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Recently Read January/February/March
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Susan/DC



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1663

PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:42 pm    Post subject: Recently Read January/February/March Reply with quote

With a new year thought I'd update the thread for recently read books.

My most recently read was Suzanne Enoch's "A Beginner's Guide to Rakes". The opening sentence of the book is among the best and sets up the relationship between the hero, Oliver, and the heroine, Diane. It's clear they've met before and it did Not End Well. I liked both characters. Diane is smart and holds her own against Oliver, and I never had one of those "why did she do that, it makes no sense" moments, at least in terms of how she responded to him. But I did think it a bit odd that a woman who'd been left penniless by her husband's gambling would open a gambling club, and her female employees certainly seemed to learn their jobs far faster than I would have thought possible. Oliver asks her that very question, but I never felt it was satisfactorily answered. OTOH, I did like the romance, and there were several scenes throughout that rang true in terms of their growing emotional attachment.
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cheri



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1350
Location: michigan

PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just finished Jodi Thomas's Tall Dark and Texan and really enjoyed it. THis is a new to me author and I loved the relationship. The only disappointment was this was a Warm book and not hot. I generally don't care about love scenes one way or the other but for some reason really wanted to see the relationship develop this way. I throughly enjoyed the foreshadowing of the hero's younger sister and her book which I just started last night. Looking forward to reading more of this author.
Cheri
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Kayne



Joined: 31 Mar 2007
Posts: 886

PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Recently Read January/February/March Reply with quote

Lola and the Boy Next Door: I loved Anna and the French Kiss last year and so I was eager to read Ms. Perkins new YA novel. It was entertaining and hard to put down but the older boyfriend (not the male lead) was an ick factor for me and many of the characters seemed over the top so this one didn't work as well for me.

Ready Player One by ernest Cline: YA Science Fiction book about video games from the 1980's. We follow our hero along with his friends as they work to solve a treasure hidden in a video game by a software developer before he died. There is even a little romance.

Daughter of Smoke and Bones by Laini Taylor: YA Fantasy story involving a young art student in Prague. I was really hooked in to this story and romance but turned off by an unsatisfying ending. I am hoping there is resolution in a sequel.

How the Marquess Was Won by Julie Anne Long: I was really hooked into this story and loved the cat. I liked the humor where Dryden started new trends.
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Elizabeth Rolls



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1076
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saved Joanna Bourne's Forbidden Rose and Black Hawk for my Christmas holiday break with family. Sometimes "saving" books like that is a disaster because the book/s turn out to be rather ordinary. Not this time. Loved both of them and Ms Bourne has my heartfelt thanks for two great reads to get me through multiple visits to the ER department for a spider bite (I've never taken so many antibiotics in my life) and a dose of gastro that did the rounds of the entire family starting with me. Unfortunately we thought I was reacting to the spider bite. Apparently not! Anyway, great books.

Elizabeth
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pwm in mi



Joined: 19 Oct 2011
Posts: 352

PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just finished Holly Lane by Toni Blake. It pains me to write this because I love Toni Blake's books...but this one did not work for me. The story follows Sue Ann, who's marriage ended 6 monthes ago, when her then husband abruptly announced he fell in loved with someone else. In the ensuing months, now ex-husband a)moved in with the new love, b)parades around their small town with the "other woman",and c) acts like the whole town should rejoice in his new found love. Further, he has announced his plans to marry new love and that they will immediately start baby making. As a result, he has begun legal proceedings to end Sue Ann's alimony, to free up more money for his future family. This also worries Sue Ann that he may sue for custody if their 7 year old daughter. In short, Sue Ann's life is a real sh*t storm as the novel begins.

And this is the root of my problem with the book. Because Sue Ann has an unexpected Thanksgiving weekend hookup with Adam- the ex's best friend, and this begins the push pull of "it's too soon, but I am so hot for him and he's a good guy "conflict.

Except- it turns out Adam that, while he is known for being Mr. Nice Guy in town, sort of cheated on his ex wife which in turn ended their marriage(Blake decided to make his cheating drunk kissing another woman). Further, Sue Ann's ex wants him to be a character witness in the court battle.


