June was a busy reading month for me. I reviewed most of my early reads, but missed posting my Weekly Reads post for a couple of weeks. There were some disappointments with new releases along the way, but in general I would say it was not too frustrating.
I decided to give Paranormal Romance a rest and picked up some Historical Romances and a Young Adult Series that I've been reviewing for both Musings and Impressions..., an enjoyable one. Let's see if we can catch up.
Re-read Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James as a precursor to This Duchess of Mine. I remember loving the initial relationship between Jemma and the Duke of Beaumont, the whole chess theme and of course Villiers, the villain. I also loved and enjoyed the main couple in the book, Roberta and Damon , I thought they were both sweet and hot together, although not as edgy as the Jemma, Beaumont, Villiers triangle. I love historicals set in Georgian times and I thought Eloisa James did an excellent job of setting up this historical series and giving us a taste of the Georgian morals, fashions and of course the hot ticket of the day, chess. This book was a winner for me the first time around and I must admit to enjoying it even more this time. Too bad the rest of the books in the series didn't quite catch or keep my attention.
I followed by reading This Duchess of Mine by Eloisa James. I've been waiting all this time to find out what happens to Jemma and her Duke of Beaumont and couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I must admit to being somewhat disappointed in this book. The characters didn't quitelive up to my expectations or to the initial edginess I found in Desperate Duchesses. It all seemed a bit diluted. The overall romance was pleasing, if somewhat angsty with Jemma still playing some incomprehensible games, Beaumont giving it all he had and Villiers having lost most of his bite. Having said all that, it was an average read for me and I will read Villiers story this month. I must find out how much more humiliation this man can or will take. After all this time, if anyone deserves an HEA in this series, I believe it's Villiers.
Continued by reading and reviewing the first three books in the five book Young Adult series, Percy and the Olympians. You can find the reviews for The Lightning Thief (Book 1) and The Titan's Curse (Book 2) at Impressions... and The Sea of Monsters here. I did finish this series. I read both The Battle of the Labyrinth (Book 4) and The Final Olympian (Book 5) and can say that both these books are Grade A reads.
There were no disappointments waiting for me and no unanswered questions at the end of this series. Rick Riordan finished the series the way he started it, with wonderful characters and great adventures -- all of it told with great wit and a fast paced narrative that I truly enjoyed. The last two books move quickly and are dark, although not overwhelmingly so. I strongly recommend it for 8th to 12th graders, especially the later books, due to content. An overall "Grade A" Young Adult series all the way.
I also read three historical romances this past week, A Hint of Wicked by Jennifer Haymore was one of them. Triangles in a romance are not my favorite trope and I had some trepidation about picking this one up, but I decided to give it a shot. I must say the triangle part of it was well done. Both men were worthy of Sophie and neither gave up on her. Sophie seemedlevel headed and I was happy with her decision at the end. Having said that, I did find myself rooting for one man more than the other -- I couldn't help myself. That part of the story was well done, but due to personal preference, I didn't really enjoy this book that much. I don't seem to enjoy historicals that focus too much on suspense/crime / spy plots and that part of it was not enjoyable for me. I also found myself being yanked out of the story every time someone called Sophie, "Soph" or Becky, "Becks" -- this reminded me of the beer label. Words can do that to me, specifically in a historical setting.
The other two historical romances I read were Julia Quinn's What Happened in London and Loretta Chase's Don't Tempt Me -- two enjoyable reads. I'll be addressing these as well as the five M/M books I read for the Challenge, the latest Nora Roberts' Suspense Romance, Black Hills and finally the long-awaited Branded by Fire by Nalini Singh, later on.
So, not too shabby -- I've been a busy bee on the reading front. What about you? What have you been reading? Any good recommendations? I'm looking for some good/great Sci-Fi Romances to add to my list!