Monday, April 05, 2010

Monthly Reads: March 2010

I can't believe the long week-end is already over!! Where did all my time go?!? I really don't want to back to work tomorrow. Seriously, I'm not rested enough :(  At least, I will have blogged! I hope to find back my blogging mojo and rhythm... as well as reading mojo. Long week-end and I only read one book :( Ah well.

At least, I can look at my March reading list and feel good :D I read quite a bit this month and that surprised me a little, considering the last few weeks I've had at work. Then again, most of the books were read before things started getting really busy...

1) Roadkill by Rob Thurman: B+/A-
 Buddy review with Hilcia and Leslie coming up for Breezing Through .

2) All Night with a Rogue by Alexandra Hawkins: C-
 Buddy review with Ames and Monroe coming up for Breezing Through.

3) My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger: -

This was a re-read :) I was feeling a bit down and needed something to cheer me up. Plus, it needed to be light after Roadkill :P

4) When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn: B

5) How I Met My Countess by Elizabeth Boyle: B-

 The past few books by Ms Boyle have been hit and miss with me. Still, I like her style, so I gave this one a try. It was better than Confessions of a Little Black Gown, but I still had some issues with it.

Years ago, when Justin Grey - the Earl of Clifton - and his illegitimate brother chose to serve their country, they decided to become spies and were thus trained by Lucy Ellyson's father. Back then, Lucy helped and taught them everything she knew to make sure they would come back safely. Eventually, Lucy and Justin fell in love and Justin swore he would come back for her if only she waited. However, things have a tendency to go awry and circumstances change. Seven years later, Lucy is one of the dowager Marchioness of Standon (there are three :P) and Justin is coming back to a decrepit earldom. The only way he can escape marriage with an heiress is if Justin can find his brother's money which was left to an heir under the care of the dowager Marchioness of Standon...

I have to admit, it's the storyline that made me pick up the book. It sounded good and it actually was. The story was well thought out with a few good twists. The characters were likable and the three dowagers Marchionesses of Standon situation was quite funny. I especially like the beginning when Lucy and Justin meet again after 7 or so years and Justin has no idea Lucy is the dowager Marchioness of Standon that he is looking for. My only problem was the flashback that started after the meeting where we see Justin undergoing his training under the tutelage of Lucy, their attraction, etc. It was just too long - about half the book, and it took away from the whole book. I'd have liked to see the characters be a bit more developed in the "present," see them really reconnect. Once we come back to the present, everything unfolds too quickly - even though it all ties up - and as a result, it felt a bit rushed and not enough substance... and that's too bad because How I Met My Countess could have been more.

Still, Ms Boyle set up Mad About the Duke very well in this book and I'll be looking forward to it.

6) Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas: B+

7) What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss: B

Picked this one up because of the buzz around blogland. Many have reviewed it already and I agree with the majority. I thought the book was very well written and there was a lot going on for such a short book, perhaps a little bit too much. However, I enjoyed the subject matters in What the Librarian Did, because they're not often written about. I also really liked Devin, he was one yummy hero... but I wasn't too thrilled about Rachel. I didn't like the fact that she was using Devin. I think she should have been a little bit more honest and straightforward - it would have saved everyone a lot of pain.

8) The First Sin by Cheyenne McCray: D

Sigh. I bought this book and the second one believing they were paranormal romance - I don't know why. Perhaps because this author's other books are. This turned out to be a difficult read for me...

Alexi Steele used to be a sniper in the army until an op went wrong and she was court-martialed and found guilty. Then, she was kidnapped and broken by an unknown group and forced to kill whoever they wanted. Luckily, she was saved by the NSA's clandestine Recovery Enforcement Division for which she now works and specializes in human trafficking and sex crimes. She is currently investigating a human trafficking ring that is taking place in Boston's exclusive S&M clubs and her new partner, Nicholas Donovan, has a vested interest in this investigation as his younger sister has recently disappeared.

