31 July 2012

{July} Month in Review

July was reading heaven, even if I do say so myself. I also went a little bit crazy with buying books :D. I discovered a new author whom I utterly ADORE - Ben Aaronovitch - and reread an entire series that I love -  Percy Jackson. Ooh, and Gunmetal Magic releases today! As well as Book 3 in the Peter Grant series!! Perfect end to the month.


I read 19 books this month, 5 of which were 5-star rereads, all from the Percy Jackson series. I love, love, love Percy, and fell in love with him all over again. The rest were all wonderful. There were only 3 books I didn't enjoy very much: Chloe Neill's, The Lost Hero, and Must Love Hellhounds.
Chasing Magic (Downside Ghosts, #5)Drink Deep (Chicagoland Vampires, #5)Midnight Riot (Peter Grant, #1)The Red Headed League (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, #2)Moon Over Soho (Peter Grant, #2)The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus, #1)The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4)The Son of Neptune (Heroes of Olympus, #2)The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2)The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5)
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #3)Must Love Hellhounds (Includes  Guild Hunter, #1.5; Kate Daniels, #3.5; The Guardians, #5.5; Sookie Stackhouse, #9.2)The Safe-Keeper's Secret (Safe-Keepers, #1)The Truth-Teller's Tale (Safe-Keepers, #2)The Dream-Maker's Magic (Safe-Keepers, #3)Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed (Sons of Sin, #1)Blackwolf's RedemptionLost in Love (Harlequin Presents, #1665)

The favorites

So many good books this month. Where to start, where to start?
  •  I started the Heroes of Olympus series just so I could see my Percy again. Book 1 was meh, but that was cos Percy wasn't in it. He brought it in book 2! 
  • And I discovered a gem among gems: The Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch. Pure, unadulterated goodness!
  • The YA Trilogy by Sharon Shinn wasn't bad at all. 
  • I read and loved an ARC of an Anna Campbell book (review to be posted all the way in September!)

The least favorites

  • The Lost Hero was very middling, with a wooden lost hero and a Mary sue girl heading our cast.
  • The two anthologies I finished this month weren't too good as a whole :(
  • Drink Deep is the worst Chloe Neill book I have read. Ugh!!


Awesome month!

Looking Forward

I can already tell it's going to be a good new month! Ilona Andrews and Ben Aaronovitch have just released new books, and there's Percy and Annabeth going on a date to tide me over the rest of the month when The Demigod Diaries releases. Here's to good reading!

27 July 2012

TGIF @ GReads #8: Christmas in July

TGIF is a meme hosted over on Ginger's blog that asks fun book-related questions.

And today's question:

Christmas in July: If Santa were to come down your chimney in the middle of summer, which books would you want him to leave for you under the tree?

Well now, that's a dangerous question, lol! But if I had to pick two, I know which books I'd ask for. And surprise surprise, they are  YA books, even though I tend to dislike the genre quite a bit. I was going to pick three, but I have been trying for the past few hours to get my pictures to line up horizontally or in a table without having to host them somewhere first. No dice, so we get two books. The third choice was going to be Maria Snyder's Scent of Magic.

Cinda Chima's marks the final book of the Seven Realms Saga
Rick Riordan's is the third of 5 books in the Heroes of Olympus Series

Can anyone smell a Waiting-on-Wednesday post? Lol!!

26 July 2012

Review: Hounded by Kevin Hearne

Author: Kevin Hearne

Title: Hounded

Series: Iron Druid Chronicles #1

About the Book: The first novel in the original, six-book Iron Druid Chronicles--introducing a cool, new, funny urban fantasy hero

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil


My Thoughts:

This would have been an excellent read but for a couple of things that dampened my enjoyment drastically.

Before I start on those, hands down the best thing about this book was Oberon, the dog. Mad props to Mr. Hearne for creating such a wonderful animal with his own unique personality.

