While I would in no way claim the ability to review books, I wanted to share a couple I’ve loved recently. Since I travel about 90mins on public transit, each way, on my commute, this means a lot of time for reading (or napping, as is the case in winter). I’m going to legitimise this activity (because I Should Be Writing) with a ~monthly wrap-up of some favourites.
In one line: If this was more British it would be Midsummer Murders.
As a British reader, I find delight in some of the little touches that international readers may skim over, and Merrow provides these in handfuls during this story of a foppish tit falling out of the closet and in love with a floppy-haired bicycle mechanic. Tim’s emotional journey worked for me and I particularly enjoyed the ensemble cast (and am fairly sure I’ve met half of them) and bonus cat. After I finished this book I immediately booked a service for my bike. (Am still waiting to find out if my mechanic is as adorkable as Matt.)
In one line: I loved this so much I made my mother read it. (She has now read it twice.)
Things I’m a sucker for: shapeshifters, fish out of water, dogs, thigh holsters. This book had all of that and added the unbearable sweetness of Roman Charsguard, the thought of whom (even now) makes me want to hug myself and meep with joy. Only read this if you want to be delighted.
NB. I hadn’t read How to Howl at the Moon first, but did after and really enjoyed the backstory of the quickened town and the Lance/Tim get-together. Howl also made all of Roman’s awkward conversations with Lance (the Sheriff) twice as hilarious.
In one line: Hitmen in love yes good.
This story of a Mafia made man and a freelance hitman-slash-stripper wasn’t something I’d usually go for, but the cover sucked me in and I wasn’t disappointed. Dom and Sergei are messes with tragic pasts whose lives intersect in increasingly tight tangles. I liked Dom’s struggle to keep his image intact, and the way Sergei uses his day job as a stripper to meet Extremely Heterosexual mafiosos to get his kill contracts. I would’ve liked more murder husbands in the last third, but that might be because I ate the last 30 pages in about ten minutes to check they made it alright (spoiler: they do). Only a rereading will tell if I short-changed myself there. WELL OKAY THEN IF I HAVE TO.
In one line: I must go to Melbourne now and find my own hot nerd.
At 13k, this is a snack-sized story but every bite is worth it. Jalen’s first-person narrative was really engaging, and I was as smitten with P as they were (and from the instant of P’s entrance). Evans negotiates different aspects of identity in a way that is surprisingly comprehensive comparative to the wordcount, which was a refreshing change of pace to my usual make-everyone-a-werewolf-now-kiss – while still being very definitely a romantic story. Ideally I would have liked another couple k to round out the vignettes, but for an hour curled up on the sofa this is perfect.