jmc_bks: (Suits)

Originally posted at WordPress

Accidentally in Love by Jane Davitt, m/m romance.  I read this one because the title earwormed me with the Counting Crows song.  It was rather category-like, all about the internal plot rather than external.

Prove It by Chris Owen.  Talked about here.  Enjoyed it, but felt some confusion about genre label and lack of external plot.  More YA/coming of age than romance really.

Death Trick by Richard Stevenson, gay mystery.  Fascinating read, picked up after Vacuous Minx mentioned it in a post on historical authenticity.  Heinous ebook cover from MLR Press for the reissue.  Fascinating because book set in 1979 is as alien to me as a book set in 1812; even more so, because I sort of understand the world of 1812 but am unfamiliar with that of 1979's gay culture.

The Marriage Betrayal by Lynne Graham, HP.  Part 1 of 2, discussed here. Virgins, greek billionaires, grudges, assumptions.

The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley, historical romance.  What sins? I feel like there was supposed to be more here, I was supposed to find the hero much more dangerous, but mostly I felt like he was both spoiled and scarred and needed therapy, or at least to be told to grow up. The heroine, meh.

Bear, Otter, and the Kid by TJ Klune, m/m romance.  Longish post here.

The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn,  Victorian-set Gothic.  Tell tell tell, especially the ending.

The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen, police procedural, mystery.  Well paced, liked the mystery. Vaguely squicked or put off by Isles romantic relationship with a priest -- another professional woman making poor choices?

Georgette Heyer's Regency World by Jennifer Kloester, non-fiction. Bored by this book. Good as reference material perhaps, but anyone who has read widely in the genre or non-fiction about the historical period already knows this stuff.

The White Knight by Josh Lanyon, m/m novella.  Felt recycled, need to check my e-bookshelf to compare.

Bad Boyfriend by K.A. Mitchell, m/m romance, an eARC.  Loved this.  Working on a review now, but it won't be posted until December when the book is released.

The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo, police procedural, mystery.  Very good, twisty, several different threads that all tied together.  Working on a review for it.


jmc_bks: (meninas)
 Originally posted at Word Press.  Hmm, looks like the formatting didn't migrate right.  Will fix later, too tired right now.

The books I read in July were a pretty mixed bag.

1. When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James. European historical. James gets a lot of positive press and reviews in Romancelandia, in part because her books appeal to a broad spectrum of readers but also (and this is just my opinion, folks) because she's an English literature professor who writes genre fiction, thus lending the genre respectability. Anyway, I bought a copy of this book because it was mentioned in one of the panels at the IASPR conference and read it early in the month. Thirty days later, the only lingering impression is that the heroine's sensibility was very modern/21st century and that the book was more a fantasy historical.

2. Dirty Kiss by Rhys Ford. M/m romance. This book has a Japanese-American hero who falls in love with a Korean-American boy. The mystery was interesting and I loved the conflict drawn between one hero who is very bound by tradition and another who has abandoned it. Given the conflict between the two competing views on how to deal with their cultural backgrounds and families, I'm not sure how convincing the lovey story was but it was a quick read.

3. The Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn. Victorian-set mystery. Wrote about Lady Julia here.

4. The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn. Next in the series, another Victorian-set mystery. DNF. The plot seemed very convoluted yet somehow also predictable. How'd the author manage that?

5. A Night of Scandal by Sarah Morgan. Harlequin Presents category. This was well-reviewed at Dear Author, which prompted me to pick up a copy. Quick read, very good within the HP/category parameters. Would check out the related books in the series.

6. A Change of Tune by J.M. Cartwright. M/m romance, trope abuse written about here.

7. Muscling Through by J.L. Merrow. M/m romance, written about here.

8. Khyber Run by Amber Green. M/m romance. I haven't written about this book yet, because I'm still mulling it over. Had a longish twitter conversation with @sunita_d about it. The background of the hero (displaced Afghan American) is different and a little risky; the plot is very briskly paced and kept me turning pages (metaphorically, since this is an ebook). The romance was the weakest part of the book. And yet, after finishing and then actually thinking about a great deal of what happened, plot-wise, there are gaping plot wholes and a series of extremely tenuous, unlikely connections that string together to advance the plot and then to try to give the narrator his HEA. The book failed as a romance, but it prompted a fair amount of thought and conversation.

9. Spin Out by James Buchanan. M/m romantic suspense, second of a series. Set in rural Utah with a Mormon hero. Really like James Buchanan's voice and style. Struggled with this book, primarily because the narrator was a giant jerk through a large part of the book, acting paternal and withholding information from his partner/lover. Liked the mystery portion, but it wasn't as well integrated into the what was going on with the relationship as with the first book.

10. Night Season by Chelsea Cain. Mystery. At last, Gretchen the Beauty Killer is fading from center stage for Archie Sheridan and this series! She's still there, visible out of the corner of Archie's eye if he squints just right, especially when he looks at the scars he bears. Enjoyed the execution of this murder mystery and manhunt.

11.. Half Pass by Astrid Amara. DNF. Whiny hero + closeted potential hero + way too much exposition about horse training.

12. Between Sinners and Saints by Marie Sexton. M/m romance. Another book that prompted a twitter discussion with @sunita_d, this book was really not a genre romance novel. It was more gay inspirational fiction with some therapy thrown in on the side. The narrator seriously creeped me out at the beginning of the book, reminding me of this article at Big Think. Even though the narrator realized later that he'd crossed the line, he didn't get that it was a general line, he only thought he behavior was inappropriate in that particular instance because of his dating target's sexual history.

13. The Pharaoh's Concubine by Z.A. Maxfield. M/m romance. A third hot mess of a book, it started well and then derailed. Where to begin? The manufactured attraction/relationship between the heroes? Or the serious squick of the narrator's high school lover eventually marrying his twin sister? Or the ridiculous ending?

Interestingly, 9, 12, and 13 all involve gay men whose Mormon families or communities have either sanctioned, badgered or disowned them because of their sexuality One book deals with that censure through a professional filter (risk of job loss or demotion) but with family being silent on the issue; another is disowned by his parents; the third is constantly being pestered about being reprogrammed or choosing not to be gay or to not engage in sex acts. What's up with the Mormon focus? Are other churches being used similarly in the m/m arena and I've not noticed? Or is there something special about LDS?



