The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

So – can’t tell you much. It starts slow and picks up around halfway. There’s a malevolent vibe the entire time – with a cast of irredeemable characters that you love to hate. These people are incredibly bad. That’s my main criticism actually – the unrealistic nature of this much evil in one spot. But it makes what happens easier to read. So it wasn’t a huge negative.

I don’t want to call it an easy read. Parts were flat out awful. But there’s a freedom that comes from reading a book with no emotional investment. It’s like a gruesome version of lighthearted.

Twists galore. Ridiculous characters. And a plot that snowballs – gathering speed as the book progresses. I didn’t love this book, but i had a hell of a good time guessing what would happen next – and consistently being wrong.

Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

The difficulty comes in avoiding comparison to Dangerous Girls. Therefore I’m not going to try. Where Dangerous Girls was subtle – toying with you – this book was obvious and heavy-handed. It lacked it’s predecessor’s glee. Dangerous Girls was bold and ebullient – exultant in its malice. Dangerous Boys was dull and ridiculous. It’s hard to believe that the same author wrote these two books.

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

You. Abigail Haas. Yeah you. TAKE ALL THE STARS. Just freaking take them.

Yall – this was so so so so much fun! Holy damn! I have not enjoyed a book like this in a while.

Basically my review is going to tell you nothing. Bc spoilers abound. And DO NOT read any reviews until you finish this book. Just go in blind knowing that by page 25 you won’t be able to put it down. You’ll read it in one sitting – tense – stomach cramping – palms sweating. Totally on-edge. And you freaking should be! There’s a lot on the line here – with twists and betrayals you can’t see coming. I guessed all the way up until the end. And then I finished this thing with the BIGGEST smile ever on my face.

Go! Get the book-crack! Read the book-crack! Love the book-crack! And you’re welcome!

Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti by Genevieve Valentine

This was sparse. Tight. Edgy. A lot unsaid – leaving the reader to her own devices. The writing was stunning. The plot quick-moving.

The story of a circus that’s more than a circus – in some kind of post-apocalyptic nightmare where war is everywhere. The dying are drawn to the circus – where the ringmaster has a “healing touch.” Each circus act is a little more than the sum of its parts.

The story is simple while the book is complex. Valentine has created something slyly macabre. You’re creeped out as you read, but you can’t put your finger on why. She evokes bold dark colors and heat and something beautiful at first glance but terrifyingly ugly as you look closer.

The writing is dry and sharp. Literally all edges – without a safe place to land. You get to the end confident that nothing good is coming.

Given my hectic week and mindset this was a tough read for me. I wanted cuddles and hot tea. This book gave me a sharp jab and a shot of Patron.

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook

A quick caveat before the gushing – I tend to get really excited when I find a new author or new genre that I love. Both Ms Brook and steampunk romance are new to me. I was told (repeatedly!) that if I was going to try steampunk Ms Brook was the only way to go. While much of my love is directed at the book and the author it is also a reflection of finding something NEW and DIFFERENT. I like variety (come on – have you seen my Read pile?) so I get super squeaky over something outside my booky wheelhouse.

All of that said – this is…wait for it… a steampunk pirate romance set in a war-ravaged, machine-infested pseudo-england. Y’all – this book was a freaking BLAST. Mina is this bad-ass lady cop with so much going against her. But ole girl has pluck and sass and super-human strength. And Rhys…okay, bear with me…Rhys is sort of a dickhead. Bossy and simple. He is not the most shaded of characters. But it was totally okay. I loathe a one-dimensional caveman, but I have a soft-spot for a dude who is honestly a little out of his element in love. Rhys is not complex, but I adored his bad-assery and social malfunctions.

There was tons of action. Adventure. Zombies. This book had a lot of story to it (at several points it is overwhelming), but I’m going to give points for effort. There was steam, but it wasn’t the focus of the book, and it was never so repetitive as to be boring. The first 40-ish pages of the story was mostly world-building. And I had to go back a couple of times to reference something or get an explanation.

Overall I loved this. I’ve been reading some serious stuff lately. And it felt so good to read a romance that was (to me) everything a romance should be. Fun and silly and big and simple and likable. The perfect way to relax and let the day roll off my shoulders. I will be starting the next book in this series ASAP – fingers crossed it’s every bit as much fun!

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

This was beautiful. The illustrations were breathtaking. I think this book is awful and important. And I’m glad that it exists for those who need it, and sad that it exists for that very reason.

I cried.

It’s a book for coping – coping with something huge and horrible. It’s simply written and easy to read (except those parts so hard to read it feels like your ribs are being crushed and snapped one by one).

Honesty, this book doesn’t need my review. It’s a story that does something – means something – serves this purpose so far beyond the little words that I can put on this page. My opinion is small and unnecessary. Read the book – you’ll see.

PS – I wouldn’t see this movie if you paid me $10,000. Not enough tissue in the world for all that.

The Bird and The Sword by Amy Harmon

A YA(ish??) fantasy romance – with magic and princes and creepy flying bad guys. It wasn’t bad, but it felt more like the sketch of a book than a full story. A prophecy thingy makes it so Lark can’t speak. Her magic is not allowed, and she doesn’t know who or what she really is. The prince takes an interest in her and Lark starts to see her own worth – and his.

The good – easy read. Decent world-building. Enjoyable writing.

The bad – shallow. Silly chick. The romance moved in weird fits and starts that I could not follow. It was overly wordy in areas. I got bored in spots.

I’ve read some great books recently. Full characters. Fabulous story-lines. Imagery and writing both moving and meaningful. This was a thoroughly okay read that I’m unlikely to remember by March.