Bookends | 02.02.18

Bookends | Karina Reads

Oh hey, February. The days are actually brighter, it’s marginally warmer… things are looking up! Although I am fully prepared for the final dip into winter we’re bound to have before spring. It’s a good job I have all the books to distract myself.

Another productive reading week, in terms of the amount of books I managed to fly through at the very least. I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to keep up this momentum but I’m loving it. Alas, I have a disappointing read to kick off with. I wrote last week how average The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley was so far, nothing new or groundbreaking but interesting enough. It did not get better. The only interesting plot line was Valyn’s and just after 50% that went drastically downhill. He turned into a stereotypical angsty, whiny teen-soldier and I lost all interest in the whole story. I carried on as I’d already invested a decent amount of time reading it but it did not improve.

Another low rating for 2018, it’s not looking good, is it? The characters were weak, boring and mildly irritating. When the “twists” and “betrayals” came, they had no impact as we’d had no history of the world nor any sort of exploration of the side characters. Perhaps I would have cared had I even known who these characters were before they appeared? Who knows. There was no character development or growth, which in a book this slow should have been key. Overall, a huge disappointment. I may do a full review but for now you can see my Goodreads one here.

Now, onto the great reads! I devoured Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell series. The first three are out; A Curious BeginningA Perilous UndertakingA Treacherous Curse and I read them all in as many days. I thought they were great! They follow Veronica Speedwell, a foundling in the Victorian period who is sassy, intelligent and generally a badass woman who knows what she wants. She is a lepidopterist (a person who catches butterflies) and publishes papers under V Speedwell, so no-one will know it’s written by a woman. She is well travelled and knows her mind. When she’s brought home to bury her ‘aunt’ she is saved by a mysterious German Baron while a strange man tries to kidnap her. This kickstarts a chain of events that are both exciting and unpredictable. She ends up under the protection of Stoker, a gruff unreachable taxidermist who really doesn’t want to deal with Veronica’s smart mouth. Their banter was laugh out loud funny at times and their development over the three books was great. All the characters are fleshed out and the mysteries are fast-paced and intriguing. I can’t wait for more! Definitely one for those who love regency/historical mysteries with sassy females.

I also read a Penguin Little Black Classic: Only Dull People Are Brilliant at Breakfast by Oscar Wilde. This was a very funny little book of Wilde’s best quotes. I was giggling away at my desk during my lunch hour and eagerly underlined all my favourites. I definitely recommend if you fancy a laugh and enjoy Oscar Wilde’s signature wit and sarcasm.

Onto my current read, I enjoyed the Veronica Speedwell books so much that I’ve picked up the first book in Raybourn’s first series, Silent in the Grave. This one is a similar series, we follow Lady Julia in Victorian England who wants to play detective. In the opening chapter Julia’s husband collapses at their dinner party and dies shortly after. It appeared to be the culmination of a genetic heart problem that had plagued him from birth. Enter Nicholas Brisbane, the detective Edward hired before his death as he was receiving threatening notes. So far it’s slower than her newer books, and twice the length. Julia isn’t quite as feisty as Veronica either but I’m enjoying it as an easy intriguing read. Fingers crossed for a Brisbane/Julia romance, she deserves it after Edward!

Phew. What a week. Here’s hoping that February is a better reading month with no crappy books! How’s your 2018 going? Well, I hope! Happy reading!

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