Writing a monthly book recommendation series is kind of hard work. It’s not hard in that I can call reading work occasionally. It’s hard because you have to keep reading new things and they better be good.
For Christmas, I got my husband the first four Harry Potter books. We’ve been talking about reading them for months and months. So I found almost all of them on Thriftbooks and had a fun gift for him to open. I, of course, wanted to read them too, so as he’s finished them, I’ve cracked them open.
A few weeks ago, I ordered some new books – in the name of these monthly book edits. I opened one and made it about 80 pages before giving up. While the storyline of the top female spy during WWII is fascinating, this book was not. It was like reading an over-researched dissertation with no edits. I say that with love and respect for my previous profession.
So not only was it not going to be enjoyable for me; I could never recommend you read it. And then when I have a dud book, I always have to return to something I know I like. And so Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban it was!
The other thing is that series are kind of a no go – in terms of time. We can tell you how great book one of a series is and then suggest you read on, but we can’t really write another review about more books in the series. But we want to read them. So you can see the struggle of time and reality make this a tough gig from time to time.
With all that said, here are a few reads for this month…
My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh
Eva Leigh’s new series, The Union of the Rakes, is inspired by teen movies from all decades (but particularly the ‘80s). If you love a makeover scene, this is the book for you – I bet you didn’t even know you were longing for such a thing in a Regency romance!
In the first book, My Fake Rake, one bookish young woman – Lady Grace Wyatt – is in desperate need of a husband. She has an ideal candidate in mind, Mason Fredericks. But she fears she may never get him to see her as anything but a fellow scholar – so she enlists the help of another academic friend, Sebastian Holloway.
The son of a merchant, Sebastian is already half in love with Grace. He is so keenly aware of the social gulf that he never puts himself forward as anything more than a friend – and one who is determined to help Grace get what she wants.
In a twist on the normal plot of a wallflower infiltrating the in crowd, they make Sebastian over into the very model of a rake and hatch a plot to have him romance Grace in public – all in order to highlight to Mason her availability.
It of course all goes very wrong, and the reader has great fun in watching Grace and Sebastian realise they were always meant for each other. Delightful!
Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik
If blasters and FTL (faster than light) drives are your thing, Polaris Rising is the book for you. Many thousands of years in the future, humans have spread across the galaxy, which is ruled by three great Houses.
The fourth daughter of the House of von Hasenberg, one Ada von Hasenberg, fled her family and arranged marriage two years ago – only to have her father put a large bounty on her head.
When her luck finally runs out, she finds herself trapped on a mercenary ship with Marcus Loch, the most wanted man in the universe – for supposedly brutally murdering his entire military squad and turning on his leaders – but he’s a willing accomplice in Ada’s desire to escape.
When they team up together to steal a rival house’s spaceship and run free of their captors, they both get more than they bargained for when they discover that House Rockhurst will kill to get that spaceship back.
This is a fast-paced, action-packed space opera, full of hand-to-hand combat, political intrigue and espionage, and some very likeable characters. Even better, it’s part of a trilogy, so while Ada and Loch’s story wraps up satisfyingly, you can go straight back for more with Aurora Blazing.
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte
This is the perfect book for anyone who has an interest in dinosaurs – or who simply likes reading well-written books by scientists about the practice of their discipline. Brusatte provides a general overview on dinosaurs, the study of them, and of course, their untimely demise.
Many of us have caught the dinosaur bug at some point in our life – be it as a child, through too many viewings of Jurassic Park, or simple fascination with the skeletons at a natural history museum. Brusatte was no different, becoming obsessed with dinosaurs as a child and carrying that all the way to a career working with his favourites – tyrannosaurs – and his palaeontology heroes.
This book captures that love beautifully, as Brusatte details major discoveries, changes in our knowledge over the years, and the weird and wonderful state of life in Mesozoic. It’s also a great picture into the life of a working palaeontologist, full of fantastic anecdotes from colleagues. Central to the book is understanding that dinosaurs are still very much with us in the form of birds.
Brusatte painstakingly presents growing evidence that our mental images of many dinos definitely need to be updated, to show them fluffily feathered! All in all, an engaging read full of the sort of information that will impress even a precocious, dinosaur-obsessed child.