Thursday, September 12, 2013

Monthly Reads - April 2013

Hey everyone! How have you been? Sigh, sorry for the lack of posts and reviews! I just don't know where time goes ^_^; It feels like I've been running the whole week: doctor appointment, garage appointment, haircut appointment... Even at work, doing this and that, catching up on things. Bleh... and of course, I cut myself again :( Same thumb, but not the nail this time... so I guess that's something ^_^;

Anyway, I'm so far behind in reviews and so on, but I'm still trying to catch up :) And that's why you get my April recap... in September! Enjoy! :P


1) The Wanderer by Robyn Carr: B


2) The Rising by Kelley Armstrong: B+


3) What She Wants by Sheila Roberts: B-

The blurb of this book caught my attention because it mentions a bunch of guys reading romance novels and their poker night transforming into a bookclub night... LOL, you have to agree it's a little bit intriguing right? :) And the blurb is pretty close to the real story. Our hero, Johnathan Templar, is the resident geek squad of Icicle Falls. He's been in love with Lissa Castle forever, but she never noticed him. Their high school reunion is coming up soon and Johnathan believes it to be his last chance to make an impression... but how? He then stumbles over his sister's romance novels... Why do women read them? The next thing Johnathan knows, he's devouring them one after another and getting ideas. When his poker buddies find the books, they laugh at him at first... but soon, they too need advice as Adam just got kicked out by his wife who thought he took her for granted and Kyle cannot make an impression on the lady of his choice.

I thought What She Wants was a cute book. I mean, it has men reading romance novels for advice and ideas LOL. Personally, I do not know to what extent romance novels could help a guy in real life, but it's still nice to imagine :) What made this book for me was Johnathan. He was such a nice guy and the efforts he put in to catch Lissa's attention was adorable. Also I like that Ms Roberts didn't turn Johnathan into a comedic cliché. What I mean is that he didn't read one novel, get a good idea and immediately tried it out and have it failed on him. Instead, it was more like a study and a long progress. In any case, it was just cute and Lissa is a really lucky gal... Not sure she totally deserves him though. I also liked Adam's storyline because it showed him not to take his wife for granted. I think it's a lesson that everyone has to learn in a marriage. I liked that she had the guts to kick him out, to make him understand where their marriage was heading. Out of the three story, Kyle was the least interesting... I think it's because to a certain extent, he was so superficial, only caring about looks. He overlooked Mindy who was interested in him because she wasn't as hot as his crush, although she was smarter and nicer.

In any case, a cute book... although I think it's more fiction (women's fiction even though it's guys ^_^;) than contemporary romance as there aren't that many interaction between Johnathan and Lissa. It's more focused on Johnathan and his evolution than the romance itself.


4) Lush by Lauren Dane: B

Mary Whaley is a successful and busy caterer who also run a supper club. Through her celebrity friends, she meets Damien Hurley who is part of a really popular band that he started with his brothers out of high school. The two meet, are attracted to each other and try to figure out how to make this relationship work.

Lush was a pretty good book. I really enjoyed Mary and Damien's relationship and liked how their romance evolved, how they took it "slow" and how Damien gave Mary her space and proved himself to be a good bet. I liked that the romance wasn't about the age difference or Damien's celebrity status... They had to figure things out because they were two adults living in different cities with extremely busy schedule, but they made compromises like two mature persons.

What held this book back in my opinion were the secondary characters and the lack of conflict. I found Mary's best friends to be annoying, because I thought they had too much input and were too quick to distrust Damien. One of them said she just wanted Mary to be as happy as she was and to find the man she deserved and that just put me on the edge... It just sounded so condescending in my opinion. It's good to be protective of your friends, to care, but at the same time, you need to be supportive. Sometimes, your friend needs to make her own mistakes and the last thing she wants is you standing by, ready to say "I told you so." What annoyed me as well is that all she had to based herself on was the gossips from the rag sheets. Ugh. The other issue was the lack of conflict. I actually didn't mind the lack of conflict... but because of it, one little issue turned into a huge thing, just so Ms Dane could wrap up the story and give the H/H their happy ending. Based on the rest of the story, I felt this conflict was very forced because Damien had proven himself to Mary and she should have trust him instead of the gossips. For her to react the way she did, it just went against character it seems... and that's too bad because it lessened the enjoyment of the book a bit.


