Posts tagged ‘Carolyn Jewel’

Just finished reading…My Dangerous Pleasure by Carolyn Jewel

My Dangerous Pleasure (My Immortal/Witches series, book 4) by Carolyn Jewel

My Dangerous PleasureTEMPT THE DARKNESS Strong-willed and independent, Paisley Nichols is used to taking care of herself. But when an insane mage begins tracking her every move and threatening her at every turn, she has no choice but to put her life in the hands of a demon.
RISK THE PASSION Burned by betrayal, demon assassin Iskander won’t get too close to anyone. He spends his days serving his warlord and his nights indulging in carnal pleasures . . . and that’s exactly how he likes it. But when a mage wages a wrenching psychic assault on his beautiful tenant Paisley, Iskander must defend her. Under his protection, she will be drawn irresistibly into his life and learn about her own mysterious powers. And not a moment too soon. The mage haunting her isn’t acting alone-and he won’t rest until he destroys both Paisley and Iskander.

I love this series, and was so glad that the long wait between books 3 and 4 was finally over. Iskander has been put through the mill in previous books in this series, so I’ve been really looking forward to his getting a shot at a HEA.

First off, let me say that this is the fourth book in the series, and given the complexity of the world and the character relationships, I highly recommend reading them in order. I’m usually a stickler about these things, and the payoff will be worth it in this case, since the larger story arc continues to get more and more interesting as the books progress.

The world of demonkin, witches, and mages waging a power struggle  in modern-day San Francisco is dark, sensual, and often violent. Nikodemus, the leader of the kin, is struggling to keep the peace between his kind with their witch allies, and the power-hungry mages.

Paisley, a human woman who owns a bakery and rents a garage apartment from her sexy (and unbeknownst to her) demonkin landlord, Iskander, stumbles into this explosive situation when Kessler, a dark mage awakens an incipient magic in her, and begins to terrorize her.

I really liked Paisley. While she’s often put in terrifying, confusing, and overwhelming situations (at the beginning of the book she is completely unaware of the non-human world) she deals with it in a straightforward, no-nonsense manner. Her naiveté doesn’t result in tstl actions, as often is the case with uninformed heroines.

Iskander is someone who has been through hell, been damaged, especially by his crazy blood-twin, and is often on the edge of losing it, himself. I love how when he’s put in the position of guarding Paisley, she brings out another side of him that we haven’t seen in previous books. He’s not just a bad-ass alpha around her, but also a considerate protector (and, eventually,) lover. Their love scenes are HOT, and I love how Iskander, for all his passion, always tries to make sure that she is ok with his more “demon-like” aspects.

While the story itself took a little bit to really get going, once it did, I love where it went. I found the story behind Kessler’s actions original and absorbing, and it kept me turning pages. I can’t wait for the next book in the series to see where the larger story arc continues to go.

Related posts about the series:

For more info on the series, the author has a great primer on it.

I received this book from the
author, for review purposes.


June 24, 2011 at 12:05 pm 8 comments

May 2011 Releases, part 2

I’ve fallen a little behind (what else is new?) but I’m really excited about some of the releases that came out at the end of May, and wanted to share them!

GraveminderMay 17, 2011: Graveminder by Melissa Marr

This is Melissa Marr’s first adult novel, and if it’s half as great as her faerie court series, I’ll be thrilled. The story is about Rebekkah, who returns to Claysville, her hometown, after her grandmother’s death. She comes to realize there is more to Claysville than she thought, and that her grandmother played a key role in keeping the peace between the living and the dead. And, it falls to Bek to uphold the family tradition.

I’m on the library waitlist for the audiobook, and can’t wait to listen to it!

America PacificaMay 18, 2011: America Pacifica by Anna North

I think I’m at the point with YA (which I love) that the first thing I’m looking for in a story is originality. And, when I read the description of America Pacifica, I knew I had to read it.

North America is in a second ice age, and Darcy lives on the island of America Pacifica. It’s a place of haves and have-nots, and is ruled by a mysterious dictator. When Darcy’s mom disappears, she searches for her mom, and finds much more than she bargained for.

Rhapsody for Piano and GhostMay 24, 2011: Rhapsody for Piano and Ghost by ZA Maxfield

ZAM is one of my favorite m/m authors. She always writes with so much heart, creating characters I really care about.

