Showing posts with label 2010 Books Read. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2010 Books Read. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2010 Numbers, Goals Reached & Final Recap!

This is my last 2010 summary. It was much easier to crunch numbers this year as I kept one of those handy-dandy spread sheets -- faster and quite efficient! My numbers are broken down by category. Since I joined the Re-Read Challenge in 2010 and I included those numbers monthly for that purpose, however for this year-end recap I deducted them from the bottom line. 

Total Books Read: 154

Contemporary Romance/Romance Suspense: 49
LGBT Fiction/Romance/Erotica: 36
Historical Romance: 26
Sci-Fi/Fantasy Romance: 17
Paranormal Romance: 13
Young Adult: 5
Urban Fantasy: 4
Fantasy: 2
Mainstream Fiction: 1
Biography: 1

1) Challenges Met:

I met 4 out of the 5 Challenges I joined at 100% with the exception of Christine's In-Death Challenge. My goal there was to read one book per month. I read 7 books out of 12.

This is an ongoing challenge that I will be continuing in 2011. I'm still hoping to read at least 12 books for the year, weather I read them monthly or not is another matter. I'm going with the number for now, lol!

2) Personal Goals Met:

I didn't really have many of these as I'm pretty free-wheeling when it comes to reading. However, I did want to read more Sci-Fi/Fantasy Romance in 2010. I did well with this personal goal and read 17 books in 2010 vs. 9 in 2009.  I still have quite a few in my TBR and will continue to try for more in 2011. I'm always, always looking for good recommendations in this category, so if you have a good title don't hesitate to let me know. :D

In 2010 I read more contemporary romances than in the previous year (2010= 49 vs. 2009= 41), and tried quite a few new-to-me authors in that category. I love, love this genre and I'm looking for those autobuys again. I'm glad to report that I've found a few. :)

New-to-me authors and TBR pile. I keep a list of authors whose work I want to read at some point. And I do get to them! Well, this year I read 40 books by new-to-me authors, some of them taken from my TBR pile and others were new releases or recommendations from friends or bloggers. Of course I added more names to my list, so this is an ongoing personal goal for me. In the process, I also cleaned out 32 books from my TBR pile - not great, but not bad either. 

That's it! The end of 2010... now I'll just look forward.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

November 2010 Reads & Mini: If You Desire by Kresley Cole

November was a strange reading month for me. I hit some sort of wall early on and struggled to read the books I finished even though I enjoyed them. On or about the second week, I decided 'reader's fatigue' was setting in and decided to slow down my reading. I took out my yarn, knitting and crocheting needles and alternated between the two for the rest of the month. Then with the Thanksgiving holiday and my impromptu road trip, the reading slowed down even more. The result is that I finished a few knitting and crocheting projects, but didn't really finish reading any books the last two weeks of November, except for a few re-reads for my Challenge.

Challenge Update: I did meet all my Challenges this month. I posted my 2010 Historical Challenge review earlier this month. I read, posted my list and a comment for the In-Death Challenge and I'll be including a late Mini for the 2010 Re-read Challenge in this post.

November Reads:
Total Books Read: 15
New Reads: 12
Re-reads: 3

Favorite books this month?

Nath's 2010 Read-Read Challenge November Mini:
  • If You Desire by Kresley Cole
A while back I enjoyed this historical romance trilogy by Cole about the cursed Scottish MacCarrick brothers and decided to re-read the last two in the series. If You Desire is Book 2 of the trilogy and the story of Hugh MacCarrick and Jane Weyland, a couple who have been friends and in love from a tender age. However, due to a family curse that states that whoever marries a MacCarrick man will die, Hugh takes on a career as an assassin working for Jane's father and the crown and leaves Jane without an explanation. Years later when she's in danger, he returns to protect her and they reunite.

This book was fun, delicious and frustrating. Jane is a 'progressive' and she and her eight female cousins are outrageous and scandalous. They refer to Hugh as 'Tears and Years' because of all the tears and time Jane spent grieving for him. But by the time Hugh returns, she's more furious than heartbroken and once the two of them go into hiding, she makes his life impossible. She does everything in her power to seduce him and there's everything from sexual tension to sexual play and sweetness to hostility throughout the story. But Jane's modern outlook doesn't help her understand Hugh, and she comes off as more than a bit spoiled at times. Hugh loves her without barriers and in trying to protect her, he sometimes gives in too much. However, there's something about Hugh that I really love. It's probably the relentless love he felt for Jane and the whole Highlander aura. Grade B
Balance of Books Read:
  • Fair Game by Josh Lanyon: Solid B
  • The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan: B
  • Faith and Fidelity, Book 1 by Tere Michaels: B
  • The Dickens with Love by Josh Lanyon: B
  • Burning Up by Sarah Mayberry: B
  • Midnight in Death by J.D. Robb (Novella): B
  • Coming Clean by Inez Kelley: B
  • Love and Loyalty, Book 2 by Tere Michaels: C+
  • If You Deceive by Kresley Cole (Re-read): B
  • Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale (Re-read) : A+
So, how was your November? Any favorites or great recommendations? 

