LOL, now that January is over, I guess that year 2010 is officially here. Hard to believe that a month has gone by already!! So fast!!
Overall, I thought that January was a good month in every aspect. I might have gone a bit wild on the book buying, for which I blame the coupons :) Although I did read a good amount of books, so I'm happy. Perhaps I could have reviewed more, but I did blog... although I did not write all the posts I wanted it :( Still haven't written anything for the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, plus I don't think the Best and Worst of 2009 post is going to happen... and I missed the DIK challenge ^_^; For this, I totally blame work because it's been so busy and it has cut into my blogging and blog-hoping time. I wish I could say it'll get better, but it doesn't seem so... and the Olympics is starting in less than 2 weeks!! Ah well, I'll find a way LOL.
So here is what I read in January:
1) My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger: A
2) A Stranger's Wife by Maggie Osborne: B-
Many bloggers are fans of Ms Osborne, so when I saw A Stranger's Wife at the UBS, I just picked it up.
Quinn Westin is in the running to be the first governor of Colorado, but his wife has disappeared and this could definitively make him lose the election. Thus, he looks for a look-alike and finds her in Lily Dale, a woman who has been jailed for murder.
I can certainly understand why Ms Osborne is a favorite. She really does have interesting plots. I did enjoy A Stranger's Wife's story very much. I especially liked all the twists at the end and the distinct characters. The characters are all quite ambiguous and not your typical alpha hero and tough heroine. Yes, Lily is strong... but there is definitively a vulnerability there. The reason why this doesn't get a higher grade is mainly because while they were interesting, I didn't connect much with the characters and the storyline and I thought the ending was not that believable. Yes, it's the ideal one, but it didn't fit the characters in my opinion.
3) Home for the Holidays by Sarah Mayberry: B-
Home of the Holidays was not a bad read, it was actually quite solid and enjoyable. However, it didn't wow me. I wasn't as put off by the ending as others were, probably because I was expecting it from reading other reviews. Instead, what rubbed me wrong was Joe's attitude towards Hannah in the beginning, doubting her expertise as a mechanics. I thought it was rude of him to walk away from the SUV just because she was the one selling it. Also, seriously, the kid feeling responsible for the death of their parent - starting to be an overused theme.
4) Trick of Light by Rob Thurman: C
5) The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan: B+
6) The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan: B-
7) The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan: B
8) The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan: B+
9) The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan: B++/A-
I still plan to write a post about this series, but as you can see, it has been really enjoyable :D
10) Magic Lost, Trouble Found by Lisa Shearin: C+
11) Blood Ties by Kay Hooper: B++/A-
12) Angel's Peak by Robyn Carr: B-/B
Review to come.
13) Suddenly by Candace Camp: C
I picked this book up because the back blurb sounded pretty cute... and I've just, just realized that this was a re-print!
Simon Dure, Earl of Dure, is looking for a wife to produce an heir and has set his eyes on one of the Emerson girls. Charity, wanting to save her older sister from this marriage because she's already in love, proposes herself to Simon.
So this is a marriage of convenience plot, plus a bit of "happy-go-lucky heroine thawing up stuffy hero" plot. LOL, if you've read my blog, you know I'm a fan of this kind of storyline... and while I did enjoy this part of the story, my biggest problem was the heroine. It wasn't that she acted childish, but it's clear that she's not totally mature yet. She doesn't seem the grasp the importance of certain things, situations, etc. She's also a bit too gullible which was at times very annoying. Also, at the end, she has a TSTL moment, ugh. You know your life is at risk and your husband has expressively told you to stay put... So why do you go out and put yourself in danger?!?! Please tell me.
14) The Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgins: -
Review coming for Breezing Through.
15) The Cinderella Deal by Jennifer Crusie: B
16) Proof by Seduction by Courtney Milan: C+
Got the book after I read Ames and Monroe's review over at Breezing Through.
Hmmm. Not a bad book, but I just didn't connect with it at all... not on any levels. It felt flat for me. Everything was just okay. I thought the author put a lot of conflicts and everything was resolved without going very deep. Sure, there were some cute moments and I liked when Jenny tried to make Gareth smile... but it just didn't do much for me and perhaps it was more my mood than the book, since the same happened with the next book ^_^;
17) A Duke of Her Own by Eloisa James: B-
I had this in my TBR pile and decided to pick it up after reading Jill's review.
After his near-death experience, the Duke of Villiers has decided to take in his bastard children and raise them. However, his friends assure him that they'll never be accepted in Society, unless Villiers find the right person with the right status/breeding to marry and help him launch them, i.e. a duke's daughter. After having her heart broken by her childhood sweetheart, Eleanore, daughter of the Duke of Montague, declared that she would not marry anyone less than a duke... and so she's been off the marital market... but there is now a duke available...
Okay, not the best synopsis, but you get the idea. So the premises of the book were actually quite promising. I thought this would be interesting and enjoyable and it was for perhaps the first third of the book, till Villiers and Eleanore went to the countryside so Villiers could retrieve two of his children and meet Lisette, the other potential bride. Quite frankly, I could have done without the whole plot with Lisette, I thought it dragged down the whole book. The best parts of this book was the interactions between Villiers and Eleanore and Villiers with Tobias, his son. Villiers and Eleanore's banter was entertaining from their first encounter to the balcony scene. Then, I totally got confused with the engagement status! For a short time, Villiers and Eleanore were fakely engaged and then, not anymore. Lisette had a fiancé on the continent, but he got dismissed for Villiers... then, Eleanore got engaged to childhood sweetheart, but decided to marry neither. Bleh. I think the book should have remained focused on Villiers and Eleanore. I would have also liked to see Villiers becoming more of a father figure. Also, what happened to his other children? They were mentioned shortly in the first part of the book, but then forgotten... not even mentioned in the epilogue.
Finally, my last issue with this book was how Eleanore put her first love on a pedestal. I've just read a book where the heroine put her first love on a pedestal as well and seriously, it's just so annoying. These ladies put blinders over their eyes and just don't acknowledge reality! Eleanore was lucky to have a younger sister pulling the blinders off.
All right, so there it is, my monthly list of reads. Actually, looking back now, I didn't do that bad on reviewing :P Makes me feel better LOL. Something new this month is I've started keeping track of the books I bought and so, I can now imitate Taja :D But I will not list all the titles LOL.
Books bought: +26
Books read: -17
TBR pile: +9
Not too bad :P