Saturday, January 31, 2009

What I Read in January '09

"Shadow of the Moon" from Dead After Dark by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Veil of Midnight by Lara Adrian
Midnight Rising by Lara Adrian
The Spymaster's Lady by Joanna Bourne
Stranger in my Arms by Lisa Kleypas
To Wed a Scandalous Spy by Celeste Bradley
Talk Me Down by Victoria Rahl
The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander
A Poisoned Season by Tasha Alexander
Wild and Hexy by Vicki Lewis Thompson
Lover Enshrined by J. R. Ward
Lover Unbound by J. R. Ward
Lover Revealed by J. R. Ward
Midnight Awakening by Lara Adrian
Kiss of Crimson by Lara Adrian
Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn
Fire and Ice by Julie Garwood
Running Hot by Jayne Ann Krentz
Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
Love is Blind by Lynsay Sands
And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander
Fallen by Claire Delacroix
Whisper No Lies by Cindy Gerard
Out of this World by Jill Shalvis
Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
Simply Magic by Mary Balogh
Simply Love by Mary Balogh
Murder Game by Christine Feehan
Simon Says by Lori Foster
Fanning the Flame by Kat Martin
One Night with a Prince by Sabrina Jeffries
Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh
Simply Unforgettable by Mary Balogh
The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer
Simply Perfect by Mary Balogh
Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas
(Total: 37)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

All the Lovers of J. R. Ward

I am finally caught up with this series. Except for the Insider's Guide. My favorite was Lover Awakened (Zsadist). Close runner-up was Lover Unbound (Vishous). Least favorite was Lover Enshrined (Phury). I didn't like Dark Lover the first time I read it but I may have to give it another chance. Lover Revealed was good and I liked that Butch was turned. I like the way she's developing the new generation: John Matthew, Blaylock, and Qhuinn. I was really hoping that John Matthew would get a set of pipes with his change. Brought back Tohrment too. Since the next book is Lover Avenged I figured it would be about Tohr, but it's Rehvenge instead. It'll be hardback too. Not crazy about that but it won't matter much. 

Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl

I'm not sure if I've ever read about a hornier woman than Molly in Talk Me Down. I guess it's good then that she has a job that she can use all that energy for creative endeavors (writing naughty romance novels). Or something like that. The thing I was impressed with was she had been writing these books for ten years and never told anyone. Not her family, boyfriends, or friends; nobody but her editor knew. Of course, the one person she wants most hates scandal, and so there you have one of the main plot points. How do you tell someone a secret like that when you know it will make them run for the hills. Dunno. Anyhoo, I liked this one but found it to be predictable. Not that that is always a bad thing. :)

The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer

I can admit when I am wrong. I finally finished this one and enjoyed it. I am so very glad that Sophy doesn't live in my house. This one was much more enjoyable than The Quiet Gentleman. I will say, though, that it bothered me a little bit that the main romance occurred between two first cousins. Happy might they be, it was still a little weird. I will have to endeavor to read more of Ms. Heyer's books. I think I am getting used to the exclamation points. 

Monday, January 19, 2009

Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn

I finally managed to sit down and read Silent in the Sanctuary. I have been gazing longingly at this book for days. I started it last night around 8 p.m. and powered on through until 2:30 a.m. I'm a little tired today but it was worth it. Sanctuary picks up six months after Silent in the Grave ends; Lady Julia is on vacay in Italy with her brothers Plum and Lysander (who named the children in this family?) when they receive a summons to return home. It appears that Lysander up and married an italian woman and Father isn't pleased. So, they go back to England with Alessandro, a friend of the brothers and hopeful suitor for Lady Julia, only to discover that Nicholas Brisbane is staying with the family for a house party and he has brought his fiance with him. Shortly afterward, Lady Julia's cousin Lucy is found standing over the dead body of the local church's curate, holding a bloody candlestick. Brisbane and Lady Julia are charged with launching an investigation of the murder. Obviously, these two don't work well together - he gives orders and makes demands and she ignores them.  Their romance is still at an impasse even though they are both mightily aware of the other (Brisbane is as disturbed as she is to find the other at the March family estate). By the end, the mystery is solved and the framework for the next book, Silent on the Moor, is laid.