Edited because I am apparently unable to count.
jmc_bks: (meninas)

1.  Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews.  Urban fantasy.  Mentioned here.

2.  Hexed anthology.  Read only the Ilona Andrews story, which was about Dali and Jim, set in the kate Daniels world.  Enjoyed it.  Have questions about Dali's background.  She's a white tiger, very rare and very magical, and her mother says it happens only once every seven generations.  Which, okay, but are there shifters in the intervening generations?  Also, if Dali is genetically a shifter, are there not other shifters in her family?  How does her mother not know who the cat alpha is then?  I feel like I missed something, but still liked the story.

3.  Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn.  European fantasy historical.  Meh.

4.  When Tony Met Adam by Suzanne Brockmann.  Short story.  Disappointing.  Tell tell tell.

5.  The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart.  YA.  In some ways, this is a pretty traditional YA set up:  narrator is a student at a prestigious boarding school, feeling rebellious about parental expectations and her place in the social hierarchy of the school.  Frankie is an unreliable narrator -- is she a brilliant mastermind, moving people around campus like pawns on a chessboard because she's just that good and because she's making a statement about gender roles?  Or is she buying into those gender roles and doing it all because she's mad at her boyfriend?  Loved it.

6.  Bad Company by K.A. Mitchell.  M/m romance.  Enjoyed it, mentioned briefly here.  Planning to re-read and write a longer review.

7.  One Was a Soldier by Julia Spencer-Ferguson.  Mystery.  Meh.  I think I'm finished with this series.

8.  Come Unto These Yellow Sands by Josh Lanyon.  Mentioned here.


DNFs:
1.  AJ's Angel by LA Witt.  Tattoo artist hero was interesting, didn't get the irresistible attraction for the other hero.
2.  Two Man Advantage by Riley Shane.  Bored, bored, bored.
3.  Wanna Do Bad Things With You by Shelley Munro.  This was a huge disappointment because 1) the price was ridiculous and 2) waste of good set up.


jmc_bks: (Chocolate)
1.  Tangled by Carolyn Mackler.  YA.  Four overlapping novellas from the POV of semi-related characters.  Sort of dorky girl goes on group vacation with her mom, mom's BFF and BFF's model/actress (depressed/bipolar) daughter and hooks up with jerky guy, only to be abandoned for the model.  Jerky guy is suspended for being a jerk and subsequently realizes he's been a jerk to everyone, including dorky nice girl.  Model actress feels suicidal and is rescued by dorky nice girl.  Computer geek younger brother of jerky guy is sent away to anti-computer camp and runs away to meet his online friend, the dorky nice girl.  I've enjoyed Mackler's YA before, and this isn't a bad book, but there's nothing new or original here, and the narrators came across as whiny and entitled, hard to find sympathetic.  B-/C+.

2.  Hello Kitty Must Die by Angela S. Choi, reviewed here.  In short:  loved it.

3.  Faster Than the Speed of Light by Lucius Parhelion.  Gay fiction, historical.  Someone in my Google Reader feed read this book and recommended it.  The setting caught my attention:  post World War II southern California, in academia.  The narrator is a graduate student studying physics, gay and closeted.  Fascinating how the aftermath of WWII and the HUAC play into the book -- more than homosexuality, the tension is about whether the narrator and his advisor are communists and why his advisor, who worked at Los Alamos, had left and refused to return.  The older/younger man trope is reversed here, in terms of power and authority -- the narrator is a discharged GI, blue collar, late to school, while his advisor is younger, a genius, from a monied and cultured background.  There's very little sex and a lot of UST, along with chaperones in the form of colleagues and classmates.  B

4.  Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris.  Urban fantasy.  Meh.  C- at best.  Sookie really ought to be named Mary Sue.

5.  Paper Planes by M. Jules Aedin.  M/m romance.  Pleasant read; at this point, the only things that really stand out are that the narrator's love interest is half-Korean with an entirely Anglo-Irish name, both of them have lost their partners to illness/accident, and the love interest is an amputee.  

6.  This Rough Magic by Josh Lanyon.  M/m romance, historical.  DNF.  The first few chapters of this felt noire-ish, which I enjoy occasionally, but ultimately the book did not hold my attention.  Maybe I'll circle back to it eventually.

7.  Mahu by Neil Plakcy.  Gay mystery.  This is the first book in Plakcy's O'ahu set mystery series with Kimo Kanapa'aka as narrator and protagonist.  Love the way the setting and culture of the island is a character in the book.  Do recommend starting with this book; each mystery stands alone, but Kimo's development as a character and some of his behavior in later books are better understood if you read the series in order.  

8.  A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.  Fantasy.  Drop the puck.  Intrigued by Jon Snow and Arya Stark, otherwise am somewhat bored. Women are scheming sluts, crazy, stupid or spineless placeholders. B-

9.  The Hanover Square Affair by Ashley Gardner.  Historical mystery.  Enjoyed a narrator who is not a duke or an earl, who is a cashiered ex-soldier struggling with what I assume is bipolarism (he describes melancholia and a frenzy that was often expressed on the battlefield) and poverty, as well as heartbreak (not romantic but fraternal).  

10.  Life Lessons by Kaje Harper.  Gay romantic suspense.  HFN. Feel a little ambivalent about the ending of the book. Not the mystery part, but the romance part. Closeted cop who has no plans of ever coming out and the out teacher? Eh.
jmc_bks: (Stack o' books)
Okay, this is the reading for the month:

1.  Promises by Marie Sexton.  I wrote about it briefly here.  And good thing, since I'd already forgotten about it.  Which could be good or bad, depending on your perspective.  Nothing terrible about it but also not a book that made me hunt down the author's backlist or want to squee all over the internet about it.  B-/C+

2.  Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.  YA, GLBT fiction.  This book was mentioned in the comments of Sunita's post on the lack of GLBT books among the RT awards.  The premise of the book is that there are two Will Graysons living in the suburbs of Chicago, and their lives collide one evening.  The two of them narrate the book in alternating chapters.  I did not love Levithan's Will Grayson.  In addition to coming across like an emo cliche, his chapters were written without upper case letters, which I found profoundly irritating.  (I blame ee cummings for writing like that.)  Green's Will Grayson was more accessible to me as a character, in part because of the writing, which suited my tastes better, and in part because his Will seemed like less of a cliche to me.  Am interested in checking out more of Green's backlist.  B/B-
 
