Julia Quinn, Happily Ever After. This is a collection of ‘2nd Epilogues’ to her Bridgerton books, and yes, that is basically what they are. As with her regular epilogues, there’s a great deal of naming and counting the children, sweetness within married life, and occasional bickering. Nothing worth reading if you haven’t read the series. Annoying in places because the first story has Serious Plot Possibilities, but the serious plot is never referred to again. Ever.
Running with the Pack, ed Ekaterina Sedia. An interesting mix of stories that of course match up with what I expect of the anthology-- powerful, interesting werewolf stories, like the Valentine, the Palwick (that one hit me hard), the Burgis, and the Jemisin-- and stories that match up with what I expect from a different, less interesting anthology. I am not interested in how-I-became-a-werewolf stories or how-I-eat-as-a-werewolf stories, and I am only sparingly interested in yet another lesbian werewolf story. Since I picked the anthology up because it had Marie Brennan’s lycanthropy story in it, I am pleased to report that it was charming and perfectly done.
Tanuja Desai Hidier, Born Confused. I kept seeing this one around schools. It’s uncomfortable to read; Dimple’s struggles to understand her family are complemented by her cluelessly abusive cultural-appropriation-happy best friend, and also she’s seventeen and that’s not exactly a comfortable age in YA. I think that Dimple’s too easily clueless-- she lives within commuter range of New York City and only this summer is introduced to all the cool kids, she doesn’t recognize marijuana when it’s brought out, it genuinely never occurs to her to tell her mother that she’s been taking photographs to give her grandfather-- and many of the details are dated in a way that makes the book seem older than it is, plus the ending is too easy.
But it made me hellaciously uncomfortable and brings up cultural appropriation in a useful and personally-framed way.
Janni Lee Simner, Thief Eyes. A very quick read. It’s fairly typical YA-portal fare but many of the things that can make YA frustrating are absent. Instead of having to hide events from the adults, the adults have a clue and begin filling everything in, and the YA love triangle was resolved well even before it was resolved really well.
Mary Balogh, The Temporary Wife. A reread, and I still think it’s too fixy-uppy-family without anywhere near enough petty snippy people, but I needed something to read.