Human trafficking storylines are never the easiest to read about and The First Sin is no exception.There was little I enjoyed about this book, mainly because it wasn't believable to me. I guess Alexi Steele is an ultra tough, kick-ass heroine... but seriously, is there really someone this strong? It's easier to believe in these kind of heroines in urban fantasy and paranormal romance when they can heal faster or live longer... but Alexi is just like you and me. I just think there's a limit to what someone can endure. I'm not saying that Alexi should be crumbling... but seriously, it's hard for me to imagine she'd stay in the business. Of course, I'm a far cry of an army person so perhaps, I just don't get it. Anyway, let just say that Alexi has went through a lot in the past and she undergoes a lot here as well... and her recovery rate is unbelievably fast without much psychological trouble. The First Sin is also quite grim and some of the scenes, a bit too descriptive to my taste.

9) Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop: -
10) Heir to the Shadows by Anne Bishop: -
11) Queen of the Darkness by Anne Bishop: -

After reading Shadalor's Lady and re-reading The Shadow Queen, I realized how long it's been since I've read the Black Jewels trilogy, especially since many characters from the trilogy make an appearance. So I decided to re-read them. This wasn't a proper re-read, as I skipped some parts - mostly the very serious and depressing scenes, which is why I'm not writing a complete review... Although I should. Anyway, this is a really a great series, I still love the humor in it :) It's also nice to see how the characters have grown :)

12) Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs by Molly Harper: B
13) Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men by Molly Harper: B
14) Nice Girls Don't Live Forever by Molly Harper: B

This is the Jane Jameson trilogy. Picked it up after Isabel reviewed them (here, here and here) - I actually had the first book and needed someone to give me a nudge :P I'll try to do a proper post for it, but to sum it up, it was a fun trilogy. There is quite a lot of drama going on though, so these books are a bit exhausting :P

15) A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner: B+/A-
Review to come.

16) Spiral Hunt by Margaret Ronald: D

Hmmm, my attention was actually caught by the back blurb of Wild Hunt, but I figured I should read the first book before getting into the second. Logical right? Not sure it was a good decision though, but ah well. Too late now.

This is an urban fantasy series based on celtic mythology featuring Evie Scelan as the heroine. Evie has the "scent," kind of an extremely well developed sense of smell which she can use to smell the well-being of someone or track things down, etc. She gets a phone call from her first love who tells her he is getting out. He sounded a bit weird, so Evie wants to follow up on it and finally finds a dead body. Things then get complicated with the brotherhood he was involved with - they're been laying low for the past couple of years, but have decided to make a come back and for some reasons, are after Evie...

Okay, my summary was not clear, but can't help it because I felt so lost while reading Spiral Hunt. I kept waiting for the author to explain her world building such as the undercurrent, why people cannot get out of Boston, etc. but I waited in vain. Then, Evie wasn't the brightest heroine... From what I understood, in the past, those who could do magic were either recruited or eliminated by the brotherhood. Evie was always under the radar until recently... but seriously, if you know there's such danger near you, I would think you'd find out as much information possible to protect yourself, right? Also, you don't trust just anyone who helps you when you're in such situation. Anyway, just didn't feel it with this one.

17) Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs: B++
Review to come.

18) Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs: -

Felt like re-reading Hunting Ground after Silver Borne :P Still love it to pieces and it really sucks we won't get an installment in the series this year. I wonder how that will affect the timeline as well.

19) Lois Lane Tells All by Karen Hawkins: C+/B-

This is the second contemporary romance book by Ms Hawkins. The first one is Talk of the Town which was okay. Once again, Ms Hawkins starts strong but just can't seem to wrap it up as strongly.

Susan Collins now works for The Glory Examiner which Roxie has bought in Talk of the Town. She's really into her work and resent Mark Tremayne, Roxie's brother, management. However, she can't help but find him attractive à la Clark Kent way. Meanwhile, Mark is doing his best to save the newspapers and make it profitable in order to help his sister's out. This is all temporary however, once the newspapers is in the black, he's returning home to Raleigh where he has his accounting company to take care of.

