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Reading recap: February

It’s time to look at what I’ve read the previous month. I finished four books, two of which were from my reading list and two of which weren’t. Unfortunately, it wasnt a very satisfying selection of reading.

First up is Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn, the first book in her new Rokesbys series, which wasn’t on my original reading list. She’s written numerous Regency romances about the Bridgerton family, and while I haven’t read them all, most of those that I’ve read have been delightful. Not this one. First of all, it was set in an earlier era, around 1770s. It’s a time totally different from her usual books, but you wouldn’t know it by reading this one. The historical setting is minimal and for the most part people behaved like they do in her other books. Waltz is mentioned even, even though it hadn’t been made fashionable in continental Europe yet, let alone in England. The story progresses like a steam engine, slow and steady, with no twists or turns, highs or lows. For a romance, this is bad. The love story is clear from the start and nothing emerges to test it. Much is made of the unladylike behaviour of the heroine, but in the end she doesn’t come to any grief because of it and she conforms like is expected of her. In a word, the book is boring. I won’t be reading the next book in the series.

Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

My second read of the month was Meridian Six by Jaye Wells that starts a series with the same name. It was another disappointment, especially since it held so much promise: a post-apocalyptic world ruled by vampires and a lone human woman trying to escape them. But it was too short and the story was too hasty. There wasn’t enough world-building to get a feel of things, and the characters felt too incomplete to get behind their motivations other than survival. The climax of the story felt poorly justified and it was difficult to get behind the action or care for the outcome. With a bit more meat around its bones, it might have been an interesting book, but as it is, I won’t be reading the next one.

Meridian Six by Jaye Wells

Another deviation from my list was Rise by Karina Bliss, the first book in her Rock Solid series, which I downloaded for free. It’s a contemporary romance set in the world of music business and I read it because it was recommended by Nalini Singh, whose Rock Kiss series I devoured last year. Bliss isn’t in the same league as a writer though. It wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t a very good romance. The characters were interesting, but they ended up working their issues separately and there was no room for the romance to grow. And I didn’t care for the third parties’ points of view that told entirely separate stories. The love story had a satisfying ending, but – again – I won’t be reading the next book in the series.

Rise by Karina Bliss

The fourth book I read last month was the best by far: Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder, the third book in the Soulfinder series. It brings to the end her long-running series set in the same world – or rather, this is the third book in the third series, but they form a continuum. It was a great ending. The stakes were high enough throughout, and if the heroes got out of their scrapes a bit easily at times, the solutions were never self-evident. All the main characters got satisfying closures to their stories and nothing disappointed. The emotional epilogue worked especially well for me. My only complaint is that in a series this long, I’m bound to forget half the characters, especially the minor ones, and the author didn’t re-introduce them in any way. Therefore, at times I struggled to remember if the character was a friend or a foe and the emotional impact of some scenes was diminished because of it. But this issue aside, I’m not ready to leave this world and I hope the author starts a new series soon.

Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder

That was my reading last month. I managed to start, but not finish, A Gathering of Shadows by V.A. Schwab, the second book in the Shades of Magic series. More about that in the next month’s recap.

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