I do believe Adam is ready for a relationship, as he has been divorced for 3 years. But I did not think Sue Ann was ready for a relationship given the horrible trauma she is going through. While Blake makes this the cruxt of the conflict for Sue Ann, she does not shy away from it, I just did not buy that she could proceed, even reluctantly with a new relationship. I may have been able to go along if she had experienced her marriage as unhappy, unsatisfying. But it is clear that Sue Ann had no idea her marriage was about to end. A bomb went off in her life, and I do not see how it would be humanly possible to want to enter into another relationship with another person so quickly when your world has been blown apart. At least not a healthy relaitonship.

To be honest, I am a little bummed out. I was so looking forward to this book:( That being said, Ms. Blake continues to be an autobuy for me, and I hope this was just a miss step, not the start of a downward slope. C
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 1693

PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I loved Unraveled. Courtney Milan does not disappoint, as usual. I liked that the heroine confided in the hero instead of stupidly doing everything on her own. I also liked how her desire to reform a bad boy got her in trouble in the first place. I think Ms Milan is spoofing the favorite romance genre convention here. She, for one, definitely has the ability to make atypical heroes (a chastity advocate, a stoic magistrate) sexy and interesting.
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 1092

PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elizabeth Rolls wrote:
I saved Joanna Bourne's Forbidden Rose and Black Hawk for my Christmas holiday... Elizabeth


Me too and I loved both books too. I also read and loved Anne Gracie's Bride by Mistake-- all of which is my idea of a great holiday. Sharing an illness in the spirit of the season, though? not so much. I hope you and everyone in your family feels much better now, Elizabeth!! Smile
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Elizabeth Rolls



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1076
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eliza wrote:

Me too and I loved both books too. I also read and loved Anne Gracie's Bride by Mistake-- all of which is my idea of a great holiday. Sharing an illness in the spirit of the season, though? not so much. I hope you and everyone in your family feels much better now, Elizabeth!! Smile


We're all fine now, thank you, Eliza.. Could have done without my sister sharing her spider with me. My GP thinks that the gastro was indirectly related to the bite because apart from the venom, spiders often carry some nasty little bacterial bugs around with them. We all just assumed it was the venom I was reacting to.
I am currently reading History Play by Rodney Bolt, a very interesting biography (sort of) of Christopher Marlowe. It assumes that Marlowe got himself into so much trouble with his spying for Walsingham that rather than getting murdered down at Deptford, he faked his own death, disappeared to the Continent and .... yes, you guessed it - wrote what we now think are Shakespeare's plays etc. Hmmm. As long as you are prepared to hang your disbelief at the door it's highly entertaining and well-researched. Bolt certainly knows his Shakespeare/Marlowe and any author who can tell me about the clothing colours permitted for Cambridge scholars - black, puke and goose-turd Shocked has a vote from me. As for the Shakespeare vs Marlowe idea, I have never studied Shakespeare or Marlowe, or the period for that matter, in enough depth to hazard a valid opinion, but the book is entertaining me nicely. In the tradition of Lewis Carroll I like to entertain six impossible ideas before breakfast. Razz

Elizabeth
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 1092

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elizabeth Rolls wrote:
...I am currently reading History Play by Rodney Bolt, a very interesting biography (sort of) of Christopher Marlowe. It assumes that Marlowe got himself into so much trouble with his spying for Walsingham that rather than getting murdered down at Deptford, he faked his own death, disappeared to the Continent and .... yes, you guessed it - wrote what we now think are Shakespeare's plays etc. Hmmm. As long as you are prepared to hang your disbelief at the door it's highly entertaining and well-researched. Bolt certainly knows his Shakespeare/Marlowe and any author who can tell me about the clothing colours permitted for Cambridge scholars - black, puke and goose-turd Shocked has a vote from me. As for the Shakespeare vs Marlowe idea, I have never studied Shakespeare or Marlowe, or the period for that matter, in enough depth to hazard a valid opinion, but the book is entertaining me nicely. In the tradition of Lewis Carroll I like to entertain six impossible ideas before breakfast. Razz Elizabeth


Thanks for bringing up this book. I've read (too?) many of the alternative was Shakespeare really Shakespeare theories so I'm always curious about others.

