I read some good books this month, and some crappy books.
1. The Surgeon’s Lady by Carla Kelly. A-. Harlequin Historical. I meant to review this book, but never got around to it. It’s the second book of a trilogy, with the heroine of each being sisters, the illegitimate daughters of Lord Ratliffe. This book got an A- minus rather than a straight A from me because it felt vaguely repetitive — in places it reminded me a great deal of Kelly’s With This Ring, which is perhaps my favorite Kelly read.
2. Lessons in Discovery, A Cambridge Fellows Mystery by Charlie Cochrane. A. M/m, ebook. This is author and series is one of my Finds for the year so far. The mystery took a backseat to the personal developments in this book, in comparison to the two earlier installments, but it worked very well. I was thrilled to read that several more installments are planned, and that the series is going to be edited and reissued as part of Samhain’s transition of Linden Bay (original publisher) away from romance to YA.
3. Hard and Fast by Erin McCarthy. B-.
4. Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris. C Urban fantasy. Done with this series.
5. Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward. D+. Urban fantasy. I have gotten over the crack, and now it just reads as overwrought and underedited.
6. Blue Diablo by Ann Aguirre. B+. Urban fantasy noir. This book works so much better for me than Aguirre’s Sirantha Jax scifi series.
7. Strokes of Genius by L. Jon Wertheim. B. Nonfiction. Wrote about it here.
8. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. D. YA paranormal romance. Uh, sparkly vampires?
9. Vision in White by Nora Roberts. C. Contemporary. Almost anything written by La Nora could be considered a comfort read for me. Her single title suspense rocks, and I love the Eve Dallas series. But this book? Eh, it didn’t work for me. The hero was fine, but I didn’t really care for the heroine, and the setting for the series is one that grates on my nerves — the wedding industry. I’ve seen too many Bridezillas and the monumental debt that people go into for the setting to be entertaining.
10. Eve of Darkness by S.L. Day. C-. Urban fantasy. The book opened with a Problem that wasn’t actually solved (or even addressed) by the end of the book, and screamed, "Series bait!" Uh, not interested, thx.
11. Burning Alive by Shannon K. Butcher. F. Urban fantasy? Paranormal romance? I’m not sure what this was supposed to be, but it failed on both counts for me. The writing was competent, but the story was chock full of romance and UF tropes that I have low tolerance for. I took a lot of notes about this book as I read, but most of them boiled down to this: Mary Sue heroine; selfish hero who was all about what was convenient and useful for his quest without consideration for the damage he was doing to others; similar behavior in his sidekicks, which does not bode well for future installments of this series; poorly established fantasy world that was eventually sort of explained via "well, as you know, Bill"; boring sex scenes that could’ve been chopped in half; uber evil villains whose villany seems pointless and exaggerated; etc. Based on how this book ended, I’m guessing it is supposed to be a paranormal romance, rather than strict urban fantasy, and of course more books in the series are coming. Again, not interested, thx. It’s me, not you, I’m sure.
12. and 13. Deadly Nightshade and Deadly Wrong by Victor J. Banis. B-. M/m mystery. I just finished these two the other day and am still thinking about them. On one hand, they drew me in and kept my attention; on the other hand, they were pretty predictable, in terms of the mystery and in terms of the developing relationship between the gay and straight homicide inspectors.