Thursday, December 18, 2008

DNF reviews...

It's rare for me to have DNF ratings, but I have two this month so far (not that I'm expecting more). They will probably come as a surprise for many... and I have to admit, it has to do more with me than the books' plots or writings...

Cherish by Catherine Anderson
published by Avon in October 1998

He Longed for...

Race Spencer's gunslinging days are far behind him. He is now a rugged, respectable rancher, but it's a solitary life. Then Fate leads Race to an earthbound angel--lost and alone, the sole survivor of an outlaw attack--and even his hardened heart is moved. He sweeps the ivory-skinned beauty into his arms and carries her away from danger.

A Woman to Cherish

When innocent Rebecca Morgan wakes up in a stranger's embrace, her life has been changed forever. Race's touch makes her blood sing and stirs up emotions in her she never knew existed. But this man has a fearsome reputation. And though her life may depend on him, can she trust him? Is it love she sees in her rescuer's dark eyes?

Genre: western
Series: don't know ^_^;

The Story: Rebecca Morgan comes from a cheek-turner family from a very religious community. The community has decided to move away as the world around them is becoming more modern and the youngsters might be tempted by newness. Rebecca, her parents and 9 other couples are about to embark on a journey that will lead them to New Mexico where the other families have already start settling. They are bringing the money that will be necessary to survive. Since they are very religious, they don't believe in hiring men to protect them or carry guns.

As expected, their wagon is attacked and everyone is killed, the women raped... except for Rebecca. She is saved by Race Spencer who used to be a gunslinger, but is now a rancher. Race is also half native... Luckily for Race, his men are not far behind... however, the robbers won't leave them alone and Race wonders why...

My Opinion: Well that's about all I read... then, I skipped to the middle and then, to the end. I bought this book because it's a Catherine Anderson and I like her contemporaries. I then picked this book up to read, because it was on the RT all time favorite list and I need a book for the Fall Challenge. Problem is, I don't really enjoy westerns... so this is more a "me" problem than the actual book.

Let see, I didn't really like Rebecca. She's not someone with whom I can connect easily. I know how she was raised and so on, but I couldn't help thinking she was silly. Then, I skimmed a bit and got to the scene where she's having sex with Race for the first time... and I couldn't help rolling my eyes. Again, I understand that it totally makes sense when you take in the circumstances and the way she was raised, but still... Couldn't help it. That pretty much sealed the faith of the book for me. I also read the ending, and I felt meh. Didn't make me want to go back and give it another try, unfortunately.

Race was okay, for what I read of him. I like that he was smart and figured things out quickly. I like that he didn't hesitate saving her... and I was sad that he suffered loss to his ranch by saving her. My favorite parts of the book are probably the scenes with Cookie. He was so funny, LOL :)

My Grade: DNF. Like I said, this has more to do with me than the books... western is just not for me I guess.

Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton
published by Berkley in November 2008
Sugar Maple looks like any Vermont town, but it's inhabited with warlocks, sprites, vampires, witches and an ancient secret. And Chloe Hobbs, owner of Sticks & String, a popular knitting shop, has a big secret too. She's a sorcerer's daughter in search of Mr. Right and she's found him in Luke MacKenzie, a cop investigating Sugar Maple's very first murder. Bad news is he's 100% human, which could spell disaster for a normal future with a paranormal woman like her.

Genre: contemporary romance with paranormal elements
Series: Sugar Maple, book #1

The Story: On the outside, Sugar Maple is the perfect little New England town whose income comes from tourism... However, Sugar Maple is actually a haven for paranormal creatures such as witches, shapeshifters, faeries, vampires and so on. Centuries ago, Chloe Hobbs' ancestor were fleeing Salem and found refuge in Sugar Maple. As a thank you, she cast a spell over Sugar Maple protecting the town from any harm and disharmony as long as there was a female descendant still living. Now, Chole is the only female descendant left and her blood has been diluted with human blood and it seems she has received very few gifts from her witchy sides. The spell over Sugar Maple seems to be weakening and therefore, everyone is trying to match Chloe up hoping she would produce a new descendant and quick...

