Saturday, January 2, 2010

December 2009 Reads & Minis

Here are my last reads of 2009 for the month of December. As you can see I didn't have much time to review or even give my impressions on most of them, but one. December was a busy, busy month and I found myself writing other posts and not reviewing my books! Now I'm behind, but I'll be catching up with these in January. So, here's my list such as it is.

1) Aftershock by Jill Shalvis - B

Another category romance in Jill Shalvis' firefighter series -- this is a Harlequin Temptation Heat -- I'm really enjoying these! This one is about Dax, the arson investigator that makes an appearance in some of the installments I already read, Flashpoint and Flashback. Again, Shalvis does a good job with this book. The relationship between the couple doesn't just happen, these two have to work for it. They meet under extraordinary circumstances, have a passionate encounter and then meet again a year later. Dax made for a likable and sexy hero, however the heroine wasn't easy to like, I thought. Some of her actions throughout the story were questionable and she let her fear and insecurities affect her decision-making one too many times. That took away from some of my enjoyment of the story. However, the book itself was well done and the HEA was a good one.

2) The Mountains of Mourning by Lois McMaster Bujold - A

3) Demon Night by Meljean Brook
Upcoming Mini

4) Deliverance by Aleksndr Voinov (Forbidden Love Anthology) M/M
Upcoming Mini

5) Simple Jess by Pamela Morsi
Upcoming Review

6) La Playita by Gavin Atlas M/M
Upcoming Mini

7) England's Perfect Hero by Suzanne Enoch - B

I enjoyed England's Perfect Hero. Lucinda and Robert were a very nice couple and once they got together, they had some wonderful scenes together. The one in the garden was an unexpected treat. I specially loved the hero in this book and how the relationship developed -- it wasn't rushed, instead I found it to be sweet and beautiful. I enjoyed the sexual tension and the attraction between them. Although I more than enjoyed the romance and loved the interaction between Lucinda and Robert, I thought the villain of the piece was quite predictable and was disappointed with that aspect of the book. I haven't read the previous installments in the Lessons of Love series, but I will be looking for them.

8) Wanting by M.L. Rhodes M/M - B+

This story was about a pair of college room mates who have been best friends for four years. A familiar theme but one that I enjoyed more than others. One room mate is gay and one thinks of himself of as straight, but this book is not necessarily a "gay for you" story. It's more of a coming to terms with the truth and coming out romance. Rhodes set it up very well. It's a short story but the characters, Jeremy & Ben (specially Jeremy), go through quite a few changes in this story and not all the changes are related to his coming out. I've always liked the way Rhodes makes her characters three dimensional even when she's writing a seemingly "over-familiar" plot in a short story format.

9) Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips - B

This was an interesting read. The story of Bobby Tom, ex-football player, and Gracie Snow. These two made me laugh quite a bit in the story. I really don't know where I would place this book in my SEP list, but definitely not at the top of my favorites so far, although I did enjoy it. Bobby Tom is a likable, not so likable, likable/egotistical, likable, should get kicked, likable type of hero. Gracie had his number and still had the hots for him... which turned out to be a good thing all around -- a frustrating, enjoyable read. I laughed and wanted to smack Bobby Tom at the same time. But then Phillips tends to do that, she comes up with these thoroughly flawed characters and through character development sooner or later makes them sympathetic. In this case Gracie, the heroine, was the key. Still, it was not my favorite book from Phillip's backlist.

10) A Perfect Game by Reno MacLeod and Jaye Valentine (M/M)
Upcoming Mini

11) Breathing Room by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Upcoming Review

12) A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh
Upcoming Review

13) Her Secret Fling by Sarah Mayberry
Upcoming Review

14) Home for the Holidays by Sarah Mayberry - B+

My last read of the year was Home for the Holidays by Sarah Mayberry, a Blaze category romance. This book, as in many of Mayberry's categories, offers great characters. This is not your regular holiday plot either. The hero and heroine are a bit different, she's a mechanic who rides a Harley and he's a single father who has been a widower for two years. The plot is hot and amusing for most of the book and it felt as if I'd read a much longer book, so the development was excellent. I was a bit disappointed towards the end when I felt the author threw in an emotionally manipulative storyline that I didn't feel was necessary. It jerked me out of the story just as the book was about to end (last two chapters), but it didn't really take away from my enjoyment of the book as a whole. All in all a pretty enjoyable read.

