I am keeping a list of the books that I read in the next year, and will start doing short reviews of those books on here. Some of them will be short, and not much more than “don’t bother”, some will be longer. I hate spoilers, so I will be careful to not give any.
I’ll share pictures of the book covers, but not links for where to find them, as I get almost all of mine either as free kindle books (which are usually limited time, and the links would be obsolete anyway), or I get them at the library. If you want to buy any of them, Amazon would be a good place to look. But I would suggest pulling out your library card and giving your local librarian something to do. And if your library doesn’t have them, use the inter-library loan system.
I’ll do 10 at a time, so depending on how fast I read, or how long the books are, timing may vary.
1. The Kitchen Boy—Robert Alexander
A fictional story about the kitchen boy who was with the Romanovs during their final days. It is a mix of the facts known about the story, and, as with all stories about the family, assumptions about what may have happened, who may have survived, and how everything may have played out.
This is a fairly violent book at the end, which probably won’t surprise you. I’d give it a pg-13 rating. But if you are at all interested in the Romanov family, this book makes them feel human and real.
2. Bridge Daughter—Jim Nelson
This is a weird book, set in an alternate reality, where women don’t actually give birth to their own children. Instead, they give birth to “bridge daughters”, who are pregnant from birth.
The bridge daughters are often treated more like servants, as they are not really children, but instead a vessel for growing a child. Around puberty, the pregnancy of the bridge daughter starts to show, and it is a year or two until birth. But when the baby is born, the bridge daughter dies, having fulfilled her purpose.
The bridge daughters though are sentient. They are just like real little girls, and they don’t want to die just because of a weird mix-up in genetics that makes them baby carriers.
I thought the book was going to be a slam on one side or the other of the abortion issue as I came closer to the end of the book, but that wasn’t the case at all.
3. Opal—Juliet James
The story of a young girl who is the daughter of a notorious gambler and murderer. When she is expected to marry her Father’s henchman, she decides to take off and make a life for herself. Her Dad though, puts out the story that she is a murderer, and she winds up with the law on her tail.
The premise is good, but the actual story has too much of a typical “Christian novel” feel to it. Just because you’re following God doesn’t mean that everything will work out perfectly, and everyone you meet will bend over backward to help you. I was expecting a little more from the story, and was disappointed.
4. The Dreamer—May McGoldrick
Marriage of convenience, they hate each other and make each other miserable, then fall in love. And, no, I didn’t give anything away. It is predictable from the off.
There is some other story, about a half-brother trying to destroy the village because he thinks it should be his, but that story, which could be so rich, is lost in the repetition of the “romance” side of things, and the two main characters fighting with each other and moping about each other.
This was the first in a trilogy, and I have no interest in reading the others.
5. The Haunting of Blackwych Grange—Amy Cross
I really liked this book. Another pg-13, because of subject matter. It’s a hard one to write a review on without ruining it, but it’s one of those ghost stories that reminds you that sometimes humans are worse than the supernatural. And sometimes, love cannot defeat evil.
If you like psychological thrillers that make you think, this is a good one. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more of her work.
6. Allegra’s Song—Alicia Rasley
I really need to stop even trying on the romance books. This is another that I think is a series, each following a different sister in the family. And I’m really not bothered to know what happens.
Allegra is trying to find something to occupy her time while her soldier husband is busy with his men. She flirts with the bachelors at parties she takes her sisters to, thinking that this will make him jealous and he’ll come back. But the rumours that she starts about herself just make things worse between them. Will they patch things up? Do you even care by the time you reach the middle of the book? If you’re like me, you won’t.
7. Angelfall—Susan Ee
Another first in a trilogy. I got this a while ago as a free kindle download, and I’m glad to see that the library has the others.
This is a post-apocalyptic story, set in the relatively near future, where angels have invaded earth and turned everything on its ear. The story is told from the PoV of a human girl named Penryn, who is trying to survive with her little sister, who is in a wheelchair, and her Mom, who is mentally ill and long off her meds.
Penryn’s sister is taken by the angels, and Penryn has to try to get her back with the aid of a wounded angel named Raffe.
Yes, I am aware that this sounds like a very weird concept, and it is. But it is a good book nonetheless.
8 & 9. Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix—J.K. Rowling
I’m re-reading the Harry Potter books, though I suppose I should say re-listening to them. I read the first 3 before I started with this list. If you like audiobooks, the Harry Potter books read by Jim Dale are amazing. The man has a Guinness record for the most character voices made for a single audiobook. He does voices, and different accents. He is amazing.
I won’t tell you the story of the books, because if you’re still unaware of the Harry Potter story, you probably won’t read this blog while sitting under your rock either. But magic spells, potions and elixirs, the battle between good and evil, dragons and other creatures? What more could you want?
10. Bug-Jargal—Victor Hugo
This was part of that Victor Hugo collection I posted about earlier. I’d never even heard of Bug-Jargal, but it was great.
Only a couple of hours to read, it was definitely one of his shorter stories. It is set in Haiti, during slave uprisings in the early years of the Haitian Revolution.
I think Hugo likes revolutions, because it gives him an opportunity to look at all angles of human emotion and life. This story is told by a French military officer, who was stationed on Haiti at the time, and tells about his relationship with an African prince who has been captured and made a slave.
Bug-Jargal is an intense book, but it is intriguing. I would put it down for a little while, and keep wanting to pick it back up to find out what happened.
This is probably my favourite of the ten.