The first thing that bothered me greatly was the women, every single one of them. The moment they opened their mouths, it wasn't right. I was very hard pressed to believe any goddesses worth their salt spoke as insipidly as the ones in this book did, or any women really. They were not believable at all for me. Two: our druid is flawless. Eh.

But the biggest thing, I think, was all the potshots Mr. Hearne takes at Christianity in the book. Now to be fair, it was a line or two here and there, nothing blatant or whatever, but for some reason, they really, really, really rubbed me wrong. It was annoying and mostly untrue (stereotypes of any group are not cool).  Not cool, not funny. Because of this, I am not too sure I will continue with the series.

But I do think it's worth reading.



17 July 2012

Quickie Review: The Duke's Perfect Wife by Jennifer Ashley

Author: Jennifer Ashley

Title: The Duke's Perfect Wife

Series: Highland Pleasures #4

My Thoughts:

Hart Mackenzie's heroine did him justice. They were two wonderful people, and theirs was a beautiful, tender love story. Eleanor is a very well-drawn character, and a someone I'd like to be friends with if she were real. I enjoyed it very much - so much more than Ian Mackenzie's book. My favorite Mackenzie, my favorite heroine, and my favorite story of this series.

1. The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie
2. Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage
3. The Many Sins of Lord Cameron

12 July 2012

Not for Me #2: A Series Fail

Some books are not good reading experiences for me. Sometimes these are books everyone loves that I just don't enjoy. There are books I steer clear off because I know I won't like them. So here's my diary page for the books and series that are just not up my alley.

The Elder Races Series by Thea Harrison

My experience with this series has been really weird

Where they stand so far:

The Awesome   The Busts
elderraces1 elderraces2 elderraces3 elderraces4

Coming Soon: Potentially Awesome?


Praise for the first book in series, Dragon Bound, reverberated though the book-o-sphere late last year. I bought the book on the strength of that praise alone. And once you got past the first half, the effusive praise was right. The book was fresh and excellent. Well, then, bring on book 2.

And what a fall from grace that was. The hero of that book should have received a few slaps of sense to set him straight, and the heroine was a complete ninny. In book three, you had a hero who had been strong and wonderful in the previous books, but was a letdown in his own book. In book 4...nothing happens. And while there was more praise for this one than the intervening two books, the characters did zilch for me.

So truly, only the first book, which is absolutely delightful, is really worth writing home about in my opinion. I have all but given up on this series. The only reason I will be acquiring book 5 is because it features the couple from Book 1, Dragos and Pia, and there's the hope that with them Ms. Harrison can recreate the magic. The only other exception I'll make for this series is if there is a future book about Graydon, a supporting character I adore.

For me, this series has been one massive bust after an electrifying start. It seems Dragon Bound was a flash in the pan. Major letdown. This is one series that is (mostly) not for me.

1. Dragon Bound - 5/5
2. Storm's Heart - 2.5/5
3. Serpent's Kiss - 3/5
4. Oracle's Moon - 3/5

10 July 2012

Review: Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh

Author: Nalini Singh

Title: Blaze of Memory

Series: Psy/Changeling #7

About the Book: Dev Santos finds a woman with amnesia-and all she can remember is that she's dangerous. Stripped of her memories by a shadowy oppressor and programmed to kill, Katya's only hope is Dev. But he could very well be her next target.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this one for a book that didn't have any changeling protagonists and didn't have any wolves in it (no Hawke for me, sniff, sniff). I enjoyed Dev and Katya very much. I also enjoyed seeing Sascha and Lucas.

Things got a bit cheesy and rather improbable at the end, but what-the-heck, it's fantasy, after all :D.

If I didn't know better, judging from the conclusions jumped to on every single occasion by a certain person, in just about every book, I'd think the primary jobs of empaths are to prophesy as much doom-and-gloom and see impossible odds for people while going on and on about their own bliss as possible.

And oooh! I am beginning to appreciate the awesomeness of Judd Lauren, and beginning to be more interested in Kaleb Kyrcheck, Aden, Vasic and the other arrows.

Fun times.

