Sunday, August 19, 2012

Monthly Reads: June 2012

Eeeep, I missed the Week-End's Minis feature again ^_^; I guess I'm still not totally back into my blogging mojo... However, I'm trying! And eventually, I'll get back into it LOL. However, I at least had an excuse: bachelorette party :) It was my friend's sister's bachelorette party and so, we attended a burlesque dance class... It was definitively interesting and yep, I'll never look at some of my friends the same way again LOL.

I did not buy any books this week! Yay! I really need to start curbing my book-buying a bit. Sigh. But that's another story for another day. Since no new books = no Hauling Sunday post, I decided to catch up on things a bit and post my Monthly Reads post for June! So take a look at what I read in June! Post for July should follow shortly... Good news is I was so busy I didn't read much LOL.


1) A Night Like This by Julia Quinn: B-
Upcoming Review.


2) Bedding Lord Ned by Sally Mackenzie: C-

Eleanor Bowman has been in love with Lord Edward, second son of the Duke of Greycliffe, forever and is still carrying a torch for Ned, despite the fact that he married her best friend and is now a widower. But as the years go by, Ellie realizes that she wants a family of her own and as such, needs to put an end to her infatuation. This year, at the Valentine's house party hosted by the Duchess of Greycliffe, also known as the Duchess of Love due to her matchmaking skills, Ellie is determined to marry one of the eligible men the Duchess has invited for her. However, this is easier said than done, especially when Ned has decided it was time to marry again.

I was really looking forward to Bedding Lord Ned because the cover and the blurb had both caught my attention. However, I was quite disappointed because I feel the blurb was misleading. The way it was worded, I thought Ellie would actually be bold enough to go after Ned and seduce him. Instead, Ellie and Ned spent their time denying their feelings and attraction for each other and then, being jealous or trying to make the other jealous. At the end of the day, I simply did not see any chemistry or connection between Ellie and Ned and didn't care much about their romance - which is very unfortunate. I felt frustrated at Ellie, spending years pining after Ned and letting her life slipped through her fingers... And seriously, how dense is Ned?!? I mean, everyone knew of Ellie's feelings for Ned... Sigh.

There were some positive elements in Bedding Lord Ned and they included Ned's family and the cat LOL. The cat was a good way to infuse some humor :) I liked Ned's brothers and their friendship with Ellie. I also liked Ned's parents, although I found it a bit weird we saw more close-doors sex scenes from them than Ellie and Ned ^_^; In any case, I'm not ready to give up on Ms Mackenzie yet and will be digging through my TBR pile to find her books :)


3) Crazy People by Jennifer Crusie: B


4) Rescue Me by Rachel Gibson: C++


5) Chaos Burning by Lauren Dane: B


6) Larkspur Road by Jill Gregory: C


7) Jacked Up by Erin McCarthy: C


8) Never a Lawman by Jo Goodman: C+


9) No Tan Lines by Kate Angell: B+


10) More Than a Stranger by Erin Knightley: B-


11) Perfectly Matched by Heather Webber: B
Upcoming Review.


12) Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep: B-
Upcoming Review.


13) Haunted by Kelley Armstrong: B-

I'm actually not sure whether I've read Haunted or not ^_^; If I remember correctly, I picked up Haunted just after I finished reading Industrial Magic... And most probably, what happened, is that I skimmed through it - more interested in Eve and Kris relationship than the intrigue. This time around, I decided to pay attention to the storyline LOL.

So in Industrial Magic, in order to help Paige and Lucas, Eve broke some rules and owned the Fates. Well in Haunted, they have decided to call in their marker. Basically, they need someone unconventional like Eve to capture Nix, an evil spirit which has escaped from hell. This spirit has a past of haunting humans who have an evil core, pushing them through their threshold and turning them into serial killers. The Fates have sent many angels after the Nix, but she has eluded them all... which is another complication for Eve. In order to stop Nix, Eve will need an angel's sword which can only be yielded by angels. Thus, she is given the choice of becoming one... However, that will mean giving up the ghost dimension in which Eve and Kris are finally reconnecting.

While Haunted didn't turn out to be one of my favorite books in the Women of the Otherworld series, I have to say I'm glad I finally gave it another go :) I enjoyed getting to know Eve better and I have to say, I simply love Ms Armstrong's writing style :) There are many popular authors whose style I just don't click with, but Ms Armstrong is definitively not one of them :P Anyway, as a whole, Haunted was an interesting book. As I said, I liked getting to know Eve better. Is she my favorite heroine in this series? No, but she's different. She's a mother who is still trying to help and protect her daughter and so, her priorities are not the same. Her relationship with Kris was also very interesting. I wished we've seen more of them together, but I think that's the romance reader in me talking LOL. Still, no matter what or when, Kris had Eve's back and I admired that. It was also interesting to see Kris and Eve work through their issues, past and current.

