Sunday, August 22, 2010

Monthly Reads: July 2010

Okay, so no Hauling Sunday this week, as I did not buy any new books :( I did think of going to the bookstores on many occasions and ended up going once LOL, but didn't buy anything. There was no new releases I was expecting and nothing that caught my attention. Also, I've missed two TBR challenges in a row and I think it's time that me and my TBR pile get reacquainted :P Aren't you proud of my self-control? LOL.

Since there's no Hauling Sunday today, I thought perhaps working on my Monthly Reads post would be a good idea. I can't believe the month is already more than half-way over ^_^; So this post is way overdue, sigh. It's been a rough summer, but I'm getting back my groove. I'm happy at how many books I reviewed in the past few weeks :) Especially since I've been dragging my feet a lot on some of the reviews ^_^; I've finally completed the reviews for May... and I'm that close to April and June! See, catching up LOL.

Now, let's catch up on my Monthly Reads :P

1) Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh:B

2) A Summer in Sonoma by Robyn Carr: C-

3) Crazy for Love by Victoria Dahl: B-/C+

A few months ago, Chloe Turner's life was normal and she was happy, about to get married. Everything changed though the day her scum fiancé tried to fake his death - apparently to avoid marrying her. The media sinks their teeth on the story and Chloe's life turns to hell, as they portray her as the crazy Bridezilla. Deciding that Chloe needs a breather, her best friend Jenn brings her to an island, far away from curious eyes and the media. There, Chloe meets Max who is on vacation with his brother. Max is a treasure hunter with a little quirk - he worries about everything and everyone and he's very tired of it. He is wary of starting a fling with Chloe, but attraction wins out. Unfortunately for both, reality was bound to catch up to them...

I read Talk Me Down by Ms Dahl and while I didn't love it, it was enjoyable. Thus, I was looking forward to sampling Ms Dahl's writing again. As it goes, I had no complain with the writing; however, I did with one element of the story: the media. It was so frustrating to read how the media distorted the whole story and how they portrayed Chloe. She's just a regular woman who was going to marry a guy who didn't have the guts to face his mother and call off the wedding. She's the victim here and yet, it's as if it's all her fault. I just plain hate the media and reporters ^_^; Really, I think that the media and public in real life have lost sight of what is news worthy and what's not.

The media aspect did tame my enjoyment of Crazy for Love a lot. Aside from it though, the book wasn't bad. I liked the characters, especially Max. I thought he was interesting with his problem. He simply worries about everything: if someone light a fire, that it'll spread and burn everything... if someone goes diving, that there'll be complications, etc. I would have liked Ms Dahl to focus a bit more on this and whether it got better or not. It's unfortunate that Chloe's identity was revealed so early and once Chloe and Max left the island, I felt they didn't interact enough. The relationship didn't feel solid for me... Something I did enjoy though was  enjoyed the secondary romance between Chloe's best friend and Max' brother.

In the end, the overall story wasn't bad. It had potential to be very interesting and could have been funny, since the Bridezilla thing was so overboard. Unfortunately, the media really ruined it for me. However, that's really more of a personal issue ^_^;

4) The Search by Nora Roberts: B+
Upcoming review.

5) A Groom of One's Own by Maya Rodale: C+

After Sophie Harlow was jilted on her wedding day, she needed to leave her little village to distance herself from the bad memory. One year later, she finds herself in London, making a living as a wedding reporter for The Weekly. For someone who's been jilted, this is the worst job possible... however, it's the only one available if she doesn't want to be a seamstress, governess or mistress. While running out of a wedding before having an anxiety attack, Sophie meets Mr Brandon and for the first time in a year, Sophie's hope in love is renewed... until she finds out that the handsome Mr Brandon is actually the Duke of Hamilton and Brandon and that he's actually betrothed to the perfect lady. In fact, she is going to spend one month reporting all the juicy details of the "Wedding of the Year." The Duke of Brandon does not believe in love,but he does in lust... and he believes that's the only thing he feels for Sophie. However, the more time they spend together... the harder it is for him to deny his feelings...

