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Book Reports (81-84)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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*****
A Merciful Truth, by Kendra Elliot -- highly recommended for those who've read the first (A Merciful Death), those who like slow-building mysteries, and those who like familial and romantic relationships as strong side plots -- Montlake Romance, 6/17

(This was just as good as the first, imo. I liked the building relationship between Mercy and Truman, and the mystery here was also very intriguing with a surprising twist (that I kind of guessed at, but still...). I can't wait for the third!)

****-
The Layered Mask, by Sue Brown -- recommended for those who like historical male/male romance, those who like novellas, and those who like happily ever after (even when slightly unrealistic) -- Dreamspinner Press, 7/15

(This was a quick read, and I liked the characters. For me, though, it just needed more...the ending could have worked better if we saw more about what happened after. *shrug* It was fun but not great.)

****
You Never Know, by Mary Calmes -- recommended for those who like Calmes' style, those who like contemporary male/male romance, and those who like 'first love return' stories -- Dreamspinner Press, 7/17

(I enjoyed this, even though it happened awfully quickly (the romance). I also thought the MC protested a LOT throughout the book that he wasn't in love with his first love still...and I wanted to see more about why Mitch gave up on Hagen in the first place (and how he ended up with a woman). Still, it's a sweet love story.)

****
Michael, Reinvented, by Diana Copland -- recommended for those who read David Renewed, those who like contemporary male/male romance, and those who like strong friendship tales -- Dreamspinner Press, 5/17

(I enjoyed this quite a bit, but it was more because of Gil and David/Jackson than Michael. It's just a personal annoyance of mine when a character stubbornly and continually refuses to admit to their own feelings, and that was part of the premise here. Still, I really like the idea behind the group of friends, and I will definitely read another book in this series -- maybe about Manny?)

Book Reports (77-80)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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****
Wesley James Ruined My Life, by Jennifer Honeybourn -- recommended for those who like YA romance, those who like Anglophiles, and those who don't mind a slightly predictable read -- Swoon Reads, 7/17

(This was fun, despite the predictability. I did find the main character's childish insistence that Wesley had ruined her life (the basis of the book) to be a little annoying, but I still sympathized with her struggles.)

****+
The Ends of the World, by Maggie Hall -- highly recommended for those who've read the rest of the series, those who like YA intrigue/suspense, and those who like sweet YA romance -- GP Putnam & Sons BFYR, 7/17

(This was a solid wrap up for the trilogy, and I liked both the plot and the character development. It did lose a little intensity for me in this final book, but it still had good pacing, and I liked the twists and turns throughout Avery's journey.)

** (DNF)
Six of Crows, by Leah Bardugo -- recommended to myself for future: even though I only read the first couple of chapters, I think I would really enjoy it when I'm in a different frame of mind -- Henry Holt, 9/15

(I didn't get far into this, but I like the characters. Right now, the world building is a little too complex for my summer-break state of mind. ;) But I think this is a book I'll really enjoy at another time.)

*****
Bait and Switch, by MC Lee -- highly recommended for those who've read the rest of the series, for those who like YA spy/intrigue, and for those who like sweet YA (male/male) romance -- Harmony Ink Press, 7/17

(I've enjoyed this series, even though it's hard to read at times because Jack is treated so poorly by many of the adults in his life. Still, the situations Jack finds himself in and how he gets himself out is intriguing and engaging. Plus, I like the romance. :) )

Book Reports (69-76)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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***+
Shade Me, by Jennifer Brown -- recommended for those who like YA thrillers/mysteries, those who are interested in synesthesia, and those who like complicated families -- Katherine Tegan Books, 1/16

(The premise is interesting here, and I liked the plot. But I think what held me back from loving it was the weird way that the MC interacted with the male characters in the story. She seemed to 'fall in love' on a whim, and I could quite see what attracted her to any of the guys -- except one, and that's the one she kept pushing away. I will look for the next one, however, because I really did enjoy the mystery and want to learn more.)

****+
Noteworthy, by Riley Redgate -- highly recommended for those who love choir (especially acapella groups), those who enjoy feisty heroines, and those who like boarding school tales -- Amulet Books, 5/17

(I enjoyed this (and found the overall premise -- a girl disguising herself as a guy to get into a singing group -- intriguing and plausible), even though there was some hard-to-believe moments. The rivalry between the two boys' groups seemed a little over the top, but I could see how some of the characters felt the pressures they did. Some of the MC's inner thoughts seemed...contrived? For instance, when the other guys thought she was gay, and she started wondering if she was minimizing the real gay experience (or something along those lines) -- it didn't feel organic, I guess, but rather like someone was forcing her to think in a PC manner. Other than that, I enjoyed the story and all the characters quite a bit.)

***
And Then There Were Four, by Nancy Werlin -- recommended for those who like YA suspense, those who like romance (both straight and GLBT), and those who like triumphant heroes -- Dial Books, 6/17

(I thought this would be a little more suspenseful than it was. I actually didn't read the flap-jacket copy all that clearly, but I still figured out exactly what was going on from the very beginning -- and I personally found the narrative style of one of the MCs very annoying and hard to read. So it was okay but not great, and that's why I skimmed most of it.)

