Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie

I don’t get to use the word zany very often, but this was zany! Sort of like a Stephanie Plum novel, but way better. A huge insane cast. Hijinks galore. And a hero who didn’t have a huge role, but gave good swoon.

This was highly recommended to me as a laugh-out-loud book. It didn’t make me laugh, but it did make me genuinely happy.

I’m excited to have found Jennifer Crusie and delighted with this silly read.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I hope you all have enjoyed my reviews because this will be the last one. I’m done. Broken. Taken to the mountaintop and then shoved off. I’m finished reading. Forever. Time to take up knitting.

I thought (smugly) when I read The Heart’s Invisible Furies 3 weeks ago that I had met my book of the year. It was leaps and bounds past anything I’d read this year, and I truly felt it was untoppable. Hahahahaha.

StD does have an unfair advantage in that it’s Fantasy. My favorite genre. So maybe THIF is better, and my bias infringed on a clear and truthful review. That said – y’all are here bc you seem to like my bias. So I’ll tell you now that StD was better. More beautiful. Effervescent and action-packed and the most romantic non-romance I’ve ever read. Shoot, this joker was more romantic than plenty of romances.

At heart – even at 38 years old – I’m that awkward nerd girl addicted to magic and a quest and something bigger than all of us. Lord of the Rings. Harry Potter. Everything yummy by Neil Gaiman and VE Schwab.

As usual – I won’t bother discussing the plot. I will tell you I was moved – to the bottom of my feet – by a book that seemed to expend no effort in doing so. From the slow but captivating beginning building inexorably to a ending so heartbreaking and frustrating and enthralling I knew that I was in the presence of greatness. A book doing all those things books are meant to do – transporting the reader to some place beautiful and difficult and moving and important. More breathtaking than any thrill-ride. More touching than any movie. All of the things a book should be delivered with grace and ease.

Here’s a side note – this is book 1 in a duology. Book 2 comes out October 2. And you’re gonna NEEEEEEEEEED book 2 when you finish book 1. I’m going to be a better friend to you than Sam was to me and let you know that whatever space you have between book 1 and book 2 will be endless. That said – I’m still going to suggest you go out today and read this. Every day you haven’t read it is a day you’re missing something.

Just under 4 months for this, my current Book of the Year, to be unseated. Laini Taylor and I welcome all challengers.

See my Review of Muse of Nightmares.

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

Along with it’s predecessor, Strange the Dreamer, MoN is my book of the year.

See my review for Strange.

These are books for readers who wonder and ponder and know things beyond our wild fantasies are just a page turn away. Readers with big hearts and bigger dreams and witchlight in their eyes. These are books for readers who want to touch the stars – who know that impossible is a word only for those too scared to try.

An epic quest. A gentle love. Hatred. Forgiveness. Magic. Friendship. New chances. Hard losses. Tears. And smiles. An unimagined strength.

Beautiful writing, flawless pacing, and an unforgettable case of characters – it had everything for a romantic heart and so much more. I took my time with this. It is sad to shut it and face only the back cover. Like it any great book it made me fall in love – with possibility and people and the promise inside everyone.

Less By Andrew Sean Greer

We’re going to refer to this as the Ove effect. I can grasp that a book is, technically speaking, good. But I don’t connect with it and can’t enjoy it. I downright loathed Ove. I was simply bored by Less.

Similar to climbing a metal building – shiny and lovely with nothing to hold on to – this book was all form and no substance.

Shout-out to Sam for the buddy-read. I’m totally in the minority with my feelings for this book. At least Sam is there with me.

Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie

I wanted something to take Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ spot as my go-to read. When everything and everyone is too much and too stupid and too aggravating an SEP book renews my faith in humanity. But. BUT. I only have two SEPs left unread. I’m going sloooooooowly with these last two. I don’t want to have read everything she’s written. That will be an end to an era – and something for which I’m not ready.

While Jennifer Crusie’s stories and characters aren’t like SEP’s stories and characters there is that same kind of comfort. It’s like “oh, I’m safe here. I’m going to be entertained. There won’t be stupid characters or insulting writing or plots that seem as far-fetched as fantasy novels.” If SEP is chicken n dumplins, Crusie is pot roast and mashed taters. Delicious. Comforting. Perhaps not the most exciting thing I’ve ever eaten, but I’m gonna want it over and over again.

Now I have a big ole stack of Crusie on my nightstand. It seems I read Bet Me in 2015. But I don’t remember it. Still, I liked it wayyyyy back then. (See my review here).

I have a few ARCs coming up. Plus I’m still reading Muse of Nightmares I/2 of my book of the year. The Crusie held up nicely against my slow savoring Muse read. Which means I’ll be reading her again ASAP.Fas

Just Imagine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

This book felt every one of its 34 years. Dated, aggravating and dramatic – it was also a powerfully weaved story of two jackasses falling in love.

Kit, 18, unloved and wild – travels to New York to sabotage her newly appointed guardian. Thus begins a story that spans over four years and takes us between New York, South Carolina and Texas. Baron, Kit’s guardian, is every bit as stubborn and hurt as Kit. They clash. Again. And again. And again. While their passion is admirable – their propensity for hurting one another isn’t.

Baron lacked the charm of most SEP heroes. And Kit was sassy but rash. I know that us Southerners are considered dramatic, but Kit was a diva even by good ole dirty South standards.

I’m reading everything SEP has written. So I had to read this. Otherwise I wouldn’t have. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t what she writes at her best.