Showing posts with label 2012 Books Read. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2012 Books Read. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year! December 2012 Recap + Minis

Cousin Susana & her cake! 
Happy New Year everyone! Hope your 2013 is full of excellent, beautiful stories, happiness and health!

I celebrated the coming new year with my family at my brother's place last night, which means that I had a great time. Did you check out the cake our family member Susana M. (see picture) designed specially for the occasion? We all thought it was a beauty! That champagne bottle was edible and made entirely out of chocolate! Everything on that bottle was edible, and the cake was perfectly yummy...

I have been on vacation during these holidays and today is my last day. I vegged out like you wouldn't believe! Lots of television and movie watching, family gatherings and time spent with the hubby, but hmm... not much reading done. I took a real break from just about everything! As a result, my December 2012 was not quite as prolific on the reading side of things as I expected it to be and I didn't read most of the books I placed on that old coffee table. Be that as it may, here is a list of my December reads!

Total books read: 12
  Contemporary Romance: 1
  Historical Romance: 4
  Speculative Fiction: 1
  Fantasy (Re-read): 1
  LGBT: 5 (Literary Fiction 1, Gay Romance 2, Gay Erotic Anthology 1, Lesbian YA 1)

A Horse Named Sorrow: A Novel by Trebor Healey
I saved this novel as an end-of-year read. It turned out to be one of those fabulous books that I regret not reading as soon as it released. Unfortunately, I read it after my LGBT favorite books and authors list was posted, but before my 2012 Top Reads went up! So yes... A Horse Named Sorrow is one of my favorite Top 10 reads of the year. This is a gorgeous LGBT fiction read that I'm recommending to anyone who will listen. Grade: A-

The Horsemaster's Daughter (Calhouns #2) by Susan Wiggs: B+

The You Know Who Girls: Freshman Year by Annameekee Hesik
This is a wonderful YA read! The author really captures Abbey's teen angst, high school days, and successfully adds the main character's struggles with sexuality to the mix. The characters, central and secondary, are all believable and draw the reader from beginning to end. The You Know Who Girls: Freshman Year is a wonderful story that should be read by all, but specifically by LGBT young adults and their friends. My hope? That Hesik continues to write Abbey's journey throughout her four years at Gila High. Recommended. (Bold Strokes Books, 2012) Grade: B+

 Christmas Beau by Mary Balogh: B

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien: B

Men of Smithfield: Adam and Holden by L.B. Gregg
I am such a closet fan of The Man of Smithfield and LB Gregg! I've re-read Gobsmacked countless times (it is still my favorite of this series), but I enjoy all of them. So, how did I miss reading this one? I really enjoyed the characters, the lust, the attraction, the humor, the mystery with all the crazy characters and the messy romance that blooms in the middle of it all. Grade: B
Raising Hell: Demonic Gay Erotica edited by Todd Gregory: B (Upcoming Review)

Fungi edited by Orrin Grey: B (Upcoming Review)

Saving Skylar Hand by George Seaton 
This book was my last read of the year, thanks to Indigene's review (read it here). Saving Skylar Hand turned out to be a really beautiful holiday gay romance read that can be read anytime during the year! Gorgeous characters and writing combined with a touching story. Recommended. Grade: B

My Steadfast Heart (Thorne Brothers #1) by Jo Goodman
My Reckless Heart (Thorne Brothers #2) by Jo Goodman
This is a good, if not great, historical romance series by favorite writer Jo Goodman. I picked up the Thorne Brothers trilogy for eReader inexpensively and read books 1&2 consecutively. My Steadfast Heart, sets up the series and tells the story of how the three Thorne brothers are taken to an orphanage after their parents are murdered during a highway robbery in England and are soon separated. The eldest makes it his life's goal to find his two adopted brothers. I loved him as a character and the brothers' plight! My main problem with this first book is the abused heroine who continues to allow abuse over and over from people who don't deserve her loyalty, yet pushes away and is quite dismissive of people (like the hero), who prove that they mean to help her and do like/love her. I couldn't make sense of this woman. However, overall this is a pleasant historical romance read. Grade: C+
My Reckless Heart has a similar heroine, except that this one is a snob with the hero, while playing the part of heroine in the abolitionists Underground Railroad. She was quite the contradiction, I thought. But I liked this story more than the first one because the heroine grew on me, and I loved the hero. The Underground Railroad thread was quite intriguing, particularly since the story is set in Boston and seen from a northern point of view. The brothers' story continues to be central to the series, AND continued to pull at me. I will read the third book of the series just to find out how the youngest is found. I do love a happy ending. Grade: B-
Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor (Friday Harbor #1) by Lisa Kleypas: C

This is my last recap of 2012! Now, moving on to 2013!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

November 2012: Reads + Updates

The month of November was a bit of a roller coaster. First there was the shock that was hurricane Sandy to deal with throughout those first few weeks of the month. In our family, however, there was also a birth to celebrate when my niece little Natalia made her dramatic entrance on November 3rd! I'm sharing one tiny little picture. Thanksgiving turned to be a good day for all of us, we were together and yes... the child was the center of attention.

As far as reading goes, November was a good reading month for me with a great mix of genres included and mixed results as far as enjoyment goes. I also mixed up new releases with books I've had in my TBR pile for a while, and classic romances with new and innovative erotic reads.

