Lizzy Dent, The Setup
Thirty-something Mara is feeling adrift; she doesn’t trust her own instincts but relies on astrology and fortune-telling for guidance. So when a palm reader tells her she’s about to meet Mr. Right — and she immediately meets Josef, a handsome cellist — she’s ecstatic. She arranges to meet him again at the end of the summer and promptly embarks on a self-improvement project to prepare for his arrival. But as she begins to grow and change, she questions whether Josef is really her destiny. This is a cute summery read with a satisfying romance. I found Mara frustrating at times, with her over-reliance on astrology and her tendency to push people away. But I also thought her indecisiveness and confusion about her life were relatable. So I did like the book overall and would consider reading more by this author.
Maggie Stiefvater, Greywaren
This conclusion to the Dreamer trilogy deals with the aftermath of Hennessy shutting down the ley line at the end of book #2. Now the dreamers are incapacitated, and their dreams are doomed to sleep unless they can be kept awake with sweetmetals. Jordan is working hard to acquire or create one, while Declan desperately tries to hold his family together. Hennessy is self-destructing, as usual, until Carmen and Liliana lend a hand. Also, the apocalypse that’s supposed to be caused by the dreamers is about to happen. I sort of lost interest in this trilogy but still wanted to finish it, and I’m glad I did. This installment does a good job of wrapping things up, explaining the various mysteries, and giving good closure for the main characters. Declan is still my favorite, but I was happy to get more of Adam Parrish in this one. I doubt I’ll ever reread this series, but I am somewhat interested in revisiting the Raven Cycle now!
Anne Gracie, The Spring Bride
Jane Chance is excited for her first London Season, and she’s determined to make a prudent marriage. Though her parents loved each other, they lived in poverty and, when they died, left Jane and her sister Abby with nothing. Jane doesn’t ever want to feel destitute or unprotected again, so she is looking for a wealthy and titled husband. But when she meets roguish “gypsy” Zachary Black, she can’t help her attraction. Zach is immediately smitten with her as well, but secrets from his past may keep them apart. I’m continuing to enjoy this series: Jane and Zach are both likable characters, and their romance is sweet (and not too steamy). But they fall in love a little too quickly for my taste, and there was just nothing particularly unique or memorable about the story. It’s a solid, pleasant read, but I don’t plan to keep it.