Writings: July 2021 Reading List & Reviews by Beth Bowser

Novels by Eileen Wilks, Allie Reynolds, David Chandler and TJ Klune July 2021 Reading & Reviews Click here for a printer friendly version of this page

For the first novel I finished in July, I was introduced to the World of the Lupi in Tempting Danger (#1) by Eileen Wilks. This novel is a paranormal romance where the female lead is a cop with some natural resistance to magical effects and the male lead is a werewolf (or Lupi as the book defines them) prince. I liked the dynamic of two marginalized peoples, Asian (the cop) and Lupi (the prince) and how they found commonalities with each other. However, I did not at all care for the much too common trope in paranormal romance of the fated mates thing which was sadly present. I didn't believe the pull of the two fated people, but Wilks did a good job in my opinion at writing the mystery and in drumming up suspense! But, then she sadly dropped the ball at the end leaving it a little lukewarm. On the plus, it appears this series remains following the same pair which I really like! Overall, if you like paranormal romance, grab this book! Also, just from reading a few reviews about it, many people like how the racial tension is portrayed in this novel. As a Caucasian, I feel I can't add in anything to that conversation, but I wanted to report that many people have reported approving it!

The next novel I picked up was a suggestion, Shiver by Allie Reynolds. In Shiver, we follow one snowboarder in two timelines. The first before a major competitive event and then 10 years later as they are meeting for a reunion at the same ski resort in the French Alps they stayed at ten years ago. Many things have changed in their lives between then and now as we follow one of the snowboarders, Milla. One of the biggest differences is that one member is missing between the two timelines as far as we know! It's a slow moving mystery as someone is staying at the ski resort with them and messing with them, ratcheting up the tension, and it's catchy! I found myself devouring page after page to find who was responsible. I do feel the need to say that almost none of the characters are people I could call friends. They are for the most part unlikable which could have made me less interested in reaching the end (that has happened before!) but it's so well written, I had to keep going! If you don't know anything about snowboarding, the book can still be read fine without requiring you to have a dictionary handy. Sure, there are terms you won't know, but you can use context cues to figure out what word means or if the word's definition is important. All in all, It should be picked up for a television series and if you like suspenseful novels, grab this one!

The third novel I picked up was a random selection that fell far below my hopes. Den of Thieves is explained as a fantasy caper by David Chandler, but I saw no capers. Instead I saw tired old fantasy tropes. Malden is the main character, a thief who is only forced to be a thief by circumstances. He is a total superhuman handling the hardest of tasks with seeming ease. There is a wizard, but he is one dimensional and evil. There is also love, but it's even more improbable than the paranormal romances I read. A knight exists as well but also suffers from one-dimensional-ism and has no intelligence. The writing isn't bad, but it's also not good enough to have such a basic story with mostly boring characters. My takeaway is that if you haven't read a classic fantasy previously, you might like this one as everything may be new. If you've read even a few fantasy novels before, I would suggest you pass on this novel.

Finally, the last novel for July was another suggested read, The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune. This novel is an amazing feel good read, with the exception of too many moments of extreme irritation early on! (I hate reading injustice, doubly so when the person being treated horribly just accepts it.) The novel is YA fantasy based in an alternate England where there is another level of orphanages, specifically ones for magical youth. The main character, Linus, is a portly 40 year old man and case worker in the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth. He's a huge stickler for rules and regulations and it hasn't gotten him many friends or benefits until people higher up in the organization found they needed him. They needed to send a case worker for a specific orphanage, one who would follow all the rules and regs without allowing emotions into his report. It's a wonderful feel good novel, but you do have to ignore the annoying feelings that 'this would never work in the real world!' We're in luck as the real world is not the world of the novel. But it's a warning that you have to be able to suspend disbelief. I did read something that made me rethink this review however. The author came up with the idea for this book after reading about the horrors the Canadian government perpetuated from the 50s to the 80s. They pulled indigenous children out of their homes and forced them into residential (basically prisons for kids) schools full of torture and pain all under the guise of hoping that good white families would adopt them. So the author whitewashed the truth of the horrible actions the Canadian government took and it more palatable. Eh... This novel truly is a feel good one if you can ignore the background of how the book came into being.

I know, I'm not doing well at keeping up with things and keep this updated regularly as in the tagline... But soon, I will unveil a new site, connected to this one, of my novel in progress! In the meantime, please keep the suggestions coming and any topics about writing you may want me to cover!