Friday Book Club #18

Friday, November 2, 2018

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 Read & Have Opinions On:

A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert 
Everyone has secrets. He wants all of hers.

Meet the man next door…

After years of military service, Evan Miller wants a quiet life. The small town of Ravenswood seems perfect—until he stumbles upon a vicious web of lies with his new neighbour at its centre.

Ruth Kabbah is rude, awkward, and—according to everyone in town—bad news. Thing is, no-one will tell Evan why. Does she perform ritual sacrifices? Howl at the moon? Pour the milk before the tea? He has no clue.

But he desperately wants to find out. Because Ruth doesn’t seem evil to him; she seems lonely. And funny, and clumsy, and secretly quite sweet, and really f*%king beautiful…

The more Evan’s isolated, eccentric neighbour pushes him away, the more he wants her. Her—and all her secrets. Because there’s no way a girl like Ruth truly deserves the town’s scorn.

…Is there?

My Thoughts: I had picked up A Girl Like Here due to all the Twitter hype, and you know what I did? I sat on it for months. I have this weird stubborn headedness that makes me instantly skeptical of a book if it is loved by practically everyone. I'm happy to report that after a bit of a book block I finally picked this up and it is actually just that good. Hibbert does a tremendous job of creating a heroine that has her own ways of interacting with the world around her, and a hero that takes the time - and enjoys taking the time - to understand that. Especially right now, the fact that this is romance where the two main characters have multiple conversations about consent, understanding what each other wants (in and outside the bedroom), and the future, to be incredibly soothing. I immediately purchased the follow up book about her sister, and you know what? ALSO GOOD. Don't be like me ok? Do what I say, not what I do, and read this book ASAP.

Here Kitty, Kitty by Shelly Laurenston

Angelina Santiago didn't think her life could get any stranger. Her best friend is a shapeshifter. Her other best friend is in love with one. And people are actively trying to kill her. But she never thought helpful hillbillies would kidnap her, drag her cross country, and dump her at the home of their eldest brother and gorgeous shapeshifter, Nikolai Vorislav, for safe keeping. Nik the Hillbilly Tiger never wanted a woman in his life for more than a night, but he never met anyone like the psychotic hellcat his brothers drop on his doorstep. Now he has every intention of showing his little house pet exactly how strange and sexy life can get.

My Thoughts: Now this book isn't even a little new to me, I bought it way back when, when I was in college and romance books were hard to get to without an easily accessible bookstore (i.e, without a car). Shelly Laurenston proved herself then as an author who writes incredible kick-ass heroines, and Angelina is one of my favorites. I do think this little trio of stories should be read in order (this is the third), but even on its own the characters are unique, hilarious, and make the HEA that much better. Laurenston remains one of my constant comfort read authors, which is why Here Kitty, Kitty is making an appearance years and years after I bought it.

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss
Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this “tour de force of reclaiming the

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.
narrative, executed with impressive wit and insight” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) debut is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders—and the bigger mystery of their own origins.

My Thoughts: I hate to read things under the gun, but a looming "must return" date with the library did help me get past an unexpected story quirk. Goss writes this story with interjections and conversations from the heroines, even when we don't know who they are, and it took me a few chapters to get into the story enough to look past it - or enjoy it.  Ultimately I was really impressed with a story that took characters from a bunch of familiar myths/fables, and turned them into real women. Women who had suffered, who took back their agency, and who had the courage to help others. It was a timely tale for October, and I've already picked up book #2 from the library :).

I'm Looking Forward To:

Love Rekindled At Christmas by Various

Christmas is a time for rekindling love in five new historical romance novellas. These couples will be sheltering from blizzards and hiding in wardrobes, reuniting with old flames, stealing mistletoe kisses, and falling in love. Passions are reignited by Snapdragon, a fiery Regency party game, but who will receive the best Christmas present of all - a happy ending? Immerse yourself in the romance, snow-covered landscapes, and blazing hearths of a heart-warming, sensual, Regency Christmas.

Witchmark by C.L. Polk
C. L. Polk arrives on the scene with Witchmark, a stunning, addictive fantasy that combines intrigue, magic, betrayal, and romance. The New York Times calls it “thoroughly charming and deftly paced... an accomplished and enjoyable debut.”

In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own.

Magic marked Miles Singer for suffering the day he was born, doomed either to be enslaved to his family's interest or to be committed to a witches' asylum. He went to war to escape his destiny and came home a different man, but he couldn’t leave his past behind. The war between Aeland and Laneer leaves men changed, strangers to their friends and family, but even after faking his own death and reinventing himself as a doctor at a cash-strapped veterans' hospital, Miles can’t hide what he truly is.

When a fatally poisoned patient exposes Miles’ healing gift and his witchmark, he must put his anonymity and freedom at risk to investigate his patient’s murder. To find the truth he’ll need to rely on the family he despises, and on the kindness of the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss

In the sequel to the critically acclaimed The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Mary Jekyll and the rest of the daughters of literature’s mad scientists embark on a madcap adventure across Europe to rescue another monstrous girl and stop the Alchemical Society’s nefarious plans once and for all.

Mary Jekyll’s life has been peaceful since she helped Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson solve the Whitechapel Murders. Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, Justine Frankenstein, and Mary’s sister Diana Hyde have settled into the Jekyll household in London, and although they sometimes quarrel, the members of the Athena Club get along as well as any five young women with very different personalities. At least they can always rely on Mrs. Poole.

But when Mary receives a telegram that Lucinda Van Helsing has been kidnapped, the Athena Club must travel to the Austro-Hungarian Empire to rescue yet another young woman who has been subjected to horrific experimentation. Where is Lucinda, and what has Professor Van Helsing been doing to his daughter? Can Mary, Diana, Beatrice, and Justine reach her in time?

Racing against the clock to save Lucinda from certain doom, the Athena Club embarks on a madcap journey across Europe. From Paris to Vienna to Budapest, Mary and her friends must make new allies, face old enemies, and finally confront the fearsome, secretive Alchemical Society. It’s time for these monstrous gentlewomen to overcome the past and create their own destinies.

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