January 2010 Read Books

February 12, 2010 at 4:00 am 11 comments

January was a slower month than usual for me. However, I read a few excellent books, and I’ll always choose quality over quantity.

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The Demon's LexiconThe Demon’s Lexicon (The Demon’s Lexicon trilogy, book 1) by Sarah Rees Brennan 1/30/10

I’ve had this book on my tbb list since I’d read Ana’s rave review at The Book Smugglers. It provided a nice change for YA. I think I’ve been feeling weary of the “normal” girl dealing with the sexy preternatural boy story line that is so prevalent in YA uf/pnr. Brothers Nick and Alan are on the run from magicians who are after a charm their mother had stolen.

The book was good, with the story told in the 3rd person from Nick’s pov. This perspective gives us insight to Nick’s inability to empathize with others and his reliance on his older brother Alan, from whom he takes his cues on how he should be acting/reacting/feeling.

For most of the story, I thought that I knew what twist was coming down the road. I was a little right, and mostly wrong. For the last 1/4 of the story I repeatedly was surprised by what unfolded and kept exclaiming things like, “Oh my god!” and “Fuck me!”—I love it when that happens!

I can’t wait for book 2, The Demon’s Covenant, due out May 27, 2010.

  • Sarah Rees Brennan’s site.
  • Excerpt (click on linked page) at author’s site.

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Hot PursuitHot Pursuit (Troubleshooters series, book 14) by Suzanne Brockmann 1/29/10

Audiobook read by Patrick Lawlor and Renee Raudman.

Gilman has never been my favorite SB character, and I think by the end of Hot Pursuit, I didn’t feel like he’d grown enough to make it to “hero” status. However, what I love about this series is that I know I can trust that he will continue to show character growth as the series continues.

I did really like Jen, however. She had her own issues, but didn’t let them get in the way. I’m really hoping for more of her (and Gillman, even) in the next book.

The suspense story line was really good, and I loved having some extra focus on Sam and Alyssa.

Now that I’ve finally caught up with the series, it kills me to think I’m going to have to wait for an entire year for Izzy’s book. He’s one of my favorite characters in this series, and I hope his story is a good one, especially with Maria (that was unexpected!) entering the picture and complicating things.

Read a complete review, here.

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The Fellowship of the RingThe Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, book 1) by JRR Tolkien 1/26/10

I took Ana and Thea up on one of their Book Smugglers’ Guest Dares. We agreed on my reading The Fellowship of the Ring, because it is a classic that I’ve long avoided reading. Head on over to The Book Smugglers to see what I thought.

Guest dare review.

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Sunshine by Robin McKinley 1/21/10

January 2010 Re-Read Challenge book.

Audiobook read by Laural Merlington.

OK, I STILL have plans to write this (very overdue) review. I love this story of baker, Rae and vampire Constantine. Robin McKinley deftly shows their growing relationship without ever forgetting that vampires are monsters.

I wish that there was more of Rae and Con’s story, and hope (in vain) that Robin McKinley will one day write a sequel.

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Dancing in the MoonlightDancing in the Moonlight (Cowboys of Cold Creek series, book 5) by RaeAnn Thayne 1/21/10

January 2010 TBR Challenge book.

Read my review here.

This was a really enjoyable category that was part of Harlequin’s 60th celebration. I loved the unique heroine (Latina war vet), Maggie, and the real life issues she and beta hero, Jake deal with upon her homecoming.

  • RaeAnne Thayne’s site.
  • Dancing in the Moonlight free PDF at Harlequin.

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Camp Hell (PsyCop series, book 5) by Jordan Castillo Price 1/18/10 Ebook

January 2010 DIK Challenge book.

Review my review here.

I’m sad to be caught up on this series, because I just can’t get enough of psychic Vic, and his hunky “stiff” (not like that, but meaning lacking in psychic abilities!) boyfriend, Jacob. I thought Camp Hell was the best yet.

  • Jordan Castillo Price’s site.
  • Excerpt at PsyCop site.

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U is for UndertowU is for Undertow (Kinsey Millhone series, book 21) by Sue Grafton 1/13/10

Audiobook read by Judy Kaye.

I am in awe of Sue Grafton’s ability to keep this series interesting with Kinsey continuing to grow as a character. Here’s what I said about UifU a couple of weeks ago:

U is for Undertow kept me so riveted, that I suddenly realized I was at the book’s climax. I hadn’t thought once to glance at my iPod to see where I was in the book during hours of listening. After 21 books in the Kinsey Millhone series, Sue Grafton has been able to keep this series feeling fresh, with interesting mysteries and character growth that makes Kinsey one of my favorite P.I.s.”

