Grac's Never-ending TBR Pile of Doom

Grac's Never-ending TBR Pile of Doom

Mostly science fiction and fantasy, though the odd non-fiction book will crop up now and then...

Review
4 Stars
The Soap Man - Roger Hutchinson
The Soap Man: Lewis, Harris and Lord Leverhulme - Roger Hutchinson

I go through phases of reading non-fiction, peppering those in amongst the SFF I'm mostly reading at the moment, and it's usually about a subject or place that interests me - in this case, I visited the location for The Soap Man a few years ago and had heard a little of the story but wanted to know more...

 

The book starts with a brief introduction to the life-story of William Lever, who would later become Lord Leverhulme, a self-made industrialist who made his money mostly from soap. His company would later go on to be part of the multi-national conglomerate Unilever. After setting up a model factory and village in the middle of a marsh in Lancashire, which he called Port Sunlight, Lever found himself with the opportunity of buying the entire Hebridean island of Lewis (and later its neighbour, Harris), the economy of which he believed he could revolutionise. 

 

As long, of course, as the people of Lewis did what he wanted and, for a number of reasons, they were not inclined to do so. Lever had bought the island but he'd inherited a bunch of historic issues around land ownership, as previous lairds had spent money on deer and grouse while the island's inhabitants wanted land for crofting. All of this was happening around the time of World War I and the returning servicemen were even less likely to go along with what Lever was proposing. 

 

All in all, I found The Soap Man an interesting example of that old adage about the irresistible force and the immovable object, with Lever as a man who was unable to see that he was half the author of his own problems with the people whose lives he wanted to up-end. 

Review
3 Stars
An Oath of Dogs - Wendy N. Wagner
An Oath of Dogs - Wendy N. Wagner

I was looking for a standalone book to read and picked An Oath of Dogs up when it was on sale, so I probably shouldn't complain when I found it to be readable but nothing that especially makes me want to seek out any more of this author's work. I am, however, quite hard to please at the moment so all my current reviews should be taken with a pinch of salt...

 

The basic premise of An Oath of Dogs is that it's about commercial colonisation of a moon which is immensely different to our own and what happens when that colonisation goes wrong - firstly by the mismanagement of supplies to its first settlers and the lengths they are subsequently driven to, then secondly by attempts to make money off the moon and the problems that causes.

 

One of our main characters has just landed a job there when she discovers that her immediate superior has been killed and she just got an immediate promotion. Maybe not the best news for her either, since she's still recovering from the effects of an incident that was her employer's fault and now relies heavily on an assistance dog to make it through her day-to-day life. That's also not particularly good news on a moon where dogs have a nasty habit of running wild and digging up anyone who's been recently interred in the community cemetery, not to mention attacking unwary locals. 

 

Our other main character is the ex- of the man who was killed and whose own relationship with the company that employs everyone is ambivalent at best - this relationship is strained to the maximum when he becomes a suspect following an attack by eco-terrorists-, a group towards whom he feels quite a bit of sympathy. 

 

Anyway, everything kind of sort itself out in the end and the truth is revealed, some of which I'd already figured out (since heavy hints were dropped earlier in the book) but it was ultimately a little unsatisfying. So, not the worst thing I've read and ideal if you want something that's not a commitment to a multi-book series, I guess?

Review
3 Stars
Embers of War - Gareth L Powell
Embers of War - Gareth L. Powell

After all the books I've read and reviewed, it feels as though reviewing this kind of book ought to be easier than it is, but what's the shorthand for 'I didn't love this book but I didn't hate it either, still I'm probably not going to pick up any more in the series'?

 

So, Embers of War. A book that promised so much but, for me at least, didn't really deliver. First off, it's written in first person and that is never a good sign - in fact, I think there are reviews I've written where I've talked about how much I enjoyed a book despite it being written in the first person! First person from a number of different characters' points of view, including the sentient warship who first got me interested in reading this book.

 

Essentially the premise of the book is that in the aftermath of a war, which was ended as a result of a genocidal attack (killing soldiers of both sides and the sentient lifeforms from the planet where they were fighting), one of the warships involved has now changed its allegiance to an altruistic organisation that spends its time rescuing everyone. Said organisation is, of course, dramatically underfunded and overstretched. Our former warship gets sent to the sight of a space liner crash, hot on the heels of a mission where one of the crew has been killed and the captain is now, as a result, on borrowed time. 