Basically, that's what the book is about ^_^; Two persons that are trying their best to make a newspapers with two different visions. What I liked about Lois Lane Tells All were Susan and Mark. These are two grown-up adults, regular people and so, they are reasonable!! Once Mark explains what's going on with the newspapers finance to Susan, she stops being annoyed by Mark and starts working with him to find solution. Also, Mark realizes that Susan knows the newspapers business better than him and starts opening up to her suggestions. So yeah, I really like the H/H in this book and that is why I wished the book would have focused more on them and their relationship. Instead, Ms Hawkins brought back the Murder Mystery Club - a trio of old people who are fanatics of CSI and trying to find murder cases to solve. I mean, the idea wasn't bad, but this time around, the Murder Mystery Club was less funny and more in the way of the storyline instead of helping it. I mean, Lois Lane Tells All is 379 pages, quite thick, but I felt Susan and Mark's relationship really went nowhere. I mean, they are attracted to each other, share a couple of good kisses, lust after each other... then, finally, they have sex and you think, finally, the story is starting to shape up. Instead, they decide to keep it as a one-time deal because Mark is going to go back to Raleigh and Susan can't leave Glory... and you don't get anymore interaction between them till the end! This is a contemporary romance, the H/H and their relationship should be at the front and never take the back seat! I also wished Mark's character was more developed. Readers get a lot from Susan's viewpoint, but very little from Mark and whenever we do, it's never something really deep or personal. I'd have liked to see more of his personal side. The set up and build up was good, but the characters and story just didn't go anywhere :(

Yep, 19 books! Woohooo! It's been a while I haven't posted such a high number. Although I think what helped was that a number of the books were re-reads :)  They're always a bit quicker reads, don't you think? There were definitively some good books that I can't wait to review :) However, there were also some bad books... and that's a surprise... Doesn't happen to me often since I'm quite selective. I know what I like and what I enjoy... but seriously, you have to fall on a lemon from time to time, right?

Also, was I a good girl with my book buying? That was a goal I set out for myself starting from March, since I'm going to the RT convention. I want to try avoiding double copies ^_^; This pretty much means waiting till the RT to get some books... but I'm happy to say I was indeed a good girl!! Especially given the number of releases in March!

Books bought: +20
Books read: -14 (not counting the re-reads)
TBR pile: +6

As numbers go, it's not bad :D So there you have it, my month of March...


  1. A couple of duds but overall a pretty good month. I've got that Kluger from the library - I should probably read it this month before it has to go back. :)

    I read Silver Borne over the weekend - stayed up until 2am to finish it. Now I'm curious about your grade. Maybe you had the same problems I did?

  2. And I thought I was doing good with my final tally *g*. You wiped the floor with me. I'm glad you liked What the Librarian Did

  3. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on Silver Borne. I wasn't going to buy the book in HC because I have the other four books in PB but I saw a 3-in-1 HC combo of the first 3 books and I'm thinking of getting that so I can get Silver Borne. Lol. A year is a long wait!

    I have What the Librarian Did in my TBR pile but couldn't get into it after I started the first few pages. I think I had too much anticipation build-up and once I bought the book the interest flat-lined and my eyes strayed towards another book. Lol. I'm such a book slut. I'll get back to it....eventually. ha


  4. That is a great month, Nath! Even with a couple of duds, you had a wonderful reading month. :) And you were a good girl with the buying, lol!

    Thanks for reviewing Lois Lane Tells All. I thought I might give that one a try, but... nope. I want my H/H to take center stage on a contemporary and I'm getting tired of all these darn mysteries/suspense lines taking the spotlight. It's becoming really frustrating -- and ignoring the hero development seems to be another new trend that's driving me nuts! Where's the balance? Anyway, sorry about the rant, lol! I've been reading too many contemps with those problems lately. *g*

    I'm STILL saving My Most Excellent Year for an emergency. :)

  5. Oh wow! I am a good reader but lazy blogger... Haha.

    Plus I hate reading on iPod - yeah that's what I read my books on. It takes too much time and all formatting is gone. No italics, no bold, no paragraphs. Everything just flows. I dream of an e-book reader. If I tell this out loud then I will be strangled by my husband! LOL I have bugged him ad nauseum.

    I am not sure about your reading preferences but I would definitely recommend Kay Hooper, James Rollins & Steve Berry. I love them!

  6. Guh. I read ONE book this month. ONE. Loved it. But it was also a YA and took me exactly one day to read. March was a bad reading month for me. Sigh.

