Monday, October 3, 2011

September 2011 Reads & Minis

September is over! I am so glad... lol! September was a long burn-out month for me with lots of work and running around. I was behind the eight-ball for most of the month, and in need of rest and relaxation. My blogging and reviewing suffered and yes... I ended up slow blogging for the month. However, although much of my time was spent away from the computer, I took the opportunity to read whenever possible. Thank goodness because I definitely need those books to relax. :)

Overall September turned out to be a pretty solid reading month. It was pretty well-balanced when it comes to diverse genre reading, although I do wish I'd included a straight science-fiction romance read in there (not steampumk), but in the end decided to go with literary fiction instead. I'm including two minis in this post, as well as an impromptu review I first posted at Goodreads for Captain Harding's Six Day War by Elliott Mackle.

Here are my reads for September:

Total Books Read: 14
  Contemporary: 3 (Romance: 1 Erotica: 2)
  Historical Romance: 2
  Historical Fiction: 1
  Paranormal Romance: 3
  Fantasy/Steampunk: 2
  Literary Fiction: 2
  LGBT Gay Fiction: 1
  • The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa (Re-read): A
  • Captain Harding's Six Day War: A Novel by Elliott Mackle: B+
Hah! I really enjoyed this book. The writer pulled me in to the story from page one. I meant to skim it to read later and ended up reading it in one sitting. It's all about Captain Joe Harding's escapades at the Wheelus Military Air Base in Tripoli, Libya. Set in the 1960's right before the Six Day War in the Middle East. That Joe is something else! "He's got balls." He's in the military, gay, and deep in the closet -- he has to be in order to keep his career intact and himself out of the brig. Remember these are the 1960's so it's worse than let's say.... last year! He transferred in as a crazy Colonel's right hand man and administrator with the idea of being discreet and maintaining a low personal profile. But that's just not Joe!

In a short period of time Joe's having under cover affairs with two different men, making goo goo eyes at the American Ambassador's young son, and getting himself and a friend in trouble at an all-men party turned orgy. Joe's not very subtle, even though he really tries. In the meantime he's making friends and enemies. As both he and his friends become embroiled and get caught in the middle of military politics, often due to deep-set prejudices (related to race, sexual orientation and gender), Joe becomes bolder in his attempts to save himself and his friends from disaster, and wages his own Six Day War at Wheelus. Of course as in all wars, expect victory, defeat, some wounded and casualties.

This is a fast paced story, full of excellent military details. I loved Joe's story, from the sexual escapades and attempts at self-deception that affected his personal life, to the manipulative machinations that he and friends used to achieve their ends (complete their mission) at the military base. The secondary characters are wonderful in this story too (both friends and foes). Disbelief must be suspended a couple of times before the end, and those pesky military acronyms get to be a bit much at times, however, this was a great read with a surprisingly sweet ending. This is my first read by Elliott Mackle and I really enjoyed the writing style. I’ll follow up by reading It Takes Two. (LGBT Gay Fiction)
  • The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire #1) by Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith: B
I featured this book in my recommendations for Halloween/October reads because I really did love the fact that the vampires in this steampunk/fantasy book are portrayed as such vile creatures. They are scary, violent and not a one sparkles in the bunch. It has been a while since I read vampires that were this nasty. The humans are quite intriguing themselves, not quite a black and white portrayal there either. Besides the way vampires and humans are characterized, there's quite a bit to recommend this first book, the adventure is fast paced, the world building is engrossing and the characters that populate the book are quite intriguing. Toward the beginning of the book there seem to be a bit too much of the passive third person point of view going on and it slowed down the action, but later on I either became accustomed to the writing style(s) or the plot reeled me in enough that this stopped being a problem for me. I enjoyed it enough that I'm reading the second book.
  • Good Girls Don't by Victoria Dahl: B
  • Archangel's Blade (Guild Hunters, #4) by Nalini Singh: B
I'm not following this series, yet I picked up this book mainly because it's all about Dmitri the vampire. This is one of the most violent romances I've read in a while. I liked the fact that Singh didn't change Dmitri's character to fit the romance and that he remained a "killer" even as he exhibited a softer side. I admired his loyalty and tenderness throughout the whole story when all I expected was passion. Honor was also a good protagonist who turns out to be quite strong while working on her recent traumatic experiences. Unfortunately, neither the numerous flashbacks, nor the foreshadowed reasons given at the end for Honor and Dmitri's romantic union really worked for me. Despite that, overall this was an enjoyable UF/Romance book that in many ways felt more like a paranormal read. 
  • The Book of Want by Daniel A. Olivas: B (Upcoming Review)
  • Supernatural by Larissa Ione, Alexandra Ivy, Jacquelyn Frank, G.A. Aiken: B
  • Kissing Comfort by Jo Goodman: B (Upcoming Review)
  • The Blushing Bounder (Wild & Steamy Anthology) by Meljean Brook: B
  • Los cachorros by Mario Vargas Llosa: C
  • Tempting the Highlander by Michele Sinclair: C
  • Raw Desire by Kate Pearce: C
  • Rough Play by Christina Crooks: C-
That closes my September reads. My top three picks of the month were The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa (Historical Fiction); Captain Harding's Six Day War: A Novel by Elliott Mackle (Gay Fiction), and Demon Marked by Meljean Brook (Paranormal Romance). How about you, any great reads in September?

