Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday Ramblings and Lists; Must have lists!

I know the blog looks a bit ... well, empty, but we promise we've been reading. And we will be posting more musings and reviews. Personally, it's been hard for me to review books lately because either I'd read a spectacular read and I'll be left speechless in my corner, looking goofy and making the Good Book Noise (as I've heard Sarah Wendell call it). Sometimes, I'd start off with the first book in the series and I just find myself wanting to finish an entire series before I'm able to sit down to formulate coherent thoughts because the series just blew me away. Really, these authors make it so damn hard to move on without first having to devour the series they've created. (Thank God for that!)  Then, when I'm not reading, I'm spending an inordinate amount of time just picking the next read.

IT'S HARD, OKAY? I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who goes through this. What do you do? As a reader, after reading a very strong, very emotionally satisfying read, where do you go? Which book do you pick up next? I've been paralyzed more times than I can count. :P For me, I've done different things. Sometimes when I find a trope or theme that I like, I end up seeking books with similar tropes or themes. Other times, I go completely the other route. If I read a historical, then I'd pick a contemporary next. If my last read was full of angst and tears, I'd deliberately seek out something light and fun. It always vary what I do though. 

Which brings me to this. I know I'm not able to sit down and review each of the books I've been reading, no matter how much I want to. (It takes me hours to create one review; I'm such a newbie when it comes to reviewing and I'm still figuring out how to create one. Just bear with me.) The least I can do is type up my monthly reads and the grades I've given (1-5 star rating). I'll start with September since that's when we started the blog. :)


Some favorite reads from these two months:

  1.  A Night To Surrender (Bram and Susanna. Oh, my heart. I can spend days gushing about this book and the characters that inhabit the story. My heart is just so full of love whenever I revisit Spindle Cove. With Tessa Dare's exceptional writing, this wonderfully complex and oh-so-lovable cast of characters come alive. This story is funny, as in laugh-out-loud funny (from the very beginning, I was already chuckling to myself.) and it is such a delightful read. This story is very emotionally satisfying, and while the tone is light, it's got such depth and resonance. It's just really inevitable for me to fall in love with Bram and to root for Susanna all the way (battle of the sexes this is, but I couldn't help but agree with both characters, what with their fierce determination to protect what is important to them, and their ultimate motivation to care for those they've come to love and deem as family. It was a treat to watch them radiant with joy when they were proven right and to see them not lose the boldness and courage they had when they were proven wrong. And even now as I think about it, it wasn't really all about who was right or wrong, but more about the sensible choices they were required to make and the consequences they had to face after having made their decisions. Yes, it is Bram and Susanna's story (so awesome!) but I couldn't help it, I fell in love with the other characters as well, with their mysterious background and personalities. You'll definitely want to uncover more of their stories (Colin and Minerva's won't come out till 2012! Gah.) Spindle Cover is such a warm and inviting place you can't help but want to go back for more. :D 
  2. Guilty Pleasures and And Then He Kissed Me (At first I thought LLG is a new author for me, but when I checked on my GR, turns out I've already read one of hers, but it wasn't the beginning of the series. I checked my library and I've already purchased more of her books so apparently, all that was needed was for me to actually pick her books as my next reads. And let me tell you, it was awesome! Her writing is fabulous, and her stories range from light and fun to angsty and dramatic. I always find myself falling in love AND in love with her characters, both the heroes and the heroines, because of their depth of character and the transformation that happens to the both of them within the story. These two books happen to deal with unrequited romance, with courtship and all the romance that entails. It also features fabulous heroines who are strong, smart and loving, and heroes who realize their worth and shower them with love and affection. I loved her writing so much that I actually read five of the six books of hers I've read within only four days! Hee. So much love for Laura Lee Guhrke.  
  3. Claiming the Courtesan (I've purchased three AC already but Claiming the Courtesan is the first one I've read. This is kind of different from what I'm used to reading. For sure, the story is intense, emotional, and it really makes the reader take a look at the characters as a whole, as real human beings who carry hurt and pride and scars and hope ... people who stumble, make poor choices -- certainly flawed, but definitely not past hope. If only they could learn to overcome their past and open themselves up to love ....
  4. The Marriage Bed and Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage (The Marriage Bed is by LLG and Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage is by JA but it's a tie because these two books deal with a broken marriage, betrayal, second chances and forgiveness. Mac and Isabella have been separated for six years and Viola and John have been separated for nine. Different circumstances led both couples to their unhappy state of marriage. Honestly at times, I couldn't decide on which side I was on, if I agreed with the hero's actions, or the heroine's choices. Again, personally speaking, it pushed my boundaries (with regards to actions and emotions) and it made me see things from a different perspective, clearly redefining my thoughts of what can be acceptable and understandable for me. Not easy reads but definitely worth it.
  5. The Duke, Lord of Fire and Devil Takes a Bride (GF's Knight Miscellany introduced me to wonderful characters that now have a special place in my heart. I've only gotten to number five of the series, and while I did fell in love with these three stories (I like Jas and Billy too), Lord of Ice was a big miss for me. It took me a while to finish Damien's story, and it was a bit disappointing for me to feel that way, since I loved Bel's story and also Lucien's story. I still want to pick up the sixth and seventh because I'm anxious to learn the fates of Jack and Alec.


