Book I loved:
Almost Like Being In Love by Steve Kluger. This is the epistolary tale of Travis and Craig, who fell in love in high school and then drifted apart because of college. Twenty years later, Travis is still trying to find Mr. Right, and Craig is struggling to stay with his Mr. Right while following his political conscience. This is a beautiful love story, even if Travis comes off as more than a little flaky sometimes. In the end, as a reader I was cheering for Clayton (Craig’s SO since college) and Craig and Travis all to get their respective HEAs.
Books I liked a great deal:
Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong. The Further Adventures of Elena and Clay: chasing a mutt across the country, they end up in Alaska, where they find more rogues, these being foreign, come to the US to claim their own territory and brutalize anyone who gets in their way. I’ve found that I enjoy the Otherworld books narrated by Elena best.
Lessons in Power by Charlie Cochrane. The fourth Cambridge Fellows Mystery, in which Jonty’s past comes back to haunt the pair of them in the form of another murder mystery.
More good books:
Speak Its Name anthology. I bought this book for the post-World War I story by Charlie Cochrane, but ultimately enjoyed the story by Lee Rowan (set in India and Vienna) the most. First Erastes story I’ve read; content was okay but the narrative style — 1st person, storyteller directly to reader or questioner — didn’t appeal.
On the Edge by Ilona Andrews. Urban fantasy. Quirky and appealing, but rather like chinese food — probably not a reread, unlike Andrews’ Kate Daniels series.
Thank You Mrs. M by Kate Rothwell. Mentioned here.
Four Queens by Nancy Goldstone. Historical nonfiction, reviewed here.
Doubleblind by Anne Aguirre. Mentioned here.
Out of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg. YA fiction. What happens when the senior quarterback of the football team is gay? And is outed in the school newspaper?
Becoming Us by Anah Crow and Dianne Fox. M/m romance. Hmm, this sort of borders on being a coming of age story, since a large chunk of the plot centers on one protagonist’s struggles with his sexuality. He likes girls, he likes guys, he’s named after his gay uncle and has been harassed and teased by family as maybe being gay all his life based on that. And then his best friend comes out, which changes everything. There’s a LOT of sex in this book, and I feel a little ambivalent about it — could more relationship-building have occurred outside the bedroom, please? But then a lot of the sex is an outgrowth of Bryce’s changing/growing comfort levels with his sexuality. So I don’t know.
The Other Side of the Dark by Joan Lowery Nixon. Someone posted online about another YA book by Nixon, and it reminded me of this one, which was a favorite in high school. Amnesia! Romance! Suspense! What’s not to like? Uh, well, let’s just say it was better left a sweet memory.
Books I couldn’t be arsed to finish or that seriously pissed me off:
Can’t Stand the Heat by Louisa Edwards. Debut contemporary. The descriptions of food and cooking were gorgeous and beautifully written; I wanted someone to cook me a gourmet meal to eat as I read. Loved the secondary characters. The hero was okay. All of the conflict came from the heroine, who was…a monumental cow. I couldn’t find anything sympathetic about her. Even things that *ought* to make her sympathetic were twisted around and fed her negative qualities. She came off as a pretentious, snotty, controlling, know-it-all, selfish witch. I tweeted about this book as I read that I didn’t care about her HEA. I skipped or skimmed the love scenes because I wasn’t interested in reading about "love" scenes when I knew the heroine was planning on screwing the hero one way or another. Even the ending grovel didn’t win me over, because of the way she did it, which was (again) all about her rather than the people to whom she was apologizing. Having said all of that, I would read Edwards’ next book, because I think she has talent and the excerpt looks interesting.
What Happens in London by Julia Quinn. Please see my complaint here.
Relentless by Lauren Dane. SF/Futuristic romance. Liked the world building, didn’t care about the characters. And the use of vocabulary for body parts was repetitive and not very imaginative. DNF
Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts. I’m sorry to say that is was a DNF. The pretty cover was the best part of the book. The story was average, not sparkling or different, but the kicker was the "big fight" as the end approached. The heroine crossed a line and then when the hero called her on it (reasonably, IMO), she threw a temper tantrum. It was all about what she wanted. And the way their mutual friends took her side, even though his behavior was completely consistent with the character as it has been established earlier in the series and in this book seriously pissed me off. If I’d had a paper copy of this book, I’d’ve ripped it in half. As it was, all I could do was delete it from iPhigenia. I’m sure he groveled and apologized, but frankly, she should’ve been the one to grovel and so should the circle of friends. DNF