*****
whatever., by S.J. Goslee -- highly recommended for those who like humorous teen 'coming of age' stories, those who like strong supporting characters, and those who like quirky narrative styles -- Roaring Brook Press, 8/16

(Even though it took me a while to adjust to the narrative style, once I did, I really enjoyed this. Mike is so humorous and blunt -- and his struggles with accepting his sexuality, along with his perceptions of those around him, make this a realistic and very entertaining read. Plus, it has a very sweet love story. :D)

****+
[Coming Up for Air, by Miranda Kenneally -- highly recommended for Kenneally fans, for those who like athletic girls, those who like teen romance and angst, and those who like happy endings -- Sourcebooks Fire, 7/17]

(I definitely enjoyed this, and even though I thought the MC was a little over-the-top in her reactions from time to time, that's pretty realistic for some teens. And, as always with Kenneally tales, I really liked the athleticism and determination her characters hold.)

***+
[Genius: the Con, by Leopoldo Gout -- recommended for those who read the first one, those who like international tech thrillers, and those who like crazy smart teens -- Feiwel & Friends, 8/17]

(I enjoyed this, although about halfway through I realized that we'd been told what would happen, so all that was left was to see *how* it happened...and that kind of weakened the tension for me (and I started skimming). That said, it's still a very interesting premise, and I will definitely look for the third one to see how the final takedown occurs.)

**
[The Revenge, by Hannah Jayne -- recommended for those who like somewhat predictable 'thrillers,' those who like dual-POVs, and those who like mean/selfish teens -- Sourcebooks Fire, 7/17]

(I didn't really enjoy this much. I think it was supposed to be surprisingly twisty, but I figured out what was going on almost immediately (within the first chapter). So for me, the tension just wasn't there. Plus, I didn't feel like the ending was very satisfactory -- there wasn't a ton of (any?) character growth. It's quite possible, however, that the target audience (actual teens) would find it much more enjoyable.)

Book Reports (66-68)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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***
Whenever I'm With You, by Lydia Sharp -- recommended for those who like sweet romance, those who like less familiar settings (Alaska, in this case), and those who like tales of healing -- Scholastic, 1/17

(This was sweet, and I liked the characters. It was a little slow-moving for my taste, which is why I ended up skimming the last half.)

***+
Split the Sun, by Tessa Elwood -- recommended for those who like sci-fi, those who like angsty circumstances, and those who like teen romance -- Running Press Books, 12/16

(This was mostly enjoyable, though the world building was weak. It also was a little annoying that Kit had everyone (and everything) completely against her. It simply didn't seem even slightly realistic...but the romance made up for some of it, though it was kind of instalove -- and not always well defined. I suppose that's why I did some skimming.)

****
Antisocial, by Jillian Blake -- recommended for those who like books about social media, those who like teen drama, and those who don't mind overly shallow teen depictions -- Delacorte, 5/17

(The premise here was pretty interesting -- and mostly realistic, I'd say. I also liked the main character and sympathized with her. However, her inner dialogue/personal narrative didn't really jive with statements regarding her past actions, including older texts by her. I didn't think someone with her sympathy and perception would be so mean to her friends. In fact, that was a weakness I found with most of the teen depictions here: all of them were mean or shallow or even cruel. It was like the author is trying to say that teens can't be thoughtful or careful or circumspect in their actions. It's very possible that the goal was to show how all that gets thrown out in social media or texting...and that's probably realistic. Many, many people text things or use social media in ways they would *never* do in person or to someone's face...so all in all, a thought-provoking tale.)

Book Reports (62-65)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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***-
Whiskers of a Chance, by Tempeste O'Riley -- recommended for those who like shape-shifter male/male romance, those who like dual-POV, and those who like family drama -- Dreamspinner Press, 9/15

(I don't love shape-shifter books, but this one sounded interesting from the blurb. Sadly, for me, it didn't live up to the premise. One major reason why it didn't work for me is because the dual POV was poorly handled. A problem would be introduced in one character's narrative and then resolved off-screen while the other character was narrating. :( It made the entire tale really disjointed, and after just a few chapters, I honestly no longer cared about either character's struggles.)

****
Spiraled, by Kendra Elliot -- recommended for those who like the series (Vanished), those who like law-enforcement/FBI tales, and those who like psychological drama -- Montlake Romance, 9/15

(I'm still a fan, but I had to take a break after this segment. The characters continue to intrigue me, but I don't enjoy reading about people struggling with depression and other mental disorders -- just my own preference. Because Ava, one of the MCs, really 'spirals' quickly in this book, it was hard for me to read. I'm hoping the 4th and final book gives her a chance to recover and move forward.)

****+
Obsession, by Karen Robards -- highly recommended for those who like romantic suspense, those who like CIA tales, and those who like amnesia tales -- Signet Book, 5/08

(I liked the suspense here, and the tension between the two romantic leads was pretty good. It's a fun and quick read.)

****+
Shattered, by Karen Robards -- highly recommended for those who like 'cold case' mysteries, those who like romantic suspense, and those who like complicated families -- Signet Books, 4/11

(I especially liked the various characters in this one. The setting also played an important role in both the mood and the tension. Very enjoyable!)