1. Slave to Sensation
2. Visions of Heat
3. Caressed by Ice
4. Mine to Possess - 2.5/5
5. Hostage to Pleasure
6. Branded by Fire

06 July 2012

Review: Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill

Author: Chloe Neill

Title: Some Girls Bite

Series: Chicagoland Vampires #1

About the Book: Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn't exactly glamorous, but it was Merit's. She was doing fine until a rogue vampire attacked her. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker-and this one decided the best way to save her life was to make her the walking undead.

Turns out her savior was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now she's traded sweating over her thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan "Lord o' the Manor" Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed, four-hundred- year-old vampire, he has centuries' worth of charm, but unfortunately he expects her gratitude- and servitude. But an inconvenient sunlight allergy and Ethan's attitude are the least of her concerns. Someone's still out to get her. Her initiation into Chicago's nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war-and there will be blood.

My Thoughts: 

What I liked

1. Merit. It came as a surprise to me, because I wasn't even sure i liked her in the beginning.
2. The story. Another surprise. I am not a fan of vampires, as a rule, and I wasn't sure I was enjoying the story for a good chunk of it. But by the end, I really liked the world and the plot Ms.. Neill created.
3. Some of the side characters. Jeff was not too bad. Catcher was interesting at first, and the grandaddy was cool.

What I didn't like

1. A lot of the side characters. That Mallory character grated on my nerves. Catcher was interesting until he became involved with her.
2. The story. By that, I mean the series. I have heard about the stunt the author pulled in book 4, and I don't think I am up to dealing with that tomfoolery. It's her series, and she can do whatever she wants with it, but I don't like getting invested in books and relationships and then have the author pull a such a stunt on me on me, no thank you, ma'am. So erm...jury's out on the series. Might wait till it's completely over, read the last book, and see if I want to go back and read the series properly.
*I've been assured that the change is not as drastic as all that, and so I will be pressing on with the books much sooner than I had anticipated.*



05 July 2012

#2: Thinking on...Submissive Heroines in UF and PNR

*Just my random ramblings about bookish stuff going on in my head*

My friend Jas I met in college, and Sela I call my big sis. They are two of the gentlest, sweetest people you will ever meet, the type of people UF semi-disdainfully look down upon: "submissive", "fragile flower." These two rouse people's protective instincts just by being. Two incidents come directly to mind.

In junior year, Jas had an acrimonious disagreement with her flatmate. And everyone's ire was aroused on Jas' behalf, it was actually quite scary how unanimous the backlash was against the roomie, because we were so protective of Jas, but also because she was the instigator and the one who was clearly in the wrong.

Sela was working with a doctor a year above her when his colleagues made a few distasteful remarks "jokingly," and a similar backlash occurred among the small medical student community in the hospital on Sela's behalf.

So at first glance, they look like women who need protecting. But make no mistake, they are not weak or fragile. On the contrary, they are two of the strongest women I've come across. They have wills and backs of steel for all that their patience is endless, and their demeanors soft and gentle. They are fully capable of solving their own problems and everyone else's around them too. Even with all our indignation, it was Jas who sorted herself out with the college authorities, and Sela can stand her ground like no one else I know.

You'll never call them to mind at the mention of "kickass", but really, they kick major butt in their own way. You won't see them yelling or 'in your face', but they'll win their arguments all the same. If they were UF characters, none of them would hold swords but without them, wars wouldn't be won: they strategize, they heal, they reassemble, they rally the troops. If I was a warlord (warlady?) I wouldn't step on the battlefield without their counsel, without their support.

Making "kickass" and "dominant" the only descriptions of strong women shortchanges and forces I our ideas of who strong women are into a box. All these heroines begin to resemble each other - cardboard cut-outs of the same mold, with a few variations here and there. And it's not even always well-done. How many heroines have you read who are supposedly kickass, but come across as brash, rude, not-too-intelligent, lack common sense, and are altogether empty barrels making lots of noise?

