There were times this month I felt like I was speed-reading, trying to cram in books because I had a review to write or they were due at the library. That didn’t prevent me from enjoying them; it just made for a strangely exhausting reading month.
Phil Klay’s Redeployment was the first snooty book award winning book I’ve read that I enjoyed since…who knows. Klay, a former Marine, strings together a series of short stories to give us a glimpse of what military life is like, for the deployed and the undeployed (is that even the right term?) Winner of the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction, it’s a harsh portrait of war and the toll it exacts from its fighters – fatigue, exhilaration, rage and sadness and a kind of weariness that has nothing to do with being tired. You read it and you have a better understanding of how difficult it can be to re-adapt to civilian life. Bloody brilliant, this book, it earned my first five star rating of the year over on Goodreads.
I’ve been making my way through the rest of Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners series. I honestly can’t remember if I read The Siren last month or this month, but I do know if I’d read it before The Saint, I highly doubt I would have read The Angel. The Saint was recently named a RITA finalist for best erotic romance, and considering that story was one gut punch after another, I hope she wins. I have The Prince home from the library, and if I’m lucky I’ll get to read it before it’s due.
I’d never read a Lisa Unger book before Crazy Love You, but after I finished it, I immediately requested In the Blood. Ian’s been bullied most of his life, forcing him into a loner space with only his inexplicable rage and his friend Priss for company. After college, he remains in New York City and becomes a successful graphic novelist. Then he meets Megan, and finally starts to believe that maybe he won’t be forced to go it alone the rest of his life.
Priss, unfortunately, has other plans.
Crazy Love You is…kind of insane. Early on, you get the sense there’s more at stake than what you can see, but the way Unger spools it out keeps you engaged until the very last word, because she never gives too much away at any one time. Ian is troubled, that much is clear, but how much of it is in his head, and how much of it is beyond his control? He never dismisses the blood-red anger writhing inside him, though he never fully acknowledges it, either. To him it’s a shameful piece of him that should be hidden at all costs, and he believes he’s successful. Fast-paced, twisty, and cleanly written, I enjoyed every single minute I spent in this book.
What else did I read this month? I re-read Cheryl McIntyre’s Dirty serial, then picked up her new release, Hard. Holland’s seen more than her fair share of heartbreak, and it’s numbed her past the point of pain. She feels nothing. Jensen fully embraces his scopophilia, and he pushes Holland to the shattering point, inundating her with pleasure – and doubts. They both have secrets, and neither are willing to share, but the closer they get, the more they have to lose.
While I’ve enjoyed McIntyre’s New Adult stories, her voice doesn’t quite work in this one – it’s fully adult, no New about it. The story itself is interesting, though, but if you’ve never read one of her books before, I wouldn’t start with this one.
I finally managed to get around to some of my TBR jar picks. I’d drawn Julie Ann Walker’s Rev It Up, and stopped reading after chapter five. Her voice was too intrusive for me, pulling out of the story to the point I never actually got into it. I also pulled Siege and Storm, the second book in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy, but since I hadn’t read the first one, I started there. I’m only a quarter of the way through Shadow and Bone, and it’s excellent.
Chelsea at VBC got her hands on the e-galley of the newest Psy-Changeling book by Nalini Singh for me, so I’ve been reading Shards of Hope this past weekend. Even though it doesn’t release for two months, and even though I’ve got weeding to do, words to write, and marketing to handle. There was a reason I hadn’t put in my request yet – I knew I’d have no power against it. Suffice to say, Aden’s story is coming dangerously close to knocking Heart of Obsidian out of the favorite spot…but I think Kaleb will maintain his hold. Look for my review around release day (June 2nd) over at Vampire Book Club.
What are you reading? Wait, don’t tell me. My TBR jar’s already full. 🙂