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All posts for the month July, 2013

Books read: January 2013

Published July 26, 2013 by Shannon

In an attempt to start this whole blogging regularly thing again, I thought I’d do a few posts recapping my monthly reads and see what I can remember about any of them. Hopefully with a few of those in the pipeline, I can start writing other things as well. So… here’s the list for January.
1. The Gamble by Kristen Ashley: Good if you like this sort of thing. Fairly typical Ashley. I picked this one up because it had been bought by a publisher and I was hoping they might have done more than just cleaned up some typos. But basically, this is a typical Ashley plot, minus the over-the-top suspense subplot and doesn’t detract from her formula in noticeable ways. The hero is the gruff mountain man brand of alpha hole. The heroine is typical KA heroine shrill. She quickly assembles a girl posse, but that wasn’t quite as strong, because the heroine was new to the area. I don’t know why I keep reading these, but even while I was glad to be done with the book, I entertained the idea of grabbing the second in this series before my brain cells protested. So there’s that, I guess. C.
2. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: Oh, man, I still have feels about this book. Unpleasantly angry feels, magnified by the fact that I feel like the lone voice crying in the wind, and since this is about geek culture, I also feel like the horrible person that wants to steal all the lunch money from the geeks. I realized recently, after reading this completely unrelated post that my problem with Ready Player One was what Hapax describes. I felt pandered to. Or, well, I might have if I’d been a geeky boy. Because the geeky girls in this story are either someone to aspire to possessing, or a sidekick created because hey, diversity! They’re not all that interesting. It felt like a geek man’s “someday I’ll show them!” fantasy, and there was too much author philibustering. Everyone else I know loves it, but for me it’s an F. (It was a D on Goodreads, but I’m not inclined to be all that charitable.
3. The Changeover by Margaret Mahy: A reread that didn’t last very long. I liked the heroine. I adored the subplot with her mother’s new potential boyfriend. It’s a little young compared to most of the YA I’ve read lately, which was also refreshing. I wouldn’t precisely call it middle grade, because despite the deceptively simple prose, there’s a lot Mahy is saying about life changes and growing up and family. And the hero is definitely a nice bit of swoon worthy jailbait, the sort of bad boy that many authors attempt to write and so few manage. All in all, I appreciated this one more as an adult than I did when I read it as a teenager, and it was a lot of fun to hang out with Laura in the messiness of her life for a few hours. B.
4. One Night For Love by Mary Balough: My first Balough. I loved both the characters, though the heroine was a little too manic pixie dream girl to be quite true. They were basically nice people caught in a difficult situation. It didn’t feel like the sort of thing I’ve read millions of times, and I’m grateful for that. Plus, I thought Lauren, the ubiquitous other woman, was fascinating. So much so that I read her book shortly thereafter. B.
5. The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker: Interesting enough while I was reading. It was recommended to me by one of my social work professors, and I think I’d have taken the lessons to heart if I weren’t, you know, a wannabe librarian instead of a social worker. Or at least I’d remember them. All that sticks in my head at this point is that the author was incredibly full of himself. I wanted him to stop with all his self-congratulating and get on with the imparting of wisdom. C.
6. A Summer to Remember by Mary Balough: I liked this one. Lauren was presented as such a complex character in ONFL, and she really came to her own in this book. I love heroes who actually display the charming roguishness authors tell us about. More basically nice people in a quiet story that I enjoyed immersing myself in. I’m glad Balough has such a huge backlist. I definitely want to read more. B.
7. The Warlord Wants Forever by Kresley Cole: I liked this one despite myself. I don’t know why Cole’s alphaholes work for me but Kristen Ashley’s, for example, don’t, except that Cole’s heroines still always manage some agency. The thing that binds these two–she’s got a chain that, when possessed by another person, makes her have to instantly obey them. I know that’s super skeevy, and I can’t explain exactly why I didn’t have a problem with it, other than that the hero was basically not a sleaze, and their intimate scenes didn’t feel like they were forced. Also, I liked the world-building, even if it’s basically everything getting thrown in as well as the kitchen sink. I need to get beyond the first full-length novel. B.
8. How to Misbehave by Ruthie Knox: Oh, I loved this one. I particularly liked how the heroine’s lack of sexual experience had negative connotations and it wasn’t like she was a paragon of purity. I identified strongly with her, and that hasn’t happened in a romance in a long time. The hero was also deliciously angsty as well. A.
9. A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole: A reread. Another book I probably shouldn’t have liked as much as I did. But Scottish werewolves get me every time. The heroine wasn’t as awesome as I’d have liked, but some of the other heroines in the series seem to make up for it. B.