Two more books added to the list over the past couple of days, but I can’t say I’m giving them stellar reviews. One is old. One is new. Both get three stars from me.
OLD: Black Butler, Vol. 1
Someone somewhere on the internet described this manga series and it sounded like one I would like. Victorian drama in which a young earl has a butler who seemingly makes anything happen. Crazy servants. Criminal underground. Oh, and the butler is actually a demon who protects the boy in exchange for the boy’s soul. I can honestly say it sounds right up my alley, but then I read it. And it’s fine. I wasn’t in love with the illustrations – not that they were bad, but I just wanted something more – and the story was okay, but I felt like it could have been expanded. And I know, I know, it’s only the first volume. I should give it more time. But I’m not a huge fan of manga (apparently) and coming off of reading Saga it just made me want it to be a graphic novel. Or a regular novel. I still like the story, but I don’t think I’m going to keep reading.
NEW: Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz
Coming out this Tuesday, Alex and Eliza is de la Cruz’s imagining of the courtship between Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler. She says in the afterword that it was inspired by seeing Hamilton, and although it’s a fine story, you can definitely tell parts that were influenced by it. I also have a really hard time reading teen novels anymore, and to make it a historical teen romance was tough for me to give it slack. The fact is, we don’t have much historical evidence of how their courtship went – all we know is that it was quick – so there’s every chance that she’s got it at least partially right. I just am picky with my history. I want to see more period-appropriate language and avoid long paragraphs of summarized history (parts of the Alex chapters sound a lot like she read a Wikipedia article about the Chernow biography and, while I appreciate the effort, it doesn’t feel natural). So it’s a quick read, and if you have any interest in a young Hamilton romance, it’s fine. I mean, don’t expect any earth-shattering dialogue or moments that will make your heart flutter from the level of love these two achieve, but it’s fine. (Also, spoiler alert, it ends at their marriage, so you don’t have to worry about the historical conclusion to their relationship. You know, the whole I cheated on you with Maria Reynolds and there was huge fallout from that and then I ended up getting in a duel with Aaron Burr (sir) after our son died in a duel and you were at my bedside when I died from the wound I suffered at the hands of Burr (sir). That’s not in this one.) Maybe it’s even really good and it’s just that I’ve outgrown teen romances. Who knows. Either way, if you wanted to read it, you’ll probably enjoy it anyway.
OTHER BOOKS I’M GOING TO BE WORKING ON
What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons – I got to meet her briefly at the NCIBA Spring Workshop this past weekend and she’s totally sweet. Plus, the book looks pretty good. I just started it (only about twenty pages in) but the writing is good and I’m really intrigued by what’s going to happen.
You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a “Useless” Liberal Arts Education by George Anders – Also got to meet this author at the Spring Workshop, and he is just delightful. We chatted for a while about how this is the book I need in my life right now because I need to be reminded that I’m going to find something that works for me. He was so kind and so encouraging that I’m very excited to read it. (I swear, I will read it soon. I just have to get through some other books first. My stack has grown somehow…)
I’d Die for You and Other Lost Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald – I’m putting this on the list because it comes out at the end of this month and I. Am. So. Freaking. Excited. Anything Fitzgerald is good in my book, and the fact that these are stories that haven’t been published before – I can’t express how excited I am. Oh, wait. I can.
(It seems like any emotion I try to express can be done through Tom Hiddleston. There’s a reason I love this man.)
As I try to tackle the enormous stack of books on my nightstand, I’ll try to keep updating here, although I won’t guarantee it will be timely or coherent. Only time will tell. Until next time, read on and support your local indie!