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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished

 For twelve years ‘Temple’ has been known as the killer Duke. Having no memory of the night his life changed forever, he has accepted the moniker and forged a life as one of the proprietors of the notorious casino ‘The Fallen Angel’.  When his ‘victim’ Mara Lowe turns up offering him the chance for absolution, he is determined revenge will also be his, but the best laid plans and all that…

This is the third book about the men of The Fallen Angel and I love it. These books are about a seedier side of Regency London and Ms. MacLean certainly knows how to bring it to life.

We have been introduced to Temple – in reality William Harrow Duke of Lamont – in the previous books in this series but this is the one where we really find out what makes him tick. I love him as a character, he has so much depth and is just desperate to be loved and have a family of his own… and of course just oozes sex appeal!

I found it hard to warm up to Mara to start with after the really crappy thing she did to Temple, but as the book progressed and we got more of her back story, things started to make sense and I was rooting for their happy ending. I did find it irritating the way she refused to tell Temple about that night, although I guess his words “Nothing you could say would make me forgive” made her feel there was no point. After all, she had to think of what impact telling him the truth all in one go would have on others.

This is definitely a darker book than the previous two and emotions are running high throughout. There were some very tense and dramatic scenes and of course some very romantic ones, and I really enjoyed it. At times you are reminded of how lethal the men of the Fallen Angel are when one of their own is threatened – no matter who the aggressor may be!

Passion and emotion just flew off the pages and once I’d warmed up to Mara I was totally drawn in. Of course you know it will all be okay in the end, but the journey certainly had its ups and downs!

Overall an excellent addition to the Rules of Scoundrels series, full of drama, emotion and of course romance. Only Chase left to go now, and I cannot wait for his story.

Book Information
  • Author: Sarah MacLean
  • Series: Rules of Scoundrels (3)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

 

Tracey’s Week in Books – Week 9, 2013

 Edge of Dawn by Lara Adrian was the first book I read this week and what a great book it is, a worthy addition to the Midnight Breed series (see my 5 star review). I then dove straight into One Good earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean (full review) which I also really enjoyed, suffice to say 2 for 2 great books so far this week.

I next picked up a historical romance by an author I have never tried before – The Marriage Bed by Laura Guhrke. I’m giving this book a solid 3 stars. I enjoyed it, but it did take me a while to warm up to the hero, and the heroine was also a bit irritating at times.  Despite that, by the middle of the book I was rooting for them both, and ultimately the hero’s declaration at the end was just divine.

I initially followed that with Outcast by Rachel Caine, but quickly realised I really needed to complete the Weather Warden series first.  Although Outcast is part of a new series it does seem to contain spoilers about what was going on at the end of the Weather Warden books. Since I have about 3 books to go in the Weather Warden series I shelved this one after about 30 pages and will return to it at a later date.

I’m currently reading Serpents Kiss by Thea Harrison which is the third book in the Elder Races series, and I’m about halfway through, it is excellent so far – a review will follow in next weeks “Week in Books” I promise!


Tracey’s Week in Books is a regular blog post from Tracey, catching up on everything she’s read recently.

 

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover

 Lady Philippa Marbury is odd. The bespectacled brilliant daughter of a Marquess cares more for books than balls,  flora than fashion and science than the season. Engaged to Lord Castleton, before she marries she wants to explore the scandalous parts of  London she has never seen. And she knows just who to ask: the tall, charming quick-witted bookkeeper of the Fallen Angel, London’s most notorious and coveted gaming hell, known only as Cross.

This is the second book in the Rules of Scoundrels series, and oh my is it a good one. I absolutely love Pippa who is way ahead of her time and continuously flummoxes Cross with the words that came out of her mouth –  in the interests of research of course. As a girl who wears glasses myself it is good to see one triumphing in this era when some other books would have us believe it is all about perfection. Pippa is probably one of my favourite heroines to date – and I do read a lot of historicals!

Cross is sexy, smart and far more honourable than he gives himself credit for. He tries very hard to distance himself from Pippa, aside from the fact her brother in law (Bourne from the first book) would kill him, he thinks the lady herself will be the death of him and the carefully constructed world he has created. It really was very much Pippa doing all the chasing and Cross trying as hard as possible to run in the other direction – without much success I might add. This does not mean Cross is a wuss, oh no far from it, and when he does decide to take control – hot!!

