Updated December 13, 2011
I can’t believe it’s been over two months since I updated this list! Between DUNCAN’s release and NaNoWriMo, I clearly dropped the ball. I’ve been doing a lot of reading, although, frankly, not that many I’d recommend. I’ve added 7 books this time. Just a reminder that I only list those books I can recommend to others. I don’t do negative reviews. If I don’t enjoy a book, I don’t list it. The latest book I’ve read will always be the first one in the list below.
A Taste of Midnight by Lara Adrian. A short story about Danika, a character we saw briefly early in the series, when she lost her mate, Con. This story picks up a couple of years later when Danika meets a former flame and discovers the heat is still there. It’s a quick, but very enjoyable story, with danger, violence and intrigue, along with devotion and romance. Anyone who loves Adrian’s Breed series will want to read this one.
Measure of Darkness by Chris Jordan. Now this is a unique book. It’s written in an almost noirish, fifties sort of narrative. Kind of a novel of manners and a hard-boiled detective thriller rolled into one. It took me a few pages to get into the narrative flavor, but once there, I never looked back. This is a tightly written suspense story, with lots of action and personality. It’s an ensemble piece, with many characters, each playing a role, none more important than the others. There are some visitors to the tale, and they’re also well-written and fully-fleshed, despite their visitor’s status. It’s a very modern story–child abduction in the shadow of international espionage and overzealous patriots–but inside the walls of Naomi Nantz’s palatial Victorian headquarters, dinner is a formal affair and the chef is a genius. Don’t read this book when hungry! I’m hoping Jordan has plans for more of these intriguing characters, because I definitely want to read more about them.
Death Magic by Eileen Wilks. There’s a lot of magic in Washington, D.C. At least in Wilks’ books. Too bad dragons aren’t real (at least as far as I know!) In this book, a senator hostile to magic in general, and Lupi in particular, has been killed, and all of the evidence leads to Lily Yu’s boss, Ruben Brooks. Lily is sidelined in the investigation, not quite trusted, but her unique skills are necessary. At the same time, she’ll find herself confronting a choice between her duty as an FBI agent and her responsible to Rule and the Lupi. She’s always had to walk that fine line, but this time, the line won’t do. She has to choose. There’s a lot of magic in this book, magic everywhere and in everyone, including some I could have done without. Ruben Brooks’ future in the books is changed by the events in this story, and changed in a way that’s rather convenient. I’m surprise, though, by readers who found the book lacking in romance, particularly between Rule and Lily. In many ways, I found this to be the most romantic of all the books. We spend a lot of time in Rule’s head, and we get a very clear picture of what Lily means to him. I really like that part of the story. Overall, this is a good installment of Wilks’ wonderful series. Not the best installment, but a good one.
The Last Run: A Queen and Country Novel by Greg Rucka. The story begins with Tara Chace flat on her back and wondering if she can get up. And she realizes the moment has come. It’s time to turn in her sniper’s rifle and ride a desk. She has a five-year old daughter who needs her to come home at night, not be halfway around the world, risking life and limb for British Intelligence. Just one more mission … is this Rucka’s final Queen & Country novel? I hope not. He’s one of the finest suspense writers around and I read everything he writes with the same fierce enjoyment that Rucka puts into every word of his stories. We see more of Tara’s back story than ever before as the narrative moves between her mission in Iran and back home in England. This is a sharp, intelligent and fast-paced thriller, filled with the techno-babble and weapons minutia that I (and presumably all of Rucka’s readers) love. Give me more!
The Next Always by Nora Roberts.The first in Roberts’ new Inn Boonsboro trilogy. The woman is a writing machine! As always, we meet the three couples in this book, although they don’t know they’re couples yet. We do. The romance is classic Roberts, the setting is lovingly described, evocative and lush. Roberts spends a lot of time on the inn itself, until the reader can see the gleaming wood, the polished brass and lovely tile. There’s a ghost, which is not my favorite supernatural element. That doesn’t diminish the book, though. The characters are fully-fleshed and likeable. The men courageous and protective, the women strong, yet feminine. As I said, classic Nora Roberts, so nothing new, but a very enjoyable read for anyone who’s looking for a contemporary romance, and doesn’t mind a hint of a ghost story.