While gifted pianist Fritz is studying at a conservatory and looking for a little peace, he finds himself surrounded by family and friends (possibly including a couple of well-meaning imaginary ones) who complicate his life.

It sounds like this story is told with ZAM’s trademark sense of humor.

Between Sinners and SaintsMay 29, 2011: Between Sinners and Saints by Marie Sexton

I’ve recently discovered Marie Sexton’s Coda series, and LOVED every one of them. Her new release is a stand alone, and sounds like it’s as angsty and will pull at my heartstrings as her Coda books.

Bartender Levi is has left behind his Mormon roots behind and encounters Jamie, a loner who is haunted by his past. It’s an opposites attract love story (one of my favorite kinds) and of course the heroes find common ground, healing, and love.

Kiss of SnowMay 31, 2011: Kiss of Snow  (PsyChangeling series, book 10) by Nalini Singh

Hawke’s book!

Need I say more? I do? Oh, ok.

Well, I’ve already read it, and it’s as awesome as all the hype led me to believe.

Read it. You won’t be sorry.

Enough said.

Magic SlaysMay 31, 2011: Magic Slays (Kate Daniels series, book 5) by Ilona Andrews

I always say this about the Kate Daniels series, but here we are at book 5, and it’s still true: each subsequent book in this series gets better (and I really liked the first book).

I’m really interested to see where the author goes with Magic Slays, especially since we are sort of moved to the post HEA part of the story line with Kate and Curran.

I’m looking forward to see the new life that they will build, what Kate is going to do with her new business, and what will happen with the bigger story arc involving Kate’s background.

Just Like HeavenMay 31, 2011: Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith quartet, book 1) by Julia Quinn

The legendary Smythe-Smith family (and their notorious musicales) has always been the comic relief in Julia Quinns more recent books. The poor Smythe-Smith girls are now getting their own stories, and Lady Honoria is the heroine in Just Like Heaven. Another of my favorite romance tropes is the younger sibling/older sibling’s friend pairing, and Marcus (Honoria’s brother’s best friend) starts out keeping an eye on Honoria in her brother’s absence, and finds himself falling in love.

I always enjoy Julia Quinn’s historical romances. They’re light, funny, and romantic. I’m currrently listening to Just Like Heaven (narrated by Roslyn Landor) and so far it’s exactly what I expect.

My Dangerous PleasureMay 31, 2011: My Dangerous Pleasure (Witches/My series, book 4) by Carolyn Jewel

This is one of my favorite parnormal series. I love the unique world, the strong heroines, and the sexy demons.

My Dangerous Pleasure is Iskander’s story. The author has really put him thru the mill in this series, and I was excited that he finally gets a HEA. And, Paisley is a worthy heroine.

If you haven’t picked this series up yet, I highly recommend that you start with book 1, My Wicked Enemy.

My review for this book will be posted in a couple of days.

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That’s a lot of books, isn’t it? Lots of good stuff, here.  What’s recently been released that you’ve been looking forward to?

June 4, 2011 at 5:00 am 18 comments

Just finished reading…My Immortal Assassin by Carolyn Jewel

This book was given to me by the author.
This review cross-posted on Goodreads.
My Goodreads rating: 4 of 5 stars
View all my reviews at Goodreads.

My Immortal Assassin
(My series, book 3) by Carolyn Jewel

My Immortal AssassinRevenge. It’s all Grayson Spencer wants. Christophe dit Menart, a human with dark magical powers, destroyed the life she loved. She wants the pleasure of killing him, no matter the cost to her. If not for Durian, a dangerously sexy demon fiend charged with keeping Christophe alive, she would have succeeded, too. Now, she’s certain all hope is gone. But he has a plan and an offer she can’t resist…

Durian has spent his life as a trained and sanctioned assassin. His duty: to enforce the laws against demons harming humans. He’s always prided himself on staying out of the fray, carrying out his orders and honoring his fealty to his warlord, but never getting attached. Never until Grayson, a spunky and determined woman clearly gifted with magic herself. He convinces her to swear fealty to him so he can protect her and teach her to use her magic to taste the revenge she so desperately wants.

They’re soon bound together in a forbidden desire — a dangerous passion that calls into question Durian’s oath of loyalty to his warlord. When he refuses to return her to Christophe, his disobedience threatens to inflame the tumultuous war between demons and the magekind. Can they — and their love — survive?

