A lot of re-reads and comfort reads this month.
1. A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal – Meredith Duran
In gritty, working-class London, she does what she must to survive…
When Nell Whitby breaks into an earl’s house on a midnight quest for revenge, she finds her pistol pointed at the wrong man—one handsome as sin and naked as the day he was born. Pity he’s a lunatic. He thinks her a missing heiress, but more to the point, he’ll help her escape the slums and right a grave injustice. Not a bad bargain. All she has to do is marry him.
A notorious ladies’ man could take her from poverty to opulence…but at what price?
A rake of the first order, Simon St. Maur spent his restless youth burning every bridge he crossed. When he inherits an earldom without a single penny attached to it, he sees a chance to start over—provided he can find an heiress to fund his efforts. But his wicked reputation means courtship will be difficult—until fate sends him the most notorious missing heiress in history. All he needs now is to make her into a lady and keep himself from making the only mistake that could ruin everything: falling in love…
2. Parable of the Sower (Earthseed #1) – Octavia Butler (re-read)
When unattended environmental and economic crises lead to social chaos, not even gated communities are safe. In a night of fire and death Lauren Olamina, a minister’s young daughter, loses her family and home and ventures out into the unprotected American landscape. But what begins as a flight for survival soon leads to something much more: a startling vision of human destiny… and the birth of a new faith.
3. Assassin’s Quest (Farseer #3) – Robin Hobb (re-read)
King Shrewd is dead at the hands of his son Regal. As is Fitz—or so his enemies and friends believe. But with the help of his allies and his beast magic, he emerges from the grave, deeply scarred in body and soul. The kingdom also teeters toward ruin: Regal has plundered and abandoned the capital, while the rightful heir, Prince Verity, is lost to his mad quest—perhaps to death. Only Verity’s return—or the heir his princess carries—can save the Six Duchies.
But Fitz will not wait. Driven by loss and bitter memories, he undertakes a quest: to kill Regal. The journey casts him into deep waters, as he discovers wild currents of magic within him—currents that will either drown him or make him something more than he was.
4. Parable of the Talents (Earthseed #2) – Octavia Butler
This Nebula Award-winning sequel to Parable of the Sower continues the story of Lauren Olamina in socially and economically depressed California in the 2030s. Convinced that her community should colonize the stars, Lauren and her followers make preparations. But the collapse of society and rise of fanatics result in Lauren’s followers being enslaved, and her daughter stolen from her. Now, Lauren must fight back to save the new world order.
Into The Woods is a revelation of the fundamental structure and meaning of all stories, from the man responsible for more hours of drama on British television than anyone else, John Yorke.
We all love stories. Many of us love to tell them, and even dream of making a living from it too. But what is a story? Hundreds of books about screenwriting and storytelling have been written, but none of them ask ‘Why?’ Why do we tell stories? And why do all stories function in an eerily similar way?
John Yorke has been telling stories almost his entire adult life, and the more he has done it, the more he has asked himself why? Every great thinker or writer has their theories: Aristotle, David Hare, Lajos Egri, Robert McKee, Gustav Freytag, David Mamet, Christopher Booker, Charlie Kaufman, William Goldman and Aaron Sorkin – all have offered insightful and illuminating answers. Here, John Yorke draws on these figures and more as he takes us on a historical, philosophical, scientific and psychological journey to the heart of all storytelling.
What he reveals is that there truly is a unifying shape to narrative – one that echoes the great fairytale journey into the woods, and one, like any great art, that comes from deep within. Much more than a ‘how to write’ book, Into the Woods is an exploration of this fundamental structure underneath all narrative forms, from film and television to theatre and novel-writing. With astonishing detail and wisdom, John Yorke explains to us a phenomenon that, whether it is as a simple fable, or a big-budget 3D blockbuster, most of us experience almost every day of our lives.
