Showing posts with label January 2011. Show all posts
Showing posts with label January 2011. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

January 2011 Reads & Minis

January began as a slow reading and blogging month for me. I'm still getting used to my new working schedule, but somehow it seems as if somewhere along the way I found time to read (and blog). I think the weather and all those snow days helped! As a matter of fact I'm home right now due to a huge ice storm that hit our area in the Northeast. Brrrr..... I hope you're all safe and cozy at home too.

Here's my recap:

Total books read: 11
Contemporary Romance: 1
Contemporary Romance Suspense: 1
Contemporary Mysteries: 2
Historical Romance: 2
Fantasy: 1
Urban Fantasy: 2
Science Fiction/Romance: 1
Anthology (17 short stories - mixed genres): 1

1. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie was my favorite book of the month. It worked for me on all levels, the story, characters, romance, atmosphere and execution. I will continue to read Crusie's backlist and I hope to enjoy the rest of her books as much as I loved Bet Me and Welcome to Temptation. (That might be a bit much to expect, I know!). Grade: A

2. Passions of a Wicked Earl by Lorraine Heath was a highly enjoyable historical romance with excellent characters. I loved that Heath used standard devices and made them work in this book. I loved both the male and female protagonists, as well as the majority of the secondary characters. I liked it so much, I read the second book, Pleasures of a Notorious Gentleman, immediately after finishing this one. Grade: B+

3. Pleasures of a Notorious Gentleman by Lorraine Heath: B+
(Upcoming Review)

4. In the Bleak Midwinter (Fergusson & Van Alystyne, Book 1) by Julia Spencer-Fleming. I decided to check out this series after Orannia recommended it here on my blog. I've been wanting to get back to mysteries for a while and after reading the summary for this first book I was hooked. It was a good decision. The central character Rev. Clare Fergusson is unique, plus I enjoyed the "updated" cozy mystery style. There's also room there for some interesting future development in that series. I have quite a few books to read, but I have a feeling I'll be catching up fast. Grade: B+

5. The Sea Thy Mistress (The Edda of Burdens, Book 3) by Elizabeth Bear was the ending to the trilogy that began with All the Windwracked Stars. Boy, did I ever love that book! This was a solid, solid ending to the trilogy and not a disappointment. I liked the way Bear joined the story lines from Books 1 and 2 and the way she again picked up the cyberpunk style and maintained the atmosphere established on that first book. I enjoy her subtle (and not so subtle) touches when exploring the dark and the erotic. Grade: B

6. Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy - I belong to the Goodreads Sci-Fi Romance group. Song of Scarabaeus was chosen as the February Book of the Month and after reading the summary, I just had to read it. I finished that book in two sittings! (Upcoming Review) Grade: B

7. Deeply, Desperately (Lucy Valentine, Book 2) by Heather Webber - I think I've said enough about Lucy Valentine for now. These are favorite books when I feel like reading something light and fun. I enjoyed this book and am enjoying this series quite a bit and will be picking up the next installment, Absolutely, Positively soon! Grade: B

8. Songs of Love and Death: All Original Stories of Star-Crossed Lovers by Gardner R. Dozoir: Grade B-
(Upcoming Review)

9. The Homecoming by JoAnn Ross is a small-town romance suspense. I enjoyed the family and small town atmosphere, but the lack of real emphasis on the romance or the suspense made it an average read for me. However, I enjoyed the Ross' writing style and look forward to reading something from her backlist and hopefully her next new release. Grade: C

10. Dreamfever (Fever Series, Book 4) by Karen Marie Moning was a book I waited to read (patiently) for a whole year. I read it the week before Shadowfever released and it paid off as all the details were fresh in my mind. Dreamfever moved the overall storyarc along and I liked that. The repetitiveness found in the previous book is kept to a minimum and that, plus the movement in the story line are huge improvements in my opinion. Details about the main characters, motives and pasts, (Barrons, V'lane and Mac) are still scarce, but there's enough provided to give readers some idea as to upcoming revelations. I had problems with overused devices, lack of real emotional connection between the characters, and being left in the middle of a scene in another huge and unnecessary cliffhanger. Overall the book balanced into an average read for me. Grade: C