Read the blurb of A Groom of One's Own and it intrigued me enough to buy it. I enjoyed the writing; unfortunately, they were a few things that bothered me. Basically, it was the behaviors of the H/H. I didn't like the way they dealt with their attraction. Brandon is betrothed and about to get married and yet, he's attracted to Sophie like he's never been attracted to his fiancée and it's reciprocal. Against her better judgment, the more time she spends with the double duke, the more Sophie finds herself falling in love with him. However, she knows that nothing will come out of it... that he cannot break his engagement. Yet, instead of putting some distance between them, to cool down their attraction, Brandon and Sophie sneak around and spend time together at every opportunity. They flirted with each other in public, even in front of Brandon's fiancée, who turns out to be a very sweet girl. And it wasn't discreet at all, everyone figured it out. I thought it was callous of both of them. I know they're attracted to each other, but they should have dealt with it a different way. Brandon should have broken off the engagement or something. I hate how Sophie was hopeful and hinting at Brandon to do just so. Sophie kept saying how she didn't want Celia to be in the same situation she's been (being jilted) and yet,  her attitude told a different story. I don't like love triangles and I dislike it even more when the heroine has to "steal" the hero :( The worst though? All of Brandon's reasoning for not breaking of his engagement were just excuses. There were not a single good reasons. Money? Brandon has plenty and even paying the penalty would not have hurt him. I mean in the end, he did not hesitate very hard!

Ah well. Again, it's just a story that didn't suit me. This was my first time reading Ms Rodale and thought her writing was good and very suitable for Avon. I liked the fact that Celia, Brandon's fiancée was a nice, sweet and smart girl. She wasn't blind to the fact that Brandon wasn't in love with her and was actually interested in Sophie. She also gets her own secondary romance which was okay. Love is unpredictable and definitively cannot be planned. By the way, this seems to be the first book in a quartet series. Ms Rodale introduces us to the other Writing Girls, each with a different column in the newspapers. I do think I'll be trying out the next book if the blurb sounds interesting. So technically, this was again more: it's me and not the book issue.

6) Rushed to the Altar by Jane Feather: C-

Jasper Sullivan, Earl of Blackwater, and his two younger, twin brothers are summoned by their uncle to his sickbed. The wealthy uncle has re-wrote his will and Blackwater, who is in dire need of money, will only inherit if the three of them marry fallen women. Clarissa Astley's father has passed away recently and her uncle got custody of her little brother. She has not had news of him in months and thus, had come to London to find out what happened to him. She's worried, because if anything happens to Francis, their uncle is the one who will inherit the family fortune... Clarissa has not been staying in the best parts of London and one morning, while she was following her uncle, she runs into Blackwater. At first, Blackwater believes she is a thief and after seeing where she lives, a prostitute. She fits the criteria of his uncle and thus, Blackwater decides that she will be his fallen woman. Clarissa decides to keep up the charade as Jasper is in position to help her.

I've seen Ms Feather books on the shelves for years and finally decided to give her a try.  The story is nothing new, but it could have been very entertaining.However, I found myself a bit disappointed.I don't know, I think there was a lack of chemistry between Jasper and Clarissa. I don't really get why Jasper set his eyes on Clarissa. She was a bit different than the other women he is used to, as in she didn't bow to him because he was a duke, but otherwise? Why go to the trouble for her? I also didn't get why Clarissa went through this whole charade. Clarissa is from a good family, but when she comes to London, she finds lodging in a brothel ^_^; Jasper follows her to her lodging house and assumes she is a prostitute and strikes a deal with the Mama of the house for an exclusive relationship with her. Huh? It's one thing to find reside in a brothel, but another to let herself talk into being someone's mistress! I don't know, Rushed to the Altar just didn't do it for me ^_^; Hard to believe story, no chemistry and the ending at the end, well I just didn't believe in it.

7) Money, Honey by Susan Sey: B
Upcoming review.

8) The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg: B

9) Demon Blood by Meljean Brook: B++

10) Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber: B
Upcoming review. (Book obtained from Net Galley)

11) The Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger: B+
Upcoming review.

12) All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins: B
Upcoming review.

13) SOS: Convenient Husband Required by Liz Fielding: C

May Coleridge just found out that according to her grandfather's will, she must marry before she turns 30 in order to inherit the Coleridge house. Only little hick is that her birthday is in a month. If she loses the house, she'll lose her livelihood as she has turned Coleridge into a B & B. Adam Wavell has problem of his own as well. His unreliable sister has just left her daughter - a niece that he wasn't aware of - with him, evading the baby's father and a probably custody suit, to lay low. Her only advice is to contact May for help. The problem is, May and Adam had a thing when they were in high school... however, Adam was completely humiliated by May's grandfather action and her abandonment. When he finds May's circumstances, he offers his help for hers... secretly rejoicing the opportunity to take revenge and humiliate the Coleridge's name.

