Reading-wise the month was definitely a good one. I read a mixture of contemporary, historical, and gay romances, plus some gay fiction -- must of them really enjoyable reads! So it's a tough month to choose favorite reads because for different reasons in one way or another most of them had so much to offer. You'll see mostly Bs below, and that's because for the most part I chose to read what turned out to be solid books in November. I was lucky that most of the new releases and TBR reads suited me just fine!
In addition to the books I'm listing, I also read a few of the novellas included in the Christmas anthologies my friend sent me last month with the Mary Balogh books. However, I'm not including them with my November reads because I want to finish the whole anthologies first. :)
Total books read: 14
Historical Romance: 4
LGBT: 6 (Romance: 4 YA/Mystery: 1 Fiction/Romance: 1)
- The Comforts of Home by Jodi Thomas: A-
- The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne: B+
- The Lady's Secret by Joanna Chambers: B+
- The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne: B+
All those wonderful Bs!
I loved how Bourne weaved romance and adventure with some history. Loved, loved how she fictionalized Robespierre's downfall and all the twists and turns that took place in the spy plot. Very well done! The characters are outstanding as are the circumstances that surround them. Doyle and Marguerite's romance turned into an exciting sensual adventure that I couldn't stop reading. Why not an A then? For me there are a few instances where circumstances become quite convoluted (the jailbreak for example), but where the danger factor turns out to be minimal, so that those scenes end on a flat note after all the build up. Of course I couldn't help but fall in love with young Hawk and Justine -- I mean talk about excellent, intriguing, secondary characters. I finished this book and rushed to read The Black Hawk.
- Chulito by Charles Rice-González: B
- The Love Charm by Pamela Morsi: B
- Mystery of the Tempest: A Fisher Key Adventure by Sam Cameron: B
- All They Need by Sarah Mayberry: B
- The Incident by Xavier Axelson: B
This is not a long story, yet I found that it has the qualities of both romance and fiction. Both characters are quite compelling, particularly Carmac whose situation is heartbreaking. Axelson delves deep into this man's painful and guilt-ridden, lonely life. The relationship between Bertram and Carmac is complex and beautifully realistic in the way that it is related. They have been friends as well as partners for years, and Bertram is the one person who has always been there for Michael -- the one he leans on maybe too much. This is a romance with a happy ending, but it's not a typical gay romance, and that is due mainly to Axelson's approach and execution. This is another solid and enjoyable B read for me. (Seventh Window Publications/August 13, 2011)
- Muscling Through by JL Merrow: B
- A Spirit of Vengeance by Angela Benedetti: B
This is a Single Shots Classic I've had in my TBR for a long time and it's a very short story. I've enjoyed Angela Benedetti's writing in the past and I know I will continue to do so in the future. I don't know if I mentioned it here before, but the pacing and momentum experienced when reading her stories, always make them fast paced reads -- I love the tempo in her writing. In A Spirit of Vengeance I did find that, however the emotions, the grief and love were also a huge part of what kept me reading. Do I have a complaint? I always want more! I wanted it to be longer... *g* (Torquere Press, September 29, 2009)
- By The Book Nancy Warren: B-
And some really good Cs!
- The Next Always: Book One of the Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy by Nora Roberts: C+
- Christmas Eve at The Powers That Be Café by Xavier Axelson: C
NOTE: The holidays are almost here and I can tell because my UPS guy showed up with the package containing my books for review (for the month of November) on November 29th! That's unfortunate because some of the books in that bundle really caught my eye. I will be reading and reviewing them in December since they look good.
So in November, what book made it to the top of your list? I had a tough time choosing, and as you can tell by my notes above, I enjoyed most of them. Any great, unforgettable reads?