Read in 2010
These are the books I’ve read or audiobooks I’ve listened to in 2010.
Updated November 10, 2010
Wow! I’m really behind, but will (hopefully!) get this page current over the next couple of weeks.
Warrior (The Blades of the Rose series, book 1) by Zoe Archer
Ascension (Cherchez Pack, book 1) by Lauren Dane
Masques (Sianim series, book 1) by Patiricia Briggs
Audiobook narrated by Katherine Kellgren.
The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium trilogy, book 2) by Stieg Larsson
Audiobook read by Simon Vance.
(Hunger Games trilogy, book 3)
by Suzanne Collins
Audiobook read by Carolyn McCormick.
(Hunger Games trilogy, book 3)
by Suzanne Collins
Audiobook read by Carolyn McCormick.
(The Caster series, book 1)
by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Carpe Corpus (The Morganville Vampires series, book 6) by Rachel Caine
(Scroll down linked page for print excerpt.)
Bayou Moon (The Edge series, book 2) by Ilona Andrews
(Scroll down linked page for excerpt.)
Excerpt for Married by Morning (Hathaways series, book 4) by Lisa Kleypas
Psy Changeling series, book 7
Scroll down linked page for excerpt.
Long Hard Ride (Rough Riders series, book 1) by Lorelei James 7/26/10
Read my full review.
Shades of Gray by Brooke McKinley
Natural Born Charmer (Chicago Stars series, book 7) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips AUDIOBOOK
Audiobook read by Anna Fields. This was an “audio re-read” for me.
In the Rough (sequel to By Degrees) by J.B. McDonald 7/7/10
Another great book by JB McDonald. Picking up with Jay and Rick, the story had great emotional depth. I loved seeing both these guys grow over the course of the book. Will definitely be looking for more by this author!
- JB McDonald’s site.
- Excerpt for In the Rough.
Old Poison (sequel to Dangerous Ground) by Josh Lanyon 7/2/10
- Excerpt on author’s site.
Insatiable (Federation series, book 3/Phantom Corps, book 1) by Lauren Dane 6/30/10
This is my favorite erotic romance series, and I loved the story as much as I do the cover. (I’m not usually into man-chest covers, but I LOVE this one.)
Daniel was a wonderful alpha hero: in control (but not controlling), sure of himself, a bit world weary, and extremely nurturing and protective of the women in his life. Carina is what a sheltered virgin heroine ought to be. Guileless, but not naive. Forthright and unembarrassed by her inexperience. Often, she has to remind Daniel that inexperience doesn’t equate with dumb or inept.
The world in this futuristic novel is interesting, and with each book the intrigue and world building is better and more complex. Can’t wait for Mezmerized (Andrei’s story), but the wait till next April is going to kill me!
Retribution (Anna Strong, Vampire series, book 5) by Jeanne C Stein 6/28/10
This is a series I think often gets overlooked, but it’s a really good uf series comparable to Kat Richardson’s Harper Blaine. Highly plot driven, in the style of a detective novel, sometimes character development is secondary to action.
But, at this point in the series, Anna Strong, a bounty hunter who is a recently turned vampire has had to make a lot of accommodations to her vampire-lifestlye, including distancing herself from her family.
The action was fast-paced and absorbing. Anna’s investigation into vampire deaths was a little predicable, but still compelling. My only complaint would be that her romantic relationship with a fellow vampire (and underwear model) seems a bit forced.
- Jeanne Stein’s site.
Chasing Smoke by KA Mitchell 6/27/10
I love reunion stories, and this was a good one! Trey and Daniel knew each other as teens, and their family shared a connection. Yet, Trey’s tragic family history changed the course of his life, and he is still consumed by the need to solve his mother’s murder.
And then, Daniel re-enters Trey’s life. This was great angst and family drama, with a healthy dose of hot chemistry between the heroes.
- KA Mitchell’s site.
- Excerpt for Chasing Smoke.
Divine Misdemeanors (Merry Gentry series,
book 8 ) by Laurell K Hamilton 6/26/10 Audiobook
I think I will have to break with this series. I don’t think I’m prepared to wade through much more of the whining and jockeying for position from Merry’s men.
The copious sex doesn’t bother me so much, per se, so much as it’s predictability. In 2 consecutive scenes the men actually say the exact same thing as they entered her. And, there was a sex scene with a Demi-fae that toally squicked me out. O.o
I feel much better when I tell myself that I will read the last book in the series to see how things end up, but I honestly don’t think I’ll miss much in the interim.
- Laurell Hamilton’s site.
- Excerpt for Divine Misdemeanors.
- Here is my (slightly) longer review at Goodreads.
Shadow Kiss (A Vampire Academy novel, book 3) by Richelle Mead 6/24/10 Audiobook
Audiobook read by Khristine Hvam
This one was hard to review, because it was really well written, but I had a few issues with it that really affected my enjoyment with it.
First off, Rose drove me nuts. While she’s supposed to be strong and passionate, often times she came off more as self-centered and bullying.
Another issue that really bothered me was her relationship with Dimitri. If he were only a couple of years older than Rose, it wouldn’t be an issue for me. But, given his position with the Guardians, I figure he’s got to be older than her by more than that. It also really bothered me that he’s in a position of authority over her.
So, while I really like Richelle Mead’s writing, I don’t think this is a series that I’ll continue reading.
No Souvenirs (Diving in Deep series, book 3) by KA Mitchell 6/22/10
Loved this series! And, I hope that there will be more.
Jae Sun’s romance with Shane was a great read. I loved how Jae Sun opened up, especially after reading about him in Collision Course. (See mini-review below.) And, while Jae’s still sort of stiff at the end, he still grew, while not having a personality transplant. (Which was good, because I liked him the way he was.) One thing that I really liked about Jae was his dry sense of humor. He’d throw out these comments that would seem cranky or serious, and then it would become apparent he was messing with the person he was talking to. (Usually, Aaron, the hero from Collision Course.)
I also loved how Shane really put himself out there with Jae. Except for a BMU at the end, he was a really straight forward guy, which is exactly what Jae needed.
