Thursday, December 31, 2009

Books Read in December 2009

Fired Up by Jayne Ann Krentz (C+)
Dream a Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (A)
Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsale (B)
Seize the Fire by Laura Kinsale (B+)
Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale (A+)
Three Little Secrets by Liz Carlyle (A)
Two Little Lies by Liz Carlyle (B+)
One Little Sin by Liz Carlyle (B+)
The Marriage Spell by Mary Jo Putney (A-)
Heart of Courage by Kat Martin (B-)
Heart of Fire by Kat Martin (B+)
Heart of Honor by Kat Martin (B)
Royal's Bride by Kat Martin (B)
Curse the Dawn by Karen Chance (A)
Dying Bites by D.D. Barant (B+/A-)
Playing with Fire by Gena Showalter (B+)
Stalking the Angel by Robert Crais (A-)
Hidden Honor by Anne Stuart (B)
This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (A but maybe also D)
Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier (A-)
Hot Pursuit by Suzanne Brockmann (B+)
Night Shadow by Cherry Adair (B+)
Night Secrets by Cherry Adair (C)
Night Fall by Cherry Adair (A)
White Heat by Cherry Adair (B)
The Mercenary by Cherry Adair (B)
On Thin Ice by Cherry Adair (A-)
Out of Sight by Cherry Adair (A)
In Too Deep by Cherry Adair (B+)
Hide and Seek by Cherry Adair (B+)
Kiss and Tell by Cherry Adair (A)
Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (B+)
Born of Ice by Sherrilyn Kenyon (B+)
The Monkey's Raincoat by Robert Crais (A)
Born of Fire by Sherrilyn Kenyon (A)
Born of Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon (A-)
Echo Burning by Lee Child (A)
Untraceable by Laura Griffin (paused)
The Watchman by Robert Crais (A-)
Deep Kiss of Winter by Kresley Cole and Gena Showalter (dnf)
Child of Fire by Harry Connolly (A-)
Crazy For You by Kate Angell (B)

(December total: 40, 2009: 442)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

New to me in 2009 & what's coming in 2010

Looking back through my 2009 book diary, I just wanted to make note of those authors that were new to me this year. I'm talking about writers that have doing what they do for more than one year. A good example from last year would be Diane Mott Davidson. When I told my grandmother last year that I had started reading Davidson's books, her reaction was along the lines of "You dummy. I've been telling you to read her books for years!" I also got that reaction several years back when I "discovered" Robert B. Parker. OK.

Top Ten of 2009

This is a list of my favorite things from 2009. I'm trying to keep this list limited to new stuff as compared to stuff I discovered in 2009 but it is difficult. I know it's shocking but this list is mostly made of books *gasp* but since most of the movies that came out this year were lame what do you expect? This list is also in no special order...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dying Bites by D.D. Barant

This was one weird book. Here's the blurb, once again from (also the back cover):

Introducing the bold new Bloodhound Files series—and a novel that will knock you out of this world…
Her job description is the “tracking and apprehension of mentally-fractured killers.” What this really means in FBI profiler Jace Valchek’s brave new world—one in which only one percent of the population is human—is that a woman’s work is never done. And real is getting stranger every day…
Jace has been ripped from her reality by David Cassius, the vampire head of the NSA. He knows that she’s the best there in the business, and David needs her help in solving a series of gruesome murders of vampires and werewolves. David’s world—one that also includes lycanthropes and golems—is one with little knowledge of mental illness. An insane serial killer is a threat the NSA has no experience with. But Jace does. Stranded in a reality where Bela Lugosi is a bigger box office draw than Bruce Willis and every full moon is Mardi Gras, Jace must now hunt down a fellow human before he brings the entire planet to the brink of madness. Or she may never see her own world again…

I finished reading it a few days ago and I'm still digesting it. Not sure what grade to give it either: did I love it or was it just okay. Read on and out for spoilers :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thoughts at one a.m.

The special effects on the Ghost Whisperer are quite cheesy. Especially for a prime time CBS tv show that been around for several years. SyFy original shows do a better job than the folks on the Ghost Whisperer. Dressing little girls like the girl from The Ring and popping spirits in and out of a scene just does not cut the mustard. I resisted watching this show because I figured it was schmaltzy crap tv - I was right! Jamie Kennedy being a regular cast member closed the deal. I saw an episode the other night - I was bored, there was nothing else on tv and for some reason I didn't have a book in my hands. It was right after her husband had died and then appropriated some other dude's body instead of going into the light. And he didn't even remember her! But he ends up living in her backyard or whatever. Get some better writers! Gack. There's more compelling programming on Nick Jr.

