A big family, a reading addiction, and the occasional celebrity scandal are the ingredients of life that create one woman's opinion on just about everything.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

June 2009

It's too ridiculous to be noted, but I honestly can't believe we are halfway through 2009. Crikeys I've just started remembering to write 2-0-0-9 instead of 2-0-0-8.

June wasn't quite the reading month that May was. Not so much in reading numbers, I read 17 books in June, a respectable number, but I didn't have as many reading "highs" in June as I did in May.

Life continues to move at warp speed. June, June, June... I hardly remember ye!

June Reading List

TO WED IN TEXAS by Jodi Thomas
Yep, that's right Ms. Thomas makes an appearance again this month. I read this early in the month and it's my TBR Challenge read. This month's theme was tortured heroes or heroines.

Orphaned at a very young age and shunted from relative to relative Karlee Whitworth certainly qualifies as tortured. When her maiden aunts ship her off to be a nanny, Karlee is just hoping for a place to fit in and feel worthwhile. When the meager funds the aunts provided for travel run out, Karlee impulsively puts herself in her trunk for the last leg of a trip. While the book has its humorous moments, this is mostly about a young woman trying to find a place for herself. Although this book was first released in 2000, and I think Ms. Thomas' is a better writer today, it fit the bill for both the TBR Challenge and my need for a good western.
My Grade = B

THE HOB'S BARGAIN by Patricia Briggs
I didn't finish this book, BUT NOT BECAUSE IT WAS A BAD BOOK. This was absolutely a case of the book not fitting a reader. I should have been more careful when I purchased it, but I enjoyed Ms. Briggs Mercy Thompson so much I decided to give this re-release a try. Too much fantasy for me.
My Grade = DNF

I really liked the realistic way Ms. Banks handled the issues of a person pursing their fantasies. At one point heroine Serena James asks herself if some fantasies are better left in our imaginations. Good question. What do you think?

Serena's fantasy is to be a sex slave of sorts. She basically wants a dominant partner to try out the lifestyle to see if it fits. Serena can't imagine being a sex slave as a full-time lifestyle choice. I would have liked there to be a bit more character development, because I think this was a great story premise and probably something we've all wondered about.

My Grade = B-

Whoever you are that recommended this book, thanks for a good read. This book had one of my favorite things... a tortured hero. Lord Ian Mackenzie is indeed mad. He spent years locked up in an asylum. Committed at a young age by his violent wretch of a father, how much of Ian's madness is real and how much is induced by the asylum? When his father dies, his brother gets Ian released. What does one do with a gifted and slightly mad brother? Ms. Ashley's website notes that this is the first of the Highland Pleasures series. I, for one, can't wait for the rest of them.
My Grade = B

Okey dokey. This was a skimmer. I admit I wanted to know the ending so I skimmed thither and yon and got the gist of the book. Again, this is a very competent writer with some interesting plot elements, but I just didn't get sucked in.
My Grade = C

WATCH OVER ME by Lucy Monroe
I've read Lucy Monroe before with mixed results, but this grabbed my attention in the book store. Unfortunately I again had a tough time connecting with the characters.
My Grade = DNF

THE SPARE by Carolyn Jewel
I really enjoyed this book. I even did a review.
My Grade = B+

A WESTERN WINDER WONDERLAND ANTHOLOGY by Cheryl St. John, Jenna Kernan, & Pam Crooks
This western anthology had two of my favorite western writers Cheryl St. John and Jenna Kernan. This too came from my tbr. Don't ask me why I was in the mood for winter and Christmas stories in June, just love me anyway.

Wendy reviewed this back when it came out and liked it a bit more than I did. While I agree the stories are heartwarming, they were a little too saccharine for me.

My Grade = C

THE MAD, BAD DUKE by Jennifer Ashley
I didn't realize when I started this that it was part of a series. I also didn't realize it had paranormal and "magic" elements. I started with high hopes but was ultimately disappointed particularly after such a good reading experience with the THE MADNESS OF LORD MACKENZIE.
My Grade = C

DEEPER by Megan Hart
It's always tough to grade a favorite author. This book has many of the elements of the things I like most in a Hart book, in particular emotional depth. Alas it contained one element, and in this book it's a biggie, that I really struggle with in any book. I can't mention what it is without it being a spoiler, but I what I can say it that it's personal preference and not the book itself.
My Grade = C

LORD RUIN by Carolyn Jewel
While reading this book there were actually times when I thought I probably shouldn't be enjoying it so much particularly considering how the H/H came to be married. It's also the best example I've read, maybe ever, of what the saying, "Reformed rakes make the best husbands" really means.
My Grade = B+

