Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Monthly Reads: October 2010

I'm trying to get back into a blogging rhythm... hence, trying to get my monthly reads post on time... or almost LOL. It's hard though, because I'm still having troubles with my computer and basically, I don't feel like coming home and battling it out. As a result, I haven't been using it as much as I used to and so am spending less time online after work. On the good side though, I'm reading more :P

Enough though! I feel like lately, I've been whining and complaining a lot and I'm tired of it ^_^; So let's talk books :) October was a busy month for me. Lots of things happening and coming up unexpectedly. It wasn't all bad - got to go to NJ and meet Hilcia and Christine! - but it definitively was time-consuming. Quite frankly, I've almost thrown in the towel for October... I mean, half-way in the month, I've only read 4 books ^_^; Luckily for me, my reading mojo definitively picked up and I ended up with a decent month after all :)

Here it is, my reads for October:

1) A Hellion in Her Bed by Sabrina Jeffries: B
Upcoming review.

2) Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch: A-
Upcoming buddy review with Ames at Breezing Through.

3) Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis: B

There are a lot of reviews floating around blogland (Holly and Leslie) for Simply Irresistible and since I don't really have anything new to add, I'll put my thoughts here.

Maddie Moore is at a cross-road in her life. With no job and no boyfriend, she makes her way to Lucky Harbor, a little coastal town in which her mother has left to her and her two half-sisters an inn. While her two sisters, perfect Tara and wild-child Chloe, want to sell the inn, Maddie sees it as a new beginning. Before taking any final decisions, Maddie is able to convince her sisters to make some renovations and thus turns to Jax Cullen, master carpenter and mayor...

My opinion of Simply Irresistible very much mirror Holly's, but I think I liked it a little bit less. Jax was a great hero in my opinion and he definitively made the book for me. He was everything a woman could wish for: nice, gentle, thoughtful, successful, etc. The list goes on and on. However, it doesn't mean he doesn't have issues. He does, but he deals with them as best as he can. All I can say is I wish I could meet a mean like him LOL. In comparison, I think that Maddie pales a little bit and ends up being only okay. I liked her trying to be more affirmative and stand for herself, she needs it. However, at times, I thought she didn't try hard enough. Also, there were scenes where I felt it was too much "me, me, me." I guess I felt the relationship was uneven. Jax did a lot of giving and understanding and it was reciprocated on the same level. It bothered me a little, because you have this great guy who gets you and is giving you time before making a move, because he wants a relationship with you... and every time she discovered something about him, she'd always react but too defensively, too much on the attack or blaming him.

Still, overall, I think the book was cute and enjoyable. The dynamic between the sisters was interesting. I'm not saying I enjoyed it all, because there are definitively issues between the three of them and they're not very close... especially Maddie. It seems she has spent less time with her mother and sisters than Tara or Chloe. I do admit I'm a bit tired of the siblings coming together under some circumstances theme (and this one strongly reminds me of Montana Sky by Nora Roberts and the Sisters trilogy by Leanne Banks) and so far, I haven't warmed up much to Tara and Chloe yet. Still, I'm going to keep an eye open for the next two books... especially since Ford and Sawyer seem to be swooning-worthy hero material :P

4) The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan: B/B+
Upcoming buddy review with Isabel at Breezing Through.

5) Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie: B
Upcoming review

6) Mad About This Duke by Elizabeth Boyle: B

While Mad About This Duke is part of the Bachelors Chronicles series, it's also the 2nd book in the sub-trilogy, Marchionesses Standon (or something like that LOL). Mad About This Duke picks up right after How I Met my Countess, where Lady Elinor Standon hires the service of James Tremont, the Duke of Parkerton, whom she mistakes as a solicitor (due to his ill-fitted jacket). In order to protect her younger sister from a lecherous marriage who will only benefit their stepfather, Elinor has to marry well and she's decided the only way to go is to marry a duke. Thus, she charges James to find out as much as possible from the list of candidates which she has narrowed down to two names.

The Tremont family has been plagued with madness, but so far, James seems to have escaped the ill-fate. He is everything a duke should be - haughty and respectable. Initially, James wants to come clean to Elinor and reveal his identity and thus, not being able to undertake the job she has given him... However, he is outraged to find out that she has not retained him as a candidate and so the deception continues.

Another cute book. I enjoyed Mad About This Duke better than How I Met my Countess and I think it's one of Ms Boyle's best effort in recent releases. I think it's because the book was fun - the deceptions, some situations... and the interactions between the Tremont brothers. James' younger brother, Mad Jack - the hero in This Rake of Mine - is the one who was usually involved in crazy situations and it's nice to see the reversal of role :P James wondering if that's what Jack felt... and everyone worrying that James has finally gone mad LOL.

