The Scent of Rain by Kristin Billerbeck — 3 stars. I have read a plethora of Billerbeck’s novels. She is actually the first Christian chick-lit author I’ve ever read and I’ve always enjoyed her books. This book followed her usual style and begins on Daphne’s wedding day where she gets stood up. She has been trained to create perfumes (and have a nose for scents) but after her botched wedding day, she discovers she lost her sense of smell. She is also beginning a new job where the main reason she was brought on was for her impeccable sense of smell. The book takes a while to get into and the beginning is pretty slow… and then it seems like the author was rushing to finish it and wrap it all up nicely. This wasn’t one of Billerbeck’s best books (her Ashley Stockingdale series is still Billerbeck at her finest) so I don’t know if I would recommend it. It was a light, easy read but left me wanting more.
MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche — 5 stars. I wrote an entire post on how this book impacted me. It’s not everyone’s favorite, but it’s definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year. Highly recommend!
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain — 2 stars. I was really excited to read this book. I love reading about introversion and it has really helped me to accept who I am and embrace my quiet ways. Unfortunately, while this book was filled with examples and experiments and anecdotes, I didn’t find any of the information groundbreaking and was pretty bored by some of the chapters. I also didn’t care for the way she talked about extroverts because I don’t think either type of people is better than the other. (She blamed the financial crisis of 2008 on extroverts, but letting introverts off the hook for not speaking up because it’s just the way we are? No. Absolutely not. That is a cop-out.) I will say it is an interesting read and it did teach me more about my introversion… it just didn’t completely live up to the hype for me.
Sugar Rush by Donna Kauffman — 3 stars. I’ve read a few books by Donna Kauffman and I always love how she creates characters and stories so I was super excited when I saw she had a new series of books out, all centering around cupcakes. I picked up the first one – and it was the most intriguing of the bunch! – and while it was a cute romance novel, there was something about the characters that felt forced. The whole story seemed a little trite and contrived and I basically had to force myself to finish it. I never really felt any strong connection with the male lead. It’s an easy read, but I have read other books by this author I would recommend over this one.
The Accidental Bride by Christina Skye — 3 stars. Another contemporary romance by an author I’ve read before. (I was in a romance-y mood in late December!) This follows a chef who has a new restaurant and is beginning to market a line of salsa. She has a mini heart attack at work one day and is told she needs to rest completely for a few months. Her friends wind up sending her to a knitting retreat for a week and it’s in this tiny Wyoming town that she meets Walker Hale, local hero. Their story is sweet and the build-up felt real. I generally enjoyed the novel, as I do most romances. It didn’t grip me from beginning to end, but I do like this author’s writing style.
Her Holiday Fireman by Kathleen Y’Barbo — 2 stars. I thought I would try out a Love Inspired novel, although most of them feature single parents finding love. This one didn’t have either, so I decided to read it as it was Christmassy and I was in a Christmassy mood. A nice novel, but that’s about it. It’s never a good sign when you’re relieved to finish a novel, is it?
Switched by HelenKay Dimon — 4 stars. I read a Harlequin romance by this author earlier in the year and absolutely loved it. I’m usually pretty “meh” about them (but read them anyway because they require little brainpower and sometimes, that’s exactly what I need). This author gives you gripping plots, fabulous characters, and a story you’ll smile at. This book was no different and I just really enjoyed watching the story unfold, and the romance blossom. Plus, Risa, the female lead, is pretty kickass. I know a lot of people aren’t into Harlequin romances, but if you want to try out out, find one by this author. Hers are very low on cheesiness.
Into the Night by Suzanne Brockmann — 5 stars. Navy SEAL Team Sixteen feels like a bunch of guys I’ve known my whole life. They feel a part of me and reading their stories once again is so much fun. Brockmann writes another intense story with lots of drama and action and wittiness. The female leads felt a bit tiring and weak (both Joan and Mary-Lou) but I think that’s how Brockmann wanted them to be. For some reason. The story itself was still gripping and hard to put down which is why it gets 5 stars from me. If I can read a 450+ page book in less than two days… well, the story then speaks for itself.
Books read in 2012: 90