Monday, November 1, 2010

October 2010 Reads, Updates & Judith Ivory

October was an excellent reading month for me, not so much in quantity, but in quality. As you'll see, I had quite a few favorite reads and very few disappointments. It was one of those rare, lucky months. An interesting note? My favorite picks are all by favorite authors and three of them are new releases, keeping a few of these authors at the top of my list. :)

Challenge Updates: On October 9th I posted the last scheduled review for the 2010 M/M Romance Challenge. I signed up for 20+ books read and reviewed, and read/reviewed 22. So, I'm 100% done for this year. Yes! You can access my completed list here.

On the other hand, I can't seem to get going on the book I originally chose for the Big Book Challenge. The size is not a problem, the story is just not clicking for me and frankly it might be a DNF at this point. I've already read two other Big Books and am thinking of changing this title for another one. If I can't get back to it by end of week, I will definitely change it. :(

October reads:

Total books read: 14
Re-reads: 1
New reads: 13

Favorite books this month? (Click on titles and link to reviews)
Biggest Disappointment?
  • The Indiscretion by Judith Ivory: C-
I was looking forward to reading The Indiscretion by Judith Ivory and I'm afraid I wasn't too thrilled with it by the time I finished. That first part of the book, "The English Moor" had potential, but as the story moved along it just fizzled for me. I never really got to know those characters -- not really -- there were reasons behind their actions, but no real depth. I didn't really like the main characters and that was also a problem. I didn't understand why Sam didn't just turn around and walk away from Lydia. To top it all off, Sam's lack of self-worth was very unattractive. I don't think this couple would have had a happily ever after if not for some last minute, unexpected circumstances. I enjoyed some aspects of the writing, especially during that first part of the book, and that kept me reading and searching for more. I will be reading The Proposition
Balance of books read:

White Tigress by Jade Lee: D
Crazy for Love by Victoria Dahl: B (Upcoming Review)
Somebody Killed his Editor: Holmes & Moriarity (Book #1) by Josh Lanyon: B+
Cade Coulter's Return by Lois Faye Dayer: C+ (Upcoming Review)
Strange Bedpersons by Jennifer Crusie: Solid B
Holiday in Death (In-Death Series, Book #7) by J.D. Robb: B
I Love This Bar by Carolyn Brown: B
A Christmas Promise by Mary Balogh: B+ (Upcoming Review)
Rising Moon (Nightcreatures Series, #6) by Lori Handeland (Re-read): B+

Did you have a good reading month? Any favorites or recommendations?

Friday, October 1, 2010

September 2010 Reads

Well September was busy month for me, and it went fast! I'm feeling relaxed and renewed after my week off and have energy to burn. Hopefully that will translate into a few more posts and reviews. :)

I dedicated half of September to re-reads, while I kept Mariana company during her Re-reads Month and really enjoyed reading loved/favorite books. My biggest problem was choosing them. An interesting note: I noticed that most of my comfort or favorite books are in the "B" category (B, B+) -- yes some of them are A's, but very few. Does that happen to you?

And finally I do have Challenge Updates this month. After four months of not reading or reviewing any books for the In-Death Challenge, my block was broken and I'm again on a roll again! I also finally began reading the book I chose for Orannia's BIG BOOK Challenge, Naamah's Kiss by Jacqueline Carey, and *drum roll* I finished reading and next week will be posting my last review for Anasthezea's 2010 M/M Romance Challenge. Yes!

Here are my September reads:

Total books read: 22
Re-reads: 11
New reads: 11

Favorite book AND Biggest Surprise this month?
  • Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie: A
Believe it or not, this is my very first Jennifer Crusie book! This is one of those authors I kept seeing around and always decided to read later. I left a comment on Tracy's blog saying so and her answer was... "Girlfriend, what are you thinking?" So, she very generously sent me a second copy as a gift and sure enough I gobbled up that book. Tracy was right, what the heck was I thinking?! What fun! Just... what fun! So yeah [sigh] late to the party, but had a great time anyway. :D 
Biggest Disappointment
I know this is an older book, but I've been looking forward to reading it for quite while -- it took me all this time to find this old copy and purchase it. The first three books in Fiona Brand's SAS series are favorites and I just expected more from this one, and you know what those high expectations can do. Brand still weaves a good story and I enjoyed some parts of it, however in my opinion this book was definitely not in the same category as the first three in the series. You can read my thoughts here
Complete List of Books Read
  1. Lady Sophia's Lover by Lisa Kleypas (Re-read): B
  2. A Separate Peace by John Knowles (Re-read): A
  3. Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger (Re-read): A
  4. Cullen's Bride by Fiona Brand (Re-read): B+
  5. Ceremony in Death by J.D. Robb: B-
  6. Vengeance in Death by J.D. Robb: B+
  7. Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard (Re-read): A-
  8. Up Close and Dangerous by Linda Howard: C
  9. Blue Moon (Under the Boardwalk Anthology) by Linda Howard: B-
  10. Overload (Summer Sensations Anthology) by Linda Howard: B
  11. StarCrossed 1:Demon Tailz by McLeod & Valentine (Re-read): B+
  12. StarCrossed 2:Opposite Ends of the Spectrum by McLeod & Valentine (Re-read):B+
  13. Reckless Seduction by Amanda Young (Re-red): B-
  14. Reckless Behavior by Amanda Young (Re-read): B
  15. Tabula Rasa by Tori Temple (Re-read): B+
  16. Marrying McCabe by Fiona Brand: C
  17. Truly, Madly by Heather Webber (Upcoming Review)
  18. Once a Father by Kathleen Eagle:  (Upcoming Review)
  19. Shamara (Shielder, Book 3) by Catherine Spangler (Re-read): B-
  20. In Enemy Hands by KS Augustin:  (Upcoming Review)
  21. Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie: (Upcoming Review)
  22. The Doctor's Wife by Cheryl St. John:  (Upcoming Review)
How was your September? What book was your favorite? I chose an "oldie, but a goodie." Was yours an "oldie," or a new release?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

August 2010 Reads

August was an average reading month for me -- although I couple of great books there were no big surprises and no deep disappointments. That's good, right?

But wait, that's not quite right! I would like to highlight one short story I thought was excellent -- Here There Be Monsters by Meljean Brook included in the Burning Up Anthology: Grade A-.  That story certainly stands out and now I'm really looking forward to reading The Iron Duke and the whole series. :)

As for the rest of my reads, here's the summary for August:

Total books read: 16
New Reads: 14
Re-reads: 2

Favorite new reads this month:
I loved Cardamone's story "River Boy" in Labonte's Country Boys: Wild Gay Erotica Anthology when I first read it last year, and both the story and characters  (River Boy and Skink) stayed with me. I've been looking for something by this author and was happy when I found Pumpkin Teeth, a collection of his short stories. I was not disappointed.  
Cardamone's writing style is creative and the stories and characters are quite unusual. There's horror and fantasy with the exploration of sexuality as its core, "Tank" & "Suitcase Sam" are already favorites. He finishes some stories and leaves others with ambiguous endings that left this reader thinking and wondering more than once -- I'll definitely be re-reading some of them. Other stories stayed with me for their shocking and nightmarish qualities. I'm not into horror and this collection kept me riveted, that says a lot in my book. Category: LGBTQI Horror Released: October 23, 2009 by Lethe Press Books 

Burning Up by Susan Andersen (Upcoming Review)
One Season of Sunshine by Julia London: B
Not Without Her Family by Beth Andrews: C+
His Secret Agenda by Beth Andrews: C
The Down Home Zombie Blues by Linnea Sinclair: B
The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan (Upcoming Buddy Review)
Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley: C
New Normal by Jeffrey Ricker: B
Burning Up Angela Knight, Nalini Singh, Virginia Kantra, Meljean Brook: B
Love Me If You Dare by Carly Phillips (Upcoming Review)
Corralled by Lorelei James: B-
Demon from the Dark by Kresley Cole: B-
Rising Tides (Quinn Brothers Trilogy, #2) by Nora Roberts (Re-read): B+
Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas (Re-read): A

What about you? Did you have a favorite book, a big surprise or disappointment in August?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

July 2010 Reads + Two Minis

Was July the longest month of the year so far or is it me? Maybe the torturous heat, haze and humidity that came along with the sunshine had something to do with it. I had lots of distractions this month, after all it is summer and even with the over-the-top heat, there were gatherings and events to attend. Nice! As a result of all the activity, I've been reading -- indoors and outdoors -- but I'm still behind on my reviews. I think the sun fried my reviewing mojo! Or at least slowed it down, lol.