Character-wise, I'm not sure I got to know the real Elinor. I felt it was quite superficial... I mean, she hopes for a husband that will be a better man than her previous one. What she's looking for is safety, not necessarily love and it all makes sense given her situation. However, is that all there is to Elinor? The whole revelation to the deception was okay, but I felt the ending was very rushed. I wished there's been a bit more closing between Elinor and James. I have to admit though, what really surprised me in this book was the ages of the H/H. Elinor is in her early thirties and James, forties. These are not ages that I'm used to for characters and it did bother me a little - especially since James has a daughter old enough to get married. It's simply an age-category I don't tend to read. Obviously, in our times, it's not old... but in books and in romances, it sometimes feels like it.

Still, like I said, it was cute and fun... but I think it had the potential to be more.

7) Healer's Choice by Jory Strong: C-

I picked this up after reading Tori's review over at Smexy Books. I was intrigued by the storyline and I found that I have a weakness for shapeshifters books :P

Rebekka is a healer and she's made a choice of helping the shapeshifters who work in the Red Zone with her gift. Aryck is a jaguar shifter (IIRC) and his clan's enforcer. He's been sent to retrieve Rebekka in order to save the lives of 5 little cubs. As soon as Aryck meets Rebekka, he realizes that she is his mate; however, the human side of him balked at the associate, etc, etc, etc.

Sorry for the poor synopsis. Perhaps the one from the back of the book would be better... it's just hard for me to explain the complex part of the story. It has a lot to do with power struggles and Rebekka's gift evolving and her identity.  I didn't catch everything and it's mainly my fault at jumping into the middle of the series. Healer's Choice is the third book in the Ghostland series and it is definitively a series. It seems that the book picks up right after the events of the previous book and those events definitively impact the story of this book. Also, another thing that didn't help is that Healer's Choice is a bit of a departure of my usual reading style. Ms Strong's style is a lot more raw and crude than what I'm used to (yes, yes, I'm quite the vanilla romance reader LOL)... This is not a bad thing, but it doesn't suit me. So quite frankly, it was a poor pick by me ^_^;

All in all, there were parts that I did enjoy. I liked Rebekka's strength and the friendship she had with some of the characters and the loyalty she inspired. The plot was actually quite complex and there are some elements I didn't understand, but that's my fault for picking up a book in the middle of the series. I have to say I found the romance a bit lacking. Basically, Aryck meets Rebekka and he's immediately attracted to her. He tries to fight it, because she's not a shapeshifter. I thought the mate destiny was a too easy way to bring the H/H together. I wished they had more connection, chemistry with each other aside from lust.

Really, the book isn't bad or badly written... it simply didn't suit me. And huh, I though that Jory Strong was another pen name for Colleen Gleason which is one of the main reason I've picked up this book,  but I just realized while writing this mini-review that I'm completely wrong ^_^; Oups!!

8) Fatal Shadows by Josh Lanyon: B
9) A Dangerous Thing by Josh Lanyon: B
10) The Hell You Say by Josh Lanyon: B
11) Death of a Pirate King by Josh Lanyon: B-

Okay, no recap or mini-review for each book. I mean, you can find plenty of reviews in blogland for Mr Lanyon's books and they'll probably be better than what I'm going to write. Instead, here are my impressions of the four books together. I know I still haven't read the last book and so I'm not saying series...

Personally, I think Josh Lanyon and Adrien English series hype got to me. I've seen so many good reviews and good comments for the author and his books - and from some of my best blogger pals (Ames, Hils and Li)  that I really, really, really wanted to love Mr Lanyon's writing and the Adrien English series... and it just didn't happen.

Adrien was an interesting protagonist and I like reading from his POV. He was quite an honest character and it seems to me, comfortable with who he was... and that is important. What I like the most about this series is the realistic feel to Adrien's relationships - his lovers, but also his family and entourage. I like that Adrien's relationships with his lovers are not "romanticized." As a romance reader, I'm not really happy that Adrien hooked up with other guys than Jake or that he can accept that Jake is seeing other people. However, this is probably closer to reality and less idealized and I appreciate that. Adrien and Jake relationship is definitively not an easy one, but they are navigating it. I definitively saw things from a different perspective because of the way Mr Lanyon presented it. Because I craved reading about Adrien's relationships, I didn't pay much attention to the mystery part and the sleuthing and as a result, felt the books were dragging at times. Knowing some of the spoilers definitively did not help in this case either.

