Monday, April 18, 2011

Hilcia's Weekly Reads & Minis

A weekly reads post two weeks in a row! What do you know? April continues to be a great reading month for me. I'm on a roll, and it's about time!
  • I began the week by finishing off Maisie Dobbs, Book 1 by Jacqueline Winspear, a mystery set during World War I in London. This was a great way to begin my week as the atmosphere in this novel really caught my imagination. I have prepared a review for later on in the week. 
  • Needing a break from mysteries, I decided to read a genre that I haven't read this whole year, M/M Erotic Romance. I picked up Twice the Cowboy by James Buchanan since I loved her book Cheating Chance. Unfortunately Twice the Cowboy did not live up to my expectations. This romance fell into the insta-luv category, and although Buchanan writes some hot and erotic interactions, the whole "love and commitment" part of it came a bit fast and furious for my taste. Of course these are cowboys and I love them so I enjoyed that aspect of the story, plus I also liked that the protagonists are from different cultures and Buchanan addresses some of the differences not only within the cultures, but how gay men can are treated. Unfortunately the Spanish language is butchered in this novella and the editing for it is non-existent. For me personally that was enough to pull me out of the most intimate moments, as the language is used liberally throughout the book and especially during sexual encounters. Grade C-
  • I continued my week by picking up the latest historical romance release by Susanna Fraser, A Marriage of Inconvenience. This is a new-to-me author and the book was a pleasant surprise. I highly enjoyed some aspects of this story and yet other parts of it were not quite what I expected. I enjoyed her writing, though, and as you'll see later on in the week I picked up another book by this author. Upcoming Review.
  • And because I needed another change of pace, I chose to read a book that had been on my TBB list for a couple of years, The Demon's Librarian by Lilith Saintcrow. I wrote a post when I was reading the book and as you can see I enjoyed some aspects of this book, particularly the fact that Chess is a rather protective head librarian and has a great sense of humor. This was the best part of the book for me and the best aspect of her personality. 
Unfortunately, there's a certain unevenness to this story that left me feeling disappointed in the end. Chess' characterization is quite contradictory. She's a tough librarian who goes out there to take care of demons on her own and has a wonderful way with words, but she's all talk and no action. Once she's out there, the "hero" (and he's a good hero) does all the killing and all the saving, until the very end. But for most of the book, she just... freezes? And for a smart woman shows some pretty bad judgment. I'm not quite sure what happened there. The book also feels like the beginning of an urban fantasy series, but it has an epilogue tacked up at the end that gives it a sort of "happily ever after/happily for now" feel to it. So, in the end this read was a mixed bag for me. Grade C
  • I was so curious about the next story written by Susanna Fraser, that I couldn't wait to read The Sergeant's Lady. This book was actually written prior to A Marriage of Inconvenience, but chronologically it comes afterwards. This story I really enjoyed for the different setting, the plot and characterization. I read it in one sitting! Upcoming Review.
  • Jacqueline Winspear was another author that was read twice this week. I decided that I needed to know what happened to Maisie Dobbs, and since I had A Lesson in Secrets (Maisie Dobbs #8) in my TBR already, picked it up and also read it in one sitting. It's interesting to note that although there are 6 books in between, I was able to pick up the threads of Maisie's life and continue on without a problem. I'm sure there are many details missing, but the core was there and I didn't seem to miss much. Upcoming Review.
  • And last but not least, I picked up a western historical romance and Jodi Thomas' latest release, Texas Blue (Whispering Mountain #8). I finished this book on Saturday and posted my review on Sunday, so you know I enjoyed it. This was a solid read that left a smile on my face when I turned that last virtual page. I really do enjoy western historical romances and wish more of them were released during the year. 
  • Of course right after Texas Blue I wanted more cowboys and picked up Rough, Raw and Ready (Rough Riders #5) by Lorelei James and re-read it! This is one of my favorite (if not my favorite) installments in that series. I've already posted a review, so I won't go over the details again. It was wonderful to revisit Chassie, Trevor and Edgard. This is one of my all time favorite M/M/F erotic romances and one that I'll re-read every so often, even if I don't mention it. Thanks to Mariana for posting those excerpts and reminding me of how much, and why, I enjoy this book.
Well, that was my reading week. I noticed that I'm reading and enjoying more historical romances this year, so that's good for me. Last year, I seemed to hit the wall with them. I'm also keeping pace with reading a few more mysteries and am enjoying those as well. And how was your reading week?


  1. I also just read A Marriage of Inconvenience this weekend, and loved it. Because I'd already read The Sergeant's Lady, I loved seeing Anna's prequel story in this book, but I think it confused other readers who were wondering why she was such a big part of the story.

    Aside from that, I also read a humorous self-pubbed paranormal book called These Hellish Happenings by Jennifer Rainey that was quite good. Self-pubbed books can go either way, but I definitely recommend this one.

  2. I can't wait to see what you thought of The Sergeant's Lady. It made my best of the year last year, loved it! Must get her next one...

  3. I don't know how you get so much done every week!
    I'll be checking out the upcoming reviews *grins*

  4. Wow, sounds to me like you're getting used to your new schedule, Hils! :)

    Looking forward to all your upcoming reviews. I know Ames just got the Susanna Frasier books...

    Too bad for the Lilith Saintcrow book :(

  5. JenM, thanks for the recommendation, I'll check out the book by Rainey. :) RE: A Marriage of Inconvenience by Fraser, I also enjoyed Lucy's story. I'm really glad I read it first though and THEN read The Sergeant's Lady. The whole story (Anna's) just seemed to flow so well when read that way for me.

    Oh Lori! I know what you mean about that book. You need to read A Marriage of Inconvenience. It's Lucy's story, but the prequel to Anna's story (with Sebastian) is there too. All details. You need to read it.

    Alex, you've no idea what I do to read these books! It's not an easy feat, lol! I'm actually scheduling my reading time these days since my work schedule is so tight -- but hey, whatever works, right? ;P Now to write the reviews. :D

    Nath, I'm working on that schedule. *g* I saw that Ames got the Fraser books too! I'm looking forward to her thoughts on the books. The Saintcrow was entertaining, but not quite what I expected. :(

  6. YAH for historical romances! I'm still in a PNR/UF funk, hoping Magic Slays pulls me out of it.

    And I look forward to hearing what you think of A Marriage of Inconvenience and The Sergeant's Lady :)

  7. Looks like I need to read Susan Fraser after hearing so many good things about her writing.

    You had a great week - April looks to be a very good month for you!

    I'm finally getting back into Kresley Cole's IAD series. Took a break after Kiss of a Demon King didn't work for me. Now back to enjoying the series again with Pleasures of a Dark Prince & Demon from the Dark.

  8. Orannia, yes! I feel better now that I can read my historicals again. :D I'm still NOT reading PNR, except for a very few series that I still follow.

    Leslie, definitely give Fraser a shot. I think you'll enjoy her writing and the books.

    I'm shocked at how well my April reading is going, and relieved! I missed my reading. I'm so glad you enjoyed Pleasures of a Dark Prince and Demon from the Dark. I need to get to that last book! The one series I need to catch up on is the Ione series... can't believe I fell behind.

  9. Another good week. That's too bad about the Buchanan though. Also glad to hear you enjoyed the Susanna Frasers since I just bought them. LOL

  10. Hi Ames! I'm going to choose another Buchanan to read soon, I really like her writing and I know she'll come through for me. :D I think you'll like the Fraser books; I'm curious to see which of the two you prefer. ;P


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