This situation hardly ever happens to me, especially these days. Last week’s books turned out to be very poor choices in that I didn’t enjoy either of them! Despite a good range of stock at the Library to select from, I made two mistakes. Luckily the book I am in the middle of right now is much better – I will write about that one in next week’s post.
My first book was historical fiction: The Penny Heart by Martine Bailey. Here is the blurb:
Manchester 1787. When budding young criminal Mary Jebb swindles Michael Croxon’s brother with a blank pound note, he chases her into the night and sets in motion a train of sinister events. Condemned to seven years of transportation to Australia, Mary sends him a ‘Penny Heart’-a token of her vow of revenge.
Two years later, Michael marries naïve young Grace Moore. Although initially overjoyed at the union, Grace quickly realizes that her husband is more interested in her fortune than her company. Lonely and desperate for companionship, she turns to her new cook to help mend her ailing marriage. But Mary Jebb, shipwrecked, maltreated, and recently hired, has different plans for the unsuspecting owners of Delafosse Hall.
I did enjoy the recipes written out between each section – they were interesting and were nicely woven into the narrative. In the end, I gave the book two stars and wrote this review on Goodreads:
This wasn’t a bad book, but it just wasn’t for me. The plot and characters were interesting enough, but the book just dragged. I struggled to around the halfway point and then simply skimmed to the end.
As I said above, it isn’t a bad book, just not to my taste. It is worth making up your own mind, perhaps reading other reviews on Goodreads would help.
My second choice of the week was a return to fantasy fiction: City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett (The Divine Cities #01). This is the blurb:
The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions — until its divine protectors were killed. Now, Bulikov’s history has been censored and erased, its citizens subjugated. But the surreal landscape of the city itself, forever altered by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it, stands as a haunting reminder of its former supremacy.
Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country’s most accomplished spies, dispatched — along with her terrifying “secretary”, Sigrud — to solve a murder.
But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem, and that Bulikov’s cruel reign may not yet be over.
A tale of vast conspiracies, dead gods, and buried histories, City of Stairs is at once a gripping spy novel and a stunningly original work of fantasy.
Now, I did actually manage to finish this one, although I am wondering why I did! Anyway, once again I gave the book only two stars (totally against the flow of other reviewers on Goodreads), and wrote the following:
Just about all the reviews I read really rated this book. The cover and first few pages had hugely positive comments. So, I looked forward to reading, what I expected to be, a wonderful fantasy book. Now I am wondering why I bothered to plough through it? It was one of the most boring books I have ever read. A few scenes raised the excitement levels off the floor, but didn’t last long enough to grip me. The characters were either intensely irritating or dull, apart from Sigrud. The rest was turgid.
No, I won’t be reading any more books in the series. I am glad for the author that other readers have enjoyed the book. But I didn’t!
Well, I was being honest!
I am so pleased that the book I am currently reading is so much more my “thing”! I will give you my verdict on Nora Roberts’ Year One next week.
Haply Reading and best wishes to you all!