10 comments:

  1. Good books this month! I completely agree, regarding Archangel's Blade. I could have done without the whole reincarnation bit, but otherwise a great book.

    September was killer... I'm praying October settles down; but somehow I doubt it :(

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  2. Pretty good month indeed, Hils ;) And i'm sure you weren't the only one running around in September. I frankly question where the month went.

    The Greyfriar has been on my radar ever since Leslie reviewed it. Oh and I see you've read the Jo Goodman already. I have it in my TBR pile, but dunno.

    At this point, I can't remember what I read in September? My mind is still focused on August LOL.

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  3. Mariana, my fingers are crossed for October. I have a week's vacation coming and hope to enjoy it. :) Hmm... yeah, the reincarnation bit was not my thing either, and the fact that it was obvious wasn't good either. I don't know... sigh.

    Nath, it seems to me September was just one of those months where everyone was crazed. The end of all the summer relaxation, maybe? Anyway, The Greyfriar... I also put it in my list after Leslie's review and I'm glad I read it. And LOL, I read the Goodman as soon as it released, I'll be posting a review this week. :) AND, I still have August reads/reviews to post too... [grin]

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  4. Good reading month.

    I just finished Archangel's Blade and loved it. I actually like the fact that her books have these hard heroes that fall in love. You should start at the beginning - you'd probably like Dmitri better. :)

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  5. Thanks Tracy! I'm so glad you enjoyed this book. Singh is awesome! I read Archangel's Blood and loved Dmitri there... that's the only reason I bought A. Blade! I liked Dmitri in this book, especially the fact that he was still pretty much a killer, and still sexy by the end. What didn't work for me, were the amount of flashbacks used throughout the book, plus the reason behind the romance pairing (reincarnation). I loved Dmitri himself and I liked Honor. :)

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  6. Lots of good stuff, Hilcia!

    So glad you enjoyed The Greyfriar, too. The Rift Walker should be showing up any day on my doorstep. Can't wait to read it!

    I also want to get to Archangel's Blade.

    I had some frustrations with Tessa, in Good Girls Don't, but enjoyed it overall. (I actually found Luke's partner more interesting. I'd love a story about her.)

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  7. Well at least, you did September. You're still one step ahead of me. LOL

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  8. Renee, The Greyfriar worked for me in the end! I'm hoping to finish The Rift Walker this long weekend. Let's see... it had a great beginning. Ahhh, and yes, Tessa was frustratingly immature with her brothers, but I did enjoy the book in the end. Reading Jamie's story. And I agree about Luke's partner! She was quite interesting! :)

    Nath, lol! I decided not to let my recap for September slide... and incorporated some reviews (minis) there as well. Catching up! *g*

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  9. Count me among those that didn't like the reincarnation in AB. Otherwise, I liked the story.

    I hope to get the Riftwalker & Kissing Comfort this week. *fingers crossed*

    September is a blur in my head. I know I read some good books but the only ones I can think of are Jill Shalvis' Animal Attraction and Alyssa Day's Atlantis Betrayed.

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  10. Leslie, I enjoyed Angel's Blade. I liked the characters, action. I was a bit torn between Dmitri's loyalty to his first love and Honor. There were so many flashbacks too. I wasn't sure who Honor was at the end... or if he loved Honor for who she's now or what? I don't know...

    Oh... you're getting some good books in October! I'll hopefully read the Shalvis books: Animal Magnetism and Animal Attraction soon. :)

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