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Leftie aka Closet Romance Reader

Leftie, one of two book blogger sisters (Leftie & Rightie), feeding her guilty reads (translation, romance/sexy *g*) and really just blogging about books she loves and hates.

Oryx and Crake

Oryx and Crake  - Margaret Atwood

Considering how much of a Canadian literary treasure Ms. Atwood is and how much her works have been lauded/recommended, I don't really know how I managed to skip her works as part of some lit course req in school, but I actually did. So yes, this is a first Atwood read for me *gasp*...

Here's a story set in a dystopian world in an unspecified future. It's told from Jimmy/Snowman's POV who in essence lived to tell the tale of how his current world came to be.

There was a lot of back story which was necessary I guess to build this world that Jimmy lives in, a world that feels/appears/sounds familiar and yet not, if put in the context of our current times. I suppose imagining the technology of the future can be limited by the knowledge of the technology of the present; hence a lot of familiar things supposedly still managed to make it in this unspecified future in Jimmy's world. And with all the news we read and hear about GMO's, again it feels like that this unspecified future in Jimmy's world is almost just around the corner. I found it quite depressing, and scary, which is the point I suppose. 

"The prospect of his future life stretched before him like a sentence; not a prison sentence, but a long-winded sentence with a lot of unnecessary subordinate clauses..."

And because of the all the world building, there's a lot of going back and forth in time, and IMO, things didn't really pick up until halfway thru the story. Now the story itself can be dissected on so many levels, but I'm not going there. I'll leave that to the pros.

It's not usually a genre I read but I almost feel that it'll be highly remiss of me to not read Ms. Atwood's works. Granted I probably should have started with a different novel... sigh...

Take heed, gentlemen...
Take heed, gentlemen...




Risk the Night

Risk the Night - Anne Stuart First Anne Stuart read for me and after reading this short story, the one question I ask myself is how have I not read Anne Stuart before?!?!

It was the cover that first grabbed me as I have a soft spot for Paris. Then the blurb got my attention. Haven't read too many romantic suspense (I don't think so anyway); it's either one or the other.

I think this is really well written for such a short story. A h who's comfortable in her own skin. An assassin (I say you can't get any more antihero than that) who's cold, calculating and manipulative. Then this inexplicable pull b/w them. I totally bought the heat b/w these 2, how about that! And like many reviewers here have already said, I wish it was longer.

For me, if Ms. Stuart managed to do this with a short story, I imagine I can only expect good things with her full-length novels. I think I may have found a new fave sub-genre and writer.

The Time Keeper

The Time Keeper - Mitch Albom

"It's never too late or too soon. It is when it is supposed to be."

Beautiful Pain

Beautiful Pain - Joanna Mazurkiewicz Free on Kobo as well today 22/09/13

Reaper's Property

Reaper's Property  - Joanna Wylde 3.5-4.0*

Ms. Wylde may agree or not, but I see traces of MM in this one but that's only a good thing in my head:) The characters are developed enough. Didn't completely buy the connection b/w the H&h in the beginning nor did I enjoy the texting interaction (fortunately, that part was short) but as the story progressed, the heat is there, for sure. Got a strong enough h and swoon-y enough H. Although I might not have been 100% emotionally connected at all times, but bottom line, I enjoyed the story, I liked the build-up to the events and I loved how bad-ass the h turned out for her man in the end, all adding up to a nice ending. Def looking forward to Reaper's Legacy now.

(Thanks to Suzanne for the rec:D)

Marital Bitch

Marital Bitch (Men with Badges, #1) - J.C. Emery

More like 2.5*

I had such high hopes for this one after reading the blurb that I immediately sought it out to buy but alas, it didn't work out quite the way I expected.

I thought the idea of childhood friends ending up getting married was cute and I did get a sense of their history, but I didn't get the dynamics b/w the H&h. As enjoyable their banter was, it just became too juvenile for me at certain points. Well, their banter and the H&h themselves:o For a couple who claimed to be BFFs since they were babies, I didn't understand how they couldn't just have it out and say their true feelings. Then there's the occasional repetitiveness due to the dual POV. I'm sorry to say but by the 60-70% mark, I started skimming.