Double Play (Pacific Heat series, book 1) by Jill Shalvis 6/20/10
Oh, I can tell I’ll be reading a lot of Shalvis this summer! After enjoying the conclusion to the Wilder Adventures trilogy so much, I picked the up off my tbr, and LOVED this story.
This contemporary sports romance hit the right spot. It was fun, light, but didn’t skimp on (again) character growth. I LOVED Pace, and while Holly sometimes was a little quick to judge, I loved the consistency wrt her moral center. She didn’t always handle things in a way I agreed with, but it was right for her character.
Will be reading Slow Heat, book 2 very soon!
Vision in White (Bride Quartet, book 1) by Nora Roberts 6/19/10 Audiobook
Audiobook read by Emily Durante.
I’ve always been sort of lukewarm toward Nora Roberts. However, I enjoyed this book more than any other I’ve read. (Sea Swept is a close second, though.)
Carter was a great beta hero, and a refreshing change from the all alpha’s I’ve been reading lately. And, usually, I don’t buy the “I just don’t have time/I’m too haunted by my past” excuse to fight falling in love. But, with Mac (and her nightmare mother) it rang true.
I felt it a little hard at times to identify with the characters’ wealthy, privileged lifestyle (even while they undoubtedly worked hard in their wedding planning business), however, for the most part the story and the characters’ warmth and friendship made them relatable.
Winter’s Passage (The Iron Fey series, book 1.5) by Julie Kagawa 6/18/10
This was a nice bridge between books 1 and 2. Not a lot happens plot-wise, since it’s not a part of the main series, but it’s a good way to refresh one’s memory of what happened in book 1. It also brings the story to the opening of book 2.
I like that it really shows the difficult position Ash is in with Queen Mab, given his feelings for Meghan. I have a feeling he will be asked to make some hard choices in book 2. Can’t wait for it!
Collision Course (Diving in Deep series, book 2) by KA Mitchell 6/17/10
Boy, if you like angsty, character-driven m/m romances, this is the series for you. (I do, and it is for me!)
I loved Joey, Noah’s ex and best friend in Diving in Deep, and it was great to see him get his HEA.
This was an opposites attract story. Joey is out-going, slightly flaky, and big-hearted. Aaron is taciturn, rough around the edges, and commitment-phobic. Yet, appearances aren’t always what they seem, and I love seeing Joey settle down, and Aaron learn how to accept Joey into his life.
Pack Challenge (Magnus Pack series, book 1) by Shelly Laurenston 6/16/10
I’d been hearing about this series for ages, and when I finally got it, it stayed on my tbr for ages. But I’m so glad I finally read it!
The funny, sexy tone reminds me of Dragon, Actually (written under SL’s GA Aiken pen name). I’m not usually a “funny-paranormal” reader, but the blend of sass and humor really works for me.
Sara is a “take no shit” heroine, and that’s just perfect for alpha-to-be, Zach. Their friends and pack hinder their relationship as much as help it along, but they are also a hoot. I’m really looking forward to reading more of this series!
Diving in Deep (Diving in Deep series, book 1) by KA Mitchell 6/15/10
I love the childhood friends/friends younger sibling trope in romances, and this one really worked for me. What I liked about Diving in Deep is that Noah really struggles to be seen as more than Cam’s best friend’s “little brother”, and even when they become involved, Noah works hard to assert himself so that he doesn’t get swept aside by Cam’s tendency to control and care-take.
Very HOT, and if there hadn’t been significant character development and relationship angst, it might have been too much sex. (Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing.) lol. But, the substance was there, so it worked.
The Dead-Tossed Waves (companion to The Forest of Hands and Teeth) by Carrie Ryan 6/14/10 Audiobook
Audiobook read by Tara Sands.
This book wasn’t a true sequel, as it doesn’t continue the story from TFoHaT‘s narrator, Mary. However, the story picks up with Mary’s daughter, Gabry.
I love how the world is filling in, and seeing things through Gabry’s eyes makes some of the events and assumptions from book 1 new. Gabry’s sometimes a frustrating character, making poor and implusive decisions. But, some of them make sense, given her age/maturity, and that she’s given a chance to grow over the course of the story.
Shalador’s Lady (A Black Jewels Novel, sequel to The Shadow Queen) by Anne Bishop 6/10/10 Audiobook
Audiobook read by John Sharian.
The Black Jewels world was as compelling as ever. I loved seeing Cassie come into her own as a queen, and rebuild Shalador/Dena Nehele. However, I would have liked some more focus on Cassie and Gray’s relationship, which felt like a minor plotline in this book.
I listened to the audiobook, and while I could think of a couple of narrators I’d love to see read this series (Anne Flosnik and Claudia Black come immediately to mind), narrator John Sharian is really good with the voices of Saetan, Daemon and Lucivar.
The Well of Ascension (Mistborn trilogy, book 2) by Brandon Sanderson 6/8/10 Audiobook
Audiobook read by Michael Kramer.
I am so loving this fantasy trilogy. Vin is just coming into her power as a mistborn, and is now the defender of the new democratic monarchy of Luthadel. Of course, the danger is still coming at the crew from all sides, especially in the form of Elend’s father, Straff Venture.
The appearance of a new mistborn throws Vin into some major confusion. Can we say morally ambivalent and delicious twistiness? Love. It.
Instant Temptation (Wilder Adventures trilogy, book 3) by Jill Shalvis 6/7/10
Such a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. I think this was my favorite of the 3. Mostly because the story was so focused on Harley and TJ’s character development and their relationship.
I just love Jill Shalvis’ writing.
- Jill Shalvis’ site.
- Excerpt for Instant Temptation.
Skin Game (Skin series, book 1) by Ava Gray 6/5/10
I was worried that the hype of this book was making my expectations unrealistic. However, I should have remembered that I love Ann Aguirre’s (Ava Gray’s alter ego) writing.
