My March Reading Log

The Frame-Up by Gwenda Bond is a paranormal heist novel set in contemporary Kentucky. Danielle Poissant is the daughter of a renowned art thief whom she helped send to prison, which led to her being shut out of the world of criminals with magic in which she’d grown up. Wracked by guilt at betraying her family (it’s complicated), ever since then she’s been working as a sort of one-person-and one-dog “Leverage” team, retrieving funds from scummy people and splitting them with the original victim – while not using her magical gift for forging paintings. But then, of course, she’s dragged back into the world for One Last Time by an old partner of her mother’s. The romance element is minor, but I felt like there was just enough to spice up the heist plot. This was a lot of fun, and dog fans will love Dani’s collie Sunflower, who is a Very Good Girl.

Due Diligence: Settling Affairs (Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle Book 20) by L. A. Hall and Succession: Marriages & Funerals (Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle Book 21) by L. A. Hall continue to be very soothing reading as things are set right via clever contrivances and newer characters become more active.

Demon Daughter by Lois McMaster Bujold is the latest Penric and Desdemona novella, exploring what happens when a six year old child on a Roknari ship, Otta, acquires an almost brand-new demon/elemental from a rat…and accidentally sets some things on fire. The rest of the story follows Penric, his wife Nikys, and their family as they take care of the stranded Otta and Otta decides what she wants. Family is more complicated than it appears on the surface.

Shakespeare: The Man Who Pays the Rent by Judi Dench and Brendan O’Hea grew out of a series of interviews O’Hea intended for archival purposes, about Dench’s memories of all her Shakespeare roles. After her grandson overhead them talking, the idea arose to turn their talks into a book, which was a great idea. I enjoyed reading this so very much I didn’t want it to end, and now I’ve realized I should probably find a production of Cymbeline and watch it, as well as the rest of the Henry plays. This is a chatty book (since it originated as actual chatting between old friends) that also is supremely informative about how this particular actor interpreted her parts, and her philosophy on the art of acting, and what she learned from her various mentors. I loved that she would sometimes say she wished she’d play a certain part differently if she did it now. There’s also a fair few anecdotes about productions and working with different directors and actors. If you’re into theatre, or into Shakespeare, or just interested in an entertaining person talking, definitely check this out.

Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth Century to Modern Times by Lucy Lethbridge is the sort of nonfiction which intersperses selected summations and quotes from memoirs and diaries with the census and labor statistics, so it was more of an armchair journey than an academic slog. I thought I would be most interested in the Edwardian material but it turned out I was more fascinated by the slow decrease and eventual near-disappearance of servanting as a lifelong career and social class; I also was intrigued by specialized modern agencies that provide factotums and butlers to the very rich, or for special occasions. I want to read more about that; let me know if you have any recommendations. Someone should write a contemporary with a butler protagonist, perhaps falling in love with a bodyguard or a chef.

They’re Gonna Give You Hell by unlimitedInk is an epic Mandalorian farce that also has some important found family and leadership themes. Shortly after dropping off Grogu with Luke Skywalker, Din Djarin missed him painfully and goes to mope around Tatooine. I’m not sure how much to spoil of this, but I’ll just say a swathe of different Mandalorian sects become involved in trying to figure out who will lead them and where they will go, a couple of unexpected sentiences are revealed, more than one Armourer shows up, and Boba Fett is grumpy. If you are a Bo Katan fan, don’t read this one.

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair by tigriswolf is a very sweet Winter Soldier story; shortly after freeing himself from Hydra, he encounters an asthmatic child who’s run away from abuse and immediately becomes protective, which leads to him slowly recovering himself and learning to be a person again, while putting the child first. He and his adoptive daughter make their own family and make a home; only then is able to bring Steve Rogers back into his lift.

Dark Side of the Moon by imogenbynight is a Supernatural AU in which Dean Winchester and Castiel Novak are astronauts. Dean, an engineer, is on the moon when an unthinkable tragedy happens and he needs rescue; Castiel is part of the rescue crew. Aside from being able to travel back and forth to the moon without orbital constraints, this is a somewhat realistic space story, with some spooky parts in the middle.

An Ever-Fixed Mark by AMarguerite is an epic Soulmark AU of Pride and Prejudice in which Elizabeth Bennet’s soulmark reads “Fitzwilliam.” And she marries Colonel Fitzwilliam, who in this story is terrific, but fair warning, he dies of a wound, and then, slowly, Elizabeth comes to realize she a second happy marriage might be possible. I enjoyed this a lot and did I mention it’s epic? Buckle up, it’s a long ride in a bumpy carriage with lots of intriguing meta examination of Soulmarks and the various ways they could be interpreted.

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen [she, her] currently writes cozy space opera for Kalikoi. The novella series A Place of Refuge begins with Finding Refuge: Telepathic warrior Talia Avi, genius engineer Miki Boudreaux, and augmented soldier Faigin Balfour fought the fascist Federated Colonies for ten years, following the charismatic dissenter Jon Churchill. Then Jon disappeared, Talia was thought dead, and Miki and Faigin struggled to take Jon’s place and stay alive. When the FC is unexpectedly upended, Talia is reunited with her friends and they are given sanctuary on the enigmatic planet Refuge. The trio of former guerillas strive to recover from lifetimes of trauma, build new lives on a planet with endless horizons, and forge tender new connections with each other.
This entry was posted in alternate universe, austen, fanfiction, nonfiction, paranormal, romance novels and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *