Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Monthly Reads: May 2012

Okay, can someone tell me how is it possible that it's already the end of June?!? June!! I seem to have lost track of time, once again, but in my defense, time just flies, seriously. Ames has already come for her visit and my sister is coming back home next Monday. Wowzer. The good news is that this year, the summer is not over till the Olympics Games! Yay!

Nowadays, end of the month means Monthly Reads post :) So here we go, let's take a look at what I read in May...


1) True Vision by Joyce Lamb: C-


2) Sweet Spot by Kate Angell: C+


3) Deadly Descendant by Jenna Black: C+


4) Revived by Cat Patrick: C


5) The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan: C

You know how with certain authors, you love everything they have written and with others, you only enjoy certain books, genres or series? Well unfortunately, Mr. Riordan falls into the second category for me. I love Mr. Riordan's Percy Jackson series, but The Kane Chronicles has been a miss. Actually, I was going to skip on The Serpent's Shadow until I found out it was the last book of the trilogy. Since it was the conclusion, I figured why not? Too bad it didn't really change my opinion of the series.

Basically, The Serpent's Shadow follows Mr. Riordan's recipe for the trilogy. If you have enjoyed the previous two books, The Red Pyramid and Throne of Fire, chances are you are going to enjoy this one too and find it is a satisfying end to the series. If you had issues - like me - well, you most probably will find the same in here. So what were my issues? First, I dislike how short the time frame of the book is. Carter and Sadie always have a couple of days only to save the world and it just feels too rushed. I also dislike how for most of the book, Carter and Sadie are apart, leading their own quest. It just increases the rush feeling and as a result, too much is happening. I also find the storylines to be too predictable - both when it comes to action and the "romance."  Finally, I feel it lacks a bit of setting up. That is surprising because Mr. Riordan did such a great job in the Percy Jackson series... but in the Kane Chronicles? The world building just seems shaky to me and it doesn't go down as smoothly as the Percy Jackson series. In any case, there is never enough time for Mr. Riordan to develop the setting since Carter and Sadie are always on the run.

However, I think the biggest flaw of this trilogy though is how similar the concept is to the Percy Jackson series: substitute Greek/Roman mythology for Egyption mythology and voila. Unfortunately, in comparison, I feel that Sadie and Carter don't stand out. I really feel like Mr. Riordan tried to replicate his success, the whole thing feels forced. It probably would have worked better if Mr. Riordan had retire Percy ^_^; In this case, you have two series by the same author which are essentially the same.

Still, there are some positive aspects to the book. Mr. Riordan's writing style is as enjoyable here as it is in the Percy Jackson series. As always, Mr. Riordan has done a great job at researching the mythology and bending it to his purposes :) I also like the alternating POVs we get from Carter and Sadie... And I have to admit, the possibility of a cross-over between the two series is very intriguing and promising :)


6) Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson: A-


7) All's Fair in Love and Chocolate by Laura Florand: B


8) The Proposal by Mary Balogh: C
Upcoming buddy review at Breezing Through.


9) Family Ties by Louise Behiel: C

I picked this book up because the cover caught my attention and also because I love romance in which the hero connects with young children. In that aspect, for me, Family Ties delivered :) One of the reviews I read mentioned that Family Ties was a quick read with nice characters and I agree with that statement. I liked the H/H, Grayson and Andie. They were very likable and patient with the children. I think Ms Behiel did a great job with portraying the children and there were some very cute scenes involving them LOL. I really would have been satisfied if Ms Behiel had really developed Grayson and Andie's relationships and the dynamics with the children. As it is, mid-way through the book, Family Ties takes an unexpected direction, exploring Grayson's past. It was actually hinted - quite heavily - throughout the first part of the book and that storyline was actually quite interesting. However, at the end of the book, it was all very anti-climatic. This could have been really emotional and I feel Ms Behiel failed to convey those emotions - part of it due to the delivery and the other, the story itself. Once Grayson realizes the truth, everything falls into place too quickly and Grayson comes to terms with it too easily.

I also think that the romance was a bit too quick for me and I wished one of the storyline involving Andie's oldest foster daughter had been more developed. As it is, I think it was a bit too obvious and knowing Andie was a child psychologist, I think she let it go too easily. Oh and the old neighbor's petition was really ridiculous!

Another issue I had and this one, very minor, is that Family Ties takes place in Canada. Then why are the distances in miles and the temperature, in Fahrenheit degrees? Was it to cater to the American and UK readership? Because as a Canadian, I think in kilometers and Celcius degrees. While I can approximately convert miles into km and vice versa, I have no idea about Fahrenheit and Celcius degrees. As I said, it's not major, but it'something that kind of bothered me.

If I'm not wrong, Family Ties was Ms Behiel's debut novel and overall, it was a nice and very readable book. However, when it comes to storyline and development, I think it can be improved and finessed.


10) The Rake by Mary Jo Putney: B+


11) Her Best Worst Mistake by Sarah Mayberry: A-


12) Lucky in Love by Jill Shalvis: B


13) If the Slipper Fits by Olivia Drake: C-


14) The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts: B
Upcoming Review.


15) The Chocolate Thief by Laura Florand: B
Upcoming Review.


16) Tangle of Need by Nalini Singh: B-
Upcoming buddy review at Breezing Through.

***

Balance
Books bought: + 11
Books read: -16
TBR pile: -5

Genres
Contemporary Romance – 7
Romantic Suspense – 1
Historical Romance – 3
Urban Fantasy – 1
Paranormal Romance – 1
YA – 3

***

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the month of May. I remember I was panicking at one point because the reading was going so slow. In the end, 16 books, I'll take it :) Grade-wise, I have a lot more Cs this year than in previous. I think this stems from me trying to be more objective. I used to feel really bad about giving my favorite authors grades below B, but really, it didn't reflect reality. Now it does :) In any case, there were definitively some books that stood out this month like the Sarah Mayberry and Morgan Matson :)

It does seem though I have some reviews to catch up on. Hopefully, I'll get to it very soon. In the meantime, I'm pretty happy with the month :) I think that as long as I hit the double-digits, I'm good. Although I'm about 10-11 books behind my goal this year ^_^; Oups.

What about you? How was your month of May?

5 comments:

  1. Excellent reading month, Nath!

    I loved May, even with the C and B- reads. I read one A- and four B+ reads and that's a great month for me.

    You know? I shell out plenty of C's during the year, I just don't review as many of those books as I probably should, though. I tend to review more books that fall in the B grade scale. Still, when I do my #'s, I always give more B's than C's during the year (that includes a lot of B- grades).

    Anyway, Rhange of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear was my top read for the month of May, but Sarah Mayberry was right there at the top too! That was such a great read. :) I look forward to your buddy reviews of both the Singh and the Balogh books. I gave up on this series by Riordan, I rather concentrate on the other one. :)

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  2. It looks like you had a mostly successful May!

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  3. Hilcia - Thanks Hils :)

    I have two As for May!! That's unheard from me LOL.

    See, I think there's a barrier that we don't want to cross btw Bs and Cs ^_^; If only teachers felt the same way while I was in school LOL.

    I loved the Sarah Mayberry so much :) It was such a great book and I finally picked it up because of you :)

    As for the Riordan, it's unfortunate right? It just doesn't have the same appeal as the Percy Jackson series :(

    Kailana - Yep, yep :) What about you?

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  4. Nice list :) My daughter stopped reading the Kane Chronicles after the first book.... She said it was a repeat of the Percy Jackson but not as good. And now she's just SOOO much more mature, she's into other stuff +_+

    I'd love to get Last Boyfriend, but I just refuse to pay 13 dollars for it. I'll wait until it's available in the library.

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  5. Well, I like the two books you gave As to are on my to-read list. :) Pretty good month number wise - getting that TBR pile down Nath!

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