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.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

August 2009 Reading List

Twelve Thirteen books for August. (ETA: It seems I forgot to include FIRE KING by Marjorie Liu which was logged on my spreadsheet already so I forgot to include it in original post.) With a wedding smack dab in the middle of the month and so much family stuff going on, I'm pretty darn happy. A couple of nice discoveries this month with Meredith Duran and Tessa Dare.

HOT PURSUIT by Suzanne Brockmann
This was a re-visit to fan favorites Sam Starrett & Alyssa Locke. I enjoy visiting Brockmann's world and this was no exception. Sam and Alyssa are in New York to find a stalker. The question is, who's being stalked? I think it's a win when an author can take characters the fans know well and tell a story without leaving the fans feeling cheated.
My Grade = B

INTO THE LAIR by Maya Banks
Book 2 in the Falcon Mercernary Group series. I'm always a little bit fascinated with shifter stories and Ms. Banks has a very interesting hook in this series about how the people were "infected". I liked the first book a bit more than this one because I really liked the H/H. I'm invested enough that I will be continuing with the series to see what happens.
My Grade = C

I'm a big fan of Ms.Hill's Nature of Desire series and as a result I have been dragging my feet about reading her vamp books. One of the things I like best about the Nature books is her delicate revelation of her characters. I think it contributes so much to making the people who populate her stories so believable even while they may exist in the most far reaching and perhaps unbelievable circumstances.

You can see that having such strong feelings about Ms. Hill's books written in the contemporary world why I might have some misgivings reading her paranormals. That said, I have no explanation why I picked up this current release in the book store and got hooked. It's especially puzzling when I knew I had two prior releases of the series in my tbr at home.

My Grade = B-

LAID BARE by Lauren Dane
This book surprised me for how much I've thought about it since I read it. I think because I've completely bought off on the characters. Erin Brown is a strong heroine and a survivor. She's survived a broken heart both in love and in life. I absolutely adore that while she's flawed she's found a way to rebuild her life and live it in a way that's real. For her. Really enjoyed this one.
My Grade = B+

A MARRIAGE MINDED MAN by Karen Templeton
Silhouette Special Edition #1994 September 2009. If it says Karen Templeton on the cover I must buy it. Wendy and Holly said so. This is part of the Wed in the West series. I'm not as gung ho about this series as I have been with some of Ms. Templeton's other books. I'm not connecting with any of the characters or situations. My Grade = C

WRITTEN ON YOUR SKIN by Meredith Duran
I'm reading Ms. Duran's books completely out of order. DUKE OF SHADOWS is in my tbr while I read this one first and then grabbed BOUND BY YOUR TOUCH to read next. These books were deliciously meaty and detailed. I really like that in a book when it's done right. I also eat it up when an author obviously knows her characters well and they can be multi-layered. It shows in every scene. So glad I read these.
My Grade = B+

BOUND BY YOUR TOUCH by Meredith Duran
No let up or disappointment when I followed WRITTEN ON YOUR SKIN with BOUND BY YOUR TOUCH. If anything Vicount Sanburne is more delicious and complicated than Phin Granville in WRITTEN ON YOUR SKIN. Good book.
My Grade = B+

It was a good month for reading historicals for me. The dynamic between the H/H Jeremy and Lucy Waltham is delicious. They both deliberately choose to ignore the attraction that is building between them. Here we have Jeremy, as Lucy's older brother's friend, who has been around for ages and ages. Lucy has been smitten for almost that entire time with another of her brother's friends. Really liked this one too and I've already read SURRENDER OF A SIREN and will talk more about it on my September list. I'm anxious to see what Ms. Dare does in A LADY OF PERSUASION.
My Grade = B+

HEALING LUKE by Beth Cornelison
This book started out with lots of potential. I liked many things about it, but ultimately felt a little cheated. I thought Occupational Therapist Abby Sanford a bit too wishy-washy given her profession. Luke came across to me as a bit too adolescent. That they needed each other was without question, I just wish there had been more about what motivated them and less about their insecurities. I just couldn't completely buy off on all of it.
My Grade = C

