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What John’s Been Reading, Week of August 30th

This past week was a blur of family vacationing and getting ready for school.  I just had my first day today as well, so my reading is already taking a toll with my energy.  High school throws punches like that.  My reading is going to hopefully continue at a semi-similar pace, and I’m going to be attempting to keep up more with reviews once I get organized.  These were the books I read during the last week or two of summer.

Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan

This was one of those books that I’ve picked up in my yard-sale searches (which are the main way I find romances anymore.)  I heard good things, and the author blurbed Ernessa T. Carter’s 32 Candles, which I loved.  It ended up being a read that I really enjoyed.  It’s set in the 90’s, so it deals with a lot of current issues of the time, and the commentary on male/female relationships and black male/black female relationships in particular was interesting.

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Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List by David Levithan and Rachel Cohen

Love David Levithan.  Love his first collaboration with Cohen, which is Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.  Was disappointed in this book.  There was some nice usage of complex relationships and fluid teen sexuality, but it all got bogged down by a lot of narrator hopping that made all of the problems (Ely and Naomi’s friendship, Naomi’s love for the gay Ely, Ely’s boyfriend’s image issues, ect.) feel like they were resolved too quickly.  Not to mention it strained credibility when it wasn’t just two but six or more protagonists that were speaking in incredibly observant narration for a teen mind.

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Guily Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton

I shouldn’t have read this one, but I did.  It was fun, but there was some repetitive language that was noticeable and a lack of focus in the middle.  I have made it a goal to see how far I can go into Hamilton’s series without throwing in the towel.  Anita was already sexually charged in a subtle way, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that changes.  Even if it’s for the worst.

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Arise by Tara Hudson

A sequel to the YA PNR Hereafter that came out this summer.  I was asked to look over the manuscript.  I enjoyed the first book but felt it had a lack of oomph to the drama it would realistically show.  This one had some pacing problems in the first third, but it showed a lot more of the drama that would go on.  Not for everyone, but if you like YA PNR like I do, you’d find the series pleasant.

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Vixen by Jillian Larkin

This one felt like a meeting of the Private series with the 1920’s flapper fad.  It totally worked, too.  There’s a lot of drama and angst involved, but I love this setting.  All of the flapper outfits and attitude is fun to read about.  The pacing was a little slow for my taste.  It satisfied my historical fiction urge and gave me some brain candy to work with.

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Vacations from Hell – anthology

This I picked up as another breather book.  Five short stories of amusing but limited entertainment.  Claudia Gray and Sarah Mylnowski balanced out the best.  Libba Bray and Maureen Johnson had good ideas but needed more room to work with them.  Cassandra Clare pretty much wrote a whole lot of nothing.  I’ve found Clare’s short stories cannot even go into amusing territory for me, and I was annoyed by some factual errors.  About video games.  From the past few years!  Kingdom Hearts 2 is primarily if not completely a signal player game, and it is not on the Xbox.  (I am a gamer on the side, if you couldn’t tell.)

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Safe Harbor by Christine Feehan

Feehan is a guilty pleasure.  I forget about her books soon after I read them, and the romance is primarily the same thing over and over again.  Her males border on far-too-alpha at times, and her females always end up retiring to be alone with the kiddies.  I find her writing fun if overly descriptive, and Safe Harbor was at least a fun addition to the series.  I’d read Dangerous Tides and hated the hero and his romance with the heroine.  I think I’ll have better luck with the Carpathians in the future.

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His Wife for One Night by Molly O’Keefe

The author sent this when I mentioned I was looking into trying Harlequin Superromance.  I found the main couple to have a good chemistry, and I liked the idea behind it quite well.  The lack of interaction between them in the first half and the lack of clarity on some issues from their past and present made it difficult for me to love the book, but I read through it quickly and enjoyed it.

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I also read a few books for school like O Pioneers!, Ethan Frome, and The Awakening.  I found them good reads, but I had problems fundamentally with The Awakening and O Pioneers.  I have a few books I’m going to read over the next few days as well, or that I’m reading right now.

The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen

This is one that is fun to read, but the fundamentals of the text are ridunkulous.  The book starts out that way without easing you in, and it has yet to stop.  I’m on page fifty and can already tell it’s pretty similar to Twilight and the BDB books.  (Seriously.  The group of guys/warriors called the Lumina all wear leather and have mated-trope things with this other race and it’s…yeah.)

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Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

I’m going to be reading this while I read Mephisto.  It seems to be pretty short, and I have an essay on it that is due in a few days.  Yes, I procrastinated over the summer.  At least I picked the play for last.

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Where Demons Fear to Tread by Stephanie Chong

Picked this up hearing mixed things.  I’m a sucker for angel books (see Mephisto), so I’m hoping that I’ll like the read.  If not the romance.  My experience with MIRA books has been conflicted, but I will deal with a lot of crap to read about angels.  Probably too much crap, but it’s worth a shot.

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Ever since a good friend brought him a copy of Johanna Lindsey's Gentle Rogue, he has been hooked on the romance genre. Though he primarily reads in young-adult, he loves to spend time with paranormal, historical, and contemporary adult titles in-between books. Now, he finds himself juggling book reviews, school band, writing, and finding time to add to his TBR pile.


