2013 – A bookish year

 So another year is behind us and in spite of the personal life stuff going on resulting in the dearth of reviews, reading was still going on behind the scenes.

So what books made us sit up and beg?

Grete

The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett – The fantastic third book in the Demon Cycle.

Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole – Military sci-fi with superheroes.  This second book was an excellent addition to the Shadow Ops series.

Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey – This series needs to be on either the big or small screen – any screen!  Until then it’s an amazing sci-fi story and this third book was a brilliant addition to the Expanse.

Parasite by Mira Grant – An amazingly creepy but riveting novel. If you liked her Newsflesh trilogy, you are going to love this!

Kevin HearneThe Iron Druid Chronicles was a series that entranced me so much, I ended up romping through and didn’t take time to review.  It’s a fantastic series and one I will be re-reading, slower this time, so I can actually do reviews!

Bound by Night by Larissa Ione – The first in a new series by Larissa and just as exciting as her Demonica/Lords of Deliverance.  Speaking of which, the next book in that series, Reaver, is on this list too as it was utterly fantastic and had my jaw dropping several times as things were revealed.

Fifth Grave Past the Light by Darynda Jones – This is another series I love so much that I keep racing through them and end up not reviewing.  It’s a habit I really have to stop as my memory is just not up to it these days!  Charley Davidson is one of my favourite paranormal heroines and I just can’t get enough of her!

Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon – I loved, loved, loved this book.  I cried, I laughed, I may have shouted a few times.  A worthy companion to Acheron and a brilliant addition to the Dark-Hunter’s series.  It does take you through the wringer though!

The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty – I absolutely loved this light hearted approach to the paranormal and look forward to the next one, out this year!

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan – A gritty and powerful epic fantasy debut.  I loved the magic system he devised and I hold high hopes for the second book.

Ice Forged by Gail Z. Martin – First in a new series by Gail and it’s off to a promising start.  I loved her two previous series a lot so it had a lot to live up to!  Looking forward to book two!

J.D. Robb – Thanks to Tracey, I discovered the In Death series and devoured the whole lot one after the other.  It amazed me how good they are and how, even 35+ books in, they are still extremely enjoyable and great reads.

Watch Your Back by Karen Rose – So many of Karen’s books have characters that appear or are related to people in other novels and this one felt like it had been a long time coming.  It was utterly amazing and prompted me to go back and read ALL the previous books!

Blood Song by Anthony Ryan – This book honestly surprised me and I’m annoyed at myself that I didn’t do a review after I read it, as it so very much deserved it.  It’s an amazingly gritty fantasy, written with a single focus and I urge anyone who loved David Gemmell’s work to pick this up.  I will be re-reading this (and reviewing this time, dammit)!

Unseen by Karin Slaughter – Every time I think Karin has outdone herself, she releases the next book and raises the bar even higher.  I can’t get enough of Will Trent and Sara Linton!

Lover at Last by J.R. Ward – The latest book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series was hotly anticipated and I was not left disappointed!

Tracey

While my list has some similar ones to Grete, I also have some totally different genres to her.  Being much more of a romantic sap, it will come as no surprise that I have a number of romances on my list.

The books I share Grete’s love for are :

Styxx of course – the most anticipated book of the year for me and one that did not disappoint. Probably my book of the year!

Reaver by Larissa Ione – another eagerly awaited novel that ticked all the boxes for me.

The In Death series by J.D. Robb – I read all 35 books in 4 weeks and absolutely loved them.

For me though the year was all about romance! There were books from my favourite romance authors: Stephanie Laurens, Eloisa James, Julia Quinn, Sarah MacLean and Sarah Morgan.

I really cannot express all the books that I loved this year, I read well over 100 of them! Since I tend to read books I know I will enjoy, it is so hard to only pick a few.

If I was to recommend a few books to other readers I would go with the following:

Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan – I have been a fan of Ms. Morgan for many years, reading all her Mills and Boon books and it was great to have a longer book to enjoy. This is romance at its best and a great start to a new series.

Nora Roberts has featured heavily in my reading this year but a trilogy I particularly enjoyed was the Key Trilogy – Key of Light, Key of Knowledge and Key of Valour. This has a paranormal slant with Ms. Roberts’ usual excellent romance story.

Sarah MacLean’s Rules of Scoundrels series is recommended reading, particularity if you enjoy historical romance. I have loved all the books in this series and look forward to the next one hopefully coming in 2014!

Will definitely be doing more reviews this year, even if only a few lines, there are so many great books I want to share my love of.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Week in Books – Week 19, 2013

 Tracey

Having had a very expensive trip to New York with lots of shopping I surprisingly found little time for reading! We were so exhausted from all the walking! So what have I read in the week since getting back?

I started reading Ambersley by Amy Atwell on the plane but couldn’t really get into it – probably just too tired. I left it for a bit and didn’t go back to it until much later in the week, having read other books in between. It started off a bit slow and I struggled with the concept of how I knew the book would ultimately end; that the child and grown man we see interacting together for the first third of the book, then end up together in the girl’s adulthood. I know age gaps in this period of history are not uncommon but it just felt a bit weird, and I think it’s probably another reason why I didnt finish it in one go. Having said that, when I did go back to it and we got past childhood stage, the story picked up pace and I ended up enjoying the romance. We were introduced to various characters who get their own story later on and I will probably look to read them at some point – 3 stars for me.

