What I read in August 2023
Torn (The Unraveled Kingdom #1) by Rowenna Miller, 480p: This was not the book I was looking for. The blurb mentions it is French Revolution-inspired in a fictional world with magic. The magic system is interesting: a few seamstresses can cast charms into their stitches, making charm protected garments. The protagonist, Sophie, is one of those expert seamstresses and has her own business. Her brother, Kristos, is a revolutionary that wants to overthrow the monarchy (hence the French Revolution inspiration). But the revolution didn’t seem convincing. It was a bit of a slow burn towards political revolution from the POV of someone who is connected to it (Sophie) but doesn’t really want to get involved. Sophie was so reactive and her lack of agency annoyed me at times. There was not enough texture in the story to make it a compelling revolution inspired story.
Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women #1) by Evie Dunmore, 356p: I’m truly enjoying these historical romances with a modern twist. In this one the main character, Annabelle, is a bluestocking in 1879 studying in Oxford, who joins the suffragette movement. They are fighting to get the “Married Women’s Property Act” amended, so that women can keep their own property after marriage. Annabelle is tasked with getting the Duke of Montgomery to back the cause, and romance ensues! It has a rich plot with believable political background. Beautiful romance story with a strong female character.
Poison or Protect (Delightfully Deadly #1) by Gail Carriger, 180p: a stand-alone romance novella set in Gail Carriger’s steampunk universe. Lady Preshea Villentia, a deadly, accomplished assassin, is hired for a job in a country house party. The plot is simple, so the story is self-contained, and the focus is the romance between Lady Villentia and Captain Gavin. Delightfully entertaining and cute.
Time Surfing: The Zen Approach to Keeping Time on Your Side (Stressontknoping #1) by Paul Loomans, 176p: This book discusses how we can concentrate on doing our work intuitively. The approach suggests using to-do list as merely checklists to see if we are forgetting something. The author says he doesn’t even use lists anymore, unless he’s very busy. I liked the idea that we have to face the “gnawing rats”: all the things in our lives that we put off and which then start to “gnaw” at us. He suggests we visualize the next actions of what is worrying us, identifying what we find difficult or scary to make the solution real, and leave it to our intuition to carry out the task later. Also, lots of good ideas: do one thing at a time, give things your full attention (no multitasking), take short breaks often to recharge, practice mindfulness. Some of the ideas were familiar to me, but he manages to present them in a fresh and simple way. The illustrations are gorgeous!
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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.