Now that I have a little more free time, instead of cleaning my house I will be working to update the release date list. I've been pretty lazy about that one recently and have been using my wishlist on BookMooch to keep track of what's coming out and when. Posting some more might happen too. We'll see :)

This past weekend and continuing into tomorrow and possibly Wednesday, I've been plowing through my Cherry Adair stash. What a treat she is! They're perfect: about 300 pages so they're read pretty quickly; plenty of humor and steamy romance though I've been skimming through a lot of those scenes since I'm now on book eight, they're all pretty similar; the characters are pretty likeable (Lucas Fox in Night Secrets is mighty irritating). Series like these with covert ops and counterterrorism organizations are usually good for a quick thrill and a decent whirlwind romance. I'm interested in what happens in Night Shadow, the last of my Adair pile and her last release, since I just read The Mercenary last night and Alex Stone was a background yet integral player in that one and is the main player in this one.

Child of Fire by Harry Connolly

Harry Connolly's first urban fantasy novel is pretty damn good. I picked this one up at my local Barnes & Noble one day during a retail therapy (books) session. The cover is interesting, there was a rec from Jim Butcher and the plot just sounded cool. Here's the blurb from Barnes &
Ray Lilly is living on borrowed time. He’s the driver for Annalise Powliss, a high-ranking member of the Twenty Palace Society, a group of sorcerers devoted to hunting down and executing rogue magicians. But because Ray betrayed her once, Annalise is looking for an excuse to kill him–or let someone else do the job.

Unfortunately for both of them, Annalise’s next mission goes wrong, leaving her critically injured. With the little magic he controls, Ray must complete her assignment alone. Not only does he have to stop a sorcerer who’s sacrificing dozens of innocent lives in exchange for supernatural power, he must find–and destroy–the source of that inhuman magic.
Generally, if I see a blurb from Jim Butcher on the cover of a new author/series, I'll buy it. Kinda like the USDA stamp on beef. I know, I know, they don't usually do it for free and there's no guarantee that it really means anything (i.e. Stephen King recommends everything these days) but the man who created Harry Dresden hasn't steered me wrong yet.

Ray Lilly, our hero, isn't really like Harry Dresden. He's an ex-con who pissed off a seriously badass woman who wants him dead yesterday. To atone for his sins, he agrees to become Annalise's (the badass) "wooden man" and accompanies her on her current mission. He has no idea what a "wooden man" is or where it is that they are going. He has no money of his own, absolutely none, and no idea what she is looking for in a small town in the Pacific Northwest but he gets the feeling that there is definitely something awful happening when he witnesses a child bursting into flame at a rest stop on the way. The parents act like nothing happened and they have no knowledge of their child dying right in front of them. WTF!?! It just gets stranger from there: a toy factory in an idyllic little town, more children spontaneously combusting into worms, fire-spewing Stepford types, and werewolves. Ray's boss gets injured and he's left with the heavy lifting. Armed with only one spell (did I mention there was magic?) and his wits, Ray needs to find out just what the hell is going on.

The resolution of this book gives Ray Lilly a purpose: he wants to keep working for the Twenty Palace Society. Resourceful and smart, Ray rises above his past and hopes to redeem himself. His past kinda comes full circle and I can't explain that without spoiling what happens. Sorry :) I can't wait to see what happens in the next book, Game of Cages, out sometime next year.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Private Demon by Lynn Viehl

Book two in the Darkyn series focuses on Thierry Durand, a Darkyn that was tortured by the Brethren, betrayed by his wife/mate, and (you guessed it) horribly disfigured. Alex operates on him and restores him to like new condition, including rebuilding his legs and feet. Understandably Thierry has suffered a psychotic break from reality and manages to break out of Michael's fortress/mansion outside New Orleans, heading for Chicago to find the perps who almost killed one of Alex's other patients. He ends up completely obsessed with Jema Shaw, sickly curator for her family's museum who ends up being Thierry's dinner one evening after work. In an alley no less! Jema lives with her mother and their physician in a big ass mansion next door to Valentin Jaus, another one of these poor Darkyn bastards and who will get one of his own books later down the line. Jaus has been in love with Jema for years but has never made a move because she has a very brittle form of diabetes and fears that he will hurt her. Snooze you lose, man :) As is usually the case, there is evil afoot and someone wants to off Jema. Big surprise.

Alex and Michael's subplot continues to grow in this book as well. Actually, that subplot is the real reason this series moves along and is the best part about it. It certainly is the reason I keep reading them. The romances are strange, almost Christine Feehan strange (I do not understand her Carpathian novels - why not just write about cavemen dragging their women around by their hair?). So far I've read books 1-6 in the Darkyn series and Shadowlight, book one in the Kyndred series, and with the exception of Evermore, book five, I don't think I've enjoyed reading about any of the romances in any of the books. Someone on amazon reviewed this book and claimed that Viehl can write dark fantasy very well but she stinks at the romances. I agree. Writing love stories in which the men have no intrinsic respect for their women and control them however they wish to suit their purposes and in which the women fall for these losers even after they're treated horribly is asinine to me. Not that I want her to stop. No ma'am. I want to see what happens with the Kyndred, the women who were experimented on by the Brethren and are now compatible with the Darkyn.

