What are you reading - December 2010
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A little early, I know. I thought we could combine the weekly threads into one monthly one. :D
I finally got around to reading Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin. I loved that it was a historical set in a period other than regency England (it is set in 758 AD during the Tang Dynasty of China), but the book didn't really work for me.
I liked the characters (though they never really seemed fully realized to me), but the story was fairly bland and boring. I think that it would have benefitted from being longer (it is the typical length of a Harlequin historical), which would have allowed the author to more slowly build the hero and heroine's relationship and love story. Instead it felt rushed to me and I never really bought their early declarations of love. Having said all of that however, I would definitely read this author again.
Lam - I've been really intrigued by Butterfly Swords; I love the beautiful cover and the unusual setting. I'm still interested in picking it up - maybe with lower expectations, I'll be pleasantly surprised!
After tearing through Gabriel's Ghost, I immediately jumped into the sequel Shades of Dark by Linnea Sinclair. Shades of Dark was a darker read, more difficult, and less romance-focused. It was far more about Chaz and Sully coming to terms with their relationship and with Sully's abilities. It was definitely still a gripping read, but (understandably) there was less of the humor that I so loved in the first - and less of Ren (so sad!).
That said, there was a snippet of the third book in the back of my copy of Shades of Dark, and I think it's safe to say I'll be speeding through Hope's Folly (love that title) with just as much speed as the other two!
Just finished reading my first Hannah Howell historical romance published in 2006, Conqueror's Kiss, and all I can say is WOW! This book had everything I like to see in a romance: lots of sexual tension and tenderness, characters you can care about and lots and lots of action. It's 410 pages and I've stayed up to the wee hours of the morning to finish it and even wrote a review.
I finally finished The Darkest Kiss and will probably move on to a fantasy novel, The Innocent Mage, which I've been putting off for ages.
Update: I did get a few pages into The Innocent Mage but my ER copy of The Demon Trapper's Daughter came in today from the October batch so I think I'll probably read that first.
Just finished a contemporary romance by Lisa Kleypas, Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor. It's not available in paperback yet, so I got on the wait list at my library. I am so happy I read this. Only 211 pages with fairly large print, it's a quick read and a heartwarming story. I dare any female to try to read this book and not say "ahh, that is so sweet" or laugh out loud multiple times, as two uncles cope with raising their sister's six-year-old daughter Holly (perfect name for a Christmas story) after her mother tragically died in a car accident. The romance is great too. It will warm your heart, guaranteed.
I finished Until You by Judith McNaught and I loved, loved, loved it. It was sweet and funny yet heartbreaking at times. This is the second of her books I've read and now I think I'm going to have to read all her other historicals. Now I'm trying to decide what I can possibly follow it up with.
I'm currently reading The Baby Bonding by Caroline Anderson, a contemporary romance. It's about a single father and the woman who was the surrogate for his son. They are falling in love, but the stakes are high because if it goes wrong, it's their son who's in the middle. I like this one, because it's not instant 'happy family' for either of them and they don't want to fall in love, yet they do.
I flew cross country last week and had a bunch of time to read. I finished two books in the Pennyroyal Green Series by Julie Anne Long. I finished Since the Surrender and I Kissed an Earl. I loved I Kissed an Earl - it was very well written and had a lot of character development which was great to see. It saved the series for me.
I also finished Wicked Delights of a Bridal Bed from a different series by Tracy Anne Warren. I enjoyed this book up until about 50 pages from the end when it became a soap opera.
Picked up my copy of Lover Mine in paperback. Been waiting for it to come out - but have to finish a few YA books I have going first. It is definately next after those!
Just finished Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati and found myself disappointed with it. It can't help but suffer when compared to Gabaldon's Outlander. I managed to give it only 3 1/2 stars mostly because I found it hard to like or empathize with the heroine. For me 3 1/2 stars means it had some redeeming qualities, but I could have lived happily without reading it.
Not sure what's next, another historical most likely.
DianeYu - I felt exactly the same way you did about Into the Wilderness. No one grabbed me or held my interest and I just found I didn't care what happened to them all that much. Not a compelling read like Outlander, and yes, it suffered due to the comparisons.
Thanks ktleyed for sharing, it makes me feel a bit better about my assessment.
**Possible spoiler alert!** There were a number of occasions where I felt the heroine acted like a nit-wit and her husband was always asking her for reassurance that she wouldn't leave him. Not to mention the last quarter of the book wrapped up the plot too neatly by simply killing off each and every bad guy in accidents except for one that suddenly turned pussy cat. Not very satisfying.
