November Monthly Reads

Posted on December 23, 2009

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I read two ‘wow’ books in the past week – one was a “wow, what the heck happened?” book and the other took me speechless in a good way. I hope to review both books soon.

Now onto my November reads. I know, say what?! We’re one week shy of starting a new year and here I am just posting my list of reads from November. I think it is becoming tradition to review my monthly reads mid-month, lol. So here’s to another month of reading 10+ books, which I blame partly on my reading slump and the sickness that would not go away. I read a total of 12 books in November, two of which are Harlequin / Silhouette books.

1) A Weaver Holiday Homecoming by Allison Leigh, B-

After being presumed dead for several years, Ryan Clay returned to his hometown a changed man – quiet, brooding, and very much a stranger even to his own family. In his story, Ryan meets up with a daughter he never knew he had and becomes acquainted with her and her aunt who has been caring for the girl since her mother passed away giving birth to her.

Ryan has been a mystery since I started reading the Double-C Ranch series mid-way into the series. While his whereabouts and what he did during the mysterious period that he “died” was revealed, I felt it was downplayed as compared to him getting to know his daughter, Chloe, and her aunt, Mallory Keegan. The result of Ryan’s undercover work had left him somewhat numb to emotions so I enjoyed feeling alongside Ryan as he started caring for Chloe and Mallory.

Ryan’s story is the 13th book in the Double-C Ranch series and a nice follow-up to the previous book. I have really enjoyed following the lives of the Clays and was left wondering at the end of this book if there will be another book because it seems as if the case Ryan was involved in is still unsolved. Of course, the nature of such a case can never be fully closed as long as there are bad people but I couldn’t tell if this was the end of the series or not. The way things were left unsaid between Ryan and his sister was also another closure I wanted.

2) Hot on her Heels by Susan Mallery, B

Review here.

3) Promises Linger by Sarah McCarty, B+

While Caleb didn’t impress me, I heard many good things on Sarah McCarty’s Promises books. I’m glad that I didn’t give up on Ms. McCarty because I really enjoyed Promises Linger which offers a good story with great romance, scorching sex, and awesome chemistry between the hero and heroine.

Asa MacIntyre is a kind, patient, and protective man – as regards to his new bride, Elizabeth Coyote. Their marriage came together very unusually, with Elizabeth ridding of one scum husband and offering marriage to another in almost the same breath. What keeps me entranced in my reading is Asa, who was such an alpha hero in all that he does yet still manage to be sweet and loving. Born to a prostitute mother and an unknown father, Asa didn’t have much respectability from birth. What respect he got was his action as a gunslinger. His marriage to Elizabeth, a lady from a respectable family, gave him the respectability that he craves.

Elizabeth, on the other hand, was a stubborn, independent woman who was having a tough time retaining her image as a lady while trying to work her father’s ranch after his death. Married to Asa, their marriage is an explosion of personalities. At 400+ pages, you really got to see how Asa and Elizabeth grow individually and together as a couple. The secondary characters are just fascinating and real. I will be checking out her other works.

4) Snow Baby by Brenda Novak, C+

I read one other book by Brenda Novak and I didn’t enjoy the story or the writing. Something compelled me to check out the blurb of Snow Baby and it intrigued me so I took another chance on Ms. Novak. A chance encounter during a storm between two strangers resulted in a baby and feelings in the making. Things are not so easy when you mix in an estranged sister who has feelings for the baby’s father – a sister with whom you’ve been trying to reconcile with, ten years after you stole her boyfriend and took off with him to launch a successful career as a model.

I enjoyed the writing in Snow Baby more so than the previous book I read. I thought the flow between scenes was nicely done and while the baby-created-during-a-snowstorm-between-strangers plot isn’t very creative, I enjoyed it. What I didn’t enjoy was how annoying Stacey was. Having your boyfriend stolen from you and by your sister (I can’t recall who’s older) is very painful indeed but Stacey couldn’t seem to grasp that Dillion Broderick wasn’t interested in her and continuously harp on Chantal for yet again stealing her boyfriend. Dillion had been seeing Stacey on a few dates but they never did anything intimate – and barely a kiss, if I recall correctly – so when she insists that she met the man of her dreams and Chantal was the only obstacle preventing her dream from coming true, I wanted to shake her and tell her to get her eyes and ears checked.

Chantal was brave to try to reconcile with her sister after her dastardly behavior but ten years is a long time before asking for a reconciliation. I never understood why she didn’t try to meet up with her sister sooner. It was mentioned that Chantal did try to contact her sister and their father via phone calls and letters a few times but her efforts were ignored. I liked Chantal until she played a martyr far too long, 1) giving up Dillion to her sister as if he was property she had rights to pass round without regards to his feelings on the matter and 2) she was pregnant and tried to hide it from him which is major turn-off for me.