July was a great reading month for me quality-wise. I read 6 new releases this month and I'm happy to report none of them were huge disappointments, in fact they were all enjoyable. Here's my summary of reads for the month:

Total books read in July: 15  (Click here to see full list of books read & grades)

My favorite reads of the month?
I really liked this book! A book with tons of head hopping going on... back and forth... that I didn't seem to mind, why? Well, Jake and Brandon are great characters and theirs is a wonderful story, it's that simple. Jake's the high school P.E. teacher, baseball and football coach and Brandon is the science teacher. They went to high school together and one was the jock and the other the nerd, so there's a history there. I love the way Jake and Brandon get together -- neither is what you would expect. Urban and Roux did not give this couple "magic gaydar" so the friendship and attraction develops before the hotness begins. Both characters are likable, although Jake is definitely a favorite with me. This is an M/M book that, although flawed, is already a favorite and will go on my list of comfort reads. Great story and characters, both central and secondary -- added bonus, baseball! Thanks to Tracy, Mariana and AA for recommending it. ;P  
My biggest disappointment?
  • Zero at the Bone by Jane Seville: B-
I had high expectations for this book, and in my opinion that can be a recipe for disaster. In this case, I found Zero at the Bone had many good qualities to recommend it and not all my expectations were dashed -- good action, love, angst galore and good character development -- so it wasn't a great disaster, but still... a disappointment. The uneven/choppy pacing that yanked me out of the story more than once, a character whose personality got on my nerves the more I read the book, and an ending that was not only never-ending, but that seemed out of place, awkward and ambivalent, frustrated me to no end. Endings can make or break a book for me, and unfortunately this ending spoiled a lot of what I did enjoy.
Anezthezea's 2010 M/M Romance Challenge 

What about you? How did your reading month go? Any favorites?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

June Reads & 2010 Mid-Year Recap

I cannot believe it's July 1st already! Where has this year gone?

I experienced problems with Internet service throughout the month of June, and it took almost the entire month to have them corrected. It became an ordeal just to post reviews, comments and/or blog hop. Thankfully (as of yesterday) the service is back to normal. As a result, I'm behind posting reviews for quite a few of the books I read this past month. The positive side? I read... a lot!

On to my June reads! You can find a complete list of titles read here.

Total books read in June: 21

My favorite reads this month? Two new releases and three oldies but goodies.

The biggest surprise?
  • Vintage: A Ghost Story by Steve Berman - I'm not usually a fan of horror and YA is not a genre I read as a rule, so it was a big surprise when I found myself enjoying both the ghost story, and the way the young adult characters were portrayed. I loved the way this book was written. The atmosphere and story stayed with me for quite a while.  

The biggest disappointment?
  • Jourdan Lane's Soul Mate Series (Upcoming Review) - This is a paranormal M/M series I've been hearing about for a while and was looking forward to reading.   

Mid-year Recap (See complete list here)

Total books read January through June: 91
Total new books read: 81
Total re-reads: 10

Favorite new release to date:
  • Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels Series, Book 4) by Ilona Andrews - Ahhh, Kate Daniels! How awesome was this book! I just loved it and my squeeing was heard far and wide, but hey... it was deserved. Magic Bleeds is an outstanding addition to the Kate Daniels series and I can't wait for the next book. 

Favorite book from backlists/or previous years' releases to date:
  • Courting Miss Hattie by Pamela Morsi  - I've fallen in love with Morsi's writing. Courting Miss Hattie was just a joy to read. With a plain Jane strong heroine, a hero I fell in love with, a friends-to-lovers theme and some amazing writing, this book was an easy choice as a top pick for me. 

Favorite LGBT read to date:

Challenge Update: (Click on title to see progress)

That's it for the first six months of the year... phewww! How about you? Which book rates as your top pick so far? 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

May 2010 Reads, New Digs & Catching Up

May was a good month! I celebrated my 1st Anniversary at Impressions, wrote a bit more than usual, read a little less, but overall there was balance.

I also redecorated just in time for the celebration and am enjoying the new set up. My old template was giving me problems and it was time for a change. I took the opportunity to create new pages and now My Reviews, Reviews at Musings, 2010 Reads, 2009 Reads, and Disclosure & Rating can be accessed by clicking on the above tabs. 2010 reads are kept by month and 2009 Reads are in alphabetical order by author. There are links everywhere! Yes I know... the organizational bug bit me and I'm enjoying it.

Then last week the Book Expo America and Book Blogger Con were held in New York City, and although I was NOT able to attend either, I did have the opportunity to meet up with KMont of Lurv a la Mode (and hubby) for drinks and a few hours of conversation. It was a treat and a half meeting up with such a warm and wonderful couple. We had a great time just shooting the breeze. :)

When it comes to reading, I was a bit lazy. I didn't make two of my challenges this month. I'm late posting my review for the Re-read Challenge, and I'll be doing a two/fer for the In-Death Challenge in June. But hey, a certain little book thief stole Ceremony in Death right from under me so I couldn't read it on time. My daughter has become a huge fan of Eve and Roarke and is devouring the books at an amazing speed. ;P On the bright side, I did a bit of catching up on the M/M Romance Challenge and read and posted a few reviews this month.