 

Of course, since otherwise this would be a damn short book, nothing here is quite as it seems. Alongside the humanitarian mission is a more covert one, as one of the liner's surviving passengers is later revealed to be the officer who gave the order for the genocide in question. Likewise, the liner in question and the ship that was the subject of the previous unsuccessful rescue both turn out to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. All of which feels like a very long set-up for the book that comes next in this series, where all the chickens come home to roost, not that I'm going to be reading it...

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
4 Stars
The Covert Captain - Jeannelle M. Ferreira
The Covert Captain: Or, A Marriage of Equals - Jeannelle M. Ferreira

Recommended to me on Tumblr, The Covert Captain starts out with a relatively familiar storyline - penniless ex-soldier meets older sister of his commanding officer, who has long despaired of getting married, together they fight crime - but with a twist. In this case the twist is that our ex-officer, Captain Nathaniel Fleming, is not quite what he appears. Nathaniel is, after all, actually Eleanor and ran off to join the army after a family tragedy. 

 

The book itself rattles along at a decent pace and the revelatory moment happens far earlier than I expected would be the case. Nathaniel is pretty happy with his life, lack of money excepted, and doesn't really go looking for the romantic entanglements that he ends up within. Likewise, neither he or his former commanding officer have emerged from fighting Napoleon unscathed.

 

A couple of minor quibbles led to me knocking off a star - firstly, that at times it wasn't always immediately easy to tell character voices from each other (to the point where I had to flick back and try to figure out who was talking) and, secondly, one particular scene that really didn't work for me when what is supposed to be a prize racehorse is getting exercised on Rotten Row and subsequently meekly adjusts to being a replacement carriage horse on demand. 

 

In some ways, however, it felt as though there was a little too much plot being shoehorned into the story (hello, unexpected abusive sibling!) in the hope that if you throw everything against the wall then something will stick with the reader? Still, it's an enjoyable enough book and I'll keep an eye out for further from this author. 

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
Gyrfalcon - Anna Butler
Gyrfalcon - Anna Butler

Overall, I gave Gyrfalcon 3 stars and feel mostly positive about it, however for a while there it was looking a bit uncertain since the pacing of the first half of the book leaves a little to be desired and it's very clearly the start of a series (with all the additional world-building that involves).

 

The basic premise is that what's left of humanity is fighting a mostly-losing war against aliens and our main protagonist is a special forces type with serious daddy issues, not the greatest start for a character in my opinion. We first meet Bennett in the context of his team before he's shipped off (sorry, that pun was accidental) on his own to a mission using the eponymous warship commanded by his estranged father as a means of transport. They argued about Bennett's career path and also about the surprise discovery of his sexuality, after said father walked in on Bennett and a much older man. 

 

Bennett has time onboard the Gyrfalcon not only to start to rescue his relationship with his father but also to get involved sexually with one of the other pilots. Some people might struggle with this aspect of the plot, since it's clear Bennett is still in a serious relationship with the man with whom his dad found him all those years ago; since they're apart a lot, they've agreed to an 'open' relationship and both have taken advantage of this in the past. I'm not sure quite how I feel about it myself, it feels more than a little hypocritical of Bennett to have the attitude he does about Joss getting laid while he's away and yet enthusiastically embrace this opportunity for himself (repeatedly). 

 

As a result, that whole part of the relationship could be the make or break aspect for me when it comes to reading the rest of the series, though I may well see how the next book (Heart Scarab) handles it and go on from there. Likewise some of the writing is a little clunky, as there are a number of times where we get the same scenes from both main characters' point of view, which seems a little unnecessary. 

Review
3 Stars
The City of Brass - S.A. Chakraborty
The City of Brass - S.A. Chakraborty

Recently, I seem to be bouncing off (or at least struggling with) books that other people really love and The City of Brass is sadly no exception to that rule. First off, it's a hefty tome even in paperback and it felt like it was taking forever to read because the first half of the book really dragged, to the point where I considered putting it down permanently.

