehicle to explore how Unique and Ahead of Her Time she was.
Maybe the sequel would be better with the characters already established in STJR, but I don’t think I’ll be rushing to get a copy.
I think the most accurate word I can use to describe this novel is “okay.” Which sounds a bit harsh, but a few days after reading it, I wasn’t still thinking about the story or the characters or desperate to read the rest of the series.
Don’t get me wrong. The story was interesting, and I liked the premise of it. But there were a lot of issues I couldn’t get past to commit to reading more of DCI Ryan’s investigations.
The main character, Ryan, who’s on Holy Island as an escape after a recent case ended badly, barely seemed affected by it outside the occasional thought of that case and its victim being triggered by something random, like a passing comment or another character having similar hair colour- and yet, he’s supposed to be so affected that he had to take a break in the first place.
(He had one nightmare, which admittedly was quite graphic, but that was it.)
And Dr Anna Taylor, who’s called in to consult with the police on the ritualistic aspects of the murders, had (to memory) 1 conversation with Ryan, and that just felt like the author wanting to share their research into the subject.
Their feelings for each other developed super quickly considering they’re in the middle of a murder investigation and both dealing with some ‘demons’, but Ryan’s concern for Anna’s safety came off as sexist, and Anna always caved when he asked her to stay at home because he would look sad or afraid while doing so.
I loved The Thursday Murder Club, and I have my copy of its sequel, The Man Who Died Twice, pre-ordered so I can get my hands on it as soon its publication date arrives in September.
The first novel in the DS Adam Tyler series, Firewatching, became one of my favourite books of 2021 before I’d even made it halfway through.
The use of present tense and the chapters being broken up into smaller scenes made it refreshing and so easy to read, and I went out straight away to buy a copy of Book 2.
The Devil and The Dark Water
I’ve realised there’s a common theme to the books I’ve picked so far and that they’re all second novels by new authors.
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was very trippy (I won’t go into details to avoid spoilers for anyone who’s yet to read it) but it was incredibly clever, and I’ve heard good things about Stuart Turton’s next book, The Devil and The Dark Water.
The Dying Squad
I bought this book after seeing it constantly on Twitter, being praised highly by some authors and bloggers lucky enough to get hold of an advanced copy.
The plot sounds very interesting, though I’m not sure if the detective’s surname being Lazarus is a little too on the nose. But I’m definitely going to read it anyway and soon, hopefully, because I have lots of questions.
The Murder of Graham Catton
Podcasts aren’t something I listen to much of. There’s probably only about 5 I’ve stuck with for the full episode, but I am intrigued by the idea of a true crime podcast being a central part of this story.
A mystery novel where the reader is given the evidence usually only available to the detective and is to try and solve the crime themselves?
After another unintentional hiatus, I have returned with my wrap up for June and July.
It’s been quite a busy year for me, though I couldn’t actually tell you half of what I’ve done or been doing. I feel like I’ve been constantly on my feet and either rushing off somewhere or getting ready to rush off somewhere.
One thing I have definitely done a lot of is read. And I have finally managed to cut back on the amount of books I’ve bought, which I’m really pleased with.
I still haven’t managed a complete ban for a whole month, but progress is progress.
So in this post you’ll find some of my reads for June and July. These aren’t all the books, because for some of them I couldn’t think of anything to say.
The lines in the book titles will take you to their Goodreads page.
I mentioned in my last post that I’d watched the TV adaptation of this book before reading it, so I was expecting the book to be totally different.
It turns out the adaptation was pretty faithful to the source material, so I already knew most of what happened- though something which struck me about the book and which kept me from enjoying it was the way the female characters were described.
I’m not sure if this was down to the male characters who were doing the narrating or if it was an author thing, but I’ve put off reading the second book in the series for now.
I’d seen a lot of this book on Netgalley before its release, and when I finally got my hands on a copy, I wasn’t disappointed.
It was very easy to just keep reading and not put down, because the chapters alternated points of view among some of the characters, so you’d just get to a good bit and then have to wait a few pages before you find out what happened- which is by no means a bad thing, although if you have anything planned when you start reading, you might find yourself procrastinating.
My overrall takeaway is that I would love to read more by Katherine Faulkner, and I found the main character Helen’s behaviour just as questionable as Rachel’s, who in the synopsis seems to be the obvious antagonist in the story.
This was another book I’d heard lots about, but unlike Greenwich Park had been on my shelves for a few months before I finally got round to reading it.
And I completely regret not reading it sooner.
The main character, Adam Tyler, is a bit younger than the average lead in a crime novel, which made him slightly more relatable, and he was also gay, which was not handled as just a trope or a plotpoint.
I really liked the rest of the characters, particularly Tyler’s new partner Constable Rabbani, and his superior officers Doggett and Jordan.
The case and the story were addictive, and the short chapters made it easy to get through the book quickly.
I hope everyone is well and enjoying all their reading.
My total for the year so far has just reached 50, which is half of last year’s total, so I’m thinking I might surpass that by the time we reach December.