Ballistic by Mark Greaney The gray man–Court Gentry–is back. On the run from assassins who force him out of his rainforest refuge, Court ends up in Mexico, where he’s drawn into the drug war by a long ago debt to a man who once saved his life. That man is now dead, murdered by the local drug lord, but his family is till a live and Court feels honor bound to protect them. This is a story drawn from today’s headlines, and Court’s special skills are more than up to the task. This book doesn’t move as fast as the previous books, and Court is forced to cope with some pretty primitive weaponry, especially compared to the previous books. The story bogs down a little with family politics, but Court is unique, and no one tells these stories like Mark Greaney. If you like what I call mercenary fiction, you’ll love this series. You definitely want to read the books in order, though. You’ll enjoy them a lot more.
Shock Wave by John Sandford — Virgil Flowers #5 I love Virgil Flowers. He’s sexy and smart and tall … the perfect combination. This was not the best Virgil Flowers’ book, but it was still very good and I enjoyed reading it. Virgil is his usual laid back, underestimated, detective guy. Although in this one his heart’s breaking a bit, which is not the typical Virgil experience. It did make me want to beat up the sheriff, though. Virgil’s stories are never told at speed, but this one was a bit slower than most. Still, overall, it was a good story, well written, though not a great one. If you’re a fan of Virgil’s, you’ll want to read it. If you’ve never read any of Sandford’s books, this is not the place to start.
J.D.Robb’s New York to Dallas. While this book treads some themes familiar to anyone who’s read the previous In Death books, Robb does approach this one differently. It helps that it’s in Dallas, not the familiar New York, with a correspondingly fresh/new group of supporting characters. Roarke is there, of course, and he still owns all the buildings, but this is still a good crime thriller. The adversary in this one is a monster, though, a pedophile, so be warned. My one caveat is … didn’t any of her editors consider that using a-n-a-l as a shorthand for analysis might be read the wrong way? Damn word threw me off every time, but especially the first time it occurred!! Still a good read and I recommend it.
Prey by Linda Howard — My main reservation about this book is the cover, which has absolutely nothing to do with the story of the book. What were they thinking? Anyway, I really liked this book. As always, Howard’s characters stuck with me even after I finished reading and I was sad I couldn’t read more about them. Yes, it was somewhat predictable, but most romantic suspense is. We all know the couple’s going to get together, what would be the point otherwise? The emotions are real and powerful, the bad guy is a jerk and gets what he deserves, and his outcome is pretty much what we all knew was coming–it’s just a question of when. Is this one of Howard’s all time greats? No. But it’s a very enjoyable read with a hero and heroine that I’d love to spend some more time with, and that makes it a good book for me.
Archangel’s Blade by Nalini Singh — O.M.G. Turns out vampire Dmitri is even sexier than his boss the Archangel Raphael! This book is HOT. But it’s more than that. Dmitri is an extremely complex character, Raphael’s feared #2, a vicious fighter with a bloody history. But when the deeply traumatized Honor St. Nicholas crosses his path, she touches something in him. Now, you might be saying, “yeah, yeah, old story.” But you’d be wrong. It’s far more complicated than that, and it’s the unwinding of that complication that makes for a fascinating and incredibly sensuous read. This is a terrific book — in my view, the best book of the Guild Hunter series so far. I wasn’t kidding when I said Dmitri is sexier than his boss. He really is!
