Sunday, May 1, 2011

April 2011 Reads & Minis

April! What a long month! I read and read and read... it felt wonderful to be able to read like that again. My schedule remains the same at work (busy), but I've basically slotted in time to read and blog into my calendar and things are working out for me. Reading time relaxes my mind and is very important to me personally, so I'm feeling quite relaxed this month. LOL!

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This is going to be a long post, so without further ado here's my update for April:

Total Read: 24
LGBT: 7 (Mystery: 6 -- M/M Romance: 1)
Contemporary Romance: 5
Historical Romance: 4
Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 3 (Fantasy: 1 - SFR: 1 - UF: 1)
Paranormal Romance: 3
Mystery: 2

Favorite Books this Month:
  • Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh - KMont from Lurv a la Mode sent me her ARC copy and you know I whopped and hollered when I saw that envelope! I dropped everything else and read this book until it was done. I'll post my review later this month, but let's just say that Hawke and Sienna's story was worth the wait: A
  • The Sergeant's Lady by Susanna Fraser: B+ (Upcoming Review)
  • A Lot Like Love by Julie James: B+ (Upcoming Review)

Here come those B's:

  • In a Dark Wood by Josh Lanyon was a mystery/horror story that takes place in the New Jersey woods! This story deals with one of those urban legends that will make the hairs in the back of your neck stand up straight. The Jersey woods give me the creeps on the best of days, and this short story didn't help at all! Mr. Lanyon pairs up our writer, Tim with a cop. They go on their first date on a hiking trip up to the New Jersey Pine Barrens, and let me tell you things go from bad to worst. I loved this short, short story, Tim's character with his deep personal problems and fears and the fantastic, horrific outcome of that trip. I wish this terrific short horror story had been longer and that there had been more page time to develop the characters further, Tim in particular. Grade: B
  • Four and Twenty Blackbirds (Eden Moore #1) by Cherie Priest. This book was my 2011 Women of Fantasy Book Club April read. This is book one in Cherie Priest's Eden Moore urban fantasy series. I loved, loved the Gothic Southern atmosphere of this book, with it's old dysfunctional family history and crazy characters. The beginning of the book pulled me in and kept me reading, particularly when Eden was a little girl and she was just discovering things around her. However, things changed later on in the book when it comes to Eden and the plot became more... predictable and dare I say, less exciting. Eden is an angry girl who becomes an angry and at times glib woman, and makes one mistake after another. She has certain abilities, goes on an adventure to find out more about her past and in the process kicks butt, despite the fact that she doesn't really know what the heck she's doing or why. I liked her better when she was a little girl. However, I did love, love the Southern atmosphere and the history in this book as well as world building where Priest mixes ghosts with the African voodoo culture. The writing flows and it was a quick read, so in the end this book was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Grade: B-
  • A Vintage Affair by Josh Lanyon is one of those books I picked up last Saturday. This story takes place in a southern mansion in Georgia and it involves wine and a murder. Austin is a sommelier and he's down in Georgia to assess the value of a wine collection. Instead he finds murder and hot, but closeted, Jeff Brady. The two have one mind-blowing night together while the murder is investigated, but things won't go anywhere since "gay" is not done in Georgia. I enjoyed this story and again Mr. Lanyon excels at creating atmosphere and transporting the reader to place and time. Both Austin and Jeff as characters were well portrayed. There's an M/F/M scene in this book that might bother M/M only romance readers (and took me by surprise), but that I thought was quite appropriate when taking the plot into consideration. My only problem with this story was that I thought the crime investigation took a back seat to the rest of the story, and we were "told" how it all ended, not shown. Grade B-

And this Month's C's:
  • Giving Chase (Chase Brothers #1) by Lauren Dane was a cute contemporary romance with lots of erotic scenes thrown into the mix. I enjoyed the family atmosphere, the Chase family and friendships between the female protagonist and her closest friends. I also loved the close bond between the Chase brothers. However, the plot itself seemed to lack focus with a heroine that was insecure about her looks, problems with her family, a stalker, and the heroine dating a different brother before she settled for the main character, Kyle. The focus on the men's looks got old after a while and in a way it took away from my enjoyment of their yumminess. Grade: C
  • Kiss Across Swords by Teal Ceagh is a paranormal romance that uses a few different devices. It's a time travel, vampire tale that includes a menage (M/M/F). I enjoyed the time travel aspect of the story as it went back in time to the Crusades and the fall of Jerusalem. The story itself made sense in that way, however, I did not enjoy the menage aspect of the story. The erotic scenes were quite good, but although the sexual aspect was well done, there was a lack of emotional connection between the three main characters involved that I could not dismiss. The female was attached emotionally to one man more than the other and the one male seemed more attached to the other than to the female... the emotional connection didn't feel balanced, although we were told that it was. Grade C-
That's a LONG post for a long reading month! A happy one for me, although as you can see it was a mixed bag when it came down to grades. However, thinking about it... there wasn't one single book that I disliked terrible, and although there were quite a few average reads in the bunch there were more solids and some outstanding reads that I just loved!

ETA: The books are listed by grade, and then by how much I enjoyed each book compared to the rest. Tough decisions! 