As much as I'm looking forward to Moor I may have to put off reading it for a while. It will probably be another year before the next one and that will be too long to wait. We'll see. As for Sanctuary, I loved it. It didn't have the humor of the first book, but that's ok. Murder isn't very funny. Julia and Brisbane grow closer but not too close. We learn more about his backstory (namely the Mariah Young secret). He is still obstinate and close-mouthed and Julia is astonished by his choice in his future wife. Raybourn keeps some of the characters from the first book (but not too many) and expands the family. Given that Moor is set in Yorkshire, I'm not sure how she will manage to flesh out even more of the family, but maybe that is for the fourth book and so on. There are still several March siblings out there for us to meet. 

Raybourn has an interesting side plot going on involving Brisbane and Julia's sister, Portia. I'd be pretty pissed if I were Julia but as Portia is a lesbian, I guess there's not much to worry about. :) Julia keeps evolving in this book (as she should - it would be dreadfully boring is she didn't, wouldn't it?). She is becoming one of my favorite characters to read. And I love Brisbane; he reminds me of Jericho Barrons from KMM's Fever series. Dark, violent, and mysterious. Acting untouchable and above everything but with a jealous streak and a strong protective nature. Yum. Write faster, Mrs. Raybourn!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Krentz and Garwood

I'm lumping these two together because they're in the same genre and have similar writing styles. In fact, if Krentz didn't add the paranormal to her books, they would be hard to tell apart. IMHO, Krentz writes more interesting books. With the exception of her Jayne Castle books; the futuristic stuff wasn't too hot. 

Speaking of hot, Running Hot was one of her better ones. The newest one in her Arcane Society series, she revisits Luther, the bodyguard who uses a cane and doesn't carry a gun. He appears in Sizzle and Burn. Mostly, I just remember that he liked to eat. I think. Anyhoo, Luther ends up working with Grace Renquist in Hawaii. Predictably, they end up together and fight the evil organization, Nightshade. I have a feeling the next book set in this century in this series will focus on Fallon Jones, head of J&J. There was a lot of personal conversations with him. His character is usually as tight as a clam. I enjoyed this book, no matter how this post sounds. The next one in the series will probably be an Amanda Quick story.

Garwood's Fire and Ice was also one of her better ones but it wasn't as good as Running Hot. Her last one was a historical romance, set in Britain. This one is a contemporary romance, set in Chicago and Alaska. A character from The Murder List (I'm pretty sure I haven't read this one but it feels very familiar) named Sophie Rose is a journalist with a famous father. A famous, criminal kind of father. He's a Robin Hood of sorts, in that he steals from morally and/or socially irresponsible people who have gained their fortunes by walking all over other to get it. He's periodically wanted by the FBI and Sophie loves him. She also has made herself financially independent of him and is trying to live a normal life. Her best friend, Regan, who is the female protagonist in List introduces her to Jack MacAlister, her husband's FBI agent partner. Makes for an interesting future relationship, no? There is also a mystery involved and that is where Alaska comes into the picture. Sounds very unpleasant there. I like winter but I also like not losing my toes to frostbite. This book was ok, not great, but enjoyable. The next one will most likely pair up the third friend, Cordie, with Regan's brother Aiden. I have no idea when either one of these author's next books will be out. End of the year, most likely.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Historical everything

Lately I have been obsessed with historical fiction. Romances, in particular, but now I think I am embarking on a whole new ball of yarn? Wax? Whatever the proper phrase may be, I have Julia Quinn to blame. And Deanna Raybourn as well. Reading Silent in the Grave last weekend has led me to Tasha Alexander, C. S. Harris, and Rhys Bowen, for starters. Not only am I combining the fabulousness of the time period, but add some romance and a murder mystery and presto, fantabulous fiction. I wanted to start Silent in the Sanctuary as soon as I got my grubby hands on it, but it isn't going to happen until tomorrow afternoon at the earliest. When I sit down to read that book, I don't want to be bothered. I want a solid chunk of hours in which I can sit on my ass and do nothing but immerse myself in a book. I hate the telephone. Having to put down my book and do things like cook dinner, let the cat in or even pee pisses me off. So Sanctuary will have to wait because I babysit my nephew tomorrow (I adore him) and I can't start it tonight because there is no way I will finish it by the time I have to go to bed and I certainly won't be able to sleep with it unfinished in my mind. 