I finished At Last Comes Love by Mary Balogh last night, it was my favorite of the series so far. I'm also working my way through the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning again, this time on audiobook, in anticipation of Shadowfever next month. The cliffhangers haven't been so bad this time around, haha. Hopefully she answers a lot in this final book of the series though. I'm also starting One Night with a Prince by Sabrina Jeffries tonight.
fadinga: If you are liking Judith McNaught, I recommend Whitney, My Love. It's McNaught at her most dramatic and angsty. It was the first historical by her that I read and after I finished it, I immediately went out and glommed her entire backlist. A Kingdom of Dreams is also fantastic. I also enjoyed a couple of her contemporaries immensely (Paradise and Perfect) and I don't read much contemporary romance. A lot of people dislike her somewhat melodramatic style, but she is one of the first romance authors I ever read and I have a great fondness for her books. I'll be interested to hear what you think of her other books. :)
edited to add: I also loved Sabrina Jeffries' Prince series. Be sure and share what you think of those too!
I finished up A Woman Scorned by Liz Carlyle yesterday and LOVED it. What a great story with great characters and just plain great writing! The focus on characters reminds me a lot of Mary Balogh. I immediately ran out to Half Price Books and snatched up as many of her books as I could find. Next up is the sequel, A Woman of Virtue.
Ktleyed, I am not familiar with Lynn Kurland's books, so looked her up on Amazon after reading your post. Where would you suggest I start? I found book one of the Nine Kingdoms, Star of the Morning but reviews say this series is a return to the Nine Kingdoms used in two earlier books, so I'm a bit confused on the best place to start. This author has quite a few of 4.5 star books so I'd love to give her a try. All feedback welcome.
DianeYu, this is actually the first Lynn Kurland book I've read, but it's the first in a long series, so that's why I'm starting with this one.
katybear - Whitney, My Love was actually the first book of hers I read and I love it too. I had a lucky trip to Half Price Books and found some other historicals of hers and am excited to jump in. Although no luck on Nicki's short story, which I'm looking forward to.
DianeYu - I've read a lot of Lynn Kurland's MacLeod series and De Piaget series. I really enjoy her books. I actually read most of them out of order but a lot of her books contain characters from past books. They are generally related in one way or another and she also interweaves them using time travel, so many show up here and there. Those two series interweave with each other as well. If I had it to do over again I'd start at the beginning. Her webpage has a pretty good list for order published as well as a genealogy chart (though the charts in the back of her books are more detailed).
Thanks fadinga for info on Lynn Kurland. I have had to resort a number of times to author websites to figure out series order. It's even tougher when they do things like a prequel as a third book. I will do my research before starting, I'm excited to find a new author to add to my wish list, even though I'm still working through several already found in this forum.
I also did a search on locations for Half Price Books and found the closest one to me is a four-hour drive to Pittsburgh. Oh, well, I do have a library six miles away, swap books on Swap.com, and have a Kindle so I won't lack for books.
I just finished One Night with a Prince. I really enjoyed the whole Royal Brotherhood series from beginning to end, my favorite being the second book with the brooding Dragon Viscount. This series was my first by Sabrina Jeffries and I'm glad I already picked up her School for Heiresses books. Next up is The Pirate Prince by Gaelen Foley.
I did some research on Amazon recently to see what books I may have missed by historical romance author Barbara Samuel, whose book Bed of Spices I enjoyed a year or two ago. To my surprise I saw that she also wrote contemporaries under the name Ruth Wind - not sure how I missed that before, but I downloaded In the Midnight Rain and loved it. I've done a review on it if you're interested.
I just finished Their First Noel by Annie Jones and loved it! It really put me in the mood for Christmas. I started to read Western Winter Wedding Bells a Harlequin compilation book, and can't put it down. I really didn't expect too much more than a good Christmas story or two. But these three stories are so intriguing that I just can't stop reading!
If you like funny Christmas romances you might try "A Man for all Seasons" by Heather Macallister. It's just an adorable story about two people who've known each other forever who finally realize what they've been missing. I really enjoyed it.
OK, I'm a new member, just joining this thread. I just bought a whole lot of romances on sale from bookcloseouts.com (check it out if you like to buy cheap books). I am reading my way through them somewhat alphabetically by author. So right now I am reading through Victoria Alexander books. I finished The Husband List and now I'm reading Secrets of a Proper Lady. I really enjoy the way she writes dialogue -- fun and clever!
I read Marry Me (free Kindle read) and Wild Sweet Ecstasy by Jo Goodman. These are the first books I have read by this author and I really enjoyed both. She gets very in-depth with her stories. It was refreshing to read Historical Westerns. It's a nice change from Regency romances.
I finished Sex and the Single Earl which was a rather boring book. I didn't hate it but definitely won't be rereading it in the future.
Marry Me was excellent. It was an intricate story with well developed characters and a plot that takes some unexpected twists and turns. Jo Goodman never disappoints. I only wish more of her older novels were available for the kindle.
I havent been buying any books lately because I was looking into getting an e-reader :) So, my kindle should be here on Wedn. and I will be downloading the newest & last book in The Vampire Academy and Christine Feehan's newest book from The Carpathian series
I finished The Reckless Bride the last book in Stephanie Laurens recent series. This series felt really formulaic. I miss the old Stephanie Laurens, she's definitely moved off my auto-buy list.