 

It's a real odd mix of a book, in my opinion - fantasy but one where the main (supernatural and otherwise) characters are Muslim, set in a geography that is essentially (in parts) the Middle East and Central Asia of the 19th century. So we start off in Egypt as ruled by the Napoleonic army and end up in Daevabad, the djinn city of the book's title, then it's all sprinkled heavily with as much terminology for local colour as we can manage - nobody gets to wear a robe, it has to be a dishdasha, and so on.

 

Anyway, the story is told from the point of view of two characters, Nahri and Ali, the former once a street urchin now turned hustler and the latter the second in line to the djinn throne. When Nahri sticks her nose in somewhere it doesn't belong once too often, she ends up running for her life with another of the djinn, who reluctantly agrees to take her to Daevabad since he's actually a historic enemy of the folks who now rule there. Meanwhile Ali is trying to better the lot of the half-djinn in his city despite everyone telling him it's a bad idea and discovering just how little head he has for politics. 

 

I'm still not completely convinced as to whether The City of Brass is YA or not, especially since Nahri in particular is a teenager, and also because of the incipient love triangle. At least that wasn't overwhelming but it was also pretty hard to ignore and it doesn't really do much for me at the best of times, especially when one of the participants is a mass-murdering war criminal. I know girls like a bad boy but that seems a bit extreme. Unfortunately, Nahri as a character leaves something to be desired when it comes to sensible decision making anyway, which gets worse as the book goes on, so I guess it's in keeping with the rest of the things she thinks are a good idea!

 

Anyway, I finally finished it, the pacing issues started to work themselves out towards the latter third of the book though I still think it could have done with a tighter edit in places. It will come as little surprise that there's a sequel coming out (The Kingdom of Copper) at some point next year. Hopefully the author will sort out some of the first book issues but I have to say I'll probably be looking for a library loan rather than laying out cash. 

Review
1.5 Stars
The Glass Universe - Dava Sobel
The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars - Dava Sobel

I don't usually bother reviewing books that disappoint me but I'm making an exception to that rule. This is one of those books where I am so glad I picked it up at the local library and didn't even spend the 45p it costs to have it reserved from another branch, so that will tell you something. 

 

I mean, it's not actively awful and I suppose if you didn't know anything about the subject matter, it would be a reasonable introduction, but it just doesn't do what it sets out to do if you're looking for more than that (and I was!). For a book about the women who worked in the Harvard astronomy department in the late 19th and early 20th century, it sure talks a lot more about the men who work there than actually tell us much about the women. I got to the point about halfway through that I was skimming paragraphs to see if they were about the women or not and moving on if they weren't. More time at one stage is spent on the women whose money supported the department than the ones doing the work, so we know more about how they felt about it than how the actual women astronomers did.

 

In the end, I didn't feel like I came away from this book with any more idea of who these pioneering women were and what it was like to do what they did, both personally and professionally, than I had when the book started. There's no sense, for example, of the frustration many (all?) of them must have experienced at the restrictions set on what they could do while less talented men passed them by on the academic ladder. Surely, somewhere, there must be some more candid account of what it was like to be them than has been drawn on in this book?

 

All of this was then capped for me by the way the author refers to everyone - men get referred to routinely by their surname, women as Miss or Mrs. Which is fine, except that while most of the men have a PhD and possession of that or otherwise is glossed over, so do some of the women and I felt as though that should have been recognised - not doing so is doubly ignoring the difficulty for a woman of that time to get a doctoral degree in a science subject. It also plays into the idea that these women, the first 'computers' were uneducated grunt workers and not the scientific pioneers they actually were, most of them middle class or above, most of them with postgraduate education or above.

 

Anyway, disappointing coming from the woman who wrote the excellent Longitude (which I recommend, regardless of this book) and I guess the book I really wanted to read about these women is (hopefully) still out there...

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
The Interminables - Paige Orwin
The Interminables - Paige Orwin

First off, I'll freely admit that I picked this book up from my local library mostly based on the cover and blurb, knowing literally nothing about it prior to that. Which is fairly unusual, since I usually know at least something about the majority of new SFF being published or at least its author... instead, The Interminables apparently passed me by completely when it was published in 2016.