I was clearly in the mood for some more historical romance and picked up His Wicked Kiss by Gaelen Foley. This is the seventh book in the Knight Miscellany series and brings home the mysterious Lord Jack Knight who in previous books had only been mentioned in passing. It was another enjoyable story in the series and has a good plot and romance, although Eden Farraday did get on my nerves a bit at times. You do not need to have read the series previously to know what is going on but as we get reintroduced to the characters and their partners from those books, it is nice to have the background info. This could definitely stand alone though – 3.5 stars

And yet more historical romance! Slightly Shady by Amanda quick was my next read. A light historical romantic suspense which was a quick easy read. I again found the heroine to be a bit of a pain in the butt at times – I don’t know what is up with me this week! The suspense aspect felt more believable than the romance for me, but overall I enjoyed the story – 3 stars.

A Bite to Remember by Lynsay sands was next and was a return for me to the world of the Argeneau vampires. This book focuses on Vincent and Jackie Morrissey (a mortal PI who knows all about their world). As with all the books in this series this was very good. I always love the Argeneau men and Vincent is no exception. Marguerite, the interfering matriarch of the Argeneau’s, features heavily in this book as well and I love her and her interference. This can easily stand alone if you have not read any of the others but why start with this one – go get the first one and work your way through! – 4 stars

I am currently reading Hunter by Jacquelyn Frank and loving it, in fact I feel the need to get back to it – review to come in the next couple of weeks 🙂

 Grete

Well my reading rate has been down again but I have a good excuse – I’m in the process of giving up smoking!  It’s a very weird thing but I’m having to learn how to do things without an ever present cigarette in my hand – everything still feels a bit wrong but I’m getting there 🙂  So lets see what I’ve read over the last two weeks (including while a certain review partner was off gallivanting in NYC!)

I re-read Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson and it was as entertaining as the first time.  Jessica McClain is a great character and I love her starting story!  I went straight into book two, Hot Blooded and actually was a bit disappointed with it.  It was still enjoyable but it seemed to turn into a bit of a slog towards the end.  Full reviews are coming, anyway.

I had to wait my turn to read The City by Stella Gemmell as Tony got there first – he did an excellent review which can be found here.  I thought I might have a slightly different opinion to him as a female reader but actually, I agree with him completely – 4 stars for me too.

I then picked up a recently arrived book which had me intrigued from the moment I first heard about it – The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty.  I absolutely loved it and highly recommend it!  You can read my full review here

My fantasy nose was twitching again so I picked up The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham.  This is a book I’ve been meaning to read for ages and as book three is sitting there looking at me imploringly, it was incentive enough.  Full review is coming but suffice to say it’s a fantasy on an epic scale with the sense of a full world and history behind it.  I’m half way through The King’s Blood which is book two, and is proving a little slower going but still as enjoyable.

And there we are, all up to date!  Same time next week? 😉


Our Week in Books is a regular blog post from Tracey and Grete, catching up on everything they’ve read recently.

The Shambling Guide to New York City

 Zoe Norris is a successful guide book writer/editor who lost her job due to a dalliance with her boss.  Unfortunately the boss turned out to be married, a fact he’d neglected to tell Zoe until his wife, also the town’s Chief of Police found out and became very unhappy. Conveniently made redundant and strongly encouraged to leave town for her safety, she heads back to her home city of New York.  A job advert pinned up in a very odd old bookshop seemed tailor made for Zoe except that she keeps being told that she wouldn’t be suitable… Being human had never had a downside before.

This is the first book I’ve read by Mur Lafferty and I really enjoyed it.  A travel guide for the non-human visitors and denizens of New York City was a brilliant premise and the author built up a great cast of characters centred around Zoe.

Each chapter is separated with an excerpt from the guide and they make great little informational snippets that helped flesh out the ‘world’ Zoe never knew existed before applying for the job.  Often they relate to a place you’ve recently discovered in the story and it was a really nice touch.

Zoe herself is a really well written character, and I loved her a lot; her sense of humour is very appealing and matched well with my own.  She also has a huge amount of determination and balls of steel to enter into a world where she is at the bottom of the food chain… literally.  Her co-workers and new boss are brought to life (so to speak!) with equal care and attention and made this an extremely well rounded book.

The pace of the book was well measured; slow at the start while Zoe was still trying to come to terms with the massive change in her life and figuring out what her new direction would be.  As she discovered this supernatural half to the city she never knew about, it started to pick up.  As she got to grips with it and the story progressed, it sped up until it was running full tilt at the end.  I was quite breathless!

The plot was equally as measured, and we discovered the new ‘world’ at the same time as Zoe and went through it all with her.  From co-workers who would love to have her for dinner to weird and wonderful establishments catering to the weird and wonderful, it was a great read.  What really made it good though, was the threat hanging over her that someone was out to get her and would stop at nothing to mess with her life.  Who that was, was very well concealed, and I was kept guessing right to the end.  The action scenes were entertaining, sometimes funny and it was a refreshing change to have a heroine who wasn’t suddenly a kick ass fighter with unimaginable power.  She was however organised enough to keep working on the book as her new found life threatened to come crashing down around her!

In summary, this is a great book and highly recommended to fans of Urban Fantasy.  I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Mur Lafferty
  • Series: The Shambling Guides (1)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)