Today’s SBD shall be short and a little sour rather that sweet: my holiday reading report.
Andalus by Jason Webster. Interesting general fiction found at Altair on Gran Via in Barcelona, which specializes in travel books of all sorts, this book is the narrative of a journalist looking for Arabic history and modernity in Spain and his road trip along side a Moroccan immigrant. Very little happens in terms of external action, but there’s a lot of ruminating and debating and discussion of the Reconquest, the Inquisition, and expulsion of the Moors. Despite having fascinating underlying material, the narrative style somehow managed to make Spanish history boring. Ouch.
Primal Man by Marguerite Turnley. Australia-set category by Rocky River Romance – a new imprint from several years ago, assuming it went nowhere, haven’t seen any books out recently. Heroine narrator was TSTL, told brilliant, shown a spoiled, thoughtless brat. DNF
A Lady Awakened by Cecelia Grant. Well-written, but I was troubled by the underlying premise and the hypocrisy of the do-good, martyr heroine engaging in fraud or theft for what she judged to be the greater good. Her judgment being better or of higher value than truth or right? Stiff, pretentious, and the “one must” affectation was irritating. The author did a better job of humanizing and showing the hero’s growth/change than the heroine’s; never stopped thinking of her as a pompous, stilted twit.
I used to pay a lot of attention to AAR’s annual reader poll, but have slacked off in the last few years as I’ve spent less time at AAR and more time at smaller, less mainstream romance blogs and websites. I sort of intended to at least fill in a ballot but missed the deadline. Looking at the results, the big hit seems to have been Joanna Bourne’s The Black Hawk, which I liked well enough when I read it last month but which wouldn’t have made a “best of” list for me. Other mentions are Quinn’s Just Like Heaven, which I felt indifferent about; the two JD Robb installments for the year, which were okay but not the best of the series at this point; Kate Daniels as an honorable mention for the kick ass heroine category; and The Admiral’s Penniless Bride by Carla Kelly, which I read back in 2010 and didn’t include for my 2011 best of list. When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James, an honorable mention, was a below average historical peopled by characters with modern sensibilities IMO. And Jaci Burton’s The Perfect Play made the poll: I thought it was a huge disappointment. The poll’s results serve to remind me that the reading community has vastly different tastes in reading 😛