As a part of her Girl Bachelor books I was looking forward to reading what Ms. Guhrke was going to do with this one. Both Daisy Merrick, a hapless young woman going from job to job, and Sebastian Grant, a gifted writer and former drug addict, are certainly interesting enough. While we get bits of how Sebastian overcomes his addiction, I think the story would have been better served if there had been more about that journey. Here we see him on the other side and it was difficult for me to overlook his selfish, sarcastic and self involved outer shell. I liked Daisy very much. I'm a sucker for the flawed, and slightly cracked eternal optimist. The self awareness Lucy has of who she is and how the world perceives her was terrific. I guess that's why I was disappointed with Sebastian. Having survived so much, I thought he should have had a better understanding of himself.
My Grade = C+

This was a struggle and I almost didn't finish it. I did not like the H/H in this book. He started out as selfish and pretty much seemed that way all through the book. She is a southern belle, Caroline Benet, his former sweetheart, who tracks the embittered Brandon Dumont to Texas. I couldn't figure out what these two had in common or why they loved each other.
My Grade = D

Lori Foster, LL Foster, and Erin McCarthy
I've seen mixed reviews for this one around RomLand. As you probably know Lori Foster and LL Foster are one and the same. Her two entries in this anthology are related. Go figure. I guess it's a good idea trying to bring in fans from both pseudonyms together in one book. Surprisingly I liked the L.L. Foster entry better than the Lori Foster story.

I enjoyed this in the spirit I think anthologies are written, to give you a taste for what the author writes. On that level it worked for me.

My Grade = B

THE FIRE KING by Marjorie Liu
This was a lovely story. Although listed on the cover as a Dirk & Steele novel it's only loosely related to them as Soria, the heroine once belonged to the agency and, of course, the shifters are a part of the story. In this case it is the dragon shifters long thought to be gone and extinct.

Soria and Karr are both deeply wounded souls who miraculously find each other. This was tenderly written and even now looking at the cover I have a feeling of the rolling cadence of the words. Very enjoyable installment of the series.
My Grade = B



Blogger Wendy said...

I have at least four of these in the TBR. The Albright and Templeton are near the top of the pile, and I need to get the Tessa Dare read sometime before April (yep, she's at my library's Lit. Event and yep, I'm moderating the romance panel....again).

8:24 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Wendy! Really? Tessa Dare too??? I barely got a chance to see her at RWA and I know she used to work for same library system as you (with you?). I'd love to see her to gush about her books. April 10th. We should nudge the SoCal bloggers to go.

8:29 PM PDT  
Blogger Wendy said...

Yep, Tessa Dare used to work for my library system. We were two ships passing in the night. She went on maternity leave about a month before I hired on (at a different branch) and she chose to not come back after her leave.

I even know her real name.

The romance panel is set with Tessa Dare, HelenKay Dimon and Linda Wisdom. The keynote speakers are Dean Koontz and Karen Joy Fowler.

I'll bore you all with the details when I see you in a couple of weeks.

8:35 PM PDT  
Blogger Lori said...

Hey Wendy, I even told Tessa about our get together, since it's pretty close. And told her you'd be there. Yup, I'm name dropping the SL. She might show up, but I think she's on deadline.

So, Rosie, a good month for you, huh? I've read a ton, but haven't had a chance to get online to write anything up...

10:11 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

So Ms Lori, you are hanging with up and coming new authors these days? Keep April 10 in mind for SL's library shindig.

8:16 AM PDT  
Blogger Holly said...

I'm marking April 10th on my calendar. :0)

Rosie, in regards to the Wed in the West series, I'm not love it as much as her other series either. Some of them I liked better than others, but overall I prefer her other series.

11:39 AM PDT  
Blogger ReneeW said...

