Monday, August 1, 2011

July 2011 Reads & Minis

July was a hot month in more ways than one... hot temperatures and hot books. I began the second half of the year in good form by reading some excellent books, and as you'll see below, I have four top picks! Of course there were also some deep disappointments, but that's par for the course.

What will I remember about July? All the historical romances I read about Dukes! I read three in a row and it felt as if I had Dukes coming out of my eyeballs, lol! Thank goodness some of them were really worth reading. *g*

I read 16 new books in July and that's too many to recap by writing minis, so I'm highlighting my highs and lows. The rest of my July reads can be viewed here.

I'll begin with my recap:

Total books read: 16
Re-read: 1
Contemporary Romance/Fiction: 4
Historical Romance: 5
Urban Fantasy: 1
Paranormal Romance: 2
LGBT: 4 (Gay Fiction: 2, Gay Romance: 1, Mystery/Romance: 1)

Top July Reads:
  • The Abode of Bliss: Ten Stories for Adam by Alex Jeffers - My top pick of the month and an amazing contemporary gay fiction read. Expect a review this week. (Upcoming Review)
  • Silk is for Seduction (Dressmaker Sisters, 1) by Loretta Chase: I believe this is the first historical romance to receive a straight A from me this year! I loved it, no question about it. Grade: A
  • What I did for the Duke by Julie Anne Long: This is another historical romance that I really enjoyed, both for the romance and the humor. This one helped with my craving for historicals this month. Grade: A-
  • Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey: I truly enjoyed this contemporary. I can't believe I waited so long to try Shannon Stacey's series about the Kowalskis and then began with the third book! I do have the first book of this series in my TBR and will definitely read it. Grade: B+

Biggest Disappointments:
  • Waking Up with the Duke (London's Greatest Lovers #3) by Lorraine Heath: This was a highly anticipated read for me that didn't quite make the mark. You can find out why in my review. Grade C-
  • Baby, Drive South (Southern Roads, #1) by Stephanie Bond: This contemporary romance just fell flat for me. I didn't like either one of the main characters. The female protagonist couldn't make up her mind between the man who dumped her because she wasn't attractive or young enough for him, and the immature "hero" who attempts to keep her around by lying to her. She was pitiful and he was annoying. I never bought the fact that he fell for her, and couldn't believe that she actually vacillated about staying because the ex-boyfriend might want her back. Pitiful! At this point the only thing that kept me reading were the two other brothers who seemed interesting, and I figured I would read the second book. Grade: D
  • Baby, Come Home (Southern Roads, #2) by Stephanie Bond: Well, I should have known better! The second book was even more annoying than the first one. I wanted to like this book, but unfortunately the female protagonist, whom I really, really hated disliked, and the way the story was going made it impossible for me to keep going. Too bad, I liked Kendall in the first book and thought his story had potential. DNF
  • One Whisper Away (Ladies in Waiting #1) by Emma Wildes: This is another book I really wanted to like. I've enjoyed a couple of stories by Emma Wildes in the past. However, I'm afraid that after reading 59% of the story I couldn't continue. The clichés were far and wide and I couldn't get past them: the American half-breed who inherited the title of Earl, but who although educated in expensive American schools and having resided most of his life in Boston, behaves like a boor when he hits English society. Cliché. Society in America was quite strict at the time and even with the differences in culture, this man's lack of knowledge and his behavior were too unlikely to suffer through and something I didn't expect to find in this book. Riding the London streets without a shirt? Really? *Sigh* I've read scenes like these too many times throughout the years to continue... DNF
Of course I'm not done reading historical romances yet. At the moment I'm reading Meredith Duran's A Lady's Lesson in Scandal, my first read by this author (yes, it is!), and I have a few other ones waiting on the wings, Mary Balogh and Madeline Hunter's latest releases are two of them. Plus, I'll be reading a couple of new gay fiction releases for review in August as well... hmm... so many books, so little time!

My number one pick for July was The Abode of Bliss: Ten Stories for Adam by Alex Jeffers, what about you? What book did it for you in July?


  1. *grins* I'm planning to read two of your top picks this soon (Yours to Keep and Silk is for Seduction)

    The Abode of Bliss doesn't sound like my thing, but I really liked What I did for A duke.

    Of your not so hot list, I've only read Waking Up With the Duke and I thought it was alright, but I liked the hero and disliked the heroine, so it's not really a winner in my book, either.

  2. I hear you on July being a hot month. Jeez, I can't remember the last time we had such warm temperatures! Ugh.

    Great month, Hils!! :) Really great month. Awww, I'm sad to see that Waking With the Duke and One Whisper Away are on your list of disappointing reads... but I can understand.

    Also glad that I'm not the only one who didn't like the Stephanie Bond books. I agree with you, the H/H in Baby, Drive South were bad. Just too immature and definitively didn't connect with them.

    LOL about the three historicals being about dukes!! Although really, the duke in Silk is for Seduction didn't really act like a duke... so it's two really LOL.

  3. You had a good month, despite the heat. :)

    One of my favorites from July was Kaki Warner's Heartbreak Creek. I also listened to Simone Elkeles Perfect Chemistry and Rules of Attraction. Both very good. Will definitely be getting the next book Chain Reaction.

  4. Alex, it sounds like you have a plan! The only book I totally forgot to mention, because I finished it at the end of the month, was Playing Dirty by Susan Andersen. Did you read it yet? That was a good, fun contemporary.

    Nath, the heat! Ugh... Anyway, I'm sad about the Heath and Wildes as well. I was really looking forward to both of those books. You felt the same way about that series by Bond? Well, I purchased both books at once. I really thought the second book would be better... but! Nope...

    The Dukes! Even the Earls felt as if they were Dukes! LOLOL!

    Leslie, it was a good month. :) I'm really looking forward to reading Kaki Warner's works. I have her on my list. I'm glad you enjoyed Perfect Chemistry. I've had that book in my TBB list ever since it first released, and somehow it always gets pushed back when it comes time to buy. :(

  5. Oh, you're going to make Alex's month!

  6. I am looking forward to JO Goodman's book in September too. What a double entendre that title is!!!

  7. Steve, he made my July so it's only fair. ;P Excellent read.

    Reny, I'm looking forward to Kissing Comfort as well. LOL on the title and the... *cough* COVER!!!


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