SEPTEMBER 2011 READS




Nora RobertsInner Harbor
Chesapeake bay Saga #3
4 starsContemporary
Nora RobertsChesapeake Blue
Chesapeake Bay Saga #4
4 starsContemporary
Gaelen FoleyThe Duke
Knight Miscellany #1
5 starsHistorical
Gaelen FoleyLord of Fire
Knight Miscellany #2
5 starsHistorical
Karina BlissHere Comes the Groom
Harlequin Super Romance
4 starsContemporary
Gaelen FoleyLord of Ice
Knight Miscellany #3
3 starsHistorical
Anna CampbellClaiming the Courtesan5 starsHistorical







OCTOBER 2011 READS




Eileen DreyerBarely A Lady
Drake's Rakes #1
4 starsHistorical
Kathryn StockettThe Help5 starsFiction
Lynne GrahamThe Marriage Betrayal
Harlequin Presents: The Volakis Vow #1
3 starsContemporary
Eileen DreyerAlways a Temptress
Drake's Rakes #3
4 starsHistorical
Sharon KendrickToo Proud To Be Bought
Harlequin Presents
4 starsContemporary
Tessa DareA Night To Surrender
Spindle Cove #1
5 starsHistorical
Tessa DareLegend of the Werestag
Novella
5 starsHistorical
Gaelen FoleyLord of Desire
Knight Miscellany #4
4 starsHistorical
Gaelen FoleyDevil Takes a Bride
Knight Miscellany #5
5 starsHistorical
Jennifer AshleyThe Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie
Highland Pleasures #1
5 starsHistorical
Jennifer AshleyLady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage
Highland Pleasures #2
5 starsHistorical
Jennifer AshleyThe Many Sins of Lord Cameron
Highland Pleasures #3
4 starsHistorical
Laura Lee GuhrkeGuilty Pleasures
Guilty #1
5 starsHistorical
Mandy KirkbyA Victorian Flower Dictionary4 starsNon-Fiction
Laura Lee GuhrkeHis Every Kiss
Guilty #2
4 starsHistorical
Laura Lee GuhrkeThe Marriage Bed
Guilty #3
5 starsHistorical
Laura Lee GuhrkeAnd Then He Kissed Me
Girl-Bachelors #1
5 starsHistorical
Laura Lee GuhrkeShe's No Princess
Guilty #4
4 starsHistorical


(I see October has been a super good month. Hello, Bram and Harry and Mac! Billy, Devil, Anthony, Justin, Ian, John! Then there's Susanna, Daphne, Emma and Lizzie, Viola, Isabella, and Verity!)

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