Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year! December 2010 Recap & Minis


Happy New Year, everyone! Best Wishes for 2011!

The year is over and I can't believe it, but here we are, the first of the year and still recapping 2010. I'm taking the opportunity today to finish off with my December reads.

December was not a prolific reading month for me: new job and schedule, family emergencies that took me away from home, and the holidays in between. But somehow I seemed to have managed to sneak in a few books here and there, as well as a few posts and reviews, although not as many as I would have liked. Hopefully, things will settle down into a routine and January will be better.

Maybe it already is! I've won three books at the fantastic DIK Giveways! Song of Seduction by Carrie Lofty, and today I received word that I won two Super Romances: From Friend to Father and Beginning with Baby by Tracy Wolff. Excellent way to begin the year, wouldn't you say? Thanks to Tracy, all the DIK ladies, and participating authors. :D
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Since I didn't read much and didn't review most of the books read either, I'm including small Mini-Impressions with this recap (lots of enjoyable B's):

Total books read: 9
Re-reads: 2
New Reads: 7

1. Play of Passion (Psy/Changeling Series) by Nalini Singh: A-
(Upcoming Review)

2. Happy Ever After (Bridal Quartet, #4) by Nora Roberts: C
(Upcoming Review)

3. Marry Me by Jo Goodman was a highly enjoyable historical romance, and if you read my review you'll see why. Goodman certainly knows how to develop her characters and how to weave a good story. I would like to thank Tabitha for letting me know that this book was free at Amazon for the Kindle. With my busy schedule, I would have missed the opportunity. Thanks Tabs! Grade: B

4. A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist was a re-read and I reviewed it as the last submission for the Re-Read and Historical Challenges. I enjoyed this book more this time around than the first time I read it. I love it when that happens -- discovering new details or character traits that I didn't quite "get" or see the first time. This is one of the reasons I love to re-read. Grade: B+

5. A Virgin River Christmas by Robyn Carr was also a re-read. I loved this novella the first time I read it, and it was no different this time. A year after Marcie's husband dies due to injuries received during the war in Afghanistan, she decides to search for the Marine who saved her husband's life and brought him home. Ian disappeared after bringing Bobby home and no one has seen him since. Marcie is relentless in the way she pursues Ian so she can find closure, as well as to offer him that peace he so desperately needs. This novella has funny, fun moments, deep, touching moments, as well as warmth and love. I enjoyed re-reading it through the holidays. Grade: B+

6. Binding the God: Ursine Essays from the Mountain South by Jeff Mann was a huge surprise to me. I began by just skimming through the first few pages of this book and next thing I knew I was half-way through. It was a fascinating and absorbing read!

Mr. Mann is a man full of contradictions, and his life and lifestyle make for some interesting and informative reading. As he often says in his essays, he belongs to two minorities: he is gay and Appalachian. On top of that, he also belongs to the "bear/leather" sub-culture within the LGBT community and still lives in the politically conservative south where he teaches at Virginia Tech. You can imagine that he has a lot to say and he does! -- quite candidly and directly. He explores the different aspects of his life in these essays, as well as the differences between the "bear/BDSM" lifestyle, and that of what he refers to as the "mainstream" LGBT culture. Expect some repetitiveness from one essay to the next (they were written at different times), but note that although some information is repeated, each essay focuses on a different subject matter and develops that subject in-depth as the book moves along. Quite a read! Grade: B

7. All She Wrote: Holmes and Moriarity, Book 2 by Josh Lanyon was another book I enjoyed. I loved the characters in these books (Christian and JX), and Kit's bumbling attempts at crime solving, his insecurities and acerbic sense of humor in Somebody Killed His Editor. JX is just as sweet, loving and HOT as he was in the first book... but, I must say I didn't get caught up immediately by the characters or story. The humor was there in some sections, but lacking compared to that first installment. The plot itself also took a while to capture my attention, as did the secondary characters. Having said that, after a while, the story got going, the mystery picked up and Christopher and JX worked that bumbling mystery-solving and passionate magic. Grade: B

8. Life After Joe by Harper Fox. My introduction to this author was through the novella she wrote for the "His for the Holidays" anthology: "Nine Lights Over Edinburgh." Let me tell you, that story was quite a surprise! I'm really liking this author. She creates and develops some tough, flawed characters that might not necessarily be likable, lovable or heroic, yet she makes her romances work. After reading Life After Joe, I will definitely purchase more of her books. Thank you Mariana for the recommendation. Grade: B+

9. I won "The Sentry: A Joe Pike Novel" by Robert Crais in the Goodreads "First Reads" program and releases on January 11, 2011. Following is my Goodreads Mini:

This is the second book I've read by Mr. Crais, and although both books are part of the Elvis Cole series, they are Joe Pike Novels. The first book I read was The Watchman: A Joe Pike Novel, and the first book featuring this wonderful character. Well, I fell in love with Joe Pike in 2007, and of course wanted to read this book as soon as I saw it up for grabs.