Enough bitching. As I was saying (or was going to say), historical mysteries are wonderful. Or at least the well-written ones are. Tasha Alexander's And Only to Deceive is so good so far, which is about a hundred pages in. It's breaking my heart also; a widow who didn't really know her late husband is now finding out that he loved her enough to have Renoir paint her portrait, actually loved her the first time he first saw her. God. Talk about regrets. This is the first book in a series and I am very interested to see what will happen later. Duh.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Rock the vote!

I know that of late my blog hasn't shown much in the way of urban fantasy since I started it but trust me, it's a big 
chunk of what I read. Since it's January and new books by my fave UF writers are coming out in the coming months, 
they will definitely be making an appearance. Right now though, Urban Fantasy Land has their Readers Choice Awards
going so hop on over there and vote for your favorites. 
There are prizes too :)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Out of this World by Jill Shalvis

Oh, Ms. Shalvis, you let me down with this one. I so enjoyed Get a Clue that I was really looking forward to Out of this World. The premise: an L.A. artist inherits a B&B in Alaska of all places, and she drags her best friend's brother up there to scope it out and decide what to do about the place. She also then realizes that her BF's brother is a hot little number (which she, of course, never noticed in all the hours they've spent together) and is now having difficulty keeping her hands to herself. Then, they arrive at Hideaway (the B&B), get struck by lightning while lost in the woods, meet aliens and other ridiculousness. This was a frustrating and annoying book and by the end, I didn't care if Rachel and Kellan ended up together or not. I'm just glad it's over.

More on Georgette Heyer...

OK. I finished The Quiet Gentleman a little while ago and here's what I thought: it should not have been classified as a romance but a mystery. The majority of the book is focused on the mystery of who is trying to kill Lord St. Erth. The so-called romance was thrown in at the end as something of an afterthought. I know I'm used to today's fiction, where subtlety is a lost art or at least it is when compared to what I think of as literature: classic fiction that was printed way before I was born but most of the time I was thinking "Come on already!"  I was a hundred pages in and was still waiting for something to happen beyond the dowager bitching about, well, everything. I stuck with it and finished it and was relieved when I did. And don't even get me started on the exclamation points.

The Grand Sophy is better but Sophy didn't show up until Chapter Three. Two long (and they were long) chapters of exposition and character introduction. I'm hoping I can keep with this one long enough to finish it but my patience/interest is wearing thin. I'm sorry to disappoint all those Georgette Heyer fans out there; I'm sure I will find the Heyer book to make me fall in love with her but I doubt either of these are going to do it. 

Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn

Hoo boy. I have no words. Wait a minute...OK. This book was awesome! Almost too good. I first heard about it on The Thrillionth Page, where the first line was quoted: 

"To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husbands dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor." 

I knew immediately that I had to read this book. Luckily for me, my library was able to get it and the sequel, Silent in the Sanctuary, which I will definitely pick up tomorrow. I may even buy a copy to have for myself. The third book, Silent on the Moor, will be out March 1.

Lady Julia Grey's husband Edward collapses during a dinner party in their home, goes into convulsions, and later dies. A week later, Nicholas Brisbane shows up to tell her that he believes her husband was murdered. They have words/insults and she throws him out. A year later, she finds evidence that Brisbane was telling the truth and seeks him out. They proceed to investigate Edward's death together, growing closer the whole time. 

Most likely to help preserve the tension and storyline, the romance aspect of the story was left hanging. That's fine. No need to rush it :) Also, this book was funny. The Ghoul & "It speaks." in particular were my favorites. 