On to my May reads!  Total books read: 15  (complete list here)

My favorite reads this month? Well, there were quite a few and three of them by Josh Lanyon:
  • Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews: A 
  • The Endearment by Lavryle Spencer: A
  • The Hell You Say (Adrien English Mysteries, #3) by Josh Lanyon: A
  • Death of a Pirate King (Adrien English Mysteries, #4) by Josh Lanyon: A-
  • The Dark Tide (Adrien English Mysteries, #5) by Josh Lanyon: A
The biggest surprise for me in May?
  • Romance of Lust or Early Experiences by Anonymous: NG*  Romance of Lust or Early Experiences by Anonymous is a Victorian erotic tale published in 1873-1876 in four volumes. It is believed that it was written by either William Simpson Potter or Edward Sellon and it is considered an erotic literary classic. However, I found the subject matter to be quite controversial and I'll be posting my thoughts on these volumes later on.
My biggest disappointment?
*NG means "No Grade." I have two NG books this month, Labyrinth by Lois McMaster Bujold and Romance of Lust or Early Experiences by Anonymous. 

Labyrinth by Lois McMaster Bujold is part of the Borders of Infinity novel. After reading this short story, I decided that unlike The Mountains of Mourning, it doesn't stand well on its own. I definitely need to start reading the Vorkosigan series from the beginning in order to do this short story justice. 

How about you? This was a great month for new releases... did you read lots of good ones?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

April 2010 Reads, Blogging Woes & Favorites

April was a  crazy month for me. The personal upheaval and responsibilities continued and I seesawed in my reading and blogging. I read more than expected, but chose a few books with a short format when I didn't have the time for more. I was happy that throughout all the turmoil, I met my monthly challenges and was able to review a few books from this month's list, that in itself was a miracle. :D

I won't be including any Mini-Impressions with my list this month -- too many reads and my list is waaay too long for that -- last month my list turned into a saga, lol! Instead, I'll follow with a few mini-impressions later.

I've had some blogger woes too. I don't know if my template is corrupted or what's happening, but for some reason some of my edits, deletions, and in some cases even half the posts are not being saved! I've given up on some posts out of frustration, and noticed that my edits and changes did not "take" after my reviews are up. Frustrating! I'll be looking into that this month and hope to find a solution.

Okay, here's my list for April.

1) High Noon by Nora Roberts: B-
Upcoming Mini

2) Love Under Siege (Brothers in Arms, Book 2) by Samantha Kane: C
Upcoming Minis for the series

3) Love's Strategy (Brothers in Arms, Book 3) by Samantha Kane: C-

4) Retreat from Love (Brothers in Arms, Book 5) by Samantha Kane: B

5) Moonstruck by Susan Grant: B
Upcoming Mini

6 -8) Three Sisters Island Trilogy by Nora Roberts: C
  Dance Upon the Air, Heaven and Earth, Face the Fire (Re-reads)

9) Take on Me by Sarah Mayberry: B
Upcoming Mini

10) Her Colorado Man by Cheryl St. John: B+

11) By the Mountain Bound by Elizabeth Bear: B

12) Demon Forged by Meljean Brook: B+
Upcoming Mini-Review

13) Fatal Shadows (Adrien English Mysteries, Book 1) by Josh Lanyon: B

14) A Dangerous Thing (Adrien English Mysteries, Book 2) by Josh Lanyon: B+
Upcoming Review

15) The Moonlight Mistress by Victoria Janssen: B+

16) Stroke of Midnight (Hellcop PsyCop short story) by Jordan Castillo Price: C+

17) Thaw (Hellcop PsyCop short story) by Jordan Castillo Price: C+

18) Kindred Spirits (short story) by Jordan Castillo Price: B-

19) Savor the Moment (The Bride Quartet, Book 3) by Nora Roberts: B/B+
Upcoming Review

20) Rapture in Death (In-Death Series, Book 4) by J.D. Robb: B

Although I read 6 books by Nora Roberts (a lot even for me), and there are a few B+ reads on my list this month, I did have some favorites. I'm really excited about Josh Lanyon's Adrien English Mystery series and can't wait to continue reading it. Meljean Brook's Guardian series just gets better; by reading Demon Forged I'm now all caught up and will have to wait for the new release in June. And going back to Nora Roberts, Savor the Moment was not a disappointment and a good way to end the month. :D

So, how was your April? Did you read any especially good books? Anything you would like to recommend?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

March 2010 Reads and Minis: Lip Service by Susan Mallery, Dangerous Ground by Justine Dare, Dark Elves: Taken by Jet Mykles, Immortal in Death by J.D. Robb

March was a bountiful reading month for me. Although I had a tough month personally and didn't have the time to post and review much, thank goodness I was able to read. When it comes to quality reading, I would say that it was in the good to great category... lots of B and B+ reads with few exceptions.