I’ve been a big fan of Carolyn Jewel’s books since reading, Scandal (see review), one of my Top 5 historical romances. Since then, her My series has become one of my Top 5 paranormal romances.  It’s been a long wait for Durian’s story (the previous My Forbidden Desire was released May 2009), and I was really happy when the author offered to send an early copy of My Immortal Assassin to me.

One of the things I really enjoy about this series is the originality of the world. The demons (known as the kin, among themselves) are engaged in a struggle with the magekind. Dark mages use enslaved demons to provide power and as coerced minions. Witches, too, often get caught in the crossfire, becoming pawns for the dark mages.

Over the course of the previous 2 books of the series, the leader of the kin, Nicodemus, has brokered a tenuous détente between the mages and demon kin (aka fiends). It’s amidst this precarious cease in overt hostilities, that the assassin Durian encounters Gray, a witch whose life was torn apart by a dark mage.

Gray has been indelibly changed, transformed into something “other” as a result of the mage’s failed power grab attempt, and now she is determined to exact revenge upon him. Durian is sworn to uphold the peace agreement, but is drawn to Gray, and promises to help her learn how to control her new powers, if she will bind herself to him.

This is a lot more set up to a book review than I usually do (I usually prefer to use the book description to do it), but the series story arc, and as a result, the book’s plot is a very complex one. There’s a lot of “meat” to the story, and that’s one of the reasons I really love this series. My one regret about My Immortal Assassin is that I didn’t re-read the previous 2 books to refresh my memory of the series details. (Something I like to do with some series.) I’d really recommend reading this series in order, if you haven’t already read the first 2 books.

One of the things that made My Immortal Assassin a stand out in the series for me is the relationship between Gray and Durian. More than any other book in the series, there is a give and take to their relationship that is really refreshing. While Grey has “submitted” (not in a D/s way, but in a magical way) by binding herself to him, rather than being subservient to him, she is pledged to protect him, and becomes his bodyguard. As Gray increasingly comes into her power, she assumes a more protective role toward Durian that male heroes more typically take on. I really liked this shift in traditional power dynamics.

And, despite this reversal, Durian is as bad-ass as ever, struggling with his increasingly protective feeling towards Gray, while relishing her growing abilities and her desire to protect him. He sees her protection of him and it affects him in a way that it new to the usually cold and detached assassin. Gray’s and Durian’s chemistry is great, and they both feed so much from this dynamic.

I really enjoyed the direction the larger story arc took as well, and where the series will go in the next book, My Dangerous Pleasure (to be released June 2011). The introduction of the mage Leonidas is showing a more complex image of the mages, and should complicate the storyline nicely.

Also, I’m chomping at the bit for Kynan’s story and Iskander’s story, as well as hoping for more about Gray’s sister, Emily.

My Immortal Assassin will be released January 3, 2011.

  • Carolyn Jewel’s site.
  • Excerpt for My Immortal Assassin.
View all my reviews at Goodreads >>

January 2, 2011 at 3:24 pm 10 comments

WINNER-Indiscreet Giveaway

I had such a wonderful time talking about Indiscreet by Carolyn Jewel with Lea, Christine, and Carolyn. It seems only fitting to wrap it all up with someone getting a copy of it.

So, the winner (chosen randomly via of my Indiscreet Giveaway is

Jennifer Mathis!

Congratulations, Jennifer! You have until Wednesday, February 10, 2010 to contact me at reneesbookaddiction at gmail dot com with your format preference (e-book or print) and where to send it  (I will need your email for e-book format or your mailing address for print format).

Thanks, everyone for playing!

February 7, 2010 at 12:25 pm 5 comments

A chat about Indiscreet, plus a Giveaway

Last year, Lea (Closetwriter) thought I would enjoy Carolyn Jewel’s Scandal and sent me her copy. Not only did I enjoy it, but it also became one of my Top 5 reads of 2009. (My review is here). I raved about Scandal to Carolyn (The Thrillionth Page) and told her I would forward the same copy of Scandal to her. (I later bought my own copy for my keeper shelf.) Lea then asked that Carolyn send it on to Christine (The Happily Ever After). It was so much fun to share a book and compare notes with each of them.

So, when Indiscreet, Carolyn Jewel’s latest historical, was released, Lea contacted us and asked if we wanted to pass it around again. Since we all were so eagerly anticipating the book, none of us wanted to wait for it to make its way to us. Instead, we decided to read it, and have a discussion about our thoughts on it.

