August 2014 Recap

Extraordinary Child by Lim Xiufen Silver

Extraordinary Child by Lim Xiufen Silver in the Singapore Art Museum

September is here! Once the ber months have started, that means that Christmas is just around the corner. I still haven’t booked my flight to Manila in December, I really should do that soon since prices are steadily going up. Anyway, here’s a list of the books I’ve read in August:

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews – Review can be found here.

Fiancee for Hire by Tawna Fenske – I read this based on Mina V. Esguerra’s recommendation since I’m always on the lookout for fun contemporary romance books. However, I was disappointed because I didn’t enjoy this as much as I was expecting. I didn’t think it was as good as other romance novels that I’ve read.

One Night of Sin by Elle Kennedy – Quick, fun and smexy read. There are two more books in this series and I look forward to reading them.

(Reread) Fire by Kristin Cashore – Review can be found here. Still can’t believe that I’ve never reviewed this earlier!

Isla and the Happily Ever After plus Paris postcard

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins – Review can be found here. I bet a lot of book bloggers read this one in August!

Firelight and Moonglow by Kristen Callihan – I believe I saw Laura Florand recommending this author on Twitter and the premise for this historical paranormal romance looked intriguing so I gave it a try. Firelight is also a Beauty and the Beast retelling and I’m a sucker for those. Overall, I thought these books were just okay. Not bad but not great either. Not sure if I’ll continue reading the rest of the series, I started the third book but couldn’t really get into it.

Another author that has been recommended by Laura Florand and book blogging buddy Li is Kelly Hunter. I’ve been glomming through her backlist the past couple of days and have finished the following titles:

The Man She Loves to Hate
Wife for a Week
Bedded for Diamonds
The Maverick’s Greek Island Mistress

I have mini reviews on Goodreads for these Kelly Hunter books and I’ll try to consolidate all of them into one blog post later on.

That’s it for my August reading month. In summary, I would say that the highlights of the month for me were Magic Breaks, Isla, Fire and discovering Kelly Hunter. How about the rest of you, how was August as a reading month for you?

Recap of previous months:
January
February
March
May
June
July

July 2014 Recap

Fully Booked July 2014

I went home to Manila for a long weekend at the end of the July. This was a shot taken in Fully Booked’s Fort branch.

Hello everyone! I recently read one of my most anticipated titles this year – Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews, the newest installment in the Kate Daniels series – and I’ve been meaning to write a review but haven’t found the time to sit down and work on it. I know I’ll get to it eventually because I loved the book and I want to promote the series but in the meantime, here’s a recap of books I read last month:

The Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty – I liked this sequel about as much as I liked the first book. Found the first half a bit slow but the pace picked up towards the end. I’m still not in love with the series but curious about the final book.

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord – One of my favorite books this year. Review can be found here.

Wildlife by Fiona Wood – Another favorite for this year. Review can be found here.

Laura’s Wolf by Lia Silver – Some thoughts I posted on Goodreads: Recommended by Sherwood Smith and Estara. I wasn’t blown away by Laura’s Wolf but it’s an interesting read. I liked both Laura, the ex-con artist, and Roy, the veteran Marine. I thought they were a good match. There’s a lot of action in the book but a huge chunk of it also focuses on PTSD and how it affected Laura and Roy and their relationship. I would have liked for the book to have included more worldbuilding when it comes to the werewolf lore, like more history about werewolves in this world and how they came to be. Maybe the next book will have more about that? I’m curious about it because of I want to know more about Roy’s Filipino American best friend DJ and his family.

Prisoner by Lia Silver – Some thoughts I posted on Goodreads: I liked that DJ is Filipino-American – I found it hilarious that his nickname is Lechon and he listens to Pinoy hiphop. I did find it a bit weird that he calls his mom “Nanay” but he doesn’t call his grandma “Lola”. It was interesting how different DJ’s personality is from his best friend Roy. He’s much more outgoing and playful than Roy. It was also interesting to see a different perspective to the same war experiences that Roy had in the first book. DJ is the perfect match for Echo, who has tried to distance herself from emotions after losing her sisters. It was fun to watch them get to know each other and form a friendship. For some reason, I thought this was going to be a standalone and was surprised to find out that it’s the first book in DJ and Echo’s trilogy.

Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren – The premise of this looked so interesting. A guy and a girl meet in Vegas and they hook up. The girl follows the guy to Paris for some soul searching. I felt like this book had so much potential but unfortunately, I didn’t think it was executed well.

The Real Score by Kesh Tanglao – Some thoughts I posted on Goodreads: Very easy to read and fall into (finished it in a span of one day) but a little too much angst for a best friend turned lovers story. I find it hard to believe that they’ve been best friends for several years without having a DTR (Define the Relationship) type of conversation. I’ve had that kind of talk with a few of my close guy friends over the years, like “Dude, you know I love you but not in THAT way.” or “My friends think we should date, we both know that will never happen.” or “I will smack some sense into you if you ever think you’ve fallen in love with me.” Also, I felt that I was being told about their friendship instead of being shown. Like the drunk calls and long-distance calls/text messages were just mentioned in passing instead of being actual scenes in the book. I would have been more convinced of their friendship if I saw more concrete examples of how it formed. I don’t know if the length is a factor for the Romance Class that produced this book, maybe it had to keep to a novella-length?

