Short Reviews

Another lot of older reviews, this time from November 2011 – I (almost) finished a historical romance series, read my first Sarah Mayberry, and well, other books in various ongoing series (yes, no real theme here). As always, these are cross-posted from Goodreads, with additional comments added in italics.

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Tempt Me at Twilight (The Hathaways, #3)Tempt Me at Twilight by Lisa Kleypas (historical romance)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I forget why I abandoned Lisa Kleypas’s Hathaways series midway – I’m glad I returned to it though, as this was really good. I like the feel-good family element to this series, and having Harry be the proprietor of a hotel meant the setting was slightly unusual for a historical. I loved the humour, and Harry and Poppy’s relationship just worked for me. There was a bit of an obvious set-up for the next book – which I already had in my TBR pile, so I didn’t mind.

It had been a while since I’ve read a Lisa Kleypas historical, and I always wonder why I’ve left her books languishing in my TBR for so long.  I read the first book in the Hathaways series way back when, and bought the second book, but never got around to reading it.  And then I couldn’t find it, but refused to buy another copy.  Hence the skipping ahead to this book, the third in the series.

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Married By Morning (The Hathaways #4)Married By Morning by Lisa Kleypas (historical romance)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this straight after Tempt Me at Twilight, so it was slightly strange seeing Leo in the role of hero at first, instead of the protective brother. While the plot and setting was not as unique as in the previous book, the romance was just as satisfying. Though it would have been perhaps more interesting if Cat hadn’t been revealed as hiding behind a governess disguise – why does the heroine always have to be a beauty?

And this was the fourth in the Hathaways series – nothing groundbreaking romance-wise, but I enjoyed it regardless (or maybe because of that).

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Love in the Afternoon (The Hathaways, #5)Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas (historical romance)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was dying to read this after the excerpt in the previous book, Married By Morning, which had Beatrix starting a correspondence under false pretences with the world-weary soldier on the battlefield (all for the very best of reasons, of course) – you just knew that there would be tears.

It was a good read, though it didn’t quite meet my (very) high expectations. I loved the correspondence between Beatrix and Christopher, and I am a sucker for a wounded hero. I think the PTSD was slightly skimmed over though.

All in all, I’m glad I finished the Hathaways series, and I loved seeing the whole family together one more time – with the hint of changing times ahead.

Now this one wasn’t in my TBR pile and I had to go and track it down just because of the excerpt in the previous book.  With the exception of the second book (which I did find the other day), I’ve now finished Lisa Kleypas’ Hathaways series.  I much prefer her historicals to her current contemporary/magical realism books – I wonder if she’ll ever go back to historicals? 

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Red Glove (Curse Workers, #2)Red Glove by Holly Black (YA urban fantasy)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really like this twisty and imaginative world of Holly Black’s and this didn’t suffer from the “middle book in trilogy” syndrome. I think we got to know Cassel and Lila a lot better – I’m looking forward to the final book now.

I’ll post about it eventually (ahem), but I’ve now finished this trilogy.  As a whole, I liked it, but the books don’t have me rushing out to read the rest of Holly Black’s backlist (though I have heard very good things about her Modern Faerie Tale books).  I don’t know – perhaps it’s because there’s been quite a large gap between me reading each book and my overall experience suffered somewhat?

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Death Magic (World of the Lupi, #8)Death Magic by Eileen Wilks (urban fantasy)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I like how we get more and more reveals as this series progresses, giving you hints that Eileen Wilks is building up to something big. Having said that, while this was a good read, it wasn’t a standout one for me – I’m still looking forward to the next Lupi book though.

Eileen Wilks is an autobuy author for me – this was the eighth book in her Lupi series.  As you can tell, it wasn’t my favourite of her books, but I love this series as a whole.

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The Wild Ways (Gale Women, #2)The Wild Ways by Tanya Huff (urban fantasy)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this book, but didn’t connect as much with Charlie and her story as I did with Allie in the previous book, The Enchantment Emporium. The eventual ending was great, but the fantastical elements of the world itself didn’t really capture my imagination this time around. I would have loved to have seen more of the family as well (loved the very teenage cousin Jack!).

All in all though, I hope Tanya Huff continues with this series – I want more of the Gale family.

The first Gale book caught me by surprise (in a good way), and I was hoping for more of the same in this book – it didn’t work quite as well as the first, but Tanya Huff is on my list of autobuy authors by now.