I’d like to get to 100 again, but I also don’t want to put pressure on myself to achieve a certain number. Though it wouldn’t be any more trying than my goal to get my tbr list down into double figures.
And on that note, here are some of the books I’ve read since my last monthly wrap up.
Maybe not the best of books to read in the middle of a global pandemic. But it was incredibly addictive, and I really wanted to know if the main character (who remains nameless throughout the story) managed to survive.
What made the story so easy to get into for me was the beginning in which the character finds she’s the last person alive and, while understandably struggling to process that fact, does all the things she couldn’t before- i.e. visit all the museums in London, dance on theatre stages, go to the fancy department stores and eat all the food out of the fridges.
This holiday of sorts from reality doesn’t last for long, and there are plenty of grim, horror-movie moments afterwards, but it is gripping, and a really good story.
I liked this book. It had a feel of an Agatha Christie locked-room story about it. Elin was an interesting choice of main character, but I couldn’t invest in her or her goal of uncovering the truth of what happened to her brother when she was a child, or her more recent trauma after a case at work ended badly.
But the story itself was easy to get into, and to follow, and had a few twists along the way to keep things interesting.
March was a pretty decent month, in comparison to others. We’re still in lockdown here in Scotland, but I started a new job and I’m settling in, which is nice.
It’s also a bonus that it’s so easy to leave everything there and not be worrying about what my next shift will be like- which I realise now is all I did in my old job.
Another highlight of March was that we finally got some answers in the finale of WandaVision, and the first two episodes of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.
I won’t say much about either because I don’t want to spoil them for anyone, but I now have a new love for Wanda and Vision as characters, and I am so happy Bucky and Sam are finally get some screen time and the first episode delivered on that by showing us how they’re faring in the new world after the snap.
Despite this book being way outside my usual reading material, I liked it.
The main character, Kenzie, didn’t have much going for her, so I was indifferent to her for most of the story, but there were plenty of supporting characters to invest in, and I think I might enjoy the rest of the series a little more since there should be less time spent on world-building.
I loved One Of Us Is Lying, so I was excited to start the sequel- and it delivered.
While set in Bayview like its predecessor, One Of Us Is Next revolves around a deadly game of Truth or Dare instead of a murder, and at the same time develops further some of the supporting characters from OOUIL.
Getting to know those characters better made this book even more enjoyable for me, and I’d happily read a whole series set in Bayview since there never seems to be a dull moment.
This was a good book in that it covered a lot of big themes and really got me thinking about them, but what kept from loving it is that I didn’t feel like the main character, Emira, was developed much.
She never seemed to react to much, including during the main event of the story which takes place just a few chapters in, or even at the end when she makes a big decision about her life.
So that’s two months gone of 2021, which feels quite surreal.
I’m still making good progress with my tbr, though, which I’m happy with. The book-buying ban, on the other hand, isn’t going so well, but I’m justifying it because I got an interview and a job offer in the same week- which means from March I’ll have some kind of routine back in my life again, and venturing out of the house.
Somehow I’ve made it through another month without writing a single book review, so I’m going to share my thoughts on my February reads here in my wrap-up.
I’ve also changed the layout of this post so instead of book covers, I’ve just put the title of the books I read and linked them to Goodreads. I don’t know if this layout will stick. We shall see.
I didn’t realise this was a collection of short stories until I started reading it, but I liked that we got to see the Junior Pinkertons in action, and some mini cases that were set between the main stories.
Fascinating and detailed. Reading about the Commander’s travels and adventures around the world was the perfect escapism right now, and his account of the Titanic’s collision and sinking was so vivid and tragic.
Four stars. (Would have been five but there were a ton of technical terms which meant I had to keep putting the book down to look them up in a dictionary- plus the super outdated language and opinions which is offensive.)
This was a reread for me but I think I enjoyed it a little bit more than I did the first time.
I wouldn’t say it was fast-paced (despite the bulk of the story occurring during the space of a few hours) but it was addictive and shocking, and had several different subplots going on in the background so there was plenty going on.
I enjoyed the TV series adaptation (which I watched first) and surprisingly found the book to be pretty similiar, with one or two minor changes.
I didn’t like that when Dylan learned something the chapter would end and we didn’t find out what it was until a few chapters later, or that he didn’t do much analysing of the serial killer the NYPD wanted him to help them find, but it was still a good story.
I read half of this series during Lockdown 1 last year and loved every book, so the remaining five are on my tbr for 2021, which worked out quite nicely since Book 11 is being published this month and now I can complete the series up to date.
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
I loved Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, so I’m hoping I’ll get round to reading the final book in the trilogy soon.
I know what happened historically with Thomas Cromwell, but I’m really excited to see how Hilary Mantel puts her spin on it.
Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens
I also started reading these during the first lockdown, and have just four more books to go.
Jack Reacher by Lee Child
There’s over 20 books in this series so while it’s unlikely I’ll get anywhere near finishing them all this year, I’m hoping to make a bit more progress with it.
Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
The sixth and final book in the series is due for release this year, and I’m really looking forward to finding out what happens to the Peculiars and the residents of Devil’s Acre.