15 comments:

  1. That's an impressive list of books! You did good. There are several there I hope to read. I'm woefully behind...

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  2. Wow!! You read so much!! ;) I so need to read a Lot like Love ;P
    Been putting it off.

    Oh well.

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  3. Awesome reading month there, Hils! Love the A on KOS. Can't wait to read your thoughts on that one.

    I see you gave the Chase series a try. I enjoy that series but the first book was definitely not a fave. Will you check out the rest of the series?

    Ooh, the Gibson got a B. I've been reading a lot of mixed reactions on that one. Still debating if I should pick it up!

    April is a poor reading month for me, the lowest I've ever seen. I can't focus on any reading..

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  4. All of these are april reads? and only for relaxation despite busy schedules. How do you do all off these? Okay what a stupid question eh?

    I just envy you that's all..hope you're doing great and ready for warm weather soon...

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  5. Great, great reading month Hils! I had 17 and was happy, but jeez... 24?!? You're really back on track! :)

    So lucky to have gotten Kiss of Snow :) Looking forward to your review!

    Lots of Bs and Cs, that's not bad :)

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  6. Excellent month Hils!

    I'm curious - have you read the previous books in the Gibson series? I've only read See Jane Score, so I'm wondering if Any Man of Mine can be read as a stand-alone.

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  7. That's one fantastic list Hils! I look forward to reading your review of Kiss of Snow. I'm still not sure I'll read it...

    After finishing Snowball in Hell last night I so feel like going on a Josh Lanyon gloom :)

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  8. Phyl, thanks. I hope you get to your reads soon. :)

    Alex, I put off A Lot Like Love for a while as well and liked it more than I expected it. It was surprising. :D

    Tabitha, soon on KOS! I will definitely read the second Chase book. I liked the whole family, etc... and am hoping it will be better than the first book. The Gibson? I enjoyed it. I can see why other readers might have a problem with it, though. It's one of those books. :P I hope your reading slump is over soon!

    Natalie! This was an exceptional month for me, and yes reading for relaxation, lol! I'm doing well and more than reading for real Spring to arrive. :) Hope you're well!

    Nath, lots of books and a few novellas in there, not bad. I couldn't believe they were all read in April. KoS was the highlight of the month for me! And yay for B's and C's! ;P

    Leslie, I've only read two books from the series: See Jane Score and True Love and Other Disasters. Any Man of Mine can definitely be read as a stand-alone. Some old characters make an appearance, but the focus is on Sam and Autumn.

    Orannia: Well you saw my grade for KoS, so you know how I feel about the book already, lol! But thoughts to come soon.

    Lanyon is worth going on a gloam. Definitely. After all the reading I did last week, I still have a few others left over in my TBR and those will be read soon. I hope you enjoyed Snowball in Hell as much as I did. :)

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  9. Hello dear Hilcia, I hope all is well :)
    You have no idea how envious I am of you! Kiss of Snow, my God, it seems the more people read it, the crazier I get! Only 29 more days...lol, I'm glad you enjoyed it so much!!

    Kiss

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  10. Hello Sonia! All is good. :D

    Ohhh, I know how you feel about Kiss of Snow! It's almost here and it's a good book too. I wasn't disappointed after waiting all that time for it, which was surprising. You know what they say about expectations.

    I hope all is well with you! ((Hugs))

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  11. TWENTY FOUR BOOKS? Hils, are you crazy? Did you even sleep?! LOL! ;)

    I love how you listed the books by grade and then how much you enjoyed each one. I always list in order that I read them... but this makes so much more sense! Genius. ;)

    I'm especially happy to see Kiss of Snow up there as a favorite. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!

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  12. Wow. That's lots of great books, Hilcia! I can't to read Kiss of Snow and The Sweetest Thing.

    I haven't heard about In a Dark Wood. Must check it out!

    When I read 4 and 20 Blackbirds a couple of years ago, it was just ok. Not enough to stick with the series, unfortunately, since I also love Southern gothic.

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  13. Christine, I don't know how, but I scheduled them in and read! And yes, I did go to sleep late, lol!

    I always listed books in the order I read them too, but changed that this year. It was tougher to decide the listing order this month because this was the first month I read so many books.

    Kiss of Snow!:D

    Renee, I hope you enjoy both books as much as I did. In a Dark Wood is a short story I just found for my Kindle that was published in January, 2011. I don't know if it's available elsewhere.

    RE: 4 and 20 Blackbirds. I agree. It's a shame, the story was just okay for me too even though I loved the atmosphere. But I'm not continuing with the series either. I will look for other books by Cherie Priest though... see if I like them. :)

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  14. I'd really recommend Cherie Priest's Boneshaker. It was excellent. Also, I'm on the wait list for the audiobook of her new UF book, Bloodshot. Looks good.

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  15. Thanks Renee. I've had Boneshaker in my hands (to buy) a few times -- I've heard so much about it! Bloodshot looks good -- a combination of the vamps and PI/crime investigative genres. I'll probably read that one since I'm in the mood for mysteries and PIs this year. Thanks for the recommendation. :D

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