Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Monthly Tally: April 2011

From TBR Journal

  1. Collision Course, Zoe Archer - So far I haven't boarded the Zoe Archer fangirl bus. I think I simply haven't been in the right mindset and I'll definitely give her another shot one of these days.
  2. Mona Lisa Eclipsing, Sunny - Much better than the last two.
  3. Chosen by Blood, Virna DePaul - Interesting debut. Looking forward to seeing more from her.
  4. A Borrowed Scot, Karen Ranney
  5. Secrets of a Proper Countess, Lecia Cornwall
  6. The Peach Keeper, Sarah Addison Allan
  7. Chasing Fire, Nora Roberts
  8. The Sweetest Thing, Jill Shalvis
  9. Seduce Me in Dreams, Jacquelyn Frank
  10. Darkness Dawns, Diane Duvall
  11. You're Finally Here, Melanie Watts - I love meta picture books. It's a Book by Lane Smith and We're in a Book by Mo Willems are two of my favorites.
  12. Clarity, Kim Harrington
  13. Counterfeit Magic, Kelley Armstrong
  14. Kiss at Your Own Risk, Stephanie Rowe - Really good. I regret not picking it up earlier and I'm looking forward to the next one.
  15. Just One Taste, Louisa Edwards
  16. The Light Princess, George MacDonald - A rather odd old fairy tale.
  17. The Laird Who Loved Me, Karen Hawkins
  18. Wicked Harvest, Anita Lynn McLeod
  19. Scenes from an Impending Marriage, Adrian Tomine
  20. Not That Kind of Girl, Susan Donovan - RITA finalist for Contemporary Romance
  21. Simply Irresistible, Jill Shalvis
  1. Baby, Drive South, Stephanie Bond, 5/2011- This book felt like a bit of wasted potential. The backstory was very intriguing: a small town is leveled by a tornado and three brothers begin to rebuild it, using only green construction methods. However, the main conflict was the discord between the hero and heroine. It didn't get resolved until close to the end, leaving me feeling like 'Where did that come from?' but I did still want to read the next book in the series.
  2. My Dangerous Pleasures, Carolyn Jewell, 6/2011
  3. Baby, Come Home, Stephanie Bond, 6/2011- Come Home was better than Drive South, but still fell a little short of the mark. Again, things weren't resolved until the very end and there were only tantalizing glimpses at the rebuilding efforts. Also, the supporting character of Rachel annoyed the daylights out of me. I feel like Bond has the potential to be an excellent contemporary author, but hasn't quite found the right book yet.
  4. As You Wish, Gabi Stevens, out now
  5. Bodyguards in Bed, Lucy Monroe, Jamie Denton, and Elisabeth Naughton, 6/2011

Books Read Along the Way:
  1. Zoe and the Tormented Tycoon by Kate Hewitt 
  2. Unchained, Sharon Ashwood - A RITA finalist in Paranormal Romance. I'm not sure why this one wasn't in my TBR because Scorched is and this was good. Definitely an unique addition to the genre.
  3. Born on the 4th of July by Jill Shalvis, Rhonda Nelson and Karen Foley
  4. Love is Blind, Lynsay Sands
  5. Bet Me and Crazy for You by Jennifer Crusie - April was a tough month me for so I needed some comfort and re-read some of my favorites.
  6. Heart Mate, Heart Thief, Heart Quest, Heart Change, Heart Dance, and Heart Journey by Robin D. Owens- About once a year, usually near the summer, I go on an Owens kick. I cannot WAIT for Heart Search in August. I'm crossing my fingers that the ARCs gods are kind to me.
  7. Pink Satin, Jennifer Greene
  8. Black Magic Woman, Christine Warren - I think this didn't make the TBR because I thought it was another Ellora's Cave rewrite, but it was actually a new story. It was good, but I'm definitely so over winged protectors.

I also got Small-Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers by Debby Maugans and loved it so much, I bought a copy. I haven't read it all the way through so I'm not counting it yet. Highly recommended, though.

Category Totals

Romance: 29 + 5 ARCs
Science Fiction: 1
Fiction: 1
Young Adult: 1 
Graphic Novels: 1
Picture Books: 1
Children's: 1

