Showing posts with label Sarah Title. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sarah Title. Show all posts

Monday, March 30, 2015

Ini-Minis: The Buried Giant, Snowed In + More

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Unique way to explore Ishiguro's favorite theme: memory (the effects of long lost or skewed recollections). Unfortunately the fantasy setting utilized to explore this theme in The Buried Giant is not as effective as the historical setting in The Remains of the Day or the speculative setting in Never Let Me Go. A B- read because Ishiguro's excellent writing abilities cannot be denied.

Snowed In (Kentucky Comfort) by Sarah Title

Snowed In was the perfect contemporary romance novella to read during an early March snowfall in the Northeast US. This quick romance is both cute and amusing. I found it enjoyable, predictable moments and all. I loved Pippa -- the only secondary character making a real impact. I read this novella at the right moment and it was a B- read at the time. Expect insta-love, predictable moments with some very cute interactions. After a quick reread, downgraded to a C.

The Gentleman and the Lamplighter by Summer Devon

A good m/m romance with a grieving Lord and a lamplighter as main characters. This novella has likable characters with enough emotions and historical background to make it an enjoyable read. Unfortunately the page count becomes a detriment and toward the end the novella has that rushed, underdeveloped feel. Nevertheless, I would read another book by this author, so a C read.

Checking Out Love by R. Cooper

I can't say much more than this story is short, cute, and pretty much an average m/m romance. I won't reread it and it is not a keeper. A C read.

Pride Mates (Shifters Abound) by Jennifer Ashley

Great premise, disappointing execution. Not much more to say about this paranormal romance except that I remember having a few problems as the story moved along. This was a February read and as of now I have to say that it is extremely forgettable. A C- read for me.

Tempting Meredith (Lovers & Friends #3) by Samantha Ann King

Tempting Meredith is an erotic romance with a threesome as the core basis for the romance. This erotic romance did not work for me as I did not buy the relationship between the three people involved. While in college the female first participates in a disastrous threesome that leaves her emotionally scarred. One of the new men in her now adult life is one of those men from her first college experience. That did not make sense to me. Additionally, I found the sexual encounters between the three people involved emotionless, while the two men had some good chemistry going. That is not a good development for a threesome, so that brings this book down to a D grade.

NOTE: Titles are linked to book descriptions at Goodreads.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Kentucky Home (Southern Comfort #1) by Sarah Title

I was in the mood for a nice, comfy contemporary western romance and Kentucky Home by Sarah Title seemed like the answer to me. I ended up with mixed impressions about Sarah Title's debut novel.

It begins with Luke Carson and Mallory Thomson. They meet while she is married to a doctor with an ego the size of Manhattan, a man who has been psychologically abusing Mal for years and ends up physically assaulting her when he finds out that Mal is looking for an apartment to move out of their condo. This is when Mallory finally decides to really get away from her husband Michael and goes to her friend Luke for help. Luke's brilliant "plan" is to hide her at his family home, the Wild Rose Farm and Stables in Kentucky, until Mal can get her life together. Unfortunately, Luke's plan places Mal in an awkward position as her new "start" in life begins with they agree to lie and show up in Kentucky pretending to be a newly engaged couple.

The awkwardness continues as once there Luke basically dumps Mal on his family and takes off the next day for places unknown, supposedly for one week, and leaves her to deal with a less than welcoming family: cranky father Carl, headstrong sister Holly, sweet housekeeper Miss Libby, and Luke's reclusive, widower brother Keith. The Carson family is not happy about Luke's dumping and Mal feels less than welcomed. She wants to help around the farm, but Mal is a city girl unaccustomed to farm life and makes mistakes that do not impress these folks Not a good beginning.

The Carson family's "down home Kentucky hospitality" is really lacking in the beginning. This family was quite rude to Mal. I mean, even taking into consideration the fact that Luke dumped her on them, she was supposed to be his fiancé. A bit of courtesy? Yes? Thank goodness for Ms. Libby. She at least tried to make the poor woman feel welcomed. Mal herself didn't help things and I wondered about her social skills more than once during the first part of the book, but she was traumatized by all the changes so to me her awkwardness was understandable.

As opposed to my initial impressions when I read the introduction, Keith is the male protagonist of this piece, not Luke. I admit that bit through me for a bit -- Luke is a charmer and I liked his point of view in that initial introductive section. But let's move on to his brother Keith. Keith has been a widower for over 3 years and he is still basically in a deep depressive hole. He is still grieving, deeply, and refuses to socialize or seems unable to move forward. This is an unhappy man. But Mal wakes him up! His brother's fiancé. And Mal, who is not yet over the trauma of her abusive marriage to Michael, begins lusting after Keith the second she meets him. Not a good thing. Hostility takes over when sexual frustration and guilt ensue on both sides. Back and forth.

I don't know. The lies cause unnecessary grief. Then there is Mal's traumatic marriage to Michael. She is separated, but still married and quite traumatized by years of abusive behavior that began in college, progressed through the years Michael went through medical school, began his successful practice and to the present. This was a long, established relationship and marriage. Those years left Mallory feeling like a rag, her self-esteem shot to hell! And, there is Keith who is obviously still grieving. This is an ambitious romance with some tough, challenging issues, yet, to me, it felt like a light read with many witty moments thrown in along with Mal's numerous crying jags and Keith's guilt over his lusty feelings because he was betraying his dead wife and his brother. Oh boy!