Kyra and Reyes are both morally conflicted characters with major trust issues. Yet they quickly become protagonists that are easy to root for. Kyra is the total scrappy underdog who uses her gift of “borrowing” people’s talents to make a life for herself, and exact revenge on the man who had her father killed. And, Reyes was an awesome nurturing, alpha hero.
The storyline was completely original, the chemistry between Kyra and Reyes was HOT, and the action was suspenseful. So glad #2 in the series, Skin Tight just came out!
- Ava Gray’s site.
- Scroll down linked page for excerpt.
Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels series, book 4) by Ilona Andrews 6/1/10
I was really worried this book wouldn’t live up to my high expectations. Each book in this series has gotten better. And, this installment promised to take Kate and Curran’s relationship to the next level.
Boy, was I happy that it did satisfy those expectations and then some. I loved how, when obstacles came up, as much as Kate and Curran power-played (which was a total crack up), in the end they really do work great together, both to get the really scary bad guy and make their relationship work.
- Ilona Andrews’ site.
- Scroll down linked page for excerpt.
Benighted (UK title: Bareback) by Kit Whitfield 5/29/10
I wanted to like this book SO much, but after reading 300/957 pages (as configured for my ereader), I just didn’t buy into the story enough to continue.
I loved the premise of the book: weres are the majority of the population, humans are 2nd class citizens conscripted to police the violent results of were society. But, I never felt emotionally involved in this high concept story.
The Cinderella Deal by Jennifer Crusie 5/29/10 Audiobook
Audiobook read by Susan Boyce.
This was exactly I’ve come to expect from a Crusie contemporary: light, run read with a couple of laugh out loud moments and a free-spirited heroine. I really liked how opposites Daisy (a somewhat scattered free-spirit) and Linc (a somewhat uptight A-type personality) really worked at meeting in the middle, neither compromising their individuality nor taking a “my way or the highway” attitude.
Kitty Goes to War (Kitty Norville series, book 8 ) by Carrie Vaughn 5/28/10
Book to be released June 29, 2010. This ARC was given to me for review. Review will be posted at the end of the month.
Carrie Vaughn’s site.
- Excerpt for Kitty Goes to War.
The White Road (Nightrunners series, book 5) by Lynn Flewelling 5/27/10 Audiobook
Audiobook read by Adam Danoff.
Another great installment in the continuing adventures of Alec and Seregil. The way this story is structured, it’s actually the conclusion to the plotline begun in book 4.
Sebrahn’s existence and continued presence complicates Alec’s and Seregil’s lives, and their search to make a safe future for them all is what drives The White Road.
I love how A & S’s relationship continues to deepen and grow, and can’t wait for their next adventure.
Catching Fire (Hunger Games trilogy, book 2) by Suzanne Collins 5/24/10 Audiobook
Audiobook read by Carolyn McCormick.
What a complicated, suspenseful story. The plot moved so swiftly, that I didn’t realize the book was almost over till I saw I only had an hour of listening left.
Catching Fire deals with the fallout from Katniss and Peeta’s actions during the Hunger Games. And, if I wasn’t “Team Peeta” before, I surely am now.
- Suzanne Collins site.
The Reckoning (The Darkest Powers trilogy, book 3) by Kelley Armstrong 5/23/10
This was a great conclusion to The Darkest Powers trilogy. The entire trilogy was really good, but The Reckoning ended it on a high note, being the best of the 3 books in the story.
Chloe really grows over the course of the trilogy, and seems to come into her own in The Reckoning. For me, though, Derek steals the show. I love reading about this adolescent werewolf, and can’t help thinking about Clay (from KA’s related adult Otherworld series.)
Even if you don’t typically read YA, but are a fan of the Otherworld books, this trilogy is a great addition to Kelley Armstrong’s world.
Flesh and Fire (The Vineart War, book 1) by Laura Anne Gilman 5/21/10 Audiobook
Audiobook read by Anne Flosnik.
While I really enjoyed the world developed in Flesh and Fire, the story got sort of bogged down in the level of detail.
I typically enjoy complex world-building, especially in fantasy, but it was a case of too much of a good thing. I liked Jerzy’s story, and found him a sympathetic protagonist, but by the end of the book it felt like Flesh and Fire was merely setting the stage for the main story. And, unfortunately, I don’t know if I’ll be sticking around for book 2.
- Laura Anne Gilman’s site.
- “Browse Inside” Flesh and Fire.
- Audio excerpt of Flesh and Fire from Audible.
Hell Fire (Corine Solomon series, book 2) by Ann Aguirre 5/18/10
Hell Fire was a compelling and exciting read. I didn’t want to put it down, and was anxious to get back to it when I did have to stop reading.
I loved how Corine’s character developed, and the visit to her creepy hometown revealed so much about her.
Read my full review for Hell Fire.
In and Out (Men of Smithfield series, book 4) by LB Gregg 5/16/10
There were a lot of things I enjoyed in this book, but the standout for me was LB Gregg’s wonderful prose. I loved how she conveyed the strength of the feelings between Holden and Adam. There were a few lines that were so lovely, I had to read them twice.
Holden and Adam’s May-September romance really worked for me. There was an opposites-attract vibe going on, too, and yet the two men just complimented each other so well.
No Mercy (Mercy Gunderson series, book 1) by Lori Armstrong 5/15/10
I received No Mercy from Lori Armstrong as a part of my DABWAHA prize pack. I was intrigued by both the setting (rural South Dakota) and the protagonist (an Army sniper recently home from the Middle East).
I loved how Mercy’s still in the midst of dealing with her injuries and the aftereffects of her extended military service. And, the family drama she comes home to is no treat either. It all makes for an interesting backstory, and the murder mystery is also compelling.
In the “if you like” department, fans of Julia Spencer-Flemming’s Clare Fergusson series should pick this book up. It’s a winner!
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Book 1) and
Persepolis: The Story of a Return (Book 2)
Both books by Marjane Satrapi 5/15/10
These two graphic novels were my Bookclub’s May pick. Book #1 was a re-read for me. I was surprised at how much I’d forgotten over the years. Both books were excellent. The author’s story of life during (and after) the Iranian Islamic revolution was utterly fascinating, and the simple, stark artwork was a perfect vehicle for the story. At our next book club meeting, we will be discussing book 2 and watching the animated movie based on these books. I can’t wait!