I read Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean. Not quite as good as the first book, but I really enjoyed it.
I've gone on a full-out Linnea Sinclair/space opera extravaganza. After finishing the first two books in her Dock Five series (Gabriel's Ghost and Shades of Dark), I moved on to Hope's Folly - which is my definite favorite so far. It was full of action - assassination attempts, fire fights, fires and explosions. I felt like I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, and loved every second of it.
And now, my mom has sent me the fourth book in the series Rebels and Lovers - and I dove straight into that one as well. The hero Devin (Philip's younger brother) is a computer geek using his tech skills to track down his nephew; the heroine is a former crush and a star pilot. So excited!
Just finished Wild at Heart by Patricia Gaffney and loved it. Will definitely read more of her work. I have several Mary Balogh titles in my tbr pile, so will start on those next.
I finished A Christmas Bride by Mary Balogh, and was surprised to find the hero and heroine from A Precious Jewel playing a significant role in this book. I liked A Precious Jewel a lot and Balogh wrapped up, or at least tried to explain, a lot of distressing things that were left open ended between the heroine of A Christmas Bride and the hero of A Precious Jewel in the previous book. I also finished the anthology A Historical Christmas Present. I liked the first two stories by Lisa Kleypas and Lynsay Sands, but I couldn't make it past the first 20 pages of the third. I'm rounding out my holiday themed reading with the short story The Bond Street Carolers, another by Mary Balogh.
Reading The Unsung Hero which is my first Suzanne Brockmann book. I like it. Would like to hear opinions on the rest of the troubleshooters series.
LOVE Brockmann. Love, love, love. She can't write fast enough, as far as I'm concerned.
I read Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor on my Kindle!!! Yeah, the first book I've read on it. The book was good but I was expecting more of a romance novel. I felt like the book ended when the relationship was just starting and wanted to follow the couple longer.
I finished Beauty Like the Night just before Christmas. The h/h had been budding lovers as teenagers, were separated by their mean old parents, and then they meet back up later in life. It was enjoyable, but I couldn't help but compare it to Lisa Kleypas' Again the Magic, which is my favorite "star-crossed lovers torn apart and reunited as grownups" book. What really made Beauty Like the Night most engaging were the secondary characters (the hero's younger brother and sister). I just started the sister's story, No True Gentleman and I cannot wait to read Bentley's story in The Devil You Know. SO glad I discovered this author!
reesa00: I haven't read Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor, but I do know that it's supposed to be the first book in a series that Lisa Kleypas is writing. She usually does a pretty good job of interweaving her characters from book to book within a series, so maybe you'll get to see more of the couple from that book later on? I love Kleypas' historicals, but I haven't read any of her contemporary novels because I dislike the first-person writing point of view. Is this new book written in first-person?
katybear, Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor was written in third person. I didn't realize that her other contemporaries were first-person, I don't enjoy that style either. This is definitely third person.
I just felt like it wasn't a romance novel...It frustrates me when romance authors genre jump without telling you and just force their original readers along (yes, J.R. Ward I am looking at you). I'm not asking for more explicit scenes, I just feel like the hero and heroine should actually be developing a relationship for most of the book (the hero should not be dating someone else, even if that relationship was mutually not monogamous). It was just frustrating. I'm hoping that these characters show up in a future book but am not sure I am interested enough to buy it.
Thanks for the Liz Carlyle recommendation. I read No True Gentleman but never followed up on future books. I'll have to take a look.
I just sped through Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men - the second in a romantic vampire comedy series with a similar premise to the Sookie Stackhouse series. It's set in a small Kentucky town, and I think it's really hysterical. I laughed out loud at the first in the series (Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs), and this one was fun as well.
I finished The Bond Street Carolers, which was short and sweet, perfect for this time of year. I'm now listening to The Betrayal of the Blood Lily by Lauren Willig and reading The Devil's Waltz by Anne Stuart.
Does anyone know of any other good historical novels by Anne Stuart? I was recently introduced to her with a free prequel on my nook of her Rohan series and their marketing paid off because I immediately read the rest of that series. Most of the stuff I've come across from her appears to be contemporary and I was just wondering what other historicals she might have that are worth reading.
I've just started 'Runaway Lady' by Claire Thornton. I think she is an under rated HR author and just love her work. She creates such believale characters with anazing tension right from the beginning - oh, and did I mention her amazing alpha male heroes - her special trait is physically attractive but socially inept - oh what scope for the heroine to reform him! Sigh!
Any other Claire Thornton fans out there?
I finished The Lady Most Likely which was more of an anthology than a novel. Once I understood that, my expectations changed and I enjoyed it more. It was an enjoyable book but not a top product of any of the three authors.
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