Wednesday, May 16

A Quickie...

It's been a busy reading month so far, but I haven't had time nor the inclination to write reviews for everything. So I thought I'd post snippets about what I liked/disliked about each one...

Shana Abe's The Smoke Thief completely blew me away. It's been out for a while and to be honest I wasn't all that interested, I picked it up on a whim and it's now a keeper. I had to fight to keep from doing an immediate reread.

I chose not to review this one because I thought it would turn into a gush fest and that wouldn't do the book justice.

I'm heading to the library today in the hope they have The Dream Thief available.

I'm a Susan Squires fan and her Companion series is one of my favorites, though I didn't particularly like The Burning, I did like her new one One With The Night. The heroine is strong and smart, the hero is a bit of a "poor put upon me" vampire, but not enough to put me off the story, and considering his backstory it may be understandable. There's an interesting twist to the Loch Ness Monster(s) in this one that I originally thought was over the top, but the more I think about it the more I like it.

I like that Ms. Squires leaves the HEA on the ambiguous side, it's a series about vampires--forever is a really long time :)

Castle of the Wolf is my first Sandra Schwab book. It's a Gothic--I love Gothics.

I liked the hero and heroine, her brother's pathetic, her SIL's a bitch, his parents are sweet, the servants are loyal, the heroine has an interesting rat killing friend, and his brother's the villain. The gargoyles add a cool twist to the story. The setting is interesting--Germany's Black Forest.

What's not to like? :D

Hmmm, I've been at a loss for words (I know--a loss for words--right :D) regarding Loretta Chase's Not Quite A Lady and it finally hit me, I'm not a huge fan of Loretta Chase's voice, it's why I'm sometimes hit or miss with her stories, because if the story doesn't completely grab me I'm just reading, not really loving it but not hating it either. I also did the comparison thing--Mr. Impossible is one of my favorite books, this one didn't compare for me. Darius isn't half as entertaining as Rupert and Charlotte just seemed immature, at one point near the end she says something about not growing past 16 and that's exactly how I felt as I was reading the book. Good because she's a good writer but it didn't completely work for me.

I'm not a huge "contemporary" reader, because I often find them trying too hard--too funny, too melodramatic. I'm picky about romantic comedies and I've reached a point in my life that too much melodrama is, well, too much. Susan Wiggs' contemporaries are melodramatic, but for some reason they don't bug me. Her The Lakeside Chronicles are set in the Catskills, which is basically my backyard. I find myself nit picking the details of the area, how long it takes to go back and forth to NYC, calling the local government a "city" instead of a "town" or "village". But, not enough to completely pull me out of the story. I liked the hero and heroine (Rourke and Jenny). The Winter Lodge is a nice story,add a little mystery, and truths uncovered--it worked.

Thanks to Wendy I've become a Cheryl St. John fan, slowly collecting her backlist as I come across them. She's a nice storyteller, her books are simple, straightforward and always work. Joe's Wife is a sweet story about a man from the wrong side of the tracks and a widow in need.

I've got 2 or 3 more of her books on my TBR pile, she's become my go to author when I need a western fix.

You know that deja vu feeling you get when you read something that seems familiar but you can't quite figure out why? It's the feeling I got when I started Asking for Trouble by Elizabeth Young. And then it hit me, the plot was the same as that movie that came out a couple of years ago with Debra Messing--The Wedding Date, no kidding, after a quick pop in to B&N and I find out the movie's based on the book. Well, I have to say I loved the first half of the book, found myself smiling at the basic craziness of it, but then the second half disintegrated into a mass of misunderstandings. It could have been better but wasn't horrible.

It really wasn't a quickie, was it? :D


Wendy said...

Joe's Wife is one of my favorites, although it wasn't quite a keeper for me. I'm a sucker for "perfect first spouse" story lines. Sick of me, I know.

Tara Marie said...

Wendy, I thought it was good, I like "perfect first spouses" thing too, but I'm not a fan of the you're a "bastard so therefore you must be bad" story line, but I still liked the book.

nath said...

it was a quickie, but a great quickie LOL :D I really liked the Winter Lodge also :D I kept expecting a villain (because the house burnt down), but I was surprised :D it was a nice story. I have the Smoke Thief, but for some reason, I didn't enjoy it as much as you seem to have. ASking for Trouble, i read that one in french and thought it was simply meh. I didn't like the misunderstandings :(

Jenster said...