3.  Shady Lady by Ann Aguirre.  Urban fantasy, third book of the series. Enjoyed it as I read. Feels a little Anita Blakish - everyone loves/wants her. Increasing power is disconcerting. Power was also weakness earlier, but now not so much. Ending predictable (foresaw when spell was cast). At the end, Corinne seemed a little adrift to me, and she grasped at Chance like driftwood. B
 
4.  Doubleblind by Heidi Cullinan.  Gay romance. Like the writing style, like the story type. Needed much better editing in terms of pacing. Extremely slow beginning plus boring exposition about gambling was off-putting. Only recs from two trusted readers kept me reading. B-/C+
 
5.  Simply Perfect by Mary Balogh.  European historical.  Mentioned here.  C
 
6.  A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh. European historical.  Mentioned here. C-
 
7.  Mahu Surfer by Neil Plakcy.  Gay mystery.  B
 
8.  Mahu Fire by Neil Plakcy.  Gay mystery.  B  
 
The Mahu books are set on O'ahu, narrated by Kimo Kanapa'aka, a police detective who was forced out of the closet in the first book of the series...which I have not read.  The other books of the series are Mahu (first book), Mahu Vice (first book I read), Mahu Blood (recent), and Mahu Men (a series of short stories, some featuring Kimo).  The early books were published by Alyson Press; the ebooks appear to have been published by MLR Press.  Although I've sampled them for Kindle, I haven't bought them because of wonky formatting:  the treatment of the backward apostrophe and other pronunciation markers is a mess.  Words like tktk appear instead of tutu (with bars over the u for emphasis).  So I'm waiting for hard copies to become available at the library or via PBS.
 
9.  Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts.  Romantic suspense.  This is going to sound derogatory and I don't mean it to: I got exactly what I expected with this book. It was a pleasant read. Liked the characters and setting. Typical Roberts. Didn't feel really intrigued by the suspense, which was predictable, but still enjoyed the story.  B
jmc_bks: (daffs)
It's Monday! Time for SBD!

One of my goals for the year was to SBD at least twice a month, but I've been slacking on that for a variety of reasons, mostly because I've been struggling with the reading. March is almost over and I've read a grand total of five books. Five! Despite having almost 2 hours of guaranteed reading time while on the train! One of those books was Brockmann's Breaking the Rules (meh) which I wrote about last week, and another was an earlier SBD, Anna and the French Kiss. A third was good enough, River Marked, and merited a post on cover art. Which leaves two last books for discussion: I am J by Cris Beam and Why I Love Geeks by T.A. Chase.

I Am J was an impulse buy for in-flight reading. It is a YA GLBT book: its protagonist, J, is a transboy, born a girl physically but struggling with his gender identity. The book is well-written and appears to be well-researched, and it was worth the cover price. It gave me a glimpse in the the angst of a teenager whose typical adolescent issues are amped up by a factor of 1,000 because of the feelings of being in the wrong body and not fitting in. The book ends with the protagonist in a relatively safe and good place, looking forward to college and whatever might come next. But I doubt I'll re-read it, and I'm not sure why, other than to say that I didn't fall in love with the narrative. Solid B.

Why I Love Geeks was another impulse buy, and it was a rip off. The price ($7) was ridiculous -- the word count was less than that of a Harlequin Presents ($4.50). In terms of the ebook editing or formatting, there were a variety of typos in which similarly spelled (but WRONG) words were used. The prose read like fan fiction: not particularly polished. In fact, I've read much more lyrical fan fiction, thx. The suspense plot was unbelievable and over-complex, involving Chinese business, Russian spies, and an improbable pharmaceutical that makes people invisible. [Don't even get me started on the biochemistry. Even as a science idiot, I had to roll my eyes. I'm sure if The Biochemist attempted to read any of the "sciency" sections, she'd have a coronary. Because biochemistry is all about fast results and jewel-colored liquids bubbling in beakers.] One of the heroes was supposed to be a cute geek; his cuteness was exemplified by his filterless babble, which was apparently endearing. Or so readers were told repeatedly. Because there was a lot of telling and very little showing. The other hero was a cliche -- a taciturn, macho cop, from a long line of cops, with a big, nosy, interfering family. Seriously, I want my money and the two hours I spent trying to read this mess back. F.
jmc_bks: (flaming june)
All Lessons Learned by Charlie Cochrane.  Post WWI mystery and romance of the Cambridge Fellows, Jonty and Orlando.  A while back, I wondered on Twitter about Jonty and Orlando and their HEA, since WWI was rapidly approaching.  At the time, Cochrane mentioned that she had ideas about how they managed (or didn't) through the war.  I can't really review this book without including major spoilers, but I think it was a pretty suitable ending for the series.  (I'm assuming it's the end, at least, unless Cochrane is going to go back and fill in a bit more of their pre-War days.)

Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain.  Mystery/suspense.  Twisty.  And gripping.  This series seems to be getting progressively gorier, and the mind fuck of Gretchen Lowell continues to disturb.  A fourth book dropped today. I've read a couple of reviews that say it's not as gory as the last couple, and that Gretchen is less of a focus. While the gore was kind of overwhelming in the last book, I'm a little sorry that there will be less of Gretchen. She's twisted in a way that women often aren't in fiction, especially when they are villains. She's bugfuck crazy, but she owns the crazy and isn't a victim.

Borrowed Light by Carla Kelly.  Western historical inspirational novel, LDS.  Beautiful cover. A lot of religion without being proselytizing. Not thrilled with the ending, which seemed a little patronizing on his part. Would've liked to see the end of Otto's story in terms of his family.

The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton. Contemporary, sports themed. Wrote about it here.

Nowhere Ranch by Heidi Cullinan. BDSM, gay romance. First person POV narration, a lot of infodumping. Pretty good BDSM until the last third of the book, when both guys grew vaginas and changed characters completely.

Heat Wave by Richard Castle. Mystery, book linked to the ABC television series Castle. As a tie-in, I enjoyed it, even though the protagonist is a giant Mary Sue. If I'd read it independently, without ever seeing the show, I probably would not have been impressed.