The intrigue of Haunted was interesting and you had a nice amount of action in the storyline. I especially liked Eve meeting Dantalion, a high-ranked demon and also her uncle. However, I can't say I was engrossed in the plot and I think it's because some parts of it were long and draggy and there was a lot of things going on. Perhaps Ms Armstrong should have streamlined the story a bit. And then, you add in Eve's dilemma - whether she would become an angel or not. It was an interesting dilemma that Eve had to face, but at the same time, her reaction and the resolution were a bit obvious and not different than similar dilemmas in other series.

At the end of the day though, I still enjoyed Haunted. I also thought Ms Armstrong did a good job at integrating other characters of the series in the storyline and foreshadowing.


14) Slow Summer Kisses by Shannon Stacey: B

Slow Summer Kisses is a straight contemporary romance novella about Anna Frazier who's been laid-off her work in the financial industry. In order to save money, she's decided to stay at her grandparents' cabin while hunting for a new job. During her stay, she gets reacquainted  with Cameron Mayfield with whom she used to play with as a kid when she visited her grandparents. Cameron is now living permanently at the camp in New Hampshire, doing some handiwork and checking on cabins. He was headed for a great career, but working too hard... and when his father passed away from a heart attack, Cameron realized he needed to slow down and enjoy life. It's exactly what he's doing and he isn't very happy to have Anna come and disturb his peace - especially since she has not changed: always on the go with tons of lists and always talking. However, Cameron feels obligated to help her out and the more time they spend together, the more he wonders whether he should strangle or kiss her :P

I think Ms Stacey did a good job with this short story as it was a very enjoyable read :) It was a sweet romance with two interesting characters. I liked that Ms Stacey focused on them and their lives, what made them ticked and what made them happy. I very much enjoyed Anna and Cameron as characters, but also their interactions. As usual, Ms Stacey infuses a good amount of humor and her writing is as solid as ever. The story is low in conflict and that's exactly how it should given the number of pages. Finally, I liked the resolution to the conflict, I liked that Anna took a chance on their relationship :)

***

Balance
Books bought: + 20
Books read: -14
TBR pile: +6

Genres
Contemporary Romance – 6
Cosy Mystery  – 1
Historical Romance – 4
    --> ( Regency - 3/Western - 1)
Urban Fantasy – 1
Paranormal Romance – 1
YA – 1

***

Overall, not bad numbers, but I admit I'm a bit disappointed ^_^; I really feel like I should be reading more - I'm so behind on my reading objectives ^_^; But not much I can do about it. I guess I should remember that what matters is that I enjoy myself and what I'm reading :) And yep, a lot of work ahead of me when it comes to reviewing. That sucks a bit because I was doing so well for the first half of the year... Ah well, another thing I can't do much about.

Did you read any of the books in this list? Did we differ in opinion? :) How was your month of June? Is the summer and vacation time getting in the way of your reading?

6 comments:

  1. Interesting selection!!
    I rememberI wanted to read Lord Ned, but something put me off, and now that I read your mini, I don't think I would have enjoyed it anyway.

    Also, I can't wait for your review on a Night Like this!

    :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hah! I absolutely understand what turned you off about Lord Ned. He needed a good shot in the head (which he got, thankfully), and frankly so did Ellie. I loved the brothers, and the rest was kind of fun, with the mom, the cat and the red bloomers. It was a good, amusing read, but not a great read for me.

    And yes, Summer Kisses by Stacey was a light, fun summer read -- there were a lot of amusing moments there. But for me the development was sorely lacking though. *SPOILER* And Anna making decisions about a future before even speaking to Cameron to find out how he felt about her? What was that all about? It was like putting the cart before the horse. It didn't make sense to me.


    ReplyDelete
  3. PS: I still have Perfectly Matched in my TBR!! I have got to read that book. :) And June was a great reading month for you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Alex - LOL, it was :) Whatever new books I bought or whatever caught my fancy LOL. That's usually how I choose my books LOL.

    Hmmm, you're quite picky when it comes to historical romances, so in my opinion, you should skip Bedding Lord Ned, Alex.

    Hopefully, I'll get to my review of A Night Like This soon. Perhaps the next one. Hm, something to think about LOL.

    Hilcia - The cat and the bloomers was great! LOL and so were the rest of the family. It's just Ellie and Ned. To a certain extent, I can get Ned... But Ellie. I mean, seriously, she wasted so many years... Just wanted to shake her down.

    For Slow Summer Kisses, I actually liked that she took the decision before speaking with Cameron... Because it was her decision. It had to do with him, but ultimately, it was her decision. In any case, it's better than the "I'll still go away and realize how much I love you and miss you and come back" kind of ending we so often have.

    That's great then, you can read my review of Perfectly Matched :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Look at you go, it looks like you had a good reading month. I'm glad that you liked Slow Summer Kisses, I'm with you in that I was glad that she made the decision to tell Cameron after the decision was made. I hate the I'll still go away and realize how much I love you and then come back ending. Hate them.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Rowena - Yep, it was a pretty good month, but I think it could have been better :)

    I don't hate the "I'll still go, but come back because I love you," but it's too overused! No originality anymore, so I thought Anna's way was refreshing :)

    ReplyDelete