I read a review over at Dear Author and was intrigued. LOL, I know, I'm easy. It's pretty much a story about marriage of convenience, old high school flame and revenge. May's grandfather was a bastard and basically made life for May difficult and set out to ruin her life by not warning her about the terms of the will. Adam never knew why May broke up with him, he thought it was because of his social status and has been nursing a small grudge. Now that he has the opportunity to show everyone what he made of himself, he doesn't hesitate... and he realizes that he's never really forgotten May. She's the one who got away. So yes, pretty typical story. I don't know, this one didn't really do it for me either. I think May and Adam had chemistry, but the timeline was too short for them to truly reconnect. Add in the secondary storyline and I just thought it was developed too quickly. Also, I don't know how Adam found out the truth of what happened in the past. It just seemed out of nowhere. One final thing that bothered me was the ending. It felt a bit rushed, especially given what happened ^_^; So not the best category I've read.

14) Burning Up by Susan Andersen: B
Upcoming review. (Book obtained from Net Galley)

15) The Mage in Black by Jaye Wells: B-
Upcoming review.

16) Whisper of Sin (Burning Up) by Nalini Singh: B+
Upcoming review.

Books bought: +15
Books read: -15.25
TBR pile: -0.25

Sorry, running out of steam ^_^; Yeah, I have a negative balance LOL. Not by much, but LOL, it's negative so I'll take it. Since Whisper of Sin was a novella, one story out of four, I decided to count it as 0.25 LOL. I'm quite happy with the number and it was read steadily throughout the month. However, looking at it, it seems I have a lot of reviews in store for you guys LOL.


  1. I loved Max in Crazy for Love...his little neurotic self ;)

    I was surprised by Money Honey too.

    Fun wrap-up ;)

  2. Nath, I'm so glad you finally got a chance to do your mothly recap. I always look forward to them.

    Max from Crazy for Love sounds like a cutie pie and I might give this book a chance. The Rodale and Jane Feather books... definitely not for me.

    I look forward to reading your upcoming reviews for The Search, Last Days of Summer (yay), Burning Up and Whisper of Sin. You had a great reading month!

  3. After reading that first sentence I had this sudden urge to reach across the internet and check for fever. LOL

    A good reading month!

  4. I am very proud of your self control at the bookstores... but something tells me you'll do fine to make up for it next time. ;P

    Looks like Meljean's Demon Blood was your best book in July. GOod to know since it's on my list! I still have to get to Higgins' latest release, too.

  5. Mandi - LOL, he was definitively an interesting character. It's kind of rare to see the hero as the neurotic one LOL. Usually, it's the heroine that has all the quirks. I just wished it was expended on it a bit more.

    LOL, well I like anything that has to do with jewel heist... and while the hero in Money Honey is retired... he has the suaveness that I associate with jewel heist and cat burglar :P

    Hilcia - I know! I'm going to try to be a bit more on time with August LOL. Going to try ^_^;

    If you want Crazy for Love, I can send you my copy. I doubt that I'll read it again...

    LOL, hopefully, I'll get to review all the books I want to ^_^;

    Leslie - LOL, you guys always have that reaction when I don't buy books LOL. But it does happen from time to time :P and I always make up for it ^_^;

    Christine - LOL, thank you Christine :) I absolutely will :)

    Yep, very good news for you :D I hope you get to read it soon :) The latest Higgins was cute :D I think you're going to enjoy it :)

  6. No hauling Sunday?? Oh no, where has Nath been? Hehe. I know what you mean about wanting to buy but no goodies to catch your attention. The past two weeks I went to the bookstores about 5 times and each time empty-handed. So soo sad. lol.

    I bought Crazy for Love and couldn't get into it beyond a few pages.

    I can't wait for your thoughts on Burning up by SA. You did good on your reading and hey you're reviewing again!! hehe

    Hils -- don't buy Crazy for Love. I'll send you my copy. Did you read Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold first two books? If not, you may have them too. Help take them. :)

  7. Tabitha - LOL, I knew you guys would react that way!!

    I know, it's so sad and heart-breaking... at least, there's a few books coming out this week and the next one, phew!

    See, told yeah, you're my reading twin at the moment! Quick, what are you reading?!?

    Hopefully, I'll review more next week!

  8. Good thing you have such self-control otherwise this recap-post would never have seen the light of the month. :P Although *cough* I have no ground from which to argue since my comment is about one week late LOL I'm looking forward to seeing the MAJOR haul post for next week. Hmm, it actually "should" already be posted...

    Nath, I hope everything's okay and you're not buried under work (again).

    Looks like you had a good reading month. Love the -0,25. Everything counts, right? ^^

  9. Taja - They are some series of posts that I don't want to miss. The monthly reads is one of them :)

    and LOL, shhhh about my lateness for Hauling Sunday!

    and yes, everything counts :)