May 2012 reads

>> Saturday, June 02, 2012

A pretty good month!

1 - Her Best Worst Mistake, by Sarah Mayberry: A-
review here

Violet has never liked her best friend's fiance, and the feeling was mutual. But then the best friend dumps him, and it turns out that dislike wasn't dislike after all. Loved, loved, loved this, and not just because the premise of a stuffy hero thawed out by the "wild" heroine is one I like. This had that, plus characters I love.

2 - The Proposal, by Mary Balogh: B+
review here

Start of a new series. The hero is a war hero who rescues the heroine from a mishap. They don't like each other at first, but soon start seeing below the surface. They have plenty of issues to deal with before their HEA (including Hugo's chip on his shoulder about his middle class origin, when Gwen is an aristocrat), but they actually deal with them sensibly. It's not a particularly exciting book, but it's solidly enjoyable, nonetheless.

3 - Mystic & Rider, by Sharon Shinn: B+
original review here

Reread of an old favourite, the start of the Twelve Houses series. This is the book that sets it all up: the mixed group of friends (including both the mystics and King's Riders of the title) the unrest and persecution of the mystics, Cammon's developing powers. It was interesting to read it knowing what is coming up... for instance, the mistrust between them at the beginning seemed shocking, knowing how much they trust and rely on each other later on. Really good, and the romance between Tayse and Senneth is definitely the best in the series.

4 - Packing For Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, by Mary Roach: B
review coming up

Roach takes a humorous and fascinating look at space travel. From the first animals in space to the possibility of setting up in Mars, she looks at it all. I was especially struck by the chapters in which she examines the practicalities of living in zero gravity. I've never thought about it much, really, but pretty much everything is affected! Good fun.

5 - If It Ain't Love, by Tamara Allen: B
review coming up

Short story, set in New York during the worst of the Great Depression. Journalist Whit has lost his job and is now homeless and penniless. In a flophouse one night he meets Peter, who, it turns out, is about to be evicted from his lovely big house in the best part of town. It's a sweet romance and a haunting setting, but Allen left me wanting more. It's free in e-format, definitely worth a try.

6 - The Walker in Shadows, by Barbara Michaels: B
original review here

Reread of one of my favourite Barbara Michaels ghost stories. The heroine is a recent widow who lives with her teenage son in an old house in Maryland. The long-abandoned house next door is a twin to hers, and it comes alive with a vengeance when a new neighbour moves in with his teenage daughter. This is a 1979 book, and a lot of it feels quite dated, but even in her 1960s books, Michaels writes with a feminist sensibility which I love. So the characters and interactions were great, but this time around, I found the ghost story and the investigation of it a little bit less satisfying than I remembered.

7 - The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson: B
review coming up

Read for my book club. This book has entered our collective consciousness to such an extent that I thought I knew quite a bit about it, but then actually reading it surprised me. It was quite different to what I expected. I liked the reading bit well enough, but what was best of all was the discussion at book club, which was fantastic.

8 - Half-Blood Blues, by Esi Edugyan: B-
review here

In occupied Paris in 1940, a young black German trumpetist is arrested by the Nazis, never to be seen again. By 1992, he has become a legend. And then two of his fellow band-members receive some unexpected news. A really fresh and original premise and setting, and I loved that element of it. The characterisation, however, was disappointing, and kept me from really enjoying the story.

9 - Can't Stand the Heat, by Louisa Edwards: C
review coming up

When new restaurant owner Adam is goaded into daring food critic Miranda to work for a month in his kitchen, Miranda jumps on the opportunity. She dreams of writing a book, and hopes all she will learn will help get it published. But the publishers seem interested only in gossip, and Miranda must decide if she goes for that, or allows her developing relationship with Adam to distract her. This was a mix of great (Adam, the food and restaurant stuff, the secondary relationship) and really ugly (Miranda's utter lack of honour). Left a bad taste in my mouth, but would still be willing to try another by Edwards.

10 - Resenting the Hero, by Moira J. Moore: C
review coming up

Fantasy, set in a world where bonded pairs with special abilities are able to head off natural disasters. The heroine bonds with a man with a bit of a reputation... everyone loves him, and his nickname is "The Stallion". She doesn't want to like him and doesn't trust him, but it seems he might be a better person than she thinks. I liked the world-building very much. It's fresh and interesting, especially the bonded pairs thing, which isn't your typical romance-novel fated mates cliche. The execution, however, it's not great. It's just a bit shallow. Plus, mistaken expectations. I thought this was fantasy romance, but didn't get practically any romance at all.

11 - Decent Exposure, by Phillipa Ashley: C-
review here

After her PR career blew up, Emma has moved to the Lake District to take up a low-profile job at the tourist board. In her free time, she decides to help the local mountain rescue team do some fundraising for a new base. Her idea? A naked calendar. Will, one of the volunteers, is not amused. Promising start, but it ended up being a bit of a mess. Emma and Will's relationship was frustrating, mostly because I just couldn't figure out Emma. She was all over the place.

12 - Firelight, by Kristen Callihan: DNF
review here

Disappointing. I love gothics, and this one seemed promising. A young woman marries a mysterious masked man she doesn't know anything about, and who soon after the wedding becomes an unofficial suspect in a gruesome murder. There's a hint of the paranormal as well, since both she and her new husband have got powers, and neither one wants the other to know. It just dragged... took me three weeks to read about a quarter of it, and I just couldn't be bothered.

13 - Ride With Me, by Ruthie Knox: still reading
review coming up

Alex Marshall needs a partner for a cross-country bike ride (too risky for a woman to camp out on her own for months), Tom Geiger's sister offers him up without his knowledge. Tom isn't happy at first (he's been a loner since his life went to hell a few years earlier), but he soon warms up to Alex. Loving it so far. The cycling is really fun, and Tom and Alex have got loads of chemistry.


Darlynne,  2 June 2012 at 16:23  

I'll be interested to read your take on Resenting the Hero. I've started it a couple of times, but allowed multiple distractions to turn me away. By definition, this should be the perfect book for me, and yet I struggle. Perhaps it's time to try again.

Rosario 4 June 2012 at 08:12  

I'll post that review soon, but I'll just say I'm not surprised. I kept getting distracted with other books myself!

Barb in Maryland 5 June 2012 at 20:38  

I'm impressed that you were able to stop your re-read after Mystic and Rider!! Usually when I pick that one up I end up re-reading the whole series in one glom. For me, they are comfort reads of the highest order.

Barb in Maryland

Ro 5 June 2012 at 23:10  

Barb: I'm pacing myself :-) Plus, the next one is my least favourite. But once I've read that one, I suspect I won't be able to stop!

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