Book Reports (53-61)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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****-
Darkest Hour Before Dawn, by Charlie Cochet -- recommended for readers of the THIRDS series, for those who like male/male romance, and for those who like sci-fi tales -- Dreamspinner Press, 4/17

(I purposefully didn't get one of the earlier books in the series because I didn't think I'd want to read in-depth narrative from that couple...and honestly, I should have left this one out too. I still read every word, but I was pretty disappointed by the end -- mostly because I felt like the doc was such a wimp. He just didn't stand up for what he wanted, and his waffling was almost painful to read. It just wasn't for me -- but I liked the other characters. :) )

****
A Day Makes, by Mary Calmes -- recommended for those who like Calmes' style, those who like male/male romance, those who like assassin/mob tales, and those who like quick-starting love affairs -- Dreamspinner Press, 4/17

(I read a couple of other reviews -- before I bought this -- which said that the first 2/3 was very compelling but it kind of sinks a bit after that. I would completely agree. I really enjoyed the introduction to Ceaton's unusual life, and I liked the set-up for what would come...but yeah, the last 1/3 seemed not only rushed but fairly convenient? Anyway, I would read more about Ceaton and Brinley, regardless.)

****+
Pursuit, by Karen Robards -- highly recommended for those who like romantic suspense, those who like lawyer tales, and those who like FBI agents -- Signet Books, 2/10

****
Justice, by Karen Robards -- recommended for those who enjoyed the first (and those who like all of the above) -- Signet Books, 7/11

(These were fun, and I like both characters -- Jessica and Mark. I like the plots, as well, though the second wasn't quite as compelling. Still, very distracting and enjoyable reads.)

****
Sleepwalker, by Karen Robards -- recommended for those who like romantic suspense, those who like cop heroines, and those who like roguish thieves -- Pocket Books, 7/12

*****
A Merciful Death, by Kendra Elliot -- highly recommended for those who like suspense/mysteries, those who like strong-but-vulnerable heroines, those who like dual-POVs, and those who like cop/FBI tales -- Montlake Romance, 1/17

(I really enjoyed this. The writing is laid back yet fluid, the characters are complex, and the plots are tight. I was engaged throughout, and I will definitely be looking for the next one in the series. :) )

*****
Vanished, by Kendra Elliot -- highly recommended for those who like suspense/mysteries, those who like dual-POV, and those who like cop/FBI tales -- Montlake Romance, 6/14

****
Bridged, by Kendra Elliot -- recommended for the same reasons as above -- Montlake Romance, 2/15

(Can you tell I've discovered a new author? :D I really like Elliot's writing style, and I'm currently devouring the Vanished series. I didn't like the second one quite as much, but that had to do more with the subject matter (and some of the gruesome details -- which weren't graphic but were still disturbing) than anything else. I still love the characters, and I'm currently a quarter through the third one.)

**
One Second After, by William R. Forstchen -- recommended for those who like apocalyptic tales, those who like family survival, and those who like sci-fi -- Forge, 3/09

(I liked this, but it was too intense for me to handle with everything else going on. I'm putting here mainly to remind myself to pick it up again when things have calmed down. :) )

Funny how I've found some adult books to love currently...my TBR pile is almost half-and-half, though, so the variety should be good.

Book Reports (48-52)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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****+
#famous, by Jilly Gagnon -- highly recommended for those who like dual-POV tales, those who like strong-but-vulnerable heroines, and those who like sweet (though angsty) teen romance -- Katherine Tegan Books, 2/17

(In some ways, this was hard to read because the heroine was maligned by *everyone* for the first 2/3 of the book...but eventually, people began to see what was really happening, and once the hero pulled his head out -- ha -- it came together.)

****+
The Body Market, by Donna Freitas -- highly recommended for those who read the first one (Unplugged), for those who like strong heroines, for those who like intriguing futuristic worlds, and for those who don't mind a bit of a love triangle -- Harper Teen, 3/17

(I definitely liked this one, though not quite as much as the first. But that's partially because I'm not a huge fan of love triangles, and this one is...well, complicated and not very beneficial for the heroine, to avoid spoilers. Anyway, I wasn't happy with how Freitas left things here, but that doesn't in any way diminish my desire to read the last book -- and my hope that everything will fit together perfectly. :) )

***-
Nemesis, by Brendan Reichs -- recommended for those who like unique dystopia, those who like gutsy heroines, and those who don't mind some mystery remaining at the end (this is the first book in a series/duology?) -- GP Putnam BFYR, 3/17

(I liked the premise a lot, and I especially liked the heroine...but I couldn't stand the majority of the other characters, and I didn't like the constant deception of many of the adults ((even once it's revealed why, it still irked me)). I will most likely pick up the next one, just to see what happens, but unless the other characters become more human, it's not really for me.)

****+
Hysteria, by Megan Miranda -- highly recommended for those who like YA thrillers, those who like strong heroines, those who like sweet teen romance, and those who like complex characters -- Walker & Co, 2/13

(I enjoyed this very much. I liked the complexity of all the characters, though I felt like Mallory's parents were ridiculously weak. Still, that's a pretty minor complaint, and the pacing of the book was strong, to me, and made up for that.)

**+
[Follow Me Back, by AV Geiger -- recommended for those who like multi-media presentations, those who like insta-love (in some ways), those who like dual-POV, and those who like cliff-hanger endings -- Sourcebooks Fire, 6/17]

(The biggest issue I had with this tale was the main heroine. I liked the hero a lot, and I felt like his struggles were realistic and relate-able. But I didn't get Tessa (for the record, I'm very much in the minority on this -- most readers seem to understand Tessa better). I didn't really like her, and I didn't have a ton of sympathy for her, either. I also didn't enjoy the overly (to me) dramatic feel to the narrative. I might or might not pick up the next one.)

