Friday Book Club #23

Saturday, June 13, 2020

So... it's been a while huh? I actually checked and apparently it's been almost a year (July 2019) since my last Friday Book Club post and I'm both horrified and not so much. I've been saying to friends that when my stress levels go up I find it super hard to read/watch anything new, because the anxiety of wondering how things will end is too much for my brain. Which is why at the beginning of the year I started tracking things in a more simpler form over on Twitter using the #GRHReads tag, and wow can you see the ups and downs of being an emotional reader.  And hell, this doesn't even cover the books I've started and stopped after a sentence or a paragrah, or the ones I completely DNF'd partway through.

It's been rough out there y'all.

But I've decided to give myself a break and if I reread something and just want to share how much I love it, I'm allowed - even if I've posted about it before. The joys of it being my own little piece of the internet hahaha. 99% of my reading is for pleasure, and I want a happy ending, with preferably low angst. No apologies. The world is way more than enough hard truth on any given day. And with that, here are a few of the more recent works that I've read new/reread old and enjoyed the heck out of.

Badger to the Bone by Shelly Laurenston (Paranormal Romance)
She’s the woman he’s been hired to kidnap. But ZeZé Vargas has other ideas . . . like getting them both out of this nightmare alive. Just one problem. She’s crazy. Certifiably. Because while he’s plotting their escape, the petite Asian beauty is plotting something much more deadly . . .

Max “Kill It Again” MacKilligan has no idea what one of her own is doing with all these criminal humans until she realizes that Zé has no idea who or what he is. Or exactly how much power he truly has.

But Max is more than happy to bring this handsome jaguar shifter into her world and show him everything he’s been missing out on. A move that might be the dumbest thing she’s ever done once she realizes how far her enemies will go to wipe her out. Too bad for them Zé is willing to do whatever it takes to keep her alive . . . and honey badgers are just so damn hard to kill!

My Thoughts: I have read and reread this book an embarrassing number of times since it came out at the end of March. The conclusion to Laurenston's Honey Badger Chronicles trilogy, it is peak ridiculousness. I'm not sure how to describe something so laugh out loud funny that also features some of the best kick ass and confident heroines that I've ever come across. Laurenston takes her stories seriously but they've never serious, which is why they've been comfort reads for two decades. Highly recommended, especially if you miss a good ol' action movie in theaters - you won't be disappointed.

Alpha Night by Nalini Singh (Paranormal Romance)
Alpha wolf Selenka Durev’s devotion to her pack is equaled only by her anger at anyone who would harm those under her care. That currently includes the empaths who’ve flowed into her city for a symposium that is a security nightmare, a powder keg just waiting for a match.

Ethan Night is an Arrow who isn’t an Arrow. Numb and disengaged from the world, he’s loyal only to himself. Assigned as part of the security force at a world-first symposium, he carries a dark agenda tied to the power-hungry and murderous Consortium. Then violence erupts and Ethan finds himself crashing into the heart and soul of an alpha wolf.

Mating at first sight is a myth, a fairytale. Yet Selenka’s wolf is resolute: Ethan Night, broken Arrow and a man capable of obsessive devotion, is the mate it has chosen. Even if the mating bond is full of static and not quite as it should be. Because Selenka’s new mate has a terrible secret, his mind surging with a power that is a creature of madness and death…

My Thoughts: Welp, as I suspected, this book brought my heart all the uncomplicated joy. Which is probably a little strange to say because one of the MCs, Ethan, has suffered all sorts of trauma in his life, but his relationship with Selenka? WONDERFUL. As the latest in Singh's very long running Psy-Changeling series (even if it's part of the Trinity sub-set) it's very hard for me to say this book is a stand alone. The romance, like in all her books, is done with relatively low angst within this one story, but the larger plot has been in the works for a while. Which is a lot of words to say YMMV if you haven't picked up the previous books. I know that Singh will make it worth your while (and yay for all the books you now have at your fingertips!) so may I tempt you to get started if you haven't?

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (Alternate World Fantasy(?))
Linus Baker is a by-the-book case worker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He's tasked with determining whether six dangerous magical children are likely to bring about the end of the world.

Arthur Parnassus is the master of the orphanage. He would do anything to keep the children safe, even if it means the world will burn. And his secrets will come to light.

My Thoughts: This was a bit of a random buy for me, picked up on the strength of Twitter and my experience with Klune's absolutely ridiculous Tales From Verania series. And despite the relatively high price tag, this book 100% delivers. I think the story most closely hews to Urban Fantasy, but it is also gives off very strong Studio Ghibli vibes. It's a story about found family, appreciating uniqueness, and finding the inner strength to do what's right, with the perfect amount of unabashedly queer romance. It's slow burn with some wonderful characters and I really hope it's just the beginning of more to come.

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