The Sweet Scent of Blood (A Spellcrackers Novel, book 1) by Suzanne McLeod 5/13/10
I’d been wanting to read this for a while, so when it came out in mmpb (it was originally published in trade-size) I snapped it up. This was a very richly-detailed and dark urban fantasy. I love stories about the fae, and the author didn’t just stop with Genny, who is sidhe, but populated the book with brownies, trolls, satyrs and even some vamps and witches. The setting is modern day London, which was a perfect place for all the fantastic characters and events. Can’t wait to read book 2.
Excerpt for The Sweet Scent of Blood.
ePistols at Dawn by ZA Maxfield 5/10/10
LOVED this opposites-attract story. Both Jae, and investigative journalist, and Kelly, an agoraphobic writer have lots to hide, and do so behind online/virtual personas and pseudonyms. I love how events and their feelings for each other force them to reveal themselves to the other, both emotionally and physically.
The LA setting was just icing on the cake for me. I’ll be reading much more of ZA Maxfield in the future!
Excerpt for ePistols at Dawn. (at Samhain)
Captivate (Need Pixies series, book 2) by Carrie Jones 5/9/10
I’m really enjoying this YA series! Zara’s voice really comes through, and she’s tough, smart, and trying to deal with the Pixies in her rural Maine town. In Captivate she needs to make some hard choices about her future and how she will handle her boyfriend and the Pixie king who has shows up. I can’t wait to see where book 3 will take this story.
Trinity (de La Vega Cats series, book 1) by Lauren Dane 5/7/10
This new series is a “spin-off” from the Cascadia Wolves series, with some of the characters from CW playing a part. I enjoyed this shifter/ménage romance, though I was wishing I had been caught up on the previous series. (I so hate feeling like I’m missing information.) However, I love Lauren Dane’s writing, and was swept away by Jack, Galen, and Renee’s story.
Excerpt for Trinity.
Come Toy with Me by Cara Summers 5/5/10 AUDIOBOOK
This was an OK holiday-themed category romance. It was obvious that there were a number of previous books featuring different characters in the book, and (again!) I kept feeling like I was missing out when they showed up.
Dead in the Family (Southern Vampire series, book 10) by Charlaine Harris 5/5/10 AUDIOBOOK
Probably not the strongest book in the series, but Charlaine Harris still can write.
The events in the last book cast a shadow over Dead in the Family, but also, this story also feels darker in its own right.
The action wasn’t as involving as I usually find the stories in the series, and I felt frustrated with Sookie wrt her attitude toward Eric as the story unfolded. And, Eric…was very un-Eric.
I think I’m just going to look forward to the next book in the series and put this book down as one of the more minor installments.
Excerpt (pdf download) for Dead in the Family
Audiobook read by Johanna Parker.
Kitty’s House of Horrors (Kitty Norville series, book 7) by Carrie Vaughn 5/4/10
I always forget how much I enjoy this series between books. I wasn’t too sure about the premise (Kitty is roped into participating in a Real World meets Survivor type TV show), but it was a really suspenseful book. I also liked getting a closer look at some of the other supes in Kitty’s world. The book also nicely extended the larger story arc that has been going on for a few books. It looks like a showdown will be inevitable, and Roman (from book 6) will be back.
Can’t wait to read book 8!
Something About You by Julie James 5/2/10
This was a good book, but I found it really hard to relate to Cameron. I liked her, but she was a bit too perfect for me to completely connect with.
I can buy into a book with a brilliant, successful, beautiful heroine, but I think also I need something intrinsic to her —not circumstance (like Jack’s on-camera comments), but a personal quirk or flaw —to help me empathize (not just sympathize) with her.
The rest of the story was enjoyable, however, with some good suspense, and Jack was a lovely, flawed hero .
Excerpt for Something About You
Lord of the White Hell: Book 1 by Ginn Hale 4/29/10
Because this book isn’t going to be released until August, I will wait until then to write a detailed review. Suffice it to say, I loved it enough that I’m looking forward to re-reading it before I write that review.
The Better Part of Valor (Confederation series, book 2) by Tanya Huff 4/29/10 AUDIOBOOK
Space Opera is not a genre I typically read, but since I’ve enjoyed Tanya Huff’s other urban fantasy series (Blood series, Smoke series, The Keeper Chronicles) I already knew I liked her writing. She does a great job bringing Staff Sgt Torin Kerr’s adventures to life.
In the vein of Star Trek, a confederation of planets has banded together against the Others, a mysterious enemy. In TBPoV, Torin leads a band of Marines onto a Lost Dutchman-type ship to discover why it was abandoned in space.
Narrator Marguerite Gavin does an excellent job capturing Torin and the wide variety of aliens.
The Darkling Thrush by Josh Lanyon 4/25/10
I enjoyed the world in this spec fic by Josh Lanyon. However, I would have liked more insight into Septimus. His actions wrt Colin felt a little jarring and would have loved to see the emotions/romance between them filled out a little more.
However, I’m loving the fact that Josh Lanyon is writing more spec fic, and hope to see more in this genre by him.
Winner Takes All by Jenny Urban & Elizabeth Silver 4/27/10
A really well-written story about friends Dominic and Matt who like to engage in wagers that test Matt’s self-perception that he’s straight. When Matt’s company is in trouble, Dom offers him a wager that may change Matt’s opinion once and for all.
I really liked (and bought into) Matt’s struggle with how he saw himself and his relationship with Matt.
Excerpt for Winner Takes All.
Tales of the Otherworld (Otherworld anthology) by Kelley Armstrong 4/25/10
Most of these stories originally appeared on Kelley Armstrong’s site as free fiction. The proceeds from the book’s sale will be donated to a Canadian literacy organization.
This book adds further depth to her Otherworld series. The 2 original stories were my favorites, and I especially enjoyed the story of Clay and Elena’s meeting, courtship, and the momentous “bite”.
