Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Monthly Reads - February 2014

Sigh, I'm really having a hard time finding my blogging groove. It's weird because one week, I'll manage to write three posts and the next, nada ^_^; Anyway, I'm really happy I managed to write this post! I really wanted to have it posted in March - no fun to always play catch up. I barely made it, but I made it :)

Here is what I read in February:


1) Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare: B-

Lately, I haven't been in the mood for historical romance. It seems to be another genre I am burning out on (noooo!!!) ^_^; However, after seeing all the good reviews about Romancing the Duke, I decided to give it a try... especially since the hero was blind!

Romancing the Duke is the first in Ms Dare's new series in which each heroine inherits a castle. Isolde Ophelia Goodnight, better known as Izzy Goodnight, is the daughter of England's most acclaimed author, Sir Henry Goodnight. Because her father failed to provide for her in his will, Izzy finds herself in a financial bind. When she learns that her godfather has left her a bequest in his will, it seems to be a godsend. However, she never expected to be inheriting a castle... and one that is not empty at that. Ransom William Dacre Vane is the eleventh Duke of Rothbury and previous owner of Gostley Castle. After his bride ran away with another man and being injured in a duel, Ransom lost his eyesight and retreated from the ton, taking refuge in Gostley Castle. He's been in seclusion for seven months when Izzy shows up on his doorstep with the ludicrous claim of ownership over his home. Obviously, there's been a mistake somewhere and Rothbury intends to keep Izzy close till he finds out what happened. As for Izzy, all she wants is a roof over her head.

Romancing the Duke was a cute book and I enjoyed it... just not as much as everyone else seems to ^_^; This happens to me regularly with Ms Dare's books. I don't know what it is, because I do think her writing is solid... It's just that for me, that little extra that makes a good story into a great one is missing. In this case, I feel I didn't connect with the characters even though they were likable and well developed. I wished Ms Dare had played up Rothbury's blindness a bit more... Still, there were some good elements to Romancing the Duke. I liked that the book was focused on Izzy, Rothbury and their romance, that there was no villain/evilness and the humorous tone.


2) Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil: C-

Life in Outer Space is about Sam Kinnison who is a geek and is resigned with is place in the high school pecking order. He has a good group of friends, knows what he wants to do in the future and is just waiting for high school to be over to realize his dreams. Then Camilla, the new girl at school, comes into his life. Sam doesn't know what to do with Camilla because she doesn't fit the mold he knows and very quickly, everything in his life seems to be changing...

I picked this book up based on Alex's review. She loved Life in Outer Space and I was hoping it would work as well for me... Unfortunately, it didn't :( First, I was expecting this book to be funnier since Sam is a nerd. I guess that's what you get for watching so much Big Bang Theory LOL. In truth though, Sam wasn't that nerdy; he simply was passionate about movies, especially horror ones. Think Dawson Creek instead of Sheldon or Leonard and so it was hard for me to really believe he was being bullied. I feel that he should have stood his ground a bit more firmly... As for the story itself, I don't know ^_^; The friendship between Camilla and Sam was well-written and his confusion was interesting, but at the end of the day, I felt Sam was really dense. I mean, it was obvious this was heading for something more and his acting all scared rabbit - not very attractive. Then, Ms Keil added all this issues in the story, but I don't feel like anything was really resolved... and I never really understood what was Sam's parents' situation. Overall, Life in Outer Space simply didn't grab me.


3) Jaded by Anne Calhoun: C-

Lucas Ridgeway is jaded. He used to be a cop in Denver, but after burning out, he came back to Walkers Ford, South Dakota, to serve as their chief of police. He simply doesn't want to feel, doesn't want to care anymore because he's been burned too many times. He is not looking for a relationship, but an affair with his sexy tenant who's leaving soon, that he can manage. Alanna Wentworth comes from an affluent political family. After turning down a very public proposal, she needed space and time away from her family and escaped to Walkers Ford to be their town librarian. She always knew it would be temporary as she is needed by her family foundation and her mother and sister have started being very insistent for her come back. Before going home though, Alanna wants to do something different... such as seducing her sexy landlord.

I really wanted to like this book, but in the end, it just didn't work for me. Part of it is on me because I'm burning out on contemporary romance and Jaded didn't really offer anything different. However, it was also the book. I felt there was a lack of of chemistry between Alanna and Lucas, no real connection between them except for sex. There was also a lack of development to the story. Ms Calhoun really stacked up the book with back stories and secondary characters, but she didn't really do much with it which is unfortunate. I really would have liked to see the characters work out their problems, but all the resolutions were so sudden! It's like all the characters started at point A with their issues and ended at point B with their happy endings and none of the progress was shown. I read the book and yet, wasn't a witness to their journey from A to B :(  One thing that made me really uncomfortable is that Alanna's family ran a charity foundation which is very noble. However, that foundation mostly helped people in third world countries. But what about what's right in front of you? There's this teen that Alanna took under her wing, Cody, whom I really liked and obviously came from a poor family. I kept expecting for her to do more for him, to realize that she could change his life... and it took so much prodding for it to happened :(

I think that Ms Calhoun had some good ideas with Jaded, but failed to execute them :(


4) Split Second by Kasie West: B+


5) On the Fence by Kasie West: B+
Upcoming Review (closer to release date)


6) Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb: C+


7) Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg:
Upcoming Review.


