Of late, my library hauls have been far more aspirational than actually readable, and that gets depressing, returning books without actually having had time to read them. So for the last haul, I allowed myself only three books, and determined to read them all. No matter what.*
(*Of course if I’d hated a book or just found it subpar for some reason, I wasn’t going to force myself, because better things to do!)
In the end, I read all three and enjoyed each of them in their own way.
I read Deanna Raybourn’s A Dangerous Collaboration, book 4 in the Veronica Speedwell mysteries. The previous three have been fun, but every single time I kept thinking, this reminds me so much of Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series. Book 4 of the Veronica Speedwell books broke that curse and I enjoyed it without once thinking wistfully of Elizabeth Peters. Veronica is a nearly impossible iconoclast in the Victorian Era, but Raybourn gets away with it because a) Veronica is so appealing and b) because she’s careful to show that other Victorian women have their own vibrant internal lives. Veronica is just overt about hers. And (small spoiler!) finally Veronica and Stoker get their relationship figured out.
I read Helen Oyeyemi’s White is for Witching, which has been recommended to me for years. And for years, I’ve side-eyed those who recommended it, thinking “really? I read it and it was AWFUL.” Oops. My bad. I had never read it. I read a book with a similar title (which was in fact awful). Once I realized my mistake, I sought out the actual book people were recommending. Oyeyemi’s White is for Witching is really enjoyable. In broad strokes, it’s sort of a haunted house story? But really, it’s a beautifully written and fascinating character study with a quiet, horror setting. TW: for eating disorders for anyone who wants to check it out. I will recommend it to readers in turn.
The final book I read was Jennifer Hillier’s The Butcher, a crime thriller with a gloss of horror. It’s not the best thing I’ve read in this genre by a long shot, but it was interesting enough that I’ll check out some of her other books. The characters are good though. The villain is suitably villainous and brazen. The heroine is suitably heroic. The greyscale boyfriend is… interesting. I liked that he wasn’t all good or bad. It’s definitely not a whodunit, because half the characters know who the villain is in the first chapter or so. (And the reader knows from the blurb!) So most of the tension is spent in wondering if the heroine will figure it out before she gets killed. Readable, at any rate.
Since that was successful, I decided to keep the next library haul small as well.
I picked up The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling which I want to read and am also kind of afraid to read. Caving. Not my thing. But space caving with horror? Maybe? The joy of the library. I can find out.
Liar’s Paradox by Taylor Stevens. Picked up on a whim. No clue whether I’ll like it or not. Again, yay for the library which lets me take these gambles.
Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich. A YA horror novel in three time periods. I read Kurtagich’s Dead House and found it interesting enough that her name stuck with me, so I picked this up.
The final book is a cheat. I OWN this book, yet I checked it out from the library anyway. Because I haven’t finished it yet, and sometimes ebooks are just not satisfying. I don’t know. Some books want to be read on paper. Melissa Caruso’s The Tethered Mage is one of them. I actually checked this out once before, got five chapters in, went online and bought an e-copy. Then failed to keep reading it. IDEK. And now it’s buried under the pile of other ebooks. So, I figured maybe getting the actual book back in my hands will get me to finish it. I really loved what I read of it.