A Kiss Before the Apocalpyse (Rémy Chandler series, book 1) by Thomas E Sniegoski 4/27/10 AUDIOBOOK
This was an audiobook I accepted for review.
Read the review here.
Pride Mates (Shifters Unbound series, book 1) by Jennifer Ashley 4/22/10
I so wanted to like this book, but I ended up pretty lukewarm about it. I liked the idea of a “Shiftertown” and the complications a 2nd-class citizenship for the shifters would bring to the story. I’m also a sucker for an Irish hero. And, I really did enjoy Liam.
However, the narrative continually would show a scene, then explicate the “deeper significance” of it rather than allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions. I found this really annoying. Also, there was a big WTF scene for me that involved sex immediately following some killing. Though the bodies has just been removed, it still felt icky to me.
I’m still on the fence about if I’m going to give the next book in the series a try.
By Degrees by J.B. McDonald 4/18/10
A truly wonderful romance that really developed the characters of both Tim and Con. The book did not gloss over the issues that Tim was dealing with, nor did it take the easy route of “love heals all”. The book explored the development of Tim and Con’s relationship and really showed them working through their challenges. This was a wonderful friends to lovers story, and I’ll definitely be reading the companion book, In the Rough.
Excerpt for By Degrees.
Changes (Dresden Files, book 12) by Jim Butcher 4/18/10
This is Jim Butcher’s best book yet in this great series. I had to stop a couple of times while reading this just to admire his writing skills. He is the king of plotting.
This is a turning point in the series, and Harry is really put through the mill in this book. Just about every regular in the series makes an appearance and contributes to the story. I love seeing the growth in the characters, and a lot of on-going plotlines were resolved. Can’t wait for book 13, Ghost Story, but unfortunately I’ve got a year’s wait ahead of me.
Excerpt for Changes.
Switch by Megan Hart 4/17/10 AUDIOBOOK
Well written, but ultimately frustrating read. Megan Hart is so great at weaving an interesting story. However, I just really didn’t get Paige’s motivations with regards to the men in her life a lot of the time. I liked her character and the journey of growth she was going on, but it felt like she sent out so many mixed signals, especially to Austin and Eric, and showed little concern for how her actions would affect the people around her. Even the resolution to the story felt more like a “happy for now” since some of the issues in the relationship weren’t really resolved.
Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn trilogy, book 1) by Brandon Sanderson 4/15/10 AUDIOBOOK
I’ve been wanting to read this one since I read The Book Smugglers’ review and Brandon Sanderson’s comments that he had “two big ideas for the plot. The first was that of a heist story, like SNEAKERS or OCEAN’S ELEVEN involving a gang of gentlemen thieves who each had a distinctive magic power. I wanted to tell the story of how their different magics and abilities worked together for them to pull an incredible caper. The second idea was to write a story about a world where the good guys lost. I wanted to take the standard fantasy story I’d read a dozen times—that of a young peasant hero who went on a quest to defeat a Dark Lord—and turn it on its head.”
Though book 1 was quite long and can stand alone quite well, I still feel that it just scratched the surface of this story. I loved main character, Vin, a young thief who finds herself amid this group of thief/magicians. Will definitely get my hands on book 2 of the trilogy soon.
Mind Games (Book 1 of the Disillusionists trilogy) by Carolyn Crane
Read my review here.
- Excerpt for Mind Games.
Inland Empire (Nicky and Brandon series by James Buchannan
LYNX by Joely Skye
Silver Borne (Mercy Thompson series, book 5) by Patricia Briggs 4/3/10 AUDIOBOOK
Audiobook read by Lorelei King.
Boneshaker (The Clockwork Century series, book 1) by Cherie Priest 4/1/2010 AUDIOBOOK
Audiobook read by Kate Reading and Wil Wheaton.
A Local Habitation (October Daye series, book 2 ) by Seanan McGuire 3/24/10 AUDIOBOOK
Audiobook read by Mary Robinette Kowal.
Review to come soon!
Flirt (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #18) by Laurell Hamilton 3/24/10
What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss 3/22/10 Ebook
Pursuit by Karen Robards 3/20/10 AUDIOBOOK
Demon Angel (Guardians series, book 2) by Meljean Brook 3/19/10
March TBR Challenge book & March DIK Challenge book.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore 3/17/10 AUDIOBOOK
Audiobook read by a full cast.
Mind Fuck (The Administration series, book 1) by Manna Francis 3/12/10
Need by Carrie Jones 3/10/10
Audiobook read by Julia Whelan.
Lover Avenged (Black Dagger Brotherhood series, book 7) by JR Ward 3/8/10
Audiobook read by Jim Frangione.
In the end, I like what JRW did with the BDB storyline in Lover Avenged, and how it moved forward. I actually liked Rhev and Ehlena’s romance better than the ones in the last few books. However, the structure of the book let to much frustration for me. All the plotlines meant that it was a long time before I felt like I got to know the purported heroine of Lover Avenged, Ehlena. It really felt like the romance was spread much too thin, until the last 1/3 of the book.
I enjoy other (more uf) books with less romance, but this series cornerstone (next to the Brothers) is the relationship between the hero and heroine. I just wish it had been more prominent through the entire book.
Catch Me if You Can (Romano & Albright series, book 1) by LB Gregg 3/7/10
The Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgins. 3/3/10
Read review post here.
Kitty Raises Hell (Kitty Norville series, book 6) by Carrie Vaughn 2/28/10
Between Kitty Norville books, I always forget how utterly enjoyable this series is. I think its strength is Kitty herself. I love how she has grown (and continues to grow) from a werewolf, uncertain of her place in the world, to a more confident alpha.
I still wish there was more of Cormac. My heart aches for him (and Kitty) when she and Ben visit him. KRH features much more of Rick who is becoming one of my favorite vamps around. There are so many layers to that guy!
The cult of Tiamat plot and the appearance of Roman was enjoyably twisty. I can’t wait for the next book, Kitty Goes to War, due out in June 2010.
