Monday, May 31, 2010

And it comes to a close ...

59. How to Marry a Marquis, Julia Quinn
58. Ten Things I Love About You, Julia Quinn
57. An Impossible Attraction
56. On the Way to the Wedding, Julia Quinn
55. To Sir Phillip, With Love, Julia Quinn
54. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, Julia Quinn
53. The Burning Lamp, Amanda Quick
52. Mystique, Amanda Quick

And so it has been 365 days since I started this little endeavor. It feels like ages, and it feels like second, which is how time is I suppose. Sometimes I can't believe I've been here a year.

Weirdly, summer to me is driving with my windows down, Taylor Swift (or any music really) blaring. It's akin to Christmas marking the passing of time.

So now as I drive around with the hot air musing my hair irreparably, singing (caterwauling, to be fair) to "You Should Have Said No" (I'm sorry, but she never goes out of style for me) I feel it. I feel the year.

But anyway, on to what's really important (certainly not my blathering about time) -- books!

I haven't posted since my vacation, but that's not because I haven't been reading. For me, for some odd reason, I put off posting ... long enough for when I started to think about doing, I decided to just wait, wait until the end and make it a good one :)

I finished my Ms. Quick obsession appropriately -- with two novels I hadn't read before. The first Mystique was wonderful. I have absolutely no idea (OK a little one, but hold on) why I hadn't read it before. The only thing I can think of is that I'm not a huge fan of historical romances set in the 1300s ish unless they're in Scotland. This may come off as odd to non-romance readers ... but here's the breakdown. The most common settings for historicals are: Scotland (anywhere from 1100-1400), Regency London (1815-1825ish) and Wild Wild West America (aka 1860s ish?) There are authors who step outside these times and locales (aka Brenda Joyce with her Deadly Series -- set in NYC turn of the century) but most do not. And I'm OK with that. I want my middle-ages stories to be set in Scotland and my Regency ones to take place among London's ton.

Anyhoo, I've gotten completely off track, but that happens ... Mystique was wonderful. And very Amanda Quick even though it wasn't set in the proper time period ;) (on a side note she actually has quite a few novels in that era but she pens them under the name Jayne Castle ... yes she has three different pseudonyms.) I followed Mystique with The Burning Lamp. Now don't get me wrong, I pretty much love everything she writes, but this was ... off for me. I know she's been into the paranomal for some time now (The Arcane Society series) but I really wish she would just go back to normal historical thrillers. I think part of the problem is the two main characters recognize how right they are for each other almost immediately because they have paranormal senses. So it takes all the tension right out of the story. They don't really have obstacles they have to overcome to be together, they just have to solve the crime aspect of the plotline. So while that is interesting, it doesn't hold the book together. I found myself struggling through it, putting it down, going days without reading ... which is never a good sign in the middle of a NEW novel, one I hadn't read before. I think it gave me Quick closure, if you will ... which was a good thing. It let me move on!

On a whim I borrowed Romancing Mr. Bridgerton from the library. Now I've mentioned Julia Quinn before (What Happens in London and The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever I believe). She's a bubbly writer. Her stories bounce along cheerfully and irreverently. But they also have a bit of an edge, a bit of a dark side. It's nothing obvious except a shadow lurking under the sparkle. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton is actually part of a series (oh you know how much I adore series!) about the Bridgertons (all 8 of them) and it is set is Regency England. The next two books on the list were also apart of the series (To Sir Phillip, With Love and On the Way to the Wedding)

Things I live about Ms. Quinn: Her books are clever, witty and funny (I can't tell you how much I laughed out loud to Ten Things I love about you ... sitting on my balcony chuckling like a crazy person) Her characters are really different from each other, which is a hard thing to accomplish in series, in writing in general. Just in general her plot lines are entertaining.
Things I don't like: The over use of the word "hiss." I'm sorry, that is not an attractive action on anyone. And she uses it all. the. time. She hissed, he hissed. Please, how many times have you really hissed in your life? Although her characters are different some of her scenes themselves are startlingly similar -- something I'm not sure I've experience before, at leas to the extent they are. Like in Ten Things I Love About You and How to Marry a Marquis (now to be fair these were written years and years apart, I just happened to read them right next to each other) there was an almost-rape scene (I know like I said, a little bit of darkness under all the frothiness that is her stories) was almost exactly the same. It was bizarre. One other gripe I have with her is that her characters are too self-aware. There's no dramatic irony, it's like they are the voice of the writer almost. Which is hard to explain how that's a bad thing ... but it is. They're too aware of everything that's happening in the story to all the other characters and themselves. It almost pulls you out of the story, not to mention you lose any tension that would have been created by the dramatic irony.