Book Reports (40-47)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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***** (R)

***** (R)
All In and Bad Blood, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes -- highly recommended for Barnes' fan who like YA romantic suspense/thrillers -- Disney Hyperion, 11/16-17

(I love Barnes' writing style, and I'm glad she has the next series to keep me going (The Fixer).)

*
Random, by Tom Leveen -- recommended for those who like the perspective of the antagonist and those who like teen bullying drama -- Simon Pulse, 8/15

(I didn't realize going in that the majority of this would be told by the so-called antagonist...I didn't really like her, and when I skimmed the ending [as I tend to do], she hadn't grown or changed a whole lot. *shrug* I like Leveen's writing style and have enjoyed two of his other books quite a bit. I think people who are interested in this topic might enjoy the book.)

***
Incognita, by Kristen Lippart-Martin -- recommended for those who read the first (Tabula Rasa), those who like sci-fi thrillers, those who like sweet teen romance -- Carolrhoda, 10/16

(I really enjoyed the first one, and this one is also good...but for some reason, I couldn't get into it as much this time. I don't think it was the fault of the author -- that just happens now and then where the story has faded from mind enough that it takes too long for the world to capture my attention. Still, I suspect many will love this.)

**
[Select, by Marit Weisenberg -- recommended for those who like sci-fi mysteries (similar in some ways to Twilight), those who like teen angst and drama, and those who like teen romance (two from different worlds, so to speak) -- Charlesbridge Teen, 10/17]

(The premise on this is really engaging, and I kind of tore through the first few chapters...but although the tension seemed high, it didn't build in a way that worked for me. Also, I thought for sure I'd missed a prequel or something because the narrator kept briefly referencing events that happened before in such a way that made me feel like I was missing something. I didn't enjoy it, and it took a while to piece everything together. Overall, it felt rather trope-y, and I didn't love the execution or the resolution. That said, I didn't really like Twilight at all, so this type of tale is probably just not to my personal taste, and chances are, this will be adored by many.)

***+
[Concealed, by R.J. Crayton -- recommended for those who like dystopic sci-fi (virus-type), those who like family drama, those who like determined heroines, and those who like teen romance -- Createspace, 5/16]

(I like this, though I didn't love it. The premise is intriguing, and I definitely enjoyed the characters. The plot reveals were a little slow for me, and I felt a bit like the book ended kind of in the middle of everything. Still, I will read the next one. :) )

Book Reports (35-39)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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****+
Corruption, by Jessica Shirvington -- highly recommended for those who read the first (Disruption), those who like strong teen heroines, those who like sweet romance, and those who like dystopic/sci-fi -- Harper Collins, 3/17

I didn't read the first one very carefully, but I really enjoyed this one anyway. I got enough of the world-building from the first to follow this, and because of that, this one didn't need as much and could focus more on plot and characters. I enjoyed the tension between the characters and the conflicts present.

****
The Release, by Tom Isbell -- recommended for those who've read the rest of the trilogy, those who like the strength of the underdog, those who like angsty teen romance, and those who like sci-fi/dystopia -- Harper Teen, 2/17

This was a nice conclusion to the trilogy. It's a depressing world, without a doubt, and I felt like some of the angst Hope tortured herself with was unnecessary -- but overall, I enjoyed the series.

*****
[One of Us Is Lying, by Karen M. McManus -- highly recommended for those who like crafty mysteries, those who like multi-POV narratives, those who like realistic teen drama, and those who like Agatha Christie-like takedowns -- Delacorte Press, 5/17]

I loved this! :D It hit all my favorite buttons -- school tales, multi-POV, Agatha Christie-like mystery...just right up my alley. Plus, there's all kinds of romance (or hints of romance), including GLBT. There's definitely some diabolical thought processes here, though, so beware of triggers (though I imagine most readers won't pick it up if teen death bothers them to that point).

***** (R)

***** (R)
The Naturals, Killer Instinct, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes -- highly recommended for those who like YA thrillers and YA FBI tales -- Disney-Hyperion, starting 10/14

I'm re-reading the whole series and loving it just as much (maybe more?) the second time...

Book Reports (28-34)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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****
The Darkest Lie, by Pintip Dunn -- recommended for those who like suspense, those who like relationship drama, and those who like justice served -- Kensington, 6/16

I like Dunn's writing style, and I found this intriguing. It was sad too (which I often shy away from), but the ending was satisfying and made sense. Overall, it was a good read.

****+
[Relationship Status, by K.A. Mitchell -- highly recommended for those who like NA male/male romance, those who've read the others in this series, and those who like dual-POV -- Carina Press, 4/17]

I've liked all the books in this trilogy, and this was a satisfying (albeit rather short) ending. I like Wyatt and Ethan, so having their POV trade off is a definitely plus. Their relationship is realistic, and the supporting characters are also fun to spend time with.

