Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Home Stretch

This is the final catch-up post and then I'm taking tomorrow off, but will be back to regular-ish posting on Friday. Unless I get lazy, which could totally happen.

Lots of Romance again this time, which shouldn't come as a surprise. Probably 75% of my reading is either Romance or books for young readers.

I've stated before and I will state again that I am a Jill Shalvis fangirl. And, if I weren't so already, I have a sneaking suspicion that 'Head Over Heels' would be enough to make me one. It's the third in her Lucky Harbor series and focuses on Chloe, who is the flighty youngest sister of the three who own the inn in the town of--you guessed it--Lucky Harbor. She's never really settled down in one place for long and her sisters don't have a lot of faith that she'll do so now. And, I'm going to stop synopsizing and just say that I think this is my favorite in this series so far. Chloe is so sweet and insecure and feels so completely alone, even though she has her sisters and her best friend and, apparently, the hot town sheriff. Characters like Chloe can often come across as pathetic, but Shalvis is a skilled writer and Chloe just comes across as heartbreakingly human. This is another one of those novels that's getting me all misty-eyed just in the recollection. The cover makes it look like a lighthearted romp, but it's not. It's got layers and texture and good, true emotion. Definitely, definitely worth reading.

'The Highest Stakes' and 'Fortune's Son' are inter-connected novels by Emery Lee and I wanted to like them much more than I did. Although I liked the characters and the stories well enough, there were what I saw as some serious issues with the writing. First, some well-meaning advice to Ms. Lee: Sweetie, you don't have to use all of your research. 'The Highest Stakes' was set in the world of 18th Century horse racing and I ended up skipping great swathes of prose because they went into endless, boring detail about it. Seriously, a little flavor and background is great, but I don't need to read a complete history. If that's what I wanted, I'm sure there are numerous non-fiction books on the subject--most of which were probably listed in the bibliography. As for 'Fortune's Son', I was hoping it would intersect more with the first volume--maybe with some of the military history shared by the two books' heroes or any of the other big plot points that influenced the events of this book. Sadly, it was all barely touched on, which made me think that none of it was terribly important. In which case, why was so much made of it in the first book? Also, again with the bibliography. Since 'Fortune's Son' is being packaged and marketed as a Romance novel ('The Highest Stakes' was touted as historical fiction, so the bibliography was less bothersome), the bibliography just feels like trying too hard. Although I expect the hero and heroine to have to work for their happy ending, I don't think the reader should be expected to.

'The Summer of You' by Kate Noble was so good that I'm now on a Kate Noble binge. 'Nuff said.

'Immortal Rider' by Larissa Ione is the second volume in her new series about the four horsemen of the apocalypse and I have to admit to being totally hooked. I'm quite enjoying her mythology, even though it has vampires and fallen angels in it, both of which I am growing heartily sick of. However, her take on them is different from most, and I can appreciate that. A lot. From the way events played out in this book and the teaser at the end, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to wait patiently for volume three. I want to know NOW.

'Shattered Souls' by Mary Lindsey is the only non-Romance on this particular list. It's a YA about reincarnated souls whose job it is to help guide the "Hindered" on to their eternal reward (or punishment). So, um, yeah. I'm kinda over ghosts, too.

'The Many Sins of Lord Cameron' by Jennifer Ashley is the third volume in her absolutely amazing series about the MacKenzie siblings. (If you haven't read 'The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie', you need to do so right the hell now.) This series and these characters are just wow. Lots of angst and brooding and emotional walls and the whole gamut of darkness, but with humor and believable redemption and happy endings. And, if you pick this up, be forewarned that Cam's dead wife was a right bitch and seriously, seriously disturbed. It gets really dark, but I promise it all ends well--happily, even.

Yay! I'm all caught up. Now, I have another Kate Noble novel to get back to. Expect a Noble-centric post in the not-too-distant-future.

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