When I find books like this I usually feel two emotions: anger (I can't believe I have never heard of this author!) and joy (think of Etta James' At Last - At last my love has come along - a little sappy, I know, but reading great books makes me so happy). And God help my poor husband if he makes the mistake of asking me what I'm reading - before I know it he has that glazed-over look to his eyes and I know I lost him a while back. :) I so can't wait to read the next one to find out what happens. :)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward

I'm a big believer in reading books in order (lately I keep starting books only to find out they are not the first but third of six, Meljean Brook's Demon Moon in particular). I hate missing stuff and not knowing what's going on. I've heard so many good things about this series that I figured I better read them. So, I read the first book, Dark Lover, a while ago. I didn't care for it. I also am a bit of a prude so I had a hard time going to the bookstore and buying books with the word Lover in the title (kind of like buying condoms or tampons). Dark Lover was okay; I thought Wrath was a tyrant and Beth got on my nerves. I thought the names of the male characters was silly and didn't get why they listen to gangsta rap (can't stand the stuff). Months later, I'm still not sure why I picked up the second book, Lover Eternal. My main drive in reading books (especially series) is that I have to know what happens and I liked Rhage in the first book and was intrigued with his curse. He reminded me of Dageus from KMM's books and Paris from Gena Showalter's books but with a twist. What kind of beast would he become if he lost control? I also wanted to see the redemption of Zsadist (I bet that was a bitch to type over and over). Zsadist was as bad as they come - nasty, freaky-looking and superviolent. Lover Awakened is my favorite so far. Bella is a perfect match for Zsadist. Butch and Marissa are up next in Lover Revealed.

Simply Perfect by Mary Balogh

This book was wonderful. It made me run out to the library and get the ones that came before it. This was the final book in what Mary Balogh's website call the "Simply quartet." Simply Unforgettable, Simply Magic and Simply Love are the others in the quartet. They are about teachers at Miss Martin's School for Girls in Bath, England. Simply Perfect is about Miss Martin, a thirty-five-year-old headmistress spinster. She is headed to London to deliver two girls who are to be governesses. She abhors the ton, dukes in particular, so it only makes sense that she would meet and fall for a marquess who is heir to a dukedom. Joseph, the marquess, is the father of an illegitmate daughter and is also expected to marry one of the coldest fish I have ever seen in the historical romance genre thus far (as I have read, which isn't far). While far from perfect I very much enjoyed it and plan to read many more by this author.

The Devil's Due by Jenna Black

The Devil's Due is the third installment in Jenna Black's Morgan Kingsley series. Morgan is asked to look into the possession of a young man who belongs to a demon-hating organization. Was it voluntary or by force? Morgan's relationship with Adam progresses - are they friends or enemies? Morgan's demon Lugh pushes the boundaries of their alliance and tries to force her into submission. Morgan also discovers that the demons have been continuing their work to create more compatible hosts and have succeeded. This book was better, I thought, than the second. Morgan considers some of the demons around her to be friends while her relationship with Brian starts to weaken. I personally would have no problem with Brian going bye-bye; I don't think he's the one for Morgan. Nice guy but not special enough. Wouldn't it be interesting if he ended up being possessed? I guess I'll have to wait until the end of July to find out. Speak of the Devil is released on July 28.

Black Magic Woman by Justin Gustainis

This was one of the awesomest (I am aware that's not a word) books of 2008. You start reading it and you think it's going to be like a Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden book...but it's not. You might think that there will be a romance between Quincey Morris and Libby Chastain...but there isn't. It was just different than anything else I have read from the urban fantasy genre. Cool story, very cool characters, cool backstory (Quincey's family), and kick-ass witchcraft. Read this book! The next book in the series, Evil Ways, is out now. Read it too!

Georgette Heyer

In light of what I said earlier about historical romances I decided to go back and read the queen of them all: Georgette Heyer. My local library only had a few titles so I picked The Quiet Gentleman. I'm about 100 pages in and I'm enjoying it with one exception...Every other sentence ends with an exclamation point! (ha ha)

When J. K. Rowling was halfway through the Harry Potter series I read a review by Stephen King. He thought the books were great, with one exception: adverbs. Every line of dialogue was described (?) by an adverb. If you've read the books you know what I mean. I think Ms. Heyer is using her exclamation points much like Ms. Rowling uses her adverbs; they are distracting, not detrimental to the story. Hopefully, I can get past the extraneous punctuation and get to the good stuff later on. :)