 

The basic premise of the book is that back in 2010, an age-old magical deity arose once more and attempted to destroy the planet, only to be pushed back and eventually defeated by a mysterious cabal of wizards known as the Twelfth Hour. Understandably, this left massive amounts of damage behind and the Twelfth Hour still exists to try and keep order in what's left and also deal with any new dangers that might arise, as well as the things left behind by the events of 2010. There is, of course, something nasty left behind that still needs to be dealt with for everyone to survive...

 

Our protagonists are a member of this cabal who has discovered a way to become immortal by taking tiny fragments of time from everyone he meets and the literal concept of War, in what starts out as pretty much a sausagefest. While it's eventually revealed that their boss is a woman, there seems to be much made of how unfeminine she is and the other main female character's role is apparently to motivate one of the main characters through having died, until (of course) it's revealed that she didn't die after all. There's also a slightly clumsily not-dealt-with sub-plot where one (male) character is in love with the other who thinks he's straight because he was married back when he was alive. 

 

All in all, it's not the worst thing I've ever read and it kept me turning the pages to the end, but it could have been so much better. I got a bit annoyed with the fact that not much really gets resolved in terms of the relationships between the characters and it's clearly left as a set-up for one or more books to follow (the first of which, Immortal Architects, my library also has a copy of somewhere so I'll probably get to read it at some point). 

Review
3 Stars
Under the Pendulum Sun - Jeannette Ng
Under the Pendulum Sun - Jeannette Ng

Another book much loved by at least one person I know, Under the Pendulum Sun didn't quite work for me - not that it's a bad book, nothing of the sort, but I'm still struggling to say what it is I actually thought about it. One positive, the cover is stunning and eye-catching, I don't think I've ever seen quite so many shades of purple used in a single image!

 

On to the book itself: it's one very much for anyone who's read a lot of Bronte or gothic novels, being set in Victorian times, with one of the main characters a missionary. Nothing unusual there, except that he's a missionary to Arcadia, the land of the fae - this is a world where there is interaction between the two worlds, at least since the time of Captain Cook, so Laon Helstone goes off to convert them and leaves his sister behind.

 

Catherine doesn't think much of this, so follows him to Arcadia only to find that the house where he should be living is empty and nobody seems to know when he will return. In time, he does, as does Queen Mab and her time in the house turns everything upside down. In the best gothic novel tradition, there is a mysterious woman in black, not to mention doors that open themselves and corridors which can't be found the second time around. 

 

The author's love of that kind of novel shines through Under the Pendulum Sun, so if that's the kind of book you dislike then this one might not be for you. It didn't quite work for me, since I saw the two main plot twists coming quite a way in the distance, but I will still be looking forward to picking up whatever this author writes next. 

Top 5 books of 2017
A Conjuring of Light - V.E. Schwab City of Miracles - Robert Jackson Bennett Raven Stratagem - Yoon Ha Lee The Ninth Rain - Jen Williams The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel - Katherine Arden

I didn't do a book challenge this year, but I still ended up reading about 60 books and graphic novels, as well as starting another 8-9. A bunch of those were re-reads, as I got ready to finish off or continue trilogies, while I also went on a big Earthsea jaunt as I'd never read all the novels in one go before. 

 

Anyway, here are my top 5 books of the year (graphic novels excluded), in no particular order:

 

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab - stunning conclusion to a great series, just wish I liked her YA books as much as I liked these!

 

City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett - another trilogy-concluder, with each book featuring what I've described as 'grumpy olds doing stuff'.

 

Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee - second book in a trilogy this time, but while I enjoyed Ninefox Gambit a lot, I thought this book was far more accessible and I can't wait to see what happens in Revenant Gun next year. 

 

The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams - a first book this time, curses! I really enjoyed her Copper Cat series (which starts with The Copper Promise, for anyone who's interested) but this book kicks things up a notch. The next book, The Bitter Twins, is due out in March and I can't wait...

 

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden - another first book in a series, not to everyone's taste but it more than worked for me! The next book, The Girl in the Tower, is already out and I need to get hold of it when it eventually arrives in paperback. 

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
5 Stars
The Ninth Rain - Jen Williams
The Ninth Rain - Jen Williams

I really enjoyed this author's previous trilogy (which starts with The Copper Promise) and so was looking forward to seeing what she could do with a completely new setting and set of characters in The Ninth Rain. If anything, I think this book is even better than the previous ones and I can't wait to see what happens in the rest of the story...