Next up: Dark Need

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Monkey's Raincoat by Robert Crais

I think I may have found another favorite author. I read The Watchman, the first official Joe Pike novel, last weekend and loved it. Pike has been PI Elvis Cole's partner since the first Cole novel, The Monkey's Raincoat, but apparently he's not fleshed out that much but is popular enough for Crais to bless him with the limelight in his own series. After reading The Watchman, I decided I had to read his other series and set out right away to get my grubby hands on as many of them I could. Surprisingly, I already had several of them. Elvis Cole however is like the west coast version of Robert B. Parker's Spenser: He cracks wise and has a smart mouth, has his own morality code that doesn't always jive with the law but he always manages to get the job done. Cole is a Vietnam vet turned PI, does yoga every morning, keeps plastic Jiminy Cricket toys on his desk, and if I'm not mistaken, lives on the same road as Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch, Woodrow Wilson Drive. According to Robert Crais's website, Cole made an uncredited appearance in Connelly's book Lost Light. Another website claims that Harry returns the favor in Crais's The Last Detective.Very cool :)

In this first book, Cole is hired by a woman to find her husband. He's been missing for several days along with their son and she's afraid to involve the police so that she doesn't anger him in case he comes home. Elvis decides that he will help this mouse of a woman, mostly so he could see what kind of man her husband was. He ends up in the middle of a case involving kidnapping, murder, extortion, drugs, and even the mob. Did I mention he makes love to two women along the way? Elvis Cole is the cat's ass, no doubt about it.

Best Book of November...

I'm going to do something a little different this month even though I'm almost two weeks late with this post...Since I couldn't pick a favorite book, I'll pick a favorite author: Lisa Kleypas. Big surprise, right? Last month Book Binge sang her praises and, well, they're right. Lisa Kleypas writes wonderful romances and can write both men and women equally well. I worked my way through my collection of Lisa's books and while I didn't get through all of them, I did get through eight; two were revisits. Idiot that I am I gave away my original  copies of Where Dreams Begin and Devil in Winter during one of my manic book giveaway sprees. That won't happen again :) You can see the rest of the ones I read on my end-of-the-month book list for November.  I will say that my least favorite was the duo that included Midnight Angel and Prince of Dreams. I felt that they were much weaker than most of her other books. The past-life expedition that put Nikolai in his ancestor's shoes split the book and it interrupted the flow. I might not have minded it so much if he hadn't been such a jerk for the first half of the novel. Anyhoo, if you're reading this and am looking for a new author to try and you enjoy romances, historical or contemporary, Lisa Kleypas is a winner.

Playing catch-up again *sigh*

What better way to spend your downtime when you have a cold than to pick apart your blog? I have been picking at this thing for a few days and I think I like the new background. Appropriate, no? I've also been reading through programming language texts to familiarize myself with html and css, stuff like that. I still need a xml book. Ultimately I want to write my own blog template. Yeah, right :)

I'm so behind in all things these days and I am aware that I still haven't picked my favorite book of November yet. I also need to pick up with my Lynn Viehl's Darkyn series reviews too. Hopefully my free time will loosen up and I will get a chance to catch up with all my dangling posts out there. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Books Read in November '09

Love You to Death by Shannon K. Butcher (C+)
Feel the Heat
by Cindy Gerard (B+)
by Lynn Viehl (B-)
Finding the Lost
by Shannon K. Butcher (B)
Crash Into Me
by Jill Sorenson (B+)
The Last Hellion
by Loretta Chase (A-)
by Kristina Cook (A-)
Devil in Winter
by Lisa Kleypas (A, reread)
Again the Magic
by Lisa Kleypas (A)
Prince of Dreams
by Lisa Kleypas (B-)
Midnight Angel
by Lisa Kleypas (B)
Worth Any Price
by Lisa Kleypas (A)
Lady Sophia's Lover
by Lisa Kleypas (A)
Then Came You
by Lisa Kleypas (A)
Hundreds of Years To Reform a Rake
by Laurie Brown (A-)
The Heart of Christmas
by Mary Balogh, Nicola Cornick, & Courtney Milan (in order: B, B, B+)
Dark Lover
by Brenda Joyce (A)
Dark Victory
by Brenda Joyce (B-)
All That You Are
by Stef Ann Holm (B)
Embrace the Darkness
by Alexandra Ivy (B+)
Where Dreams Begin
by Lisa Kleypas (A, reread)
Hunter's Moon
by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp (B+)
Twilight Fall
by Lynn Viehl (C)
by Lynn Viehl (B+)
Night Lost
by Lynn Viehl (B)
Dark Need
by Lynn Viehl (C)
Redeemed in Darkness
by Alexis Morgan (B)
"Burning Moon" by Rebecca York from Cravings (anthology) (B+)
"Originally Human" by Eileen Wilks from Cravings (anthology) (B+)
Cemetery Dance
by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child (A-)

(November total: 29, 2009 total: 402!)