January Reading Wrap-Up

Well, what happened to January? It disappeared as quickly as 2019! I finished 9 books this month, and four seasons of ‘The Mentalist’ – my new TV obsession.

First up is ‘The Snowdonia Killings’ a debut crime series novel by Simon McCleave introducing DI Ruth Hunter. A promising start, I’ve a blog post with a full review if you’re interested in finding out more. 3.5 stars

‘Killing Beauties’ by Pete Langman is an historical read about female spies and the wider network during Cromwell’s 17th century world of secrets and lies. 3 stars.

‘Dreamland’ by Nancy Bilyeau was a really enjoyable read, there’s also a blog post on this one. This book is an adventure and a murder mystery; it’s about first love, loss, addiction, power, corruption, and the battle for independence. 4.5 stars

‘Eros Element’ by Cecilia Dominic – a fantasy steampunk inspired adventure. It was okay for a little escapism. 2.5 stars

‘The Last Day’ by Andrew Hunter Murray is all bleak, apocalyptic and dystopian – uneven narrative issues for me, but lots of positives. 3.5 stars

‘The Foundling’ by Stacey Hall is one of my top reads this month. I loved Hall’s first book, ‘The Familiars’, and this one is even stronger. Built around the many ‘foundlings’ left in London’s Foundling Hospital; this is a story of despair, hope, isolation, lies and family bonds. 5 stars.

‘The Duke’s Desire by Erica Ridley was a review read, and it’s pretty much as you’d expect – a fiesty historical romance with the expected HEA. 3 stars

‘Six Wicked Reasons’ by Joe Spain was a great thriller, whodunit book and centres on a very dysfunctional family governed by a narcissistic patriarch. 4 stars.

Finally, ‘The Rose in Winter’ by Sarah Harrison – not really for me, I found myself disengaged several times. 2.5 stars

#NewBookAlert – the YA fantasy ‘The Stars We Steal’ by Alexa Donne, published today 4th Feb by #TitanBooks

Publishing today is ‘The Stars We Steal’ by Alexa Donne. It’s a new standalone, set in the farthest reaches of space and earth is remembered as ancient history. Described as a sci-fi romance that ’embraces the idealism that true love exists under the most cutthroat of scenarios’.

Blurb

Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, has only one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin?

But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love, Elliot, returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one who got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself falling for her first love in a game of love, lies and past regrets.

My thoughts

This is a charming and entertaining YA fantasy read, set in space many years after the earth is made uninhabitable by an environmental disaster. It’s also charming, as it’s a reinvention of Jane Austen’s ‘Persuasion’. The tragic relationship between Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth is brought to life again through Princess Leo and Eliott on-board a spaceship.

If you’re unaware of Austen’s ‘Persuasion’ then in a nutshell, it’s about second chances and regrets of the past being healed; it’s a beautiful love story. In Alexa Donne’s version love is at the heart of this narrative too. ‘The Stars We Steal’ begins with a space version of a marriage mart, where Leo is being forced to attend to attract the attention of a potential husband. It some becomes clear that there’s trouble ahead, particularly when she meets Elliot, and their past bitterness causes new conflict.

This YA fantasy book will suit readers who enjoy an enemies to love story line; Sci-fi, (although there’s not too much of this in the action, it serves more as the setting) a bit of political intrigue and plotting, with a large dash of adventure.

Out now from @Titanbooks

Also out today is ‘Double Feature’ by Donald E. Westlake – publishing for the first time in 40 years! I’ll be chatting about this book soon.

The movie star and the movie critic – how far would they go to keep their secrets buried?