June 2010 Reading List

Holy cow, 16 books in one month?! I seriously never know how much of a reading tear I’m on until I count them all up in the end.

Last month the new books I read were comprised of: 2 contemp YA, 1 paranormal YA, 4 chick-lit/lit fic, 2 historical romance, 5 paranormals.

June 2010

  1. Going Too Far, Jennifer Echols A+ (review here)
  2. Duke of Shadows, Meredith Duran A : dudes, one of my new favorites! Next time a non-romance reader asks you for a rec to get started in the genre, you should ABSOLUTELY give them this one. Rivals Lord of Scoundrels in that regard.
  3. Garden Spells, Sarah Addison Allen A- : my fave SAA book out of the two so far, even though it reminded a bit too much of the movie “Practical Magic” with Sandra Bullock.
  4. Darkfever, Karen Marie Moning A- : yes I wrote an ode to this series, yes I’m dying for the next release, yes I’m frustrated with a lot of what happened.
  5. Bloodfever, Karen Marie Moning A-
  6. Faefever, Karen Marie Moning A-
  7. Dreamfever, Karen Marie Moning B+
  8. The Sugar Queen, Sarah Addison Allen B+ : I love a curvy heroine, but ALL the characters in Garden Spells captivated me, as opposed to just 1 or 2 in this one.
  9. Bonds of Justice, Nalini Singh B+
  10. Stay, Allie Larkin B
  11. My Soul to Save (#2 in series), Rachel Vincent B
  12. When the Duke Returns, Eloisa James B-
  13. Twenties Girl, Sophie Kinsella C+ : very fluffy and light chick lit, with a ghost. Heroine was way too similar to all other Kinsella characters and Bridget Jones. It was cute, but not her best.
  14. The Daughters, Joanna Philbin C+ (review here)

Reread: Revealed by Kate Noble, Duchess by Night by Eloisa James (keeping track of these for my end of year stats)

Fingers crossed that I’ll have another such month of excellent and lusty reading!

Sorry local tweens, I took all your good library loot!

There are a bunch of bloggers I could blame/praise (I call some out below)for my recent YA glom-fest, but my practically divine Jennifer Echols reading experience really cemented this recent trend. After falling so hard for Going Too Far I knew I couldn’t put off other recommendations any longer.

     1. Perfect Chemistry, by Simone Elkeles: everyone and their mother have rec’d this one, especially for Jennifer Echols fans, in fact I’ve even seen their names confused and muddled together in a few different places too! This high-school romance sounds a bit like the Kirsten Dunst movie Crazy/Beautiful because the book is about a white-cheerleader-girl meets hispanic-bad-boy when they’re paired together in chemistry class. Don’t worry, he doesn’t spend all of class breaking the side of the table off in his hand to keep from sucking her blood.* Yay non-paranormal yet still dramatic teen love stories!

     2. I Am the Messenger, by Markus Zusak: ok this was all due to Angieville’s retro friday post on how she picked this Zusak book up first, even while everyone was obsessing over his more recent release The Book Thief. I decided to copy her because I’m creepy like that *insert non-threatening winkyface here* I just finished reading this book and it affected me so much, it’s clever, moving, suspenseful, and utterly fascinating. When underacheiving-19-year-old cab driver Ed Kennedy starts receiving mysterious messages on playing cards he knows he has to follow their directions, or else… (also NOT paranormal, yayx2)

     3. and 4. I’m pretty sure Suite Scarlett is the first in this Maureen Johnson series, and then Scarlett Fever. I can’t remember where I heard about them first, but Janicu’s great recent review finally made me pull the trigger. I love books set in NYC and think I’m going to enjoy following 15-year-old Scarlett’s adventures!

So that’s the list. From the time. I took all the good tween books from the library! Sorry kids!

Library Loot is a weekly meme hosted by Marg and Eva.

*Hate that bullshit series. HATE. IT.

How to Knit a Wild Bikini, by Christie Ridgway

  • Title: How to Knit a Wild Bikini (awful title, the book is 100 times better than that title implies)
  • Author: Christie Ridgway (author website)
  • Published: June, 2008
  • Pages: 304 pages (mass market paperback)
  • Genre: Contemporary Romance
  • Standalone or series: Can be read as a standalone, first in a connected three books about half sisters finding love in Malibu. 
  • Why I read it: AnimeJune’s fantabulous review.
  • Source: Library.
  •  This was my first Christie Ridgway book and I’m salivating to read the rest of her backlist, and I don’t usually even like contemporary romance!