Breaker's Passion by Julie Cannon. Lesbian romance. Set in Hawaii, one of the heroines is a surfer, which is what caught my eye. Holiday romance! Clash of culture/economic status! Not so much really. The bare bones of the story was good, but it wasn't sufficiently fleshed out. The Big Conflict was sort of...dumb, and the HEA too sudden to be believable.

The Disgraced Princess by Robyn Donald.  Category.  Over the top, as usual.

Treachery in Death by JD Robb. Romantic suspense. Much, much better than the last In Death book. This one is heavier on the police procedural aspect, and uses Peabody's role as partner and continuing training as a key to the plot. Also team leadership and management is consciously thought of by Dallas in a way that hasn't really been articulated on the page in earlier books.

Stroke to His Cox by JL Merrow. Gay romance, short story. First person POV, quick story narrated by David Tanaka, the coxswain of a rowing team at Cambridge. He's a midget in comparison to his crew, but he is utterly IN CHARGE. And he's got a huge crush on his rowing team's leader. I know almost nothing about rowing, but there's enough detail to set up the competition and sketch in the team's dynamic. And David is a great narrator: he's totally secure in himself and what he's doing. Enjoyed this story a lot and wished for more when it was finished.


Still not finished with Ruth Downie's Medicus.  I set it aside while I was under the weather and it shuffled from the top of my Kindle.  Should bump it back up.

Went into B&N today with a gift card that I planned on using to buy Patricia Briggs' River Marked.  Not out on shelves, no display.  So I checked with the store manager.  

Her:  Oh, it's not due out until March 1st.  Oh, today is March 1st.  Never mind.  No, we don't have it yet.  But we can order it for you, it'll take a week to ten days.
Me: Thanks but no, I'll just buy a copy elsewhere.  

If it was an older book or a smaller name author, I could understand.  But it is Tuesday!  Release day!  Briggs has made the NYT list.  Why isn't the book at least in your stock room?
jmc_bks: (Icicle)
On the reading front, very little progress.

1.  The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell, YA gothic/paranormal, written about here.
2.  One True Thing by Anah Crow & Dianne Fox, gay BDSM, written about here.
3.  Mercy Kill by Lori G. Armstrong, mystery, written about here.
4.  Lord Carew's Bride by Mary Balogh.  Trad Regency.  Meh, written about here.
5.  Caught by A.B. Gayle, gay romance.  I tweeted a little about this, plan on writing a short post later this week.
6.  What Child is This? by ZA Maxfield, gay romance.  This holiday novella failed for me: it was too busy trying to catch readers up on older characters and also have a plot that was almost completely unrelated to them.  Plus it was ridiculously expensive for its length, which often seems to be the case for Loose Id books.


Work is kicking my ass, as I mentioned the other day.  Am spending 60+ hours a week at work.  I left private practice because I didn't want that.  Plus, I'm fairly confident that I'm just going to get grief about this project, and any good that comes out of it is going to be credited elsewhere.

Leisure:  went to New York last weekend to hang out with The Biochemist.  We clung, and went to the theater together.  I saw The Imporance of Being Earnest:  Brian Bedford was excellent as Lady Bracknell, and the set design was gorgeous.  She saw one of the last shows of Time Stands Still.  Together we saw Driving Miss Daisy and American Idiot (again).  Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones have surprisingly good comedic chemistry and timing.  And Billie Joe Armstrong as St. Jimmy is a coked up Calvin who comes across like a cheerful little perv.  Visited the American Museum of Natural History, which I enjoyed, although I had forgotten the cardinal rule of museum cafes:  the more kid oriented the museum, the worse the food offered.  After the museums, I wandered around for a bit, then we met on Amsterdam for dinner at a French place.  Can't remember the name, but it was on the corner of 79th.  Great potato leek tart appetizer.  All that was fun, but the best part was the company; I wish we could see each other more often.  [And yet I've made no effort to relocate to Texas.  Hmmm.]
jmc_bks: (Chocolate)
In no particular order, these are my favorite books of 2010:

No Souvenirs by K.A. Mitchell — contemporary romance
Marrying the Royal Marine by Carla Kelly — Napoleonic-set romance
The Search by Nora Roberts — romantic suspense
Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews — fantasy romance
The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook — steampunk romance
Fair Game by Josh Lanyon — romantic suspense
Not Knowing Jack by K.A. Mitchell — contemporary romance
Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs — urban fantasy
The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo — mystery
Hell Fire by Ann Aguirre — urban fantasy
Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews — urban fantasy
No Mercy by Lori Armstrong — mystery
Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold — science fiction, the most recent installment of her Vorkosigan space opera series

If you made me narrow the list to three books:  No Souvenirs, Cryoburn, and The Iron Duke.

The new annotated edition of Persuasion gets an honorable mention, as does Critic's Choice by Josh Lanyon and Roadkill by Rob Thurman.

Looking at my best of list, it’s striking that few European historicals (the bedrock of genre romance) are on my list, and also how much my reading is veering away from standard genre romance to less mainstream areas and to science fiction and fantasy.

Biggest reading disappointments of the year:

Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik -- this wasn't a bad book, but it needed better editing through the middle, which was slow as molasses during a hard freeze in January. 

Infamous by Suzanne Brockmann -- it had all the usual elements to make a good Brockmann-style book, but somehow it just didn't work.  Reviewed here.

(Best of portion originally posted at Readers Gab last week.)
jmc_bks: (meninas)
Between work, travel for work, and holiday prep, I didn't read much in December.  

1.  Not Knowing Jack by K.A. Mitchell.  Gay romance.  I need to write a review of this book, because it was awesome.  I'm not usually a fan of secrets or angst, but they worked here.  A-.

2.  The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig.  European historical, suspense.  Abandoned this series several books ago, but was intrigued by the idea of Turnip Fitzhugh as a hero:  Willig made him seem an utter dolt in earlier books, though a cheerful, kindhearted one, so I was curious to see his transformation into a hero.  Was not thrilled with yet another author using Jane Austen as a character.  C

3.  Love Ahead (Expect Delays) by Astrid Amara.  Gay romance.  This is a road romance set over Hanukkah, and the heroes encounter one disaster after another on their trip from the West Coast to Colorado (I think).  It was a pleasant read, although the details are a little fuzzy for me now.  I like Amara's style generally, and have enjoyed her Hanukkah romances, although her Holiday Outing remains the gold standard of her work for me. 

