Lost and Found Sisters

Jill Shalvis

Jill Shalvis writes very enjoyable romance novels. She rarely writes a dud and while they're not particularly memorable they are so much fun while you're reading them.
This particular story follows Quinn - still reeling from the loss of her sister Beth.
In swift succession she learns she's adopted, that her birth mother has died from cancer and that she has a teenage sister.
It's got great female relationships and a half-decent romance.
Definitely worth checking out if you're into contemporary romance.

Rating: B+




Robin Sloan

Stressed San Francisco based programmer Lois Clary finds comfort in takeaway sourdough and soup. When the proprietors have to leave the US they leave their sourdough starter with her and it leads to a transformation in her life.
A slight but enjoyable tale with a very likeable protagonist.

Rating: B+



Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Ransom Riggs

Jake is a misfit teen in Florida. He grew up loving his Grandfather Abe's fantastic tales from his childhood, stories filled with invisible boys, girls that can float or generate fire. When he finds his grandfather murdered, seemingly by a monster, it causes him so much trauma that he ends up going to a psychologist. In order to deal with his grandad's death he's advised to travel the Welsh island where Abe grew up to try and come to terms with things. Once there he discovers that the fantastic tales are all true and that he's found himself not in an impossible new world of peculiar children and time travel but he is also in terrible danger from the monsters that killed Abe.
I've been meaning to read this for ages and when I caught the film on TV recently all it's annoying flaws drove me to pick up the book to see if made more sense than the film. It certainly explains certain things better and there's a lot of things that the film makers changed for no real reason that fit better tonally. I'm still not sure it actually completely makes sense. I liked it enough that I've picked up the second book in the series and I'll give that go too.

Rating: B+



Romancing Mister Bridgerton

Julia Quinn

This is a really enormously enjoyable piece of historical romantic comedy.
Penelope Featherington is the perpetual wallflower of the London Set and has had a lifelong crush on Colin Bridgerton - her best friend's brother. When a scandal erupts around notorious gossip columnist Lady Whistledown the two are involved in the mystery and pushed together.
I'm not a huge fan of historical romances but this is a really well written and thoroughly entertaining slice of romantic fiction. Funny and emotionally involving I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who likes romantic comedies.

Rating: B+



The Collapsing Empire

John Scalzi

This is easily Scalzi's best book since Zoe's Tale.
The story is set in the Interdependency which is a collective of planets controlled by aristocrats and guilds and connected by a FTL network called the Flow. We arrive to find this fictional world in the midst of political upheaval and finding itself on the brink of disaster. Unusually for a book with many point-of-view characters I enjoyed spending time with all of them. It has to be said, though, that Kiva Lagos is my favourite. I definitely want more of her in the rest of the series.
Indeed the only real flaw of the book is that it feels very much like the set up for a series. I can't wait for the next one to come out so Scalzi's got me hooked already.

I should note that I read an advance copy of this book provided by NetGalley

Rating: B+




Rainbow Rowell

I've not made the quickest start to my reading this year. A health issue has meant that I really couldn't concentrate on story for any length of time for the past few weeks.
To get me started I decided to pick out an easy read, something that I've read before.
Attachments is a novel about people working for a newspaper in 1999 and early 2000. It's a sweet tale of female friendship between a film critic and a subeditor told epistolary style through emails which are read by the poor IT guy who has to check for abuse of the Internet by employees. There's a believable but always fundamentally creepy romantic relationship that develops between the IT guy and the film columnist. After all he's read all sorts of things about her life without her knowledge or consent.
It's not as good as later books by the author but it is enjoyable and as I say it's an easy read.

Rating: B+



Heroine Complex

Sarah Kuhn

heroine complexEvie Tanaka is the sidekick of San Francisco's beloved superhero Aveda Jupiter (formerly Annie Chang and Evie's best friend from school).
When Aveda is injured and has to rest up for a couple of weeks Evie is persuaded to take Aveda Jupiter's place in public.
Of course Evie has superpowers of her own that she's suppressed for years and when danger strikes during at an event she's forced to use them to save lives.
A very enjoyable story of self-discovery, healing sibling and friend bonds featuring several very kick-ass Asian-American ladies.
What's not to like?
I'm definitely looking forward to whatever Kuhn releases next.

Rating: B+



Country Of The Blind

Christopher Brookmyre

Country of the BlindThis re-read of the second Parlabane book reveals that it is as funny, twisty and enjoyable as any book in the series. Of course being written before the coronation of New Labour and a devolved Scottish Parliament a lot of the political humour and commentary is rather dated but it's still utterly on target with regards to the machinations of media moguls and the power crazed.
I started with this one as an audiobook (and a fine listen it is too) but I switched to the physical book when I got too hooked on the story and the pace of reading felt too slow.
Given it's age maybe not the best place to start with Brookmyre or Parlabane but still highly recommended.

Rating: B+




Daniel O'Malley

stilettoStiletto is the long-awaited follow up to The Rook. As you can see in the linked review I was a bit worried about how sequels could add anything worthwhile to the world of the Chechquy.
I'm happy to report that this is a fun book in it's own right. It earns much of it's appeal from the way that it dives into the history and motivations of the Grafters (Centuries old enemies of the Chechquy) as the two groups enter formal negotiations.
Unlike the first book very little of this tale is told from the perspective of Myfanwy Thomas. Instead the lead characters are a junior member of the Grafters and the agent assigned as her bodyguard.
It certainly isn't without flaws - there's an unnecessary subplot and one of the action set pieces is rather confusing - but it is still very enjoyable.
I'd happily recommend it to fans of the first book, though I'd read The Rook first if you haven't come to the series yet.

Rating: B+



Chaos Choreography

Seanan McGuire

chaos choreographyThe latest InCryptid book finds returning to Verity Price as our narrator and lead character.
Verity is offered a final chance to chase her dance dreams with a spot on an all-star season of the reality show she was runner-up on a few years back.
Her grandmother - the apparently ageless dimension hopping bounty hunter - Alice arrives as her backup just in time to help investigate a snake cult.
As fun as any of the InCryptid books. I particularly enjoyed going back to Verity as narrator.

Rating: B+