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Dark of NightDark of Night (Troubleshooters series, book 14) by Suzanne Brockmann 1/12/10

Audiobook read by Patrick Lawlor and Renee Raudman.

I enjoyed this installment, mostly for Dave and Sophia. Decker was a big part of this story, and he’s never been one of my favorites. I have little patience for self-absorbed heroes eaten up by self pity, and Decker has spent most of the series being one of those heroes. I wasn’t expecting the heroine he wound up with, and I actually have liked her in the series, but this pairing was an awkward fit for me.

However, even with these quibbles, Suzanne Brockmann is a great storyteller, and I’d read the phone book if she wrote it.

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Midwinter of the SpiritMidwinter of the Spirit (Merrily Watkins series, book 2) by Phil Rickman 1/6/10

Audiobook read by Emma Powell.

Still loving this unique series. Merrily, an Anglican vicar of a  small rural parish near the Welsh border, lives with her teenage daughter and solves mysteries of a supernatural bent. This sounds like it should be a cosy, but it has more in common with a psychological thriller than it does with Miss Marple.

In Midwinter of the Spirit, Merrily accepts a position with the deliverance ministry, investigating paranormal cases, and performing exorcisms, when necessary. Church politics, sexism, satanic practices, and teen/parent angst all play a part in this excellent story.

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Change of Heart by Mary Calmes 1/3/10 Ebook

This m/m werepanther romance really sounded up my alley, but it turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag. While I enjoyed the general story of fated mates, the 1st person narrative by Jin was a little harder for me to enjoy. Early on in the book, I noticed he often described himself as “amazing”, it kept throwing me out of the book. I liked Alpha, Logan much better, though I wish he struggled with the fact that his mate was male at least a tiny bit (until Jin, he was straight).

  • Mary Calmes’ blog.
  • Excerpt (click on “excerpt” tab) on publisher’s site.

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Secrets by JCPSecrets (PsyCop series, book 4) by Jordan Castillo Price 1/2/10 Ebook

I’ve been gobbling up this series, and it’s been consistently good. I love seeing Vic’s and Jacob’s relationship progress, and Vic is really struggling with the necessary shifting of boundaries one must do in a long term relationship.

The title, Secrets, really says a lot about the overall theme in this story. Everybody is keeping secrets in this one, and issues of trust, honesty and public/private space all come in to play. I like that we get some new insight into Jacob, and he’s a little less perfect and a little more flawed. (That’s a good thing!)

  • Jordan Castillo Price’s site.
  • PsyCop site.

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Tempest Rising by Nicole PeelerTempest Rising (Jane True series, book 1) by Nicole Peeler 1/1/10

This was an excellent book with which to start my year! I’d really been looking forward to this new series about a selkie woman, Jane True, who lives in a remote part of the NE coast. There was a lot of originality here, with interesting takes on a variety of preternatural creatures.

I love Tempest Rising‘s cover art, with its manga sensibility. Everything on the cover has significance to the story. I kept flipping to the cover as I read. Check out Sharon Tancredi’s site to see some more of her really cool art.

I can’t wait for book 2, Tracking the Tempest, which will be out July 1, 2010. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for more Anyan!

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ETA: Ack! Just realized I left this book off of my list! I listened to it around 1/25 or so. Will post mini-review later today when I get back from volunteering at my son’s class.

The Dark DivineThe Dark Divine by Bree Despain 1/25/10

Audiobook read by Eileen Stevens.

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Overall, I was really happy with the majority of the books I read in January. Among my favorites were Tempest Rising, Camp Hell, The Demon’s Lexicon, and Fellowship of the Ring.

My biggest accomplishment this month getting current with the Troubleshooters series. Until I read about SEAL Team 16, I never was into military romance. Brockmann made me a believer, and (thanks to fellow So Cal blogger, Nikki) I’ve got the first few in SB’s Tall Dark and Dangerous series (SEAL Team 10) on my shelf.

So, what were your favorite reads in January?

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Entry filed under: 2010 Read Books, Adventure Romance, Category Romance-Contemporary, Cowboy/Western Romance, High Fantasy, Mystery, Paranormal M/M, Paranormal Mystery, Romantic Suspense, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

WINNER-Indiscreet Giveaway February 2010 Book Releases

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Chris  |  February 12, 2010 at 6:14 am

    Wow, you had an intense month of reading! I remember that I really liked Sunshine. And I hear you about being a little sad to be caught up on Psy-Cop – have you read the various shorts?