Aquamarine by Sara Bell 2/26/10 Ebook
A cute, sweet m/m sports romance. Friends to lovers, with family as a really nice supporting cast. Ford was wonderful as the “straight” friend who falls for out teammate/roommate Derek. My only complaint was that the sports end didn’t feel very realistic, wrt career paths for players and coaches given the copious amounts of time I spend listening to my guy talking about the college and pro football industry.
Shadows Return (Nightrunners series, book 4) by Lynn Flewelling 2/25/10 Audiobook
Audiobook read by Adam Danoff. (It was a bit of adjustment getting used to a new narrator after the 1st 3 books read by someone else.
I’m so sad that I’ve now caught up with this series! I was worried that I wouldn’t enjoy this book as much as the other ones given that according to the description Alec and Seregil spend much of the story apart. However, I was really caught up in the action, and their reunion was great.
I loved getting to see Plenemar society, and got a better understanding of the conflict between it and Skala.
Here’s my Nightrunners series post.
Can’t wait for The White Road‘s May 25, 2010 release.
Hue, Tint and Shade (Petit Morts, novelette 1 of 5) by Jordan Castillo Price 2/24/10 Ebook
I just love how JCP is able to create these empathetic, socially awkward characters that I can’t help but root for. Tommy is painfully shy, but wants to break out of his shell. Through the mysterious chocolatier, he meets Nathan, who brings color, excitement, and romance to his life.
The Iron King (The Iron Fey series, book 1) by Julie Kagawa 2/23/10 Ebook
Original YA with a wonderful take on the Fey. It was a great combination of familiar fae characters (Queens Titania and Mab, Puck, the Erl King) and new ones. I loved the story behind the origin of the Iron Fay, and Meghan was a wonderful heroine. Robbie was sweet, and the Winter Prince very broody and intense. I can’t wait to read more when book 2 comes out in August 2010.
Night Pleasures (Dark Hunter series, book 2) by Sherrilyn Kenyon 2/23/10 Audiobook
Audiobook read by Carrington MacDuffie.
It’s taken me a while to get back to this series, and I don’t know if I would have if it it hadn’t been in audiobook format. While I enjoyed this story for the most part I don’t think I’ll be working my way through the entire series. Kyrian was uber alpha and tough. Amanda was down to earth and reminded me of an old school heroine, ultra feminine and slightly clingy. I think there’s too much cheese factor for me to commit to the rest of the series. No matter the danger, they are always hyper aware of each other, wanting to jump each other’s bones no matter if the demon guy is about to get them. Just not for me. However, I think I’ll give this series 1 last try in the form of Night Play, which, when I reviewed Fantasy Lover last year, I remember some said was the best book in the series.
Archangel’s Kiss (Guild Hunter series, book 2) by Nalini Singh 2/19/10
Nalini Singh does it again with Archangel’s Kiss. I love getting to see the angel city. The originality of the series and the visual pictures her words make are just wonderful. I’m really enjoying where she is taking Elena in this series and how her relationship with Raphael is progressing.
Now, if only we can get Illium’s story soon!
She’s Got it Bad by Sarah Mayberry 2/19/10 Audiobook
Audiobook read by Zoe Hunter. Read the full review for this book here.
Sarah Mayberry is my favorite category author, and She’s Got it Bad is now my favorite Mayberry! She packs a lot into the relatively short format of a Blaze catergory. Yet, the development of Zoe’s and Liam’s relationship never feels rushed or contrived.
I really liked Zoe, who was a very unique romance heroine. Liam, like Zoe, has some issues and considerable history with Zoe. He rushes in playing the Alpha trying to “fix” her. I love that she fights him when he oversteps, but doesn’t turn down genuine help (like a job) that she really needs, when he makes a reasonable offer.
My only complaint is that while the audiobook narrator did an OK job, I wish the book had been read with an Australian accent given how firmly Sarah Mayberry’s books are set in that country. However, even this minor distraction did not take away from my overall enjoyment of this book.
Traitor’s Moon (Nightrunner series, book 3) by Lynn Flewelling 2/17/10 Audiobook
Audiobook read by Raymond Todd.
Seregil and Alec accompany Princess Klia (sp?) to Aurënen on a diplomatic mission. I loved seeing them as Talímenios (a committed same-sex couple) now, and how they are still getting used to their public “couplehood”. Both of them are adjusting. I also really like getting to see more of the Aurënfaie and learning more about Seregil’s past and the story behind his exile.
Love Under Siege (Brothers in Arms series, book 2) by Samantha Kane 2/14/10 Ebook
I love that Samantha Kane is really able to sell the love, romance, and emotion in her m/m/f books. Often in this genre there is an emotional imbalance between the characters, or 2 are the “main” relationship which doesn’t usually work for me as well. However, with the BiA series, there is a wonderful balance the the triads.
Stalking Darkness (Nightrunner series, book 2) by Lynn Flewelling 2/11/10 Audiobook
Audiobook read by Raymond Todd.
A couple of days after finishing Luck in the Shadows (book 1 in the Nightrunners series) I found that I couldn’t get Alec and Seregil out of my mind. I gave in and got Stalking Darkness eventhough my Audible points wouldn’t come in for another week. I was really glad I did.
Stalking Darkness WAS truly a dark tale. So much happens, I’m almost at a loss to sum it up in a brief mini-review. More is learned about the magic that resides both with the magicians of Skala (and Nysander in particular) and the necromancers of Plenimar. Alec and Seregil lead their double lives as Nightrunners and as bored society gadflies. Beka (Micum’s daughter) is now part of the Queen’s Horse Guard and fighting the war with Plenimar. All these disparate characters and elements come together in a compelling and tragic climax. Great stuff!
Don’t Look Back by Josh Lanyon 2/9/10 Ebook
Good romantic suspense about Peter, a museum director who has been falsely accused of embezzlement/theft from his work. I loved how (due to his amnesia) he is discovering what has happened to him as the reader does. Mike Griffin, the investigating officer is pissed off and out to nail Peter (ahem) for the crime. Isn’t he?