It's really unfortunate that I did not love this series as much as everyone else seems to do; however, I'm really glad I finally read some of Mr Lanyon's books :) And I'm definitively not giving up on him :)

12) Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt: B

Hmmm, this is a book I hesitated picking up. I've read some of Ms Hoyt's books and they just don't seem to work for me ^_^; I finally did pick up Wicked Intentions as it got great reviews (Leslie and Holly), but once again...

Temperance Dews is a widow who helps her younger brother running the orphanage their father has founded in St. Giles, not the best part of London. However, their previous patron has recently died and thus, the orphanage is in dire need of a new patronage if they want to maintain it.

Lord Caire - Lazarus Huntington - is obsessed with the murder of his mistress two months ago and is hunting for her murderer. However, he is unfamiliar and not welcomed in St. Giles and thus needs a guide. For some reasons, he reaches out to Temperance who strikes a bargain with him: she will serve as a guide if he'll introduce her to potential new patrons for the orphanage.

Okay, so let's put it out there right away: I don't think I was really in the mood to read this book when I picked it up and as a result, I probably didn't enjoy as much as I would have. Now, the book itself. Everything about Wicked Intentions was fine: the plot, the characters, the writing. I can see why so many readers enjoyed this book and I applaud Ms Hoyt for writing these characters, especially Temperance. It makes them flawed, but deep and real. However, I just didn't connect with them; I didn't feel it. Sometimes, you just don't click with an author and that's what happening with Ms Hoyt and me.

13) Trust Me on This by Jennifer Crusie: B-

14) Play of Passion by Nalini Singh: B+
Upcoming review.

15) Somewhere Along the Way by Jodi Thomas: A-
Upcoming review.

Books bought: +32
Books read: -15
TBR pile: +17

Phew, okay, I'm done!! LOL, you can see as the post gets longer, the mini-reviews get shorter ^_^; It's just getting late, but I think I shared my thoughts well in this post. I have a lot of reviews planned and I hope I'll be able to get to them, because my list is getting quite long ^_^; I'm really happy with the number of books read, because as I said earlier, it was really bleak in the beginning of the month. I'm also happy with the quality of the books. I was pleasantly surprised by a book or two while others met my expectations :P As for the number of books bought, well what can I say? I'm a lost cause LOL. That number does not reflect the books I got from Hils, so the number going towards my TBR pile is actually even bigger... but in my defense, if I haven't gone to NJ, I wouldn't have bought as many books either :P I guess it balances out, right? Or at least, it does in my twisted mind :)

So that's it for October! Woohoo :)


  1. Sometimes, you just don't click with an author and that's what happening with Ms Hoyt and me.

    Awww. this makes me sad. But there are so many awesome books out there, you should read what you like.

  2. Sorry to hear about your computer problems. Is there somewhere you can take it in?

    You did great considering you were at 4 books mid-month.

    I was really hoping you'd like the Hoyt. But I get the not clicking with an author. I've done the same, everyone loves a certain author & I just don't get it. *shrugs* Gotta give ya props for trying. :)

    Two in the A range - I'm getting the Thomas, not sure about Gini Koch, I'll wait on the buddy review. :D

  3. I'm sorry you didn't love the Josh Lanyon books - I was completely hooked myself!

    That is a rather impressive number of books read though - and books bought too ;-)

    I have seen the Gini Koch book around and have been wondering - like Leslie, I'll wait on your review...


  4. Sometimes, you just don't click with an author and that's what happening with Ms Hoyt and me.

    I love Ms. Hoyt, but you know what? This happens to all of us with different authors. Understandable.

    You know I was hooked on the Lanyon books and I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the AE mysteries as much, but I'm glad you did enjoy them some aspects and that you're not giving up.

    And hey... your reading picked up a lot after the slow beginning to your month. Loved your book shopping, Nath. :D

  5. Wow Nath you read a lot of books!!!

    I'm looking forward to picking up Simply Irresitable!

    I've heard good things about Mr. Lanyon's books. I"m not sure I'm ready for m/m yet but I might read one of his as part of my "Unatural Selections" feature....since I've heard such great things. Even though you didn't LOVE them I'd say B's are a good grade!!!

    I'm interested in reading Wicked Intentions too. I've never read anything by Hoyt. Sorry you didn't connect with the characters. I've had that happen recently too and it's a bummer!

  6. I get you about Ms. Hoyt, I've read two of her books, and just could not read another.

    Josh Lanyon is one of my favorites. The love story of Adrien and Jake was my first where the protagonists didn't have a HEA right away. It sort of threw me for a bit, but was so much happier when they got it in the last book. I was soooo rooting for them.

