Thursday, February 03, 2011

January (and December and November) Round Up!

Once again, sorry for the unexpected radio silence. I'm exhausted - I had a lot of overtime at work lately, but even more time-, energy-, and creativity-draining is the fact that I am moving out of my parents' house and into an apartment of my own, come the fifteenth. For me, that means a lot of flailing around, changing addresses, getting renter's insurance, finding and measuring (and RE-measuring) furniture, considering the expense of appliances, linens, and how many bookshelves I can possibly squeeze into my new place. Sadly, it also required purging a few books off my TBR - the ones I picked up because they were free or recommended but that, after several years, I still haven't brought myself to read.

I'm excited and terrified. It's a nice place with a balcony. But it's away from my muuuuum. *sniffle*

In other news, I'm booked for RWA 2011 - only this time I'm getting a roommate (possibly two). When I lived rent-free I could afford a room to myself, but those halcyon days of folding and washing clothes in exchange for home-cooked meals, shelter and HBO are over.

With all that, however, I've still been reading, and now that I have a spare moment, it's time for my November/December/January Round Up. I carried December over because that's when I had the Yearly Round Up. And I'm carrying November over because I only finished three books that month (I know, what was wrong with me, right?).

For Heroines, we got:
  • 1 Tempestuous Artist
  • 1 Undercover Dressmaker
  • 1 Pure Virgin(tm) Heiress
  • 1 Independent Widow
  • 1 Clueless Pharmaceuticals Representative
  • 1 Former Sitcom Star
  • 1 Quakin' Quaker
  • 1 (Sort Of) Wicked (Kinda) Witch
  • 1 French (or *IS* she?) Spy
  • 1 Artificially Impregnated Party Planner
  • 1 Fake Pilgrim
  • 1 Tormented Governess
  • 1 Desperate Single Mother
For Heroes, we got:
  • 1 Five-Year-Old Boy
  • 1 Hungry Lion
  • 1 Stroked-Out Aristocrat
  • 1 Retired Football Star
  • 1 Cleaned-Up Hollywood Fuckup
  • 2 Colin Firth Look-a-Likes
  • 1 Albanian Secret Service Agent
  • 1 English Spymaster
  • 1 Incompetent Viscount
  • 1 Angsty McSadPants
  • 1 Crippled Soldier
  • 1 Pretentious Unicorn
For Obstacles, we got:
  • "I'm not happy - I liked living in an 11 by 11-foot shed! What's wrong with Ma?"
  • "I can't love him - he's only seducing me for my secret England-invasion plans!"
  • "I can't love her - I might psychically see into our future when we have sex!"
  • "I can't love her - I can't even speak!"
  • "I can't love her - I might eat her by accident!"
  • "I'm not happy - because I'm all green and emo and there are bad things going on with the government and stuff. I think."
  • "I can't love him - I just got widowed and my sister is missing!"
  • "I can't love him - his boozing and drug usage got our hit show cancelled!"
  • "I can't love him - I'm already married. Plus enjoying sex is only for whorish women."
  • "I can't love him - I'm pretending to be the help!"
  • "I can't love him - I've got three of my friend's buns defrosting in my oven!"
  • "I can't love him - he's fictional! And bears an awkward resemblance to both Colin Firth and my sexy coworker!"
  • "I can't love her - I've got sssecretsss! And prequel baggage!"
In Miscellaneous, we got:
  • One Hidden Pistol
  • 3 Psychic Powers
  • 2 Magical Pairs of Shoes
  • Several Disreputable Siblings
  • 2 Strokes
  • 1 Garden Shed
  • 1 Broken Unicorn Horn

*January Pick* Flowers from the Storm, by Laura Kinsale. A+
Pros: Handsome hero, lots of angst, intriguing and original plotline.
Cons: Heroine is a bit of a buck-buck-buck-buckaaaw!

The Spymaster's Lady, by Joanna Bourne. A
Pros: Wily heroine, emotional nuance, hell of a bathtub scene.
Cons: Hero falls in love mighty fast for an emotionally-walled-off spy, not that I mind overmuch.

What I Did For Love, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. A
Pros: Great world-building, fantastic secondary cast, intriguing hero.
Cons: Not enough intriguing hero POV. Heroine's pretty judgy.

Room, by Emma Donaghue. B+
Pros: Original premise, great use of dramatic irony and limited perspective.
Cons: Entire story told in five-year-old voice can be tiring, contrived depiction of media.

Captives of the Night, by Loretta Chase. B+
Pros: Lovely writing, intriguing mystery, well-rounded secondary cast.
Cons: Heroine's characterization is inconsistent, and mysterious hero remains a little too mysterious.

Since the Surrender, by Julie Anne Long. B
Pros: Gorgeous writing, hero who isn't overcome with angst.
Cons: Anticlimatic ending, overblown "dark past" between hero and heroine, completely inappropriate sex scenes.

Immortal Outlaw, by Lisa Hendrix. B-
Pros: Smart heroine, intriguing riddle plot, handsome platonic stallion manfriend.
Cons: Hero has identical angst to last hero in series, episodic pacing.

Finding Perfect, by Susan Mallery. C+
Pros: Incredibly sympathetic heroine journey, nice hero who endured feminine betrayal without becoming a misogynist douchebag, no baby epilogue *despite* a pregnant heroine!
Cons: Cartoonish elements, exaggerated and undeveloped villains, cheesy supporting cast.

Wicked, by Gregory Maguire. C
Pros: Lovely writing, on occasion.
Cons: Story serves to Make a Point - consistent plotting and character development take a back seat.

The Dangers of Deceiving a Viscount, by Julia London. C-
Pros: Um, the hero's not a total jerk?
Cons: Lots of subplots, too little time, not enough conclusions. Redonkulous supporting cast.

One Touch of Scandal, Liz Carlyle. C-
Pros: Somewhat interesting paranormal idea.
Cons: Angsty McSadPants hero is dreary, paranormal powers not really explained, heroine is bland.

Tumbling Through Time, by Gwyn Cready. D+
Pros: Bubbly comedic voice.
Cons: Plot makes no sense. None. Nada. Just imagine a wacky buttoned-up drug executive making out with two versions of Colin Firth.

*January Dud* Lord of Legends, by Susan Krinard. D
Um, it has unicorns? *sparkle sparkle*
Cons: Should have called the hero a uniBORING. Heroine is a judgmental little prude. Evil Vagina villainess helpfully explains to us how liking a lot of sex makes you EVIL.