Monthly Archives: November 2018

Review of Mating the Huntress, by Talia Hibbert

I heard so many good things about Talia Hibbert‘s Mating the Huntress that I bought a copy, even though M/F paranormal erotica almost always does me wrong. (Spoiler, this one didn’t.)

Description from Goodreads:
Chastity Adofo knows a monster when she sees one. As soon as Luke Anthony wanders into her family’s coffee shop, she recognises the evil lurking beneath his charming smile and fantastic arse. The handsome werewolf is determined to have her—but she’s determined to cut out his heart.

Little does she know, Luke’s plans for her are far more pleasurable than murder. And when the full moon rises, all bets are off…

Review*:
Cute, fluffy, and funny
High on consent and female autonomy
Adorable-sexy is a thing and Luke is it

Depth is skipped to make it a novella and you feel it
Fairly low on the sizzle scale for an erotica (but not enough plot for a romance)


*My laptop battery died before I had a chance to review this book and it was several days before I remembered to come back and do it. So, we get a bullet-pointed version instead. It happens.

Review of Premeditated Peppermint (Amish Candy Shop Mystery #3), by Amanda Flower

I won a copy of Amanda Flower’s Premeditated Peppermint through Goodreads. Early November may seem an odd time to read a book set around Christmas, but I try to fill my Little Free Library with holiday books in December. So, I wanted to go ahead and get this read and added to the stock.

Description:
Christmas is Bailey King’s favorite time of year. For her first Yuletide in Harvest, Ohio, the former big-city chocolatier is recreating a cherished holiday treat: peppermint combined with molten white chocolate. But her sugar high plummets when her former boyfriend walks into the candy shop she now runs with her Amish grandmother. New York celebrity chef Eric Sharp and his TV crew have arrived to film an authentic Amish Christmas. Bailey’s not about to let her beloved town–and Swissmen Sweets–be turned into a sound bite. Unfortunately, she gets more publicity than she bargained for when Eric’s executive producer is found strangled to death–and Eric’s the prime suspect.

With Bailey’s sheriff deputy boyfriend out to prove Eric’s guilt, her bad-boy ex tries to sweet-talk her into helping him clear his name . . . and rekindle their romance to boost ratings for his show. Now, between a surplus of suspects and a victim who wasn’t who she seemed, Bailey’s edging dangerously close to a killer who isn’t looking to bring joy to the world–or to Bailey–this deadly Noel . . .

Review:
I can’t say I truly loved this. I suppose that if you’re really into cozy mysteries you might like it a bit more. Certainly, the writing is fine. (I thought a tad forced at times, with names used too often in dialogue. Mostly fine though.) However, I seriously disliked one of the characters, thought another was painfully cliche, and I had a serious issue with this being categorized as an Amish mystery.

Specifically Premeditated Peppermint calls itself an “Amish Candy Shop Mystery.” And while the argument could be made that the emphasis is on Amish Candy shop, not Amish mystery, I still think the selling point is meant to be that this is a book about Amish characters. There are Amish people in the book, but (and here’s my beef) THE MAIN CHARACTER IS NOT AMISH.

I suspect (though I don’t know) that Flower has some Amish connection in real life. The culture is treated respectfully and the book does address some of the difficulties of navigating non-Amish life as an Amish person. The rules and mores are repeatedly dismissed by outsiders as flexible, for example, and the main character is considered Amish by those same outsiders for her mere association with the community. While all that may be true, the Amish community is still just window dressing on the book. It’s what makes the world-building different from other cozy mysteries. And in the end, I was uncomfortable with it; side-eyeing and wondering where exactly the line of appropriation really is.

Outside of that big issue, I also thought it inappropriate Bailey inserted herself into a police investigation, thought the pushy mother shipping Bailey and her son before they’d even had a date too much to believe, and the mystery wasn’t hard to figure out at all. As a side note, I was able to follow it just fine without having read the previous books.

This is not to say the book is without merit. It was cute, had some good quips and is as squeaky clean as anyone could hope. It seems to have just not been the book for me.

Review of Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett

I somehow ended up with two copies of Ann Patchett‘s Commonwealth. I won one through Goodreads and the other just mysteriously showed up in the mail. Maybe the prize got posted twice, maybe I won a second somewhere else. I’m not actually certain. But obviously the most logical thing to do was then get the audio version from the library to listen to, which is what I did. Though to be honest, I don’t think I would have it I hadn’t also had the physical book on my shelf.

Description from Goodreads:
One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.

Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them.

When, in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another.

Review:
I’ll start by saying that I don’t gravitate toward popular literary fiction of this sort. I’m a dedicated sci-fi/fantasy reader. But every now and again I dip my toe into other waters and Commonwealth seemed a fair place to do so.

It took me a long time to settle into the book. For more than half of it I was afraid it wouldn’t come together and would remain just a series of events in the lives of two random families. But with the introduction of Leo the stories finally wove together and in the end I liked it. It’s definitely one of those books that I wasn’t sure until the end though.

I didn’t like many of the characters. I hated a lot of the decisions that they made. But life is messy and people make choices that have disastrous results all the time. This book centers them and moves forward from there.

Having said that, man can Patchett turn a phrase. The book really is beautifully written. It was a pleasure to listen to and Hope Davis did an excellent job bringing it to life. I can’t say I’m running out to read the next such book. But the next time I feel up to a little literary fiction, maybe I’ll pick up Bel Canto, which has been on my shelf for ages. (I have no idea how it got there.)