July Reading Log

July was a busy month. I spent the first 10 days haying, with a 2 day break for a family reunion in Sun River, Oregon.  Oh, and my boss went on to another position within the company, and I have a new boss.

And did I mention Camp Nanowrimo? My goal for July was 20,000 words, and half of that was done in 3 days. My hands still ache, and I’m exhausted from not enough sleep.

As a result, I barely squeaked through 4 books this month, and 1 was read in about 2 hours, right on the cusp of July 31 to August 1, but I’m couting in July, or else I’ll forget it. And, that’s why there have been a lack of posts on my blog.

The Jacaranda Tree – Rebecca Brandewyne

I remember reading this book when it first came out in 1996. I was raised by my grandparents, and my grandmother is an avid reader of romance novels. Many of the ones she finished, I read after, and this was no exception. I’d thought about it a lot recently, so I ordered the book used off Amazon in June.

This book is not as good as I remember it to be. It’s okay, but it’s structured oddly. It starts with the history of Arabella’s parents, and then segues into Arabella visiting the faire, where her fortune is told. Then we get a prostitute’s murder and Arabella going to Australia. Then she’s shipwrecked, nursed back to health by Lucien, and after a night of passion, flees to the nearest town, and then the murder mystery part picks back up.

Arabella’s not a bad character, she’s book smart, and not prone to histrionics, and once she grasps her situation, she’s quick to learn what she must to survive with Lucien until she can get to civilization. But on the other hand, she’s the typical 90s era romance novel woman: bookish, not pretty enough to be courted by many, innocent, but also has a wanton nature that only the right man can make blossom.

Lucien is your typical 90s era anti-hero: a man with a dark and dangerous past, who’s built himself up from nothing, and he’s dark, handsome, and devilish. He wants Arabella, and he’s not taking no for an answer.

The murdered gets caught and they get their happily ever after, but it’s not as satisfying as I remember.

The Submissive – Tara Sue Me

This is what 50 Shades of Grey would be if Christian Grey was less controlling, and Anastasia Steele had a spine, and she knew what she was getting into. I purchased it because it was 25% off as Fred Meyer, and I’ve been seeing it everywhere. It’s okay.

This is a 50 Shades clone: Abby works in a Library and is bookish, although not a virgin. Her sassy best friend lives next door, not in the house, but she’s fodder for Nathaniel’s football star cousin. Nathaniel is rich, powerful, and tortured, and plays piano. Unlike Christian, he’s not quite as controlling.

The book was okay, but not great. I enjoyed reading it, but afterwards I was kind of meh. The advantage to this one over something like 50 Shades is that Abby knows exactly what she’s getting into, and she doesn’t spend the book drunk and whining she wants a romantic relationship, not a D/s one.

Bumped – Megan McCafferty
In a world where “FunBumps” are all the rage (fake baby bumps), and fame, fortune, and a good education are on the line for having a teen pregnancy, Melody Mayflower has been groomed to be the perfect surrogate: beautiful, smart, athletic, and all rounded.

The catch? She has an identical twin, Harmony, who’s come from a religious community to try and save Melody’s soul, and perhaps escape her life.

I found the sequel in a Barnes and Noble in July, and was curious. Thankfully I found my nook, so I was able to get a copy (they didn’t have a dead tree version in store). And it’s an interesting novel. Not a great novel, but an interesting one. One of my biggest problems is the slang terms, and lack of information. The book is described as a reverse infodump, and that’s very true. Teens “bump” but you don’t find out until the end that’s the slang for getting pregnant, not having sex. The fetus isn’t a fetus or a baby, but a pregg, and it’s given a nickname, and the surrogate is given a medication to decrease her bond with it.

The premise is good, and the story is interesting enough, but it ends unresolved (there’s a second book), and there’s not a huge amount of conflict. Harmony is with Melody to try and convince her to move back to Goodside (the religious community she lives in), but she’s also there to escape. You don’t find out until halfway through why she’s escaping, and then that issue isn’t really resolved until book 2. You don’t find out what Melody’s problem really is until near the end, and then it’s not resolved. It’s frustrating, but the book is an easy read. Zen is worth the price alone, he’s smart, funny, and a really decent character.

Thumped – Megan Mccafferty

humped is a better novel than Bumped, and thankfully ties up all the loose ends, although not quite in the way I would have liked. I stole this book description and the one for Bumped from the publisher’s website, they describe the books better.

This book sees all the problems from the first book come to a head, and get resolved, more or less. Since I was already familiar with the slang and terms from the first book, this book was a neasier read. I didn’t have to keep wondering what terms means.

Melody in this book is more sure of what she doesn’t want, and I like that. Although, I spent the first third of the confused, and not totally sure what was going on. I was glad when it all sorted itself out, because it was a little more of that reverse infodump that Mccafferty was doing.

I read this one in about 2 hours, because there’s not much to it. And, if you’re keeping up with the book, you can figure out about halfway through what’s going to happen, pretty much down to each and every thing. There’s a speech at the end I wasn’t quite expecting, but I had the rest dialed in.