The Beacon at Alexandria by Gillian Bradshaw – This book came highly recommended by Rachel Neumeier (thanks again for sending me a copy, Rachel!) and it’s my first Gillian Bradshaw. It was a bit intense and serious in terms of political situations I’m not familiar with but I enjoyed reading it overall because I liked how Charis loved the art of healing and how determined she was to be a doctor. It’s also more believable for her to pass herself off as a eunuch rather than a man.

As a reading month, I think July started off really strong since I found two books to love – Open Road Summer and Wildlife. I’m keeping my fingers crossed I’ll discover some good ones this August. I also had a lot of fun organizing and hosting Amour et Florand, which was a celebration of Laura Florand’s lovely writing. For those of you who have read Laura’s books, I hope you enjoy the posts. And for those of you who haven’t had a chance to try her novels, I hope the event has convinced you to check them out!

Antoinette macarons

Of course I had to have macarons while Amour et Florand was running on the blog. These were from Antoinette, I really liked their early grey macaron.

That’s it for me this July. How about the rest of you, what are the books that you read last month? Any good ones that stood out?

Recap of previous months:
January
February
March
May
June

June 2014 Recap

June has ended and with it, the first half of the year. I feel like that went by pretty quickly? Probably because I had a couple of trips earlier this year. I should do a mid-2014 recap and see which books have become favorites for this year. I’ll think about doing something like that. For now, here are the books that I read in the past month:

Graceling by Kristin Cashore – This was a reread for a YAckers discussion. It’s such a comfort to reread old favorites. Graceling was just as good as I remembered. I ♥ Katsa and Po.

Baiting the Maid of Honor by Tessa Bailey – I’ve become a Tessa Bailey fangirl and I enjoy her books so much that she’s become an auto-buy author for me. Like with all of her books, I finished Baiting the Maid of Honor pretty quickly and I enjoyed reading it but I don’t think it’s as good as her Line of Duty books. Looking forward to seeing what she publishes next!

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart – Review can be found here.

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski – Review can be found here.

Summer Rain is a romance anthology. I bought it because it has short stories by Ruthie Knox and Mary Ann Rivers. I’ve read and enjoyed both of those short stories and a couple of others in the book but I wasn’t able to finish the whole thing.

Killer Instincts series by Elle Kennedy (Midnight Rescue, Midnight Alias, Midnight Games, Midnight Pursuits) – Seems like I’ve been reading more and more romances lately. I can’t help it, they’re just so easy to get into. I liked the premise for this Elle Kennedy series because the main characters are assassins and mercenaries. It’s funny because I didn’t love any of the books on their own but I realized that the series is a much stronger read when the books are read all together. I’m now invested enough in the characters that I’m really, really curious about the next book which will be released later this year.

Saga Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples – I follow only two graphic novel series: Saga and Trese and I read them when I feel like taking a break from full-length novels. Saga is such a good series with excellent writing and great artwork. I’m not a fan of all the gore/death/injuries in the series but I will keep reading because I want to know what happens to the characters.

Nowadays, I don’t feel like I’m not super behind on blogging anymore because I get to review some, if not all, of the books that I read. I would still like to post more often that I do now but I don’t want to sacrifice my reading time for it. Which is why I do these recaps, to keep track of the books that I’ve read even if I haven’t written reviews for them. I’m hoping that July will be an amazing month in terms of books, I have a few in my TBR pile that I’m really excited about (to the point where it’s difficult to choose what to read next). Also, I will be hosting Amour et Florand at the end of the month so watch out for that.

What about the rest of you, what are the books that you read last June? Any titles that became favorites?

Recap of previous months:
January
February
March
May

May 2014 Recap

I didn’t have an April 2014 update because I was traveling and only managed to finish one book, Thorn, that month. I decided to write a review instead of making an update. I also reread A Rose in Winter by Laura Florand and was finally able to review it – it was one of my Christmas reads last year but I didn’t get to review it. Yay for posting more reviews! They may be shorter than some of the ones I used to write but hey, at least I’m no longer in a slump.

Moving on to my May 2014 update, these were titles that I read last month:

It Happened One Wedding by Julie James – Really enjoyed this one, review in draft mode.

Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane – Gritty, dark and bleak, this really isn’t my cup of tea but I wanted to give the series a try since my friend Maggie has been raving about it. I heard that the second book is a lot better than the first so I’ll probably try reading that as well to see if I want to keep going with the series.

Sun-Kissed by Laura Florand – I’m a Laura Florand fangirl so it’s not surprising that I really liked this even if it has a different feel from her other books – it features an older couple and it’s set in the States instead of France. I’m thinking of coming up with a post about this and Snow-Kissed, we’ll see how it goes.

Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart – Retro Friday review can be found here.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – Review can be found here.

