This Week, I Read… (2017 #46)

168 - The Christmas Cowboy

#168 – The Christmas Cowboy, by Shanna Hatfield

This simply went on too long. I know sweet romances generally go for the slow burn, to help mitigate the no-sex part of things, but there were multiple times from about the two-thirds mark onward that the story felt like it was coming to a close, but then didn’t. While I liked the main characters well enough to keep reading, the length definitely could have been cut down and the story tightened up.

169 - Coming In From the Cold

#169 – Coming in from the Cold, by Sarina Bowen

This nearly had me in tears more than once. I’m usually pretty harsh on romances that use unexpected pregnancy as a plot point, but here, the themes of the story are built around it, and it’s utterly believable. These two were made for each other, and I flew right through this, between the smooth writing style and the shorter length. My major complaint is actually that it felt rushed, because I think it could have been fleshed out with a few more scenes towards the end of Dane’s redemption from his extreme asshole behavior earlier on. I understand why he was the way he was, and I believe Willow would forgive him–it’s just that it happens so quickly.

170 - Magic Burns

#170 – Magic Burns, by Ilona Andrews

  • Read: 12/9/17 – 12/11/17
  • Rating: 4/5 stars

If I was thrown for a loop by the holes in the worldbuilding in the first book, this second in the series patches them up pretty nicely. It’s still clear there’s information being withheld, but this time, it’s on purpose–like the source of the power in Kate’s blood (though I’ve already put 2+2 together, I just want to know how that came about) and all manner of things about the Pack. But the (extremely) slow-burn romance going on between Kate and Curran is definitely keeping me hooked, because that ending! Holy cow! I’m going to have a hard time not diving straight into the next one, but I’ve got a library book to tackle.

171 - In the Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe

#171 – In the Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe: Classic Tales of Horror 1816 – 1914

  • Read: 12/11/17 – 12/13/17
  • Rating: 2/5 stars

I primarily read this for The Yellow Wallpaper, on the list for Crash Course Literature this season. This was the only collection available from my library system that had it, and I wasn’t terribly interested in reading the other stories.

That being said, The Yellow Wallpaper was excellent, and I read most of the other stories, which were overwritten in the style of the times–if you’re a diehard Poe fan, these are right up your alley, but otherwise I mostly found them excessively wordy.

172 - Ripley Under Ground

#172 – Ripley Under Ground, by Patricia Highsmith

DNF @ page 100, because I felt like I was rereading the first book, only worse. I did make it as far as the first murder (assuming there are more I didn’t get to, I don’t know) but I was bored by it–the stakes didn’t seem as compelling as Tom’s murder of Dickie Greenleaf, and also, we the reader already know that Tom is completely amoral and capable of killing in cold blood, so there’s no revelation. The art-forgery scheme wasn’t all that interesting, and since it made Tom so little money and he clearly lived well without it, I don’t see why perpetuating it mattered to him or why he would go to such lengths. If it were a simple matter of him not getting caught, he would have acted differently, and at the very least, probably not killed somebody with a wine bottle in his basement.

173 - Deep Down

#173 – Deep Down, by Brenda Rothert

Even though this romance dealt with deep issues, like single motherhood, rape, and incest, it felt shallow and lacking in subtlety. The heroine had something terrible happen to her, but after that, everything fell into her lap–a place to stay after her ordeal, a job and apartment when she moved, a surrogate family, a boyfriend worth having, and finally, to top it all off, a multi-million-dollar inheritance. The narrative kept saying how hard she worked as a single mom, but there wasn’t much evidence of it–her son was an abnormally perfect and well-behaved child who never caused any trouble or disrupted the charmed events of the story. Even the heroine’s desire to go back to school (accomplished in part by online classes) was barely dealt with, and the revelation that she always wanted to write felt hollow because there was no mention of it in the beginning, before the supposed dream was dashed by her inability to go to college.

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