I love Mike’s alpha-ness. It’s clear that there’s more to his attitude than meets the eye, and it’s fun following Peter as he finds out what is really going on.
I Spy Something Bloody by Josh Lanyon 2/8/10 Ebook
February DIK Challenge book. Read full reivew here.
For me, what makes this story is the protagonist, Mark. A spy with what sounds like MI-6, he’s hoping for a second chance at love with Stephen, and the suspense from this situation is just as strong as it is from the espionage story line.
For all of Mark’s macho job and “danger-man” persona, he is so vulnerable, both physically and emotionally. His love for Stephen is out there for all to see (especially Stephen and his jealous new boyfriend, Bryce). Stephen had such gentleness and sensitivity yet still had a core of steel, determined not to be hurt once again by Mark. Seeing him slowly lower his defenses against Mark was great reading.
I already have the sequel I Spy Something Wicked loaded on my ereader and will be getting to it soon!
Hard to Hold (Hard to Hold trilogy, book 1) by Stephanie Tyler 2/8/10 Ebook
I felt a real void after finishing Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series, and set out to find more SEALs series. This one sure fit the bill! While I didn’t love it as much as I do the Brockmann, I did enjoy it quite a bit.
I really liked Isabelle, who was so strong and such a survivor after her abduction while doing humanitarian work in Africa. Jake was a great military alpha male whom I loved seeing connect with Isabelle. He was so aware of her and what she needed given what she was working through.
I’m looking forward to reading the other two in the trilogy, which tell Jake’s brothers’ stories.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium trilogy, book 1) by Stieg Larsson 2/7/10 Audiobook
Audiobook read by Martin Wenner.
A bit of a slow start, but once it built up some momentum was really a great story. Mostly this was due to the literary phenomenon that is Lisbeth Salander. She and Mikael Blomqvist investigate the 30 year old disappearance of a 16 year old girl, discovering that her fate may be intertwined with a number of mysterious deaths that have been going on for decades.
The investigation and Mikael’s story were interesting, but Lisbeth was the true draw here for me. She’s a young woman (early 20′s) who is under the guardianship of a victimizing opportunist, due to her early history of emotional instability. What happens with her is horrifying, and how she takes control of her life is utterly shocking and compelling.
I’m on the waiting list for the audiobook of book 2, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and I can’t wait for the release of TGwtDT movie, later this year.
Sympathy by Jordan Castillo Price 2/6/10 Ebook/Short Story
I really liked this sweet and touching story about Tony, a landscaper who is still dealing with the aftermath of an accident that took his father’s life and much of Tony’s health. He meets artist David, who is now living in the town’s “haunted house on a hill” and immediately they connect. There’s a lot going on emotionally for such a short (48 pgs) story. Very enjoyable.
Striking Sparks (A PsyCop novelette) by Jordan Castillo Price 2/4/10 Ebook
This “novelette” can be read after Criss Cross (PsyCop #2)
Two words. More. Crash.
Want more? OK. Vic and Jacob don’t make an appearance here, but as much as I love those guys, I didn’t miss them, since we get a closer look at Jacob’s ex (and the thorn in Vic’s side). We get a little more depth and insight into Crash, but here he serves as a foil to the closeted, engaged to be married Andrew, who shows up at the Tarot Card reader’s, downstairs from Sticks and Stones (Crash’s shop) looking for—something. He’s not sure what. What he finds is Crash.
This isn’t a romance with an hea. More of a sexy encounter. Fun reading!
Luck in the Shadows (Nightrunner series, book 1) by Lynn Flewelling 2/2/10 Audiobook
Audiobook read by Raymond Todd.
This book was slow to start, but once the characters were developed a little and the action gained momentum, it was a rollicking good listen. Since I’ve covered some of this book/series in my Nightrunners series post, I’m borrowing shamelessly from it.
Seregil, a young Aurënfaie (think elvish), is a wonderful character: witty and sharp, skilled in the ways of court and thievery, he surprises himself and those around him by taking Alec under his wing.
Alec is a 16 year old orphan who, until he is thrown in the prison cell where he meets Seregil, is all alone in the world and has been taking care of himself with his hunting skills and down to earth attitude.
Over the course of the first book, they come to rely on each other, often saving the other’s life. When Seregil is stricken by a mysterious magical illness, Alec proves that he is just as capable of taking care of him, and their dire situation.
This book is a great beginning to a wonderful fantasy series.
The Art of Dying (Partners in Crime #4) by Josh Lanyon and Jordan Castillo Price 2/1/10 Ebook
The two novellas, “Lovers and Other Strangers” by Josh Lanyon and “Body Art” by Jordan Castillo Price are both good, but Josh Lanyon’s “LaOS” just stole my heart. Finn, recovering from a near fatal car accident has returned to his remote New England home for the first time since he’d discovered his lover, Con cheating on him with his twin brother, Fitch.
I loved how Finn saw and interpreted the world around him through color (like the colors of paints). (My mother loved to oil paint, and I spent much time as a kid in art stores looking at the tubes with their wonderful, evocative names.) I wasn’t sure I’d warm up to Con, especially given his infidelity, but I did and then some.
JL packs a lot into this 129 pg novella and it is now one of my favorite stories by him.
The Demon’s Lexicon (The Demon’s Lexicon trilogy, book 1) by Sarah Rees Brennan 1/30/10
I’ve had this book on my tbb list since I’d read Ana’s rave review at The Book Smugglers. It provided a nice change for YA. I think I’ve been feeling weary of the “normal” girl dealing with the sexy preternatural boy story line that is so prevalent in YA uf/pnr. Brothers Nick and Alan are on the run from magicians who are after a charm their mother had stolen.
The book was good, with the story told in the 3rd person from Nick’s pov. This perspective gives us insight to Nick’s inability to empathize with others and his reliance on his older brother Alan, from whom he takes his cues on how he should be acting/reacting/feeling.
For most of the story, I thought that I knew what twist was coming down the road. I was a little right, and mostly wrong. For the last 1/4 of the story I repeatedly was surprised by what unfolded and kept exclaiming things like, “Oh my god!” and “Fuck me!”—I love it when that happens!