Let's see how I did:

Total books read in November: 17
   Contemporary: 8 (1 romance, 7 erotic romance)
   Historical: 4 (Romance: 3, Fantasy Fiction: 1)
   LGBT: 5 (Historical Erotica: 2, Historical Romance: 1, Contemporary Romance: 2)

Top 5 Reads of the month:

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey: A-
The Snow Child was my TBR Challenge read and turned out to be a winner for me. This is a historical fantasy fiction book that was released earlier this year and Eowyn Ivey's debut novel. I will remember it for how beautifully she blended magical realism with a fairy tale, the brutality of life as it was for homesteaders in the Alaskan wilds in the 1920's, and the gorgeous descriptions of nature.

Mariana by Susanna Kearsley: A-
This is my first read by Susanna Kearsley but it won't be my last. My favorite aspect of this book is how the time traveling, when it happens, really makes sense. I love that one romance cannot happen without the other and that the happy ever after is such a wonderful surprise for the reader. Kearsley's writing style is also a winner for me.

Conor's Way by Laura Lee Guhrke: A
This historical romance is just beautiful. I love that it is angsty, but not too much so, that there are joy and love, conflicts and resolutions, real history and gorgeous characterization. The fact that it is set in the post-revolutionary American South but it also gives the reader a taste of Ireland, makes this historical twice the winner for me... and the unique hero puts the cherry on the top. Excellent read!

A Christmas Bride by Mary Balogh: B+
This Christmas novella has a unique and/or unorthodox heroine. I have a feeling that not all readers will find her as fascinating as I did -- she's not easy. But, I liked her because she's a departure from Mary Balogh's usual heroine and a former villain. The novella serves as an almost-epilogue for other stories, in particular A Precious Jewel, and it has a beautiful Christmas message about forgiveness and redemption.

Wyatt: Doc Holliday's Account of an Intimate Friendship by Dale Chase: B+
Do any of you watch western movies? I happen to love them! And if they also happen to have Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson, Ringo or any mention of Tombstone... well, I never, ever miss them. I even visited Tombstone, Arizona (the real place) during my U.S. cross-country trip a while back. Yeap, I made my husband take the detour (poor guy).... true story! So, do you think I enjoyed this book? Of course, the fact that Dale Chase wrote it is a big plus. A highly enjoyable read!

Destiny Calls by Samantha Wayland: B+
Velvet by Xavier Axelson: B
The Company He Keeps: Victorian Gentlemen's Erotica by Dale Chase: B-
Day of the Dead: A Romance by Erik Orrantia: B-
The Perfect Hope (Inn Boonsboro, #3) by Nora Roberts: B-
Mine till Midnight by Jacquie D'Alessandro: C+
Tart by Lauren Dane: C+
With Grace by Samantha Wayland: C-
Rule of Three by Kelly Jamieson: C-
Laid Open (Brown Siblings #5) by Lauren Dane: D+
Brotherhood of Fire by Elizabeth Moore: D

Upcoming Reviews: 
Christmas Beau by Mary Balogh
Light and Shadow by G.L. Roberts

That is it for my November update. Right now I have the dreaded flu... it finally caught up me. I feel as weak as a kitten. I'm in the process of reading three books, but my head is so stuffy I can't finish any of them! Ugh! How was your November? Find any great books? 

Monday, November 12, 2012

October 2012: Monthly Reads Recap

October was a good reading month and pretty well balanced genre-wise. There's a little bit of everything in there: historical romance, romance suspense, young adult fantasy, gay romance, a memoir and contemporary romance.

I enjoyed my reads, but there are always stand outs. For me, the dramatic historical serial The Gin Lovers by Jamie Brenner definitely stood out because of the 1920's atmosphere and New York City setting, the characters, and all the delicious drama. I reviewed the first two episodes, and although a bit behind because real life got in the way, expect reviews for the rest of the episodes.

I already mentioned Occultation and Other Stories and The Light is the Darkness by Laird Barron as great reads in the speculative fiction horror category, as well as Steve Berman's Wilde Stories 2012 Gay Speculative Fiction Anthology, however Immobility by Brian Evenson is another story that stood out and stayed with me for quite a while because of the stark moodiness of the piece.

On the bright side, re-reading the Born In Trilogy by Nora Roberts when hurricane Sandy hit, proved to be the right picks. Talk about comfort reads! That was a treat I haven't allowed myself for a couple of years. It was fun spending a couple of days with Nora's great characters in that small fictional Irish village again.

As to the rest, please click on titles to read reviews or posts.

Total read: 25
New Reads: 22    Re-reads: 3
  Contemporary Romance: 6 (3 romance, 2 romance suspense, 1 erotic romance)
  Historical Romance: 8
  Speculative Fiction/Horror: 3
  Young Adult/Fantasy: 1
  Non-Fiction: 1
  LGBT: 6 (1 spec fic, 5 romance)

That's it for my October reads! I again hit my TBR pile throughout the month and read 11 books from there! I'm really trying to get to a few of the books I've purchased before the end of this year, which is approaching really fast! How was your October? Did you find any great reads you would like to recommend?

Monday, October 1, 2012

September 2012: Reads + Update

Things have been quiet around here lately. Well, I've been a bit under the weather this past month and undergoing doctor's exams and all that jazz. I'm afraid that I haven't had much energy left over for blogging lately. Instead in September, I read like a fiend -- escape and all that! You all know how it is.

Anyway, I read lots of books from my TBR in September, caught up with a few series, and also re-read some favorite books that either made me happy or that I wanted to read just because.... Again, I'm sure you all know how that goes.

My favorite books of the month? The Last Renegade by Jo Goodman, Riveted by Meljean Brook, the New Amsterdam Series by Elizabeth Bear.

The book that most confounded me last month? This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz. I swear to you, I still don't know how I feel about this book! Process, process, process.

Disappointments: The last two installments in Kresley Cole's Immortal After Dark series, Dreams of a Dark Warrior and Lothaire. I loved this series, but at this point three words describe these books for me: rinse and repeat.