4.  Katrakis's Last Mistress by Caitlin Crews.  Category romance, reviewed here.

5.  The Trap by Indigo Wren.  Gay romance.  If I had realized the plot set up, I wouldn't have spent money on this book.  Other readers may love it, but the set up pushed some serious buttons for me.  DNF.

6.  All She Wrote by Josh Lanyon.  Gay romantic suspense.  The whodunnit in this case was fairly clear, and it was a little frustrating to read Kit bumbling about, but Kit as a character is growing on me.  For all that he laments turning 40, he seems a little Peter Pan-ish to me, and is only now growing up.

7.  The Admiral's Penniless Bride by Carla Kelly.  European historical, category.  Feel a little ambivalent about this book: well-written and in Carla Kelly's usual style, but something about the set up puts me off.  Marriage of convenience doesn't bother me, and I enjoyed the secondary characters.  Think maybe it's the uber-drama that seems out of place for the main characters?  Still a good read, just not going to be a favorite Kelly read for me. B.
jmc_bks: (TCR Word)
The 10x10 plan was too much.  Here are the last 30 and good riddance!

71.  A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux
Time travel published in 1989
Read it and loved it way back when; today, I would probably not consider this as strictly genre romance, since it breaks a big genre rule.  Romantic, yes, but not genre romance.  Am also a little surprised that this is the only Deveraux title in the top 100, because she was *huge* in the genre in the eighties and into the very early nineties (I think).

72.  Once and Always by Judith McNaught
European historical published in 1987
Probably read it in my McNaught glom, but I couldn't tell you the plot to save my life.

73.  Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Contemporary published in 2007
DNF

74.  Sea Swept by Nora Roberts
Contemporary published in 1998
Oh, I do love this trilogy, but I like it best taken as a whole and separately I like the component parts less than the whole.  If I had to pick just one book of the series, it would be the second book rather than this first one.

75.  Seduce Me at Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas
European historical published in 2008
Another Kleypas I haven't read.

76.  Dark Lover by JR Ward
Paranormal published in 2005
The beginning of the BDB!  Read it, loved it at the time.

77.   A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole
Paranormal published in 2009
DNF

78.  More Than A Mistress by Mary Balogh
European historical published in 2000
Had forgotten about this one, did enjoy it a great deal.

79.  What Happens in London by Julia Quinn
European historical published in 2009
DNF

80.  Cry No More by Linda Howard
Romantic suspense published in 2003
The "romantic" adjective is debatable here; a lot of readers love this book (obvs), but I was bored by the plot and not engaged by the angst.

81.  Over the Edge by Suzanne Brockmann
Romantic suspense published in 2001
This one would be on my ballot.  Love Terri and Stan.

82.  Open Season by Linda Howard
Romantic suspense published in 2001
Trying too hard to be funny.

83.  The Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale
European historical published in 1991
TBR

84.  Saving Grace by Julie Garwood
Medieval published in 1993
Probably read it, can't recall.

85.  Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas
European historical published in 2003
Yet another unread Kleypas.  Eh.

86.  My Dearest Enemy by Connie Brockway
European historical published in 1998
Haven't read it.

87.  Ain't She Sweet by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Contemporary published in 2004
Haven't read it, not interested in trying it.

88.  Thunder and Roses by Mary Jo Putney
European historical published in 1993
This is part of her Fallen Angel series - I think that's the name of it.  Enjoyed this book particularly, along with Shattered Rainbows.

89.  To Die For by Linda Howard
Romantic suspense published in 2005
Read it and enjoyed it when it was published, but the book did not wear well; its sequel was....unnecessary at best.

90.  All Through the Night by Connie Brockway
European historical published in 1997
Haven't read it.

91.  The Rake by Mary Jo Putney
European historical published in 1998
Am curious about this one, since it was published twice: an original version and then an edited, reworked version.  Read it, didn't love it.

92.  The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt
European historical published in 2007
Read it.

93.  Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
Time Travel published in 1994
Have not read it, not interested in reading the Continuing Travails of Claire the Mary-Sue and Jamie the Stud.

94.  The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran
European historical published in 2008
Loved the first half of this book, but the second half felt like it was written by a completely different author.

95.  Untie My Heart by Judith Ivory
European historical written in 2002
Haven't read it.

96.  Bound by Your Touch by Meredith Duran
European historical published in 2009
TBR

97.  Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh
Paranormal published in 2009
Have read it, I think.

98.  Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas
European historical published in 2010
How many Kleypas books are on this list?

99.  And Then He Kissed Her by Laura Lee Guhrke
European historical published in 2007
Have read at least one book by this author, but am not sure which one.

100.  Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
European historical published in 2010
JFC!  Another one?  How big is this woman's backlist?

Okay, so of the last 30 books on the list, I've read seventeen.  Of those seventeen, only three would be keepers for me.  

Once again, European historicals rule, as does Lisa Kleypas.  Fifteen of the top 100 books belong to Kleypas, which seems odd to me.  Yes, she's a popular author with a large backlist, but there are bigger authors out there.  Maybe her dominance is just representative of the average, Avonized taste of AAR voters?
jmc_bks: (GK - layers)
Will this list never end?  I'm thinking that I may post the last thirty tomorrow, just so I can be finished and move on to other things.

61.  The Secret by Julie Garwood
Medieval published in 1992
Probably read this one during my Garwood glom, but they all blend together at this point.

62.  Something Wonderful by Judith McNaught
European historical published in 1988
I have no idea which McNaught this is, probably read it when I glommed her years ago.

63.  The Proposition by Judith Ivory
European historical published in 1999
Have not read it, atlhough I am assured of its brilliance.

64.  Ransom by Julie Garwood
Medieval published in 1999
Have not read it, as it was published long after my Garwood glom.

65.  Passion by Lisa Valdez
European historical published in 2005
Read it when it was published because all the buzz surrounding it; there's a lot of purple prose and it was popular that year, but it hasn't really stood the test of time for me.

66.  The Last Hellion by Loretta Chase
European historical published in 1998
Haven't read it, not likely to.

67.  Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas
European historical published in 2010
I have no plan to read this book any time soon.  Am a little surprised that such a recent book is so high -- have that many people read it, in comparison to some of the old classics on this list?

