Sunday, October 2, 2011

Reading Recap: Week of September 25th

This past week I managed a fairly good haul--both in reading books and buying them (but we won't speak about that little...mistake *ahem*).

For the last week of September, I managed to read 8 books (of those, 2 novellas). Those two novellas are even ones I've got upcoming reviews for. I wrote both and have sent them into NOR; as soon as they are "approved" and posted on their website, they will be posted here as well.

I've had Always Mine by Sophia Johnson in my TBR pile for so long, I can't even remember where, or when, I originally bought it (apparently so long that on Amazon it is out of print in paperback, which is what I have). But like with many others I've dug out of the mountain lately, I'm not sure why I put it off for so long. The beginning, well, close to half of the book had me a bit unsure; I wasn't in love with the characters that much, and although the storyline intrigued me I found the writing for it to be a bit slow at times, the conflicts between the hero and heroine seemed like they would never work themselves out due to their stubbornness and refusal to listen to one another. But, as the book went along I found my overall opinion changing, and by the last page I was debating between a 4 and a 4.5 star rating. If I had my rating system set up for 4.25, I would have given it that, but instead I considered the novel again, how I felt about it, and decided on a solid 4.5 STARS. Yes, there were times when I was prepared to throw a brick at Damron's head, as he was very much the highhanded Scottish lord that Brianna kept calling him (though she preferred to swear at him and call him much worse names). However, he did begin to see the errors in his ways, and their love story, which spanned centuries, finally sealed my opinion. I won't say that this book was perfect, for it wasn't. But despite the flaws that I at least found in it, I still very much loved the romance story behind it and I am eager to read more by this author, especially if she has books for some of the other characters mentioned in this one. I guess I'm a sucker for the idea of our souls being reborn throughout time, and more importantly true soul mates finding one another no matter where, or what era, they are in!

Homespun Bride by Jillian Hart was my next read, though honestly I didn't do much reading for this novel. I can't pinpoint any parts in particular that lead me to dislike this book so much; rather, it was more of the fact that there was no spark, in the writing or in the characters. Nothing that pulled me in, made me care about the story, nothing that said an author has poured a bit of her heart and soul into this novel's creation. I was thoroughly disappointed in this novel--I had expected more from it, as the idea of a woman gone blind and a love lost but now returned seemed like just the sort of light novel that would appeal to me. However, within only a few chapters, I found myself skipping pages at an alarming rate, not caring whether or not I finished the book at all, never a good sign when reading a book. The only thing that made me "finish" this book was because I wanted to add more numbers to my total for this month. Good thing this was a free e-book I found online some months back, or else I would have felt like I had just wasted my hard earned money on it. Perhaps others will enjoy it, but for me, this particular book is already fading to naught but a mere wisp of a memory. I can't even tell you much of what went on during it, even if I went back and read it page for page right this second. 1 Star.

The Viking's Woman by Heather Graham was an enjoyable enough read overall, but it was lacking in the character development and had no real substance to it. My main reason for giving it the average rating I did was not due to the storyline or the romance, nor was it even due to the commanding and sometimes barbaric ways of the hero, Eric. Nope, instead the biggest fault I had with this novel was in the heroine, Rhiannon. From page one, she annoyed me; at first the author gave the illusion that she was strong, fierce, not a feeble miss to simple submit to the rules of others and do nothing. But soon I found that this, while perhaps the way Graham had wanted to portray her, was not the actual Rhiannon. Instead she acted too naive about her sweetheart and their "love", was prone to fits of fear and only half-brewed anger rather than actually fighting, physically or otherwise. Every time that Eric was trying to teach her a lesson, show that he was her lord and therefore "ruler", she would cower before him, all the while thinking of how vile he was, yet how strong, how she hated her body's reaction to him. And whenever he would threaten to take her, to punish her for whatever she had done at the time (which he never actually did; it was mostly talk, though really I'm sure given enough reasoning to do so he would have stood behind his word on this matter), all she could do was yell "Nay!" over and over again. Not much intelligent speech came from her mouth through the whole span of the book. I just couldn't stand her, and as tough and hardened to love as Eric was, he needed a woman that would fight him back, not give into him. He needed someone to yell at him, to show some true spirit and fire and, overall, intellect while doing so. Rhiannon wasn't that woman, and this above all else made me want to throw the book against the wall many times. However, the end was fairly decent, they both admitted their love to one another, and I will probably read others in this saga as I am interested to see if Graham's other heroines are any better. 3 Stars.