The only book I know of featuring a submissive heroine - Kitty Norville - painted her as weak, whiny, cowering, unsympathetic, only in the end to try to redeem her by making her into some sort of suppressed dominant....because kickass=good and submissive=weak=bad.

The thing is, people like Sela and Jas are NOT dominant. But they are also strong women. They cut just as strong a figure as a Kate Daniels or a Mercedes Thompson or a Merit; their wills are just as indomitable, event though they can't snark or fight like these ones can. They aren't flashy, and their strengths lie in the places no one venerates.

I just wish UF thought these women's stories were worth telling too.

03 July 2012

Dying to Get in July: Andrea's Story

*At the beginning of the month I post covers of new releases I am just dying to get my hands on and why I am so excited. Inspired by Waiting on Wednesday *

The only book I absolutely must have this month releases on the last day of the month, so it's practically an August release :(

July 31st: Gunmetal Magic.

When Ilona Andrews first announced that the next book book in the Kate Daniels series would be Andrea's story instead of a new adventure with Kate and Curran, I was not very amused. I needed my Kate and Curran fix, dammit! But as the days went by, the idea began to grow on me, and I am fully intrigued now. After reading the first chapter, I am fully invested - I want this book now! I can't wait to explore Andrea's backstory. It is going to be epic. On an aside, it's never gonna happen, but it would be totally awesome if she dumped Raphael and went off into the sunset with Roman!!

02 July 2012

{June} Month in Review

I did a little better this month than last month re: getting into a reading rhythm. It is not perfect, but I am hoping to tweak it a little better each month, so I can have time for reading, going to the movies, working, sleeping, and real life.


I read 14 books this month, including a book I had been putting off for quite a while -  Fair Game (Alpha and Omega #3), and a graphic novel - the Sandman Vol 1, by Neil Gaiman. I have a un-reviewish review of Fair Game and it will be up on the blog sometime this coming month, as well as a quickie review of the Sandman, which will also be up sometime in the month.

The favorites

So many good books this month. Where to start, where to start?
  • I reread Dragon Actually in its entirety. I should probably scrounge up a review for it. It's the first book in G.A. Aiken's Dragon Kin series, and I love it to bits. I have been powering through the entire series and just  had this urge to reread Annwyl and Fearghus's story (the first book is actually two novellas in one: Annwyl and Fearghus's story and then the story of Fearghus's parents, Bercelak and Rhiannon). I really love Annwyl and follow the series mainly for her. 
  • My favorite read this month is the novella Dragon on Top, book 4.5 in the Dragon Kin series. I loved everything about it. Review coming later in the month too.
  • I read book 3 in the I-Team series by Pamela Clare, Unlawful Contact. Don't know what took me so long. LOVED IT! My favorite so far. Quickie review also coming. 
  • Preludes and Nocturnes. Graphic novel. Neil Gaiman. Awesome Sauce.
At this rate I should stop now, or I'd mention all the 14 books I read. It was a very good month book-wise.

The least favorites

  • I didn't enjoy The Darkening Dream by Andy Gavin as much as I could have. Too many elements ruined the story for me.
  • I hated The Costarella Conquest. Quickie review coming.

Honorable Mentions

  • I started Before I Wake the day it came out. My feelings haven't changed for most of the supporting cast, but I am very, very, impressed with the person Kaylee has become. Tod I always knew was fantastic, but I didn't know just how awesome he could be. I knew I pegged him right from the beginning! The rest of them can go to heck for all I care :D
  • I finally got around to reading Fair Game, as I said upthread.
  • I am powering through the Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neill, which is very unusual for me (I don't like vampires, as a rule). I am on book 6. Should be done reading that by the time book 7 comes out next month.


Definitely a quality month. But I find that I am becoming more a more critical reader, especially when I love the author's body of work. And I am noticing and acknowledging criticism that I wouldn't always have accepted in the past. I think it's me growing as a reader instead of me being grumpy, but that remains to be seen.

Looking Forward

Here's to a new and even better month than June has been. An Ilona Andrews books is releasing in only 30 days!!!!
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