11. Shadowfever (Fever Series, Book 5) by Karen Marie Moning is a book that I looked forward to reading since I read that first one, as the end of the Fever series. Especially as it's written by a long-time favorite writer. Unfortunately, although this series began as a favorite, it didn't end that way for me. Grade: D

That's it for January. In the end I'm quite happy with the mixture of genres read and with few exceptions it turned out to be a solid reading month. There are two books I began reading in January and am still reading. They are  El Hombre que Amaba los Perros by Leonardo Padura and Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear. Both books are interesting but long and involved, and with my crazy schedule I kept putting them aside to read books that didn't require as much attention. I'll be listing them with my February reads.

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Releases: January/February 2011

It is time again for those new releases! And it's a really good time of the year, there are lots of upcoming releases and you know I want to read them all. However since that's not possible, I'll be highlighting a few of the books I'm really looking forward to reading for January and February. A few of my favorite writers have new releases and that's exciting!

Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Release Date: January 18, 2011

Lucy Jorik is the daughter of the former President of the United States.

Meg Koranda is the offspring of legends.

One of them is about to marry Mr. Irresistible—Ted Beaudine—the favorite son of Wynette, Texas. The other is not happy about it. Not happy at all....

But even though Meg knows breaking up her best friend’s wedding is the right thing to do, no one else seems to agree. Faster than Lucy can say, “I don’t,” Meg becomes the most hated woman in town. A town where she’s stuck with a dead car, an empty wallet, and a very angry bridegroom.

Broke, stranded, and without her famous parents at her back, Meg is sure she can survive on her own wits. What’s the worst that can happen? Lose her heart to the one and only Mr. Irresistible? Not likely. Not likely at all....
Let's begin with Susan Elizabeth Phillips' new contemporary romance. SEP is one of my favorite contemporary romance writers and I've been waiting for her new release for a while. I will be buying Call Me Irresistible while it's hot off the presses!

Shadow Fever by Karen Marie Moning
Release Date: January 18, 2011

MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina, were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever.

Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister’s murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals who have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.

What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh—a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King, containing the power to create and destroy worlds.

In an epic battle between humans and Fae, the hunter becomes the hunted when the Sinsar Dubh turns on Mac and begins mowing a deadly path through those she loves. Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Who is the woman haunting her dreams? More important, who is Mac herself and what is the destiny she glimpses in the black and crimson designs of an ancient tarot card?

From the luxury of the Lord Master’s penthouse to the sordid depths of an Unseelie nightclub, from the erotic bed of her lover to the terrifying bed of the Unseelie King, Mac’s journey will force her to face the truth of her exile, and to make a choice that will either save the world . . . or destroy it.
And what about Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning? I've been waiting for the end of this series for quite a while! As a matter of fact, I haven't read Dreamfever yet, WAITING for this book just so I can finish the series in style, making this a highly anticipated book for me.

Notorious Pleasures (Maiden Lane, Book 2) by Elizabeth Hoyt
Release Date: January 25, 2011

Their lives were perfect . . .
Lady Hero Batten, the beautiful sister of the Duke of Wakefield, has everything a woman could want, including the perfect fiancé. True, the Marquis of Mandeville is a trifle dull and has no sense of humor, but that doesn't bother Hero. Until she meets his notorious brother . . .

Until they met each other.
Griffin Remmington, Lord Reading, is far from perfect - and he likes it that way. How he spends his days is a mystery, but all of London knows he engages in the worst sorts of drunken revelry at night. Hero takes an instant dislike to him, and Griffin thinks that Hero, with her charities and faultless manners, is much too impeccable for society, let alone his brother. Yet their near-constant battle of wits soon sparks desire - desire that causes their carefully constructed worlds to come tumbling down. As Hero's wedding nears, and Griffin's enemies lay plans to end their dreams forever, can two imperfect people find perfect true love?
Notorious Pleasures by Elizabeth Hoyt is the second book in her Maiden Lane series. I loved, loved Wicked Intentions, the first book... and can't wait to read Hero's story, so this is another highly anticipated book.

