Yesterday, when I realized TBR day was today, I also realized just how little I’ve read for pleasure in the last month. I think part of this is because I’ve gone through a huge number of submissions and read more fulls in the past few weeks than I did in the previous six months. Mostly due to the fact that I had a really large number of submissions to my shifter anthology.
So I was pretty well resigned to the fact that I hadn’t read anything that would qualify for the TBR challenge because every night I pick up my Sony Reader and page through the 200 books on there, start a few and stop reading. Depressing. In looking at my Library Thing while reading this post, I realized that yes, I hadn’t read a huge number of books, especially in the past two weeks, but in the past month since the last TBR day, I’d read at least two books that qualified and that I very much enjoyed: Pride (Werecats, Book 3) by Rachel Vincent and Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (I’m still working on Ink Exchange (Wicked Lovely) by Melissa Marr, it’s going a little more slowly for me).
But last night I decided on a whim to turn to my old standby: category. And more specifically, Harlequin Presents. Cheers to HP for always giving me mind candy that I can enjoy without investing too much time or thought (and I mean that in a purely complimentary way, honest!)
In browsing my Sony (hurray for being able to browse by collections I set up, like categories, rather than just the author/title)I found Price of Passion (Harlequin Presents: Pregnant Mistresses) by Susan Napier and decided to give it a go, though most anyone who knows me well will tell you I’m so not a fan of the secret baby trope (which doesn’t explain why I bought this. Maybe because it’s Susan Napier?)
The Amazon blurb:
Kate had learned certain lessons as Drake Daniels’s lover:
Lesson number one: the price of loving Drake was not to love him.
Lesson number two: never give him what he expected.
Discovering she was pregnant certainly fulfilled lesson number two. Drake had made it clear commitment and children were not on his menu. Now Kate must break her news. But when she sees Drake, passion kicks in, begging to be indulged again…
Category is often hard for me to write a review of, because I don’t always have a lot to say. But I did enjoy this book, particularly the heroine. I didn’t find her dense, silly, to suddenly lose brain cells or some of the other things that sometimes prevent my enjoyment of category books. She was smart, she stuck up for herself, she didn’t let the hero walk all over her and she was likable. The book is entirely in her POV, so it was harder to feel close to the hero, but he wasn’t a total asshole and I never wanted to wrap my hands around his neck and squeeze it like a tube of toothpaste. So clearly the book was a win for me!
I should say that I particularly liked the opening, and I did enjoy the setup/plot of the book and the progression of the story. It just felt very well-structured and oddly believable (oddly because that doesn’t always happen in HP). If you’re a fan of category, I do recommend this one!
And since I had brain freeze and forgot I’d read the other two books that would qualify for this month’s TBR challenge (even if I’ve yet to actually meet the genre/category goal) I will say that I also recommend Pride (Werecats, Book 3) by Rachel Vincent and Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
It seems like over half of what I read these days would qualify for this challenge, so now that I find myself in the airport with a delayed flight and a Bloody Mary in front of me, I’m not sure which book to write about. Included in the books I could have written about that I read from my TBR pile include Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich (which I followed with Plum Spooky) and Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts. I’m a fan of both Janet Evanovich and Nora Roberts, so these are pretty easy recommends for me. Even though I constantly tell myself I’m going to quit Evanovich because her books never seem to move forward with anything, I still find myself going back to them because they’re light and fluffy and never fail to make me giggle. And let’s face it, Ranger and Joe are hot.
But I think my favorite TBR book this month was Flat-Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy. This is one I picked up on the recommendation of Jane from Dear Author. I’ve been trying to branch out my reading to more genres other than just fantasy and paranormal, and contemporary is one I don’t read as much of. Plus, this book seems right up my alley because, hello! Nascar!
So the blurb:
“One of the romance writing industry’s brightest stars”(Romance Reviews Today) returns with a flat-out delightful, new, and sexy contemporary romance about a woman who’s happy being single—and the man determined to change her mind.
Independent single mother Tamara Briggs wanted to find a new, sexy, no-strings-attached man—just not one as young as NASCAR driver Elec Monroe. But he sure does get her heart racing. And after she’s tricked into a blind date with him, Tamara gives in to her passion. Things screech to a halt, though, when he asks to meet her children. Whatever happened to wham-bam-thank-youma’am? Suddenly Tamara has to decide how much risk she’s willing to take to experience the power of true love.
I’ll be honest, for whatever reason I didn’t expect to like this book, I think partly because of the widowed mom aspect of the heroine and the younger hero. Also, I have liked but not loved some of Erin’s previous books. But to my surprise, I liked both the hero and the heroine quite a bit. I enjoyed the relationship between them and found the conflict, while not overly complicated, to be both believable and relevant. I’m not an overly huge fan of children in romance but I didn’t find them to be either intrusive or just wallpaper either. I think that with this contemporary series, the author has found both her niche and a powerful storytelling voice.
To make this brief (because my battery is dying), the characters have wonderful chemistry, but also a really believable growth in both their relationships and their own personal demons. The secondary characters add a depth to both the characters’ relationship and the book itself. There wasn’t anything concrete I would point to and say that I overly disliked about the book and I’m very much looking forward to the next release, Hard and Fast, which releases in May.
The first TBR challenge of 2009! This year Keishon is doing monthly categories for the challenges, but I chose to do an open format because it’s so hard for me to read for pleasure sometimes, I don’t feel I can also force myself to be in the mood. Which is a shame since this month was category romance and I have plenty of those TBR!