A DARKER CRIMSON by Carolyn Jewel
This is part of the Crimson City series. The only previous book I read in this series was by Marjorie Liu years earlier when the series first started. I bought this one as part of my Carolyn Jewel glom and had no problems reading it as a stand alone. This is a good solid urban fantasy read.
My Grade = B

HIDDEN CURRENTS by Christine Feehan
This is the last book in the Drake Sisters series about seven sisters with paranormal powers. This is Elle, the youngest sister's story. Everything is tied up in a neat bow, and I'm imagining Ms. Feehan will be doing a series about the 7 Russian brothers, one of whom married a Drake sister, who have powers similar to the Drakes. I have to admit I had high expectations for this one as I'd been looking forward to reading Elle and Jackson's story. Maybe too high of expectations as it only rates as an average read for me.
My Grade = C

BRANDED BY FIRE by Nalini Singh
Interesting dynamics between Riley of the Snowdancer Wolf pack and Mercy the DarkRiver sentinel. Both are shapeshifters (different species) and both very strong leaders in their own right. This didn't pack the same emotional punch the previous psy-changeling books did for me, but it's worth your time if you like the series.
My Grade = B

REAL MEN LAST ALL NIGHT Anthology by Lora Leigh, Lori Foster, Cheyenne McCray & Heidi Betts
This anthology does as advertised. It delivers short sexy stories to be read on the beach during the summer. It's okay for what it's meant to do and be, but if you are looking for depth, this ain't it.
My Grade = C

I didn't hate it. No new ground broken here, but an entertaining and enjoyable chapter in the series. We need some character growth and change, Ms. Evanovich. I'm beggin' ya!
My Grade = C

This book is loosely related to her McCain brothers books but is fine to read as a stand alone. This is McCain family friend Wolf Hayward's story. Wolf is a character with lots of potential and so many directions for Ms. Thomas to take him. For me personally, the way in which Ms. Thomas chose for him to rediscover his one true love was unsatisfying. The big reveal wasn't believable and was too long in coming.
My Grade = C-

I didn't do the Re-Read Challenge in June. I ran out out of month. Father's Day weekend I made a stop at New and Recycled Romances in Orange County. I ended up with a pretty nifty haul of books and started reading some of those. Next thing I knew it was July.

July looks to be busy as well with the RWA Conference smack dab in the middle of it. Time will tell. Speaking of which, I got lots to do and now I can cross this post off my 'To Do' list. Yay!

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Blogger Wendy said...

I feel like I'm losing my touch. People are reading stuff I liked, and....well....not liking it. I'm wondering if I'm going through some sort of "change."

I was hoping to get Deeper read before RWA, but I'm thinking it's not going to happen. Oh well. It'll be here for me when I get back.

5:25 PM PDT  
Blogger sula said...

ack, I am so behind on what I'd like to read. sigh. But I'm totally on board with the idea of a Jewel glom. Must see if my librarians will cooperate. hehehe.

3:50 PM PDT  
Blogger nath said...

That is a great list, Rosie!! Wow!! :)

Seems like you're glomming on Carolyn Jewel :) I need to get to Lord Ruin ASAP :P

5:28 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Wendy, Wendy, Wendy, I didn't hate the book, I just didn't like it as much as you. Kernan's FALLEN ANGEL for instance his calling her "Angel" throughout bugged me, might not bug someone else. I think it fit your review pretty well.

Sula, if I have any extra copies of her stuff I'll stick 'em in my suitcase. Don't count on it, but I'll look.

Nathie, I'm lovin' her books. I can't wait for INDISCREET that's coming out in September I think. I'm seriously going to throw myself at her feet. Wendy can take pictures.

5:38 PM PDT  
Blogger Wendy said...

And yet both you and Lori had forgotten that the hero in The Irish Devil called the heroine his "filly." LOL. Angel can be annoying, but not nearly as bad as the guy comparing you to a horse!

7:57 PM PDT  
Blogger ~ames~ said...

Rosie Rosie Rosie!! So glad you're not dead in a ditch. LOL

I've been on the fence over Sweet Persuasion. I enjoy Maya Banks but wasn't sure...I think you've tipped me into "sure." LOL

9:47 PM PDT  
Blogger nath said...

I'm taking she's going to be at RWA. That's good to know!!

You know what? I thought she actually was a new author... I mean, I've really only heard of her once with Scandal :) Glad that she's getting more popular :D

6:46 AM PDT  
Blogger Kristie (J) said...

The only book on your list I've read is The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie - and I loved, loved, loved it!!

5:50 AM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Wendy, funny how that works isn't it?

Ames, SWEET PERSUASION could have been an emotional ball buster with a little more character development. It was just off that little bit. However, Ms. Banks continues to impress me with the questions she asks her characters.

Kristie, Wow! Just one? Can't wait to see you and compare reading notes.

6:06 AM PDT  

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