(R) ****+
Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson -- highly recommended for those who like super-hero science fiction (with a twist), those who like bookish heroes, and those who like determination -- Delacorte Press, 9/13

****+
Firefight, Brandon Sanderson -- highly recommended for those who like super-hero science fiction (with a twist), those who like bookish heroes, and those who like determination -- Delacorte Press, 1/15

I read the 1st one years ago but forgot to pick up the second one. However, I got all of them for D this year, and he loved them -- so I gave them a go. They're definitely enjoyable, though I haven't finished the third yet. The pacing and tension in the first 2 is well done, and I really like the world building and how it's all twined in with the plot. David is a great hero. :)

***
A Lie for a Lie, by Robin McCready -- recommended for those who like family drama, those who like teen relationship drama, and those who like complicated families -- Henry Holt, 2/17

This was okay. I didn't love how the MC really lacked in perception, and her justification for doing some of the things she did seemed fairly shallow. That said, I have known teens very like her, and she had a good heart, overall. I writing style put me off a bit too, as the MC seemed very distant from everything that happened. My favorite part was the complicated family -- definitely realistic.

(R) *****

(R) *****

The Testing trilogy, by Joelle Charbonneau -- highly recommended for those who like dystopic books, those who like strong (and intelligent) heroines, and those who like sweet teen romances -- Harcourt Brace/Houghton Mifflin, 6/14-1/16

Struggling to find unique books. :( Still, always glad for re-reads!

Book Reports (24-27)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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****
[Hit the Ground Running, by Mark Burley -- recommended for those who like multi-POV, those who like mostly male POV, those who like mysticism (almost like magical realism), and those who like thrillers in a Dan Brown style -- Blue Moon, 4/27]

This is an entertaining read, though the mysticism/magical realism threw me a bit (because it seemed very down-to-earth when it began). I definitely liked the MC, though, and the mystery was interesting enough that I will look for the next one. :)

**
[The Whole Thing Together, by Ann Brashares -- recommended for Brashares fans, for those who like grief/recovery tales, for those who like family stories, and for those who like teen romance -- Delacorte Press, 4/17]

I liked the ideas here, but it developed very slowly. Plus, the multi-POV was actually confusing (which is rare) and jumped from person to person without a clearly distinct voice change (to me, at least). Still, I suspect that those who like Brashares' style will find this one another gem. :)

****+
[The Takedown, by Corrie Wang -- highly recommended for those who like futuristic tales (technology-wise) with contemporary struggles, those who like sweet teen romance, and those who like heroines who fight -- Freeform, 4/17]

I really enjoyed this, even though the MC isn't super sympathetic to begin with. However, she grows (and it's realistic) and changes, and as more of her background is revealed, her actions make more sense. I also like how the other players in the game are complex...and the love interest is sweet and realistic too. Not to mention, the look at what social media could become is frighteningly plausible.

*****
Gemina, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff -- highly recommended for those who like YA sci-fi, those who like sweet teen romance, those who like space thrillers, and those who read the first (Illuminae) -- Alfred A. Knopf BFYR, 10/16

The second was just as exciting and sci-fi interesting as the first. I already can't wait for the third (not coming out till 10/17) -- aaaiiiii!

Book Reports (18-23)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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****+
Thick & Thin, by Charlie Cochet -- highly recommended for those who like the THIRDs series, those who like male/male romantic sci-fi, and those who like law enforcement tales -- Dreamspinner Press, 2/17

(This was a novella, and that was my only real complaint -- too short! :D I like the characters, I like the complex world and the mysteries surrounding it, and I can't wait to see what happens next.)

****+
[Danced Close, by Annabeth Albert -- highly recommended for those who like dancing, those who like male/male romance, those who like dual-POV, and those who like triumphant personal tales -- Lyrical Shine, 3/17]

(I really enjoyed this, as well. The two main characters are both so sympathetic, and I really like how matter-of-factly they're portrayed. I also like the underlying feeling of humanity here: we all want to love and be loved, regardless of minor differences in how we view gender and sexuality. I think Albert does a great job illustrating this in her stories.)

****
Old Loyalty New Love, by Mary Calmes -- recommended for those who like shifter tales, those who like male/male romance, and those who like first-person stories -- Dreamspinner Press, 12/13

(I enjoyed this. I mostly liked the more peripheral story of Quade's alpha role in his tribe, though the love story was nice.)

****
Fighting Instinct, by Mary Calmes -- recommended for those who like the first (see above), those who like shifter tales, those who like male/male romance, and those who like mythology (Hunter/British/Welsh mythology) -- Dreamspinner Press, 12/14

(I enjoyed this was more than the first, mostly because of all the mythology surrounded the stags. As someone who has read Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series numerous times, I found that aspect fascinating. The rest wasn't as thrilling but still enjoyable.)

***+
Frat House Troopers, by Xavier Mayne -- recommended for those who like cop tales, those who like male/male romance, and those who like 'gay-for-you' tropes -- Dreamspinner Press, 12/12

(The mystery in this one was definitely on the periphery, which weakened it a bit for me. Plus, although I don't doubt this is realistic, the idea that someone can be straight -- not bi at all -- and decide to be gay because they fall in love with their best friend...well, that isn't something I understand that well. It didn't seem convincing to me, so I had a hard time with that basic idea here.)

****+
[As I Am, by A.M. Arthur -- highly recommended for those who like Arthur's other books, those who like male/male romance, those who like dual-POV, and those who like triumphant personal tales -- Carina Press, 2/17]

(I really enjoyed this one, as well. I like all the books in this series. I think Arthur does a good job portraying those who are struggling and how they overcome their pain and challenges. I like the love stories, and I like the dual-POV. The main reason this didn't get 5 stars from me was because it seemed like Will's story was told more sympathetically than Taz's...and that kind of bugged me throughout. But it's a minor complaint. :) )

Book Reports (14-17)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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***
Kiss CAM, by Kiara London -- recommended for those who like friendship-to-love stories, those who like vlogs, and those who like teenage angst -- Swoon Reads, 10/16

(I found this book frustrating. It was realistic, I'm sure, but the constant waffling from each of the MCs -- male and female -- drove me crazy. "Do I love him? Do I not?" "Does she love me? Does she not?" It was really annoying, and I ended up skimming most of it to get to the end where they finally figured it out.)