8) At the River's Edge by Mariah Stewart: C-

I've been reading the Chesapeake Diaries series on and off and decided to pick up At the River's Edge based on the blurb. After finding her boyfriend cheating, Sophie Enright decides she needs a break and heads back home to St. Dennis, Maryland. While there, she finds an old shut-down restaurant and decides to buy it, because working in a diner as a cook was one of her best experiences. Jason Bowers came to St. Dennis to be close to his nephew - his only remaining family. He was hoping to buy the land on which the shut-down restaurant is located to expand his landscape business, but got it snatched under his nose by Sophie to whom he is attracted to.

The blurb made it sounded like there was a huge conflict between Sophie and Jason because of the land, but there wasn't ^_^; And that's the problem with At the River's Edge. It's not that I wanted the land deal to come in between Sophie and Jason, but I was hoping for something, anything to happen! There's a difference between a low-conflict story and a book where nothing happened and I feel Ms Stewart missed the mark here.  Also, the whole story was about Sophie quitting her lawyer career to open a diner/restaurant... and I simply didn't buy it ^_^; There's a big gap between loving working in a diner during college and quitting your successful career to open a restaurant. Sophie had no experience whatsoever and while she did ask for advice, it was still hard to believe she'd be successful. I've watched a lot of Masterchef shows, I've seen people who are passionate about food and dream of becoming chefs and opening their own restaurant and I didn't see that passion in Sophie.It's too bad about At the River's Edge because I thought the set up was promising although a bit clich√©, but everything turned out to be quite bland: the characters, the romance and the story :(


9) Night Broken by Patricia Briggs: B-


10) Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler: C-


11) Long Hard Ride by Lorelei James: C

There's not much for me to say about Long Hard Ride. This was an erotica romance that's been on my e-reader for a while. I picked this up because I needed something different. It's basically about a heroine who is trying to find herself after letting her parents run her life. She hooked up with a cowboy, but found out he was married and almost got stranded... if it wasn't for the hero. Hero offers her an opportunity she can't pass, be his groupie and do everything he demands until they reach their destination.

While I liked Channing and Colby - the heroine and hero - and thought they were hot together.  If you take out the sex part, well Long Hard Ride becomes your usual romance where the H/H started a fling which quickly developed into something more. It's interesting though that Colby's family didn't approve of Channing and I wished there'd been more on that. Otherwise, the most interesting part of the book was Colby's partners, Trevor and Edgard, and their relationship.


12) Third Degree by Julie Cross: B
Upcoming Review.


13) Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop: B

***

Genres

Contemporary Romance - 2
Erotica Romance - 1
Historical Romance - 1
New Adult - 1
Romantic Suspense/Mystery - 1
Urban Fantasy - 2
Young Adult - 5

***

In the end, the tally is not so bad :) I really did a good job at reviewing the January books, so I thought I really dropped the ball for February... and I did. However, it seems I was also able to catch it back LOL. Reading-wise, I'm happy with the number of books read, especially since February was a shorter month, even if many of them were a bit blah ^_^; Although in the books defense, I think I was feeling blah as well.

I've also been switching gears a bit in February, picking up more Young Adult and New Adult books. I've been complaining for a while that I'm burning out on contemporary and historical romance ^_^; It's hard to put into words. On one hand, I feel I want stories that are more classic... but at the same time, I want something refreshing! I feel authors are playing it too safe lately :( To make up for those genres, I've been trying to look for new urban fantasy series, but they're hard to find... If you have any suggestions, please feel free to share! Luckily, I've been in the mood for YA and NA and that's not lacking in today's market!

What about you? How was February? What have you been in the mood to read?

6 comments:

  1. I think a lot of people are staying away from historicals right now. So good on you for getting at least one read! LOL

    Looks like you had a good reading month. :P

    ReplyDelete
  2. I hardly blogged last year, so have been trying to do better this year... I have kind of fizzled all ready!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I haven't been reading too many historicals myself but I need to fix that because I'm in the mood for them.

    You've read a lot of the same books as I read in February, that was fun. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. That's a really good February, Nath. Mine was short on books but great on quality.

    Do you know that I've only read 3 historicals this year so far? And 2 of them are more historical fiction (read 1 Gabaldon, and reread another by Galbaldon this month, lol). Anyway, I haven't been in the mood for them since last year! I haven't even read the last release by Mary Balogh! Yikes! I've been in the mood for UF or science fiction/fantasy. As far as blogging goes, I'm doing my best to blog as I read but I'm just not reading a lot right now, or I don't feel like reviewing the books I'm reading. Hmmm. . .

    RE: A Long Hard Ride by James. I agree. Trevor and Edgard were the best part of that book. I love their story. That's another book I reread once in a while. *g*

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm trying a Tessa Dare book this month...I hope I enjoy it as you did this one.
    Now you have to post about March's reads!
    ****

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sorry everyone for the late reply!!

    Ames - It's really weird about historical romances ^_^; I guess because at the end, a lot of the stories were similar? I feel like this year, I'll just be keeping up with my favorite authors when it comes to historical romance.

    Kailana - I hear you. The motivation that inhabited us for years seems to be disappearing. Kind of sad.

    Rowena - Go for it while you're still in the mood, Wena!!

    I know right! It feels like it's rare I'm reading the same books as someone else...

    Hilcia - I'd take quality over quantity any time, Hils :)

    LOL, the Gabaldon should count for at least two though :P

    Sonia - Let me know how you enjoy the Tessa Dare!

    ReplyDelete