68.  To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt
European historical published in 2009
Read it and enjoyed it.

69.  Where Dreams Begin by Lisa Kleypas
European historical published in 2000
Another Kleypas EH that I haven't read.

70.  Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer
Traditional Regency of sorts published in 1932
Heyer doesn't really work for me, despite the fact that she is considered one of the foundational writers for genre romance, particularly regency-set romance.
Wow, no single book in this installment was set outside of England and all were historicals.  Apparently there are no other romantic settings available for writers.
jmc_bks: (Icicle)
Will this never end?  Well, yes, eventually, I just have to get to 100.

51.  Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh
Paranormal published in 2006
Haven't read it.

52.  Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas
Contemporary published in 2007
Meh.  Hated the vilification of Liberty's childhood friend (who is, of course, redeemed in the next book so he can be the hero).  Also, not really engaged by the story generally, which (to me) verged on women's fiction.

53.  Dream A Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Contemporary published in 1998
Based on the visceral reaction I have to the mere mention of this book, I'm pretty sure I read it and hated it.

54.  Then Came You by Lisa Kleypas
European historical published in 1993.
Haven't read it.

55.  After the Night by Linda Howard
Romantic suspense published in 1995
Is this the one with the sex in the bathroom at the court house?  I think so.  Thought the hero was a monumental jerk but I liked the heroine.

56.  Lady Sophia's Lover by Lisa Kleypas
European historical published in 2002
Haven't read it.

57.  Lover Eternal by JR Ward.
Paranormal published in 2006
Read it back was I was still addicted to the crhack that is Ward's BDB.  

58.  Devil's Bride by Stephanie Laurens
European historical publlished in 1998
This is the template for all of her work, I think.  Read it, enjoyed it.  Am a little surprised that this is the only book of hers on the list and that it is so far down.

59.  Morning Glory by Lavyrle Spencer
Americana published in 1990
Read it, do not care for it.  Like the setting (pre and post WWII), just don't really care for the characters or the plot.  Although other readers consistently list it as their favorite of Spencer's work, I think her other Americana books (like Vows, The Gamble and Hummingbird) are better.

60.  To Have and to Hold by Patricia Gaffney
European historical published in 1995
I've never managed to get past the opening chapter of this book.

Mostly books I haven't read or am not interested in trying.  Eh.

 
jmc_bks: (Default)
Will I ever reach the end of this list?  Sooner or later...

41.  The Secret Pearl by Mary Balogh
European historical (trad Regency?) published in 1991.
Am pretty sure I've read this one, but am not sure if it is the one with the prostitute heroine or the governess heroine.  Obviously not a favorite.

42.  Match Me If You Can by SEP
Contemporary published in 2005.
Written version of Jerry McGuire, liked the secondary characters and interactions but wasn't sold on the hero.

43.  Kiss an Angel by SEP
Contemporary published in 1996.
Haven't read it, not likely to read it.

44.  The Serpent Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt
European historical published in 2007.
Am pretty sure I've read this one, and enjoyed it as I read even if it wasn't a keeper.

45.  Perfect by Judith McNaught
Contemporary published in 1993
Is this the one with the actor/ex-con on the run?  Or am I getting her contemporaries confused?

46.  Ravish by Amanda Quick
European historical published in 1992
I know that I used to read Quick's historicals, so I've probably read this one.

47.  Dream Man by Linda Howard
Romantic suspense published in 1995
Liked this one despite qualms about the manipulation/use of the heroine by the hero, although it's not my favorite Howard (that would be Now You See Her).

48.  As You Desire by Connie Brockway
European historical published in 1997
May have read this one, not entirely sure.

49.  Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas
European historical published in 2008
Debut novel, beautifully written but was not engaged by plot or characters.

50.  See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson
Contemporary ublished in 2003.
Fast, fun read, but not a keeper.  Felt derivative of her earlier hockey books.

So, this section of the poll results is mostly ~meh~ for me or unread. 

My top 30

Dec. 14th, 2010 09:02 pm
jmc_bks: (Bad Romance)
When I first began commenting on the results of AAR's Top 100 poll, CindyS asked me for my top 10, since I didn't think I could come up with a ballot of 100. 

Without consulting LibraryThing or my bookshelves, just my own memory while sitting in a deadly dull meeting, here are the books that I would put on a ballot.  There are probably some that I've forgotten.  In no particular order but for the very first one.  The purple ones also appear on AAR's list.

