Yes, I’m still here. More or less.
I’ve been struggling with the anxiety and depression stuff the past few weeks, for which I prescribed myself a LOT of comfort reads, but I did manage to knock down a bit of my TBR. I’m too scatterbrained right now to do anything more coherent than ratings and drive-by comments, so here goes….
Wallowing in 9th-century China with Jeannie Lin
I finally read Butterfly Swords and The Dragon and the Pearl, so then I had to read My Fair Concubine and all her novellas again. After that, I read Sword Dancer, and now I’m deep into The Lotus Palace.
My author crush continues. Lin’s historical world-building is completely immersive, the action scenes are awesome and the relationship-building and chemistry are incredible — every single time. A few minor howevers…the pacing seemed a bit off in Butterfly (strong opening, then flagged) and Dragon (slow to start), and Sword Dancer was much more plot-heavy than I was expecting.
I really enjoyed them all — but Concubine is still my favorite.
Grades: B for all three (Butterfly Swords, The Dragon and the Pearl and Sword Dancer)
Source: NetGalley, purchased
Summerset Abbey trilogy by T. J. Brown
As you can guess from the title, it’s more than a little Downton Abbey-esque. Edwardian/WW1-era, with some vaguely interesting main characters, but too many predictable and derivative plot bits and secondary characters. And even worse, the historical world-building was incredibly bland, relying on long paragraphs listing what they ate for dinner and random bits of period-appropriate slang.
I got so bored halfway through the last book I almost gave up.
Source: Edelweiss, public library
It Happened One Midnight by Julie Anne Long
If their last name isn’t Redmond or Eversea, Long’s heroines are damsels in near-distress — orphaned/widowed/outcast, struggling alone, longing for a family. Phoebe from Marquess, Madeleine from Perils, Rosalind from Surrender, Evie from Countess, Cynthia from Like No Other Lover, Lily from To Love a Thief, two out of three Holt Sisters…all a step or two away from sliding into the Regency netherworld. In Long’s upcoming book, we get an orphaned heiress. WHY do none of these women have families of their own?
Overall, Midnight had some good bits, but I doubt I’ll ever read it again.
Coming soon: More audiobooks adventures and my first forays into Georgette Heyer