  1. LG
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 12:31:42

    I really should reread my LKH books at some point, to figure out whether my dislike of the more recent books is due to changes in the series, or just due to changes in myself. I remember really liking the earlier books, particularly if they featured the werewolves (I started with Lunatic Cafe – I might not have read more of the series if I had started with Guilty Pleasures instead).

    I was never able to get into Feehan’s books. I tried a couple of her Carpathian books, and the heroes annoyed me. I love the soulmate trope, but I don’t like it the way Feehan handled it.

  2. Allie
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 12:50:45

    Re: LKH – you have a long slide down to look forward to. I still read this series. They entertain me. Even when there is no plot. I buy them used, when they are under $1. :) I don’t usually have long to wait. ;) I have thrown in the towel on other series but this one continues to amuse me. Anita is a little more annoying in every book, but I read for Edward.

    Re: Feehan – I really enjoyed Dark Slayer. It’s different from all her other books and my all-time favorite by this author. Wonderful beta hero in that one. And I love animals so was thrilled with the wolves. I also enjoyed Water Bound with the autistic heroine who loved peanut butter and the hero who hated it. I felt like finally we were getting to see more magic in the books this way, and less chatter. The book after Dark Slayer in the Dark series had an ending that intrigued me, since it was different from other endings in that series.

  3. vita
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 13:02:11

    Hey, John! That’s an impressively eclectic list,from Sophocles to Laurel K. Hamilton. I’ve not succumbed to “Angel” fever, but it seems to be one of the next big things in paranormal

    Please keep us posted on the whole breakdown of LKH. I really loved (love)her books. The thing is I only read up through Blue Moon, book five, I think? So…there’s obviously a HUGE change in the Anita Blake universe (or would that be sexiverse?) that seems uniformly decried. It would be fascinating to hear your analysis and all the response it would engender!!!

  4. Estara
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 14:37:29

    John, did you see that Tamara Allen is offering a free short story yet? Various formats at AllRomanceebooks.

  5. kara-karina
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 16:17:17

    John, bravo for being brave enough to start Anita. I have love/hate relationships with the series, but can’t seem to stop reading it. Obsidian Butterfly which is book 9 is my personal favorite :)
    As to Mephisto Covenant, this book is definitely YA version of BDB, it’s ridiculous but amusing enough to keep reading. Although I had a huge rant when I finished it because its Russian angle made me see red (pun intended) it was sooo poorly done.

  6. John
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 22:02:25

    @LG: It’s pretty much like that in every book. If not a soulmate, then it’s obvious they WOULD be if the trope existed in her universe. She’s not one to go to for a variety of stories.

    @Allie: I’m hoping to get that same experience from LKH. Not necessarily an enjoyment of the quality or even the story…but of just reading it for the sake of reading it. If that makes sense? And I have Feehan’s Waterbound in my TBR. My only issue with her so far is that the suspense plots in the two Drake Sisters books I’ve read have been crappy.

    @vita: I just like angels. I’m agnostic, so it’s weird, but I love examining religion in text. (Coincidentally a point in one of the papers I wrote.) School makes my reading more literary than it usually is. I’m tempted to see if Jane would want a steady breakdown of each book – because I’d be willing to talk about it as someone coming in late.

    @kara-karina: I finally got time to continue reading it. Agreed on the Russian bit. I don’t know about it from a cultural end, but my issue is that it’s so WTF and ridiculous that it feels totally fake. I am enjoying it, though. It’s a C book that you would enjoy like a crackalicious B book.

    @Estara: No! Thank you so much for pointing that out. :D Tamara Allen is to die for.

  7. library addict
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 22:13:42

    Safe Harbor is my favorite of the Drake Sisters series, but I also waited 4 years from the time the first novella came out for Hannah & Jonas’ story to be published. I think that made a difference. It’s rare for a long anticipated story to not be a let down. The story went a very different direction from what I thought it would, but I didn’t feel disappointed as I did with the last 2 Drake Sisters stories.

    You may like Feehan’s Ghostwalker stories better.

  8. ShellBell
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 23:14:41

    I am a fan of Christine Feehan’s but her Drake Sisters series is my least favourite. I felt that the books did get better as the series went on – Safe Harbor and Hidden Currents being my favourites. I thoroughly enjoyed Water Bound, which is the first book of her new series set in the Drake Sisters home town of Sea Haven. I love her Leopard series, Ghostwalkers and the Carpathians but even some of the Carpathian books have been a bit hit and miss for me – my favourites being Dark Fire, Dark Guardian, Dark Magic, Dark Desire and the later books in the series.

  9. Estara
    Sep 04, 2011 @ 14:29:12

    @John: Since we dragged Ana into the Tamara Allen fanhoard, I always think of you when I hear something about Tamara Allen ^^.

  10. John
    Sep 05, 2011 @ 09:48:48

    @library addict: Agreed! Just reading them in Dangerous Tides was enough for me to be like, “Write their book now, please.” Granted that it didn’t turn out as nicely as I’d hoped, but it was still a fair book. I’ll probably read the whole series randomly, as Feehan brings out the completionist in me.

    @ShellBell: Good to know! I have the second Leopard book and the first Carpathians book in my TBR. Hopefully I’ll like them more.

    @Estara: I will forever fangirl over that woman. Ana and I have since tag-teamed people to read her. Clearly we need to start a fan club. ^_^.

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