This month I'm late posting my review for Nath's Re-read Challenge, but I did read the book and it will be coming up soon. :) My mini-review for Christine's 'In-Death' Challenge is included in this post. I read five new March releases, but I also read quite a few books that have been on my TBR pile for one month or longer and I feel great about that. It's too bad I didn't join the TBR Challenge, I'd be acing that one, lol! But, at this point it has become a personal challenge instead.

So here we go... my March reads:

1)Best Gay Erotica 2010 edited by Richard Labonté selected by Blair Mastbaum: B+ (Review here)

2) Dark Angel by Mary Balogh: B
3) Lord Carew's Bride by Mary Balogh: B+ (Reviews here)

4) Roadkill (Cal Leandros Series, Book 5) by Rob Thurman: A
I really enjoyed Roadkill. This series is getting better in my opinion -- darker. There are two different points of view, although Niko's is not used in this one. Cal's character is further developed in this book and I like what Thurman is doing with him. Definitely. I wasn't sure where she was going with these characters after the last few books, but now this series has gained new momentum. Both touching and chilling, Roadkill was a great read for me.

Upcoming Review/Book Discussion at Breezing Through with Nath and Leslie 

5) Something About You by Julie James: B (Review here)

6) Naked Edge by Pamela Clare: C- (Review here)
This was my one big disappointment this month. I was really looking forward to this book because I'm a Pamela Clare fan. I loved both Extreme Exposure and Unlawful Contact, and to a lesser degree (I loved Julian, had problems with the rest) Hard Evidence... so this was a highly anticipated book. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way for me. I still think Pamela Clare does a marvelous job of integrating romance and suspense... she certainly knows how to write the suspense and yet the reader does NOT miss the romance. She also writes highly erotic scenes and none of these things went missing from Naked Edge. However, there were other elements in this book that didn't quite do it for me personally. But since I'm a fan of her writing, you know I will be reading the next book in this series. ;D

7) Lip Service by Susan Mallery (Titan Sisters Series, Book 2): C-
Lip Service by Susan Mallery is not a book I enjoyed much. I had a tough, tough time finishing it although I must say it was not due to Ms. Mallery's writing, it had to do with my dislike the characters and the plot. I didn't like the central female character in this book at all. Skye Titan is the second of the Titan sisters and she's a widow. When she was 18 years old she gave up her love for Mitch and betrayed him because her "daddy" told her to, and married the man her father chose for her. Mitch joined the service and now after many years away and a crippling injury during service he finally returns home. Skye and Mitch are obviously still in love with each other and Skye proceeds to do everything in her power to get him to forgive her and trust her again.

Well, that's fine and good, but I thought it was bad enough that she betrayed her love for Mitch the first time when she was 18 years old and had "daddy" issues. However, she's now a full grown, supposedly mature woman, and she's still spineless. After begging Mitch to forgive and trust her, as soon as "monster daddy" put a little pressure on her, she was ready to do it all over again. I had absolutely no respect or sympathy for this woman. She certainly didn't deserve Mitch's easy forgiveness -- a lot of begging maybe? Plus, there's really no resolution to the rest of the storylines in the book -- the sisters' struggles with their half-brother Garth -- because that continues throughout the rest of the series.

I did enjoy some secondary characters. I particularly liked Izzy, the youngest sister who is a hoot. Her story is next on this series and I already have it on my TBR so I'll be reading it. Step-brother Garth gets more and more intriguing as the storyline goes along and I can't wait to see what the deal is with him. I have his book too. :)

8) Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception by Maggie StiefvaterB (Review here)

9) Demon Bound (Guardian Series, Book 9) by Meljean Brook: B (Review here)
A key book in this squee-worthy Paranormal Romance series -- yes I'm squeeing! This book has a creepy female lead and a wonderful young and exhuberant hero. There are important revelations and turns of event in this book that really move the overall storyarc forward, so this is a must read for this series. I have Demon Forged and I'll be reading it in April. :)

10) Dangerous Ground by Justine Dare: B-
Dangerous Ground by Justine Dare is a book I've had on my TBR for quite a while. It turned out to be more suspense than romance -- an interesting take on a woman, Beth, whose teenage son is kidnapped in order to attract her dead husband's old team of undercover operatives, so they can be assassinated. Beth had been in love with Jess, a team member, before marrying Ian, her dead husband, who was the leader of the group. Jess is still in love with Beth but is still carrying the same old baggage that broke up their relationship all those years ago.

Beth is spunky and quite the brave woman. Jess is likable and although he is supposed to be the cool customer, he comes off as vulnerable and I felt for him. They go through some harrowing moments together. Although this book doesn't have many sexual encounters and/or sexy scenes in it, these two people have a connection and the book is about the two of them working out their differences and coming to a realization while fighting the villains and figuring out the who and the what of it all.

11) Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson (re-read): B+
Upcoming Review

12) Dark Elves: Taken (Book 1) by Jet Mykles: B-
This is an erotic M/F erotic/paranormal tale that came to me via Tracy from Tracy's Place. I haven't read M/F erotica for a while except for Lorelei James and certainly nothing in the paranormal side of things. This was an okay read for me. It's first in a series by Mykles... Dark Elves who live in the Dark Forest and take human women to mate because they don't have their own females. The women then have sex with different Elves until they find their truemate who is the only one who can impregnate them. Lots of sex play, M/F mainly, although there's some M/M play... and some background into the world of the Dark Elves. The sexual encounters in this particular installment were of the dominant/submissive type and turned out to be quite erotic. I have the other books and will continue the series. :)

13) The Rules of Seduction by Madeline Hunter: B
Upcoming Review

14) Blaze of Memory (Psy/Changling Series) by Nalini Singh: B
Upcoming Review

15) Rebels and Lovers (Dock Five Series) by Linnea Sinclair: B
Upcoming Review

16) The Boy Can't Help It by Gavin Atlas (M/M): B+
Upcoming Review

17) Courting Miss Hattie by Pamela Morsi: A
Upcoming Review

18) Immortal in Death by J.D. Robb: B  'In Death' Challenge

Immortal in Death is my favorite book in this series so far. In this third book of the series, Eve faces multiple challenges on both her personal life and the professional front. She's juggling an unexpected wedding that still baffles her, childhood memories and brutal nightmares are plaguing her, plus not one but two cases are vying for her attention. The first case is the murder of one of her weasels who turns out to be involved in some sort of "illegals" (drug) distribution or trafficking; and the second case is the murder of a famous model. Her best friend Mavis is the main suspect and accused of this murder. Eve asks for Officer Peabody to assist her and a friendship of sorts ensues. The cases turn out to be complex and there are twists and turns with more than one suspect involved as well as three other brutal murders.

I really liked the complexity of the storylines in this book, both the suspense/murder plots and the personal ones between Eve and Roarke. I love the way Eve's mind works when she's solving the crimes, her sense of humor and her harsh reality-based personality. There was a bit of both the expected and the unexpected when it came to the crime solving and I really enjoyed that part of it. Eve's vulnerabilities certainly came to the forefront in this book and we get to know more about both Eve and Roarke and how they fit together.

The secondary characters in the series are now taking shape and I'm enjoying getting to know them and figuring out who is who. Summerset continues to be my favorite secondary character and certainly the most intriguing. I still think Mavis is good for Eve's girly side, but I'm glad that she is developing a relationship with Office Peabody, another female with a great dry sense of humor who can understand Eve's "cop" side. An enjoyable installment and HEY... Eve and Roarke got married! I can't wait to read the next book to find out if she got in trouble during the honeymoon, lol!

That's it for March. I have quite a few reviews to write up or post, let's see if I can do it. You might get lots of Minis from me in April, depending on available time. So, how was your reading month? Did you read lots of great books?

Monday, March 1, 2010

February 2010 Reads & Minis: Under Her Skin by Susan Mallery, Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips & Pasado Perfecto by Leonardo Padura

Wow! February was a short/long month for me. Short on days and reads, but long on posts!

It was a month-long love fest between the Fool for Love: New Gay Fiction anthology and me. I had a wonderful time choosing quotes from each story, and in the process re-read the whole book slowly. It was a personal treat, and I hope you enjoyed reading these little quotes as much as I did choosing them. :)

I'd like to give a shout out to my friend Indigene (Cowboy Junkie). The lady who not only recommended this wonderful anthology, but who also sent it to me as a gift. You can check out Indigene's awesome GLTB reviews at Rainbow Reviews any day. But, to check out her Fool for Love review you'll need to go to The Three Dollar Bill Reviews -- a new GLTB review site. Thanks Indi!

When it comes to reading? Well, I was craving contemporary romance and that made up the bulk of my reading, although I did manage to sneak in other genres in there. The Winter Olympics took up a lot of time away from my reading, but I enjoyed them thoroughly so no complaints. Weren't they great?! Now, I'll have to detox. :)

Okay, on to my February reads:

1) The Outback Stars by Sandra McDonald - B- (review here)

2) Ecstasy Unveiled by Larissa Ione - B+ (review here)

3) Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin - Solid B (review here)

4) Under Her Skin (Titan Series, Book 1) by Susan Mallery - B-

This is the first in her Titan Sisters series (4 books).

Under Her Skin was a good read, not great. I thought it had a predictable plot with a couple that had good chemistry, some great interaction between the sisters and one girlfriend, and good writing that kept me reading.