  1. Persuasion by Jane Auste.  n.  1818I know that P&P is the much more popular Austen romance, but Persuasion just thrills me from beginning to end. As I've said before, Wentworth's letter slays me:  You pierce my soul.  I am half agony, half hope.
  2. Naked in Death by JD Robb.  Futuristic romantic suspense.  1995.  Back when I first read this book (when it was first released), I had no idea that JD Robb was Nora Roberts -- when she first began writing this series, the pseudonym was not widely known to romance readers.  But I LOVED Eve Dallas.
  3. With This Ring by Carla Kelly.  Trad Regency.  1997.  I would actually put almost anything written by Carla Kelly on my keeper list, her trad Regencies, her Harlequin Historicals, her American Western short stories in Here's for the Ladies.
  4. Collision Course by K.A. Mitchell. M/m contemporary.  2009.
  5. No Souvenirs by K.A. Mitchell.  M/m contemporary.  2010.
  6. Off the Record by Matthew Haldeman Time.  M/m contemporary.  2006.
  7. A Summer to Remember by Mary Balogh.  European historical.  2002.  I love how Lauren learns to love herself as much as she learns to love Kit.
  8. Over the Edge by Suzanne Brockmann.  Contemporary action/adventure.  2001.  While I like Jules/Robin's love story better, this installment of the Troubleshooters stands alone better than the Jules/Robin story arc.
  9. A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold.  Trad Regency set in space, with Miles, that hyperactive little git as a hero.  1999.
  10. The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn.  2000.  European historical.  The humor in this book wins.
  11. Vows by Lavyrle Spencer.  American western historical.  1988.  Tomboy heroine, blacksmith hero who loves her as she is.
  12. Remembering Blue by Connie Mae Fowler.  Contemporary. 2000.  Sort of women's fiction-y, it's a love story told by a young widow to her unborn child.
  13. My Lady Notorious by Jo Beverley.  Georgian historical.  1993.  Chicks in pants and men in drag, plus sword fights and political intrigue.
  14. When Venus Fell by Deborah Smith.  Contemporary, verging on women's fiction.  1999.  It was hard to choose between WVF and Smith's A Place to Call Home, which is also excellent but loses steam in the second half of the book.
  15. Finding Laura by Kay Hooper.  Romantic suspense.  1998.  Fated mates, lovers across time, plus a mysterious hand mirror.
  16. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery.  1926.  Marriage of convenience with a scoundrel + rebelling against conservative family + expectation of early death = melodrama but also a sweet romance for Valancy Jane.
  17. Beauty by Robin McKinley.  Retelling of Beauty and the Beast fairytale.  1978.
  18. Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie.  Contemporary.  2000. "I knew it.  She's the devil's candy....She just fucked me six ways to Sunday."   "She beat you at pool, too, " Wes said, looking at the table.  "That's what I mean," Phin said.  "It's going to take me years to recover from this."
  19. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie.  Contemporary fairytale.  2004.
  20. Tigers & Devils by Sean Kennedy.  Gay contemporary.  2009.  Australian-set romance between football player and film festival organizer. 
  21. Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger.  Gay contemporary, told via memos, emails, letters, etc.  1997.
  22. Bad for Each Other by Kate Hathaway.  Category romance. 1997.
  23. Bad Case of Loving You by Laney Cairo.  Gay medical romance.  2007.
  24. Thunder and Roses by Mary Jo Putney.  European historical.  2002.
  25. Luring a Lady by Nora Roberts.  Category romance. 1991.
  26. A Forbidden Desire by Robyn Donald.  Category romance. 1999.
  27. Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes.  Chick lit. 2005.
  28. The Cubicle Next Door by Siri Mitchell. Chick lit with inspirational tilt.  2006.  It's hard for me to believe there's an inspy on my list, but loved the storytelling style of this book, and the religion is very lightly done.
  29. It had to Be You by SEP.  Contemporary.  1994.
  30. Born in Fire by Nora Roberts.  Contemporary.  1994.  Proto-type of Roarke -- Irish businessman + brusque

There are a few more that I'm tempted to add, but they aren't strictly genre romance (Bitten, the Anne Shirley series, the Sharing Knife series).
jmc_bks: (GK - incompetence)
Am reading Richard III again and have nothing on that front to SBD about.  But the next installment of AAR's poll (31-40) counts, right?

31.  Mackenzie's Mountain by Linda Howard
Series/category published in 1989
Read it way back when and loved it then.  Now, not so much.

32.  A Summer to Remember by Mary Balogh
European historical published in 2002
Very much enjoyed this book; definitely would be on my list.

33.  When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn
European historical published in 2004
DNF

34.  Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas
Contemporary fiction published in 2009
Failed the 50 page test.

35.  Persuasion by Jane Austen
Classic literature published in 1818.
Number 1 on my ballot.

36.  Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie
Contemporary published in 2000
Also on my ballot.  

37.  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Classic literature published in 1847
Read it; loved it as a teenager.  Still appreciate it, but don't love it as much as other classics.

38.  Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught
European historical published in 1985
OMGWTFBBQ -- hate Clayton.  Want him to die in a fictional fire.

39.  Honor's Splendour by Julie Garwood
Medieval published in 1987
Probably read it in my Garwood glom back in the day.

40.  This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Contemporary published 2001
The beginning of the end for SEP for me.  Have a serious problem with the non-consensual sex in this book.  Having the instigator be the heroine doesn't make it okay.

Three out of ten is a little better than earlier installments of this list for me.  Still disconcerted by the European historical emphasis and the Kleypas, Quinn and SEP love.
jmc_bks: (flaming june)
More of my opinion about AAR's Top 100 poll.

21.  A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught
Medieval published in 1989
Haven't thought of this book in years, but it might be on my list.

22.  Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Contemporary published in 1995
Another of the football series, I've read it but it wasn't a keeper.

23.  Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard
Contemporary published in 2000
The beginning of the end for me as a Howard reader.

24.  Naked in Death by JD Robb
Futuristic romantic suspense published in 1995
LOVE this book.  Would definitely be in my top ten.

25.  Blue Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas
Contemporary published in 2008
Meh.

26.  It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas
European historical published in  2005
Haven't read it.

27.  Lover Awakened by JR Ward
Paranormal published in 2006
This is Zsadist's book, yes?  It's proably the only book of the series that I would put on my list.

28.  Nobody's Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Contemporary published in 1997
I loved the humor of this book (cereal killer, heh), but thought the heroine was offensive and dumb, despite her high IQ.

29.  Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught
European historical published in 1990
Read this one as a teenager during a McNaught glom, haven't reread it in years.  The melodrama appealed to me at the time, but I'm not sure it would be to my taste today.

30.  Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas
European historical published in 2001
Haven't read it, not likely to.

The preponderance of Kleypas on this section of the list?  Meh.  Clearly, AAR readers like her style of European historicals and contemporaries.  Two or maybe three of these would be on my ballot.
jmc_bks: (Default)
My continued commentary about the results of AAR's Top 100 poll.

11.  Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase
European historical published in 2005.
I think I've read this one.  Maybe?  If I can't remember it, I probably wouldn't have included it on my ballot.  Frankly, I don't get the Chase love.  It's rather like the Gabaldon love in some ways -- other people adore her writing, but it doesn't really stand out to me.

12.  Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
European historical published in 2002.
This is Colin's romance with Penelope, yes?  I remember enjoying it.  It may have been the last good Bridgerton book for me.

13.  Paradise by Judith McNaught
Contemporary published in 1991.
Oh, I remember this book!  It's a complete soap opera!  I read it on a McNaught binge during the summer of my freshman year of college while I was laid up with acute appendicitis.  Absolutely loved it with all my teenaged heart.  Not sure if it would stand the test of time though.