Total Reads: 25   Re-reads: 4
 Contemporary Romance/Suspense: 1
 Historical Romance: 4
 Paranormal Romance: 2
 Urban Fantasy: 1
 Steampunk Romance/Spec Fic/Sci-Fi: 7
 Literary Fiction: 1
 Non-Fiction: 1
 LGBT: 8

From my TBR: 11

1.   A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant: C+
2.   The Werewolves of Central Park by Tom Cardamone: C-
3.   Sidecar by Amy Lane: B-
4.   The Last Renegade by Jo Goodman: A- *
5.   Storm Front (Dresden Files #1) by Jim Butcher: B
6.   The Secret of Othello: A Fisher Key Adventure #2 by Sam Cameron: B
7.   Riveted (Iron Seas #3) by Meljean Brook: B+
8.   Heart of Steel (Iron Seas #2) by Meljean Brook: B-
9.   Mina Wentworth and the Invisible City (Iron Seas #1.5) by Meljean Brook: B-
10. Sexual Revolutions in Cuba: Passion, Politics, and Memory by Carrie Hamilton: B
11. The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire #2) by Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith: C
12. New Amsterdam (New Amsterdam #1) by Elizabeth Bear: B+
13. Seven for a Secret (New Amsterdam #2) by Elizabeth Bear: B
14. The White City (New Amsterdam #3) by Elizabeth Bear: A-
15. Mistakes Were Made by Tristan Cole: C
16. The General's Lover (Assassin/Shifter) by Sandine Gast-Dion: D- 
17. This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz (Upcoming Review)
18. Faun by Trebor Healey (Upcoming Review)
19. Her Ladyship's Companion by Joanna Bourne: C+
20. Heart's Desire by Jacquie D'Alessandro: C
21. Nowhere to Hide by Nancy Bush: C+
22. Dreams of a Dark Warrior (IAD #11) by Kresley Cole: C-
23. Lothaire (IAD#12) by Kresley Cole: C-
24. Men of Smithfield: Max and Finn by L.B. Gregg: B
25. Tinder by Tory Temple: C+

1. Here There Be Monsters (Iron Seas #0.5) by Meljean Brook (Re-read): A-
2. Coming Home by Victor J. Banis (Re-read): B
3. Gobsmacked: Men of Smithfield by L.B. Gregg (Re-read): B+
4. Happy Ending: Men of Smithfield by L.B. Gregg (Re-read): B


What am I reading? Note that in September I read 7 books in the speculative fiction/steampunk category and I'm still in a bit of a spec fic kick. Right now I'm slowly reading Berman's best of collection of gay spec fic, Wilde Stories 2012. I saved that book to read in October for Halloween month. It's going well so far.

I'm woefully behind on reviews from August and September. Hopefully after all medical tests are done, I'll be in a better frame of mind to catch up. How was your September? I hope you had a great reading month. :D

Monday, September 3, 2012

August 2012: Reads + Minis

Is the month of August really over? Where did it go? Between my vacation, family events, busy working weeks, and my migraines it seems to have flown. It was a month of slow reading and slow blogging for me. Although I read some great books, the month that was August turned out to be a mixture of ups and downs. Let's take a look.

Total August reads: 12
  Contemporary: 4 (Romance: 2, Erotic Romance: 1, Romance Suspense: 1)
  Historical: 2 (Western Romance: 1 , Historical Fiction: 1)
  Paranormal Romance: 1
  Urban Fantasy: 1
  Spec Fic/Horror: 2
  LGBT: 2 (Humor Essays: 1, Historical Mystery/Rom: 1)

1)   Lucky in Love (Lucky Harbor #4) by Jill Shalvis: C+
2)   Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels #5.5) by Ilona Andrews: B
3)   The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty: B-
4)   At Last (Lucky Harbor #5) by Jill Shalvis: C

5)   Arthur Wooten's Shorts: A Stroke Of Luck: a short story & The "Dear Henry" Letters
I really enjoyed A Stroke of Luck: A Short Story, a heartwarming story about a man who after a stroke of bad luck, finds love in the most unexpected of places and with an unlikely man. However, The "Dear Henry" Letters are the stars of this short piece! I couldn't stop laughing while reading most of Arthur Wooten's short essays in letter form. Hilarious!

In 2008, Mr. Wooten was asked by London magazine reFRESH to write a column addressing gay sex, love, dating, and fetishes, sort of an advice/informational type of column. From 2008 through 2010 Mr. Wooten quite creatively addressed all those issues by addressing the column to his fictional lover Henry in The "Dear Henry" Letters.  In the letters he attempts to break up their relationship for all sorts of reasons, mainly indiscretions committed by his fictional lover. Throughout the two years he always finds a reason to go back to Henry, but of course there's also always a reason to break up again.

The letters address all types of issues mentioned above, but because Mr. Wooten is a humorist the result is a hilarious, and at times embarrassing, collection from beginning to end! This short piece is worth buying, reading and re-reading. Thanks to Indigene for the recommendation. Grade: B+
6)   Dirty by Megan Hart: A- 
7)   Wild Texas Rose (Whispering Mountain #6) by Jodi Thomas: C-
8)   Torn by Lee Thomas: A-
9)   Don't Say a Word by Beverly Barton (Upcoming Review) 
10) Hearts of Darkness: A Deadglass Novel by Kira Brady: B

11) The Croning by Laird Barron
I've read and loved Barron's short stories. It is the reason I immediately purchased his full length novel The Croning. I thought The Croning began rather well, with a fairy tale that Barrons turned into a dark horror tale. Unfortunately, the central character is rather uninteresting with a narrative voice that lacks excitement, and that never changes throughout the story. Flashbacks break whatever momentum is gained and foreshadow most of what's to come, so that by the end there are little of those moments filled with real terror left to this horror (or Lovecraftian) tale, although the weird fiction is there, and the ending is ambiguous enough.