***
Disruption, by Jessica Shirvington -- recommended for those who like YA sci-fi, those who like clever heroines, those who like sweet romance, and those who like an easily hated villain -- Harper Collins, 10/16

(I liked the premise of this, and I liked the MC...I just didn't have the patience to read through all her actions. I skipped to the end and read the last chapter(s), and I was able to figure out the majority of the story from there. I will mostly likely pick up the next one, however, as I think I'll have more interest now that I have the set-up down.)

****
[As You Lay Sleeping, by Katlyn Duncan -- recommended for those who like YA suspense, those who like sweet teen romance, and those who like intricate mysteries -- Harper Collins, 2/17]

(I really liked the mystery portion of the book. I thought it was realistic and convincing. I didn't love the characterization nearly as much. The MC started out seeming pretty self-centered...and then, without any real work or self-reflection on her part, she suddenly became a better person. And although the love interest was sweet and smart, he was also a little one-dimensional. The ending was...a little cliche too. Still, it was entertaining, and I read it all.)

*****
Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff -- highly recommended for those who like YA (traditional) sci-fi (meaning not dystopic but a space drama), those who like realistic but not overly angsty teen romance, those who like unusual and varied formats, and those who like strong heroines -- Alfred A. Knopf BFYR, 10/15

(I really enjoyed this one. I love space dramas, and this had all the adventure, the high action, the personal touches -- plus, it was written as if I was watching it unfold on a screen in front of me, and I really liked that. I already have the second one on my TBR pile...)

Book Reports (12-13)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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*****
What Light, by Jay Asher -- highly recommended for those who like sweet teen romance, those who like thoughtful and good characters, and those who like strong families -- Razorbill, 10/16

(This is just a feel-good read from beginning to end -- but it's not shallow at all. Instead, it illustrates how those who remain true to themselves and to their belief in kindness and forgiveness can make a difference. I like all the relationships in this (friendship, romantic love, and familial love), and I especially appreciate Asher's gentle writing style.)

***+
[Perfect, by Cecelia Ahern -- recommended for those who read the first one (Flawless), those who like rigid dystopian worlds, those who like 'love at first sight' type scenarios, and those who like a heroine who fights for others -- Feiwel & Friends, 4/17]

(This was interesting, and I should admit up-front that I did NOT read the first one. I did enjoy this, but I felt there were holes in the world building, and I found it really hard to take the relationship between Celestine and Carrick seriously when they didn't know each other at all but were still madly in love...also, I didn't especially enjoy the narrative style (there were numerous flashbacks). This is just personal taste, of course. :) )

Book Reports (1-11)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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(R) *****
Storm, by Brigid Kemmerer -- highly recommended because of the tense and intriguing plot and sympathetic characters -- Kensington, 5/12

(R) *****
Secret, by Brigid Kemmerer -- highly recommended because of the tense and intriguing plot and sympathetic characters -- Kensington, 1/14

(R) *****
Sacrifice,by Brigid Kemmerer -- highly recommended because of the tense and intriguing plot and sympathetic characters -- Kensington, 9/14

(I'm still hoping Kemmerer will do a follow-up book. She kind of wrapped up the series -- partway.)

**+
Switch, by Carol Snow -- recommended for those who like paranormal twists, those who like teenage angst, and those who like strong family stories -- Harper Teen, 8/09

(This was okay. It wasn't great, but it had some nice moments. My favorite part was the 'ghostly' grandma. I skimmed through most of it.)

***+
Dead Girls Don't Lie, by Jennifer Shaw Wolf -- recommended for those who like mysteries, those who like teen romance (and complications), and those who like resolutions -- Bloomsbury, 10/14

(This was pretty good. I skimmed through the middle section because I could see where it was heading, but the ending was fast-paced and interesting.)

****
Paradox, by A.J. Paquette -- recommended for those who like science fiction, those who like vulnerable yet courageous heroines, and those who like sweet romance -- Ember, 9/14

(The concept here was pretty fascinating. The only thing which held me back from really loving this was the slooooow reveal. I got frustrated with how little Ana knows. Everything is shared at the end, but it's right at the end.)

****
Avalanche, by Melinda Braun -- recommended for those who like nature thrillers, those who like male POV, and those who like hints of romance -- Simon Pulse, 11/16

(I enjoyed this. The set-up is realistic and intriguing, and since I've been to Berthoud Pass and the surrounding areas, I immediately had a sense of the setting. I felt like the character relationships/interactions were sacrificed a bit for the plot, but it was still a good read.)

*****
In Case You Missed It, by Sarah Littman -- highly recommended for those who like realistic teen drama, those who like sweet teen romance, and those who like family drama -- Scholastic, 10/16

(I read this in one sitting -- or standing, since I was at the gym. The writing is compelling, the plot is realistic ((a teenage girl's family gets hacked and her online journal becomes public viewing)), and the family drama and growth is well written and engaging. I loved it!)

