Oh and I'm also getting used to the new blogger interface. Okay, it's not new, but I didn't do the switch back then and now, I no longer have a choice. Still don't love it, but I can live with it...
Okay, enough of ramblings :) Take a look of my reads for July and what I thought :) Now, only one month behind!
1) A Duchess to Remember by Christina Brooke: B
This is one of the novellas, part of the Women of the Otherworld series, that Ms Armstrong published with Subterranean Press. I missed its initial print release, but luckily, it's been released as an e-book. I have to say, that's when I'm really glad for e-books :) Since it's a novella, it goes without saying that the story is short. It features Eve Levine who's ready to put aside her angel duties for 6 months of vacation in the ghost world where her lover, Kris, is. However, the Fates have other plans and Eve ends up investigating some djinns rebellion and it leads her to some surprising findings.
I thought Angelic started off very strongly, but at the end of the day, it was simply too short. Perhaps if Ms Armstrong had only focused on the investigation, it would have been fine... but instead, Ms Armstrong added some personal developments and therefore, there was not enough time to make the mystery as suspenseful as possible. It also affected the resolution of the case which I thought was a bit too rushed. That being said, I wouldn't want Ms Armstrong to take out the personal developments LOL. I really liked the flashback of Kris and Bryce, it explains why Bryce disliked Savannah so much. And while I was not totally sold on Eve's work conflicts, it was interesting to see what Eve's afterlife was like :)
3) Starlight by Carrie Lofty: C-
4) Scandal Wears Satin by Loretta Chase: B-
5) About Last Night by Ruthie Knox: B+
6) Sweet Stuff by Donna Kauffman: B-
I came across this book when I was browsing the bookstore and the cover caught my attention, so I decided to give it a try :) It's the story of Riley Brown who used to be a food stylist in Chicago, but moved to Georgia with her enormous, clumsy and lovable dog, Brutus, after a particularly difficult break-up. She lives on her friends' boat and has re-invented herself as a house stager. It's during one of her jobs that she meets Quinn Brannigan, a best-seller author who's come to Sugarberry to finish his latest novel and is therefore looking for a quiet place. The two are instantly attracted to each other and their attraction only grows deeper as they get to know each other... However, Riley is still wary and is not ready to risk herself in a new relationship yet... What does Quinn have to do to prove to Riley he is worth the chance?
I know I have a few books by Ms Kauffman in my TBR pile, but Sweet Stuff was actually my first book by this author and I ended up enjoying it quite a bit :) I thought Riley and Quinn had great chemistry together and loved that getting into bed was not their first priority. Each had reasons not to commit immediately, although those reasons were stronger for one of them, and they both respected it. While I was happy that Riley and Quinn did not jump into bed right away - which is often one of my complaints in romance, I have to say that in Sweet Stuff, I felt it took the H/H too much time to get together ^_^; I know, I know, very ironic. It's simply that Sweet Stuff was very character- and romance-orientated, but at the same time, not much happened. It was a lot of wishy-washy attitudes from both parties. It would have been nice to see more lovey-dovey scenes between Riley and Quinn or some action or something. I don't mind low levels of conflicts in romance, but I think in that case, you need a certain balance between the attraction, courting and relationship and in this case, the balance was a bit off. Still, it was refreshing to have a contemporary romance where the H/H didn't get together just for a fling! That is the prevalent theme lately and I'm so over it. Plus, Riley and Quinn were nice and likable characters and I felt their personalities complemented each other :) Aside from the H/H, I loved Brutus!! LOL. He was such a great dog - not smart, but the kind that will always be there for you and that you want to hug when you feel down :) Would have loved to have more scenes of him in the book. I also liked the other secondary characters and thought the Cupcake Club was a lot of fun :) Made me hungry and wanted a cupcake :)
I enjoyed Sweet Stuff so much, I decided to go back and read the first book in the series. This book is about Leilani Trusdale, Lani for short, and Baxter Dunne who made an appearance in Sweet Stuff. Baxter is a renowned pastry chef, very popular and in demand at the moment. Not only does he have his own restaurants, but also has a TV show. Lani used to work for him in New York City and had a huge crush on him. However, she gave up her stellar career up and came back to Sugarberry after her mother passed away and her father had a heart attack. She's settled back home and opened her own cupcake shop and has never been happier. Of course, she misses her friends, but not the cut-throat and backstabbing environment of the kitchens... The last thing she needs is for Baxter to come to her neck of the woods to film his next series for his culinary TV show, but that's exactly what he does. Forcing the two to acknowledge their feelings and taking a decision.
Overall, I did like Sugar Rush. Once again, the H/H have good chemistry and I enjoyed their interactions and dynamics. And once again, it was nice that they worked through their issues and problems before becoming a couple. At the same time, it also felt like it took them forever to get together and I just started getting bored. The difference between Lani/Baxter and Riley/Quinn is that Lani and Baxter knew each other. They had a past and both have had feelings for one another for quite a long time. Baxter even came down to the South to film his TV show! They meant something to each other, a lot more than they wanted. As a result, it didn't make sense that it took them so long to sort things out. I simply wished there had been more scenes of the two together as a couple and I think it would have been more interesting to see them work out their relationship and overcome the obstacles than just waffling back and forth. I just wished Baxter had swept Lani off her feet, that there was a bit more passion between the two and they stopped being so logical.
Otherwise, Sugar Rush wasn't a bad book... but because I read it right after Sweet Stuff, I couldn't help comparing the two and I definitively enjoyed Sweet Stuff more. It was nice to see how the Cupcake Club started and to meet the secondary characters. I do wish we'd have seen more of Charlotte and Carlo, they are an interesting couple.
8) Off the Menu by Stacey Ballis: B`
Books bought: + 5
Books read: -8
TBR pile: -3
Contemporary Romance – 3
Women's Fiction/Chick-Lit – 1
Historical Romance – 3
Urban Fantasy – 1
July was a slow month, both reading-wise and book-buying-wise, but it makes sense since I was on vacation. I really thought I would have had more time to read, but alas. LOL, I underestimate Europe :) Still, at the end of the day, I'm happy with the numbers. It's not half-bad and I did at least manage to read some.
What about you? Do you manage to read when you're on a trip overseas?