The same brilliant qualities that I found in Barron's short stories were only present in a few chapters. The novel is full of unnecessary background detail about the central characters and even characters that are not pertinent to the story. I'm sad to say that I forced myself to finish the book looking for more of those few bright moments along the way. For an excellent example of Barron's works, I recommend reading his collection of short stories in Occultation and Other Stories. I'm almost finished reading it (2 stories to go), and then I will review it. Grade: C-
12)  Only Make Believe (It Takes Two, #2) by Elliott Mackle: (Upcoming Review)

That's it for August! My top reads of the month were Torn by Lee Thomas, a wonderful speculative fiction horror novella, and my TBR Challenge read, Dirty by Megan Hart! September is already here and yes... I'm reading again. :) How did August turn out for you?

Friday, August 10, 2012

July 2012 Reads: Highlights + Minis

July was a wonderful, relaxing month for me. I took two weeks off from blogging. I feel all refreshed and raring to go again. My reading list below will show that I indulged in reading whatever my mood dictated in any given day, so in that respect the whole month turned out to be a real vacation.

July Total Reads: 13 (+ Re-reads: 2)
  Contemporary: 5 (Romance - 4, Romance Suspense - 1)
  Historical Romance: 1
  Science Fiction: 3
  Urban Fantasy: 1
  LGBT: 3 (Speculative Fiction: 1, Romance: 1, Fiction/Romance: 1)


Here's my list:

  1. Caliban's War (The Expanse #2) by James S.A. Corey: This book was such a wonderful follow up to one of my favorite science fiction books of 2011, Leviathan Wakes, that I went NUTS and posted a huge overview (saga) with reviews for both books! LOL. I couldn't help myself, this is a science fiction world that I'm loving with plotting and characters that really draw me in. Grade: B+
  2. Slow Summer Kisses by Shannon Stacey: This contemporary romance I enjoyed for the wonderful give and take between the main couple, some sizzling sexual tension and the baseball references, but thought that in this case the size (or lack of length) influenced overall development. Grade: C
  3. Open Season by Linda Howard: Ohh, I loved this romance between a "stereotypical" librarian and a small town cop. With excellent humor and wonderful chemistry between the main couple, I thought of this book more as a romance than a romance suspense. This book will definitely go on my shelves under my favorite books by Linda Howard, along with Duncan's Bride, Mr. Perfect, and Son of the Morning. I was a bit conflicted about grading this book because for me this is a Grade A romance read, but the suspense turned out to be weak (Grade C), so in the end... Grade: B
  4. Strike Zone by Kate Angell: I am really loving Ms. Angell's characters and the atmosphere that she creates in her contemporary romances. Unfortunately, she has a tendency to include multiple romances in her books that take the focus away from the main romance leaving all romances a bit on the underdeveloped end of the spectrum. That was the case in Strike Zone for me. Grade: C
  5. The Breach (Travis Chase #1) by Patrick Lee: The Breach, a mystery/thriller, was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I loved the fast paced action throughout the book and couldn't put it down until I finished it, and the science fiction was a big plus. Unfortunately I questioned everything from the beginning, including the main character's actions, role/motives, plot holes that were never answered in this book, plus I found the secondary characters to be two dimensional and obviously underdeveloped. I understand that there are two other books where the author will continue developing the story line and hope the holes will be plugged up, and that overall characterization will take a turn for the better. Grade: C+
  6. Rescue Me by Rachel Gibson: Here's a cute contemporary summer read by an author whose works I seem to enjoy on and off. Rescue Me, however, didn't move from there for me. With a man and a woman who decide to have an affair because neither want or need to commit to a relationship, this romance never really moved from the physical and on to that emotional connection for me. Since the emotional connection was underdeveloped and the ending rushed, this romance was an overall average read for me. Grade: C
  7. Thief of Shadows (Maiden Lane #4) by Elizabeth Hoyt: I just reviewed this historical romance and obviously it was a winner for me. With a lovely hero and a heroine that grew on me as the story moved along, some excellent action and a well integrated plot, Thief of Shadows is one of my top July reads. Grade: A-
  8. Captain Harding and His Men (Captain Harding #2) by Elliott Mackle: I am having a love affair with Elliott Mackle's works at the moment. That's a hint as to how I feel about this book, but I will be reviewing this story soon and am saying no more -- mum is the word. (Review and grade to come)
  9. Green Thumb by Tom Cardamone: Did I love this novella or what? Green Thumb was my favorite read of the month. Tom Cardamone is a fantastic writer of queer speculative fiction (just read Pumpkin Teeth and you'll see what I mean), and then he had to go and create his gorgeous character Leaf to finish off the job of hooking me. This novella is 142 pages long and every single word is worth reading. I received the eARC for review, but ended up purchasing the print copy for my shelves. It's a keeper. I recommend it to lovers of gay speculative fiction, or just lovers of speculative fiction, period! Grade: A
  10. Zero Gravity Outcasts by Kay Keppler: I won this SFR enovella at Tracy's Place and really wanted to love it. This very short novella is action packed with some very interesting tekkie information, so that there's no question it is a science fiction piece. I enjoyed Keppler's world, however, the world building lacks detail and full development, probably due to length. The characters are likable, with underdeveloped secondary characters and little chemistry found between the male and female protagonists. There's little romance and the resolution to the conflict between the main couple is rushed and not quite satisfactory. Regardless, it would be wonderful to revisit this world and the characters in a longer novella/book, as I found them interesting and think they have potential. (Carina Press, April 2012) Grade: C-
  11. Private Confessions by Lori Borril:  In this 2007 Harlequin Blaze, a woman has the hots for her boss, and although the attraction is reciprocated, neither wants to act on the attraction. They both separately join a singles fantasy website, begin an "online" affair and what amounts to virtual sex. Things get hot during those sessions, but frankly once the game is up their physical encounters lack the steam found during their fantasy sessions and the romantic connection between them is rather weak. This is an improbable story line and in many ways more a sensual fantasy than a contemporary romance. The resolution to the conflict between the protagonists wasn't really satisfactory with the woman giving up something that she worked hard to accomplish to appease the man's insecurities. Grade: C-
  12. Franky Gets Real by Mel Bossa: I loved Split by Mel Bossa and decided to give her second novel a try. I'm glad I did. This is a great story about five friends who grew up together and recently grew apart. While on a traditional camping trip, the secrets in their lives come roaring to the surface and their lives will never be the same. Ms. Bossa seems to have a knack for writing meaty gay/queer romances with substance. (Review and grade to come)
  13. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer Stone by J.K. Rowling (Re-read): Well what can I say... I re-read the first book in the Harry Potter series with the kiddies in the family. It has become a great summer tradition. I enjoyed it just as much as they did... that's the truth! I also loved watching the movie and comparing it to the story. Grade: B+
  14. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (Re-read): The same goes for the second book in the Harry Potter series. The kids loved this one too! Grade: B+
  15. Hex Appeal edited by P.N. Elrod: This was a pretty solid anthology overall. My favorite stories were written by Ilona Andrews, Jim Butcher, P.N. Elrod, and Simon R. Green. However, all the stories fit the anthology and while some were weaker than others, none were a real disappointment to me. Grade: B-
That's it for July! How about you? Any grrreat reads for you in July?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