Year to Date: 116 books, 26 ARCs

Monthly Tally: March 2011

From TBR journal
  1. Captured by a Rogue Lord, Katharine Ashe- I'm not really one for historicals, but I whizzed through this one. Quite good. 
  2. The Knitting Diaries, Debbie Macomber, Susan Mallery & Christina Skye- Wasn't wowed by this one. I felt the stories were stifled by the shorter format and I was pretty lost with the Macomber story since I haven't read the Blossom Street books.
  3. River Marked, Patricia Briggs - I was creeped out by the otters. Big time. 
  4. Lover Unleashed, J.R. Ward - The first book I really liked since Butch's. I also kinda forgive her now for the book that shall not be named. 
  5. The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf, Molly Harper - Harper's writing demonstrates a wonderful sense of humor. 
  6. Navarro's Promise, Lora Leigh
  7. Live Wire, Lora Leigh
  8. Harvest Moon, Robyn Carr
  9. A Lot Like Love, Julie James - Going by the blurb, I didn't think I was going to like this one and I was proved very wrong. Another excellent contemporary.
  10. Primal Bonds, Jennifer Ashley
  11. Hunger Untamed, Pamela Palmer
  12. Fated, Rebecca Zanetti
  13. Demon Song, Cat Adams - I love love love this series. I even forgive it for being the first person. These are great books, although they lean more to urban fantasy/sci fic than romance. Read them anyway.
  14. Ice Breaker, Deirdre Martin -  I have a weakness for sport books. Did not like this one, however. My displeasure was centered around the relationship between the hero & heroine, but I can't get more specific than that. It just didn't feel right.
  15. Harry Potter and the Deathly Boring, Stefan Petrucha and Rich Parker - A graphic novel parody. Would be suitable for young boys.
  16. Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku, Lee Wardlaw
  17. When I Grow Up, Al Yankovic - I think I was expecting it to be a little more tongue in cheek, but it was a cute picture book. 
  18. One Enchanted Evening, Lynn Kurland
  19. Skin Tight, Ava Gray - I'm a big fan of this series now. It's Dark Angel-esque. 
  20. Over the Rainbow, E.Y. Harburg
  21. How to Knit a Love Song, Rachel Herron
  22. Master of Fire, Angela Knight
  23. Sinful, Charlotte Featherstone -  I did not like the ending. At all. 
  24. Undercover, Lauren Danes
  25. Sleepless in Scotland, Karen Hawkins
  26. Emerald Wand of Oz,  Sherwood Smith
  27. Pavement Chalk Artist, Julian Beever - An amazing book. This artist does sidewalk chalk art that, when viewed from a particular spot or through a camera lens, looks 3D. 
  1. Moonlight Cove, Sherryl Woods, out now
  2. Kiss of Snow, Nalini Singh, 5/2011
  3. Savage Nature, Christine Feehan, out now
  4. An Affair Without End, Candance Camp, out now
  5. Beach Lane, Sherryl Woods, 5/2011
  6. Malled, Caitlin Kelly, out now - This was a fantastic look at what it's like working in retail.
  7. Blood of the Maple, Dana Marie Bell, out now - A really unique twist on the vampire/paranormal bit. I really enjoy this author's work.
I did a bit of re-reading, mainly J.D. Robb. March was an insanely crappy month so I was seeking comfort from old favorites.

Category Totals

Romance: 18 + 6 ARCs
Science Fiction: 2
Nonfiction: 1 + 1 ARC
Graphic Novels: 1
Picture Books: 3
Fiction: 1
Children's: 1

Year to Date: 82 books, 21 ARCs

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    5 Minute Review: Zoe and the Tormented Tycoon by Kate Hewitt

    Zoe and the Tormented Tycoon by Kate Hewitt: A RITA finalist for Contemporary Series Romance

    Notorious British party-girl Zoe Balfour has discovered that she is illegitimate. She travels to New York to find her father and she crosses paths with Max Monroe at a charity benefit where one thing leads to another. After a one night stand, Zoe ends up pregnant, but Max, gradually going blind, can't handle the idea of commitment and the changes it brings. Zoe and Max must figure out who they are and who they want to be.

    I am a sucker for books that feature a heroine or hero with a physical disability. Once again, though, I had difficulties. Zoe illustrates another problem I have with categories, the continuing series. Since the book is so short, Hewitt doesn't spend a lot of time on Zoe's backstory, making the assumption you have read the previous books in the Balfour Brides series. I never particularly got invested in her transformation from Paris Hilton-type party girl to Carol Brady mom-to-be. Max, the hero, was a bit easier as I was predisposed to be sympathetic towards him. However, his blindness was relegated to an excuse rather than a legitimate plot device. There was no explanation as to what Stargardt's disease is. According to Wikipedia, it's a real disease that is genetically inherited and the symptoms usually begin between ages six to twelve. Zoe is twenty-six and the assumption is that Max is older. So why did Max's disease pick now to kick in? Who did he inherit it from? Wouldn't the baby now be susceptible to the disease? While Max was doing his whole 'Woe, I'll never see my kid's face' routine, shouldn't the possibility this would affect the kid occur to him?Aside from this issue, the writing was decent. I think this was simply another case of the author being handicapped by the category format.