As proof that the spell is weakening, Sugar Maple experienced its first murder, an out-of-town woman... Luke Mackenzie who's a Boston cop has been trying to get out of the big city for a few years and the assignment is perfect, even if it's only temporary. He knows that the town has secrets and he intends to discover them...

My Opinion: I previously read Just Desserts by Ms Bretton and really enjoyed it. Thus, I was looking for more books by her... I did hesitate to pick up Casting Spells as it was slightly paranormal... then, I read Holly's review and decided to give it a try.

First, I have to say that Casting Spells feels more like a contemporary romance with slight paranormal elements than a paranormal romance book. I mean, think of a small town with weird habitants having small quirks... but in this case, their small quirks might be they're able to shapeshift or drink blood.

I got halfway through the book. I liked Chloe and Luke... this book is at the first person POV and it alternates between Chloe and Luke, so it was fun to see what both were thinking. Both characters are nice and fun to read about and I like their chemistry :)

So what didn't work for me? The town and the whole: "Chloe needs to get someone and start reproducing, but oh, the cop won't do because he's human." I didn't feel like it was Chloe's responsibility to protect the town and insure that it was safe. That city hall reunion? Complete rubbish. Yes, Chloe was welcomed back in the community after the death of her parents and yes, everyone had a hand in raising her... but it wasn't for unselfish reasons!!! It seems to me they all want to keep Chloe because she was a Hobbs and her presence would maintain the spell! So having people saying that she owns them annoyed me! Having people trying to match her up with men just so the spell would continue annoyed me! Having people say that Luke wouldn't be good because he's human annoyed me! Also, the fact that people complained about her lack of powers also annoyed me! And these are constant reminders... by everyone in the book, Chloe included. A lot of time, you don't choose whom you fall in love with and I mean, Chloe could do a lot worst. Also, the fact that people seems to be-little Chloe and she just took it, because she seems to believe that it's her fault? It was too much for me and that's why I won't be continuing the book and I doubt I will be picking it up again :(

This is supposed to be a series, so perhaps I'll pick up book #2 (since now, Chloe has powers and Luke knows the whole truth)... but I'm not sure. I mean, the writing was good and it has potential. I just got annoyed with few details and it ruined it for me :(

My Grade: DNF.


  1. You know, I hadn't really thought about the issues with the town bagging on Chloe until you mentioned it, but it's true. They were really hard on her. And the town meeting made me SO angry because they all turned on her. Very frustrating. I wasn't completely satisfied with the ending, either. But overall I enjoyed it. Sorry it didn't work for you. :(

    I don't really care for Catherine Andersen. She's really hit or miss for me (mostly miss), so I won't be trying this one. Thanks for the DNF reviews, though. :)

  2. Holly - I loved Cherish when I first read it, and it's easily my favorite Anderson western. Most readers point to Sweet Annie, but that one practically gave me a toothache!

    Haven't tried the Bretton, but ordered it for work. I'm really starting to get annoyed by paranormal woo-woo creeping into other sub genres.....but given I'm not a massive paranormal fan that might just be me ;-)

  3. I don't think I've read an Anderson that didn't give me a toothache, Wendy. I think I might have to be in the mood for them. Now that I think about it, I adored one of her Westerns. I'm going to have to look up which one. I remember it had a blue cover. :P

    As for paranormals, I'm completely over them. The Bretton was ok because I expected it and it wasn't a vamp or were story, but the final straw for me was when I picked up a Blaze in Walmart last week and it featured vampires. A freaking BLAZE! WTF??

  4. Which is why I don't read Anderson's contemporaries. I can handle sugary in historicals, but in contemporaries? Yeah, not so much.

    I hate it when the back cover copy gives you NO indication that the book has paranormal elements and you get blind-sided by them. That happened to me once with an older Silhouette Desire, and it ticked me off no end!

    And now, I stop taking over Nath's comments LOL

  5. Holly - Perhaps it would have work for me if I was in another mood... but that day, nah. I mean, seriously, the town people are actually the people owning her and they didn't welcome her just out of kindness. They didn't want to lose her, so for them to call in her debt, it's really callous I thought.