The Ever Knight by Georgia Fox was another book I received from NOR, this time in e-book form. It was a pretty good read, despite it's short length; very hot and very graphic, with a menage twist thrown in. For those of us that don't mind those elements, it's a perfect read for when you want a quick, but steamy, book to curl up with at night. If for nothing else, you should try her books for the pure beauty of her covers alone--very few e-book novellas that I've seen have as well done as hers, very eye catching and yummy. I'm looking forward to the other two books in this series! 3.5 Stars--read my full review HERE!

Beyond the Clouds by Elizabeth Batten-Carew (aka, Opal Carew), was a pleasant romantic read with a spicy kick towards the end of the book. For the greater part of the (kind of short) book, their relationship was none existent--she was avoiding commitment and overwhelming feelings of emotion (both of which she suspected he would bring) and he was trying to slowly show his interest in here without scaring her off..all the while lying about who he was, due to his money. Up until around page 120 or so, all they had shared was one brief PG rated kiss.  But after that... well, they had a few nights straight of passion, hot and yet still sweet, and that's when we learn that despite the appearance of this book being, up until this point, a nice mild romance, it's really a fairly spicy erotic novel instead. I enjoyed seeing the relationship slowly bloom, and although it seemed a bit slow at first and I wanted to yell at Caid, aka Jeremy, for not telling her the truth, even after their nights together, I still enjoyed the book. I look forward to reading more of her work, under both pen names, as soon as I can. However, most of her e-books, including this one, are not currently "in print" while she works things out with new publishers. When I got this one, it was a few years back and at the time it was a freebie on one of the websites. So keep your eyes open for this one to go back on sale somewhere, for a nice quick read, it's worth it! (By the way, the cover I show here is the newer one, and it is far better looking, I think, than the one I've currently got on my e-book copy!) 3.5 Stars.

When you're dying for a charming, witty, and cleverly written historical romance, there is but one choice: a Julia Quinn novel! What Happens in London was a riot, I was reminded (yet again) of why I so enjoy her work. It's not just a romance novel, no, it's an experience! Her ability to make strong, unique hero and heroines, ones that do not follow Society's strict and stuffy rules, is commendable, as is her ability to make you smirk and chuckle the whole time you are reading the book. Witty conversations, clever little jokes that not everyone would necessarily get (and most of the ton in the novel don't). And beyond all else is her ability to write a sweet, charming romance that still has it's elements of fire and passion throughout. I don't think there has been one of her books I've yet to read that I didn't love and add to my favorites list. This was another one, even though I gave it a slightly lower rating than the others at 4 Stars. As enjoyable as it was, I felt like Olivia and Harry's "aha, we're in love" moment was a bit rushed and had very little before it to account for their feelings. However, everything else about the book was utterly delightful, and after reading a Quinn novel I always begin to wonder why we don't still talk so eloquently; not stuffy and formal, but perhaps with less slang and laziness like we do now!

Confessions of a Viscount by Shirley Karr was a major disappointment, and now I know why it has been in my pile for so many years. I wanted to get into it, I tried, many times, but in the end I ended up mostly just flipping pages, desperately looking for a 'good part' (which there were none, really, though a few sentences here and there had potential). I didn't care for the hero or heroine, and the storyline just seemed so slow, so unimportant--really, who goes to all this trouble to get back the prince's snuffbox? It's rare for me to give such a rating, and rare for me to skim books rather than really read them, but this was one such occasion. I will probably be trading it in when I go to my local used bookstore swap again--another rarity, as I find it hard to get rid of books I own, even if I don't absolutely love them. 1 Star. Perhaps others will enjoy this one, but I didn't.

The Virgin Proxy by Georgia Fox was next in line. This was another NOR book I received to review. I enjoyed this one, a bit more than the first in this series (The Ever Knight). They are both very erotic and steamy, but it seemed like this one had a bit more of a storyline to it and allowed more time for the hero and heroine to fall for one another. It is a menage as well, though in this case the hero realizes that he wants to keep his love for himself, rather than sharing her with his friend as they had done many times before (this doesn't mean, however, that the three of them don't play a bit before he makes this decision, but nothing too heavy). I will definitely be putting Ms.Fox on my list for future reading, and I hope to buy the third in this series in the next couple of weeks. 4 Stars--read my full review HERE!

What did you read this past week? Or, have you read any of the books I just listed above--if so, what were you thoughts on them? Let us know!


Until Next Time,

No comments :