*****
If You Knew Jack, by MC Lee -- highly recommended for those who like spy tales, those who like sympathetic teens, those who like male POV, and those who like angsty teen romance (male/male, in this case) -- Harmony Ink Press, 11/14

*****
Like I Know Jack, by MC Lee -- highly recommended for those who like spy tales, those who like sympathetic teens, those who like male POV, and those who like angsty teen romance (male/male, in this case) -- Harmony Ink Press, 7/16

*****
Shadow Operation, by MC Lee
highly recommended for those who like spy tales, those who like sympathetic teens, those who like male POV, and those who like angsty teen romance (male/male, in this case) -- Harmony Ink Press, 12/16

(Clearly, I've discovered a new series -- and I love it! Jack is a great character. I feel for him, I ache for him, I get frustrated with him...he's very realistic and complex. And his life is so...hard! He's been raised in a secret facility, and he's being trained as a spy. He slips into characters to flush out the 'bad' guys (he thinks...he's told almost nothing about his work). He's never really known anything different, but as a reader, I just want him to find out the truth and discover that he's loved. The romance is between Jack and another operative, Leo, who is both cagey and vulnerable...I can't wait for the next one, and I hope the author doesn't make the mistake (like some do) of drawing this series out so long without resolution that readers give up. For now, she still has my attention though. :) )

Whew -- it's good to be caught up! I also read a number of adult books, but they were all re-reads, so I won't catalog them. Read on!

Top Reads of 2016...

I read ~177 books in 2016 (it was more than that -- I often stop cataloguing the re-reads at a certain point in the fall). In June, I had 10 5-star, first-time, YA reads. From July to December, I only had 1 (yikes). But here's the one:


Remember Yesterday, by Pintip Dunn
The premise of this (probable) trilogy is so unique (time travel involving twins born at different times), and I really enjoyed not only the science but the philosophy behind it all. The characters were complex and intriguing, as well.

Here's the list from the first half of the year: http://robinellen.livejournal.com/576950.html

There were more five-star re-reads than there were first-time...but that's not surprising, considering that I re-read them because they're so good, in the first place. :)

Soon, I'll post my first reads of the new year (I'm already behind in posting, so there are a few of them). Read on!

Book Reports (168-177)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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***
The Rains, by Gregg Hurwitz -- recommended for those who like horror, those who like zombie/alien sci-fi, and those who like survival tales -- Tor Teen, 10/16

I didn't realize this was horror when I picked it up, and I will admit that horror isn't really my thing. But I have to say that the writing itself is pretty compelling, and I will look for the next one.

****
[You Don't Know My Name, by Kristen Orlando -- recommended for those who like suspense/thriller tales, those who like CIA, and those who like teen romance -- Swoon Reads, 1/17]

I enjoyed this, though there were moments where I had a hard time suspending my disbelief (one of those especially when it concerns the parentage of the MC), including the MC's gullibility about certain things. Still, I will definitely look for the next one when it comes out.

***+
Like a River Glorious, by Rae Carson -- recommended for those who liked the first one (Walk on Earth a Stranger), those who like sweet and loyal teen romance, those who like historical settings, and those who like the combination of magic and reality -- Greenwillow Books, 9/16

I love Carson's style, and I really liked the last third of this. But there were some brutal parts, and I'm not sure I'd want to read those again. I will definitely, however, be picking up the last one of this trilogy.

***+
Radical, by EM Kokie -- recommended for those who like suspense, those who like stories about cults/militia, and those who enjoy lesbian romance -- Candlewick Press, 9/16

I found this very interesting (though really sad). The insight into this girl's life was heart-breaking and intriguing, but the ending is very hopeful, and that makes it definitely worthwhile, imo.

*****
Remember Yesterday, by Pintip Dunn -- highly recommended for those who read the first one (Forget Tomorrow), those who like sci-fi, those who like family loyalty, and those who like sweet teen romance -- Entangled Publishing, 10/16

I thought this one was just as intriguing as the first, and because I was more familiar with the world/setting, it was easier to get sucked into the story. I'm looking forward to the last one (just a note: I found it very interesting how both Jessie and her sister felt like their mom loved the other better...I really enjoyed reading the first book from one twin's perspective and the other from Jessie's -- plus, I think the premise here ((trying to determine young people's future by traveling to the future and scoping it out)) is fascinating and well-delivered).

****+
The Stand-In, by Steve Bloom -- highly recommended for those who like male POVs, those who like teen romance, and those who like humorous narratives -- Carolrhoda, 10/16

So this isn't LOL funny, but the MC here is very likable and has a light-hearted outlook on life. I liked how his character grows and learns throughout the book, and of course, the ending is perfect. :)

(R) *****
Made for You, by Melissa Marr -- highly recommended for those who like romantic suspense with a paranormal twist -- HarperCollins, 1/16 (paperback)

I liked this just as much the second (third?) time around.

(R) *****
The Candidates, by Inara Scott -- highly recommended for those who like school tales, those who like magic, and those who like sweet romance -- Disney-Hyperion, 8/10

I enjoyed this just as much the second time around too -- though I also picked up the second one, and it disappointed me just as much. :( I think that's because everything I loved so much about this first one is removed from the second (ie, the focus is completely different). Still, this is a good read.

(R) *****
The Body Finder, by Kimberly Derting -- highly recommended for those who like teen FBI-ish tales, those who like paranormal elements, and those who like sweet romance -- HarperTorch, 3/10

I read the whole series again, and I really enjoyed them all. I just like Derting's style and how she builds suspense and tension -- and Violet and Jay are a great (and sweetly loyal) couple.