Scandal of the Year: Abandoned at the Altar by Laura Lee Guhrke
Release Date: January 25, 2011

One tryst was all she wanted . . .

From their very first meeting, Julia knew that Aidan Carr, the oh-so-proper Duke of Trathen, had a bit of the devil in him, a devil who secretly yearned for what he could not have, a devil who harbored a desire for her. So when she needed to be caught in a compromising situation, Aidan was the answer to her prayers.

One tryst just wasn't enough . . .

Aidan is supposed to be looking for a bride, yet his scandalous liaison with Julia is all he can think about. Hot, erotic memories of kissing her skin, falling into her bed, pulling her naked body on top of his own continue to torment and tempt him. What is it about this brazen seductress that he finds so hard to resist? And how can he stop himself from falling into her bed a second time?
I already have the first book in this series Wedding of the Season in my TBR. I'll probably wind up reading both of these books as a set, one after the other. I don't know why, but the summary for Scandal of the Year just calls to me. :)

The Sea Thy Mistress by Elizabeth Bear
Release Date: February 1, 2011

This direct sequel to Elizabeth Bear’s highly acclaimed All the Windwracked Stars picks up the story some fifty years after Muire went into the sea and became the new Bearer of Burdens.

Beautiful Cathoair, now an immortal warrior angel, has been called back to the city of Eiledon to raise his son--Muire’s son as well, cast up on shore as an infant. It is seemingly a quiet life. But deadly danger approaches…the evil goddess Heythe, who engineered the death of Valdyrgard, has travelled forward in time on her rainbow steed. She came expecting to gloat over a dead world, the proof of her revenge, but instead she finds a Rekindled land, renewed by Muire’s sacrifice.

She will have her revenge by forcing this new Bearer of Burdens to violate her oaths and break her bounds and thus bring about the true and final end of Valdyrgard. She will do it by tormenting both Cathoair and his son Cathmar. But Mingan, the gray wolf, sees his old enemy Heythe’s return. He will not allow it to happen again.
AND, oh boy! This is the last book in Elizabeth Bear's latest trilogy. I read and loved All the Windwracked Stars, Book 1, really enjoyed By the Mountain Bound, Book 2, and The Sea Thy Mistress, Book 3 is the end of this wonderful cyberpunk fantasy trilogy, with all its mythological details and characters. I received an ARC from Tor/Forge Books and will post an early review for this book.  :)

Absolutely, Positively (Lucy Valentine, Book 3) by Heather Webber
Release Date: February 1, 2011

“Exposed” by a Boston Herald reporter, Lucy is suddenly the talk of the town. Long back-story short: Even though the rest of her Valentine ancestors were blessed by Cupid with psychic abilities, Lucy’s only special power lies in her ability to find things. This skill has proven quite a blessing for those who come to her matchmaking agency in search of finding their long-lost loves. Now that Lucy’s secret is out, she has more new clients than she knows what to do with. But soon a certain man of mystery steals Lucy’s spotlight…

No, it’s not Sean Donahue, the sexy fireman-turned-private-eye who’s stolen Lucy’s heart. It’s a masked man in a cowboy hat, dubbed “The Lone Ranger,” who’s been throwing handfuls of cash across the Common. Now all of Beantown’s abuzz. Can Lucy unmask the mysterious money man, track down all her clients’ old flames, and turn up the heat on her love life? Absolutely, positively…
And last, but certainly not least, is the next installment in the Lucy Valentine series, Absolutely, Positively by Heather Webber. I read the first book in this series late last year and loved Lucy! (No pun intended). I have the second book already, and hope to catch up with Lucy and Sean's light and fun adventures with this book.

I might add more later if something I adore catches my eye, but that's it for now! What about you? Any great releases you're looking forward to reading?