6. Mansfield Park – Jane Austen
‘We have all been more or less to blame …
every one of us, excepting Fanny’
Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny’s uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, bringing with them London glamour and a reckless taste for flirtation. As her female cousins vie for Henry’s attention, and even Edmund falls for Mary’s dazzling charms, only Fanny remains doubtful about the Crawfords’ influence and finds herself more isolated than ever. A subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, Mansfield Park is one of Jane Austen’s most profound works.
7. Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) – Leigh Bardugo (re-read)
Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:
Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)
Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)
Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)
Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.
8. Something New (Exile Ink #1) – Skylar Hill
James McGowan is a legend. The renowned tattoo artist has a face to die for, a body to kill for, and a way with ink that’s unmatched.
He’s back in his hometown for the first time in years, finally ready to open Exile Ink, the tattoo studio of his dreams. When he sees a friend with a new piece—a watercolor tattoo done with such skill even he’s impressed—James has to meet the artist.
Cam Ellison hasn’t had an easy life. Orphaned just after her eighteenth birthday, she’s done everything she can to keep her and her little sister going. Even if it means working under a tyrannical boss who doesn’t appreciate her tattooing style. After all, a paycheck is a paycheck.
When James sets up an appointment as “Jay,” Cam has no idea she’s about to meet a man whose tattooing she’s admired for years. She never imagined he’d want a tattoo designed by her, or that when they’re face to face, sparks don’t just fly, they sizzle. After a steamy session in one of the private tattoo rooms, it’s impossible to deny the pull between them.
James is a man who knows what he wants, and he’s all in, but Cam’s got a lot to lose.
Is she willing to risk everything—her heart and her career—on the man behind the ink?
9. Something Right (Exile Ink #2) – Skylar Hill
James McGowan’s life is going exactly how he wants. He’s on the verge of opening his tattoo studio, and his relationship with Cam, the sexy watercolor tattoo artist he’s fallen for, is sweeter—and hotter—than ever.
But as their work on Exile Ink continues, James feels Cam pulling away. Worried he may lose her, he pushes too hard, and the fight that follows has him scared it’ll be the end of them.
But it’s not James who’s put Cam on edge.
She thought she could outrun her past, but now it’s caught up with her. Cam’s done everything she could to keep her and her sister safe, but time’s running out, and she has a choice to make: Tell James the truth, or lose what they have.
Cam’s trusted James with her body, her career and her heart.
Can she trust him with her secrets?
10. The Space Between the Stars – Anne Corlett
In a breathtakingly vivid and emotionally gripping debut novel, one woman must confront the emptiness in the universe—and in her own heart—when a devastating virus reduces most of humanity to dust and memories.
All Jamie Allenby ever wanted was space. Even though she wasn’t forced to emigrate from Earth, she willingly left the overpopulated, claustrophobic planet. And when a long relationship devolved into silence and suffocating sadness, she found work on a frontier world on the edges of civilization. Then the virus hit…
Now Jamie finds herself dreadfully alone, with all that’s left of the dead. Until a garbled message from Earth gives her hope that someone from her past might still be alive.
Soon Jamie finds other survivors, and their ragtag group will travel through the vast reaches of space, drawn to the promise of a new beginning on Earth. But their dream will pit them against those desperately clinging to the old ways. And Jamie’s own journey home will help her close the distance between who she has become and who she is meant to be…
Total books: 39
Loose reading goals:
- Catch up on books I own but haven’t read (nope, I’m failing at this)
- Read more romance (A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal, Something New, Something Right, Mansfield Park)
- Re-read some old favourites (Parable of the Sower, Assassin’s Quest, Into the Woods, Six of Crows)
- Read more classics (Mansfield Park, Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Talents)
- Continue to read diverse books/books by marginalised authors (Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Talents, Six of Crows, Something New, Something Right)
- Read nonfiction (Into the Woods)
- Read women (A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal, Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Talents, Assassin’s Quest, Six of Crows, Mansfield Park, Something New, Something Right, The Space Between the Stars)