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AnimeJune's Obsessions

I love books, I love book blogging, and I hate GoodReads. Check out my blog at http://gossamerobsessions.blogspot.ca.

Currently reading

The Goblin Emperor
Katherine Addison

"Miss Wonderful," by Loretta Chase

Miss Wonderful - Loretta Chase

The Plot: Alistair is the third son of the prominent Earl of Hargate, and his father has decided to cure him of his various and expensive romantic escapades by giving him an ultimatum: make something of yourself in 6 months or I'll steal your little brothers' inheritance for myself. 


Alistair soon comes up with a scheme to build a canal with an old war buddy of his in order to rake in the big bucks, but he faces opposition in the person of one Lady Mirabel Oldridge. Having spent the last ten years running her father's estate, she's a respected figure in the area and she detests the idea of a dirty, loud, modern canal besmirching her beautiful countryside. Alistair and Mirabel butt heads, but when he bonks his head for real and gets crazy war flashbacks, he and Mirabel grow closer and learn more about each other.


The Good:

  • Lovely writing
  • Sensible heroine


The Bad:

  • Slow pace
  • Some forced humour
  • Selfish and neglectful father figure who's painted as harmless "absent-minded professor" type
  • Underdeveloped villain

"Anne of the Island," by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Anne of the Island - L.M. Montgomery

"Cinder," by Marissa Meyer

Cinder  - Marissa Meyer

"Guilty Pleasures," by Laura Lee Guhrke

Guilty Pleasures - Laura Lee Guhrke

The Plot: Daphne is a poor, orphaned, bespectacled employee who is secretly in love with her employer, Anthony, Duke of Tremore. That is, until she eavesdrops on a private conversation where he tells his sister how plain and unattractive and unfeminine she is. Despite the fact that NONE of this is at all relevant to her work, she decides to breach her contract and resign her position in a frivolous, vain, heartbroken snit because professional integrity means nothing when the man you secretly love doesn't think you're pretty!


The Good:

  • The story isn't too terrible. 

The Bad:

  • The story also isn't terribly interesting. 
  • In fact the story is downright boring.
  • Cliche, even.
  • The heroine is also an unprofessional creeper who feels entitled to her employer's affection despite not talking to him, not expressing emotion, and not contacting him outside of work. Because he's supposed to be psychic, you see.

"A Long Long Sleep," by Anne Sheehan

A Long, Long Sleep - Anna Sheehan

"Nowhere But Home," by Liza Palmer

Nowhere But Home - Liza Palmer

"Beautiful Music for Ugly Children," by Kirstin Cronn-Mills

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children - Kirstin Cronn-Mills

The Plot: Gabe's having a hard time - he's ignored at school, he might be in love with his best friend Paige, and his family doesn't know how to talk to him anymore. You know, ever since he came out to them as Gabe, a boy, when they've spent the last 18 years of his life thinking he's Liz, a girl. Yeah. Being a trans teen is tough. He still goes by Liz when he's in public, but he dreams of being able to move out of his small town and start over where no one will ever know him as anything but Gabe.


Thankfully, Gabe has a volunteer radio show every week where he gets to play all his favourite music and actually be himself, without judgement or harassment. Unfortunately, when a schoolmate outs him as trans and a couple of bigots take violent exception to his gender identity, Gabe has to learn to be more assertive about who he is.


The Good:

  • The sheer number of musical name-drops. Gabe knows his music.
  • Gabe's elderly DJ mentor, John is the BALLS. 
  • Every time Gabe mentions his "imaginary penis"
  • Every time Gabe mentions his Mango (his prosthetic, less-imaginary penis.

The Bad:

  • Paige is a bit of a flake.
  • There's a hint of a romance with a classmate named Heather that's not really developed, and it could have been.
  • The two violent transphobes are just such glaringly obvious villains. It's hard to take them seriously.

"Attachments," by Rainbow Rowell

Attachments - Rainbow Rowell

The Plot: In final months of 1999, two friends, Beth and Jennifer, ignore their company policy of "No Personal E-Mails At Work" to share stories and confide in each other while they work for the Courier newspaper. Unbeknownst to either of them, Lincoln, an "IT Security Specialist," has been hired to monitor employees' E-mails to make sure no one's downloading porn or uploading bumfight videos - and he can't bring himself to ding Beth and Jennifer for their illicit conversations. Instead, he reads them, and finds himself falling in love with Beth.


The Good:

  • Hilarious dialogue
  • Solid character development


The Bad:

  • The ending seemed a little too easy
  • Concept's a little bit creepy

"These Broken Stars," by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars - Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

The Plot: Pampered rich girl Lilac LaRoux (who sounds like a clothing line for French aunts) and lower-class soldier Major Tarver Merendsen are on the same spaceship when it crash-lands on a mysterious planet. Wacky inter-class hijinks and psychic alien powers ensue.


