What I Read in September
|December 1, 2014||Posted by Jess under Books|
Week Thirty-Six (September 7-13): The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan. The sequel to The Duchess War, this book focuses on Robert’s illegitimate half-brother Oliver Marshall, who is willing to do pretty much anything to advance his political career and prove that he’s not as worthless as his noble associates think he is. Enter Jane Fairfield, an heiress who avoids marriage by being as obnoxious as humanly possible – because if she does marry, she won’t be able to stay at home and protect her epileptic little sister from their uncle’s increasingly dangerous attempts to “cure” her. A potential political ally wants Oliver to destroy Jane in revenge for some of her more obnoxious comments, but can he bring himself to be so cruel to someone he can tell is a kindred spirit? I liked this one even more than the first book in the series, especially Jane and her sister Emily, who are both determined to be themselves and live their lives how they want no matter what the men around them say.
Week Thirty-Six (September 14-20): A Kiss for Midwinter by Courtney Milan. This novella in the same series focuses on Lydia Charingford, Minnie’s best friend, and Dr. Jonas Grantham. Years ago, Lydia got pregnant out of wedlock and miscarried – and Jonas knows it. She’s sure that he’s judging her whenever he looks at her, but he’s actually secretly in love with her, and determined to change her opinion of him. I adored Lydia but Jonas was way too pushy for me. Like, his method of charming her is to take her to his most depressing house calls so she can see that the world isn’t as lovely as she thinks it is? What a dick.
Week Thirty-Six (September 21-27): Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley. I picked this up at NYCC because I love cooking and food and people talking about the feelings food gives them, and the art looked adorable. And the art is adorable, and there are some really charming anecdotes and great recipes…but it’s less a comic and more a meticulously illustrated prose memoir. Everything is narrated down to the tiniest detail, and the art is never trusted to carry the story on its own. I also found the unexamined privilege running through the book to be off-putting; there’s a lot of namedropping and tossed-off comments like “Oh, when I was six my favorite food was foie gras!” Look, when I was six my favorite food was lobster, but I’m aware that I was very lucky to be exposed to that at such a young age. There are also some nasty potshots at fat people who eat fast food. Not everyone is raised by a chef, okay?
Week Thirty-Six (September 28-October 4): Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan. Aspiring reporter Kami is anticipating a certain amount of drama when the Lynburns, former lords-of-the-manor in her small town of Sorry-in-the-Vale, return after a generation away. What she doesn’t expect is for one of the Lynburn boys to be the “imaginary friend” she’s been able to communicate with psychically her entire life – or for things like ritual sacrifices, unexplainable phenomena, and attempts on her life to start happening. I really liked certain elements of this book but it felt like two different books in one; there’s an aggressively wacky sense of humor that crops up sort of unevenly throughout this otherwise fairly dark urban fantasy and often at inappropriate times.