    This book was super fun, cute, and very entertaining. There was a LOT going on though, and while I thought the author handled the many many plot threads well, and all the secondary characters, heroine’s issues from being raped as a teen, lots of other emotional baggage and current obstacles for the H/H to get together were also handled well, I felt like some of them could have been fleshed out more, or left out to concentrate on a tighter storyline.

    That being said I don’t really know what I would change because I enjoyed each of those pieces of this book sooo much! Playboy and confirmed bachelor Jay changed his ways quite a bit during the book as his new pretend-lesbian-live-in-chef Nikki starts to get under his skin and into his heart. But that doesn’t mean his thought process changes right away and it was fun being in his head, like this quote when Jay is observing his friend confessing his devotion to his lover:

    “How could you imagine that I don’t love you? That if something happened to you, it wouldn’t kill me too?”…

    Jay shuffled back, embarrassed by the other man’s very Latin, very emotional outburst. He almost held his breath, just like he did when he got in an elevator with someone who was sneezing. Shit like that might be contagious.

    Jay and Nikki’s scenes together were also full of such fun dialogue and observations about each other, the writing throughout the book was snappy and attention grabbing and I felt each scene was important.

    Ok, how many times have I said fun now? So while this would make a great beach read some of the emotional baggage from past issues definitely covers heavier topics and really got to me emotionally, so I felt satisfied on all levels of my reading preferences. Including the lusty scenes, they were pretty steamy, though I wouldn’t have minded of seeing more of Jay’s prowess due to his oft-touted history ;)

    A- overall grade for me, I loved following Jay and Nikki’s journey to their acceptance of their feelings for each other.

    Got Your STD (and other true love stories) Vol. II

    Like last summer, we have STD’s all over our house. I’ve written more emails with the title Got Your STD this year than ever before, and the bride-to-be is always glad to hear it came through mail ok!

    Our fridge in Vol. I of this post was pretty crazy, but I think we’ve trumped that this year, and we haven’t even gotten the invitations for all the weddings yet! Like last year’s post I’ve also gathered some fun romance tidbits to pass along, more on that below. But check out our Save The Date covered fridge! 


    If you follow me on twitter you may have already seen that pic, as I shared the consequences of so many events with my followers: DRESS SHOPPING. Thank you to all the lovely ladies on twitter who virtually accompanied me on that excursion!

    Between the six weddings, all the engagement parties, showers, rehearsal dinners, etc…I definitely needed plenty of new dresses, especially since ALL (except one) OF THE WEDDINGS are for hubby’s fraternity brothers, so each wedding will be the same group of people. Sadly that means very little outfit repeats, people.

    After spending hours in DC’s 100+ degree heat I happily found two funky dresses, more unique than I would typically wear, but I wanted something “special.” Here they are, with hubby’s quote about how “special” he found them…http://twitpic.com/224x3b

    So we’re off to North Carolina today, and not only am I looking forward to this mini-college-reunion, Eastern Carolina BBQ, Diet Cheerwine (just as good as the regular, but doesn’t make my teeth squeak), and saying “y’all” more naturally in every sentence, but also, and best of all, seeing two great friends get married in all the pomp and romance circumstance of a sure-to-be-lovely wedding.

    Man oh man I was so emo and full of schmoop at my besties wedding last year, and with all these romantical-celebrations coming up I’m sure to get my quota of Real Life True Love this year!

    I love those romance in real life stories, romance novels are fun and all, but real peoples’ stories are more chilling and thrilling to me. Here are a few that’ve caught my eye:

         1. Famous author PC Cast was featured in the Daily Mail as her story is too good not to tell. Thrice-divorced and visiting Scotland for research for her new book, check out who her tour guide was:

    Definitely click the link above and read the whole article, so sweet and moving!

         2. When Queen of DC blogging LivitLuvit shared this I about died – super cute Top 10 Geekist Marriage Proposals on Mashable. I’m sort of over the twitter proposals, not very romantic to me at all, but the LOLcats one is adorbs.

         3. Lastly July 10th is apparently a Very Popular wedding date with our friends’ wedding and three celebrity weddings all taking place that day! Hopefully I’ll be too distracted by our festivities to mope about oneof  my favorite Good Looking Gentlemen, John Krasinski, going off the market that day.

    I’m hoping to get some reading in during our 5 hour car ride down there today, because our time is very booked up this weekend. Hope you all enjoy yours too!

