Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I read this (August 2011)

I apologize about the length of this in advance. I may start doing this post bi-weekly to cut down on the wordiness.

Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

The Hidden Goddess by M.K. Hobson (The Native Star, Book 2): If you haven’t read The Native Star, don’t even bother with this, I read it only a few months ago and I was occasionally lost. However, you should definitely read these two. Magical alternate-history with some steam-punk flair. Awesome and weird.

Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between by J.A. Saare (Rhiannon’s Law, Book 1): A middle-of-the-road necromancer/vampire pair-up. Not an original spin but decently written. It’s indie-published so it’s cheap and that’s probably the standard by which I am judging it (it was only .99 when I bought it). I’ll get around to the recently-released sequel, but it barely ranks on my list of priorities.

Magic Burns, Magic Strikes, and Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels, Books 2-4): Yes, go read these right now. No, really, RIGHT NOW.

Historical Fiction

Settling the Account and A Second Chance by Shayne Parkinson (Promises to Keep, Books 3 & 4): The four books follow a group of people living in New Zealand in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. The story is well written and interesting but there is so much of it (3 of the books top out at 500+ pages) and there isn’t really a plot. The story managed to be engaging despite the almost ridiculous amount of every-day minutiae included but it is a serious time investment.


The Madness of Lord Ian Mackensie by Jennifer Ashley (Highland Pleasures, Book 1): Ms. Ashley writes some seriously hot, beautiful romances. Instant-lust-that-is-really-love gets the story started, but watching the characters move toward each other is incredibly rewarding. The second novel in the series is Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage and the third is The Many Sins of Lord Cameron (I sure do love romance novel titles, barf). This series tends toward dark and the issues the characters deal are heavy so if you prefer romances that are fluffy, this probably won't appeal.

My Darling Caroline by Adele Ashworth: Nothing about this worked for me. The language was too modern, the lady-protagonist was too perfect, the dude-protagonist was annoying. Doubt I’ll be reading anything else by this author.

Last Night’s Scandal by Loretta Chase (The Carsington Family, Book 5): I have said before that I love this book. I LOVE THIS BOOK. 

Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie: I wanted to love this book, it’s all noir-ish, but the lady-protagonist rubbed me the wrong way. I generally like strong, assertive women (both in books and IRL), but I just couldn’t get behind Nell. Also, I didn’t believe that the lady/dude relationship would last. I am extra sad because I love Jenny Crusie so much.

The Care and Taming of a Rogue, A Lady’s Guide to Improper Behavior, and Rules of an Engagement by Suzanne Enoch (The Adventurer’s Club, Books 1-3): Solidly written, enough suspense to be engaging, believable romance. The lady-protagonists were all remarkably similar, but maybe you wouldn’t notice if you didn’t read them consecutively?

Passions of a Wicked Earl by Lorraine Heath (London’s Greatest Lovers, Book 1): I liked this one because of the emotional journey the characters take. The lady-protagonist starts as a bit of an ingĂ©nue, the dude-protagonist starts as an unemotional, uncompromising douche-wad, but they have some decent growth throughout the story. The writing was occasionally a little flat, and the end was frankly wtf but overall, a nice way to pass the afternoon.

What a Gentleman Wants by Caroline Linden (The Reece Family, Book 1): The setup was really far-fetched and the suspense aspect felt a little forced, but I liked the lady/dude combo enough to ignore the shortcomings. Caution: Plot Moppet.

For Your Arms Only by Caroline Linden (Bow St. Agents, Book 2): Too much emphasis on the intrigue, not enough on the romance. Snooze-fest.

Defy Not the Heart and Joining by Johanna Lindsey (Shefford’s Knights, Books 1 & 2): SBTB had posted about which Johanna Lindsey novels a person would recommend for someone unfamiliar with Lindsey. A popular recommendation was Gentle Rogue, part of the Malory series, and one I didn’t like (flat characterization but I may revisit it anyway). The only other Lindsey I had read was Silver Angel which is full of some amazing wtfery. But I REALLY liked Defy Not the Heart. It’s got most of the orly? that old skool romances have but without the rape. Joining is basically the same book, 15 years later. Head strong, unconventional lady-pro, over-bearing but good-at-heart dude-pro, heads clash, true love, blah blah blah. Fun the first time, less so the second.

The Heir by Johanna Lindsey (The Reid Family, Book 1): Sweet and believable romance between the lady-pro and dude-pro. I do like how the villainess gets both her comeuppance and a bit of sympathy but I wish that the women were more than just character foils to show how awesome the lady-pro is.

Lady of Conquest, Thief of Hearts, A Kiss to Remember, and The Bride and the Beast by Teresa Medeiros: I keep running into the same trouble with Medeiros, the stories are competently written and the arcs are fun if not always original, but I rarely buy the relationship between the lady-protagonist and the dude-protagonist. Of the four, I liked Thief of Hearts best.

The Dangerous Viscount by Miranda Neville (The Burgundy Club, Book 2): Again, good writing and good storytelling, but I didn’t always believe the lady/dude relationship. And both the lady and the dude were kind of shitty people. The first book, The Wild Marquis, was better.

Nobody’s Baby but Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips: Fuck no, this book is horrible. Besides bad writing, the characters are shitty people doing really shitty things to each other. And did I mention bad writing? STAY AWAY.

The Bargain by Mary Jo Putney: A lot of perspective hopping and the premise is morbid, but it’s decent. Not great but better than average.

Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas: Really well written and a really wonderful emotional connection between the two protagonists. And the way the story unfolded and revealed the character motivations was lovely. Read this now. There is a related book, Delicious, which I haven’t yet read but it’s on my short list.

Glory in Death, Immortal in Death, Rapture in Death by J.D. Robb (In Death, Books 2-4): I said last month that I understand the appeal of these and that’s still true. But if you are going to read this series, do NOT read them in rapid succession. It makes it more apparent that it is the same story over and over again. Formula is thus: Somebody dies, Eve Dallas goes on the case, she has lots of sex with Roarke, she meets someone new who is not actually a suspect, investigation, emotional breakthrough, aforementioned new person is the murderer. Dum dum dum. The fifth book steps away from that, but I’m sure book six will snap right back. I’m probably going to keep reading these for awhile, but my interest is already starting to wane and I’m betting that by the time I hit book 15, I’ll be raging about how much I hate these books.

Mad, Bad, and Blonde by Cathie Linz (West Investigations, Book 1): DNF. I got a quarter through the book before I couldn’t take anymore.

YA Fantasy

A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy): DNF. I struggled to finish books one and two. I COULD NOT make myself finish the last book. I tried to but I hated the narrator and all her friends and they made such ridiculous decisions and ARGH, what a waste of time. I wanted to like it because the narrator and her friends are struggling against a really prohibitive era (Victorian) for women and pushing against the status quo and taking power into their own hands (magically speaking, mostly) but they were so un-likeable that I wanted to shake them until their heads fell off.

ETA: Deleted post by accident, my bad

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