 

The Ninth Rain is set in the time after a series of invasions, all of which have been pushed back at great cost. The Eborans, the main adversaries of the invaders, have now been all but destroyed with a terrible disease decimating their population and their tree-god silent. Yes, there is a giant sentient tree involved, bear with me. One of the last of the Eborans is sure that this can be rectified, while meanwhile her brother Tormalin goes out in search of adventure, booze and sex (mostly booze and sex, to be honest).

 

He ends up working for Vintage, a woman who has spent her life studying the invaders and the things they left behind and, along the way, they also pick up an escaped prisoner as part of their ragtag group. Noon is a fell-witch, taking life from the living things around her, who had been imprisoned as part of the Winnowry, all the while claiming it was for everyone's good.

 

There were a couple of places in The Ninth Rain where there's a bit of a revelation and I really don't want to spoil them for anyone who's going to read this. I kind of saw the first one coming, at least partially (on the basis that it was all a little too good to be true) but they both provide excellent twists to the storyline. I look forward immensely to seeing where this goes, with the next book in the series (The Bitter Twins) due out in March 2018.

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
Age of Assassins - RJ Barker
Age of Assassins - R.J. Barker

First off, for those who care about those kind of things, Age of Assassins is the first book in a trilogy, with the next (Blood of Assassins) due out next year. Secondly, although I enjoyed this book quite a bit, I didn't love it as much as some people I know did and I've been trying to figure out just why that is - more on that later...

 

Age of Assassins is told from the point of view of Girton, a teenage boy with a clubfoot who just happens to be apprenticed to a female assassin called Merela. We first meet the two of them as they are sneaking into a castle to find out what they've been hired to do, only to discover that Merela has some personal history with the person who's hired them and that what they've been hired to do is not to kill someone but instead to keep someone from being killed. For that, Girton needs to infiltrate the castle as a member of minor nobility while he and Merela (disguised as a jester) try to figure out who the other assassin is (and ideally, who hired them). 

 

All this is set within a world where anyone possessing magic is ruthlessly hunted down and their blood used to try and stem the results of the magic wielded by a previous rogue sorcerer. I found the overall worldbuilding much more accomplished than the dynamics going on within the castle itself - the corrupt prince they've been hired to protect was just a bit too much of a moustache-twirling villain to be anything but one-dimensional and I couldn't see why exactly Girton and Merela should work that hard to keep him alive. Likewise, the moment a female stablehand is introduced as one of the few female characters Girton's age, it was pretty obvious she was there as (doomed) relationship fodder. 

 

And that, I think, along with a general lack of caring about teenage angst, was why Age of Assassins didn't quite work for me. Well thought-out overall worldbuilding let down by much more stereotypical relationship shenanigans closer to hand. Token female love interest who sees beyond Girton's disability - check. Character who is not who he seems - check. Trusting relationship that will probably come back to bite Girton in the next book - check. 

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
4 Stars
Malice of Crows - Lila Bowen
Malice of Crows (The Shadow) - Lila Bowen

Malice of Crows is the third book in this series (and I assume the last of a trilogy?), following on from Wake of Vultures and Conspiracy of Ravens, both of which I really enjoyed.

 

Essentially they're focussed on the experiences of Rhett, who joined the Rangers after running from the care of his 'parents' and also discovered he has the ability to shapeshift into a giant bird, just one of his powers when it comes to fighting the monsters which surround him. In Conspiracy of Ravens, Rhett was up against a sorcerer called Trevisan who subsequently possessed the body of a young girl and went on the run - Malice of Crows follows on immediately from that book and details what happens next. 

 

Rhett's own past has always been more than a little mysterious, so more information comes to light in this volume, not to mention that there's also some degree of resolution around relationships for him. This book didn't feel quite as smoothly plotted as the previous two and just seemed to stop, with only minimal resolution, which was one of the reasons I gave Malice of Crows 4 stars when I gave the previous books 5. The other was the way in which the book ends, which felt unnecessarily cruel for Rhett given everything he's previously been through. 