I can’t wait for book 2, The Demon’s Covenant, due out May 27, 2010.
Hot Pursuit (Troubleshooters series, book 14) by Suzanne Brockmann 1/29/10
Audiobook read by Patrick Lawlor and Renee Raudman.
Gilman has never been my favorite SB character, and I think by the end of Hot Pursuit, I didn’t feel like he’d grown enough to make it to “hero” status. However, what I love about this series is that I know I can trust that he will continue to show character growth as the series continues.
I did really like Jen, however. She had her own issues, but didn’t let them get in the way. I’m really hoping for more of her (and Gillman, even) in the next book.
The suspense story line was really good, and I loved having some extra focus on Sam and Alyssa.
Now that I’ve finally caught up with the series, it kills me to think I’m going to have to wait for an entire year for Izzy’s book. He’s one of my favorite characters in this series, and I hope his story is a good one, especially with Maria (that was unexpected!) entering the picture and complicating things.
Read a complete review, here.
The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, book 1) by JRR Tolkien 1/26/10
I took Ana and Thea up on one of their Book Smugglers’ Guest Dares. We agreed on my reading The Fellowship of the Ring, because it is a classic that I’ve long avoided reading. Head on over to The Book Smugglers to see what I thought.
The Dark Divine by Bree Despain 1/25/10
Audiobook read by Eileen Stevens.
Sunshine by Robin McKinley 1/21/10
January 2010 Re-Read Challenge book.
Audiobook read by Laural Merlington.
OK, I STILL have plans to write this (very overdue) review. I love this story of baker, Rae and vampire Constantine. Robin McKinley deftly shows their growing relationship without ever forgetting that vampires are monsters.
I wish that there was more of Rae and Con’s story, and hope (in vain) that Robin McKinley will one day write a sequel.
Dancing in the Moonlight (Cowboys of Cold Creek series, book 5) by RaeAnn Thayne 1/21/10
January 2010 TBR Challenge book.
Read my review here.
This was a really enjoyable category that was part of Harlequin’s 60th celebration. I loved the unique heroine (Latina war vet), Maggie, and the real life issues she and beta hero, Jake deal with upon her homecoming.
Camp Hell (PsyCop series, book 5) by Jordan Castillo Price 1/18/10 Ebook
January 2010 DIK Challenge book.
Review my review here.
I’m sad to be caught up on this series, because I just can’t get enough of psychic Vic, and his hunky “stiff” (not like that, but meaning lacking in psychic abilities!) boyfriend, Jacob. I thought Camp Hell was the best yet.
U is for Undertow (Kinsey Millhone series, book 21) by Sue Grafton 1/13/10
Audiobook read by Judy Kaye.
I am in awe of Sue Grafton’s ability to keep this series interesting with Kinsey continuing to grow as a character. Here’s what I said about UifU a couple of weeks ago:
“U is for Undertow kept me so riveted, that I suddenly realized I was at the book’s climax. I hadn’t thought once to glance at my iPod to see where I was in the book during hours of listening. After 21 books in the Kinsey Millhone series, Sue Grafton has been able to keep this series feeling fresh, with interesting mysteries and character growth that makes Kinsey one of my favorite P.I.s.”
Dark of Night (Troubleshooters series, book 14) by Suzanne Brockmann 1/12/10
Audiobook read by Patrick Lawlor and Renee Raudman.
I enjoyed this installment, mostly for Dave and Sophia. Decker was a big part of this story, and he’s never been one of my favorites. I have little patience for self-absorbed heroes eaten up by self pity, and Decker has spent most of the series being one of those heroes. I wasn’t expecting the heroine he wound up with, and I actually have liked her in the series, but this pairing was an awkward fit for me.
However, even with these quibbles, Suzanne Brockmann is a great storyteller, and I’d read the phone book if she wrote it.
Midwinter of the Spirit (Merrily Watkins series, book 2) by Phil Rickman 1/6/10
Audiobook read by Emma Powell.
Still loving this unique series. Merrily, an Anglican vicar of a small rural parish near the Welsh border, lives with her teenage daughter and solves mysteries of a supernatural bent. This sounds like it should be a cosy, but it has more in common with a psychological thriller than it does with Miss Marple.
In Midwinter of the Spirit, Merrily accepts a position with the deliverance ministry, investigating paranormal cases, and performing exorcisms, when necessary. Church politics, sexism, satanic practices, and teen/parent angst all play a part in this excellent story.
Change of Heart by Mary Calmes 1/3/10 Ebook
This m/m werepanther romance really sounded up my alley, but it turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag. While I enjoyed the general story of fated mates, the 1st person narrative by Jin was a little harder for me to enjoy. Early on in the book, I noticed he often described himself as “amazing”, it kept throwing me out of the book. I liked Alpha, Logan much better, though I wish he struggled with the fact that his mate was male at least a tiny bit (until Jin, he was straight).
Secrets (PsyCop series, book 4) by Jordan Castillo Price 1/2/10 Ebook
I’ve been gobbling up this series, and it’s been consistently good. I love seeing Vic’s and Jacob’s relationship progress, and Vic is really struggling with the necessary shifting of boundaries one must do in a long term relationship.
The title, Secrets, really says a lot about the overall theme in this story. Everybody is keeping secrets in this one, and issues of trust, honesty and public/private space all come in to play. I like that we get some new insight into Jacob, and he’s a little less perfect and a little more flawed. (That’s a good thing!)
Tempest Rising (Jane True series, book 1) by Nicole Peeler 1/1/10
This was an excellent book with which to start my year! I’d really been looking forward to this new series about a selkie woman, Jane True, who lives in a remote part of the NE coast. There was a lot of originality here, with interesting takes on a variety of preternatural creatures.
I love Tempest Rising‘s cover art, with its manga sensibility. Everything on the cover has significance to the story. I kept flipping to the cover as I read. Check out Sharon Tancredi’s site to see some more of her really cool art.
I can’t wait for book 2, Tracking the Tempest, which will be out July 1, 2010. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for more Anyan!