June 2012: Reads + Summary

In June, summer finally arrived in full force and my reading slowed down dramatically. By the end of the month, I found myself needing a break from reading and blogging in order to enjoy outdoorsy events. However, as we all know, quality has nothing to do with quantity, and as you will see below quality-wise June was a great reading month for me.

Total books read: 9
 Contemporary Romance: 1
 Historical Romance: 3
 Science Fiction (Police Procedural): 1
 LGBT: 3 (Gay Spec Fic: 1, Gay Fic/Rom: 1, Gay Hist Mystery/Rom: 1)
 Poetry: 1

  1. Slow Lightning by Eduardo C. Corral: Slow Lightning is one of my top reads of the month. I did not write a full review, instead I highlighted it and wrote a recommendation, but this is a magnificent little book of poetry that I will enjoy for a long time since I re-read poetry over and over again. I recommend it highly. Grade: A
  2. Starlight (The Christies #2) by Carrie Lofty: I loved this historical romance for its atmosphere and characters that ended up winning me over. The romance was sexy and ultimately satisfying. Grade: A-
  3. The Touch of the Sea edited by Steve Berman: Overall this anthology was such a wonderful flight of fancy. The stories took me away and made me dream of the sea. This is definitely one of those books that you can read by the beach while people watching. I guarantee that the stories will make you wonder. . . Grade: B
  4. A Night Like This (Smythe-Smith #2) by Julia Quinn: Julia Quinn is known for her fun and light historical romances, and this book has those qualities. I needed some fun and some lightness, so the Smythe-Smith series was perfect for me. Enjoyable! Grade: B
  5. No Tan Lines by Kate Angell: Now here's a book that spells summer. I wanted to be at the Boardwalk while reading it, and after. I had a few problems with the inclusion of two other romances and lack of focus on the main couple, but otherwise this was an enjoyable, if average, read for me. Grade: C
  6. Logan's Outlaw (Men of Defiance #4) by Elaine Levine: This western romance took me by surprise with its combination of harsh, violent situations and sweet romance. Although I believe that there are readers out there who won't enjoy this combination, it worked for me. Grade: B-
  7. Taxi Rojo by Erik Orrantia: This was my first book by Erik Orrantia. I absolutely loved his depiction of Tijuana, Mexico, as well as his rendering of everyday people who struggle to find hope and happiness. Mr. Orrantia's characters stayed with me. Grade: B+
  8. It Takes Two by Elliott Mackle: It Takes Two was my very favorite read of the month. I love the way the author transported me to a racially divided little town in a post-WWII America. There was no waste to this story beginning with the depiction of racial bigotry and ending with the realistic romance that develops between the two main characters. Loved it! Grade: A
  9. The Last Policeman: A Novel by Ben H. Winters: Now... let's talk about this pre-apocalyptic police procedural (that's not easy to say). In this science fiction story the rendering of the main character and the pseudo-contemporary setting really grabbed my attention. I will be reading the rest of the trilogy because I need to know where Winters will take his character and the overall story arc in the end! Grade: B+
What am I reading at the moment? Well, I just finished another book by Elliott Mackle, Captain Harding and His Men, the second book in his Captain Harding series. However overall, I am finding that the heat of summer has given me an appetite for romance suspense, contemporary romance and science fiction! Interesting, right? I'm not sure what I'll pick up next!

That's it for June, I hope yours was as enjoyable as mine. Did you find any great reads in June that you would love to recommend? Any gems out there? Let us know!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

May 2012: Reads + Updates

May is over! During May I celebrated my 3rd bloggiversary by reading and reviewing books by authors whose works I have recommended throughout the past three years. Favorite authors.