This book returns to the world originally discovered in A Rogue by Any Other Name and we did get glimpses of Bourne and Penelope, the characters from that book, as well as glimpses of the other two gentlemen involved in running the club. I believe Temple gets his story next and I am looking forward to discovering his secrets.

The dialogue between our two protagonists is great and I could not wait to find out what was going to come out of Pippa’s mouth next. Cross has a definite way with words and while Pippa did not really believe the rumours she heard about him removing ladies clothes without using his hands, she soon found out what they were talking about.

This book has passion, humour, romance and at times is pure sensuality – well worth a read. If I had to make a criticism it would be the sub plot involving “Digger” Knight as I felt it was a bit weak, but for me it is always about the romance and this definitely delivers. You do not need to have read the first book at all, this can be read totally stand alone.

Sarah MacLean certainly knows how to get my heart fluttering and I cannot wait to read more in this series and any other she writes. She is definitely on my list of must read authors.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Sarah MacLean
  • Series: The Rules of Scoundrels (2)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

A Rogue by Any Other Name

Michael, the Marquess of Bourne, has waited a decade to get his revenge, hiding from polite society and becoming a partner in London’s most famous gaming hell. Soon he would reclaim what was rightfully his, even if in order to do so he would have to ‘persuade’ Lady Penelope Marbury to marry him, vowing his wickedness would never touch her.

Lady Penelope has had a rough time in the ton, none of it of her own making. At twenty eight she still holds out for a love match but circumstances push her into marriage to the Marquess of Bourne. He had once been her dearest childhood friend – what had happened to him during the ten years he disappeared?  Where had the boy she once knew gone?

This was a fantastic book and right from page one, which starts ten years before the story proper, I was totally engrossed and by page two I felt like crying! The characters came to life so easily they seemed to jump off the page at me. The interspersing of child and young adult letters throughout the book were both humorous and heartbreaking, I could feel Penelope’s desperation through them as the years progressed. The pain both of them were in was heart-rending at times and they are both so stubborn you start to feel there will never be a happy ending. Never fear though, this is after all an historical romance. The story focuses on the darker side of London’s aristocracy in Regency England and I am starting to find I love that aspect more than the glittering ballrooms.

I am finding it really difficult to find anything to criticise about this book so I won’t!

I was unable to finish the book in one sitting as work most inconsiderately got in the way. I found I was counting the hours until I was able to get back to reading it. I got in from work and by 7.30pm I realised I hadn’t fed the kids (but at least I had finished the book). Fortunately they are old enough to get something if they were that hungry so don’t worry I didn’t starve them!

This is the second Sarah Maclean book I have read and it will definitely not be the last!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Sarah Maclean
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell (Callie to her friends), is an acknowledged spinster.  She sits in the ‘spinster seating’ at balls and wears the lace hat that denotes her as such. At the age of 28 she knows no one would ever offer for her and has resigned herself to her fate. Her romantic inclinations, caused by reading endless romance novels, are left unsatisfied despite fantasies of a chance meeting 10 years ago in her début season. When her 18 year old sister falls in love and is betrothed in her first season, Callie eventually decides she has had enough of being a simple spinster and decides to make a list of things she wants to do, starting with being kissed. Passionately!

Gabriel, Marquess of Ralston is a notorious rake whose reputation is well known. When he meets Lady Calpurnia hiding in the garden at a society ball he engages her in conversation but forgets her as soon as he leaves, little knowing the impact he had on the then 18 year old. Ten years on he is surprised with a half sister he did not know existed, and despite her being the very image of his despised mother he knows he must do all he can to bring her out into society. Knowing he will need some female help with this, his opportunity arrives when that very evening a lady shows up in his bedchamber asking for a kiss.

I really enjoyed this story. In so many books the lady ‘left on the shelf’ is still only 22/23. Having a 28 year old be the heroine, someone well and truly confined to the shelf, made a refreshing change. As an acknowledged spinster Callie has much more freedom than other young ladies and I loved her attitude. I really found myself drawn into the story and when it seemed she might get discovered doing something outrageous I felt my pulse beat faster as if I was there with her, willing her to make it. I was so involved in the story, at one point I was even holding my breath!

I have read a lot of historical romance and this by far rates among my favourites. Other than the girl meets boy part, the plot was totally unique; the idea of the list and the things on it – totally scandalous!

Without a doubt I will be looking out for more books by Sarah Maclean.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Sarah Maclean
  • Format: Kindle
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)