April Reads

I'm going to experiment with a more rambling sort of post about my reading. Perhaps if I'm a little less formal, I'll be inclined to do this more often. I hope this is interesting, and even mildly entertaining. So here goes:

For some time now I've wanted to read Susan Wiggs' Lakeshore Chronicles and when I noticed that my library has them in ebook form, I started checking them out. I read the first one, Summer at Willow Lake, back in February and then the next two, The Winter Lodge and Dockside, in April. I have really enjoyed these books, especially the fact that some of main characters are older (i.e. 40). In some ways this series is similar to other long, small-town series such as Robyn Carr's Virgin River series. Yet Lakeshore has more depth to it, which is probably an indicator of Wiggs' strength as a writer. The characters are very inter-connected and I'm not sure how easy it would be to read just one book as a stand-alone. At any rate, I'm eager to read the rest of the series and will probably be caught up by the end of the summer. Oh, and one more thing: these books have a feature that I wish I could appreciate more-- they are peppered with recipes that look delicious. I suspect if I cared more for cooking I'd be eager to try some of them out. But I do like how the dish, or an ingredient, is actually relevant in some way to the story.

I finally read Hard Time by Cara McKenna. I'd been meaning to get to it forever. Librarian heroine! Anyhow, I loved it. It gave me quite the book hangover, too. I thought about it for days. The ex-con and librarian make for the most unlikely of couples, yet McKenna made it work and made it believable that they could last as a couple. There's a depressing, dark tone, from the description of working in the prison, to the small economically-depressed community where Annie works. Eric and Annie's relationship is a bright light against that background. Anyhow, this is one I know I'll read again.

Usually I read a new Mary Balogh book as soon as it comes out. I don't know why, but I put Only Enchanting on the back burner and then realized I'd better read it before the next book is released in June. I liked it much better than some of her other recent releases so now I'm eager for that June release. Balogh was my gateway author back into romance, so I am very sentimental about her books and perhaps not always very objective either.

I did read the latest Nora Roberts stand-alone, The Liar as soon as it came out. I hesitate to call it romantic suspense, even though there's a thread of it running through the book. Heck, it was pretty obvious from the very beginning who the villain was going to be. But what I did like was the slow build of the romance and the way Shelby puts her life back together after her SOB husband dies. I found it entertaining and absorbing.

My re-reading via audiobook continued in April and I listened to 3 books: Nora Roberts Rising Tides (liked it very much), Lisa Kleypas' Again the Magic (I think I liked it better the first time around, but still found it entertaining), and Eloisa James' A Duke of Her Own (what the heck was I thinking). As an audiobook newbie, it's interesting to me how different the reading experience can be. Listening to ADoHO was downright boring through most of the middle. If I found the initial reading of it boring, I no longer remember that fact. Perhaps I skimmed it when I read it back then. But what you can skim in half an hour might take 4 hours to listen to. I persevered because I listened in the car and it passed the time.

And I'm going to end this with a mini-rant. I admit, I usually avoid negative comments about books, but this one bugged me for so long, and then I looked at my April list in preparation for this and it all came back to me. In browsing through my library's audio selection, I ran across Jennifer Ryan's The Return of Brodie McBride. The very brief description sounded interesting-- Former Army Ranger Brodie McBride returns home after 8 years to find the woman he never should have left behind.

Anyhow Brodie, when he was 18, decides he's not worthy, and breaks up with his girlfriend and then hightails it out of town. However he manages to have sex with his girlfriend, Rain, and another woman before he leaves, without protection, natch. His girlfriend and the other woman wind up pregnant and then Rain winds up raising both little girls. I am not going to try to describe this mess of a plot. There are so many things that made no sense to me (like, how do you get custody of a little girl without some kind of guardianship decree?). But here's the biggest one. Brodie comes home determined to marry Rain. After all, she HAS to know how much he's always and only loved her (even though he slept around while he was gone). C'mon, Rain. He left you pregnant with no explanation, no clue as to his whereabouts, and evidence that he'd had sex with another woman within hours of being with you. Snap! So easy to forgive. Within a week, Rain and the girls have moved in with Brodie and everything is going to be perfect--I assume. I DNF'd it. Do yourself a favor, avoid this one.

Sigh. We need a palate cleanser after that. Here you go:


  1. Hello, thank you again for your words. Anyway you write it seems good for me!

    I've read Hard Time and liked it too.
    Nora Roberts' book I'll only read when it comes out in paperback, despite her being one of my biggest favorite authors.
    One day I'll get to Mary Balogh and that series by Susan Wiggs too.
    And thank you for the heads up about that last book, I've never heard of it but now I won't even debate if it's worthy.
    Happy reading!!

    1. Thank you! And I totally understand about NR. I am fortunately to live in a community with a fabulous public library. I was able to reserve The Liar way back in February. I was high enough on the list to get it on release day. Of course I had to read it right away because the loan period is short and there are no renewals for high-demand items. Which was no hardship :)
      Happy reading to you, too!

    2. I wish I lived in the US for a library alone!
      Mine of course doesn't have many titles writte in English and it's things I prefer to read in my mother language, classics have a more difficult language to follow up. Still, I do dream about a library where I could do that for the books I want to read!

    3. I know we are very fortunate here in the US. I admire your perseverance to read in a second language the books you want to read. I wish it were easier for you.

  2. I need to read Hard Time. I don't think I have it. I'm pretty sure I have After Hours (which languishes in my TBR because, hello, this is me we're talking about). I seem to recall KristieJ really liked it too.

    The Ryan book would have hit the wall for me. I actually read the prequel novella to that series and....ever read a book where the author writes it in such a way that you feel like you should know the characters already? Yeah, that. A neat trick since it was a prequel novella to the START of a series. I struggled through it and have been hesitant to try the author again.

    1. I suspect you'd like both McKenna books. And I saw RRRJessica's Book Riot column today that recommended a Montana-set book by Ryan. I have to admit, I am extremely reluctant to try another book by her. I didn't know there was a prequel novella... I'm definitely NOT going there.

  3. Phyl, I'm so glad you are enjoying the Lakeshore Chronicles by Susan Wiggs. I need to get back to the ones I have left over in my TBR. Hard Time by McKenna sounds wonderful, I'm placing it on my wish list for now.

    RE: Audiobooks. I've started listening to some audiobooks but mostly Science Fiction and Fiction. I've never attempted to listen to a romance book and I'm doubtful that it work for me? But I love your comment about A Duke of Her Own! I wonder how much unconscious skimming we do when we read a book. I liked reading that book! I loved Rising Tides by NR and Again the Magic by LK too.

    I agree about The Liar by NR. I just read it and the suspense is very predictable (as they usually are in her SR), but I liked her characters in this book, particularly Shelby's personal journey of rediscovery. The relationship between her little girl Calley and Griff had me at hello too. It was a heartwarming read despite the suspense side of it.

    RE: Mary Balogh. I've taken an unintentional hiatus from reading her books! I'm behind reading her latest and books in my backlist. I need to catch up soon. :(

    1. You know, I had positive memories of reading A Duke of Her Own, too. But this time it just bogged down. The scenes involving Lisette began to bother me. And that kind of spoiled the whole book. I am beginning to think that listening vs. reading can produce very different results. So I'm (mostly) going to stick to listening to books I've already read, at least for now.

      I'm glad you like The Liar too. I was so sorry when it ended.

      I do think the last couple of Baloghs have been better than her previous series. And the next one sounds intriguing.

      Thanks for leaving such a nice long comment :)


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