Wow, I wish I could read that fast. I have 3 of these in my TBR (Beloved Vampire, Bound By Your Touch, and The Fire King). I have loved almost all of Liu's backlist (except Soul Song which I detested) so I'm glad to see your grade on this one. I have not tried Hill or Duran before. Sounds like I should give Dare a try too.

10:07 PM PDT  
Blogger Lori said...

Putting Apr 10 on the calendar. Is everyone going? I'd probably slobber all over Dean Koontz. And ask him to have my baby. Srsly.

10:43 PM PDT  
Blogger Holly said...

Oh snap! You know what I just thought of? There's a good chance I won't be able to make it April 10th. That's like...right after my due date.


I totally want to have Koontz's babies, too.

10:48 PM PDT  
Blogger Tara Marie said...

Sure--I live on the other coast :(

I've only read the Gurkhe and was disappointed in that one. I've wanted to try a Dare and I was waiting to see some reviews for the Duran books before picking them up. Now I know they're safe :)

4:37 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Look SL... if you plan it they will come.

Dear Holland, you are having a baby and forgot when it's due??? Your second post really cracked me up. Of course new babies are totally allowed to come to SoCal blogger gatherings. Just sayin'.

Lori, well if everyone isn't going they will be by the time we get through with them. Right?

Renee, I'd have to say SOUL SONG was my least fave of Liu's as well. Mer people are on my list with ghosts, fae folk, and well most fantasy type creatures. Joey Hill isn't for everyone, but her Nature series was very good I thought. I still have DUKE OF SHADOWS by Duran in my tbr. It's been there for a year. All of a sudden I start reading her. Could I tell you why? No...

TM, so many new authors to try am I right? Of course then there's the issue of not enough time to read. I really liked the first Girl Bachelor book by LLG so I keep buying and reading.

8:16 PM PDT  
Blogger Holly said...

No Silly, I didn't forget when my due date is, I just figured I shouldn't commit myself to something that near the date..just in case. My luck I'm a month off and would deliver there. Or maybe that would be your luck? heh

8:22 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Ms. Holly, new babies are totally allowed to arrive at SoCal blogger gatherings too. Of course MM may take issue.

8:32 PM PDT  
Blogger Holly said...

He probably would. I would probably have better luck with a bunch of women than one man though, don't you think?

8:41 PM PDT  
Blogger nath said...

Ugh, I missed all the fun discussion!! :(

You guys are just so lucky, living so close from each other...

Okay, back to the post. Wooohooo! Rosie's monthly list LOL :) 13 seems to be the number last month... you definitively did great.

Hmmm, I need to read Meredith Duran. I have Duke of Shadows and Bound by Your Touch. I picked them up, but i don't know... Also need to pick up the Tessa Dare.

I thought the Laure Lee Guhrke was interesting... I love how the author described to side of a coin :) You know how Daisy was like: Oh yeah, I can take the critic... and she back-pedaled... and how Daisy and Sebastien were sooo different in their writing and life style. The problem with the book was that there was no chemistry between the two :( Too bad.

A C for Healing Luke? Hmmm, I was debating whether to buy it or not... Hmmmm. Now I'm not sure... I was going to buy it just to buy it. I guess not anymore :P

The fire King... another one I bought and need to read ^_^;

9:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Holly, MM probably wouldn't think so!

Nath, what do you mean you missed all the discussion? You're here, I'm here, we're discussing. Besides you will be out here in like what 3-4 weeks?

7:11 AM PDT  
Blogger Tracy said...

Did you make a dent in the TBR or what? Great job.

I love the Meredith Duran books and I don't think, as you've probably discovered that it makes a difference that you read them out of order. Just good reading.

I have Hot Pursuit and need to dig in. Glad to see you gave it a B.

4:07 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Tracy, too true about reading Duran out of order. I probably should have mentioned that. D'oh.

9:46 PM PDT  

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