* 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; DNF means *did not finish*].
Tracers series, by Laura Griffin -- highly recommended for those who like romantic suspense, FBI/police MCs, DNA-type clues, and a nice balance between romance and the rest of the story -- Pocket Star, 11/09-(present)
(So yay, I discovered a new-to-me author! Like any author, Griffin isn't always spot on, but of the five I've read (in order) so far, I've really liked all of them and loved a couple of them. My only minor complaint is that she doesn't always follow through on some of her characters. For instance, the first book in the series is about Alex Lovell, and she only appears in two of the next four -- and only peripherally, at that. There were definitely some opportunities to have her join the work at Delphi more often, but Griffin didn't take advantage of it, and that was a minor annoyance for me. But I definitely like the heroines and the relationships they build with their male counterparts, and the actual mysteries are very interesting and not too graphically revealed (the violence), which I also prefer.)
She Was the Quiet One, by Michele Campbell -- recommended for those who like psychological thrillers, those who like boarding-school settings, and those who like slow builds -- St. Martin's Press, 7/18
(This was very intriguing, though I found myself really frustrated with one of the characters for holding her silence when she could clearly see issues...and she held back long enough that people were hurt (well, yeah, since someone was murdered). In the end, another of the characters comments that everything was hardest for the above character (other than the victim, of course) and she therefore deserved the most sympathy, but I'm not sure I agree. It's true that she had the most challenging time after all was said and done, but she could have avoided so much if she'd just acted rather than letting things slide. However, this is part of what makes the book so compelling -- would *I* be strong enough in her position to speak up? Hm...)
Tequila Mockingbird, by Rhys Ford -- recommended for those who like the series (Sinner's Gin), those who like male/male romance, and those who like angsty/gritty character backgrounds -- Dreamspinner Press, 6/14
(I definitely liked this one better than Sinner's Gin, mostly because I liked Forest better than Miki (I like all the Morgan family members). Even though Forest also had a depressing and almost over-the-top horrible childhood, it wasn't as present in his current life as Miki's had been, and that made it more palatable for me personally. I suspect I'm done with this series after only these two, however. I'm all for creating challenges for your characters, but the circumstantial pummeling of these boys is a bit much for me, and even the Morgan family doesn't make up for it.)
Spirit, by John Inman -- recommended for those who like paranormal mysteries, those who like humor, and those who like male/male romance -- Dreamspinner Press, 3/14
(This was a fun and quick read, but I will admit that to me it seemed to struggle to find the balance between paranormal and realistic. In other words, Jason appeared to fight against the possibility of a ghost for too long, and because of that, he also fought what must have happened in his home for too long. I guess I got tired of him constantly saying it couldn't be true, even though everything happening around him supported it. Also, we didn't get much of a build-up of Sally's and Jason's background, so I didn't feel like I knew her at all. She was very one-dimensional (and so was Jason, for that matter). Timmy also wasn't that realistic for a 4-year old (perhaps Inman doesn't spend much time around children?), though that could also be because of the ghost and how he affected Timmy. All in all, I did enjoy it, and I liked the relationship (surface-y though it felt at times) between Sam and Jason. As an aside, the humor was one of its greatest strengths, and if another of his books had a more solid plot, I *would* pick it up, just because of the humor.)