I’m sharing my thoughts on my February 2017 Reading Challenge picks, but first…

Wondering how I pick my books, where I get them, and how I choose which ones to read?

My Reading Challenge choices are based on personal interest and the fact that they fit my monthly theme. Then I either check them out of my local library or buy them. (If you’re wondering, it does help authors to check their books out of a library – it keeps that book in circulation longer and helps the library’s collection department know that at least one of its patrons is interested in that author, which might make it more likely the library will buy their next book.)

I’m not able to read all of my monthly choices (I wish) so, just because I’m giving my thoughts on some and not others, doesn’t necessarily mean they were the best of the bunch. And my site’s not monetized, so I don’t make any money if you choose to buy these books. (That’s why I often link to Goodreads, although not always).

I encourage everyone to get their books from a wide variety of places. Amazon, sure. We all do. But try to make it a point to buy from other vendors from time to time — and remember to check books out of your local library! It supports both the author and your library. 🙂

IndieBound: Find books at local independent book stores.

WorldCat: Find books at local libraries.

Shades of Milk and Honey

Features Jane Ellsworth, master glamour manipulator, and her sister, Melody, an au naturale beauty.

Months ago – just after the New Year – this was the first book I grabbed after the insanity of the holidays. It had been on my TBR list forever and I thought it would be interesting, fun, and even somewhat soothing after December’s mania. I was right. (Unfortunately, I didn’t know I’d be doing a reading challenge at the time, so I didn’t take good notes.) I do, however, remember liking many things about the book:

The magic – I love glamour magic. Fara Vanderlin from my Noon Onyx series also works with glamours and I love to see what other authors do with this type of magic. I liked that Jane refused to enhance her own appearance but was fantastic at creating sensory tableaus that incorporated not just the visual, but also other senses like sound, smell, and touch. It was fascinating that, in this society, people used galmourists like interior decorators. The richer someone was, the better glamourist they could hire. And the way the magic worked — weaved, woven, layered — was pretty cool.

It wasn’t a retelling – the story was set in an alternate version of Regency England, but it wasn’t based on any specific Jane Austen novel. I love a good redux, but it’s more impressive when writers use their inspirations as jumping off points.

The cover to the next book! There are a total of five books in the Glamourist Histories series. The cover of the second, Glamour in Glass, features a Regency heroine (I assume Jane) in… well, shades of milk and honey – but with bubbles. Makes me curious to say the least.

Heartstone

This was a retelling… of Pride and Prejudice, but with dragons. Tell me you can resist that. 😀

In the beginning, there were a lot of creatures and names to keep straight. There were wyverns, dragons, gnomes, and gryphons… beoryns, lamias, nakla, khela… Tekari, Shani…

There were Brysneys instead of Bingleys, Bentaines instead of Bennets, Daireds instead of Darcys, but I became immersed in the story soon enough.

The Fourfold God was interesting: Janna—Provider, She Who Sustains; Mikla—Protector, Shield of the Faithful; Odei—Creator, He Who Begins; and Thell—the Unmaker (i.e. Death).

And I liked that none of the characters seemed to be an exact replica of their match in P&P.

After reading it, I wished two things:

  1. That I’d chosen Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, instead of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters as my third book choice for February; and
  2. That I’d had time to read another book in February.

It would have been neat to see how Elle Katherine White’s retelling differed from Seth Grahame-Smith’s. (Have you read P&P&Z? What did you think? Are you wondering why I picked Sea Monsters over Zombies? Because the cover reminded me of Bill Nighy’s Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean. And because I felt like Zombies had gotten more than enough attention with the movie.) 

In lieu of my thoughts on Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, I offer you its You Tube book trailer link. Absolutely worth the two minutes or so it takes to watch.

My final thought on Heartstone: Giving the Drakaina (the dragon queen) some of the characteristics of Lady Catherine de Bourgh was a nice touch.

So, how about you? Did you read any of my Feb 2017 Reading Challenge picks? Are you reading anything else? Can you think of any other Jane Austen-inspired fantasy? If so, let me know in the comments! Tomorrow, I’ll share March’s reading picks.