I read library books this month! I read a bunch of other stuff, too, but I read library books! The last few months I’ve either been too busy to read anything of substance or I had too many review books to get through, so reading library books was quite exciting for me.
I’d read Douglas Coupland’s Hey Nostradomus! a few years ago, and when one of my Goodreads buddies added Eleanor Rigby to her to be read shelf, I thought, why the hell not? Liz is 36 when she’s told to come to the hospital and claim a young man who had her listed as his emergency contact. Jeremy is…odd. He’s charming and charismatic and self-destructive. He also happens to be the son she gave up at birth.
I liked it. A lot. I must have, because I rated it four stars on Goodreads. But I’m having a hard time remembering what it was that I liked about it. It was a disjointed sort of book, and there weren’t any chapters, which drove me a bit nuts. This will probably be one of the many books that, years later, I might remember I read but won’t remember a thing about, unlike Hey Nostradomus! , which was about a school shooting. That one I remember. I remember it like I remember Elephant, this brilliant movie by Gus Van Sant that everyone said you shouldn’t see because it was too close to Columbine – hold-your-breath, what’s-going-to-happen-next good.
Actually, read Hey Nostradomus!. I think if you read Eleanor Rigby, you won’t want to read another Coupland book, which is a shame, because he’s quite talented. He has this ability to take a single human emotion – in the case of Eleanor Rigby, loneliness – and examine it from every angle.
I don’t know where I first heard about City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett. Maybe it popped up on some list somewhere? Shara’s in the city of Bulikov to investigate the murder of an historian. What starts as a simple, mostly straightforward case quickly becomes something twisted and unreal, until Shara’s no longer certain who she can trust – or what she can believe.
This book frustrated me. I couldn’t keep track of who the bad guys were, and if they were still the bad guys, or if there were different bad guys now. There are dead gods, and seemingly dead gods, and unexplained forces that seem magical in nature that no one acknowledges. Some fantasies have a map at the beginning, to show you how the world is laid out. This book desperately needed a map. After a while, though, it didn’t matter who was on which side. It’s an excellent story, you just have to dig for it. Shara’s wonderment over what was lost and what’s been hidden make her infinitely likeable, and the mystery threading its way through the narrative is so much more than a murder. Frustration aside, it’s worth a read, and if you’re a fan of fantasy, you probably won’t have as hard a time as I did.
My initial TBR pick for this month was Kelly Jamieson’s Rhythm of Three. Picking up shortly where Rule of Three leaves off, Kassidy, Chris, and Dag are ready and willing to give their unusual relationship the shot it deserves. And as expected, some people take it in stride, while others do not. But it’s the ones who don’t that end up testing their newly-forged bonds, leaving them all to wonder if it’s worthwhile.
Rhythm was a quick read. It doesn’t push aside societal reactions to the threesome’s choices, which I appreciated, and Jamieson really takes the time to give the characters space to grow. Of the three, Chris is the one who changes the most, and he’s the one who needed it the most. The last book in the trilogy, Reward of Three, is somewhere in the jar, too, so I’ll eventually get around to reading their happy ever after.
I re-read Anne Calhoun’s Uncommon Passion this past weekend. I couldn’t help myself. Calhoun has a gift for crafting emotional erotic romance, and Passion is, hands down, one of the best I’ve read in recent years. The scene where Rachel ties Ben to the chair? That scene encompasses everything about Calhoun’s writing: sensual, sexy, running the gamut of emotional responses from curiosity to ecstasy to shock. Her books are excellent examples of how an emotional relationship grows from a physical one, the progression clearly laid out, yet complex and satisfying and engaging. Sometimes I think I want to be her when I grow up. Well, her or Cara McKenna. If you have yet to read one of Calhoun’s books, read Uncommon Passion.
(Liberating Lacey, my go-to Calhoun rec, appears to have been caught up in the madness that is the EC debacle. It’s no longer available as an ebook. Crossing my fingers she’s working on getting the rights back and will re-release it.)
I think I might give in soon and read the ARC I scored of Vision in Silver, the next book in the Others series by Anne Bishop. I need me some ponies and clever meat.
What have you read this month?