    The Daughters, by Joanna Philbin

    • Title: The Daughters
    • Author: Joanna Philbin (could NOT find an author website. lame.)
    • Published: May, 2010
    • Pages: 288 pages (Hardcover)
    • Genre: Young Adult
    • Standalone or series: First in a planned series of three. 
    • Why I read it: Saw a review in People magazine.
    • Source: Library.

    Yes, this is by Regis Philbin’s daughter, so one can assume the author has experienced some of what her characters go through as all three girls in this series are daughters of mega-famous parents. The first book in the series mainly follows Lizzie Summers – picture her mom as a Christie Brinkley/Cindy Crawford/Heidi Klum type. Except Lizzie doesn’t look one teensiest tinyest bit like a super model. Tall and gangly in a not-thin way with frizzy red hair, Lizzie would rather have her crooked nose buried in The Great Gatsby than have anything to do with her mother’s world of fashion. But her mother seems absolutely oblivious to Lizzie’s looks and awkwardness and blithely drags her along to red carpet events where she is shunned repeatedly by the photographers. Any photos of her that do end up online are inevitably mocked by snarky celebrity bloggers. Then Lizzie starts to think that her mom is worse than oblivious, maybe she not only doesn’t understand her daughter in the least, but could she be using Lizzie to make herself look better in pictures?

    That type of self-doubt, lack of communication and understanding with your parents, growing into your body, and teen angst are all very typical symptoms and drama of that stage in any girl’s life, but throw into that already-terrible mix being a daughter of a celebrity! It definitely intensifies things!

    The teenage viewpoint is one of the things I think Philbin captured best in her debut novel. For example, Lizzie’s childhood crush, Todd, moved away to London for several years but now is back, more gorgeous than ever, and going to her high school! Of course she needs any excuse to be near him and her strategy is to get dibs on being his tour guide the first day of school.

    While things start off like OMGsoawesome (hey he’s reading and loving the Great Gatsby too! and they both want to be writers!) of course rivals for his attention come up, and Lizzie’s own issues get in the way of their blossoming friendship. In the teenage world one drop-by your locker, one phone call, one facebook message makes a big difference, so only weeks after her heartfelt petition to be his tour guide Lizzie and he are avoiding each other. I loved this quote showing this type of transparent-to-us teenage drama, but that is SO. VERY. IMPORTANT to them:

    “Lizzie Summers,” Mr Barlow barked. “You’re with Todd Piedmont. You’ll be doing Cupid and Psyche. The love myth.”

    Somebody, somewhere giggled. Lizzie looked straight down, feeling her cheeks burn…

    [After class ended] she sprinted out of the room, walked into Mr. Barlow’s office, and shut the door.

    “Is there a problem, Miss. Summers?” he asked wryly, reading a few phone messages on his desk.

    “You can’t put me with Todd!” she exclaimed.

    He stifled a smile. “But just the other day you were begging me to be his tour guide,” he said.

    “That was three weeks ago,” she said. “Everything’s different now. Everything.”

    However, I thought the book overall was more fluffy than deep. There were so many angles that could have had more depth, such as when Lizzie takes steps to be more comfortable in front of the cameras. Her modeling sessions were described so vaguely to me, and in missing those details I missed the emotional connection with Lizzie and how she was changing.

    Also central to teenage life is school and again, their exclusive private school got NO description, not what it looked like, what her homework was like, what the atmosphere was like there, and I was disappointed. Granted, New York City was depicted in greater detail and while these girls enjoy their wealth around the city and we get to know their penthouses and mansions pretty well, I still thought the school should get more attention.

    Lastly, Lizzie gets into Trouble a few times with her parents and I didn’t see any real consequences. She was grounded for a little bit, but when a school dance comes up and Lizzie goes one of her friends says, “Hey, aren’t you grounded” and her response was a casual, “Oh yeah, they ended it early so I could go to this dance.” Although when she gets into Trouble at school I appreciated the way her teachers handled it – Lizzie’s mistake caused her to miss out on a big writing opportunity which was very important to her.

    This first installment of a series about girls finding their own identities separate from their parents’ has some good moments, and poignant insight into teenage drama. I would recommend it for middle-school aged girls or as a potential beach or pool read as I didn’t feel it had the depth or emotional connection to stimulate more mature readers.

    The next books will follow Lizzie’s two best friends who already had quite a bit of set-up in The Daughters: Carina, daughter of an overbearing billionaire-tycoon father, and Hudson whose mom is a  brittle, selfish chart topping pop icon.