Monday, February 01, 2010

Monthly Reads: January 2010

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

16 comments:

  1. 26 new books purchases? Wow! But you did good on your reading too. Go Nath!

    Guess what, I started keeping track of my purchases by month now too. :D I saw at the end of 2009 that I bought over 400+ books so I was curious what my average book purchases were each month. Although I'm not sure if I can beat out last year's purchases since many of the books purchased were used. We'll see! lol

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  2. 26 books! wow. But you read alot. Glad you liked the percy jackson books.

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  3. Nath, you had a great month!

    I'm afraid of counting how many books I bought in January... it was a crazy buying month for me. *blush*

    RE: A Duke of Her Own - I see we had the same reaction to Lissette. I just wanted her to go away... she drove me nuts, lol! I loved Eleanor, Tobias & Villiers. :)

    SO glad you enjoyed the Percy books. Can't wait for your post on those!

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  4. 17 is a good number. I guess I should start doing a monthly round up post. I'm pretty sure my number is lower.

    I've been thinking of getting the Higgins but now I'll wait for your review. :D

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  5. A Stranger's Wife is actually one of my least favorite Osborne titles. As I recall, I really liked the heroine, but had issues with the hero - whose ambition seemed to drop like an iron curtain over the entire story.

    That being said, even an "Osborne title I'm not in love with" still has the ability to stick with me for days after finishing it. That woman worked magic when it came to characterization.

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  6. Tabitha - Yeah, I think I went a bit overboard ^_^; I blame the coupons!!

    400+!! See, it sounds like a huge number... but having never tracked down my purchases, I cannot say really, right? For all I know, I have you beaten very easily :P

    But you're right, we'll see :D

    Hilcia - Yes, I'm happy. Been a while since I last read as much D:

    Oh, good. I'm happy someone agrees with me. That part with Lisette, seriously superfluous. Ugh. Tobias and Villiers were so cute together, in my opinion. I liked having Villiers recognize himself in Tobias :)

    Yeah, I need to write that post about Percy. Perhaps just before the movie comes out. From the trailer, I can say the books are better :P

    Leslie - I love monthly round-ups, because besides Jill, I don't know anyone who's able to review everything they read. I know that I don't review all the books, even if I enjoyed them...

    Did you ever read any other Kristan Higgins?

    Wendy - That's why I thought the ending was not believable. He's an ambitious man and suddenly, he decides politics isn't ready for him?!?!

    Still willing to try other books by this author :D

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  7. Hey Nath - I loved A Duke of Her Own, but then I'm a total EJ fangirl :-) I really liked the chemistry between Villiers and Eleanore in this one. Plot, however, was slightly meh, I admit.

    Have you read the additional chapter on her website? Very sweet wrapup.

    Li

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  8. I read Too Good to Be True. Liked it and have 1 or 2 more of her books on the tbr pile.

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  9. Li - I actually liked the H/H and enjoyed their banter and interaction... I just wished it had focused more on them, instead of bringing some outside plot. Sigh.

    Oh, no, I didn't read that extra chapter. Let me go see :D

    Leslie - If you enjoyed Too Good to be True, I think you would enjoy this one, Les :)

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  10. I wouldn't be surprise if you did. Lol! I barely read 50% of my purchases from 2009. *sigh*

    I finished the latest Kristan Higgins book. It was an okay read for me. Love to hear your thoughts on it.

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  11. Good month Nath!!

    That's too bad you didn't enjoy the Courtney Milan. I thought the first half was humourous and then the second half got emotional. :P But everyone is different.

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  12. Leslie - I wouldn't be surprised either LOL :) Although I'm pretty sure I did good on reading the new purchases :P

    I'll be buddy reviewing it with Ames :) I think you can look forward for it next week. I have mixed feelings about it though...

    Ames - I think I just wasn't in the mood... I did enjoy the writing though.

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  13. 17 books read!?! Wow. Good for you! I'm such a slow reader... :(

    How funny to see you read the entire Percy Jackson series in January. We currently have the whole series borrowed out from the library. Just tonight I HAD to go to a neighboring town and apply for their library card to get the last two. When I say HAD, I mean HAD. My ten year old was beside herself with impatience to get the last two books. I can relate. ;)

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  14. Thanks for imitating! :) Two things: 1) Do you know the number of books in your TBR pile? Because I sure don't. And 2) your numbers are much more impressive than mine!

    re the Sarah Mayberry book - "I thought it was rude of him to walk away from the SUV just because she was the one selling it." - I think that would have rubbed me the wrong way, too. Not a good way to get the main characters on opposite sides, IMO.

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  15. Hey Nath!

    Okay, first up: Great job on reading so many books this month!! I wish I could do the same!

    Okay as for Lisette, from A Duke of Her Own, I didn't mind her as much as you did. I thought she was a good way to show how "sensible" Elenor was compared to her. I thought it was clever how James portrayed her as a beauty and that she lived in her own world, but underneath all that she really was shelfish and not a nice individual. It totally worked for me. But I could she how she could get on your nerves.

    I just loved James' writing. I think she is so talented. I can't wait to read more by her.

    Also, I can't wait to hear you thoughts on the Higgins latest release. I need to get my hands on that baby!

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  16. Christine - How can you say you're a slow reader?!?! You're a busy woman, christine! I'm in awe of you, seriously :D

    LOL, did it cost money to apply to another library? I hope you enjoy the series :D I think it flows very well. Going to try to make a post today :D

    Taja - LOL.

    1) No. I don't think I really want to find out actually :D

    2) Well, it's more available to me I guess :d

    And yeah, the thing is, he never really apologized for his action. that's what bothered me a little.

    Jill - Thanks :D I'm sure if you were still single, you'd be able to :

    I just thought the second part of the book dragged :(

    The review for the new Higgins should be ready soon...

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