Having said that, I did like the history b/w the H&h's families. And every time I was ready to give up on it, a line, a quip, a musing somehow managed to save the H&h and the story itself. So fortunately, it became an ok read in the end.

Craving Constellations

Craving Constellations (The Aces, #1) - Nicole Jacquelyn

It may not be the right word given the the sensitivity of some of the issues covered in this book but let's just say that I did enjoy this one. It was a quick read with the right amount of action and "action";)

The story/writing obviously pulled me in enough but certain things brought on mixed feelings. I didn't fully get the connection b/w the H&h from that 1 night 5 yrs ago. I didn't understand some of the h's reasoning, although I did enjoy some of her inner musings. I thought the H's POV brought not much additional insight. As steamy as the scenes were, they also felt a little formulaic. I certainly did not appreciate one of his actions towards the h. Duuude, so not cool at all! And I didn't like the comparison made about the lifestyle of a biker's 'old lady'. I'm sorry but that's not just semantics.

I did like how things built up towards the ending. And in the end, I did enjoy how the story flowed. It'll be interesting to see the other characters getting their own stories. I would like to find out, for sure.

The Secret History

The Secret History - Donna Tartt

A story of 5 students who shared a dark secret that led them to bad things. Like I told a friend, it's like Dead Poet Society with an edge.

I admit it took me time to finish this one, not because it was poorly written but it was just one of those reads that you savor, you pause once in a while to ponder and you take your time to reach the ending just because you know it doesn't matter how it ends, good or bad, it is what it is, or in this case, it's how you want to interpret it.

I must say I didn't understand the reverence and admiration they have for their professor who just seemed like a vapid snot to me. And maybe I was just too dense but certain things felt like they came out of the left field completely. For some reason though, liked Richard's voice, the narrator of the story. No, he's not necessarily a likable character but I like his perspective of almost being an outsider even though he was eventually just as knee deep as the rest of the group in their secret. Actually, none of the characters are necessarily likable but in the end I couldn't help but still feel sorry for them for the tragedy, in one form or another, that befell most of them.

Although it felt a tad pretentious at times, the writing did draw me in and it painted things quite vividly in my head. Somehow, it just gave me this surreal feeling the whole time I was reading, as if everything was in a dream-state kind of setting... Will I read any more of Ms. Tartt's work? Not sure...


Afterburn - Sylvia Day

What can I say,
This is a quick short read, but the good thing is things flowed so naturally (I seriously don't know how Ms. Day does it) and knowing my experience with Ms. Day's novellas, I did try to read this as slowly as I could to savor the moments but of course I just couldn't. There were unanswered questions obviously about their relationship, about Jax himself and his actions, and about his family, and I guess I'll just have to wait til Nov to get my answers. And yes, it ended too fast and a tad abrupt... [Not that it makes a diff to me. I've been a Sylvia Day fan for a while now. All I care for is that she keeps writing and I'll keep reading:)]

Epilogue, The Dark Duet

Epilogue: The Dark Duet (The Dark Duet, #2.5) - C.J. Roberts


Ok, I admit it took getting used to seeing a "lighter" side of the relationship as they continue with their healing and try to move forward as a couple, and make it as "normal" a relationship as they can make it. But I'm definitely glad I got a glimpse of it... I think Ms. Roberts finally managed to mess with my head that I thought I learned to understand better the complex dynamics b/w Caleb and Livvie, and lo and behold, even made me swoon over Caleb at times, waaahhh... LOL...

I thought the series would have been just fine the way it ended in the 2nd book, but this was definitely a sweet bonus. What a way to wrap up the series! Excellent!

Seduced in the Dark

Seduced in the Dark (The Dark Duet, #2) - C.J. Roberts

This was not an easy read, that's for sure. If I can be a wuss for a sec, I swear I felt that lump in my throat the whole time I was reading this which was why I had to stop several times (plus I did have to get some sleep b/w work and stuff, hah!).

The way I see it, people who didn't give the first book a chance for thinking it romanticized what is a terrible plight and a real serious issue is missing out by not reading this one. Yes, the "romance" continued b/w the "H" and the h but to me, this book did more than that. I thought it actually painted the real horror around human trafficking, and humanized but did not excuse the people unwillingly caught up in this tragic crime... if that even makes sense...