Snapped by Laura Griffin — I’m a huge fan of Laura Griffin’s Romantic Suspense. Two of her previous books are on my all-time favorites shelf. Her latest opens with a riveting and tense scene on a college campus that’s taken right out of today’s headlines. Initially, the killer and his motivation seem clear, but it soon becomes obvious that nothing is what it seems. Griffin keeps the tension high right up to the end. My only complaint is that her main characters, Sophie Barrett and Jonah Macon, are an awful lot like Courtney and Will from her previous book Whisper of Warning. But since that’s one of my favorite books and I love those characters, I can’t complaint too much. Plus the plot is completely different and Griffin’s writing is excellent as always. I also enjoyed the brief flashes of previous and well-loved characters, including the incomparable Fiona Glass. I recommend this book without reservation.
Dark and Dangerous by Jeanne Adams — This is a new author for me, and this is her first book, although it was published in 2008, so I’m late to the party. It’s a Romantic Suspense, which is one of my favorite genres when done well. The book follows Dana Markham, a woman who testified against her drug lord husband and is now in hiding from him along with her 10 year old son, and Caine Bradley, the FBI agent assigned to protect her. Adams does a terrific job of making the reader feel Dana’s fear and desperation, as well as the strength that has kept her alive for the last several years. She’s tough and resourceful (and so is her son) and Adams really puts the reader in her shoes. Caine Bradley is strong and protective and has to learn that Dana Markham is a new breed of witness–she doesn’t stand back and wait to be rescued, she rescues herself, and if he wants to help, then fine. The characters were wonderfully drawn, the action scenes intense and realistic, and ultimately the romance was lovely. I’ve already downloaded her next book, which is the best recommendation I can make!
Playing Easy to Get, which is an anthology with Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kresley Cole and Jaid Black. I only read the Kresley Cole story, which is why I bought the anthology. It’s Wroth and Myst’s story and I loved it. I think Cole’s Immortals After Dark is one of the best paranormal romance series around.
I was looking for some good romantic suspense this week. None of my favorite authors have new books coming out for a while, so I start searching back lists. I just read Justice which is Karen Robards new title, and discovered she had a previous book with the same characters. Pursuit is the first book with Jessica Ford. As always I loved Robards characters. Justice is essentially a replay of of Pursuit, but I like Jessica Ford and Mark Ryan enough that I didn’t care. So, then I went looking for over books I might have overlooked and discovered a few more. I read Guilty and Paradise County. Love them all!
Threat Warning by John GilstrapJonathan “Digger” Graves is my new hero. Gilstrap can’t write these books fast enough for me. They’re some of the best thriller fiction out there, combining my favorite mercenary style military action with great suspense and an original cast of characters. Digger’s firmly on the side of the angels, and not afraid to break the rules or kill the bad guys to fulfill his mission. Threat Warning is the third book in this series (see No Mercy and Hostage Zero) and I recommend them all.
C. J. Cherryh’s Betrayer – Science Fiction just doesn’t get any better than C. J. Cherryh, and her Foreigner series continues to thrill. Science Fiction was my first love in speculative fiction, and it’s the one genre I never get tired of. If you enjoy Science Fiction, I strongly recommend this series of books. Betrayer is #12 in the series, but you must start at the beginning in order to understand the complex culture of the Atevi and the history of their relations with humans. I can hardly wait for #13.
One Summer by JoAnn Ross – This is a typical feel good contemporary romance with a predictable Happy Ending, but I love the way Ross gets us there. I always read her books!
Lori Foster, Savor the Danger This is the best book of the series so far. Jackson Savor is my favorite of Foster’s men, far more complex and interesting that either of the previous two. And I liked Alani. She was strong without being a kickass heroine, something I can appreciate!
Adrian Phoenix, Black Heart Loa This is a follow up to Phoenix’s Black Dust Mambo, which introduced her Hoodoo series. It has the trademark Phoenix twists and turns with lots of black magic, hoodoo and voodoo. Kallie Riviere is not your usual heroine and the nomad Layne is, of course, drool worthy, but also intriguing, with many levels we haven’t seen before this book (and I don’t mean the dead souls he’s more or less forced to play “host” to!) I generally recommend all of Adrian Phoenix’s books. They make you think while enjoying yourself!