Dare to Resist by Laura Kaye – I read this prelude to the Wedding Dare series which includes Baiting The Maid Of Honor by Tessa Bailey. Quick and fun read, I liked that the heroine is a computer whiz and that she works in the same field as the hero. Also liked how the heroine’s favorite book plays an important role in the story.

A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty – Review in draft mode. I’m thinking of reviewing it together with the sequel, which I haven’t finished reading.

I think it was a pretty good month in terms of books read and reviews written. I hope it won’t take me months to finish the reviews that I have in draft mode. At least now that I’ve mentioned them here, there would be more of a push for me to finish them.

Last week, I also participated in ArmchairBEA 2014 and had a great time writing posts for the daily topics, posting Instagram pictures and commenting on posts. Here’s a wrap-up of what I did for the blog event, in case you want to check it out.

Recap of previous months:
January
February
March

February 2014 Recap

March has started! One of my favorite months in the year. Time to look back on the month that has passed by. I was only able to publish two reviews in February that’s better than nothing, right? I’ve put together a recap for all of the books that I read, with brief comments and links to ones that I have reviews for:

The Touchstone Trilogy by Andrea K. Höst – Review can be found here.

Staking His Claim by Tessa Bailey – A bit darker that Tessa Bailey’s earlier books but I still finished it fairly quickly. She’s an auto-read romance author for me.

The Diviners by Libba Bray – Read this one for our YAckers discussion. I started out liking it but never connected with any of the characters and felt that the various plot threads weren’t successfully brought together so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I was expecting.

The Chocolate Temptation by Laura Florand – A new Laura Florand novel always feels like a treat. I love reading her books and this was no exception. I really liked both Patrick and Sarah and I found their romance sweet.

Medair duology by Andrea K. Höst – Review can be found here.

The Champion of the Rose by Andrea K. Höst – I didn’t enjoy reading this as much as the other Andrea K. Höst novels that I’ve read. I found the world and the magic in it intriguing but there were some aspects of the story that bothered me and I couldn’t get past them to fully appreciate the book. Hopefully I’ll like the sequel more.

I read more books back in January partly because February is shorter and also because I had a really busy month (which included a work trip to Kuala Lumpur and packing and moving to a different flat). I also posted a list of my favorite fictional couples from books I’ve read in the past year. What about the rest of you, what were the books that you’ve read in February? Any particular title that stood out for you?

January 2014 Recap

January has come and gone and I wasn’t able to post any reviews. The reviewing slump that I talked about in December is still in place. That’s a shame because I came across several books that I really enjoyed reading. Instead, here’s a recap of the novellas and novels that I read the previous month.

I wasn’t able to read Christmas stories while I was in Manila in December so I made up for it by reading as many as I can in January. These are the titles that I devoured:

All I Want for Christmas by Chris Mariano, Chrissie Peria and Miles Tan
A Rose in Winter by Laura Florand
Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas
A Kiss for Midwinter by Courtney Milan

My favorite out of all these is A Rose in Winter, it was such a cozy Christmas read and very atmospheric. It made me want to explore Provence (similar to how I felt about Paris when I started Laura Florand’s Amour et Chocolat books). Another Christmas novella that I loved is Snowfall by Mary Ann Rivers, it’s not included in the list because I managed to read that in December. Moving on to the other books that I’ve read in January:

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund – I got this book from Janice from the 2012 YAckers Secret Santa and I realized that I still haven’t read it. This was my first Diana Peterfreund novel and I liked it. Found it easy to get into and finished it fairly quickly.

Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund – I read The Scarlet Pimpernel a few months ago because I wanted to know the story before reading this retelling. I didn’t like The Scarlet Pimpernel as much as I was expecting but I didn’t have that problem with Across a Star-Swept Sea. Like with the first book, I got through it in a short span of time. Looking forward to reading the author’s contemporary YA (NA?) series.

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge – Such a lovely retelling of Beauty and the Beast! I’m a sucker for fairy tales retold but I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed one as much Cruel Beauty. Beautifully written.

The Rosie Project by Grame Simsion – I read this one because my friend Maggie loved it. I found it hilarious, I laughed out loud at some scenes. The main character reminded me of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, has a brilliant mind but is socially inept.

Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier – I was pretty curious about Rachel’s foray into urban fantasy so I said yes when I was offered a galley. Solid worldbuilding, interesting characters and a potentially sweet romance. Can’t wait for the sequel! This felt like a YA version of Eileen Wilks’ World of Lupi series.

Song of Scarabaeus and Children of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy – Got the first book from Angie through the 2013 YAckers Secret Santa. I keep saying I’m not into sci fi but I think it’s just a matter of finding the right books that will work for me. Really liked Song of Scarabaeus and I dived into the sequel right after finishing the first book. I thought the second book wasn’t as good as the first but the latter half of the novel picked up so I thought it finished on a nice note.

So, so, so. Those are my January reads. I am eternally hopeful that I will manage to come up with a review this month but it looks like February is going to be busy with real life stuff (going to move to another flat in the middle of the month) so we’ll see. What were the books that you’ve read in January? Any particular title that stood out for you?