Devil in Spring
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #3
Tags: Historical Romance, Victorian, eccentric, woman in business, tinnitus, vertigo, shotgun marriage
I have been waiting for this audiobook to become available foreverrrrrrrrrrr.
Kleypas is pretty popular, probably one of the foremost historical romance writers in present day. She's also the author that my mom, my sister, and I all enjoy.
This book did not disappoint. It was pretty much what you can expect from Kleypas: light, charming, pleasant, humorous, with not much conflict to speak of. All around fun.
I will say that I wished there was a liiittle more conflict. The heroine, Pandora, is a charmingly naive and eccentric wallflower, who makes up silly words on the spot, can't dance because of vertigo, and is working on creating a board game empire. At times she seems a little too naive, too innocent, to the point where I kind of worry about her emotional development.
The hero is... meh. He's just a smooth rake-turned-doting-husband. Most of the conflict is on Pandora's side, when she can't believe (and neither can I) that he goes along with all of her schemes.
Pandora: I'm super weird.
Pandora: I don't want to say "obey" in my vows.
Pandora: Also, I want to be the sole owner of a company that creates board games. Even though it's impossible for for a wife to own property, I won't marry you unless you figure out a way where I will own it and you will not.
The conflict on his side seems to be that he has some weird sex thing. Or rather, he's so jaded from years of debauchery, he's worried that dedicating his sex life to an innocent will be unsatisfying. There is a hilarious conversation between him and his father (who was the hero from a previous Kleypas series):
Gabriel: Dad, I have a weird sex thing.
Dad: Well, son, everyone has some type of weird sex thing. What is your weird sex thing?
The courtship goes along swimmingly without ever mentioning the sex thing again, and soon they are happy married couple. I couldn't help but stop and say, "what about the weird sex thing?"
I mean, it's Kleypas. It can't be that scandalous.
Turns out, spoiler alert, it's some light bondage (him tying), that we only see a glimpse of. Because: Kleypas.
So scandalous! *Rolls eyes.*
Gabriel is a second generation hero, which I think hinders creativity. I mean, how imperfect can a character be really if their parents are blissfully married, and will be blissfully married forever, and nothing ever went wrong in their childhood, and they have a great relationship with their parents?
Growing up in someone else's happily ever after leads to some boringly well adjusted children.
Super did not care about her proposed board game empire. It was a really big deal to her, this company that hadn't even been made yet. We still care about that? Alright.
Of the series, I liked #1 Cold Hearted Rake, and LOVED #2 Marrying Winterborne. I think I will go back to Kleypas's Wallflower series and read all of them, even though (horror of horrors) I will have to read them with my eyes.
Etched in Bone
Author: Anne Bishop
Series: The Others #5
Tags: Urban fantasy, alternate world, werewolves, shape shifters, vampires, prophets
Rating: Super yay!
Adorangry. Ragefatuated. Overgrievelated. Exacerjoyed.
At the risk of writing in all caps, I have taken a page from Devil in Spring and have made up words to describe all the feels I feel at the end of this book.
This is the the last book available. Bishop is coming out with a sixth book in 2018 (ARGH). If that's not bad enough, the synopsis on Goodreads doesn't mention Meg or Simon (SNARL), which might mean that their story is concluded in this book (HOWWWL).
Which is not to say that their love story wasn't resolved in this book. It was. It was just at the very end, with very little to show for it and IT DIDN'T HELP.
This just reinforces the fact that I am a romance reader and not a fantasy reader. Cuz I'm ready to take Bishop aside and be like,
Dear Ms. Bishop,
LOOK, LADY. I have invested A LOT of time and emotion into this pairing so I need an epilogue AT LEAST. Two or three books after this where they are blissfully coupled and deal with external conflicts as superteam would be preferable. Steamy scenes encouraged.
Your faithful reader,
Okay, so other than the fact that my romance Happily Ever After tied into a bow happy ending was not satisfying, it was really great. I mean, so great. What a fun series over all.
Another great thing about the Others series:
So, in the hierarchy of beings, there are humans, then the Others, then the seasons girls and elemental ponies, and then there is this mysterious group of beings the Others call the Elders. The Elders are a completely wild, harsh, old race that lives in the deep wilderness, can't be seen by humans, and is feared by all animals, including the Others. They are the guardians of the earth, and exact harsh punishment on the human race if needed.
You never see them. You don't get to see what they are or what they look like.
It is so great.
There is even a part when the Coyote shifter pulls a few cards from Meg's fantastical creature tarot deck, and tells her to mix them in with her tarot cards. So, Meg sees which cards he pulls, but WE don't.
What are they? What do they look like? I spent some time thinking about what the Elders must look like. Unicorns? Griffins? Phoenixes? Rock People? Abominable Snowmen? Big Foots? Chimeras? Dragons? What? What? Whaaaaat?
The exact moment I lost faith in M. Night Shyamalan's directing was the first time I saw the creatures in The Village. Oh, man they looked so stupid. It was such a let down. But it really hit home the lesson that the unknown is so much scarier than anything we can create or show. Movies, books, stories that use that fear to their advantage are my favorite.
So so great.
Arg! What will I do with my life now!
I guess read some more books.
The Soul of an Octopus
Author: Sy Montgomery
Tags: nonfiction, OCTOPUS, marine biology, autobiography, popscience
Format: paper book!
OCTOPUSES ARE FASCINATING.
The subtitle to this book is A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness.
I think the subtitle is a little too optimistic about the "exploration" part of this book.
Mostly, it is anecdotes and observations from an octopus enthusiastic and author (not scientist), mixed in with a hefty dose of her own adventures at an aquarium and learning to scuba dive.
Oh, she also knows quotes from Shakespeare and philosophers. I think that's part of the exploration.
I would say this is a good summer read, a good beach read, a great book to read if you go to the Pacific Coast and get stuck inside on a rainy day (i.e. most days). It's light and dreamy. The authors dotes on the octopuses she meets like family dogs.
But I got bored.
I also got stuck in many YouTube rabbit holes because she mentions so many strange creatures I've never heard of.
My favorite is the lumpsucker fish, which I think is me in fish form.
It's also a good book to pair with something very dry and sciency to remind you that yes, animals besides humans do have emotions and personalities. I just hate the scientific approach that treats animals as bags of synapses, that argue that they don't feel, grieve, understand altruism, etc. Science just recently proved that cats love their owners? Really?
I hate it because it is an abuse of language. How do scientists define "love" anyway? Ask fifty people, you will probably get fifty different answers. But for some reason scientists have one, and can test it to prove it does or does not exist.
Just because it doesn't fit their definition, and can't be proven by the the latest tools, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
But you can easily go the other way, which is why I suggest pairing this book with another. Anthropomorphizing animals leads to weird shit -- dog weddings, etc. It's a fine line to walk between believing animals have any emotions, and believing they have our emotions.
If you want a book that actually explores the existence of empathy in animals, I think the title of a great book I read on the subject is The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society. It's even written by a scientist!
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #4
Tags: paranormal romance, urban fantasy, shape shifters, vampires
Kate and Curran courting!!
[insert all the great things I usually say about Kate Daniels series]
Oh! I thought of another one. I like how even though she has a love interest, it is very much still the Kate Daniels Show. It's surprisingly how little time they spend together in each book. She gets in to scrapes, and Curran is not necessarily the one that rescues her. He only rescues her like, twice in each book. Tops.
Yay independence! Yay female kickassery!
Always great. On to the next!