kitchendinah: (reading)
[personal profile] kitchendinah
Did not read nearly as much this month, too much knitting to do and TV to watch. Everything was electric this month, no paper crossed my hands. Next month I hope lay off the trashy romances a bit to clear some of the YA I've been meaning to read - Behemoth, the flapper Luxe novel, and the new Cassie Claire (for reasons that continue to escape me.)

14. Scandal of the Season: Abandoned at the Altar - Laura Lee Guhkie (Romance)
15. Lord of Scoundrels - Loretta Chase (Romance)
16. 10 Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord - Sarah Maclean (Romance)
17. Where Shadows Dance - C.S. Harris (Mystery)
18. Hold Me Closer Necromancer - Lish McBride(Young Adult)

14. Scandal of the Season: Abandoned at the Altar - I went into this one with more than a little trepidation because while I like the author, in the last book her hero left me with the impression that he was a deadly dull stuffed shirt. Ew. Happily, this is not so, readers! He ended up being fairly entertaining. I have some issues with Julia's manipulations of Aidan (and I honestly find him a little too forgiving on his end, though I don't necessarily condemn her for the motivations behind her machinations,) but in general, it's pretty cute. Entirely too proper Duke gets mixed up with a wild (for the turn of the 20th century) divorcee and romance happens. Warning for references to a really abusive ex (who is wholly absentee in the book.)

15. Lord of Scoundrels - I'm beginning to think the one Chase I read and liked was a fluke because this? Is also not good. (I also started the book after Miss whatever? Also not good. I think I'm just going to abandon all hope here.) I find this perplexing because if you read the reviews for this thing everyone is all 'OMG, it's the EPITOME of ROMANCE and WILL EAT YOUR SOUL and SPEW FORTH KITTENS AND CHAMPAGNE' and I'm sitting here trying to figure out what all the fuss is over. I didn't find either of the leads particularly likable, and the writing came across as rather stilted and was reminiscent of a previous generation of romance writing. I MAY go back and give this one another try at a later date because I have a history of ending up quite liking books that I've loathed on first reading, but for not this one goes in the reject pile.

16. 10 Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord - I did not like this one as much as I liked the previous novel in the series, but it's still pretty cute. It's a little overly flaily in parts, but I do like how the heroine does on occasion manage to get the better of the hero. I would liked to have known more about the house of refuge she was running which was largely used as a rather ill-defined back drop. We're given all of this FASCINATING background information and it is so not used to its full potential.

17. Where Shadows Dance - So first off, because this is going to turn into a cranky bitchfest shortly, let me state that I did like this and it's pretty solid, but it is not my favorite in the series. A dead young man ends up on a dissection table but unfortunately his death was not as natural as it was reported. St. Cyr gets pulled into a political intrigue as he tries to discover just what had happened. We've got rafts of dead bodies this time around, (which I never find to be a detractor,) but the sheer amount of political baggage and characters you have to sort through really weigh it down. I can handle politics or a cast of thousands, but not both. I felt this one lacked the clever/shocking spark of some of the other books in the series (Why Mermaids Sing is an excellent example of what I'm talking about,) and the humor, aside from the entertaining bit with the dismembered corpse, generally fell flat. I'm giving it a generous B.

Let me also express my immense relief that this did not go full bore romance on me (at least until the last chapter.) Yes, it looks like Sebastian will be sharing a lot of his screen time with Hero from here on out, but I do rather like her better than I like Kat and she does contribute to solving the mysteries in a relatively reasonable fashion. I worry, as it's become something of a trend in the last few books, that St. Cyr will constantly be saving her from *something* (kidnappers, unwed motherhood, kidnappers,) because I will be quite put out if that happens. Hero can and should be able to hold her own without having to be rescued by the big strong man every five minutes, and you know, isn't this supposed to be the Sebastien St. Cyr series? And while we're dealing with the romantic shenanigans, I'd also like to express the fervent hope that we're largely done with St. Cyr mooning over Kat. It was fun for a while, but now it's just annoying.