Anyhoo, I'm well and truly entrenched within a Julia Quinn streak ... I'm currently reading my 60th book (which kills me that I didn't finish in time to count it! argg 59 instead of a nice round number like 60 ... sigh, but such is life I suppose). Oh and just before you judge Ms. Quin as silly ... she graduated from Harvard. Yup, suck it everyone who wants to judge romance novels.

Oh and let's not forget An Impossible Attraction a little break I took in the middle of Julia Quinn. And it is such a delicious mark of how different books can be ... and how different Regency London is for authors. Quinn's is light and flufyy while Ms. Brenda Joyce's is dark and seemy, menacing almost. But then there is kindness in her characters as well. An Impossible Attraction was interesting in that our heroine becomes the mistress of our hero. The mistress! In regency london books this never happens (at least in the ones I read). I won't ruin it, but suffice it to say it all works out in the end. Anyway I think out of all the regency londons that exist, I would want to live in Amanda Quick's version (shock.)

Anyway so that's my year for you. I read 59 books ... a decent amount since my original goal was 40. I went through reading phases, and reading droughts, but in the end managed to rack up a respectable number :)

I'm glad I kept track, because now I'll know. But I probably won't continue this. As it was just for me anyway I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.

So I'll say it one more time: Happy readings!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mexico reading :)

51. Surrender, Amanda Quick
50. Dangerous, Amanda Quick
49. Wait 'til Midnight, Amanda Quick

I would have read more on our vacay had it not been raining, but through airports, traveling, lounge reading and our one nice day, I managed to get through three in about 6 days (I brought 7 books lol)

Anyway I'm obviously still in my AQ phase ... I love her books, and I'm about to check out one of hers that I've, for some reason unknown, never read before ... I'm excited. Also, she just released a new one (The Burning Lamp) as part of her Arcane Society series. I'm going to go buy it today, hopefully :D

Anyway these three are an odd mix — they are varied on the spectrem of my love for her. Dangerous is my favorite of her books. Like favorite. I mean, Mischief and Mistress come in as close (tied) seconds ... but i L.O.V.E. love love love Dangerous. Wait 'til Midnight is one of those, unless i'm completely obsessed, that I skip over when I'm reading AQ ... I like it, a lot, I really like the hero in it ... but it just is lacking a bit ... like I've probably said before any AQ book is still worlds better than some of the stuff out there, but if we're comparing them. Surrender is my least favorite AQ book. Which is saying something because she obviously has lots of books. The hero is a fortune hunter (that's a struggle in and of itself, getting us to like a character -- a male character -- who is only after our heroine's money. We're trained in historical novel reading to hate fortune hunters and then boom, our hero turns out to be one.) Once we get over that hurdle, which I'm not sure I ever do, you have him acting like ... well like they would have actually acted back then ... which, some would argue is good, but we don't want to read that! He limits what she can do with her money, he's not guilty about deceiving her, he's extremely dictatorial ... etc. etc. And she still gives in anyway ... maybe it's because i'm a (notorious) grudge holder, I wanted her to resist him a little more stongly. Still I liked her for the most part ... I don't read this one much (maybe two other times, tops) and I can see why. Still I read the whole thing, and it captured my attention through out.

I'm one book away from my second goal of 52 books between June 1, 2009 - June 1, 2010. I think i'll beat it, but i'm not going to set a new goal. We'll see how many I read in May ... it maybe two it may be 10 ... I'm not going to force it :D

til next time, happy readings :D

Friday, April 2, 2010

One of my favorites

48. Affair, Amanda Quick

For some reason I just love this book, this story, these characters. There are some lines that are corny as Iowa, but if you get past those you just fall in love with it. I don't know what i'm reading next ... I'm still in the mood for more quick but i've kind of exhausted my options. Maybe some Suz (i just went to see her play in NYC ... it was good, but not fantastic) Anyway we'll see :D

happy readings :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Before I forget ...

47. The Paid Companion, Amanda Quick

This one actually isn't one of my favorites. I picked it up off my bookshelf and there was a bookmark halfway through still stuck in it. That's never a good sign because it means the last time i attempted to read it I put it down with out finishing it. I almost never don't finish a book. As I was reading I realized why. The thriller part of it, the mystery, the plot isn't that great. It feels ... contrived ... forced ... secondary, but a main part of the book. The relationship is cute just like all of her other ones, but the "crime" just fell short of being compelling.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

getting closer :)

46. Mischief, Amanda Quick
I love love love this book for some reason ... on of my favorites from her! :)
45.Late to the wedding, Amanda Quick

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

sticking with quick

44. Don't Look Back, Amanda Quick
43. With This Ring, Amanda Quick

It helps that i discovered i can read hardbacks and run at the same time ... it hurts that it's the olympics and there are hours and hours of coverage to watch ;p

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

back to quick for a bit

42. Lie by moonlight, Amanda Quick
41. Deception, Amanda Quick

i didn't read either of these during my last quick phase ... i am reading the third circle again, but i won't count it toward my total :)