I was lucky that many of them had recent releases, and was able to read and/or review books by Mary Balogh, Nora Roberts, Elizabeth Bear, Sarah Mayberry, Carrie Lofty, Nalini Singh, Lisa Dale, Alex Jeffers and Steve Berman. And since I love to 'discover' new-to-me authors, there a few of those in there too. I'll be following up by reading Catherine Lundoff, Sally MacKenzie and Annika Martin. :)

As you can see, May was definitely a great month!

May Books Read: 20
 Contemporary: 5
 Historical Romance: 6
 Paranormal Romance/Sci-fi: 1
 Fantasy: 1
 LGBT: 7 (Fantasy=2, Romance=5)

1.   The Proposal by Mary Balogh: B-
2.   Range of Ghosts (Eternal Sky #1) by Elizabeth Bear: A-
3.   Silver Moon by Catherine Lundoff: B
4.   Firooz and His Brother (Free Short Story from Wonder Stories) by Alex Jeffers: *NG
5.   The Last Boyfriend (Inn BoonsBoro #2) by Nora Roberts: C+
6.   College Boys by Daisy Harris: C
7.   Addicted to You by Bethany Kane: C+
8.   Under Her Uniform by Victoria Janssen: B-
9.   A Promise of Safekeeping by Lisa Dale: B+
10. The Charm School by Susan Wiggs: B+
11. Boys of Summer edited by Steve Berman: B
12. The Hostage Bargain by Annika Martin: B
13. Hard Tail by J.L. Merrow: B
14. Her Best Worst Mistake by Sarah Mayberry: B+
15. Frog by Mary Calmes: C+
16. A Little More Scandal by Carrie Lofty: B+
17. Bedding Lord Ned (Duchess of Love #1) by Sally MacKenzie: B-
18. Permanently Legless by J.L. Merrow: C+
19. The Seduction of Phaeton Black by Jillian Stone: (Upcoming Review)
20. Tangle of Need (Psy/Changeling #11) by Nalini Singh: B
     *NG = No grade yet, will save it for the book release (Great story though!)

Upcoming Reviews:

Currently Reading:

If you go by my grades, my top reads last month were Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth BearHer Best Worst Mistake by Sarah MayberryA Little More Scandal by Carrie LoftyThe Charm School by Susan Wiggsand A Promise of Safekeeping by Lisa Dale. However, those "B" grades were really enjoyable too! 

How about you? Did you find any treasures in your book pile last month? 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April 2012: Reads + Updates

April is over. The good thing about April? There were new releases that I was looking forward to reading and I read them all. That means that even with all those crazy "real life" issues that are continuously affecting my daily life lately my reading slump is officially over. Good thing!

Anyway, here are my reads for the month. Those new releases were wonderful because they got me to read and I enjoyed them for different reasons, but only a few of them made it to the top of my list:

Total Books Read: 18
  Contemporary: 4 (Romance: 2 Romance Suspense: 1 Romance Erotica: 1)
  Historical Romance: 3
  Urban Fantasy/PNR: 1
  LGBT: 10 (Romance: 5 Fiction: 2 Spec Fic: 2 Memoir: 1)

1.   About That Night by Julie James: C
2.   Just Down the Road by Jodi Thomas (Upcoming Review) 
3.   The Duke's Perfect Wife by Jennifer Ashley: B-
4.   The Rake by Mary Jo Putney: A-
5.   Split by Mel Bossa: A-
6.   Private Eye by S.E. Culpepper: C-
7.   Almost a Gentleman by Pam Rosenthal: C
8.   Carbon and Ash by Chris Owen (Re-read): B
9.   Added Money by Chris Owen: C+
10. Lover Reborn (BDB#10) by J.R. Ward: C-
11. Lily by Xavier Axelson: B
12. Dutch's Boy by Xavier Axelson: B
13. Earthly Concerns by Xavier Axelson: B
14. The Heart's History by Lewis DeSimone: B+
15. The Witness by Nora Roberts: A
16. Bear Like Me by Jonathan Cohen (Upcoming Review) 
17. Naked Angel (Club Burlesque) by Logan Belle (Upcoming Review) 
18. Dirty Poole: A Sensual Memoir by Wakefield Poole (Upcoming Review)

Upcoming Reviews:

Currently Reading:

These are two very different books! Range of Ghosts is Elizabeth Bear's latest release and the first book in her latest fantasy series Eternal Sky. I'm loving her world building so far, but I'm not far into the book so I can't tell you much about the characters yet.

The same goes for The Seduction of Phaeton Black by Jillian Stone. This is more of a Victorian noir, paranormal romance. The beginning of the book is quite erotic, so I'm expecting the steam level to be on the high end of the scale. That first chapter kept me reading and Phaeton Black is certainly a character! Let's see how it turns out.

That's it for my April reads. May looks like it's going to be a great reading month too... I'm looking forward to reading quite a few new releases. How about you? How did your April turn out?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

March 2012: Reads + Updates

March, the month when "real life" kicked my ass and drew me deep into that black hole we all refer to as a reading slump. Don't let the numbers below fool you, most of my reads were short stories, novellas or short reads. I couldn't concentrate for long periods of time and those books are all I was able to manage, particularly during the first 3/4 of the month.

As a result, I began and didn't finish an enormous amount of books this month. I'll get back to them when I settle down. I also book shopped like a mad person and I ended up buying books that I've had on my wish list for a long time, all in the hopes of finding books that would grab my attention and hold it for more than a mere hour. I found a couple.

