Well, as much as I miss my laptop, I have to admit that not having it has done wonderous things for my reading time. In the past week, I’ve read a stack of books. I’ve read half as many books in the past week as I did in the previous 5 months of this year. Did that makes sense? In the past week I’ve read around ten books. In the five months prior I’d read around 20. Wow huh? I figured I’d better take the chance to at least do a quick blog about each book before I forgot what I’ve been reading. Here we go:

Full Pursuit by Jasmine Cresswell and Final Justice by Jasmine Cresswell – read for Keishon’s TBR challenge and getting their own blog entry!

Awaken Me Darkly by Gena Showalter- I ordered this book from Buy.com and was fairly excited to read it. In fact, I read it the day my order arrived. I have to give the author props for an original plot/storyline. The book tells the story of Mia, an alien huntress, who is trying to save her partner’s life and catch an alien serial killer who has been killing dark-haired, dark-eyed men. It was a fun read, different, and had enough plot twists to keep it interesting. The romance aspect, while at first had me wondering how the author would pull it off, was believable.

I would recommend it to fans of paranormal romance. And make sure you read the dedication and see if you pick up the typo which is worthy of a good laugh and reason enough to at least open the book!

Grade: B

Beyond the Pale by Savannah Russe – this book held so much promise for me. Another vampire book with a really interesting cover blurb. I also ordered this one from Buy.com and started to read it after I finished Awaken Me Darkly. I got…maybe 10 pages in. I might have given it 15. And was not at all interested in the story, the plot, the characters or what was going to happen next. So I skipped to the end and read the last two chapters after choosing pages at random to see if they would catch my interest. No such luck. And the last chapters didn’t do much for me either. I found the author’s characterization to be flat, unappealing, and frankly boring. This is the first book in what is obviously meant to be a series and I’ll be passing on the rest.

The most interesting part of this book? The cover blurb.

Grade: DNF

Her Kind of Trouble by Evelyn Vaughn (Silhouette Bombshell)- the second in the Grailkeepers books, following AKA Goddess. I actually liked this book better even than I did the first. It’s got a very Tomb Raider/Lara Croftish feel to it (and I’d be very surprised if I’m the first to make that comparison). This sequel is heavier on the romance than the first and provides some resolution to the questions left dangling in AKA Goddess. I’d recommend these two books for anyone new to the Silhouette Bombshell line who’s a fan of kickass action heroines.

Definitly worth tracking down on ebay or at the UBS. Read them in order though or you’ll be slightly lost.

Grade: B+

Baby Laughs by Jenny McCarthy – I didn’t read her first book, Belly Laughs, which was her humerous take on being pregnant. But when I saw this one in the bookstore at 40% off, I decided to give it a try. I thought it was just okay. I credit her with being brutally honest about what it was like for her to be a new mom, and there were definitly some funny parts, but I found it to be almost too simply written and rather choppy. And there were a few times that she handed out some misinformation about baby rearing that made me a little unhappy because they were just wrong. But I will say that I was grateful to read a couple of things- 1) if Jenny McCarthy can feel ugly and unhappy with her body image after having a baby then, by God, it’s got to be okay for me to feel the same way. 2) TMI WARNING! I thought I was an abnormal freak for having difficulty getting back into the swing of having a sex life and being able to orgasm but YAYYY, I guess not. Looks like Jenny had some of the same issues I had.

So, the book was mildly entertaining but not worth dishing out the money for a hardcover copy. Buy used.

Grade: C+

Come Up and See Me Sometime by Lucy Monroe – I got this book free at RT so it’s been sitting in my TBR pile for several months. I have to admit, I was curious because her previous book, a chick lit The Real Deal inspired passionate feelings in readers- of either love or hate. I never picked that one up but, hey, this one was a freebie so why not?

This book put me in mind of the early Jayne Ann Krentz books, especially the ones she wrote under the psuedonym of Stephanie James. If you’re at all a fan you’ll know what I’m talking about. Arrogant, assertive, bossy, driven, dangerous, predatory take-what-he-wants uber-alpha hero. And a heroine who is (not) a virgin (but with only one sexual encounter, might as well be). He wants her from the start even though he thinks she’s a bad person of some sort. And then he realizes she’s just to good and innocent to have done what he thought she did. So he pursues her, gets her, claims her as his. And then something happens and he believes she’s bad again. And he treats her like crap. Has to grovel to win her love back. You get it, right?

This is the type of book that at one time in my reading career I would have LOVED. I am all about an alpha male. And one who has to grovel? Yum! I love me a good grovel. Or should I say I luuuurvvvee a good grovel? But this hero, in this book? Asshole. Okay, maybe I’m being harsh but I’m telling you right now, I’d of kneecapped this guy and kept on walking without a stutter-step. And the grovel was PATHETIC. Pathetic I tell you. He needed to do way more groveling and apologizing to be at all redeemable.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the book wasn’t horrible and at one time I might have loved this book. I guess my tastes have changed. And I think I’ll avoid re-reading some of my favorite JAK’s so as not to ruin my special fondness for them.