Linda Howard Cry No More I’m a big fan of Howard’s books, but this is an older title that I’ve ignored in the past, because of a theme I usually avoid, involving a stolen child and a years long hunt. But someone recently recommended this book specifically, so I went for it, and I was not disappointed. I should have known that Linda Howard could make even this plot line worth reading. Her characters are wonderful and the story has enough twists that you keep wondering.
Shattered by Karen Robards An excellent mystery/thriller with a plot that keeps you wondering exactly who the bad guy is! I’m pretty good at anticipating these things, but even I was bouncing a few people around. Plus Robards’ lead characters Lisa Grant and Scott Buchanan are both very likeable and very convincing in their roles and relationship.
I consider Nalini Singh to be one of the best writers today in Urban Fantasy. Her Psy-Changeling series is one of my favorites and I never miss a book. Like many others, I’ve been waiting for Hawke’s story for a long time. He’s a terrific character and Sienna is an unusual choice for him, on the face of it. One of the things this book does is show the reader why they’re NOT an unusual match-up, that they’re actually very well suited, and there’s certainly no doubt about the passion between them. My one frustration with this book was the slow pace of the buildup to them finally getting together–it sometimes seemed like they had the same argument/discussion many times. I did enjoy the Walker-Lara relationship, too. Even though it was sort of Hawke-Sienna lite with the sexes reversed! LOL Walker is a fascinating character, and I really enjoyed learning more about the Laurens, the history of their family and how they reached the decision to defect. I also LOVED the bits about Lucas and Sascha. They’re still my favorite couple. This is one of those books where I wish I could step into their world and live for a very long time. I recommend this series and this book … but start at the beginning!
Let me say up front that I adore this series. Andrews has created a fascinating world and peopled it with all sorts of intriguing people, creatures, magic … Love it. Magic Slays starts kind of slow, but then it would be hard to match the excitement and pure adrenaline rush of Magic Bleeds. There was a lot of information slipped into the narrative at the beginning, obviously unnecessary for those of us who’ve followed from the beginning (and maybe read the books more than once), but it didn’t detract from the story. I was happy to see Andrea return to the fold and sorry that Raphael didn’t make an appearance, but I suspect we’ll see some fireworks from him somewhere soon. And once the book got started, it was vintage Andrews with nothing less than the fate of the world at stake. I recommend this series to anyone who appreciates great urban fantasy. You should definitely start at the beginning! One note: I originally thought the troll under the bridge fight scene was missing from the Kindle version, since there were some formatting issues. But Andrews assures me it was never there. That said, it feels like the fight scene SHOULD have been there, like maybe it was written and edited out. Doesn’t take away from the book, it just jarred me a little bit when I read it.
I love the world Bishop created with Daemon and Lucivar, and have been reading these books from the very beginning. Twilight’s Dawn is an anthology of four novellas, but there is a cohesion to the four stories, and the very last novella makes me think either this is the end of the Black Jewels series, or Bishop is going to move on to a whole new set of characters. If you’ve read the previous Black Jewels books, you’ll want to read this one. And if you haven’t,I can’t urge you strongly enough to give this wonderful fantasy series a try, starting with the very first book.
I loved this book. It’s Romantic Suspense, which is one of my favorite genres and Trent Brady is a great character. The suspense keeps you turning the pages. I’ve already ordered some of Butcher’s backlist and look forward to future titles.
I finally finished the I had to take a break at the beginning of book 4, but finally was drawn back to the books, mostly because of the lead male character Jericho Barrons. There is no denying the tremendous accomplishment they represent for Moning. She creates a complex mythology for the basis of the story, and her characters wind in and out of each other’s lives in unexpected ways. I didn’t really like Mac, although I LOVED Jericho Barrons. On the other hand, I’ve seen other reviews that hated Barrons (???) and loved Mac, so to each his own. I definitely recommend reading these books.