Head on over to Lea’s Closetwriter to see what we thought about Indiscreet. Lea and I are both giving away 1 copy each of Indiscreet. Please comment to this post if you would like to be entered for my giveaway. You have until midnight (pacific time) on Friday, February 5, 2010 to enter here. I will ship to anywhere through or send an ebook through Fictionwise.

Also, head on over to Christine’s The Happily Ever After, where in honor of our Indiscreet party, she is whipping up a batch of pomegranate sherbet (like Foye and Sabine enjoy in the book) and sharing her recipe. I can’t wait to try this recipe out!

And, Carolyn has some Indiscreet-themed antics going on over at The Thrillionth Page, that I know you don’t want to miss. (I can’t wait to check it out, myself!)

Let the games begin!

January 31, 2010 at 11:00 pm 32 comments

21 Author discoveries in 2009 (well, at least they’re new to me)

One of the ways I was able to limit myself to choosing only 5 for my Top Reads of 2009, was that I told myself I would acknowledge some really great new and new-to-me authors that I read last year. (This list is in no particular order.)

Here they are:

  1. JR Ward-Black Dagger Brotherhood

  2. Lover AvengedWell, duh. Honestly, I was sort of put off by the random h’s, “bro-talk” and ubiquitous brand-name-dropping that I had read was so prominent in this series. But, at the same time, so many people whose reading tastes I shared (and whose opinion I heeded) loved this series. They were so right. I call it my “Pringles” series. Totally fun to devour and completely irresistible. I’m waiting for Lover Avenged to come in from the library. I have found the controversial switch from a pnr style to more of a uf style hasn’t affected my enjoyment of this series.

  3. Suzanne Brockmann-Troubleshooters series

  4. Dark of NightDuh, again. Spec Ops/Military themed romances aren’t my first choice. But, this is another reason to read outside my comfort zone. Lori (among others) convinced me to give this series a try. And I have come to love not only the action-romance combo, but also the way the characters and their relationships grow over the course of the series. This is one of those series where, when I think I’ve chosen my favorite hero or couple, I keep remembering others, and have such a hard choosing just one. This is just such a consistently great series, and Suzanne Brockmann is a masterful writer.

  5. Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Her site.)

  6. Yeah, again, I’m sometimes late to the party. I won What I Did for Love over at Book Binge. It was celebrity romance, another theme I don’t really read. But, SEP writes both incredible characters and some of the best dialog around. Natural Born Charmer has become one of my Top 5 Contemporary Romances, as well as a “comfort listen”. I’m still working my way through her very lengthy backlist, and have only had 1 so-so read.. BTW, if you haven’t listened to SEP’s books in audio format, they are SO worth checking out.

  7. Jordan Castillo Price-PsyCop series, Hemovore

  8. Camp HellI’m SO digging Vic Bayne and the PsyCop universe. Tracy first turned me on to JCP’s Hemovore which was an awesome m/m parnormal romantic suspense. I’d heard great things about her PsyCop series, but just never got around to reading it (I think I melded it in my mind with RoboCop. 😛 ) But, after enjoying Hemovore so much, I had to read it. Right now, Vic is one of my favorite misfit heroes: edgy, a loner, and still trying to figure out what Jacob is doing with a guy like him. The supernatural mysteries are tightly plotted and really absorbing. And, the chemistry between Vic and Jake is smoking. I’ve also got to say, the PsyCop book covers are among my favorite in the m/m genre.

  9. Loretta Chase (Her site.)

  10. Lord of ScoundrelsSO GLAD I listened to Carolyn, who told me I HAD to read Lord of Scoundrels. This is now one of my Top 5 Historical Romances. The dialogue is great, and I love how Loretta Chase can take a romantic convention and completely stand it on its head. In LoS, Jessica doesn’t treat Dain like the jaded rake that he projects, but nurtures  (sometimes with VERY tough love) the wounded child she sees inside of him. LC’s heroine’s are smart, and she always has a surprise for the  romance reader. So far, I haven’t been disappointed in a Loretta Chase book.

