Feb & Jan Roundup aka 2016 so far aka Why am I so bad at this?

 

I've read 30 books so far this year. Here's the ones I've reviewed on the blog:

 

 

 By the numbers:

 

5 Stars: 3

4 Stars: 12

3 Stars: 7

2 Stars: 7

1 Stars: 0

0 Stars: 1

 

Here's a look at all the books this year that I've read and not reviewed even though I said THIS would be the year I'd review everything in some way. So I put together a little something below of each just so I can try to fulfill my goal this year. (They are in no particular order, although I should of ordered them - next time?):

 

 

 

 

 

The Assassin and the Desert - Sarah J. Maas 3 stars - An improvement over the previous novella, but I lost interest after this and only made it through 20% of the following novella before quitting. Maybe I'll be in the mood for a snarky teen assassin in the future though.

(novella)

 

 

Ponies - Kij Johnson 3 stars - Made me want to vomit. I think that's a good thing (?) but I sorta hated that about it. I can't say I was completely torn up over the happenings in the story - maybe I'm cold-hearted and it takes me longer than 10 pages to thaw, but I will say that I had that stomach drops to the floor feeling of dread at the end.

(short story)

 

 

Midnight Angel - Lisa Kleypas 2 stars - This sort of sucked out my will to live. Tasia, the heroine, is Russian, so expect that is the reason why - she was really into the angst. It's in her blood, I suspect.

 

 

 

Heat of Passion - Elle Kennedy 2 stars - It was okay with a shoulder shrug. It didn't light me up. There was a weird argument in which John got irrationally angry and Shelby was forced to do a little unnecessary groveling, for added drama's sake obviously. Plus, it was very short so everything was rushed. This surprise was my fault however, I didn't look up page count initially and it wasn't until I noticed my progress ticking a long a little too quickly on my Kindle before I realized it was a short story.

I wasn't suitably impressed to go searching for another book, short or otherwise, but if a book friend really liked a later book of hers, I'd probably give it a shot.

 

(but don't listen to me because, see below)

 

 

Heat of the Moment - Elle Kennedy  2 stars - So what? I read the next one. I just wanted to see if it got any better, okay? It didn't. I'm not reading another and I mean it this time.

 

 

 

Lord Carew's Bride - Mary Balogh 4 stars - Someone said 'beta hero' and my ears perked up. Lord Carew is crippled, so it has sort of a Beauty and the Beast theme going for it. And it's just lovely. Samantha trips from friendship to love without really realizing it and it's just so sweet and nice and I liked it.

 

So, then I got on a Balogh kick and read:

 

Slightly Wicked - Mary Balogh 4 stars - A sweet, romantic story. (Though Judith, the heroine, 'acts' out portions of plays and it made me cringe - but Rannulf liked it, so you know, more power to her). Anyway, I was moved to tears a couple of times, so I kept reading Balogh.

 

 

Slightly Scandalous - Mary Balogh 3 stars - There was never really any comfortable interactions between Josh and Free - they're always together, acting under pretenses and hiding their true feelings, or ignoring their true feelings. And, contrary to every other readers review that I found, I enjoyed Free MORE than Josh because I could never really get a beat on Josh's feelings or feel very genuine about him. But, I feel like I could see Free, hear her voice and read her body language. So, in review, I felt a lot and there were a lot of feelings.

 

 

Slightly Tempted - Mary Balogh 4 stars - At this point, I thought that the series was appropriately named a saga - though there's not a sweeping motion, the larger story of family and love and betrayal and revenge with the background of the time of war transitioning to the time of peace is certainly felt. I adored Morgan, adored her - for her wisdom and maturity and her naivete in the face of her inexperience, and she was a good match for Gervase.

 

 

Cold-Hearted Rake - Lisa Kleypas 5 stars - Kleypas return to historical romance. My only note was "I LOVE THIS BOOK". *shrugs*

 

 

 

Falling Into Bed with a Duke (Hellions of Havisham) - Lorraine Heath 4 stars - This is about the Duke of Ashebury, who is orphaned and raised by a man that is mad, and Minerva, the daughter of Jack Dodger (from previous books) who was raised on the streets of London and built an empire from an gaming hell. I mean, just the background of the characters is fun. The action starts when Minerva, after being unsuccessful in 6 seasons, decides to take matters into her own hands - she wants love, and if she can't have that, she wants an adventure. Lorraine Heath has rarely disappointed me. This was not an exception.

 

 

The Spinster's Guide to Scandalous Behavior: The Seduction Diaries - Jennifer McQuiston 4 stars - There was a point when I almost quit reading because the heroine, Lucy,  was so stubborn. Fortunately, McQuiston knows what she's doing and turned it around. I loved Lucy in the end. McQuiston doesn't have a huge catalog, but she and Caroline Linden are among my 'emerging' favorites in the HR genre.

 

 

 

The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains - Neil Gaiman 3 stars - My first Gaiman read. I liked this:

 

“I am old now, or at least, I am no longer young, and everything I see reminds me of something else I’ve seen, such that I see nothing for the first time. A bonny girl, her hair fiery red, reminds me only of another hundred such lasses, and their mothers, and what they were as they grew, and what they looked like when they died. It is the curse of age, that all things are reflections of other things.”

 

(short story)

 

 

 

The Sleeper and the Spindle - Neil Gaiman,Chris Riddell 3 stars - A good fantasy read - I loved all the creepy atmospheric stuff with the cobwebs and the zombie-like sleeping people. I don't know that I loved the message, which seemed to be about how you always have choices, even when you feel trapped. It just never mentions that there are consequences to any choice you make -- but this is a twist on a fairy tale, so I don't want to rain on the happily ever after parade too badly.

(short story)

 

 

 

The Fold: A Novel - Peter Clines  4 stars - I wanted to write a bigger review about this with some detailed thoughts, but I couldn't get around to doing it. I liked it, but Clines does the thing where he just makes stuff happen without explaining it - which, if you've created a fantasy world where all my favorite make-believe elements live, then fine, I'll suspend my belief and have a good time. But if you base your book in the world of science and physics...then you're going to have to lead me to your conclusion with some sciency type explanations. But that aside, I liked the crazy aliens and inter-dimensional travel. I did have to make my own visual aids to follow along, but that's just me.

 

 

Stiff Penalty (A Mattie Winston Mystery Book 6) - Annelise Ryan 3 stars - Some people were murdered and Mattie figures out who did it.

 

[spoiler]

Oh, yeah, and Mattie has Hurley's baby, after barely speaking through her whole pregnancy because, reasons, and then Hurley's like, "we'll work this out Mattie, promise" when it's wrapping up in the end. And don't get me started about how both Mattie and Hurley allow a teenager to effectively RUIN this major event in both of their lives, and keeps them from actually making progress in their relationship. THIS IS NOT HOW IT"S SUPPOSED TO WORK. I get that said teenager has been through a BIG ordeal, but putting her drama on a pedestal and forsaking all other responsibility is only going to give her a complex - like a 'shes-the-center-of-the-world' complex.

[/spoiler

(show spoiler)

] No matter my frustration, I still can't quit these. The next one is on hold at the library.