Mixed Bag

Here are more books that I read last May.  Speaking of which, I’m finding it hard to remember that we’re already in February 2012.  Every time I see something dated February, I keep on thinking 2011.

This is a bit of a mix – a few books I loved, one I didn’t, some new-to-me writers, and some auto-buy authors.


A Kiss at Midnight (Fairy Tales, #1)A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James (historical romance)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The “it’s not you, it’s me” when it comes to DNFs… so true.

I started reading this ages ago, but stalled after about one-fifth of the book and put it  aside. Well, I eventually returned to the book and just fell in love.

Fairytale retellings are not my favourite, but Eloisa James pulled this off perfectly. I loved the banter between the h/h pairing and their relationoship came across as a strong connection, both mentally and physically. There was both humour and passion, and of course, a perfect HEA. Great secondary characters as well, and I am glad Wick’s story was told in Storming the Castle. I closed this book with a silly grin on my face.

I should have included this in my previous post when I talked about WHEN BEAUTY TAMED THE BEAST.  Because after finishing this one, I dived straight into BEAUTY and couldn’t put it down.


Faster Than The Speed Of LightFaster Than The Speed Of Light by Lucius Parhelion (m/m romance)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a lovely and quiet sort of romance and captured the feel of the 1940s very well. A lot of the American history and physics talk just went over my head – if not, I think I would have liked this book a bit more. And unfortunately, historical m/m romances always leave me with slight doubts over the HEA just because of the period.

This was  a new-to-me author – I can’t remember what piqued my interest in the first place, I think it was a review blog somewhere.   I think someone more familiar with American history or into physics would have really liked this book.


And Thereby Hangs A TaleAnd Thereby Hangs A Tale by Jeffrey Archer (mystery)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Say what you will about Jeffrey Archer, he’s a true story-teller. An entertaining collection of short stories, all with a twist in the ending.

I borrowed this one from the library, and finished within a couple of days.  One of the few short story collections I actually completed reading last year – I usually tend to skip some stories, but not with this book.


Warcry  (Chronicles of the Warlands, #4)Warcry by Elizabeth Vaughan (fantasy romance)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t come across many fantasy romances (maybe I’m hanging out in the wrong places) but this is very definitely one. I originally hesitated over this book as I couldn’t get into Elizabeth Vaughan’s previous trilogy, though I loved the original Warlands trilogy. This was a good one though.

The humour in this book caught me by surprise, but it worked – it kept the book on the side of light and easy reading. The characters were appealing and engaging, and it was good to revisit Lara and Keir from the original trilogy. Yes, some fantasy tropes were way overused (long cheesy titles, anyone?) but it was great to spend a couple of hours in a slightly different world.

I’m not convinced this book would work for readers new to the world, but I think I still stand by my recommendation for the original trilogy, and I’ll definitely get the next book she writes.

Nath‘s strong recommendation for this book persuaded me to pick it up sooner rather than later, and I’m glad I did.


Paper PlanesPaper Planes by M. Jules Aedin (m/m romance)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A really good voice and smooth writing – I sank straight into the story right from the start. The slightly unusual h/h pairing with disability, age, and cultural differences was handled well IMO.

The falling in love part was nicely done and I loved the humour in this book, but I think the eventual lack of conflict meant the book sort of fizzled out – once the initial issues were worked through, the main conflict was really just a lack of time to see each other.

Good read though, and I am definitely on the lookout for more books by this author though.

Another new-to-me author – haven’t read any more of her books yet, but maybe this year…  


Private (Private, #1)Private by Kate Brian (YA)

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

You know, I usually say I wouldn’t finish a book I disliked… well.

The frustrating thing about this story was that I kept hanging on, hoping that Reed would grow up or that the characters would redeem themselves or you know… something, anything that would make this book worth the time spent reading it. And it never came.

This was the sort of story which is one step forward, two steps back – you think Reed has grown a backbone, and then she suddenly she is exactly where she was a couple of chapters ago. It’s the sort of YA book that is candy with no nutritional value whatsoever.

And finally – I read the ebook version and there were typos galore – at least one per chapter.


Err… I don’t think I have anything to add to that.


Long May She Reign (The President's Daughter, #4)Long May She Reign by Ellen Emerson White (YA)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was really engrossed in this book from start to finish and the only reason I hesitated over the 5 star/favourites rating was the overall tone of this book. It’s gritty. Depressing may not be the right word but it is very personal and well, not an entirely uplifting story.

I posted about this earlier in the year, and ended up choosing this book as one of my 2011 favourites.  


Archangel's Kiss (Guild Hunter, #2)Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh (paranormal romance)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Definitely better than the first book IMO. I’m not sure if the melodrama (which I thought was OTT in the first book) in this one has been toned down or whether it was just more suited to the story. I did want more urban New York – I didn’t really care for the Refuge setting and we didn’t really get much China either. I am starting to feel the romance in Elena/Raphael’s relationship and would definitely read the next book.

A bit of an uneven series this, at least from my perspective.  I read the next book the following month, and if you read my Goodreads reviews, you’ll know I did not love it.  

5 thoughts on “Mixed Bag

  1. Woohoo, I’m so glad you enjoyed Warcry, Li!! It was great revisiting that world and the characters. I thought the original trilogy had quite a lot of humor in it though 🙂 I wish there was more fantasy romances as well. Apparently, Ms Vaughan has plans for Simus and Joden’s books, but as to when they’ll come out, that’s a bit of a mystery. In any case, I’m looking forward to it and I hope Ms Vaughan will stick to this world and not go back to Palin.

    Interesting, I’m with you for the NS’s Guild Hunter series. Out of the series, Archangel’s Kiss is definitively my favorite. I actually liked the Refuge as the setting and would have liked more of China. I think it’s because Archangel’s Kiss is more focused. You deal mostly with the angels and their world. And yes, I did feel the romance a bit more.

    • But if you read the Palin books you’ll see that they play in the same world and interconnect! Especially the third Palin novel which is mostly set in the grasslands – that flash of light at the end of Warcry is explained there.

      • Oh right, I completely forgot! The third one was the best book, because it mainly took place in the grasslands 🙂

        Hmmmm, I don’t know either. Perhaps it’s balanced… I thought too much was happening in the third book and some of it, was just a bit over the top. The feeling I get with this series is “forced.” Forced darkness, forced torture, forced power…

    • I didn’t get past the first Palin book myself (in fact, I barely made it through that book, IIRC) – if by Palin books, you mean her second trilogy?

      Nath – I haven’t figured out exactly why the second Guild Hunter book worked for me, but the others didn’t. I think part of it was probably a mood thing, but that doesn’t account for all of it.

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