Review
4 Stars
The Devourers - Indra Das
The Devourers - Indra Das

I have to confess, I'd been waiting for the price of this to drop a bit before I bought it, as everything I want to read (that the library can't supply me with) is apparently either not out in paperback till the distant future or horribly expensive. Is it just me or has the price of pre-release paperbacks gone up significantly?

 

Anyway, on to The Devourers, which I'd been wanting to read pretty much since I first heard about it. First published in India, the story is also set there, partly from the perspective of Alok - a professor of colonial history with a failed engagement in his past, Alok is approached by a mysterious stranger who has a bizarre story to tell and a series of diaries he wants to pay Alok to transcribe. 

 

The remainder of the book is written mostly from the perspective of one of our self-styled devourers of humanity, who calls himself Fenrir, and also from the point of view of Cyrah, the woman he has raped in an attempt to create new life. Fenrir and his kind, though they have control over their bodies in many ways, are unable to carry a baby to term and so (because he wants to be human, though he doesn't particularly understand what that means) he goes about it a different way. The act itself doesn't feel gratuitous and isn't described in detail but it still might mean this really isn't going to be the book for some some readers.

 

The Devourers takes a well-trodden path and visits it in a new way, though I'd have been interested in more about the rakshasa while this book mostly looks at the experiences of outsiders - Fenrir, his travel companions, and even Cyrah are all newcomers to India, while Cyrah's religion and social status as a woman alone sets her apart almost as much as the shapeshifters. Anyway, all in all an interesting book with some beautiful writing in it and something that makes me want to check out whatever comes next for the author...

Review
4 Stars
The Bear and the Nightingale
The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel - Katherine Arden

I get the feeling that The Bear and the Nightingale is one of those books which will either really work for you as a story or it will be just okay, depending on how familiar you are with Russian folklore and/or history. 

 

In classic fairytale style, the story starts with a small girl and her new step-mother, but Vasya is not just any girl and neither is her step-mother - both of them can see the supernatural creatures surrounding them (the domovoi who lives in the oven, for example) but while Vasya builds relationships with them, her step-mother Anna believes they are demons.

 

Vasya's father is the boyar, a local landowner living far from Moscow, who subsequently is sent a priest and icon-maker who is just a little too popular in the capital. The arrival of Konstantin, just as Vasya is getting to marriageable age and her father hopes she will settle down a little, leads to all sorts of problems with the balance between mundane and supernatural. Vasya herself is eminently likeable, strong-willed despite opposition and willing to do whatever is necessary to keep the people who are important to her safe, even in the face of supernatural forces. 

 

The series continues in The Girl in the Tower, which is due out next month - I'll definitely be picking that one up at some point in the near future, as Vasya is such a great main character. 

Review
3 Stars
Living with Ghosts - Kari Sperring
Living With Ghosts - Kari Sperring

I'd previously read and enjoyed this author's other book (The Grass King's Concubine) so when this one was on offer I thought I'd pick it up - any excuse to buy stand-alone books, though this then sat on my bookshelf for a while before I got around to it...

 

Anyway, on with Living With Ghosts. First off, this is a book written from multiple points of view, so if that annoys you then this book probably won't work for you - one of our characters is a magician/assassin-turned-prostitute who's now living and working far from home having failed his final test. Sadly for Gracielis, the woman who trained him has turned up as part of the embassy from his home country and is now manipulating him while also plotting to overthrow the monarchy of his adopted home. 

 

The title of the book comes from the fact that, as part of his training, Gracielis is able to see ghosts and is haunted by the ghost of a soldier who was involved in a duel he witnessed 6 years earlier. The problem is, the other duellist is now showing up as a ghost and its his appearance that is used as a demonstration that things are going wrong in the city - eventually there's a zombie-creating plague but things resolve themselves in the end. 

 

I liked it but I also got 90% of the way in and didn't really feel much urgency to find out what happened in the end, which is rarely a good sign. It's also 480 pages of densely-written mass market paperback fantasy set in pseudo-Europe with characters who could have fixed half their issues (and reduced the size of the book by a good 100 pages, I reckon) if they'd just actually have a conversation. Seriously, 'I shouldn't bother her with this' and 'he doesn't love me, otherwise he'd talk to me' is endearing the first couple of times but wearing if repeated too often. 

currently reading

Progress: 25/399pages
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue - Mackenzi Lee