What I Read in March
|April 24, 2014||Posted by Jess under Books, Comics, Ladytexts, Television|
Week Ten (March 2-8): Breaking the Rules by Suzanne Brockmann. Another Troubleshooters book. Dan (of Hot Pursuit fame) and fellow SEAL Izzy Zanella have never gotten along, a problem exacerbated by the fact that Izzy is married to – and estranged from – Dan’s little sister Eden. But when Eden comes to Dan for help getting custody of their little brother Ben from their abusive parents, it’ll take all three of them, plus Dan’s new girlfriend Jenn, to protect Ben and his new friend Neesha from both a “de-gaying” camp and a child prostitution ring. The romance in this one didn’t particularly move me – Izzy’s kind of an ass when he’s around Eden, although Eden is definitely one of my favorite characters from this series – but I loved the “building a family”-style relationships: the three Gillmans, Eden and Jenn, Dan and Izzy, Jen and Benn (heh). It was also a little jarring to have so much sexual abuse (always presented as a bad thing, of course!) in a book that also had consensual sex scenes between loving couples; there was some disconcerting emotional whiplash.
Week Eleven (March 9-15): The Superman Chronicles, Volume 5 by a bunch of people, but most Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Reprints of 14 Superman stories from 1941. I really enjoy Golden Age Superman comics, although they’re funny because Superman really isn’t himself yet. (Weirdly, Lois completely is.)
Week Twelve (March 16-22): The Only Woman in the Room: A Memoir of Japan, Human Rights, and the Arts by Beate Sirota Gordon. Exactly what it says on the tin – Gordon, of Austrian citizenship and Russian extraction, spent her childhood in Japan, and thus after WWII, which she spent in America, she got a job with the U.S. government in Japan so that she could find her parents and wound up contributing to the Japanese constitution. The writing’s a little dry and the events aren’t terribly dramatic, but it’s still an interesting look at the immediate post-war era from a different perspective.
Week Thirteen (March 23-29): Last Night’s Scandal by Loretta Chase. I tweeted while reading this that it was so good it made me angry, and I stand by that. HOW ARE YOU SO DELIGHTFUL, LORETTA, HOW. This one is about childhood friends Lisle and Olivia (I know some of y’all have read Lord Perfect – they’re the kids from that) who find themselves stuck renovating a supposedly-haunted Scottish castle. He’s stubbornly studious and practical, she’s all imagination and impetuous schemes, sparks fly, etc. What I loved about this, besides the vivid, complex characters and sparkling dialogue, was the sense of history between the two of them. Often a romance novel will have a couple who have known each other for years but now she’s grown up and beautiful and he’s having pants feelings for her (and there are overtones of creepiness on his part, which this novel avoids by having the hero and heroine be, refreshingly, the same age), but because we’ve actually seen these two as children and because the novel starts with snippets of their decade-long correspondence in the intervening time, their affection for and knowledge of one another feels very earned and genuine.
Week Fourteen (March 50-April 5): My Own Worst Frenemy (Langdon Prep #1) by Kimberly Reid. Chanti Evans would rather be at the local inner city high school with her friends than fancy Langdon Prep, especially after the snobby headmistress accuses Chanti and her fellow scholarship students (super-hot Marco and mysterious Bethanie) of being behind a rash of thefts. But Chanti’s not the daughter of a vice cop for nothing, and she’s determined to clear her name – not to mention solving a few other mysteries circling around Langdon. This is more Veronica Mars than Nancy Drew, though not quite as dark; Chanti’s flawed but likeable, and her world is definitely dangerous. The cast is also mostly POC, and the book deals frankly with class differences. There were a couple of places where Chanti missed obvious clues or red herrings were set up a little too obviously, but I’ll take a slightly-too-easy mystery with a diverse cast over a hard one with a bunch of Abercrombie models any day.