Hmm, it was a pretty good month for me, in terms of reading. Slow at the beginning of the month, but speeding up as the month drew to an end, mostly because there were more releases I was interested in on the last two Tuesdays of the month. There are a few DNFs on the list; they may have turned out to be not bad books, but I wasn’t in the mood for them, so they were tossed aside.
1. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen. YA, contemporary. B+. I tweeted that this felt like a reprise of Dessen’s The Truth About Forever, and received a response from another reader that hearing that news would encourage her to buy a copy. I loved TTAF (Wes, with the sa-woon), so the similarities aren’t a bad thing, and this is a pretty good book. It just didn’t feel fresh or original to me, which is why it is a B+ while TTAF is an A+.
2. Men of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong. Urban fantasy. A-/B+. This is a re-read, since I read most of this material when it was available for free on Armstrong’s website.
3. Living With the Dead by Kelly Armstrong. Urban fantasy. B-. As I mentioned earlier, this book didn’t quite work for me, and I think it is a function of the narrator and multiple POVs. Plus, I like the Clay/Elena/Jeremy stories better, I think.
4. Family Matters by Sean Michael, et al. M/m, anthology. DNF — I read two and a half of the four stories, before setting this aside. The third and fourth stories just didn’t hold my interest, but the first two were fairly good, in the B range. The theme of the anthology was gay couples who end up parenting by default.
5. Black Hills by Nora Roberts. Contemporary, romantic suspense. C+. This will not be one of my favorite La Nora books. Loved the beginning of the book, loved the setting and the description of the reserve, didn’t care about the characters, especially the hero’s sacrifice for the best interests of the heroine when they were young (patronizing) and the heroine’s blinkered view of their youthful romance (get over it).
6. Cutting Loose by Susan Andersen. Contemporary romance. B. Pretty good, although some details bothered me.
7. ePistols at Dawn by Z.A. Maxfield. M/m romance, ebook. B+. Am working on a post about this book in the context of reader expectations of authors, based on something one of the heroes says to the other.
8. Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti. Steampunk. A. My first steampunk novel ever. Loved it. Want to read more, recommendations, please? Many thanks tojanicu for this book!
9. Burn by Linda Howard. Suspense (not really much romance). C-. What I liked and didn’t like are here.
10. Savage Dragon by Anna Hackett. Paranormal, debut, novella. C+. What’s not to like aboutromance with dragons?
11. Because of the Brave by Laura Baumbach, Josh Lanyon and Z.A. Maxfield. M/m romance, anthology. DNF, may swing back to it later. The mention of one hero’s beard stumble was really distracting, btw.
12. Hot in Here by Sophie Renwick. Contemporary. DNF, just not interested in the story, womanizing hero seemed like a jerk, not inspired to read past 50 pages.
13. Hot Pursuit by Suzanne Brockmann. Action/suspense. B/B+. This is NOT a romance novel, although there is a romance thread. Brockmann was very clear about that when marketing the book, so I had no romancey expectations and was not disappointed by the lack of HEA/HFN; in fact, given the way Gillman was presented, I wouldn’t have believed an HEA. I tweeted some of my thoughts as I read and will try to organize and expand them, then post.
14. Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare. European historical. C. This was beautifully written, but the heroine killed the book for me. She wasn’t TSTL, but she was petulant, manipulative and self-centered. There is nothing wrong with being strong-willed, but will needs to be tempered by reason, which she lacked as a function of her youth and upbringing (or lack thereof). Came across as irritating and unsympathetic to me. Which, okay, she was young and part of her character’s development is learning to think outside of herself. But that came way too late. By then, I’d totally lost patience. Also, the word "chit", I hate it, and seeing it 8 times in one book was like nails on a chalkboard. Saucy chit, annoying chit, plain old chit. (Oh, search function, how I love thee.)