Saturday, April 13, 2013

Monthly Reads - January 2013

Wow, I can't believe we're in April already!! How did this happen?! I'm three Monthly Reads posts behind! My quest to catch up on everything just seems harder and harder to accomplish ^_^; Hopefully, with curling coming to an end, I'll have a more free time to read and blog... However, there's no way I'm going to be able to catch up if I don't cut some corners... In my last monthly reads post, I said I wanted to change the format of this post a little, to skip the summary of the books. I failed miserably last month, but let see if I can do it this time around ^_^;

So here is how I started 2013 reading-wise:


1) Your Wicked Heart by Meredith Duran: D

Amanda Thomas is overseas, working as a secretary. However, she leaves her employment to elope, but ends up jilted and without a penny to return to England. Then, she discovers that her fiancé is not who he said he was. The hero is Viscount Ripton who's looking for his cousin. He thinks Amanda is a thief and intends to keep an eye on her... a close eye.

Your Wicked Heart was a novella to introduce Ms Duran's new series. I'm not a huge fan of Ms Duran's books as they are usually misses for me ^_^; I like that she writes grittier historical romances, even though its not something I seem to be clicking with. I know, I know, I'm weird LOL. In any case, Your Wicked Heart just didn't work for me and honestly, I can't tell whether it was the story itself or me. The premise wasn't bad; however, I just didn't buy that the hero fell in love with the heroine... and so fast. I mean, he suspects her to be a thief! And just because they're in close quarters, he falls in love with her? I don't know, I just didn't buy it. Also, Your Wicked Heart is supposed to be a prequel novella, but I didn't really see how it introduced Ms Duran's new series... unless one of the characters is going to be the cousin. One last note, I was surprised how this novella was more typical historical romance than most of Ms Duran's works. Not a bad thing, but still a surprise.


2) Home for Christmas by Nora Roberts: C

Home for Christmas is an oldie by Ms Roberts which has been re-released in print in The Gift and this year, electronically in Holiday Wishes. I've passed over that book many times, but this year, I was in the mood for some holiday cheer and decided to give it a go.

In Home for Christmas, our hero is Jason Law, a prize-winning reporter, who returns home in New Hampshire. Despite his success, there's something nagging at Jason and perhaps going back to his hometown which he left as soon as he could might settle it. Plus, he needs a place to write his novel. The idea of seeing Faith Kirkpatrick, his high school sweetheart and the woman who didn't wait for him, is not far on his mind either... Except that he discovers the reason why Faith did not wait for him and it changes everything.

Home for Christmas was written in 1986, so for sure, it felt a bit dated. But otherwise, the story was okay.  Jason's attitude was a bit jerk-ish at first, wanting to show off his success to Faith, but given the circumstances, it was a bit understandable. Actually, I find the story between Jason and Faith quite sad, because the two were obviously in love, but the lack of communication made it they missed their chance to be together. I mean, you probably have guessed the reason why Faith did not wait for Jason. Anyway, Home for Christmas wasn't a wowzer, but wasn't bad either. As usual, a solid story if you don't mind the fact that it's dated.


3) All I Want for Christmas by Nora Roberts: B-

All I Want for Christmas is the other entry in The Gift and Holiday Wishes. This one features two mischievous twins whose wishes for Christmas is a mother... and they have the perfect candidate in mind: their cousin's teacher, Nell Davis. Nell is a music teacher and a native of New York City who has decided to give small town's life a chance. Mac Taylor, Zach and Zeke's father, is attracted by this sophisticated woman, but he's been burned once... and is not sure he wants to give love another go.

So All I Want for Christmas was my favorite story of the two and needless to say, it's in part due to the twins who were just so cute :)  However, Ms Roberts did a great job at not letting the kids take over the story, so we got to see Nell and Mac. I liked the couple as they were opposites attract. Nell was sophisticated, fun and vibrant. I would have loved to have her as a music teacher! :) On the other hand, Mac was rugged and quiet :P I also quite liked the role reversal where Mac was the single parent worried about his children. My only complaint was the romance could have used a bit more development, more communication, more togetherness. Still, an enjoyable story :)


4) Cruisin' by Sarah Mlynowski: C-

Cruisin' is a short YA story - emphasis on short - about two 17 years old girls being on a cruise. One girl is determined to lose her virginity... and rumors have it that there are vampires on the boat.

I wanted to read this short story because I've enjoyed Ms Mlynowski's previous work. Overall Cruisin' was not bad, but not great either. I just felt nothing much happened, as the whole story was about Kristin figuring out how to catch the attention of the guy she was seemingly attracted to. There was nice twist at the end, something I did not see coming so that was a nice surprise. If you want to read something short, this fits the bill nicely.


5) A Little Consequence by Amy Knupp: C-

Selena Jarboe needs distance from her family, especially since her mother has just disinherited her. Luckily, her father has willed her their beach house and that's where she takes refuge. To take her mind off things, she decides to do something she's never done: a one-night stand. Only, she gets pregnant. So she gathers her courage and informs the father, even though she doesn't expect anything from him. The last thing Evan Drake expects is to become a father and he does not react well. However, after the shock, he wants in in his child's life. Evan and his twin sister grew up without a father and it's not something he wants for his child. From there, Evan and Selena's relationship grows... but having lost her father to a dangerous job, Selena doesn't know how to deal with Evan's career as a firefighter and the dangers he faces every day.