Yours is not the first "meh" review of Not Quite a Lady. Which is good because I won't be expecting too much when I read it.

Rosie said...

I'm reading NOT QUITE A LADY now and I've put it down. It's not grabbing me. THE SMOKE THIEF is a book I've debated about several times. Maybe I should give that another look-see.

Tara Marie said...

Nath, one of the reasons I passed on The Smoke Thief was because it seemed like readers either loved it or hated it. I guess I fall into the loved it category.

I can't imagine reading Asking for Trouble in french since it's a British Chick Lit :D

Jen, I've avoided reviews for Not Quite a Lady, so I had no idea how it's been received. Interesting I'm not alone :)

Rosie, I really wasn't all that impressed by NQAL, but do try The Smoke Thief, I'll be curious to hear your thoughts.

ames said...

Uh oh...I guess I'll be picking up the Smoke Thief soon. LOL

Kate R said...

have you read any Lisa Cache?

Kate R said...

I mean Lisa Cach...Dream of Me.

Jaye said...

I loved The Smoke Thief! It hit my keeper shelf the minute I finished it.

Interesting about the Lock Ness Monster. I'm reading One With The Night right now and really enjoying it but I did find it a bit odd that Nessy kept being mentioned. Then I thought, hey, it's a book with vampires, what can be so odd? *g*

You're in Ontario, aren't you? Did you find Castle of the Wolf on the shelves? I couldn't find it in any Coles/Indigo-Chapters I checked out. I've been reading Barbara Michaels lately, so gothic is cranking my joy-stick at the moment. lol. I might have to give in and order this one.

Not Quite a Lady is in my tbr pile. It sounded so good too, but I've been reading mixed reviews on it. *sigh*

Verification word: kduckjt

Kristie (J) said...

I loved both The Smoke Thief and Joe's Wife too. I have The Dream Thief but just haven't gotten around to it yet. And I do want to read Castle of the Wolf - but tis not out here anywhere in Ontario - unless it's at Walmart.

Tara Marie said...

Ames, good choice.

Kate, I'm really hit or miss with Lisa Cach, but I'll definitely check it out.

Jaye, at first I was rolling my eyes at the Ness, but like you I'm left thinking it's a book about vampires, go with it.

I'm in upstate New York, my local indie bookseller ordered it from Ingram.

Well, at least I'm not the only one not loving NQAL.

Kristie, hopefully it'll show up soon.

Jane said...

Love Joe's Wife. Is the Smoke Thief the first one because I liked that more than the second one. Haven't read squires in a while. May have to pick her up.

I had a very emotional connection with Chase's book because I felt she got the mother's feelings right about letting a child go.

Kat O+ said...

I just read The Smoke Thief a couple of weeks ago and loved, loved, loved it! And I agree with you about Chase--I loved Mr Impossible, too, but some of her other books? Not so much. I think it's partly because she injects a bit more variety in her characters, plots and settings. So I find that her "voice", at least for me, actually seems different from book to book.

Tara Marie said...

Jane, The Smoke Thief is the first. I'm hoping I like The Dream Thief as much.

I agree LC did get the emotions right, yet Charlotte still seemed too immature through most of the book--that didn't work for me.

Kat, I think you're right, her voice does seem different from book to book, hmmm something to think about.

CherylStJ said...

I loved checking out what you're reading! Glad to know you're one of the western fans. Insider info: Eight western writers, including moi, have teamed up to create a website just for western romances. It will be called Petticoats & Pistols, with a comprehensive book list, upcoming releases and blogs by the host writers as well as guest bloggers. The regulars will include Lorraine Heath and Geralyn Dawson, so hold on to your Stetsons! There will be a promotion when the site is launched this summer.

Thanks for recommending Joe's Wife.

Tara Marie said...

Cheryl--thank you for popping in. I do enjoy a good western and yours fall into that category. I'll definitely add Petticoats & Pistols to the blog roll when it's up and running.

Sandra Schwab said...

Tara Marie, I'm happy to hear you enjoyed Castle of the Wolf and the journey into the Black Forest! :)

Greetings from Frankfurt (where those lovely cards were originally printed *g*),