Here's my list:
Total books read: 14  Re-read: 1 
Contemporary: 4 (Romance: 2 Erotica: 2)
Historical Romance: 1
Urban Fantasy: 2
    Erotica: 4
    Fantasy: 1
    Romance: 2
    Historical Erotic Fiction:1

1.   Maybe with a Chance of Certainty by John Goode: B-
2.   Brorotica by Guy New York: C-
3.   Chicks are for Fags by Guy New York: C-
4.   Hana: Polyamory and Erotica in New York by Guy New York: C-
5.   The Temporary Wife by Mary Balogh: A
6.   A History of Barbed Wire by Jeff Mann (Re-read): B+
7.   History's Passion: Stories of Sex before Stonewall edited by R. Labonté: B+
8.   Purgatory: A Novel of the Civil War by Jeff Mann: A-
9.   Dalton's Undoing (Cowboys of Cold Creed #3) by RaeAnne Thayne: B
10. The White Knight by Josh Lanyon: C+
11. Chance of a Lifetime by Joey W. Hill: B
12. Point of Knives: A Novella of Astreiant by Melissa Scott (Review to come)
13. Doubletake (Cal Leandros #7) by Rob Thurman: (Upcoming Buddy Review)
14. Woodrose Mountain (Hopes Crossing #2) by RaeAnne Thayne: B-
15. Discount Armageddon (InCryptid #1) by Seanan McGuire: B

I'm reluctant to list what I'm reading at the moment because I've been jumping around so much, but I'll list the following two books:

The first book I'm reading is Point of Hopes by Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett, the first book of the original duology that was just re-released by Lethe Press. The book I'm reading is actually a copy of the old edition I happened to have in my book shelves, but click on the title of the book to check out the new cover. Also, last month I read the eARC of Point of Knives: A Novella of Astreiant, a brand new novella by Melissa Scott that will release in July and that chronologically falls between the two books, Point of Hopes, Book 1, and Point of Dreams, Book 2.  Expect my review of Point of Knives closer to the release date. ;P

The second book I'm reading is About That Night by Julie James. This is a contemporary romance that I've been looking forward to reading for a while. The set up for Kyle's story during the previous book in this series was fun and I can't wait to find out exactly what's going on with the Twitter Terrorist.

That's it for my March update. I read some great books, however it really was the most frustrating month reading-wise for me so far this year. How about you? How did your March go? Any great reads?

Friday, March 2, 2012

February 2012: Reads + Updates

February has been an eventful month. This month usually spells love for me... all types of love, and I think that was reflected in most of my posts, reads, and reviews in February. Whether the books were good old contemporary romance with a happily ever after, a poetry collection about love found and loss, or a story about a dysfunctional family whose love was nevertheless fierce and all encompassing, love was at the center. I read few books though, and that was basically due to my obsessive poetry reading.

Highlighted this month were two poems by the poet Konstantinos P. Kavafis or C. P. Cavafy (the English translation of his name). I was introduced to this poet by one of my brothers who happens to love Kavifis' poetry and I must thank him for the introduction. We now share the love.

I was inspired to read Kavafis' poetry while reading He Will Laugh by the gay poet Douglas Ray. There's a bit of buzz going on about poetry within the LGBT community. I reviewed two LGBT poetry books this month which is unusual, and have seen the increase in published collections. An interesting development. Yes? You'll ask, how does that tie in with Kavafis? Well, we all know about Oscar Wilde, and (as I found out in another site) not everyone knows about Walt Whitman, but did you know that Kostantinos P. Kavafis is considered one of the early modern authors to write openly about homosexuality?

Konstantinos P. Kavafis (April 29, 1863 to April 29, 1933) was born in Alexandria, Egypt of Greek parents. Although Kavafis was Greek, he lived in Alexandria most of his life and didn't write most of his most acclaimed poetry until he was in his 40's. His poetry is considered Hellenistic, and although history can be found sprinkled throughout the core of his poetry, for many the allure of Kavafis' poetry really lies in the direct and open way in which he portrays sensual pleasures, his prosaic use of metaphors and the repeated use of themes such as the uncertainty of life and/or the future, and that fatalistic nostalgia that just seems to pour out of some of his works.
Two of his most important poems are "Waiting for the Barbarians" (1904) and "Ithaca" (1911). However, for purposes of this post I will be highlighting two additional poems that, like the ones I've already posted -- "Days of 1903" and "I've Looked So Much" -- exemplify the poet's sensual style, usually leaden with nostalgia for youthful encounters or loves found and lost, all of them unmistakably homosexual.

One Night by Konstantinos P. Kavafis

In the Dull Village by David Hockney
(1966) etching and aquatint print
Illustrated a selection of poems by
C. P. Cavafy
The room above the bar
was the cheapest we could find.
We could see the filthy alley
from the window, hear the shouts
of the workmen at their card-games.

Yet there on that narrow bed
I had love’s body, knew its red lips;
those lips so full, so bloody with desire
that now as I write, after so many years,
in this lonely house... I’m drunk with them again.

The Boat by Konstantinos P. Kavafis

This little pencil sketch –
it’s certainly him.
It was made quickly, one long
charmed afternoon
on the Ionian. Yes, I’d say
it caught his looks –
though I have him more handsome;
so must the sensualist, you’d say
he was lit up with it... Yes, he looks
so much more handsome,
now my heart calls him
from so long ago. So long.
All these things are very old – the sketch,
and the boat, and the afternoon.