5) Assassin's Gambit by Amy Raby: C-


6) Wrecked by Shiloh Walker: C

Ugh... I don't know how to summarize the story of this book. Okay, basically, you have Abigale Applegate and Zach Barnes who were child stars on a very popular sitcom when they were teens, but that was years ago. Both of them willingly walked away from Hollywood lifestyle and are happier for it. They have remained best friends throughout the years, although the truth is Zach has been in love with Abby forever. When she gets dumped by her boyfriend because he thinks she's wasting her time not acting, Abby decides she needs an affair. Not a relationship, just sex... and when Zach finds out through the "Wreck" journal he gave her, he volunteers himself - he's not about to let another man get the chance and he hopes that finally, Abby realizes that he's in love with her.

The truth is that Wrecked started out really promisingly. Who doesn't like the best friends to lovers theme? Especially when the set up is great, the premise has potential and best of all, the best friends have tons of chemistry! I really believed in Zach and Abby's friendship, really felt his unrequited feelings for her and had no problem imagining them together... And perhaps that was the issue. Because once Abby and Zach started having sex together, it became boring for me... It was just too obvious that the two should be together and everything that stood in the way was just frustrating ^_^; I was annoyed at Abby for being so oblivious to Zach feelings all this years - I mean, everyone knew! It got even worst when she realized she was in love with him and wondered how it would affect their relationship!! I was also annoyed at Zach for not stepping up, not pushing to the next level. It took forever for him to get Abby to notice him in a different way and now he's going to wait again till she comes around? Right... and instead of sharing his feelings with Abby, he resorted to growling at everyone :( It's just too bad because as I mentioned, the premise was really promising, but it failed to keep me engaged.


7) Love Irresistibly by Julie James: B+


8) The Chocolate Rose by Laura Florand: C+


9) Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts: B-


10) The Good, the Bad and the Witchy by Heather Blake: B-
Upcoming Review.


11) Love Me to Death by Allison Brennan: B

I'm always in the mood for a good romantic suspense; however, nowadays, it's hard to come across RS books that fit the type I want to read... Anyway, I read Ms Brennan before but never really got into her, but I thought I'd give her another chance with this series because it involved the FBI. Our heroine, Lucy Kincaid, went through something horrific 6 years ago, but she survived it... and now, she wants to become a FBI agent. While she's waiting to see if she is accepted, she's volunteering with a victim's rights group and works undercover online to lure sex offenders so they can be caught. Everything is going well... till they don't. One of her attackers was recently released from prison and not long after, found dead. She wasn't aware of the plea bargain and so, her trust is shaken... It doesn't help she's a suspect and the last sex offender she tried to lure didn't show up to her meeting, but did end up dead as well. Not knowing where to go, she turns to Sean Rogan, one of her brother's partners for a security firm.

I've been in the mood for romantic suspense that features investigative work, preferably with cops or FBI agents... and while Love Me to Death didn't totally fit my criteria, it was definitively a good book. The mystery was solid and interesting although at times, it felt like there were too many storylines going on. Personally, I think the one about Lucy's stalker was superfluous. It served to misdirect, but at the end of the day, didn't bring that much to the table. Still, Ms Brennan did a great job at tying everything up together in the end. I liked that Lucy didn't fall in love with the person in charge of the investigation - it's refreshing LOL. And I thought that Sean was an interesting love interest for Lucy. In a way, he's a bit of her opposite, not being afraid to break the rules to get what he wants and ironically, that seems to complement Lucy :P He at least knows how to be normal around her which is what she needs. As for Lucy, she was definitively a solid character. After what she went through, she put back her life together, went to college and is pursuing her vocation - a true survivor. Unfortunately, while I admire her for being a survivor, I also had a lot of difficulty relating to her because of what and how much she went through. It just seems so out there, so unbelievable that I kind of feel disconnected to her tragedy :(