    I just put My Most Excellent Year on reserve at the library. I've heard it's good, glad you enjoyed it as much the second time around!

  7. yay i'm glad you like the Jane books. Ok, did you like jane and gabriel??

  8. Hi nath!
    Sorry I haven't been by in a while. :(

    You read A LOT in March... and so many rereads, too! I'm trying to get a hold of Silver Borne from the library in the next town over. Would you believe my library has NO books by Patricia Briggs??! Looking forward to your review.

  9. Ahhh, everyone! I'm sooo sorry for the late reply! Stupid work, that's all I'm going to say :D

    Leslie - You know, looking back a little, it's rare that I don't like the books I'm reading. Sure I give a couple of Cs, but Ds and DNFs are pretty rare... I wonder if I'm not due for some, since the couple of books I've read so far in April have been duds as well :(

    Definitively read the Kluger! I can't wait to see what you think of it :D It's really a great book :D

    LOL, I stayed up late as well for Silver Borne. I just wrote my review. It was a good book, but not a wowzer.

    Kristie - LOL. I really like keeping tracks of books-related stuff. I'm glad I enjoyed it as well :D I guess I'm just a bit more picky when it comes to category romance.

    Tabitha - My review is up :D LOL, a year is definitively too long to wait!! That's why I usually don't LOL. 3-in-1 HC combo is not bad at all, especially if you can get it with a 30% or 40% coupon :P

    Nod nod about What the Librarian Did. Perhaps you should wait a while before getting back to it :P That's really the worst though, high expectations and too much anticipation :( It ruined a couple of books for me :(

    Hilcia - LOL, I really tried hard with the buying!!

    It's really unfortunate about Lois Lane Tells All. I really enjoy Ms Hawkins' writing. She also had great characters, so it's such a bummer the story didn't live up to it :( It also did suck that we didn't get more of Mark :(

    LOL, wise woman about My Most Excellent Year :D That's what I'm doing with Changing Pitches and The Last Days of Summer :P

    Brahmin - LOL. SEriously, you read on your iPod? Why?

    I read Kay Hooper. Love her :P However, I'm going to pass for the other 2 authors. I found it I prefer female authors ^_^;

    Mollie - Well at least, it was a great one book :D What was it? It sucks about reading slump. Hope you get out of it soon!!

    Oh, My Most Excellent Year! I'm sure you'll love it :D

    Isabel - Hmmm, I did like them together. I mean, it was better Jane+Gabriel than Jane+Zeb or Jane+Dick right? Or Jane+Adam, ugh. However, the romance wasn't the thing for me in this book :D It was more Jane and her life LOL.

    Christine - It's okay Christine :D Guess you're busy! :D

    Seriously, your library has no Patricia Briggs? I'm a bit surprised... your library is usually good... and I mean, even mine has it. Can't you request it (like suggest them to buy it)?

  10. Not a bad month! Nice numbers. *g*

    Anne Bishop - I should re-read that series. I thought it a great series years ago when I read it.

    "...but I figured I should read the first book before getting into the second."

    I'm the same but I try to break that habit because it sucks when I don't like the first book and already have the one I actually wanted to read. And that's just sad because without my urge to read things in order I would have been looking forward to reading that book.

    And hey, I managed it recently with Pamela Clare's NAKED EDGE (bought it without having read the other books in the series). There's still hope for me. *g*

    "I hope to find back my blogging mojo and rhythm..." - When you find it, please tell me. Maybe my blogging mojo and rhythm hangs around there, too. :)

  11. Taja - Thanks :)

    It's really a great series, the Black Jewels trilogy. I mean, it can be so dark at time, but also so funny as well!

    I'm usually not very strict when it comes to reading series in order. Especially if the H/H changes from book to book... but with urban fantasy, I find it's better to read in order. Especially for the world building.

    LOL, did you enjoy it? If you want the other books in that series, I can probably send them to you :D

    Well the thing is I want to blog, I just don't have time ^_^;

  12. Wow! Great month! I put the librarian book on my list too because of all the buzz. I need to get to it at some point.

  13. Jill - It's a fast and easy read :D You won't have any problem reading it :D