  11. Meredith Duran (Her site.)

  12. Bound by Your Touch was such a beautifully written book! I just wish the covers weren’t so cheesy. To me, they distract from the wonderful story inside. The story of Lydia’s and Sanburne’s romance was an exciting read. Also, there was a love scene in BbYT which was the best I’d read all year. It brought together the emotions and sex that really revealed so much about these two characters (and was incredibly hot.) I also enjoyed Written on Your Skin immensely, which involved characters introduced in BbYT. I’m not currently reading historicals, but when I’m back in the mood, I’ll definitely be picking up MD’s debut novel, Duke of Shadows. ETA: I forgot that I won this over at Ciara Stewart’s! And then, the lovely Rosie brought me a signed copy from RWA!! THANK YOU, ladies!

  13. Lauren Dane-Federation series

  14. Relentless by Lauren DaneRelentless (Book 2 in the Federation series) was such a surprise for me. I had seen it, and book 1, Undercover, around, but the plots hadn’t really caught my attention. Then, I went to a So Cal Bloggers get together, and it came home in my bag after one of our book swaps. Then, it blew me away. I was worried that starting with the 2nd book in the series would leave me confused, but Lauren Dane seamlessly weaves in the essential information from book 1 without ever seeming to info dump. I loved Relentless so much that I immediately went out and bought Undercover. I’ve also started LD’s shifter series, Cascadia Wolves, and have been told that her Chase Brothers series is also excellent.

  15. Ginn Hale-Wicked Gentlemen

  16. Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn HaleAuthor of one of my Top 5 books. I’d been hearing some buzz about this book, and then read a post by JenB  at the Den of Iniquity (her former blog) that made me HAVE to get this book. I’ve written ad nauseum about how much I love this spec fic m/m novel. But, really, it comes down to Ginn Hale’s wonderful story telling skills. Even in her short online story Shy Hunter, and her story in the Hell Cop anthology, it is clear that she has a way with characterization and plot. I’m eagerly looking forward to her Wicked Gentlemen sequel, as well as anything else written by her.

  17. Scott Westerfeld-Uglies series, Leviathan series

  18. Uglies by Scott WesterfeldScott Westerfeld has been around writing YA fantasy for ages, but I finally listened to his Uglies series this year, and was blown away. This series set in a futuristic society where everyone receives plastic surgery on their 16th birthday to make them “pretty” was not only an exciting read, but also much food for thought about accepted standards of beauty and the need/desire to conform to society’s norms. SW’s current release, Leviathan, is a steampunk adventure that takes place on the eve of WWI.

  19. Maggie Stiefvater-The Wolves of Mercy Falls (Shiver) series

  20. Shiver by Maggie StiefvaterI’ve had Maggie Stiefvater’s Lament on my tbb list for ages, but it was her new shifter book, Shiver that finally got me to read her books. Shiver really demonstrates what a multi-talented author she is. The prose is beautiful, the atmosphere is vivid and the characters were ones I really cared about. Maggie Stiefvater writes in a beautiful, lyrical style, and she is also very musically talented. (She wrote the music for as well as animated Shiver‘s book trailer-scroll down to bottom of linked page to view trailer.)

  21. LB Gregg-Men of Smithfield series

  22. Happy Ending by LB GreggI was nervous about reading a book by a person I knew (virtually) and then I was relieved to read the fun, sexy and fast-paced first installment in the MoS series, Gobsmacked. I love how LB has developed her stories around the rural NE town of Smithfield, and her men are guys I’d want to go out for drinks with. I’m also enjoying the  elements of suspense in this series, and I can’t wait for 2010 to bring MoS 4 and LB’s new series, Romano & Albright.

  23. Jill Sorenson (Her site.)

  24. I’m not a big romantic suspense reader, but Jill Sorenson’s debut novel, Crash Into Me was a great departure from my regular reading. I love the San Diego area setting of her 2 books, and the characters are original and compelling. One of my other favorite things about both Crash and Set the Dark on Fire are the strong secondary storylines featuring YA characters. The suspense plots kept me guessing, and even after I knew “who did it”, finding out the “why” kept me reading. I’m really looking forward to finding out what 2010 will have in store for Jill!

  25. Jill Shalvis-Wilder Adventures series

  26. Instant Attraction by Jill ShalvisJill Shalvis really knows the mountain setting (again, a part of California not often written about) she writes about, and her characters in the Wilder Brothers Adventures are interesting and sexy. I was worried that I’d be disappointed with Instant Attraction (book 1) after hearing so many raves for it. Luckily, it was as good as I heard, and Instant Gratification (book 2) was even better. Jill Shalvis takes characters that are sometimes a little hard to warm up to, like Emma in IG, and over the course of the book makes the reader understand why she is the way she is, and enjoy reading about her growth.