December was actually an excellent reading month for me -- it exceeded my expectations. I read some beautiful books and unlike November, I didn't have any deep disappointments. How about you? How did your last month of the year go? Any good/great reads?


  1. I listened to both Heaven, Texas and Breathing Room last month and laughed my head off. LOL Asolutely loved Ren from Breathing Room. Oh, my, oh, my do I love him!

    And I had to laugh at this:

    "Bobby Tom is a likable, not so likable, likable/egotistical, likable, should get kicked, likable type of hero."

    Such an odd desription but it just fits him perfectly. LOL

  2. I can't believe you read so much in December Hilcia! WOW! I read very little, and most of that was yaoi manga :)

    Breathing Room is a SEP book I haven't read... *races off to library catalogue*

  3. Leslie, we read the both these books last month at the same time? Wow! Bobby Tom WAS odd, lol! What a character!

    Ohhhh, Ren! Ren! Ren! I know exactly what you mean. I never heard of this book. My book sharing buddy sent it to me & after I read the blurb in the back, I couldn't wait to read it. Definitely a worthy SEP read, IMO. :)

    Orannia, I surprised myself, I usually don't read that much in December. Ohhh and if you find Breathing Room, I hope you enjoy it too. ;P

  4. Nice list Hilcia :D Looking forward to your reviews :D

    Heaven Texas is a book I couldn't finish... I started it and had problems with the characters ^_^; Glad you enjoyed it :D

  5. I'm losing my mind. I thought I had commented on your post here before. Anyhow, I can't wait for your review of Her Secret Fling by SM. I saw it in the bookstore but stopped myself from buying it because I'm trying to buy less shorter stories in PB format. I'm debating to buy an e-reader so I can read certain other books too. ;)

  6. Nath: Heaven, Texas was an interesting read for me. I didn't think I would enjoy the characters when I began the book. It turned out that the story was a bit of a romantic comedy. The townspeople were odd and quirky; the main characters (mainly Bobby) seem quite superficial, but SEP weaved the story well throughout. It's not my favorite, as I said, but she did a good job of developing the characters and the story. It was a frustrating, funny and different type of story. I ended the book with a smile after all. So, it was a solid in the end and I'm glad I didn't give up on it. :)

    Tabitha, I know what you mean, I usually buy the shorter stories for my reader, but couldn't help getting Her Secret Fling in print when I saw it. I'm kind of glad I did. :)

  7. You have a great list for December. Can I just say, I love the cover for Aftershock.
    Cute little baby bum :)

    I happen to fall in the category of readers who LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Heaven, Texas. Bobby Tom is not the greatest hero, I have ever read, but he is certainly the most entertaining. The end of the book is the best. I don't know why I like it so much, but SEP can really write. You want to hate Bobby Tom for that scene in front of the town, but you just can't. That is some good writing. Oh yeah and the groveling helped :)

  8. LOL Jill D, this firefighter series by Shalvis has some really interesing covers. :)

    Oh, I agree with you on SEP's writing! She kept me reading this book. I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed the character development and the way she made me laugh and enjoy it, while still wanting to smack Bobby T, lol! That's a great trick... not something just anyone can pull off. I LOVED the ending -- the groveling was THE best, lol... he needed to grovel... but the ending was just perfect. I smiled for quite a while afterward.

  9. I really liked Aftershock a lot. It just appealed to me on so many levels.

    Demon Night *sigh* I love Meljean!

    Wanting - wasn't it good? Another one that appealed to me for so many reasons.

    Heaven, Texas - I've started this book numerous time and just can't get into it. I think I'm going to call it quits finally and move to the next book in the series.

  10. Aftershock... it also appealed to me in some levels, had troubles with heroine. *g*

    I'm with you! Love, love Meljean, loved Wanting!

    Heaven, Texas? I'm glad I didn't give up on it. Although I can certainly see why you would have problems continuing with it. I almost gave up on it. :)


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