From the new releases, my favorite books of the month were: Guardian Demon (Guardian Series #8) by Meljean Brook, Omens (Omens #1) by Kelley Armstrong, and Welcome Home, Captain Harding (Captain Harding #3) by Elliott Mackle.
Total Books Read, August 2013: 25
Contemporary Romance: 4
Paranormal Romance: 1
Urban Fantasy: 6
Literary Historical Fiction: 1
LGBT Total: 13 (Poetry: 1, Historical Fiction/Suspense: 1, M/M Romance: 11)
Guardian Demon (Guardian Series #8) by Meljean Brook: B+
Omens (Cainsville #1) by Kelley Armstrong: (Review to come)
Welcome Home, Captain Harding (Captain Harding #3) by Elliott Mackle: B+
Mañana Means Heaven by Tim Z. Hernandez: (Review to come)
Strawberries for Dessert by Marie Sexton: B+
Summer Lovin' JL Merrow, Chrissy Munder, Clare London, Josephine Myles, & Lou Harper: B
Aftermath by Cara Dee: B
Crow Blue, Crow Black by Chip Livingston: B-
Home on the Range (Caribou Crossings #2) by Susan Fox: B-
Left on St. Truth-be-Well by Amy Lane: B-
In A Cowboy's Bed with Cat Johnson, Vonna Harper, Lynn LaFleur: C+
Sharing Hailey by (Friends & Lovers #1) Samantha Ann King: C+
By the Numbers by Chris Owen: C
Cut & Run by Abigail Roux and Madeline Urban: C-
Waiting for Ty by (Friends & Lovers #2) Samantha Ann King: C-
Some Like It Hot by Susan Andersen: D+
Paris A to Z by Marie Sexton: D
A to Z by Marie Sexton: DNF
Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews, Book #1
Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews, Book #2
Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews, Book #3
Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews, Book #4
Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews, Book #5
Promises by Marie Sexton
Caught Running by Abigail Roux and Madeline Urban
KATE DANIELS SERIES (Books 1 to 5 Reread) by Ilona Andrews
General Comments: After reading that last fantastic Kate Daniels installment, Magic Rises, I decided to go back and reread the whole series. It was a wonderful experience to read the evolution of Kate and the rest of the characters that way. It also gave me a better perspective of the overall storyarc, which I believe is going to be ramped up in the next four books of the series. What hit me the hardest, however is Kate herself. She is so aggressive in the first book, and doesn't really give anyone much of a chance to prove themselves before she jumps on them. Her loner status, paranoia, the pain and rage come right through in Magic Bites. The change from that Kate to the one found in Magic Rises is astounding. But, rereading the whole series just reiterates why I love this series! I was pulled in this time just as quickly and deeply as I was the first time around. This is such a fabulous urban fantasy series that it gave me the impetus I needed to go searching for more of the same -- outstanding UF.
CODA SERIES by Marie Sexton
Promises by Marie Sexton (Reread) -- Grade: B
Promises is the first book of Marie Sexton's Coda series. This was a reread and was better the second time around. I enjoyed the characters and the relationship much more than the first time, and although my initial niggles were still there, they didn't bother me as much. Promises went from a B- to a B in the grade scale for me.
A to Z by Marie Sexton -- Grade: DNF
Because I enjoyed my reread of Promises more than expected, I decided to read the second book of Marie Sexton's Coda series. Unfortunately, I couldn't get through this book and did not finish it! I couldn't stand the characters, Zach in particular, and just gave up. This one is not for me.
Strawberries for Dessert by Marie Sexton -- Grade B+
But, although I gave up on the second book of the Coda series by Sexton, I didn't give up on the series. I decided to read the third book instead, particularly since I'd heard so many good things about it and it was already in my TBR. Good move! Cole and Jon? A fantastic pairing and a great romance. The characters in this book are wonderful. Cole is a bit of a mystery throughout and even to the end. He's one of those controlling femme characters that are vulnerable but mask it so well everyone has trouble seeing the real person behind the mask. And Jon, also controlling, is so busy trying to conform to how he thinks a man, particularly a gay man, should behave that he can't see the forest for the trees. The conflict between these two men is fantastic and I think Sexton addressed it quite well. In this case, I believe that Strawberries for Dessert deserved the hype.
Paris A to Z by Marie Sexton -- Grade: D
After reading Strawberries for Dessert, Paris A to Z was a disappointment. This piece is a novella covering Jon and Cole's wedding in Paris, but the novella is narrated from Zach ( A to Z) and Max (Promises) points of view. I enjoyed Max's point of view but there wasn't enough of that, instead most of the novella is narrated by Zach and even with other favorite characters I previously enjoyed making an appearance, I couldn't stand his voice, rationalizations, or characterization.