  27. Julie James (Her site.)

  28. Practice Makes PerfectHollywood and law firms are 2 settings I usually don’t enjoy in romance. Yet, Julie James proves that great writing will trump reading biases every time.  Great dialogue and character growth are my 2 favorite things about JJ’s books. Especially in Practice Makes Perfect, I LOVE how smug, arrogant lawyer JD Jameson is slowly revealed to be the great hero he is. There’s a scene toward the end of the book revealing a secret about JD that got to me so much I had to re-read the scene a couple of times to take it in. Can’t wait for Something About You, out in March.

  29. Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett (Their site.)

  30. Shadow MagicHavemercy reminded me a lot of Sarah Monette’s Doctrine of Labyrinths when I first picked it up (dark fantasy magical world told in alternating 1st person povs), but by the end of the novel, I felt like Jones and Bennett had set their own path. Then, with Shadow Magic, they took Havemercy’s world and made it even better. Their story-telling  is exciting and still is able to touch on themes like the act of storytelling, legend and myth, and the intersection of an individual’s story with the story of a culture. I love it when a writer’s books get progressively better, and I am really psyched to see what happens with this series in the upcoming Dragon Soul.

  31. Jane Seville-Zero at the Bone

  32. Zero at the BoneI meant to get around to reading Zero at the Bone for months, after seeing a review of it at Lesley’s. When I finally picked it up, I couldn’t believe I had waited so long. I loved the intense relationship between D and Dr Jack, and the action kept me riveted to my reader. As soon as I finished ZatB, I went to Jane Seville’s site, and read all the Jack and D short stories she has there. Now, I’m waiting like a kid with my nose pushed up against the pet store window looking at puppies, hoping for a new book by Jane Seville.

  33. Carolyn Jewel (Her site.)

  34. My Forbidden DesireI’ve come to love both her historicals and paranormal romances. Her beautiful prose style really smacked me upside the head when I read Scandal, and then when I read her pnr My series, Carolyn Jewel became one of my favorite all time authors. In fact, Scandal is on my Top 5 historical and 2009 Top 5 reads, and My Forbidden Desire is on my Top 5 pnr reads. (See sidebar on right for Top 5 links.) I think that what Carolyn Jewel does so well in these very different types of books is that she really gets inside the characters and lets the reader not just see, but also feel what they are feeling, be they a 19th century widow or a 21st century fiend.

  35. Gail Carriger-Alexia Tarabotti series (Soulless)

  36. Soulless By Gail Carriger

    I love checking out the Orbit release schedules to see what one of my favorite fantasy publishers has coming out. I’ve found more than one new author on their schedule that I’ve come to enjoy. This year, the cover for Soulless caught my attention, and the description of this steampunk paranormal made it at the top of my to be bought list when it was released. Gail Carriger’s smart and witty writing style made this book so much fun to read.

  37. Seanan McGuire-October Daye series (Rosemary and Rue)

  38. Rosemary and RueThis is on of my favorite new uf series that debuted this year. (Ilona Andrews’ The Edge series and Ann Aguirre’s Corine Solomon series would be my others.) Though, this is the only one by a debut novelist. I first saw this at Kmont’s, in a New Author Spotlight post. The story was dark and starts out quite melancholy (given what happens to Toby, it’s understandable) yet the action never bogs down in mopiness or self-conscious angsting. The world is very complex, but doesn’t info dump and Seanan McGuire allows it to be revealed naturally, through the action of the plot. I can’t wait for the rest of the series, starting with A Local Habitation, coming out in March.

  39. Jennifer Ashley-Highland Pleasures series (The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie)

  40. The Madness of Lord Ian by Jennifer AshleyThis was another book that had so much buzz, I was afraid to read it for fear of being disappointed. Luckily, for me, The Madness of Lord Ian was a wonderful historical romance. This wasn’t just because Lord Ian was such an unusual character (which he was) but also because I found Beth to be equally interesting. Now, in 2010 not only will Jennifer Ashley be releasing the next book in this series, Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage, but also the first book in her new pnr series, Pride Mates, which due to its shifter-y goodness, I’ll be really looking forward to as well.