14.  Lord Perfect by Loretta Chase
European historical published in 2006.
Haven't read it, not inclined to do so.

15.  It Had to Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Contemporary published in 1994.
This was perhaps the second SEP book I read, the first being Hot Shots, which I loved.  Loved this one, too, although upon reflection some of the things I thought were so awesome about the book (heroine owning her sexuality and image) seem less so.  What I mean is, as much as I appreciate Phoebe's manipulation of stereotypes to her advantage, the near-virgin heroine seems like a genre romance cliche:  she owns her sexuality but only to a certain degree, otherwise it she has to fit in genre parameters and true promiscuity (a word that I don't use pejoratively) would not be acceptable.

16.  Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Contemporary published in 2004.
Love this book.  I would be on my list.  Maybe in my top 10 but definitely the top 20.

17.  The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
European historical published in 2000.
Read this one after The Viscount Who Loved Me, although it was published first.  One scene toward the end made it a total wallbanger for me.

18.  Not Quite A Husband by Sherry Thomas
European historical published in 2009.
Have not read it.  It's on the TBR, I think.

19.  The Bride by Julie Garwood
Medieval published in 1999.
I've probably read this one, since I glommed her early in my romance reading career.  Her medievals are all pretty interchangeable for me, I think.  Haven't read anything she's put out in the last 5 years at least, though, since her transition to contemporaries and suspense did not intrigue me.

20.  The Spymaster's Lady by Joanna Bourne
European historical published in 2008.This book had some pretty prose, I think, but the plot was a bit much for me.  Think I read the follow up book, but not Bourne's more recent offering.

On the whole, more European historicals, and only two books I would put on my list of favorites or keepers.
jmc_bks: (Book on table)
The idea of putting my favorite 100 romance novels of all time in order and voting on them was too much.  Instead, I'll just comment on the results now that AAR has post them.

1.  Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase.
European historical published in 1995.  I have read this book.  It was sort of ~meh~ for me.  Generally speaking, I don't get the Chase-love that Romancelandia seems to feel and voice so ferociously.  Was this ground-breaking?  If I had read it when it was first published, would that have made a difference?  Frankly, this one wouldn't have been anywhere on my list.

2.  Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
European historical published in 1994.
This one is KristieJ's favorite, I know, because she adores the hero, Derek Something, who is a commoner (I think?).  A pleasant enough read, a wallpaper historical, but not a keeper.

3.  Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas
European historical published in 2006.
Another Kleypas book.  This may have been the last Kleypas historical novel I read.  The Evil Hero who is redeemed and the Spineless Heroine who loves him.  Again, me.

4.  Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Classic fiction published in 1818.
Not my favorite Austen, but I do approve of it being high on the Top 100 list.

5.  Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Time Travel romance published in 1991.
I've said repeatedly that I do not get the Gabaldon and Jamie Fraser love.  This was an okay book, a beach holiday read, but I've never felt an urge to either re-read it or pick up the rest of the series to read more about Claire, the biggest Mary Sue ever, or Jamie, the total stud that everyone wants.

6.  Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale
European historical published in 1992.
Haven't read it, although I do have a copy TBR.  Somehow, whenever I pick it up, I never get past the first page, maybe because it is so loaded with expectation because of the praise I've read about the book in Romancelandia.

7.  Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh
European historical published in 2004.
This is Wulfric Bedwyn's book, the culmination of this particular series.  Can't remember if I read it or not.  While I enjoyed early Balogh trad Regencies, I didn't follow her to hardback, which I think happened at some point in this series.

8.  The Viscount Who Love Me by Julia Quinn
European historical published in 2000.
This is the only book other than Pride & Prejudice in the top 10 that I would have selected.  Yes, it's a wallpaper historical, but the humor made the book for me.  The Black Mallet of Death!

9.  The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt
European historical published in 2006.
Have not read it.  Do not feel compelled to do so.  Hoyt is a so so author for me.

10.  The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley
European historical published in 2009.
Read this one.  According to my notes at LibraryThing, it was a B-/C+ read, with a heavy handed mystery and series bait but an enjoyable relationship development.  

So, two of the top ten are books that I would consider keepers.  

The European historical heaviness of this top ten list reminds me that my tastes are really out of sync with the average AAR reader, because while I've read these books, most of them were nothing more than pleasant diversions at best.


jmc_bks: (Default)
November's reading was a little light, but pretty good.

1.  Petit Morts: One Less Stiff at the Funeral by Sean Kennedy.  M/m romance, novella.  I remember being entertained and satisfied by the length and quality.  Plot-wise, it's a little vague for me, since I read a month ago now.  The narrator is a funeral director and his hero is the relative of a customer/client.

2.  Petit Morts:  Sort of Stranger Than Fiction by Josh Lanyon.  M/m romance, novella.  Am embarrassed to admit that I do not remember this novella at all.

3.  Petit Morts:  Critic's Choice by Josh Lanyon.  M/m romance, novella.  Loved this one.  It's a reunion story, with a horror film historian, a horror director and a screen legend known for his B horror movies.  Very sweet.

4. Indulgence in Death by J.D. Robb.  Futuristic romantic suspense.  There's always something to enjoy about an Eve Dallas book.  In this one, I enjoyed the opening chapters and the set up.  The Evil Villain(s) felt a little repetitive, though.

5.  Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts.  Contemporary romance.  This may be the first NR book I've ever given a DNF.  The writing was fine, but I was so bored by the wedding details; it was more a narrative about the heroine's friendship with the rest of the quartet and their business than a romance novel, at least for the 100 or so pages I read.  Mailed it to [livejournal.com profile] jperceval , who enjoyed it.

6.  Collision Course by K.A. Mitchell.  Re-read.  Because my copy is newly autographed by Ms. Mitchell herself :)  Whenever I read this book, it's my favorite.  Then I read No Souvenirs and change my mind :P

7.  Pricks & Pragmatism by J.L. Merrow.  M/m romance.  Recommended by [livejournal.com profile] sarahf .  Really enjoyed this story.  The story is not quite a rent boy, but is transient.  Ends up living with a frumpy dork (which I say with the utmost affection for frumpy dorks) and falling in love with him as he is.  A Cinderella story without the transformation.

8.  His for the Holidays by Josh Lanyon, et al.  Holiday anthology of m/m romance.  Reviewed earlier here.

9.  Core Training by Andrew Grey.  M/m novella.  Not badly written, but I'm not sure what the point was.  No tension, no plot.  Meh.


10.  The Annotated Persuasion by Jane Austen.  <3

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