Whoo-hoo! I actually made it to 700 posts!
Yes, I think I can safely say that I've regained my reading and blogging groove. I'll admit I hit kind of a slow patch for, oh, pretty much all of 2011, but now that I've (almost) weaned myself off of Tumblr, carved a regular reading time back into my day, and reorganized my blog, I'm hitting my stride.
So I'm back to doing my Monthly Round-Ups! Albeit with a more streamlined format than before. No Picks or Duds this month, either - too many books with a similar grade.
Divergent, by Veronica Roth. YA, Dystopian. B+
Pros: Interesting worldbuilding. Tough heroine. Human drama in a futuristic setting. Cons: Slow pacing. Sudden "Mwahahaha!" Evil Villain Master Plan.
I Now Pronounce You Someone Else, by Erin McCahan. YA, Contemporary. B+
Pros: Increasingly layered storytelling. Bright, bubbly heroine. Great voice. Cons: Worst Mom Ever. A little cutesy.
Jellicoe Road, by Melina Marchetta. YA, Contemporary. B+
Pros: Fascinating mystery. Yummy hero. Fantastic supporting characters. Weepy ending. Cons: First fifty pages are remarkably frustrating. Most of the adults in the story are STONE COLD JERKS, y'all.
Range of Ghosts, by Elizabeth Bear. Fantasy. B+
Pros: Unique worldbuilding. Great characters. Even greater lady characters. Cons: Some contrived plot points. Unclear goals. Romance seemed a little tacked on.
Not That Kind of Girl, by Siobhan Vivian. YA, Contemporary. B
Pros: Multifaceted female characters, excellent message and theme. Cons: Heroine is a bit of a bitchface - that's the point. But still. Bitchface.
Storm Glass, by Maria V. Snyder. YA, Fantasy. C, but really a DNF.
Pros: Layered heroine, solid worldbuilding. Cons: Useless love interests. Too many stories at once. Really boring after about halfway through.
Accessible Love Stories, Anthology Review. Romance, Contemporary. C-
Pros: Three okay stories, one good one. Cons: One seriously wanky pretentious story, and one ABSOLUTE SINGULARITY OF LITERARY FAIL.
Undressed, by Kristina Cook. Romance, Historical. C-
Pros: Surprisingly nuanced depiction of alcoholism. Cons: Everything else. "Scotland rules, England drools" mentality. Dumbass heroine. Cartoonish use of child abduction plot.
Dark Lover, by J.R. Ward. Romance, Paranormal. C-
Pros: Well, it's certainly entertaining. Cons: The way watching a dude run into a glass door is entertaining.
Scoundrel's Kiss, by Carrie Lofty. Romance, Historical. DNF
Pros: Good description and use of setting. Cons: Boring! Inconsistent themes. Annoying heroine. Super boring. Lifeless action scenes. Did I mention boring?
Tempted by His Kiss, by Tracy Anne Warren. Romance, Historical. DNF.
Pros: Um, competent English? Cons: Completely unoriginal characters and plot. Heroine with no sense of boundaries. Weird almost date-rape scene. Cutesy prepackaged sequel bait family members.