  41. Samantha Kane (Her site.)

  42. Though Sam Kane’s m/m/f Brother’s in Arms series is better known, I first read her m/m romance, Islands. The romance and emotions blew me away. She is so great at showing how the characters feel about each other, whether it’s through a love scene, a conversation, or simple looks or touches between characters. Of course, after loving Islands so much, I did go back and read The Courage to Love (BIA 1). I’ve been meaning to get back to finish reading the  series, because I know that there are some great love stories to be told there.

PHEW! I feel so lucky that I found so many great new authors last year. They are now all on my upcoming books list as I look forward to their new releases, or on my to be bought booklist as I continue to read their backlist. A couple of things I noticed while compiling this LONG list:
Many of these were books I wouldn’t have picked up on my own. The were stories that were either outside of my comfort zone or had story lines that I don’t usually like.
The other thing was that I DID pick up these books because of other bloggers’ recommendations. So, a big THANK YOU to everyone who led me to these great authors.

Did you have any author discoveries in 2009 that you want to share?

January 5, 2010 at 4:00 am 14 comments

Top 5 Reads of 2009

Coming up with a long list of great reads from 2009 was easy. Narrowing it down to just a few was really, really hard.

Here is my short list for 2009:

Men of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong

Not only did this anthology give me new insight into one of my favorite series, it also was excellent as a stand alone novel. Clay’s and Jeremy’s stories were great peeks into characters that usually serve as foils to the women of the Otherworld.

Clay’s voice, especially was wonderful, and gave me insight into why he is the scary, sexy misfit he is in the Otherworld series.

See my post about Men of the Otherworld here.

Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale

The book was a wonderful surprise. It included a highly original world, a heartbreaking protagonist, and beautiful prose.

Belimai and Captain Harper are unique characters, and I love the combination of mystery, fantasy, and romance in Wicked Gentlemen. Also, Blind Eye Books did a wonderful job with the production and artwork. I

So much was fit into the 2 novellas that make this beautiful, slim volume. Read my review here.

Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh

This was a world and a story that stayed with me for days. The beautiful imagery and original story line made Angels’ Blood a page turner for me. The angels, vampires and hunters were fascinating.

I loved how the Archangels had such an edge of danger to them. Raphael was appropriately powerful and scary, yet I loved how as the story progresses, his feelings for Elena become clear.

This book was labeled and “urban fantasy romance”, and it’s clearly grittier than a typical paranormal romance, but still has more focus on relationships than a strict urban fantasy.

Read my comments about Angels’ Blood in my Top 5 Paranormal Romances post.

Scandal by Carolyn Jewel

This was one of those books that I wanted to tell everyone about. Prose, character development and a moving storyline completely entranced me.

I loved how Banallt has already reformed his rakish ways before the book opens. The drama centers on his efforts to convince Sophie that he has truly changed, and how she sloooowly comes to trust and believe in him—and trust in her own judgement.

This was the first book I read by Carolyn Jewel, but she has now become one of my favorite authors, both for her historicals and her paranormals.

Read my review of Scandal here.

The Dark TideThe Dark Tide by Josh Lanyon

An amazing conclusion to one of my favorite series. I’m still thinking about this books, which I just finished reading last week. In fact, last week I did something I never do: as soon as I finished reading The Dark Tide, I turned to the first page and started reading it all over again.

I LOVE that Josh Lanyon was able to provide a compelling story arc that extended through the 5 books in the series, and wrap it up in The Dark Tide in such a satisfying way, while at the same time providing an interesting and suspenseful mystery. Adrien’s and Jake’s relationship was never smooth, but in the final book they achieve a resolution to their relationship that is oh-so-rewarding for the reader. All the things that needed to happen at the conclusion of this series, did.

Bravo, Josh Lanyon.

Now, there are too many books that deserve a mention, but didn’t make my Top 5. Some didn’t make this list because, even though I first read them in 2009, they were released more than 12 months ago. Also, there are a number of books or series I really enjoyed that were excellent, but were in the top 10 or 15. Given that I read over 225 books in 2009 (not including re-reads) it was really difficult to narrow my list down to even a top 15. In an upcoming post, I’ll visit some other great reads from 2009, as well as some reading discoveries I made this year.

What were your Top 5 for 2009?

December 29, 2009 at 2:46 pm 18 comments

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September 20, 2011:
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