    Hmm, I don’t remember the thing with Jin referring to himself as amazing, and that’s usually the sort of thing that will drive me nuts.

    Reply
    • 2. Renee  |  February 12, 2010 at 7:12 am

      Sunshine held up really well for a reread. I really need to read more books by RMcK.

      Yeah, I’m done with all the shorts. I’m going to read her Channeling Morpheus series next.

      Once I twigged to it, I couldn’t stop seeing it. Also, how much better he was than everyone else at everything. I understood he was special because of his position, but it was a little much.

      Reply
  • 3. Hilcia  |  February 12, 2010 at 8:27 am

    You did quite well, Renee! The Tolkien book alone was a major accomplishment, lol!

    I’m really looking forward to your review of Sunshine. I haven’t read it, but it looks very appealing to me. 🙂

    Reply
    • 4. Renee  |  February 13, 2010 at 12:04 am

      Hilcia: TFotR definitely took up a big chunk of my reading time this month!
      Oh, it’s really different from most uf/pnr. Hope to get to it this weekend!

      Reply
  • 5. orannia  |  February 12, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    I have PsyCop to look forward too – I can’t wait! Just got to work out where to purchase it from, because Fictionwise doesn’t seem to stock it!

    I have The Demon’s Lexicon on my TBR list – I hope to get to it one day 🙂

    Sunhine I haven’t read, but I have Chalice sitting by my bed… It was the bees that attract me to it 🙂

    Reply
    • 6. Renee  |  February 13, 2010 at 12:10 am

      Yes! Jordan Castillo Price self-publishes, and does a great job of it. She mentioned that she even does her own covers, which I think has lots to do with how great they look.
      Here’s her store: http://jcpbooks.com/

      I read a library copy of The Demon’s Lexicon, which is hard cover. Sooo good.

      I gotta read more of Robin McKinley!

      Reply
  • 7. Carolyn Crane  |  February 14, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    I’m looking forward to more Anyan, too. I think he’s going to be the dark horse here, who wins in the end. Go Anyan! At first I thought he was Jason, but morphed in some way. I don’t think that now, though.

    Reply
    • 8. Renee  |  February 14, 2010 at 9:30 pm

      Yes, I think he’s definitely going to be more the hero in the long run. I liked Ryu, but he sort of lost his shiny for me by the end, and Anyan just got better and better. Of course I’ve always been more of a shifter girl than a vamp girl. 😉

      Reply
  • 9. Christine  |  February 16, 2010 at 10:41 am

    I read The Demon’s Lexicon last fall… hardcover from the library as well. I had a bit of trouble getting into it at first, but ended up really enjoying it. Like you, I had an idea about the twist and the ending, and while I was right about a few things, I was more blown away by some other revelations than I expected. If the story didn’t have those fascinating revelations towards the end… it would have just been mediocre. I hope the author can pull off more surprises and twists in the next book… and maybe not save all her story telling power for the end.

    Did you see the cover art for the sequel? I think I saw it at Angieville.

    Reply
    • 10. Renee  |  February 16, 2010 at 8:45 pm

      Yes, I agree that it was in a “good” category, but the end made it “great”. Part of my appreciation of it also comes from the fact that I really liked the fact that it broke away from the “girl meets supernatural guy” or “girl suddenly has superpowers” plotlines that are really prevalent right now. I mean, I enjoy a lot of them, but I think I’m reaching a saturation point. SRB definitely gets points for originality in The Demon’s Lexicon.

      You have a good point, though. A more evenly paced book would probably have made it stronger. I am interested in seeing how she’ll focus on Mae next.

      Reply
  • 11. Christine  |  February 17, 2010 at 7:04 am

    You know, you’re absolutely right about SRB getting major points for originality with this story AND with the characters. I didn’t realize the next story was focused on Mae… that’s interesting. I’m not surprised as she definitely has a lot to offer for her “own” book, and I gather we’ll learn more about all those revelations at the end of The Demon’s Lexicon, too. Should be interesting!

    On an another topic, I think you’re the first of my book blogging friends tocomment on Nicole Peeler’s Tempest Rising book. I have to admit I love the cover art, too… and it had me intrigued. I’m so glad to hear you liked the story. Is there romance or is it primarily fantasy?

    Reply

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