18. Hold Me Closer Necromancer - I am so disappointed by this one. It's gotten such good reviews! People are all ' Fun, Harry Dresden-y voice!" And I'm all "YEAH! AWESOME! WOOHOO!"

I got my hopes up way too high. ::sigh::

So here's the thing that pissed me off the most: You're introduced to the hero and his band of merry slackers. It's three guys (counting the hero) and a sassy, punky young girl. Guess who gets their head cut off pretty much right at the the start of the book to send a message to the hero? Yeah.

I could probably forgive the jumpy writing and abrupt scene cuts, the reams of exposition and background dump, and the gratuitous sex (it wasn't even GOOD gratuitous sex and given that the characters are just this side of jailbait I was not super comfortable with it,) but that one thing just wrecked the entire book for me. And you may say, "But Sarah, spoiler, spoiler, spoiler!" And I'll go, "Yeah, but spoiler, at which point I'm already done with it. I'm not waiting around for the next book in this series."

I'm also having gender role issues in that I'm sick of witches/Earth magic users always women and the cool-but-pretty-gross abilities (necromancy, in this case,) are always being given to the male characters. Why can't we have a girl raising zombies all over the place? Props for the werewolves being fairly gender neutral.

Oh, and there's FAIRIES. Which are really poorly explained, IMHO. I hate fairies. Fairies ruin almost everything. (See: Sookie Stackhouse.)

Yeah, I'm not happy. I will give the writer credit for her character voices, they were pretty good, I especially liked Sam (who is snarky and Harry-like, yes,) and Ramon. Ashley is a neat little character as well. Amazon was (still is!) giving away a short story for a while there that gave her background and honestly, I would have much rather read a book all about her. I liked the short a lot. I can see where the author could, given a chance to work the kinds out of her writing, actually be pretty good. Unfortunately, this was not.

Man, I don't like ANYTHING I read anymore, do I?


Okay! Seeing as I'm bitching, Let's talk about Side Jobs, like I've been promising for a while now.

The problem with producing a collection of (mostly) previously published series-related shorts is that 1.) they are all over the place in continuity and importance as they relate to the overall series, and 2.) (more importantly) often they contain plot points that you probably would have liked to know before they were referenced in the novels. Drives me up a freaking wall. I know that these shorts were largely written for themed anthologies and they're a nice way to attract new readers to the series and get out some of those one-off ideas, but seriously authors? Putting major plot points in shorts that readers of the ongoing series may or may not realize exist (or have a desire to buy, steal or ILL,) is a really cruddy thing to do.

The Dresden series isn't even that bad, really, it just got my ire up on the subject again. The only story I can think of off the top of my head that I wish had been read in context was the one where Billy and Georgia got married, (and yeah the last one with Murphy also needs to be read before Ghost Story comes out, but I'm less enraged about that because being collected with the rest of the Dresden stories brings it back in with the overall series. But damn it's be nice if they numbered the books so you knew you had them in the right order, wouldn't it? What if someone decides to read this as like their third book and spoils the hell out of themselves by accident?) Anyway, the one that REALLY burns me is the Sookie Stackhouse collection. I'm reading along in the broader series and oh hey, look! Sookie's got a human cousin who has got a thing going on with the Queen of Louisiana. Not a big deal. THE VERY NEXT BOOK: Wait, what do you mean the cousin got turned into a vampire and now she's dead and it was this whole big thing and Sookie was there for it?! (Or something like that. I still haven't read the thing, I'm so pissed.) And it really wasn't a minor plot point like the Billy/Georgia thing, it's had repercussions throughout the series. It was, in my ever so freaking humble opinion, a really shitty thing to do to her readers.

Anyway, authors! I'm not hating on short stories. I'm hating on the way you introduce new things in them and expect us to know what you're talking about when you reference them elsewhere. It's a dick move. Don't be a dick.


My spleen feels so light and fluffy now. Wow!

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February 2012

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