Something else that lessened my enjoyment of Love Me to Death is that I'm not sure I could qualify this book as the "first" book in a series. It was clear to me while reading Love Me to Death that there was a book somewhere that I haven't read and indeed, after some research, I found out that Love Me to Death was a spin-off continuation of Fear No Evil. Ms Brennan tried to sum it up; however, there were too many undercurrents in the book and I knew I was missing some of Lucy and other secondary characters' backstories. Quite frankly, it sucked :(

***

Balance
Books bought: +12
Books read: -11
TBR pile: +1


Genres
Contemporary Romance - 6
Romantic Suspense/Mystery - 1
Cozy Mystery - 1
Young Adult - 1
Fantasy romance - 1
Women's Fiction - 1

***

Wow, first month of the year that I've "added" books to my TBR pile... but then again, April was such a good release month! I'm actually surprised that I haven't read more books LOL. However, as long as my number of reads hits double digits, I'm happy :)

I think April really showed this year's trend of what I've been reading. For some reasons, I'm really into contemporary romance this year... and when I don't have any contemporary romance books to read, I kind of look for something to read ^_^; I hope I get out of this mood soon.

Overall, April was a good month, although nothing really stood out...

How was yours? Do you even remember? LOL.

8 comments:

  1. OMG, April reading! Whiskey Beach was such a disappointment for me. I'm so glad you liked so much more than I did. LOL! But, I loved Simply Irresistibly by Julie James... it has to be my favorite contemporary romance so far this year.

    Hmm... I wasn't crazy about Tart by Lauren Dane. But should I read Lush? It doesn't sound that great to me either... hmm...

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  2. Hilcia - LOL, yes ^_^; That's how far behind I am. Not funny ^_^;

    I'm so sorry to hear that Whiskey Beach was such a disappointment for you, Hils :( I'm glad I liked it more than you did :P

    Simply Irresistibly was good, but not sure it can be my best of the year... but it ranks high :)

    I haven't actually read Tart, so I can't tell...

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    1. LOL, Nath. I don't know that the Julie James book ranks the highest contemporary of the year. It just does for me personally because none of the other contemporary romances I've read rated as high (B+). They've been B- and C's for the most part so far. :( I need to read more...

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    2. It was definitively a solid one. Hmmm, right now, I can't think of any contemporary book to recommend... So I guess it's right for you :)

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  3. LOL, you are posting April's reads in September??? I hear you on where does time go since it keeps getting away from me. I can't really comment on any of the books since I think the only one I think I read was the Julie James book but I wanted to drop in and say Hey!

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  4. I didn't read much in April, so you're doing awesome. ;)

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  5. April reads in September. Love it! ;)

    I still haven't read Love Irresistably.. but I did finally finish Demon Bound. LOVED it. Wow so much revealed in this one. There were a few pages here and there throughout the book that I had to read three times to make sure I got all the details and implications, but I love the way Meljean stimulates my intellect that way.

    Let's see.. April.. I looked back at my reading list and would say that Nalini Singh's Wild Invitation anthology and The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn were my favorites that month.. but sadly, I don't remember much about the latter off the top of my head! That's terrible.

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  6. Kristie - Hi there! LOL, you know what they say, better late than never... but at the rhythm I'm reviewing, there's like no way I'm going to be catching up. Oh well.

    I'm glad you dropped by! Miss you!

    little alys - LOL, thanks :)

    Christine - Wooohoo on Demon Bound :) I read it, but have yet to review it... Story of my life at the moment LOL. I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

    The Lost Duke of Wyndham, that's the first book of the duology right? And oups for not remembering. It was solid, but not totally stand-out, in my opinion. Did you read the 2nd book yet?

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