Dillion is a likeable hero and as soon as he realized that he had feelings for Chantal he broke things off with Stacey even though their relationship was never exclusive or serious to begin with.  I like Dillion because he was patient, kind, and the fact that he drove around in a snow storm to rescue a stranger speaks pretty well of his character. However, his feelings for Chantal developed a bit too easily considering they only had one night together and it was lust and the intimacy of the situation that brought them together.

5) Port of Paradise by Lisa Marie Rice, C

Hope Winston’s best friend, Kay, was recuperating in the hospital from an accident so Hope flew to Italy to help run her friend’s school. While staying at Kay’s home, Hope noticed crazy things happening around the house – voices whispering right outside the home at night, property being damaged, and even her tires were slashed.  Kay urged Hope to contact the cops but while Hope was unnerved, she still held back because she had a personal bad experience with cops.

Franco is a cop and he promised his friend, Kay, that he would keep an eye out on her friend, Hope, since Hope was alone in the city. When it appeared that Hope was in danger, Franco stuck to Hope as much to protect her as he was attracted to her.

The story started out with a good premise but I didn’t think it was developed enough. There was too much focus on the sex — I didn’t feel as if there was real chemistry between the two characters. Hope was one of those TSTL heroines doing things that endanger her life – for instance, she chased unarmed after an armed man who had broken in to her home. Her behavior was really stupid but I can’t really fault her for that because it was instinctive and I have done something similar in the past, lol. However, she turned off her cell phone at a time when it was supposed to be on to protect her and the fact that she refused to contact the cops when strange, scary things were happening around the house illustrated one too many stupid behaviors.

6) Kindred in Death by J.D. Robb, B+/A-

Review here.

7) Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts, B-

I enjoyed reading Bed of Roses more so than Vision in White, the first book in the Bride Quartet. I like Jack and Emma together – as friends and lovers. I thought the couple had great chemistry and that their friendship-turned-lovers relationship was pretty nicely done. Emma’s love of flowers and creativity reminded me of my best friend who is very artistic in that area as well. I’m always amazed when I see a gorgeous floral arrangement created from simple greenery and flowers so the floral descriptions and arrangements were fascinating to me.

I love the friendships in this series, Jack with his guys and Emma with her gals. The girls’ reactions were a bit over the top though regarding Jack’s reaction to finding Emma inside his home uninvited. I don’t fault Jack for feeling boxed in considering the length of their relationship had only surpassed two months, thereabouts. Emma blowing up at Jack was dramatic and so were her friends’ decision to ban Jack from visiting their home until further notice when he and the girls were also friends. On the other hand, I did cringe when Jack pocketed the keys that Emma borrowed without his knowledge. Ultimately, the ending was sweet but too quick and easy.

8) Count to Ten by Karen Rose, A

Review forthcoming here.

9) I’m Watching You by Karen Rose, A

Review here.

10) Jewel of Atlantis by Gena Showalter, C

Jewel of Atlantis is more comic to read and the world of Atlantis was also better explained in this book than in Heart of the Dragon, the first book in the Atlantis series. While the first few chapters were entertaining enough, there were too many loopholes in the storyline that left me feeling unsatisfied. I never really understood the connection between Grayson and Jewel from their childhood dreams, Jewel’s past, and, in the end, how Gray survived in the human world as a half-vampire. Finally, the solution of Gray serving the “Jewel” of Atlantis to his boss was simple and too easily accepted by his boss.

11) Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh, B

There hasn’t been a boring book in the Psy-Changeling series. Blaze of Memory is far from boring but the couple didn’t engage my interest as the other couples in the series did. Despite this, I finished my reading feeling all kinds of emotions. The ending was very emotional for me; tears streamed down my face before I could stop myself.

As far as the world of the Psy/Changeling, it just gets more interesting, diverse, and mind-boggling. Each new book in the series introduces more details to expound the world Ms. Singh has created.

12) Memories of Us by Linda Winfree, B

It’s strange how I don’t mind starting in the middle of a series. New to the Hearts of the South series, I started with Book #5. I like Ms. Winfree’s writing voice and the depth of her characters. I admire a woman who can ask a man out – and this was her boss, no less.

Celia St. John is an investigator for the DA’s office and madly attracted to her boss, Tom McMillan, who is seemingly oblivious to her attraction. On impulse, she proposition Tom even knowing that he was hung up on his ex-wife. Tom at first runs from Celia but as they work closer together on a case that started from a baby’s death, he sees Celia in a different light and they take their relationship to a personal level. As the case spirals from bad to worse leading to a baby adoption ring so does their relationship change and Tom’s feelings for Celia intensifies. When Tom becomes a suspect in the case and Celia is threatened by someone who doesn’t want the case further investigated, the suspense becomes intense. I love romantic suspense with very real characters.

[ Note: All gradings are based on my enjoyment — or lack thereof — and mood at the time of reading. ]

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