This is the reason I'm mixed up about this novel. I laughed. I couldn't help it. There are funny scenes involving a three-legged dog, Mel's horrible blond dye job with brown roots, and all the sneaking around Mal and Keith go through to get laid. After all, there is nothing wrong with wit and humor to lighten up the harshness of life. Keith falls for Mal like a two-ton truck and overcomes his grief. I like the way this part of the romance is executed. After loving and grieving for three years, he deserved a second chance at love.

Mal's issues on the other hand? Hmm... as far as I'm concerned Mal's trauma goes deep after what seems a lifetime of dealing with an abusive, narcissistic asshole. In this novel she begins to recuperate from that trauma and to get a sense of herself, but, BUT. It became obvious, to me at least, that she needed more time to find her own two feet before getting mixed up in another relationship and that didn't happen here. Mal is not allowed that time on her own, instead another man becomes the solution to the problem. Additionally, the resolution to the Mal/Michael situation is over the top and Mal's involvement, underwhelming. I understand that this is a romance, yet, I guess these days I expect a better executed resolution from a contemporary romance when it comes to issues like a woman (or a man) recuperating from an abusive marriage or any type of abuse for that matter.

Kentucky Home is a cute and light contemporary western romance. There is chemistry between the protagonists and the initial premise is good, if ambitious. Unfortunately, the author overreaches by introducing one too many heavy issues to contend with, and fails to execute on the one key issue that would have given this romance depth and the storyline, plausibility.

Category: Contemporary Romance/Western
Series: Southern Comfort, #1
Publisher/Release Date: Kensington Books/ April 13, 2013 - Kindle Edition
Grade: C

Sunday, June 2, 2013

This n' That: Reading & New Additions

So, I had ten days off! It was sooo nice to get away for a few days with my husband. We both disconnected from everyone and everything. For me, that included blogging and to a certain extent reading. I was rather ambitious and took my Kindle, my iPhone, and two print books with me, but did not read much. I came back home and now have the blahs... I don't feel like reading, blogging or doing much of anything.

However, I did find time for book shopping. Here's my new list: (click on titles to read summaries)

1. Conservation of Shadows by Yoon Ha Lee - Science Fiction/Fantasy
I read an interview with Yoon Ha Lee. The interview combined with the following quote from one of her short stories convinced me to buy the book:
"It is not true that the dead cannot be folded. Square becomes kite becomes swan; history becomes rumor becomes song. Even the act of remembrance creases the truth." Ghostweight
2. Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris -- Collection of Humorous Essays (Reading)
I was sold on this book after watching Mr. Sedaris promoting his book in the Daily Show with Jon Stewart! I'm reading it slowly and enjoying every minute of it.

3. Minions of the Moon by Richard Bowes (Reading) - Fantasy/UF
I was introduced to Mr. Bowes's writing by way of a short story and liked the realism he used to set up his fantasy. Later his modern fairy tale book The Queen, The Cambion, and Seven Others came to my attention so I purchased it and really enjoyed it. Then last month I read his novella Grierson at the Pain Clinic in the Wilde Stories 2013 anthology and that short story grabbed my attention so I went a-hunting for Minions of the Moon!

4. Tethered (Iron Seas 2.5) by Meljean Brook - Steampunk/Romance
Okay, Meljean Brook. Iron Seas novella. 'Nuff said.

5. Wallbanger by Alice Clayton (Read) - Contemporary Romance
Last year I placed this in my "to buy" list, but found it to be way too expensive and frankly wasn't willing to invest on the print book at the time. I forgot about it until recently when Leslie reviewed it. I looked it up again and the ebook was available, better priced so I purchased it and read it before leaving on vacation.

6. True to the Law by Jo Goodman - Western Historical Romance
I love Jo Goodman's western historical romances, so this was an auto-buy. I hope it's a good one because I'm looking forward to reading it.

7. Sea, Swallow Me and Other Stories by Craig Laurance Gidney - LGBT Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror

8. Bereft by Craig Laurance Gidney - LGBT YA Gay Fiction
I purchased two books by Gidney, an older release Sea, Swallow Me and Other Stories, and his first, recently released novel, Bereft. I follow this author's blog, but I've never read his works. I'm looking forward to reading these two different pieces.

9. The Cold Dish (Walt Longmire #1) by Craig Johnson (Read) - Western Mystery
My husband and I watch the A&E western mystery program Longmire, based on this series by Craig Johnson. We both decided to read this book in tandem while on vacation (yes this is the only book I read).

10. Kentucky Home by Sarah Title - Western Contemporary Romance
A western contemporary romance with a really attractive blurb! That was enough for me.

11. Salsa Nocturna by Daniel José Older, ed. Kay T. Holt - Fantasy
I read a quote or an excerpt from one of the stories somewhere. I can't remember where! But, this book really caught my attention and I want to read it. I've looked up some reviews and it seems that it's well-loved all around. So yes, I'm looking forward to reading it...

12. The Cowboy and the Cossack by Clair Huffaker, Nancy Pearl - Western/Eastern Historical 
Hey, another western! Or is it an Eastern? This is a backlist book (1973) by Clair Huffaker that features an American cowboy, but it is set in Russia so it also features a Cossack. The different setting and blurb grabbed me. This book is part of a new collection of oldies but goodies released in ebook format under Nancy Pearl's Book Lust Rediscoveries. Pearl is a well-known, award winning librarian. Check out the books!

Summer heat finally arrived in New Jersey this last week... and this has been a beautiful weekend! The gorgeous weather is not helping, but I hope to get my reading and blogging mojo back soon. I certainly have plenty of good books to read!