Albert takes her characters even further away from your standard white male could be mistaken for straight romcom lead. We have Brady, the bisexual barista taking care of his four siblings after his parents untimely deaths, and Ev, the yarn store owner’s dedicated nephew who has come back to Portland because she’s dying of cancer who was originally sent from his home in Turkey because he was caught making out with a male friend.
Flew through this one like the first two, basically reading one a day (on my commute to/from work) and maybe 20-30 minutes before bed. I started to see some of Albert’s tropes that she depends on/works into every story, but I’ll get to that.
Albert continues to diversify her characters and their relationships. In this novel we have Chris, the aging disgruntled restaurateur (the same restaurant that the others visit or supply bread for), and Lance, the young undergrad delivery boy from Vic’s bakery and the development of their relationship. It’s not a crazy amount of age difference (12 years), but Chris has a major hang up on it.
In book two of Annabeth Albert’s Portland Heat series we meet Vic, a baker, and Robin, a trust fund kid with a big heart. Their road to romance is of course paved with misunderstandings, stubborn personalities, and steamy sex scenes. That’s all good romances right?
Vic and Robin meet at the local homeless shelter that caters to addicts and teens. We find out midway through the story that Robin got his fresh start/second chance thanks to the shelter and has very high expectations for what he can do there to help others going through similar experiences. This novel wasn’t as specifically diverse as Served Hot or Knit Tight (they’re both white men as far as I can read), but it does have characters that I’ve never read before.
After I finished reading The Book on Rental Property Investing, I knew I wanted to read something lighter and more fun before I jumped into another nonfiction work. That story is a tangent so skip to the end if you want to read about how I ended up on this series (damn overly available libraries :-D).
Now, as I’m writing this six days after I read this and four books into the series, I have a feeling this summer is going to be full of smutty romance novels. I’d apologize in advance, but I’m not sharing the sexy bits (mostly) and well we all need a mental break sometimes. Plus, they’re just so quick and entertaining!
I think the biggest issue I have with this book is how quickly it ended. Some of this is of course due to the Amazon Kindle flaw of telling you have 8-10% left in the book when really you have 1-2% and the other 8-9% of those pages are bonus content. But, the rest of it has to do with this having the first true cliffhanger in the series. [This might not be true as I can’t really remember the endings of the others, just they all blend together.]
Disappointment doesn’t even begin to cover my thoughts on this. Did it end the series well enough? Yes. Did it inspire me to read more of Schwab’s writing? No. Am I even more concerned that she is being compared to Diana Wynn Jones? YES.
A Gathering of Shadows and A Conjuring of Light aren’t so much book two and book three of the Shades of Magic trilogy as they are part one and part two of book two of the Shades of Magic duology. All three of the books in the “trilogy” take place in incredibly short amounts of time with a four month gap between one and two/three.
Well, this one was stronger than A Darker Shade of Magic, but I’m still not on board with the “natural successor to Diana Wynne Jones” promo-ing in her bio. (But honestly, I can’t blame her, if someone said that about me I’d probably get it tattooed on my body.) Do I think she could get there? Probably. Is she there yet? Not yet based on these to books, but she wrote seven other books I’ve yet to read.
My largest critique of the books/series still stands: Is this an adult book or a young adult book? I honestly cannot tell. There’s no explicit sex, there’s not really that much violence, the language is pretty much G-rated, and the writing and plot are relatively simple and straight forward. There will be MAJOR spoilers in this review so don’t read past this if you don’t want to know.