Pick up this book if you’re avidly re-reading those old JAK’s and the re-releases of her category novles written as Stephanie James. This will probably fill that taste for you.

Grade: C

Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan – the first in what is intended to be a trilogy focusing on the same couple and their romance, I completely enjoyed this book. I haven’t heard a lot of hype about it, but I saw it on Amazon when I was surfing for new books, and added it to my Buy.Com order. This was probably the best book that I recieved in that order, surprisingly, since it was the one I had heard least about. This is the story of the beginning of the romance between Lara (the Warprize) and the Warlord who claims her (giving away his name would be a small spoiler and I’m not going to do that here). It’s a fantasy romance that is reminiscent to me in some ways of a medieval historical, taking on shades of Julie Garwood at times with the heroine being a healer despite being a Daughter of the Blood (aka royalty) and is much beloved by the people (of course). Self-sacrificing and putting the needs of others before herself, with a half-brother who is cast as the villain from the start. I’m really laying it out in simplistic terms, but like I said, I thought the book was good and the development of the relationship between heroine and hero plausible. The books ends satisfactorily while still leaving plenty of room for the next two books.

I give Tor Publishing props for being one of the publishers to really work with markenting trends and publish books that satisfy the readers demands for something different.

I’m putting this book on my keeper shelf, I can see myself re-reading it in the future, and I was desperate enough to research when the next book would be released. All I discovered is some time in 2006 and from her blog (which she has a grand total of three posts on) that her deadline for book two was actually today!

Grade: A

Flirting With Danger by Suzanne Enoch – I have never read anything by Suzanne Enoch although I do know she writes historicals. But Sarah mentioned this book on Smart Bitches and I was curious enough to look it up on Amazon and then get it on ebay. I’m glad I did. This is the author’s first foray into contemporary and she started with a romantic suspense. From reading the author interview at the back, it appears she was inspired by watching an old classic film, To Catch a Thief (Cary Grant, yumm!!) only, in this book, the cat burglar is the heroine and our hero is a British billionare. I can see a lot of people finding the romance between the two of them implausible but I found the story to be creative and fun, without making me roll my eyes (which my husband tells me I do with some frequency). While the mystery in the book is wrapped up and some questions about their relationship are answered, the author doesn’t attempt to convince the readers that this is it, happily ever after for the couple. Nope, seems she too has a sequal planned, Playing With Fire. Release date unknown but also much anticipated!

If you liked To Catch a Thief, you enjoy a light-hearted romantic suspense (no deep, dark secrets or angst in this book) and are looking for a good beach read, this is worth a try!

Grade: A

Also read: Two Ellora’s Cave books as yet unreleased so I can’t talk about them ๐Ÿ˜‰

Which actually, counting, brings my total up to 11 books in the past week. Yes, in the past seven days I’ve read 11 books. Holy Crap.

My recommendations? For romantic suspense, Flirting with Danger was entertaining and amusing. And from Tor Publishing, Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan for a good paranormal/fantasy romance.

Most disappointing read and to avoid: Beyond the Pale by Savannah Russe

One interesting thing that I did note. Of the 8 romances that I listed above (leaving out Baby Laughs since it’s non-fiction), 4 were written in the first person (Warprize, Beyond the Pale, Awaken Me Darkly, and Her Kind of Trouble). It used to be that finding romances- and often popular fiction of any kind- written in the first person was rare. It seems to be becoming a popular and more widely used POV. I have to admit, I used to thoroughly dislike first person POV but changed my mind several years ago, somewhere along the time I started reading Janet Evanovich and Laurell K. Hamilton. I now enjoy a strong author voice who can write in first person. The books written in that POV seem to be the ones I enjoy most.

I’ve started: The Good, The Bad, and The Undead by Kim Harrison. This was an impulse buy at the RT bookfair. I was not a fan of the first book, Dead Witch Walking and didn’t recommend it to anyone. But, I was curious so I picked it up. I’m not reading it all at once, the story hasn’t grabbed me like that, but am reading it in between other books.

Also started: The Forever Kiss by Angela Knight. Picked it up, read a few pages, put it down. This is another that I picked up at RT, a freebie. I’ll probably come back to it but wasn’t in the mood right now. I think vampire books aren’t doing it for me lately. I’ve read a handful (Sunshine, Minion, Beyond the Pale, Dead as a Doornail, and If Angels Burn) besides this one and the Kim Harrison book and only two- Dead as a Doornail and If Angels Burn have been great. The others were just- meh.

So now, I’m in the process of trying to get into the Elizabeth Lowell’s Color of Death. Don’t tell me I’m hitting a reading slump already?

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