Joe Pike again plays the tarnished, taciturn knight. I love the way Crais maintains this character a bit of a mystery by using spare dialogue and what seems like little emotion, and yet conveys the man's true character through his actions. The balance between Joe and Elvis Cole's characters serve as an excellent contrast.

While playing "Good Samaritan," Joe Pike saves a man from a beating. Simple, right? Well... not quite. Saving this man sets up a chain of events and like falling dominoes next thing he knows, Joe is falling for a woman and tangling with local gangs, the local police, the FBI, Mexican and Bolivian drug lords and a relentless assassin. The twists and turns in this story come fast and furious and nothing is quite what it seems. The quick pacing keeps the reader turning the pages and wondering what's going to happen next. I want more Joe Pike! I'll definitely read the next one. Grade: B

That's it for December and 2010!

13 comments:

  1. Happy New Year, Hils!! You did a great job on catching up on November reads :P Looking forward to your review of Play of Passion and Happy Ever After :P

    I think you did a great job at reading this month, despite all the changes and emergency! I hope you enjoy your job and everything settles down soon :P

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  2. Oh, I can't wait to hear what you think of Song of Seduction! It's on my top reads for 2010. Absolutely gorgeous book.
    Oh, and happy new year!!!

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  3. Happy New Year!

    It looks as though you had a rather decent December reading-wise :-)

    I loved the ending to Life After Joe, and Driftwood was even better, IMO.

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  4. Thanks Nath. Happy New Year to you too! I was surprised when I added up my books. I thought I'd read something like three, lol!

    Lori, I'm really looking forward to reading Song of Seduction by Lofty! That was SUCH an excellent surprise -- I don't usually win anything and this was a wonderful way to begin the year. :D Happy New Year to you!

    Li, Happy New Year!!!
    Definitely better than I expected. Life After Joe had a beautiful ending. :D And Driftwood will definitely be my next read by Fox, now I'm really looking forward to it. :)

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  5. Happy New Year!

    I can't wait to read All She Wrote - I loved the first one.

    Song of Seduction looks good...let me know about that one!

    Harper Fox did make me sit up and take notice with that novella in HftH. I haven't bought any more of her work yet, but plan to in the future.

    I loved A VR Christmas too. I don't think people liked it that much but I thought it was great.

    I just bought Marry Me!

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  6. Happy New Year, Hilcia!
    I love how your slow reading month is still 9 books!! :)

    Looks like you read a lot of great books. Glad the latest Singh scored so well with you.

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  7. I keep meaning to read Song of Seduction! It's on my Kindle, but I get distracted easily, LOL.

    Your month sounds a little like mine. Not so many books, but some good ones.

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  8. Happy New Year, Hilcia!

    There's a lot of good books there. I thought All She Wrote was lots of fun, and like that Kit and JX still have a lot to work through in their relationship. (It makes great fodder for future books!)

    I loved Harper Fox's novella, too, but I've been putting off reading Life After Joe. The plot sounds like there's lots of angst, which I have to be in the mood for.

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  9. Oh Tracy, you have good books to read in your pile. I think you'll enjoy All She Wrote and definitely Life After Joe -- although they're very different types of books. VR? Agreed! It was different from the other sweet Xmas reads, but I enjoyed it. And I hope you enjoy Marry Me. I'm looking forward to the Lofty read, thank you!!!

    Christine, lol! It seemed that way to me? But I did sneak in more books than I thought. The Singh was definitely a great read. The best one in December. :)

    Phyl, those good books do tend to get lost in that Kindle. :( Yes... December was interesting... short, but enjoyable all around.

    Renee, Happy New Year! I agree. There's definitely a lot of room for excellent stories involving Kit and JX in the future! Those two have great chemistry. And yes, Life After Joe is angst-ridden, although an excellent book. Definitely recommend it for when you're in the mood. :D

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  10. I thought I commented yesterday...why did I put my brain?

    Happy New Year Hils! I can't wait to read Life After Joe!

    Oh, and I was lucky enough to win the two Holmes & Moriarity books (Josh Lanyon) at the DIK giveaway! They were brilliant!

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  11. Congrats on all the book wins! And your reading for December were pretty good considering all the B's. Better to have a few good reads than a lot of bad ones. Yay to reading!

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  12. Thanks Tabs! I felt lucky, lol! And yes... Lots of really enjoyable B's! I agree with your take on that one. Yay!!!

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  13. Orannia, I missed you!!

    Happy New Year! I hope you enjoy Life After Joe. AND, Congratulations on winning those two great reads by Lanyon! Love, love Kit and JX!! Enjoy!

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