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The Vintage Vendetta (Wine Country Mysteries #5)The Vintage Vendetta by Ellen Crosby (mystery)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After a bit of a break, I’ve returned to this series again – I tend to wait for the paperback release for these books.

I liked this – a tad too much re-capping throughout perhaps, but good mystery plot. The wine-making backdrop is interesting as always, and this time around, there’s some Washington DC politics thrown into the mix.

I guess the fact I wait for the paperback release of these books is pretty telling – they’re enjoyable mysteries, but I don’t get enough emotional payoff to want to pay hardcover prices for them.  I still would rec them for those on the lookout for cosy-type mysteries.

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Her Best FriendHer Best Friend by Sarah Mayberry (contemporary romance)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Sarah Mayberry’s books, and they’re not unjustified. Talk about packing a punch – the friends-to-lovers theme is explored in-depth here and in a believable manner. I liked – I’ll need to explore her backlist more now.

I’ve always enjoyed the friends-to-lovers plotline and really loved what Sarah Mayberry did with it in this one.

7 Comments

Filed under Reviews

7 responses to “Short Reviews

  1. You’ve reminded me that I really want to FINALLY read Kleypas’s Wallflower series. I’ve read the first book years ago and have the others on the shelf. She’s a pretty reliable 4 star writer, I think.

    • Hey Christine – so true (well, for her historicals anyway)! I loved her Wallflowers books (the Hathaways series is a spin-off of those, IIRC).

      • Oh I didn’t realize that the Hathaways were a spin off. Interesting! I’ll keep that in mind if I meet a Hathaway while reading the Wallflowers. ;)

        Do you like her contemporaries? I love her Travis Family books.. the Friday Harbor books are a bit more .. .. I don’t know.. fluffy? I like them, but they’re not as engrossing as those Travises. ;)

      • Yes, they are. I can’t remember the exact relationships now, but yep, keep a lookout for those Hathaways!

        I really enjoyed her Travis contemps, but couldn’t connect with her current series – I didn’t manage to make it all the way through the second book. I think it’s the magical realism elements – I prefer my stories to be either straight contemps or paranormal romance, as opposed to being ever so slightly magical.

  2. Hi Li!! Wassup? Well I’m glad someone is even more behind on her reviews than me LOL.

    Tempt Me at Twilight and Love in the Afternoon were my favorite books in the Hathaway series. Personally, I didn’t enjoy the 2nd book, so it wasn’t a very big loss that you’ve lost it momentarily :P I do enjoy her historicals more as well. I didn’t really read the Travis contemps, just not interested, and now, with the magical element in her Friday Harbor series, meh.

    By the way, the Hathaway series is a spin-off of the Wallflower series thanks to Cam who appeared in Devil in Winter. He managed the heroine’s father’s gambling hall and was friend with the heroine.

    Would you recommend the Holly Back trilogy, Li? I’ve never read her and didn’t pick up her first YA series, because it was fairy and you know me and fairy. This series looked interesting, but I just never really sat down and picked it up.

    Hmmm, perhaps I could go back to the World of Lupi series. I read the first three IIRC… Perhaps it’s time. I probably have the 4th book in my TBR pile, perhaps it’s time.

    See, most mystery books are enjoyable, but they’re not must. Except for Karen Rose, Heather Blake and the In Death books, I’ve never been really angsty to get my hands on cosy mystery books.

    Glad you enjoyed your first Sarah Mayberry! She’s above average for sure when it comes to category romance :)

    • Oh, you’re right re the Hathaways connection – good memory! I was thinking the connection was on the Hathaways side and was stumped. I remember Cam now – good choice for a hero.

      I wasn’t blown away by the Holly Black series as a whole, so unless you’re specifically looking for a YA UF that’s on the gritty side, probably not. I do rec Sarah Rees Brennan’s Demon Lexicon trilogy though ;-)

      I know you love Karen Rose, but I haven’t yet read her – I do have a couple of her books in my TBR though! And yes, the Sarah Mayberry was a good read. I bought a couple more after I finished this one.

  3. Read Karen Rose Li!! And I know you really enjoyed the Demon Lexicon trilogy. Really need to read it. I did try the first book a few times, but I put it down each each time. I guess I just need to get through the first few chapters and settle in the story…

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