Buried Prey by John Sandford Sandford is one of my favorite authors. I love the Lucas Davenport Prey books and the newer Virgil Flowers books, but also the few other stand alones that he has out there. This latest story takes us back to the very first case a young Lucas Davenport ever worked as a Homicide Detective. Usually I don’t like flashbacks into recent history, but this only goes back to the 1980s and the only real difference the reader notices is the absence of cell phones. Also, since Sandford doesn’t make that absence any kind of a plot point, it didn’t bother me. I actually enjoyed seeing the early Lucas, although he was already the smart, arrogant, and just a little bit crooked detective we all know and love. Great book, as always. Sandford is still at the top of his game.
When You Dare by Lori Foster The plot’s a little thin, but the characters are wonderful and I loved reading it. I’ve already ordered the next one in the series, Trace of Fever. MmmmMmmm.
A Cold Wind by C. J. Box. Another series I never miss, another straight up mystery/thriller, no paranormals. These feature Wyoming Game Warden Joe Pickett who has a talent for solving problems that goes beyond his usual duties. Joe’s not a dynamite kind of guy, he’s more of a sit and think things through sort. But he loves his family, he has a sly sense of humor and he’s loyal to his friends … and he’s not cowed by money or power. If you like mysteries–and not the kind with little old ladies solving crimes–you should like these books.
One Was A Soldier by Julia Spencer-FlemingI love these books! There’s no paranormal aspect to them. They’re straight up mysteries with a bit of romance thrown in. From the complicated beginnings of Claire and Russ’s story to this latest chapter when Claire comes home from war, this is a well-written and wonderful series. One Was A Soldier examines the lives of five veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as they come home to the small town of Miller’s Kill and try to rebuild the lives they left behind. All of them bear scars, some more visible than others. They’re all struggling, but they find a renewed purpose and common cause when one of their own dies under suspicious circumstances, and the authorities call it a suicide. A wonderful book in a terrific series.
Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris, This is the mmnnth book in the series (I’m not sure honestly) and I’ve read some pretty harsh things about it. I personally enjoyed the book. True, it no longer has the joy or excitement of the books early in the series, but Sookie isn’t that person anymore. Her life has seen too much grief, too much bloodshed honestly. And, yes, Sookie does seem to have an endless list of enemies, but where would the series be without them? Does anyone really want to read about how Sookie goes to work at Merlotte’s, comes home, has dinner and goes to bed safely every night? I suspect this is why Harris is planning on ending the series soon, because she, too, realizes that Sookie deserves some peace in her life. Unfortunately, it looks like Sook is going to end up with a character I was never rooting for, but that’s okay, too! I enjoyed every minute of this book, even when I disagreed with or was disappointed in some of the choices the characters made! Go Eric!! LOL
Larissa Ione’s Lords of Deliverance, beginning with Eternal Rider. This new series is every bit as good as her Demonica series, which I loved. My only complain would be that the guy on the cover isn’t big enough to be Ares! But I’m sure Ione had no say in that!
Mind Games by Christine Feehan which is book two of her Ghostwalkers series. This is an older series, so I’m playing catch up. I liked this one even better than the first, mostly because I thought Nicolas Trevane was a terrific character! I want one just like him!
Face of Danger by Roxanne St. Claire book three in her Guardian Angelinos. I was looking forward to Vivi and Colt’s story and this book did NOT disappoint.
Treachery in Death by J. D. Robb,the latest Eve Dallas book. This book was a bit of a departure for this series and I really enjoyed it!
And finally, I picked up the anthology, Burning Up at the RT convention, but I confess I only read the Nalini Singh story! Nalini is one of my very favorite authors and I loved reading about Emmet and Ria. This is a bit of a flashback story to before the time Lucas (yum) met Sascha.
And that’s it for now. I really will try to be better about updating this page, but if it comes down to updating or writing Duncan’s story … well, which would you choose?