So, year 2006 will be officially over in a couple of hours... I guess it's fun and sad, both at the same time. I'm a bit glad. This year have been crazy and I'm hoping that the coming year will be a bit more relaxing. Although I have to say, time passes way too rapidly. It really flies by too fast.
anyway, hopefully, there'll be plenty of awesome books coming out in 2007 :)
So, I've been reading quite a lot lately and here are the last reviews for 2006. But first, I'd like to share with you the books I bought (yes, bought...) in the last week. I'm not going to list them, because, well there's too much and I'm too lazy. So, pictures = 1000 words anyway :D
The first picture is what i bought from the UBS store and the second, I bought at bookstore ^^; I know, I really went crazy... I hope they're all there. Ah well, onto the reviews now :D
Take a Chance on Me by Susan Donovan: 4/5
All right, I bought this one after it got a lot of praise over at Ames' blog :D
Hairy is a Chinese Crested dog; bald, small and pretty ugly. Not only that, his owner, Slick, was murdered in front of his eyes and now, Hairy can't stop shaking and peeing. Worst, he ends up in the care of Thomas Tobin, an attorney/amateur rugby player that does uncover work and poses as a killer-for-hire. Thomas has seen and heard all about the worse side of human nature and in result, he's been isolating himself, erecting walls around him. As the new owner of Hairy, Thomas brings the dog to see Emma Jenkins, a pet behaviorist in the hope that Hairy could stop shaking and peeing...
Hmmm, another bad synopsis. Maybe I should really do the next few ones in point form. Anyway, Thomas brings Hairy to Emma and immediately, he is attracted to her. It takes a while for Thomas and Emma to start a relationship, especially since Emma just divorced her crook of a husband. In addition to that, Emma is now in charge of LeeLee, her best friend's daughter. Also, in the course of everything, they realized that Hairy must have witnessed Slick's murder and therefore, try to get some clues from Hairy.
Okay, I've never been that much of a fan of Susan Donovan's novels, but I really enjoyed the story quite a lot :D Emma is quite the typical woman tho; recently divorced, trying to go through it + keep her business, in short struggling. As for Thomas, well I thought he had a really dark secret, but he didn't... and well, I thought his self-imposed isolation wasn't that necessary, but I guess if he didn't do it, he wouldn't be the same guy. Anyway, the love story was all right and the intrigue was too, although perhaps a bit far-fetched at the end. What I liked was actually the humour and I hoped Hairy would have "thought" more often, cos that was quite hilarious. In fact, if it hadn't been for Hairy, this book would have been lumped in the "okay, typical, not original" book.
Hidden Secrets by Cait London: 2/5
Let see if I can find the good words this time...
Spence has recently lost his sister, brother-in-law and nephew in a car accident and his mother, in another accident at home. He blames himself for not being there, not being able to protect them, not preventing their deaths and so, he has left his banker job in Seattle to move back to their little town. He now plays guide, organizes camping trips and search for the remains of his nephew for closure.
Then, there's Marlo Malone who's a psychic, but refuses to acknowledge her gifts. She and Spence have a past, but she's put it behind. She's also gone through a painful marriage and divorce and now, takes refure in her work. All she wants is peace and normalcy... However, lately, everytimes she sees the color red through glass, it makes her think of Cody, Spence's nephew, along with a feeling of anger that frightens her... She also believes that the accidents that took away Spence's sister and mother's lives weren't accidents...
Okay, I thought this book could have been way better, but instead, no. First, I got annoyed at Marlo. She's psychics... perhaps acknowledging her gifts would have helped her feel better. It also makes me mad that she can sense things, know things, but decides to remain passive. I mean, perhaps she could have prevented those events from happening and that would have save her some guilt trips. But no... then, there's this relationship between her and Spence. Oh man, annoying. It completely lost me. Spence and Marlo have a painful past together and I guess that the only person who truly knows Marlo is Spence... he can edge her, get a reaction out of her... he wasn't by her side in the past and so he thinks that he's worthless now and tries to keep away from her, but at the same time, he always, always comes back, edging her more. Like I say, completely annoying. Hey, if you love her, you have two choices: woo her or go away and let her have a better life if you think that's what she'll have. Instead, he comes over and over and just ruins everything. The intrigue wasn't so enjoyable either. Instead, I just kept getting mixed up... the timeline and flow of the story were difficult to follow in my opinion. One minute, this was happening, the other minute, something totally unrelated and it kept going and going. So yeah, didn't enjoy it.
Sun Kissed by Catherine Anderson: 3.75/5
So finally, a book where the heroine is not "damaged." Well maybe a little, but not more than any other romance book.
Samantha Harrigan is a horse breeder and trainer with her own ranch. When she was younger, she married Steve Fisher, someone who was only after her money. But that's over, she's divorced him over a year ago and he's out of her life. Now enters Tucker Coulter, who've she met at this rodeo meet where she went against a drunk who was beating a horse. Both were arrested, but freed shortly after. Samantha has no intention to see Tucker again, but she needs a vet when two of her horses are poisoned... Soon, she's the prime suspect for insurance fraud...
So let see, this is the last of the Coulter siblings and I have to admit that the story was a bit different, but still enjoyable. For once, as I said, the heroine is not "damaged." Her ego and pride might be a bit bruised, but she's all right. Anyway, Tucker has never been my favorite sibling among the Coulter family, but he seemed to be portrayed quite differently in this book, seems to me he was gentler. Also, it seemed that the author, Ms. Anderson, was quite undecided about Tucker's faith... at the end of Sunshine, it was hinted that his mother would play matchmaker and she had a woman in mind, who knew how to stand her ground having grown up with 4 brothers. Then, at the end of the last book, he was heading for Colorado and I think the author intended to write the story there... then she came back to Samantha, who indeed has four brothers. *shrug* I guess it isn't that important.
So yeah, I did enjoy Sun Kissed. I guess I always enjoy Ms. Anderson's books. This one is just a plain, old romance with a little intrigue behind. The story went smoothly, but I have to say, the intrigue was way too easy to figure out. I mean, after reading the synopsis and page one, I knew who it was... now, that's way too easy. On the other hand, I actually quite liked Samantha - unlike the other heroines, she was quite confident. I mean, she knows what she's doing and she's proud of the results and that's something. She'd like to be more independent though, which is totally understandable. I think that her family might be a tad too protective. I mean, I usually like protective brothers with their big brother act, but Clint's answer was to beat out the crap out of anyone who hurt Samantha. Hmmm, no cute. Anyway, onto other matters, I also liked how Tucker was portrayed in this one. As I said, gentler and less jaded. Actually, he's quite like Isaiah, only sharper. Unfortunately, there wasn't that many romantic scenes though and it was quite understanble given the circumstances... but it still work. My only complaints are 1) we didn't get to see that many Coulters in the books... as the last Coulter's books, I'd have liked for an update for closure, but nope. 2) I bet Ms. Anderson was setting the characters for her new family series... I mean, Samantha has 4 brothers to marry now.
So although I enjoyed Sun Kissed, it didn't bring closure to the series. I also think I'm going to stay away from the new family series, because how much ranchers story can you write without it becoming too repetitive? Hah, I say that, but I'm probably going to crack. So not a bad book, not an oustanding book but an enjoyable one ;D
So that's it for 2006. I'm reading Demon Angel by Maljean Brook, but I doubted I'd be able to finish it before midnight :D