36. The Only Gold by Tamara Allen: Allen is my go-to m/m sweet historical author. Some books might not be as strong as others, but I trust her to at least try. This one is one of her stronger works. It's the tale of uptight banker Jonah in the 1888 NYC. The story starts out with him getting passed over the promotion everyone expects him to get, in favor of the board bringing in someone completely new who rubs Jonah the wrong way with his refusal to pay attention to the way things have always been done. It's a very slow burn kind of story, so slow I almost gave up in the beginning. I didn't, but I also got incredibly sick to my stomach at the climax of the story, to the point where I was furious that I'd stuck it out. (But that was because I might've over-identified with Jonah a wee bit too much.) In the end, it was totally worth it. - B+
37. Ruby Celeste and the Ghost Armada by Nicholas J. Ambrose: Sky pirate steampunk. Sky captain Ruby is cheated out of the deckhand she tries to purchase at a skyport and ends up with someone who was kidnapped from the surface. She blows up the port in retaliation and the rest of the story is the port's owner chasing revenge and her new "deckhand" whining about being kidnapped. Too much telling in this story and no real action. Plus, the ghost armada part of it totally gets handwaved away in the final pages. I stuck with it hoping for something fun, which I tend to do with steampunk because I *want* it to be great, but I should've given up. This has a ton of stories that follow it, but it's not worth my time to follow. - C-
38. River Marked by Patricia Briggs: Mercy and Adam go on their honeymoon and badness happens. I love the Mercy Thompson books (and I'm behind), but this was bland in comparison with other installments. It takes too long for the real conflict to come into play and feels like an interim book rather than a complete story on its own. - C+
39. The Maze Runner by James Dashner: I read this for Alicia. A bunch of boys are locked up in a place surrounded by a maze that changes on a nightly basis until the narrator shows up and starts shaking things up. I had fun, but that's mostly because I like fast, actiony plots. Characterization is thin (and sometimes nonexistent), and the prose isn't the most mature, but I'll read the rest of the series because I'm curious about this world. - B-
I had one DNF in this batch - Loving Leonardo by Rose Anderson. I couldn't even finish the first chapter. She doesn't understand punctuation, which is a dealbreaker for me.
Currently on the reading docket...Silver Linings Playbook, the first Jack Reacher novel because I've never tried the series, a Stephen King anthology, and Ravens by George Dawes Green.