    As for Catherine Anderson, some of her contemporaries are not that bad :D yes, it's very sugary, but once in a while :)

    As for western... Keegan's Lady or perhaps it's sequel work for me... just not this one though.

    I don't mind paranormals, so I don't mind being blind-sided... but LOL, Blaze and Silhouette. Yeah, not so much.

    Wendy - LOL, I don't mind you take over my comment section. I remember you saying you really enjoyed Cherish. Actually, think about it, Cherish is probably the least sugary of her books I've read to date :) Maybe that's what I expected and I didn't get it? But I have to say, being a fan of contemporaries and with our highly sexually aware society... it's hard for me sometimes to read historicals and westerns and have the heroine so innocent. I know, I know... it's normal, but it's just ugh... and seriously, it wasn't even that she was innocent... but it's the fact that IT had to happen the way her mother explained and she would absolutely draw no pleasure from it. Just, ugh. :P

  6. I love Catherine's Contemporaries, I do have Cherish but I have never read it. Currently it resides in my never ending pile of TBR. I do however have a DNF from her as well. I got to about Chapter Seven and my continued dislike of the hero had me putting SIMPLY LOVE down and not picking it back up.

    Even after knowing what motivated Luke to be the way he was I still couldn't go back and finish it.

    As for parnormals I have to say there are quite a few out there and some that I will read but I'm not actively looking for new author's of them right now.

  7. Jenn - Quite frankly, I don't think I would have ever read Cherish if it wasn't for the challenge ^_^; To me, getting Cherish was more to get the complete backlist of the author. If it had been a contemp, then that's another story.

    I did enjoy Simply Love though... If I remember correctly :) Or again, it could have been Keegan's lady...

  8. I haven't read either author, but I was tempted to buy Casting Spells while browsing the bookstore the other day. I'm kinda glad I didn't now. The town hall meeting sounds bad.

  9. nope, it's not just you (re: Catherine Anderson). That book was the first and LAST book I ever tried of hers. It was so goddam awful that I gave up and did not finish it. Just...ugh. Martyr heroine, one bad evil thing after another. I kept trying to slog through and then thought...what the hell. Life's too short for bad books. That's one author I won't be trying again. :/

  10. Check, check. There are two books I know not to buy.



  11. Hi Nath, I've given you an award. Head over to my blog to check it out. :-)

  12. I'm a lot like Wendy when it comes to Anderson. I didn't mind her historicals but I simply can't STAND her contemporaries. Every heroine she writes is like a Disney herone - wide-eyed, innocent, beautiful and with sometime tragically wrong that only the hero can fix. I can except that more in a Western then a contemporary and I just suffer to much from treacle overdose. As I was reading the blurb for her upcoming book, I couldn't help but role my eyes when I saw that - of course - once yet again - the heroine has 'issues' that ONLY the hero can solve.
    Blech, bleck and double blech!

  13. What Kristie(j) said. It also pisses me off to no end that her heroines are always determined to "save the heroes from themselves". He's willing to spend MILLIONS to make his house safe for her in her wheelchair but, "ZOMG, he deserves better than me, so I'll just run away"!!!

    Head, meet desk.

  14. Or - she'll allow him to save a horse - but not herself - cause don't you know a horse has more value tot he heroine then herself!

  15. Brie - Yeah, it wasn't super, which is disappointing, because I liked another one of her books. I guess I'll try to check her backlist :)

    and thanks for the award!!

    Sula - I do agree with you. The heroine was a bit of a martyr. Oh well, I read the end... didn't feel like going through it...

    Seneca - Welcome :D

    Kristie - I know, I know... her contemporaries are really sugary... but some aren't bad. I liked Blue Skies and Sunshine (ok, Sunshine was really sugary)... the real trick is not to read them one after the other :) From time, to time, I think a book like this is nice :D

    Holly - I know, I know ^_^;

  16. Hi Nath, I received your request for using my photo. You are more then welcome to use it and alternate it ^^ You have an interesting blog and some interesting read.

  17. Hi Nath, I received your request for using my photo. You are more then welcome to use it and alternate it ^^ You have an interesting blog and some interesting read.