  7. I'm so impressed with how you managed to still read 15 books after only having read 4 at the mid month mark.

    I keep hearing really great feedback on Gini Koch's Alien book. Everyone seems to really like it.

    Seeing you and Hilcia on your weekend visit to NJ was one of my highlights of the month, too! ;) xo

  8. Great reading month, Nath!

    Sorry you didn't click with the Adrien English series, but it happens. :-)

    I'm currently reading Simply Irresistible, so I averted my eyes from that review. ;-)

    That's so awesome that you guys were able to get together! *jealous*

  9. I'll read anything you write - and hey, we all have stuff we post that we are sure sounds whiny or silly but we genuinely care about what is happening in each others lives. I'm sorry your computer is giving you the gears but yay for more reading. I'm going to come back to read the reviews -I'm heading to bed and just wanted to pop in and see what you were up to.


  10. I do enjoy Hoyt's voice very much Nath. But strangely, I was just trying to think back on this one--contemplating doing a review--and I couldn't call it to mind clearly. Goes to mood I think.

    Liking your list of reads--And love that little +/- thing with the TBR, LOL.

  11. Lori - True, true, Lori. However, sometimes, when you see everyone enjoying an author so much, you want to as well... and so you keep trying, even knowing that the chances are slim :(

    Leslie - No, not really. However, surprisingly, it seems the computer is doing better. Hmmm. If it's really the case, good for me :)

    I know! I'm really happy how I picked it up LOL.

    Yeah, I really want to like the Hoyt and it's just not doing it for me :( Too bad I guess.

    I really enjoyed the Thomas. You were harsher than me on the first book, Welcome to Harmony, but I hope you're going to like Somewhere Along the Way.

    as for the Gini Koch, well just to let you know how much we enjoyed it, Ames wants to do a mini-crusade or something along the lines. We just haven't had time yet to put it together.

    Li - I really think it's the hype... however, I'm going to read other of his work for sure :P

    LOL, books bought especially, right? ^_^;

    I think the Gini Koch is something you would enjoy, Li :) But yeah, wait on the review... and I think we're doing a giveaway as well.

    Hilcia - Yep, I know. I just need to stop trying sometimes ^_^; I mean, when do you give up? or learn to give up, LOL :P

    It's not that I didn't enjoy them, but I just wasn't as hooked as everyone. At least, I finally read him! :)

    LOL, now you've seen me shopping :P You can probably understand how I ended up with so many books bought :P

    Mollie - Thanks Mollie :) I'm glad it picked up.

    I hope you enjoy the Jill Shalvis :)

    Oh, B is definitively a good grade :) They were enjoyable, just I was expecting more out of them I guess.

    It sure is a bummer :(

    Mariana - I'm glad to know I'm not the only one, Mariana :P Thanks.

    LOL, yes. I think that what they went through made their relationship so much more meaningful :)

    Christine - I know :) Well it sure did pick up at the end of the month and the 4 Josh Lanyons were quick reads, so that helped :)

    The book is great :) Very fun.

    Thanks Christine :) me too! Can't wait to make my way down to you again soon :)

    Renee - LOL, how are you liking Simply Irresistible?

    Yes :) But you're close to many bloggers too, so you can get together with them as well :)

    Cindy - Awww, thanks Cindy :) Me too by the way, I'll read anything you write ;)

    Jennifer B. - How are you doing? It's been a while!! ;)

    It seems the action was subdued to me in this Hoyt... like not a lot happened, right?

    and LOL, unfortunately, the + side has a tendency to win :P

  12. You really caught up on your reading, going from 4 to 15. Lol. And same goes for the book purchases. Wow, 32!! That's some serious buying.

    I totally relate to not clicking with an author. After several tries and there's no connection you just have to trust your instincts. Can't like every author out there! It doesn't make you an oddball for not enjoying what others have, simply we have different tastes.

  13. Shocking that I was harsher. LOL I think with Somewhere Along the Way I won't go into it with expectations of lots of romance. That should help plus I liked Reagan in the 1st book.

    Ames wants to go crusading? Must be a really good one. I'm willing to try it based on that alone. :)

  14. Tabitha - LOL, I know ^_^; But I blame it on my trip to the States... i always go a bit crazy, because books are a bit cheaper ^_^;

    I know I know, but sometimes, it's hard. At least for me, because I don't want to be left out...

    Leslie - LOL. Yeah, it should help. I thought Somewhere Along the Way was just so sweet :)

    and yes, a crusade :P