The plot is based on an engagement of convenience between Lexi and Cruz. They obviously have feelings for each other but lots of baggage. Cruz is a good man with flaws -- mainly due to the childhood baggage that he can't seem to let go, and Lexi's the same. She has a lot of "daddy" issues -- all the sisters do. The father is rich, powerful and basically unfeeling and he uses his fortune to set up the sisters against each other -- it doesn't quite work that way though, they get along although it does affect their relationship and their decisions.

I have the next book on my TBR pile and will read it.

5) Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips - B-

Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, is another contemporary romance from her backlist and from my TBR pile, I wanted to read. I liked the setting for this book, it was set in a circus and it made for a different atmosphere. Daisy and Alex were both interesting as a couple. She was supposed to be this flighty, weak-minded person who didn't have any confidence in herself and who grew as a person as the story unfolded. He was supposed to be this strong-minded man who had lots of pride but whose past marked him badly -- an interesting play on strengths and weaknesses.

Although I enjoyed Susan Elizabeth Phillips' writing and the character growth that is usually found in her contemporaries, this book is not a favorite. I didn't find the plot itself, a woman who is forced into marriage by her father to a man who owes him a favor, appealing. The secondary characters were not appealing either, although I did enjoy the parallels Phillips drew between the couple and the animals.

6) Pasado Perfecto by Leonardo Padura (Mario Conde Series, Book 1) (Re-read) - B (thoughts here)

This is the first book in a 4 book series in Spanish. It's a police crime series set in modern Havana, Cuba. The author is a Cuban author who still lives there, not in exile.

In this book he introduces Mario Conde, a Lieutenant in the police department who is investigating the disappearance of a man he knew in High School. A powerful man who happened to marry el Conde's High School crush... well, more like the woman he has lusted after for years, Tamara.

Padura uses Pasado Perfecto (a perfect past), and this investigation to introduce Conde and a set of characters that will reappear in the next three books of the series. I love the way he captures the people, culture and the flavor of the city in these books. He uses the language beautifully -- a combination of Cuban Spanish -- to give the books authenticity and tops it with some darn good writing. Although I would say this is not the best book in the series, it's a great introduction.

There are English translations to this series. Pasado Perfecto's title in English is: Havana Blue.

7) Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas (Re-read) - A- (review here)

8) Glory in Death (In-Death Series, Book 2) - B (review here)

9) Double Play by Jill Shalvis - B Upcoming Review

10) Pleasure of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole - B+ Upcoming Review

I didn't realize it, but I had mostly B reads this month and I only read two new releases. My TBR pile is diminishing though, so I'm not doing too badly there. How about you? How was your February?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

January 2010 Reads & Mini: Every Night I'm Yours by Christie Kelley

January is over! This was a tough month for me. I started the month with readers block, broke through that and then this last week I couldn't pick up a book due to a week-long migraine that would not quit. Ugh! But, thank goodness that seems to be over too. So, on to February!

Looking at it from the positive side, my month was not a total waste. I did read some good books after all. I read two new beautiful and excellent books this month, plus I chose to re-read an old favorite that was a sure thing. There were two solid reads in there, one new-to-me author that although not great, I'll be checking out in the future, and only one real disappointment in the whole lot.


1) Fool for Love Anthology edited by Timothy J. Lambert and R.D. Cochrane (M/M) - A Upcoming Review

2) Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger - A

3) Duncan's Bride by Linda Howard (Re-Read) - A

4) Naked in Death by J.D. Robb - B

5) At Home in Stone Creek by Linda Lael Miller - C-

6) Don't Tell by Karen Rose - B
Upcoming Mini

7) Every Night I'm Yours by Christie Kelley - C+

This book sounds like an erotica book when you read the blurb, but it's actually a historical romance from a new-to-me author. I was a bit surprised I finished this book in one sitting.

When I began reading, I thought the writing was kind of awkward and the storyline was a bit far fetched. The heroine is a spinster who is an unpublished author and lives on her own -- she's also a lady. She finds an erotica book that sparks her curiosity about passion and decides to take a lover (not very original). She chooses a friend; someone who's not quite right. The hero finds out about it and blackmails her into having an affair with him instead.

The thing is that even though I found quite a few problems with the book, I liked the main characters -- both the hero and heroine -- and really got caught up in their story. There's a lot of sex at one point in the story and it's really good, but the author doesn't throw it in right away or at every turn. There's also sexual tension and Ms. Kelley uses this tension very well throughout the story. The hero and heroine have known each other for a long time -- he's her best friend's brother -- and have an antagonistic relationship, so it works.

The book had some editing problems that kept jolting me out of the story. Kelley is a new writer and the story could have used further secondary character development and the plot could have been tighter and a bit less predictable. I know by the grade and some of my comments it sounds as if this was not a great read for me, but well... the chemistry between the hero and heroine was wonderful, and even with all the above problems, I couldn't stop reading the book. Ms. Kelley kept me reading and I'll check out her next release. Not bad.