Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
I approached this book with some trepidation, because the reviews said it was more gruesome than the other two (and I found book two pretty gruesome). This book is definitely disturbing, and it’s more disturbing than book two because this one’s about a serial killer who stalks women and cuts off body parts, and he’s the kind of guy who could be anywhere.
That said, I love this series and I particularly loved this book because we get so much more character development of Robin and Strike (mostly Robin). We learn a lot more about her past and why she became a detective and her relationship with Matthew.
Also the crime is a lot more personal in this story. Someone is deliberately stalking Robin to get back at Strike. I will say that the cast of evil characters gets a bit confusing at times, but then that’s the nature of a mystery novel. We’re supposed to work at figuring out who’s who and why they did what they did.
I’m pretty sensitive to books about stalking and torture, but I could handle this book. While the chapters from the killer’s point of view are definitely disturbing, they are also interesting; for example the character isn’t just evil but seems to have an addiction to killing.
No word on when Book #4 comes out, but I’ll be waiting!
One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron
If you like fantasy and you’re looking for something fun and not so grim, I would definitely check out this series. This one’s the sequel to Nice Dragons Finish Last, which tells the story of the Heartstriker family of dragons. In that book, Julius is thrown out of the house by his mother, banished to Detroit and told to prove that he can be a ruthless dragon like the rest of the family (dragons in this series live mostly in human form).
The “nice guy” theme of this series gets a little repetitive at times but it also works. Julius has to choose either to become the dragon his family wants him to be, or to prove he can accomplish great things by being himself (it’s like an after-school special but with DRAGONS).
The concept is interesting but what makes these books so entertaining is the characters, especially Julian’s siblings, and we get a lot more of them in this book, plus more development of Marci, and there’s even a cat. The story is fast-paced with lots of magic and intrigue. As a sequel, this one builds quite a bit on the first book, and was a really fun read. A lot of series bore me after a couple of books of the same thing, but not this one. I look forward to the next one!
Once Upon a Marquess by Courtney Milan
I’ll confess that when life gets stressful, the historical romances come out of the closet. I love Milan’s books, and she has single-handedly returned me to a genre I found really tired. Her books stand every romance novel trope on end, and she focuses much more on clever wordplay than on bodice-ripping. Marquess is the first in a new series, and while I didn’t enjoy this book as much as her other two series, she still provided interesting characters and a good story.
This is sort of an odd romance novel in that its characters actually fell in love years ago. Judith and Christian meant to marry years ago, until her brother and father were accused of treason. Unfortunately, Christian had evidence related to the treason and had to testify, which wrecked Judith’s family completely. She hates him for what he did to her family, but he can’t apologize because he told the truth. It’s an insurmountable problem.
This story is not as sexy as some (by comparison, check out Tessa Dare’s A Week to be Wicked). These are older, more mature characters who already know and love each other. Still, what I like about Milan is that her characters never follow the usual conventions of class and gender, plus they always have unusual character traits – Judith loves creating clockwork figures and Christian is more comfortable around lists than other people (Milan likes to play on Asperger’s and OCD traits).
One more thing I like about Milan – her website has a whole list of authors you should check out if you like her books. I’m guessing these writers also fall outside the typical clichés of romance writing.
I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley. It was published by Victory Editing on December 8,2015.