I wanted something short and had read Ms Knupp, so I picked up A Little Consequence. Okay, okay, I was also in the mood to read about a sexy firefighter. Unfortunately, the story was more focused on Seletna than Evan... which turned out to be really unfortunate, since Selena got on my nerve for most of the story ^_^; I get that Selena comes from a privileged background, but to be so out of sort after she's been cut off. It's not that she was weak, but she was too dependent and didn't have much of a backbone. She's lucky she met the people she did, because otherwise, I don't know what would have become with her. And then, there's the fact that instead of facing issues, she runs away... and she seems scared of living. I wanted her to stand her ground, to face things, to grow, but it never seemed to really happened. On the other hand, I quite liked Evan. Sure, his reaction to the news wasn't ideal, but it felt realistic... and he sure did step it up afterwards. Unfortunately, as much as I liked him, he wasn't enough to save the book for me. Especially since I wasn't sure about the romance and their chemistry ^_^; So definitively not the best book by Ms Knupp :(


6) Wish by Kelly Hunter: B

In Wish, our heroine, Billie Temple, is a single mom who is moving away from Sydney for her new job as a pub manager in the hopes of providing a better and safer life for her 10 years old son, Cal. The only accommodation available is a rustic little house. When Adam Kincaid, the landlord, meets Billie and her son, he's not happy... because he has lost a wife and a son. However, instead of being assailed with painful memories, Adam starts living again.

I enjoy Ms Hunter's books and I was curious about Wish because it seems such a departure from her usual category romance books - no exotic locations, no intrigues, no businessmen/women. Just straight contemporary romance about two regular persons meeting and falling in love in rural Australia... And you know what? Of course, Ms Hunter pulls it off! :) I really enjoyed the story, the characters and the romance. Both Billie and Adam have their baggage and they deal with it, not letting it come in between them. I enjoyed how their relationship developed slowly. They were good, honest, hard-working people that you couldn't help but root for :) The secondary characters were also very likable and there was a small mystery aspect that was quite surprising. All in all, solid book.


7) A Breath of Scandal by Elizabeth Essex: B-
Upcoming Review.


8) Chance of a Lifetime by Jodi Thomas: B


9) The Trouble with Magic by Madelyn Alt: C-


10) Moonlight Masquerade by Jude Deveraux: DNF

It's been a while since I last read a novel by Ms Deveraux, so when I stumbled across Moonlight Masquerade, I thought "Why not?" Especially since it was a contemporary romance and the blurb made it sounded so cute. As you can see from the grade, it wasn't really my best decision. Here were my thoughts after I decided to DNF Moonlight Masquerade:

Almost immediately, everything about the book got on my nerve or rubbed me wrong. The whole "summer romance" and the heroine not being the type of woman someone married - what a load of BS. I totally understand why she was pissed, but afterwards, to steal a heirloom?!? That was ridiculous and very dumb, especially considering that almost immediately, she got scared and kept looking over her shoulder. Also, I have to wonder, what did she hope to accomplish really? Then, needing a place to hide and a job. If you get a job, don't you need to feel paperwork in which case, you're so easy to be located?!? Then, the almost getting run over by the hero. Okay, the hero was at fault because apparently, he was checking out a caseload while driving... but the heroine wasn't totally innocent either. It's dangerous to walk on the side of the road, especially a curve!!

So yes, I wasn't liking the heroine very much. I did like the internal conflict of the hero... the fact that he was constantly being compared to his cousin, that he was miserable in his job and so on. But I stopped reading the book when he rushed to the dealership to exchange his car so it wouldn't remind the heroine - his new personal assistant - that he almost ran her over because he enjoyed the food she cooked him. Ugh. Once again, can I say, ridiculous?!?

I tried reading the last couple of chapters to see if the book got better, but nope, it didn't seem to be. I mean, the guy who dumped her came back to apologize and win her back... so what do you get? A mini love triangle. That was the end of this book for me.


11)The One That Got Away by Kelly Hunter: A-


12) Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: B-
Upcoming Review.


13) Double Crossed by Ally Carter: B+

***

Balance
Books bought: +1
Books read: -13
TBR pile: -12


Genres
Category Romance - 2
           --> (Contemporary - 2)
Contemporary Romance - 5
Historical Romance - 2
        --> (Regency - 2)
Cosy Mystery - 1
Young Adult - 2
Fiction - 1

***

The start of 2013 was a rough one for me in every aspect, mainly because my family and me were in Germany for my aunt's funerals :( The only bright light was that we were together and got spend time together... but otherwise, rough start. No internet and nothing to do. I tried reading, but I simply wasn't in the mood and that explains why there are so many short reads at the beginning of the month and perhaps, the low grades as well ^_^; Then once I came home, it was getting back into a routine, starting a new job and so on. And then, you add in the fact that there weren't that many new releases I was looking forward to in January and well, tough month.

Anyway, given the circumstances, I have to say I'm quite surprised at the number of reads and you know what? I'll take it :)

What about you? Good or rough start to 2013?

3 comments:

  1. Hello Nath!
    I'm not a fan of mrs Duran either, so don't feel bad!

    As for the book by Kelly Hunter, it does seem interesting..I might get it in the future!
    ;)

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  2. Nath, the beginning of this year has been rough all around, but I think your January wasn't so bad reading-wise. You did good, considering. A lot of C's though.

    I have the NR Christmas collection of two and have enjoyed it in the past. It's a nice pleasant read, but as you like to say, not a wowser. Jude Deveraux was an automatic buy for me at one point in my life, but hasn't been for years! I can't remember the last time I purchased a book by her. Sorry this was a DNF for you... but I understand what you mean.:(

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sonia - Hi Sonia!! :) Yay! I admire her for her writing, but I just don't click with her. The thing though on blogland is you often hear more about the fans than the non-fans.

    Wish was a good book, you should give it a try :)

    Hilcia - Yeah, I'm actually pretty happy. Especially considering how my year is going. Shouldn't complain ^_^;

    Sad no when auto-buys authors become DNF :(

    ReplyDelete