Black Magic Woman (Quincy Morris Supernatural Investigation) is a book I’ve had on my TBR pile for awhile. I picked it up because I’m always interested in trying something different, new authors in the UF category. I finally decided to read it for this challenge because I’d been seeing a lot of positive reviews around the web for the second book, Evil Ways (Quincey Morris, Book 2) and, duh, I can’t read out of order.
The blurb: Occult investigator Quincey Morris and his “consultant”, white witch Libby Chastain, are hired to free a family from a deadly curse that appears to date back to the Salem witch trials. Fraught with danger, the trail finds them stalking the mysterious occult underworlds of Boston, San Francisco, New Orleans and New York, searching out the root of the curse. After surviving a series of terrifying attempts on their lives, the two find themselves drawn inexorably towards Salem itself – the very heart of darkness.
My thoughts: The book has a great opening, it’s extremely catchy. I love a book that plops me down in the middle of action and then lets me catch up without trying to dump a bunch of backstory or character internal narrative on me. I think getting to know the character through internal narrative can get…old. And kind of trite. But I digress. So we’ve established how the book starts out. This is different from a more typical urban fantasy in that it’s 1) not in first and 2) told in multiple POV from a variety of characters. That doesn’t work for all books but it works in this one. I love seeing scenes from a variety of characters.
I did feel like this somewhat prevented me from really feeling attached to Quincey, the protaganist, because I spent a lot of time with other characters. But at the same time I was attached enough to root for him. Just not attached enough to cry for him (not that there was one of those moments in this book, it’s just an example of the distance created by multiple POV, which is fine for this book).
The story itself is interesting and moves forward at a good clip, keeping the reader interested, though I did find the climax of the story a bit abrupt. However, I liked this book and will definitely read the next one. Now, if only they’d put them in ebook!
J. Kaye is hosting a whole list of reading challenges for 2009 if you’re looking for one. You’ll need to take a peek at the right sidebar for the full list.
I’m looking forward to some books releasing in 2009, but there are two I’m particularly excited about.
The first is this one: Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels I’ve always both admired and been intimidated by Sarah and Candy’s intelligence, sense of humor and just plain chutzpah (the only other person I feel similarly about is Jane, who is also kind of scary in her intelligent commentary). I know this book promises to be their particular blend of all three of those qualities and I can’t wait! Releases in April 2009.
The second book I’m super excited about is Pioneer Woman’s cookbook. There’s no specific information on it on either her website or Amazon, but from reading her blog I know it’s due to be released in 2009. If you’ve never tried a PW recipe, you’re missing out so get thee to her website and check out her recipe file. Subscribe to the Cooking blog for sure, but also to her other blogs–she’s funny and entertaining. Oh, and she also has some pretty amazing giveaways on her various blogs just about weekly, though she does get about 14,000 entries in one day’s time!
Here’s some of the fiction books on my Amazon wishlist for 2009–these are only the ones that I had note of, I’m sure there are many, many more I’m missing. One thing you might note about my wishlist is that it’s comprised almost entirely (with the exception of Kristan Higgins, Victoria Dahl and JD Robb) of urban fantasy, fantasy and paranormal. I think for 2009 my resolution will be to read more contemporary and historical:
Kiss of a Demon King (The Immortals After Dark, Book 6) by Kresley Cole
These two are available now but deserve mention as January releases:
Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl Kindle edition
Veil of Midnight (The Midnight Breed, Book 5) by Lara Adrian
Too Good To Be True by Kristan Higgins
Promises in Death by J.D. Robb
The Better to Hold You by Alisa Sheckley*
Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson, Book 4) by Patricia Briggs
Undone (Outcast Season, Book 1) by Rachel Caine
White Witch, Black Curse (The Hollows, Book 7) by Kim Harrison
(see ARCs below for March wishlist)
Blue Diablo: A Corine Solomon Novel by Ann Aguirre
Sins & Shadows by Lyn Benedict*
Dead and Gone (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 9) by Charlaine Harris
Crouching Vampire, Hidden Fang: A Dark Ones Novel by Katie MacAlister
Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
Once Dead, Twice Shy (Madison Avery, Book 1) by Kim Harrison
Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland
Branded by Fire by Nalini Singh
Hunting Ground (Alpha & Omega, Book 2) by Patricia Briggs
Mercy Thompson Homecoming by Patricia Briggs
Redemption Alley by Lilith Saintcrow
Doubleblind by Ann Aguire
Kindred in Death by J.D. Robb. *sidenote* I love how Nora Roberts has her entire 2009 release schedule on her website. It lets fans know what’s coming. There are some authors on my list who really need to do better about updating as some don’t even update AFTER the book’s release (or don’t have a website to speak of at all). Ack!
Unknown release date
Book 5 of C.L. Wilson’s Tairen Soul series. Write faster C.L.!
Some 2009 books I have ARCs and have either read or have TBR:
Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh releases March 2009
Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, Book 3) by Ilona Andrews (I’m also very excited about her June release from Samhain!) releases March 2009
Living on the Edge by Ilona Andrews (pssst, Ilona, you need to update your website…it still says “Border Rose” and your Samhain book isn’t even on there. *sniff*)
Pride (Werecats, Book 3) by Rachel Vincent releases February 2009
The Treasure Keeperby Shana Abe releases March 2009
The Shadow Queen (Black Jewels, Book 7) by Anne Bishop releases March 2009
The Sharing Knife, Volume Four: Horizon by Lois McMaster Bujold releases January 2009
*No author website.
So what books are you looking forward to in 2009?