The camping trip from hell, Victorian love plus butterflies, and great book covers with a garbled plot

If this is what passes for good literature, we are all doomed.

Being sick and stuck in bed means a lot of reading got done. Let’s go over this week’s reads.

A Blade so Black by L.L. McKinney

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

I wanted to like this book so much. Fantastic book cover, ultra cool title, has a minority protagonist, and uses the Alice in Wonderland world as the setup.

I did not like this book.

This is the problem when you get gamers who think they can write – the book has no character development, no world development, and hops from action to action, hoping that this will keep you engaged. Read the low starred reviews and take them very seriously (ignore the fawning in the Editorial Review section – those reviewers must be borderline illiterate).

This book has nothing to do with Alice in Wonderland. It is an urban fantasy story that is trying to game you by trotting out a well-beloved story that is well-known that it can hitch its star too. Boo-hiss.

If this is what passes for good literature, we are all doomed.

Black in White: Quentin Black Mystery by JC Andrijeski

Gifted with an uncanny sense about people, psychologist Miri Fox works as an off and on profiler for the police. So when they think they’ve finally nailed the “Wedding Killer,” she agrees to interview him – but the suspect, Quentin Black, isn’t anything like Miri expects. The longer Miri talks to him, the more determined she becomes to uncover his secrets.

If you have a penchant for gritty cop, thriller, with paranormal, Men-in-Black vibes this book is for you. Well-written, first in a series, with a rather interesting male hero.

My only beef about this book is Miriam doesn’t have enough self-empowerment. She is pushed around a bit too much by boss (I’d tell him to FO myself), boyfriend, and by Black. I actually think I would prefer the story to be all about Black and remove the Miri character all together (but than we wouldn’t have the faux romance so —).

The ending is also rather predictable, but I would check this series out – it will be interesting to see what the author does with it (does it improve or falter?).

A Curious Beginning: A Veronica Speedwell Mystery by Deanna Raybourn

London, 1887. After burying her spinster aunt, orphaned Veronica Speedwell is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of butterflies —and the occasional romantic dalliance. When Veronica thwarts her own attempted abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron, who offers her sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker, a reclusive and bad-tempered natural historian.

Wow! this book blew me away because it has the perfect hero-heroine dynamic for me plus a historical background. If you are into brainy love, brainy women, and smart conversation while our partners fall in love, check this book out.

It reminded me strongly of Elizabeth Peters, Crocodile on the Sandbank and her Amelia Peabody series.

The twist though was the let-down for me as I really didn’t like that (I won’t mention it here though). But I think that is a personal eccentricity of mine so don’t let it hold you back checking out this book.

Woodwalker by Emily B. Martin

Exiled from the Silverwood, Mae comes across three out-of-place who ask for assistance – risk death to help a deposed queen regain her throne. And if anyone can help Mona Alastaire of Lumen Lake, it is a former Woodwalker—a ranger whose very being is intimately tied to the woods they are sworn to protect.

This was a fun quick read and is your camping trip from hell. Mae has to drag Mona and her dumbass brother, and a bit smarter cousin through the forest so they can regain a kingdom. Between poison ivy, snakes, and idiots who don’t seem to take survival seriously, will they achieve their goal?

Suitable to the YA fantasy crowd. Because I’m a lover of the forest, I pretty much loved everything about this book. Nature lovers, take note.

Each week, I’ll be posting my current. If you want to be on my review list, I prioritize those that personally interest me.

Yes, I do read a lot and I read quickly. Blame it on that 6th grade, speed reading course I took.

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