(R) ****+
Gallagher Girls, by Ally Carter -- highly recommended for those who like teen spies, those who like school tales, those who like sweet romance, and those who like stories about family relationships -- Disney-Hyperion, 3/07 (starting then)

Then I re-read this entire series. I still liked it, though it's more simplistic than I remember, and the last couple books are definitely my favorite (and stronger, imo).

I did more re-reads, but these are the highlights (and the authors/books that I wanted to 'promote' a bit). I won't log anymore until next year (I have a nice collection for our upcoming trip).

Book Reports (160-167)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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****
The Paranaturalist, by Ki Brightly -- recommended for those who like paranatural-based tales, those who like male/male romance, and those who like complexities that aren't always fully explained -- Dreamspinner Press, 6/16

I like aspects of this a lot, but it was a little inconsistent in development (both in romance and plot). Still, it was an entertaining read.

***+
An Assassin's Holiday, by Dirk Grayson -- recommended for those who like short bites of stories, those who like male/male romance, and those who don't mind ambiguous morality -- Dreamspinner Press, 11/15

This was okay, though novella's have to be really good for me to love them, and this was only average.

****-
Family Jewels, by MJ O'Shea -- recommended for those who like thief/law enforcement mysteries, those who like male/male romance, and those who like hopeful but open endings -- Dreamspinner Press, 4/15

I liked this a lot until the ending (sigh). I guess I just prefer HEA or HFN more than this more open-ended feel...but the whole cat-mouse plot was fun.

*****
Catch a Tiger by the Tail, by Charlie Cochet -- highly recommended for those who like the THIRDS series, those who like urban fantasy thrillers, and those who like male/male romance -- Dreamspinner Press, 2/16

No surprise that I loved this one. :) This is Calvin and Hobbes' story, and I inhaled it!

****+
When the Dust Settles, by Mary Calmes -- highly recommended for those who like the Timing series, those who like cowboy drama, and those who like male/male romance -- Dreamspinner Press, 11/16

This is also a novella, but it's definitely above average. Of course, part of its allure is that it continues a story that I already love -- though this is about Rand's half-brother. Still, I always enjoy venturing back into this world.

****
At Your Service, by Ariel Tachna -- recommended for those who like male/male romance, those who like angst, and those who like French settings -- Dreamspinner Press, 3/16

I liked this, though there's a ton of angst...and I did skip over a chunk near the beginning (when they first separated). All in all, it's good, though not as good (to me) as Tachna's Austrailian series.

****+
Flight or Fight, by Dirk Grayson -- highly recommended for those who like mysteries, those who like male/male romance, and those who like sheriff tales -- Dreamspinner Press, 8/16

I enjoyed this a lot. I like both the main characters, and the mystery has that old-fashioned murder mystery feel (that you don't always find these days). Plus, it's set in WY, and that's one of my favorite states.

*****
[Fair Chance, by Josh Lanyon -- highly recommended for those who like suspense, those who like male/male romance, and those who like slow development -- Carina Press, 3/17]

I loved this! I also loved the previous one (Fair Game); one of my favorite aspects of Lanyon's style is his character and how he develops them. I love both Elliot and Lance, and I like their interaction -- plus, the mystery/thriller is very good here too.

As you can see, it's been a while since I updated these (ack). I've actually read a ton more than this, but these are the only new ones (the others were all re-reads), so they're the only ones I'm counting for now. :)

Book Reports (156-159)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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****-
Troublemaker, by Linda Howard -- recommended for Howard fans, for those who like adult romance, those who like a hint of mystery, and those who like small town life -- William Morrow, 5/16

* I wanted to love this (because I always wait for the next Howard book to come out), but it was pretty slow. There really isn't much happening on the 'suspense' side of the romantic suspense, and although the romance is fine, it didn't engage me like some of her other books. I think it would have been stronger if the suspense had been present (the beginning and the end held the only real aspects of it). *sigh*

***-
I've Got You Under My Skin, by Mary Higgins Clark -- recommended for those who like Clark's style, those who like mysteries with many possible suspects, and those who like multi/omni POV -- Pocket Books, 3/15

* I used to read MHC a lot (in my late teens), and the books she was writing back then were mostly very good. I haven't read one of her 'new' mysteries in 20 years...and I wasn't impressed. The characters are pretty bland, the romance was practically non-existent, and the killer was meh. *sigh*

****+
David, Renewed, by Diana Copeland -- highly recommended for those who like male/male romance, those who like family tales, and those who like sympathetic characters -- Dreamspinner Press, 9/16

* I like Copeland's writing, and her newest was a good example of why: the enjoyable cast of characters. I liked everyone, and even those which aren't super likable are still realistic and round out the feel of the book nicely. It seems like she set this up so there could be other books in this series, and I certainly hope that's the case!

*****
Tied Up in Knots, by Mary Calmes -- highly recommended for those who like the rest of the trilogy, those who like law enforcement (US Marshals) tales, and those who like male/male romance -- Dreamspinner Press, 9/16

* I was so excited to see this book, and even though it focused more on Ian's and Milo's relationship than a mystery, I still loved it. I'm hoping there will be yet another which perhaps resolves some of the things she hinted at here (like Dreo's gun and why Kage is being framed, etc).

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