Tuesday, August 6, 2013

July 2013 Recap & Minis: Spencer, Howard, Balogh

I don't know what it is about the summer and the heat, but it almost always makes me crave romance. That's what happened in July. I hit the books and ended up reading some romances that have been lingering in my shelves from early 2013, along with some oldies but goodies.

Here they are:

Total books read: 15
Contemporary Romance: 6
Historical Romance: 6
Paranormal Romance/Steampunk: 1
Urban Fantasy: 1
M/M Romance: 1


Magic Rises (Kate Daniels #6) by Ilona Andrews: (Review to come)
The Notorious Rake by Mary Balogh: A-
Love Irresistibly (FBI/US Attorney #4) by Julie James: (Review to come)
To Die For (Blair Mallory #1) by Linda Howard: B
I read this book by Linda Howard as my August Internet Book Club read. This is rather surprising for a Linda Howard book. It's humorous and light with a heroine that comes off as petulant and somewhat superficial. She's a cheerleader who applies cheerleading rules to her life even as an adult. For me, Blair's thought process turns out to be both hilarious and frustrating, but overall, Blair is more than she appears to be on the surface. The romance is hot with amusing dialogue to help it along. If there is something I find tired in this romance it is Blair's tendency to sleep with Wyatt while telling him she doesn't want a relationship -- the old "body betrayal" plot device. The story is narrated from Blair's point of view in the first person, but it is very well done so that I did not miss Wyatt's point of view at all. I think that both his thoughts and feelings are well conveyed by Howard. I also like the mystery, probably because of all the craziness that goes on in Blair and Wyatt's relationship contribute to it. Overall, a solid, light, fun, and enjoyable romance suspense.
He's The One with Linda Lael Miller, Jill Shalvis, Lucy Monroe, Kate Angell, Cat Johnson: B-
Fire & Frost with Jessica Simms, Carolyn Crane & Meljean Brook: B-
True to the Law by Jo Goodman: C+
Twice Loved by Lavyrle Spencer: Grade C+
This is one of the three books I read for the TBR Challenge during the month of July, but decided against reviewing it. I've loved every single book I've read by Lavyrle Spencer so far. I still love her gorgeous writing style and how she develops characters and a story -- all are evident in Twice Loved. On the positive side, I absolutely love the setting and atmosphere in this novel. It is set in a small fishing village, and the place and people who inhabit it come alive in this novel.

Unfortunately for me, the romance is a triangle, and I mean one of those triangles where the woman who finds herself in the middle knows who she loves but doesn't have the gumption to make the right decision. She ends up hurting everyone, including herself and her child, so that by the time the happy ever after comes along I really did not want her to have it! I wanted the "hero" to walk away from her, and that's not the way a romance works, right? This romance is brimming with betrayal, yearning, love, angst, anger, and passion. I could not help but feel terrible for both men and the child caught up in the middle of it all. Just as I could not help resenting her for the lack of backbone that destroyed whatever connection I could have felt. In this case, it may be that it is a case of personal preference. If as a reader you don't mind triangles, you may want to read this book by the amazing Spencer. However, for me personally, this was a beautifully written, but painful read.
On the Clock by Chris Owen: C+
No Strings Attached (Barefoot Williams #2) by Kate Angell: C
Kentucky Home by Sarah Title: C
Beach Beginnings (Beach House No. 9 #.5) by Christie Ridgeway: C
The Counterfeit Betrothal by Mary Balogh: C
I really enjoyed the wit and humor found in the romance between Lady Sophia Bryant and Lord Francis Sutton. They fake a betrothal to reunite Sophie's estranged parents. Sophie and Francis grew up together and have a history of arguing and hostility. Sophie is funny and Francis teases her to death. I love the way they play each other and end up together. This is a light and fun pair. On the other hand the romance between Sophie's parents is seriously painful. It's the type of romance I usually love to read, but in this case the incredible lack of communication between these two adults, the resulting misunderstandings and lack of trust made me question that love would triumph or last. Thank goodness for Sophie and Francis whose romance made this book an average read for me. Otherwise, I think The Counterfeit Betrothal would have been my first DNF (did not finish) by Balogh.
The Suitor (The Survivor's Club #1.5) by Mary Balogh: C

Reread:
Years by Lavyrle Spencer : A
Years is one of my favorite Lavyrle Spencer books. I reread it for the TBR Challenge, but at the last minute decided that as a reread it did not qualify -- a shame because I really wanted to review this book in all its glory! I previously wrote a mini that doesn't do this book justice in my humble opinion. Anyway, if you haven't read it and would like to pick up a gorgeous May/December historical romance set in the Middle America during WWI, I highly recommend Years. The title refers to more than the age disparity between the main couple, and as in all Spencer books, there is depth to the plot, gorgeous characterization, and amazing detail that enhance both setting and atmosphere.
My favorite books of the month were: Magic Rises (Kate Daniels #6) by Ilona Andrews, my last read of the month, The Notorious Rake by Mary Balogh, and Love Irresistibly (FBI/US Attorney #4) by Julie James.


8 comments:

  1. Loved Magic Rises! I'm completely hooked on these characters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nifty, me too! The characters are THE best aspect of that series.

      Delete
  2. I'm commenting on Magic Rises too... mine hasn't arrived yet, but I'm glad to now you liked it so much, those authors know how to write well, huh? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sonia, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! I'm rereading it at least once more just for good measure. I liked it so much.

      Delete
    2. I've read it about 3 times I think and it started me on a re-read of the series. Good books. Great characters and worldbuilding. I have no idea when #7 is due out, but I'm eager!!

      Delete
    3. OMG! 3 times! I really, really want to do a reread of the whole series too. I'm hoping we don't have to wait another 2 years for the next book. It is a 10 book series and the whole storyarc just got a boost. I can't wait for the next one!

      Delete
  3. Very nice month, Hils! I thought The Counterfeit Betrothal was a bit painful to read. As I say, it's all about expectations right? I thought I'd be reading the romance of two youngsters... Not the marriage that went wrong. And it's sad because there was some honesty between the couple, but in the end, the mother was really too proud and she lost so many years. Anyway.

    Looking forward to your review of Love Irresistibly. I'm thinking of reviewing it as well :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nath, The Counterfeit Betrothal was a disappointment for me! I couldn't stand the older couple and that really surprised me... they're usually my favorite kind of couple too... oh well!

      I still haven't written the review for Love Irresistibly! I need to get to it because so far it is my favorite contemporary romance read of the year. :)

      Delete

Anonymous Users disallowed due to large influx of spam.