Some scenes were really hard to get thru'. It almost reminded me of Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty series (I've only read the first one) which, sorry to say, I hate; only difference was it was with a purpose, to paint a more gruesome picture of what it's like to get caught in that tragedy.

I understand this is meant to be a dark erotica read but I thought it was more than that. Considering it touched on such a grave issue, I almost lost sight of the "romance" aspect of the story and I'm ok with that...

Although I didn't totally root for Caleb, the "H", or more like anti-hero, I didn't hate him either. I just felt for him, as wrong as that may sound. And in the end, I just wanted him to get his own happy ending as well.

Now, Olivia, the h, in my mind, was written so well that regardless of her messed up feelings and thoughts, I just wanted to see her do well and move forward.

To borrow one of Rihanna's song, talk about finding love in a hopeless place. This is what it felt like to me. After all, whether we understand or not, isn't that what everybody wants in the end?... sigh...

5* for all the emotions it wrung out of me, for highlighting an important issue that most of us tend to forget is still happening around the world, and definitely for Ms. Roberts' writing. Brava!

Captive in the Dark

Captive in the Dark - C.J. Roberts

Crikey! That is one dark read, indeed... My thoughts and feelings on the characters are just seesawing at every turn and will probably continue to do so, I'm sure, til the end of the series (or not? O.o). So I will just say that if I'm still continuing to read then it means Ms. Roberts' writing certainly has my attention.


Addicted - Charlotte Stein

First Charlotte Stein read for me, won't be the last, I think...

Not what I was expecting at all, in a good way. It's highly character-driven. Both H&h are likable enough. You get to see how the h slowly builds her confidence and the H is just this normal dude, relatively speaking. You really get to know the h bec she has a lot of internal dialogues, as other reviewers have noted as well. And I mean, a lot. And at times, it just felt frantic and all over the place. I hardly got to know the H, except near the end, bec I only saw him through the eyes of the h, which wasn't much since the h had so little to go with as well.

It did have steam, that's for sure, but as the story progressed, it just started feeling cerebral for me as I think I got too much in the h's head. (And call me whatever but I particularly did not like one scene, but this is just personal preference.)

I liked the self-deprecation and the humor that came with it. Some of the descriptions were OTT, yes, but in the end, I did like how Ms. Stein writes.

Purgatory Masters: Tucker's Fall

Purgatory Masters: Tucker's Fall - Eliza Gayle First Eliza Gayle read, and still fairly new genre for me. I can usually read it as long as it stays vanilla-ish. And this pushed my boundaries a bit but managed to stay within my comfort zone.

Personal preference aside, I did like the writing enough but some parts of the story didn't click. To me, there's a lot of unanswered questions about the H&h's separate pasts. Even though there is some history b/w the H&h that goes back fr high school, the relationship still felt rushed which just made me feel a little disconnected from the H&h's emotions. Maybe I just wasn't paying close enough attention but there was also inconsistency about the use of protection. And some of the H's terms of endearment for the h just didn't work for me.

Having said that, I probably would still continue to read Ms. Gayle's other work, stories within my comfort zone, that is *g*

Exquisite (Exquisite Series)

Exquisite (Exquisite Series) - Ella Frank Between 3.5* and 4*

A sweet tender read with well developed characters. I probably could have rated this a whole lot higher but there's something I can't quite put my fingers on that's preventing me to do so. Weird, I know.

I enjoyed the build-up to Lena & Mason's relationship, the sexual tension along the way, the steam b/w the 2 (smokin'!), their witty exchange, all the side characters, the dual POV which flowed smoothly, and the tender moments (<3 Mason and Lena really showed true maturity at the end). <br/>
Where I couldn't quite put my fingers on, sorta': the whole time, I felt like I was reading in slo-mo, not sure why; it felt like it dragged but not really, 'cause I was enjoying the story; the tiring feeling I got with some of the banter b/w the H&h but then again, I was really enjoying them thru out the story; the feeling of being just an observant at times yet I was feeling the emotions at the same time:S Could I have just simply said it's the writing style? Maybe?... hmmm...[There was also the minor editing issue (I may just have a bad copy on hand) which actually didn't detract me from the story but yes, I noticed...]

Regardless, I know I will be reading the rest of the series. This part, I'm sure:)