I went on a trip the end of April with the serious intent of reading some light fiction. I write it, so keeping up with what other writers are doing is kind of a job requirement, but I sometimes just don’t read at all. Unfortunate but you know how it goes, *insert modern life* and all your plans are suddenly negotiable. Regardless, I did do a fair bit of reading while away. I’m not including buy links, just look ‘em up yourself. You got the internet on that thing, right?
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
A nice book about how to die well. I contemplate own mortality with more frequency than most people (don’t applaud, it’s maybe a bad thing) so nothing in here stunned me, but its gentle solace is a perfect fit for these grieving times.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Did Not Finish at 40%. I might have finished it if it was the only book at a beach cottage when the weather was bad. I’m not big on murder mysteries and we’ll leave it at that, because I have Many Feelings about this book, its plot, its characters, and other books like it which I don’t want to voice. Inevitably, there’s a movie now.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
A brave little novel that tries really hard to not be a Cancer Story by being a book about books, yet is still inescapably a Cancer Story. But good, though I found the dialogue a bit forced. Yes, the characters are well-read for their age, but my own 19th Century aristocrats barely talk that high falutin’. The author character was a nice touch, but again, another book I only read because it was on the shelf at the vacation rental.
Glitterland by Alexis Hall
I have no logical response to Alexis Hall ‘s romance novels. They’re all amazing IF you like his style, which is exuberant and passionate and unapologetically queer and very “head-space” with lots of ruminations by the main character. I will resist the urge to discourse on the historical antecedents of this sort of novel, but rest assured Hall does it on purpose.
What we end up with is a scorching POV of a man with serious mental illness and his star-crossed lover from Essex which is evidently the UK equivalent of the Jersey Shore. I told Hall himself that I hadn’t read a finer regional accent in prose since Irvine Welsh, and I now call everyone a ‘donut’ when they mess up but adorably. Ten million stars. It’s about to get reissued with (ahhh!!!!) bonus content and for the first time ever I am going to buy a book I already own.
His Lordship’s Secret by Samantha SoRelle
Born in poverty, ascended to wealth, Alfie hires his long lost friend Domenic to protect him from whomever is trying to kill him. Events Ensue in a twisty and quite macabre Regency-era plot with interesting class commentary and solid period detail. I love a “dress you up” trope, which I didn’t expect to encounter but which aligned perfectly with our historical fashion-themed vacation. All in all, a nifty self-published novel in the growing canon of Queer Historical Romance
The Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish
Barely news (there’s a pun in there) to anyone who reads MM Contemporary Romance, but I am a decade behind thanks to an extended reading drought. Aaaaaaaanyway, I don’t typically like present tense in novels, but I grit my teeth and kept on with this one, because what else do you do on the plane? I was rewarded with good, gritty characters and a strong love story that hits a lot of comforting tropes without being too stereotypical. And the sex scenes are lit.
Ten Thousand Stitches by Olivia Atwater
An author who is finally getting the acclaim she deserves. Like her prior Regency fairy tale Half A Soul, this was a joy to read, with wonderful, complex female leads and a heart-breaking yet ultimately redeeming love story driven by genuine personal growth on everyone’s part. I adore her rendering of the realm of Faerie, 10/10 would visit but very cautiously. This story also aligned with our fashion-themed vacation, being mainly to do with magical embroidery e.g. the ten thousand stitches of the title. Bravo Ms Atwater!