The Good:

  • Detailed setting
  • Vaguely interesting plot development at the end


The Bad:

  • Goopy romance
  • Cliched characterization and society
  • Danger! Danger! Angst overload! The plot - she can't take anymore!
  • Boring, boring, BORING BORING BORING pacing
  • Heroine is a dull moron 

REVIEW: "The Rook," by Daniel O'Malley

The Rook  - Daniel O'Malley

"Illumination Night," by Alice Hoffman

Illumination Night - Alice Hoffman

The Plot: In a small town in Martha's Vineyard, a married couple with a young son bicker amongst themselves and worry over their son's small size. Next door, a rebellious teenage girl exiled to live with her grandmother falls in love with the husband next door.


The Good:

  • Lovely language and setting, as always with Hoffman.
  • Interesting magical realism, again - a Hoffman trademark.


The Bad:

  • No real solid plot.
  • A pleasant read, but not much else.

"The Luckiest Lady in London," by Sherry Thomas

The Luckiest Lady in London - Sherry Thomas

The Plot: Louisa is a country bumpkin turned social climber who needs to marry a rich dude who'll provide for her epileptic sister Matilda (a blatant Disabled Plot Device who is rarely onscreen). Felix is a wealthy lord who cultivates the public persona of the Ideal Gentleman while privately being a Manipulative Asshole because of Angsty Reasons (mummy and daddy didn't wuv me therefore love is stupid boo hoo). They get married halfway through the book, and then spend the other half in a pitched battle to maintain their emotional defences. Since this "battle" is completely internal and performed without any communication between the combatants, this makes for the most boring and senselessly inactive romance EVER.


The Good:

  • Lovely writing style
  • Interesting historical detail and setting


The Bad:

  • Boring boring boring BORING BORING BORING
  • Hero's problems are nothing but Poor Little Rich Boy Angst - not nearly enough conflict for an entire novel

"The Rosie Project," by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion

The Plot: Unconventional genetics professor Don lives a precisely ordered and catalogued life. Blissfully unaware of his place on the autism spectrum (despite a heavily ironic scene where he has to give a lecture on Asperger's to teenagers), he often has trouble relating to people and responding to social cues, so when he decides he needs a wife, he creates a detailed Wife Project questionnaire to weed out unsuitable people. And yet Rosie, a disorganized woman who approaches him for help finding her biological father, charms her way into his life despite utterly failing his questionnaire.


The Good:

  • Charming characters
  • Interesting writing
  • Engaging Pacing
  • Enjoyably romance story


The Bad:

  • Have a little trouble believing Don could be that clueless
  • The resolution about Rosie's father is a little vague

"The Knife of Never Letting Go," by Patrick Ness (Full Review)

The Knife of Never Letting Go  - Patrick Ness

"Love and Lament," by John Milliken Thompson

Love and Lament - John Milliken Thompson

The Plot: Mary Bet, born in North Carolina at the turn of the 20th century, outlives her mother and her 8 other siblings. Her childhood of constant grief leaves her unwilling to take very many chances or risk important attachments. As she grows up, however, she learns more about the people around her, her community, and her ability to love.


The Good:

  • Excellent use of setting
  • Beautiful writing
  • An interesting heroine
  • Lovely Historical Detail


The Bad:

  • Meandering plot
  • Uncertain plots and themes
  • Sluggish pacing

"Fool for Love," by Eloisa James

Fool for Love - Eloisa James

Usually I rather like Eloisa James' novels as well-written fluff, full of witty adulterers and scandalous rakes and delectable descriptions of round gowns, towering Georgian wigs, and malfunctioning 19th-century toilets. 


But other times they are simply too silly to entertain: when the ridiculous becomes dull, and when the lack of logic, sense, or any grounding in reality causes the story to continually wriggle out from under my attention span. Such is the case with Fool for Love.


The heroine, Henrietta, has been told by a few country doctors that, thanks to a dodgy hip bone, she's incapable of surviving childbirth - a fact which renders her unmarriageable. Still, she becomes besotted with Simon Darby, a lace-wearing rake, but they are separated by the fact that unprotected sex will Kill Her Dead. Rather laughably, given how sexually creative all romance heroes are, they never think of the several oral and butt options, until the heroine gets pregnant anyway and everything turns out fine because of course 19th century doctors are Stupid and who actually wants to waste time Actually Solving a Plot Obstacle when they can simply make it disappear? 


Oh, and there's a dippy romance between Henrietta's pregnant BFF and her erstwhile lover who is pretending to be a gardener so he can bone her on the sly.


And surprisingly all of this ridiculously overblown angst is dead boring. Fantasy scenarios are all well and good but I can only take so much airy piffle before I get gassy. Ah well. My reading tastes really have changed.