December 22nd, 2016

books

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. :)
books

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).