The reviews I read agreed with you that it was a fun read-- providing one knows it's entirely intended as fiction and not a real bio. But the thing that caught my eye was folks saying how well the Elizabethan period was portrayed, which speaks to your mention of Cambridge colors! Smile Do you agree? I may read it now for that aspect alone. (I'm firmly in the camp that Shakespeare was indeed that guy from Stratford. The evidence is weak for our times, but strong enough for Elizabethan times. But hey, no harm in continuing the fun.)
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Elizabeth Rolls



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1076
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eliza wrote:


Thanks for bringing up this book. I've read (too?) many of the alternative was Shakespeare really Shakespeare theories so I'm always curious about others.

The reviews I read agreed with you that it was a fun read-- providing one knows it's entirely intended as fiction and not a real bio. But the thing that caught my eye was folks saying how well the Elizabethan period was portrayed, which speaks to your mention of Cambridge colors! Smile Do you agree? I may read it now for that aspect alone. (I'm firmly in the camp that Shakespeare was indeed that guy from Stratford. The evidence is weak for our times, but strong enough for Elizabethan times. But hey, no harm in continuing the fun.)


Eliza, I'm only a quarter of the way through it, but so far I'd give it a hearty, no-holds barred recommendation on the portrayal of the era and the young Kit Marlowe. He feels like your normal, rebellious, drunken university student. Go for it. I mean, I read Anne McCaffrey's Pern series, anything Nora Roberts writes with a witch in it, Harry Potter, Tolkien; why would I boggle at Shakespeare really being Marlowe in Rodney Bolt's world? Besides, he does make a good case and he really is witty. Definitely worth a read, unless subversive Shakespeare theories really give you the pip.

Elizabeth
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4223
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Famous Heroine/The Plumed Bonnet by Mary Balogh

This is a book that contains both of the stories mentioned above and, of course, is a reissue. I've never read them before, though. I thought The Famous Heroine was a bit slow, but picked up near the end.

However, I really enjoyed The Plumed Bonnet from start to finish. Much more characterization there and I felt it was Balogh at her best. She wrote several regencies, some of which I liked and some that tanked. She is possibly one of the few authors whom I will probably never abandon because I just never know about her upcoming books. It's either there or not, but no doubt she has the skill for winners.
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 1693

PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Divergent, Veronica Roth

This is the best YA Scifi I've read since the first Hunger Games book. And unlike that series, it didn't have silly love triangles. The only downside is that, of course, some things are left for the sequels to be resolved (what's with YA and cliffhangers?) but at least it's more self-contained than, say, Marie Lu's Legend (also a good book, if somewhat less plausible).
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 1092

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tee wrote:
The Famous Heroine/The Plumed Bonnet by Mary Balogh

This is a book that contains both of the stories mentioned above and, of course, is a reissue. I've never read them before, though. I thought The Famous Heroine was a bit slow, but picked up near the end.

However, I really enjoyed The Plumed Bonnet from start to finish. Much more characterization there and I felt it was Balogh at her best. She wrote several regencies, some of which I liked and some that tanked. She is possibly one of the few authors whom I will probably never abandon because I just never know about her upcoming books. It's either there or not, but no doubt she has the skill for winners.


I hadn't read the two either and enjoyed them both recently, especially TPB, like you did, Tee. Also like you, Balogh's an author I intend to stay with. Period. She's one of the few authors who may have an occasional weaker book, but it still beats much of what's out there, IMO.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4223
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eliza wrote:
Re: The Famous Heroine/The Plumed Bonnet. I hadn't read the two either and enjoyed them both recently, especially TPB, like you did, Tee.

Such a delightful story, The Plumed Bonnet. I was away from home and it was just the ticket to take my mind elsewhere for an hour or so at a time. I didn't want it to end.
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MEK



Joined: 09 Dec 2010
Posts: 273

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tee wrote:
Eliza wrote:
Re: The Famous Heroine/The Plumed Bonnet. I hadn't read the two either and enjoyed them both recently, especially TPB, like you did, Tee.

Such a delightful story, The Plumed Bonnet. I was away from home and it was just the ticket to take my mind elsewhere for an hour or so at a time. I didn't want it to end.



I agree. I also read both of these this year, and the Plumed Bonnet was wonderful. A true delight.
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