February Reads: 11 
  Contemporary Romance: 2
  Historical Romance: 2
  Fiction: 2
  Science Fiction:2
  LGBT:  3 (Poetry: 1 Mystery: 1 Historical/Mystery/Romance: 1)

1.  He Will Laugh by Douglas Ray: A-
2.  Anyone But You by Jennifer Crusie: B+
3.  Shards of Honor (Vorkosigan Saga #1) by Lois McMaster Bujold: B
4.  Crimes on Latimer: From the Early Cases of Marco Fontana by Joseph R.G. DeMarco
5.  The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman: B
6.  Matthew (The Circle Eight #1) by Emma Lang: B
7.  My Wicked Little Lies by Victoria Alexander: B
8.  The Master of Seacliff by Max Pierce: B
9.  The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan: B
10. Hell Yeah by Carolyn Brown
11. How I Proposed to My Wife: An Alien Sex Story by John Scalzi: C
12. Snowbound by Larissa Ione: DNF - Not for me

Upcoming Reviews:

Reading at the Moment:

Walking the Clouds:
An Anthology of Indigenous
Science Fiction
In this first-ever anthology of Indigenous science fiction Grace Dillon collects some of the finest examples of the craft with contributions by Native American, First Nations, Aboriginal Australian, and New Zealand Maori authors. The collection includes seminal authors such as Gerald Vizenor, historically important contributions often categorized as "magical realism" by authors like Leslie Marmon Silko and Sherman Alexie, and authors more recognizable to science fiction fans like William Sanders and Stephen Graham Jones.
From the University of Arizona Press, this is a fascinating read so far! It released in March, but I wish I had received this book in February so that I could have read it as part of my participation in the 2012 Science Fiction Experience. I will let you all know how these stories turn out, but I can tell you that so far the introduction alone has me excited. :)


That's it for February, it was a month of poetry and love. Next I will be summarizing my reads and posts for the 2012 Science Fiction Experience. However, please know that my computer at home crashed again! So unless I can somehow repair it this weekend, this will be my last post for a couple of days.

How was your February? Any great reads?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

January 2012: Reads + Updates

Fra Angelico
La Anunciación (detalle)
h.1425-1428. Madrid,
Museo Nacional
del Prado
It's time for last month's recap. January was a good reading month and a great way to begin the year.

January was surprising in that I read more than expected, blogged more than expected, and all of it while having a heck of a busy month! As you will see below, I read lots of science fiction and really enjoyed myself! I posted an overview, a mini and one movie review in this category. The experience of reading "almost" a whole series in one sitting (I'm missing the last book) was fun.

Of the books read and reviewed in January, I really enjoyed The Thorne and The Blossom: A Two Sided Love Story by Theodora Goss. That was a beautiful little love story with a rather unique format. Head Over Heels by Jill Shalvis was not a disappointment and boy... was I glad about that! Particularly since the second book of the Lucky Harbor series was a favorite last year. And while reading reviews posted by other bloggers for the 2012 TBR Challenge, I found two books that I purchased and read immediately: His Secret Past by Ellen Hartman, reviewed by Phyl, and Because of the List by Amy Knupp, reviewed by Lori. I really enjoyed both books! Thank you for the recommendations ladies. :)


Total Books Read: 20
  Contemporary Romance: 7
  Science Fiction: 6
  Erotic Romance: 2
  Urban Fantasy: 1
  Fantasy: 1
  LGBT: 3 (Romance: 1, Erotica: 1, Poetry: 1)

1.   Frat Boys: Gay Erotic Stories Anthology edited by Shane Allison: B-
2.   Old Man's War (Old Man's War #1) by John Scalzi: B
3.   The Ghost Brigades (Old Man's War #2) by John Scalzi: C+
4.   After the Coup by John Scalzi: C-
5.   The Butcher of Anderson Station: A Story of the Expanse by James S.A. Corey: C+
6.   Light the Stars (Cowboys of Cold Creek #1) by RaeAnne Thayne: C-
7.   The Thorne and the Blossom: A Two-Sided Love Story by Theodora Goss: B+
8.   Lover's Leap (Eternity Springs #4) by Emily March: C+
9.   Pricks and Pragmatism by J.L. Merrow: C+
10. Head Over Heels (Lucky Harbor #3) by Jill Shalvis: B+
11. The Sagan Diary by John Scalzi: C
12. The Last Colony (Old Man's War #3) by John Scalzi: C
13. Magic Gifts (Kate Daniels) by Ilona Andrews: B
14. His Secret Past by Ellen Hartman: B+
15. Because of the List by Amy Knupp: B
16. The Summer Garden (Chesapeake Shores #9) by Sherryl Woods: B
17. The Horizontal Poet by Jan Steckel: B+ (Upcoming Review)
18. Sweet Stuff by Donna Kauffman: B (Upcoming Review)
19. Love's Fortress (Brother's in Arms #7) by Samantha Kane: C
20. Love's Surrender (Brother's in Arms #9) by Samantha Kane: C-
    Upcoming Reviews:

    Reading at the Moment:

    The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman: I began reading this book for my Internet Book Club in January, but unfortunately was not able to finish it in time. That last week of migraines killed my reading momentum. However, so far I'm enjoying this read! I loved Hoffman's Practical Magic, but this book is different. The book is composed of short stories that are tied to one another. Hoffman's prose is quite beautiful and I'm enjoying how the short stories are connected by making the town of Blackwell the central figure. So far, Hoffman's usage of magical realism is subtle and rather beautiful. I like how she ties it to nature instead of culture. But, I still have to finish the book to figure out what it is that she's trying to convey with the whole.

    He Will Laugh by Douglas Ray: I received this LGBT collection of poetry for review and began reading it  last week. However although the book is thin, because it is poetry I tend to take my time with each poem, so this book will be read slowly and carefully. I'm about half way through and can tell you that so far there are poems or lines from certain poems that have stayed with me for days now. That's good news. :)

    That's my update and my recap for January. How was your month? Did you find any gems? Any great new releases you would like to recommend?