May 2013 reads

>> Saturday, June 01, 2013

May wasn't a good month for me on the personal front. I'm usually healthy and fit, but in the last month, I've had two separate health issues which made me feel pretty miserable. They turned out to be relatively minor stuff and I'm pretty much fully recovered (knock on wood!), but they were painful and uncomfortable and made me very worried and stressed when I wasn't quite sure what was going on. Fortunately, whatever mental stress I was under didn't ruin my enjoyment of some truly spectacular books!

1 - Guardian Demon, by Meljean Brook: A
review coming soon

My most anticipated read since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Quite simply, I loved it. A magnificent, cinematic ending to the fight against Lucifer, combined with a wonderful romance. I'm still a bit depressed by the thought that this series is over.

2 - After Hours, by Cara McKenna: A
review coming soon

On the surface, this shouldn't have worked for me. Erotic romance, BDSM elements, bossy hero, gritty... all usually not my things. But it did, and how! Newbie psychiatric nurse Erin and Kelly, an orderly who works in her ward felt real, and the sex scenes were all about developing intimacy and their relationship. Just amazing.

3 - Where D'You Go Bernadette, by Maria Semple: A-
review coming soon

Bernadette Fox, architect-on-a-hiatus, mother of Bee, arch-enemy of the other school-gate mothers, has disappeared, and Bee has gathered a list of documents (emails, bills, texts), trying to understand why. I read this one literally (yes, literally) in one sitting, and it's been ages since I've done that. It's great satire, but also a great story.

4 - Good For You, by Tammara Webber: B+
review coming soon

Audiobook. New Adult romance between a spoiled A-list hunky actor and a do-gooder future social worker. It starts out as pure fun, but the story's got a surprising amount of depth and angst. I really liked it.

5 - Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen: B+
review coming soon

Audiobook. I hadn't reread this for a while, and I forgot how absolutely hilarious it is. The narrator, Juliet Stevenson, is particularly excellent.

6 - The Secret History, by Donna Tartt: B+
review coming soon

Audiobook. Tartt somehow managed to take a group of entitled, elitist students at a top university, who we know from the beginning have committed a murder, and made me care about their fates. These people were fascinating, and I was gripped by the story.

7 - Love, Irresistibly, by Julie James: B+
review coming soon

Cade, a prosecutor after a corrupt politician, needs Brooke's help to get his proof. She's the high-flying general counsel of a large restaurant group. This one seemed at first that it might be a bit too low-conflict, with nothing to keep apart our two unattached protagonists, but then Brooke's career prospects and Cade's issues with his father provided excellent, satisfying conflict.

8 - Wrecked (from Fire & Frost), by Meljean Brook: B+
review coming soon

Novella, part of the Iron Seas series. Elizabeth has been running from Caius, one of her father's hunters, for years. Both have feelings for the other, but have had to suppress them. When they finally don't have to, it's very, very satisfying.

9 - Ice Cold, by Tess Gerritsen: B+
review coming soon

On a ski trip with friends, Maura ends up stranded in a creepy abandoned village up in the icy Wyoming mountains. Something is clearly wrong. This is one of the strongest entries in the series. It's suspenseful and exciting, and I loved the almost horror-movie feel of the first half.

10 - Sweet Enemy, by Heather Snow: B
review coming soon

Scientist heroine finds evidence that her father was killed for his involvement in some spy stuff, and that hero's family was somehow involved. She gets invited to a house party at his estate to investigate. Problem is, the party's to find hero a wife, and she attracts his interest. Snow is a new author, and this, her first book, was very promising.

11 - Cards On The Table, by Agatha Christie: B
review coming soon

Audiobook. Imprudent Mr. Sheitana decides to show off his guests, all of whom he believes have got away with murder, to Hercule Poirot. And then one of them kills him, while they're all playing bridge. Ingenious, and with really interesting characters.

12 - Whose Body?, by Dorothy L Sayers: B-
original review here

Audiobook. Guardian Demon was the culmination of my reread of the entire Guardians series, and I'm moving on to rereading the Lord Peter Wimsey books. This first one is not nearly as good as later books. Sayers is clearly still finding her feet and is sometimes a bit awkward (e.g. that looong confession letter from the murderer at the end, going over the entire thing yet again), but you can see the seeds of what a magnificent character Lord Peter turns out to be latter in the series.

13 - Stand-In Wife, by Karina Bliss: C+
review coming soon

Features a swap between the heroine and her twin which screwed up the whole book, because Bliss tried to sell it as a sensible/necessary thing to do, but didn't convince me. There were some well-done elements there, especially the relationship between the twins, and the sister's troubled marriage, but the romance was a bit of a dud.

14 - The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson: D
review here

If Forrest Gump were a sociopath. I really didn't like it, the characters were horrid and uninteresting and the humour was juvenile. I only finished it because I was reading it for my book club.

15 - Forever a Lady, by Delilah Marvelle: DNF
review here

I couldn't stand the writing. Purple, melodramatic, and the author really needs to lay off the thesaurus. Too bad, because the story sounded interesting: a rich widow with a deteriorating reputation the leader of a criminal gang.

16 - Wedding Night, by Sophie Kinsella: still reading
review coming soon

I'm only about a fifth in, and we've got 2 sisters, one of whom has just broken up with her boyfriend and is about to make one of the unwise decisions she always makes after her break-ups. The other sister knows that MO, and I'm pretty sure she's about to go chasing after her to keep her from making a huge mistake. So far, really funny and I like the characters.


Li 1 June 2013 at 19:03  

Oh, I'm reading WEDDING NIGHT right now as well - liking it so far.

I loved Tammara Webber's BTL series - have you read the first two?

Wendy 2 June 2013 at 04:09  

Wasn't Ice Cold just so ridiculously good? I "liked" the previous couple of books that preceded it - but that one hit it out of the park for me. That first half was a nail-biter!

Rosario 2 June 2013 at 07:05  

Li: I haven't, no, I went straight to number 3. I'll probably go back and read the first 2, even though it sounds like Reid was quite the jerk in them. And did you know that Webber will be releasing a 4th later in the year, continuing Reid and Dori's story? I'm not sure I like that trend in NA.

Wendy: I agree completely! That first half was amazing, it felt like a really, really good horror movie. I liked how the whole thing developed afterwards, but I was kind of sad she abandoned that aspect and just dumped those characters.

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