June Reads, 2010

ReadingRoundup_dsMost of the books I read this month were pretty good, only one real dud.

  • Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende – According to most reviews, this book isn’t up to Allende’s usual standards.  However, this is the first one I’ve read, and I thought it was pretty good.  The characters were vivid, the setting beautifully described, the whole feel of the book was appropriately disturbing.  I could have done without the relationship between Rosette and Maurice, though.  Unfortunately, it was not uncommon, though the feeling behind it was.  I liked this book very much.  Rating:  4
  • Empress by Shan Sa – The author’s background in poetry was evident throughout the pages.  Many of the descriptive passages were, in fact, poetry without stanzas.  The beauty of the writing couldn’t completely save this book though, which I found surprisingly boring.  Rating:  3.25
  • Burning Bright by Ron Rash – Rash has become one of my favorite authors.  His stories are wonderfully dark and sad, but the way he tells a story is just so fluid and warm.  Rating:  4.5
  • The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry – An improvement over The Lace Reader in that The Map of True Places has charisma.  The story is complicated and layered, as a good plot should be, and the characters complex.  Rating:  4
  • Lover Mine by J. R. Ward – A lot happens in this book.  Payne and Vishous finally meet, we find out who No’one is, Lash gets whats coming to him (though I doubt it’s permanent), Blay hooks up with Saxton, and, of course, Xhex and John Matthew get together.  What this book does, despite all that, is make me hunger for the next one.  And I can’t wait to see how the Blaylock, Saxton, Qhuinn thing works out.  Rating:  4
  • Dangerous by Diana Palmer – This is the story of Winnie Sinclair and Kilraven.  Although she is called “little blonde chainsaw”, Winnie is only a little bit less of a doormat than the average Palmer heroine.  And Kilraven.  Another man from Neandertals-R-Us.  In a Diana Palmer romance, the ends always justifies the means when a hero wants revenge.  Rating:  2.75
  • Bloodroot by Amy Greene – Bloodroot is an interesting study about the good and bad aspects of love.  Love can be dark and violent as well as warm and comforting.  Amy Greene has enormous potential, but, sadly, this book couldn’t hold my attention for long periods of time.  I’d read some, leave it to read something else, then come back.  I liked this book.  I really did, but it just didn’t grab me and hold on.  Rating:  3.75
  • Inés of My Soul by Isabel Allende – This was better than Island Beneath the Sea, I’ll admit.  Inés was more alive than TéTé, though the setting was just as disturbingly vivid and lush.  The Mapuche, in particular, were wonderfully described in their steadfast courage  and cunning.  On one hand, it is difficult to believe that the Spaniards fell for one of the oldest tricks in the book, but, then, they were extremely arrogant and didn’t expect such deviousness.  I loved Lautaro!  Rating:  4.25
  • A Secret Affair by Mary Balogh – I liked that it was the heroine who called the shots in this book, that is a rare thing in Regency romances.  Hannah is a confident woman, unashamed of her sexuality.  Constantine doesn’t try to “tame” her, as most heroes in this genre would have done.  He is still a strong man, but he is compassionate and willing to bend.  Rating:  3.75
  • Food Rules:  An Eater’s Manual  by Michael Pollan – Food Rules is, basically, In Defense of Food in a nutshell.  In Defense of Food was boiled down, and reduced to the basics.  Michael Pollan is one of those writers that can be informative and entertaining.  You learn even as you smile, or even laugh.  Most of what he says in his books is common sense.  Or, at least, it should be.  Rating:  4.5
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