* 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 books, by Laura Griffin -- highly recommended for those who like romantic suspense, those who like FBI/police involvement, those who like dual POV, and those who like a good blend of romance and mystery -- Gallery Books/Pocket Books -- 2009-2017
(Clearly I'm going through a phase. :D I really like Griffin's writing style. I think it's partly the dual POV and partly the balance she has between the mystery aspects and the romance. Plus, she's not overly graphic (in either romance/sex or violence). My only nitpick is that she could tie the books together a bit more (ie, she could mention past characters more than she does). Also, every now and then, she doesn't quite tie up all the loose ends -- all the big stuff definitely gets resolved, but she'll bring up tiny details along the course of the investigation without always letting the reader know about those. But really, these are minor complaints, and overall, I'm really enjoying having discovered a new-to-me writer!)
Alpha Crew series, by Laura Griffin -- recommended for those who like romantic suspense, those who like military special ops, and those who like plucky heroines -- Pocket Star, 2016/2017
(This isn't as strong (for me) as the other books, mostly because they're not as well balanced between romance and mystery. The first one (two -- two novellas which tell one story), especially, was much heavier on the romance. Still, it wasn't too graphic for my taste, and the second one was much better.)
The Prey, by Allison Brennan -- recommended for those who like romantic suspense, those who like multi-POV, and those who like graphic sex scenes -- Ballantine Books, 12/05
(So I picked up this one because she's co-written a series with Laura Griffin (which I haven't read yet, btw). But although the premise was pretty interesting, I didn't like her characterizations much at all. Everyone in the book reacted to life like a toddler would -- there were no deeper introspections, no wisdom, no life ponderings. On top of that, there was a LOT of sex, and it was much more graphic than I personally prefer. I read one review that called it borderline porn, and I'd personally agree (mostly in the terminology Brennan uses). Anyway, just because it's not to my taste doesn't mean it won't work for others. :D)
The Zozobra Incident, by Don Travis -- recommended for those who like noir-style mysteries, those who like a hint of romance (male/male, in this case), and those who like New Mexico settings -- DSP Publications, 11/16
(This is a slow read for me, but I'm enjoying it. I like BJ's narrating style, I like his low-key romance with Paul, and I like the details about New Mexico. I don't know that I'd want to read a bunch of Travis's books in a row, but once in a while, it's a nice change of pace.)
Wild Ride, by Julie Ann Walker -- recommended for those who like secret ops, those who like romantic suspense, and those who like motorcycles -- Sourcebooks Casablanca, 4/17
(This wasn't really to my taste. I did like the emotional angst Walker puts us through (it's dual POV), especially with Ozzie. But I found Samantha rather annoying, and the extremely slow pace of both the mystery (which was not as much of a focus as I would've liked) and the romance. Meh. It just didn't work for me.)
Hot as Hell, by Julie Ann Walker -- recommended for those who like short romances (it's a novella), those who like dual POV, and those who like military involvement -- Sourcebooks Casablance, 6/16
(So I tried this because I liked the emotional interactions in the book above, but this was basically just a romance, which is not my thing.)
Any Closer, by Mary Calmes -- recommended for those who like male/male romance, those who like novellas, and those who like Mary Calmes -- Dreamspinner Press, 6/11
(This simply wasn't long enough for me. I felt like I'd just gotten a taste of the characters and their lives when the books ended.)
Fish out of Water, by Amy Lane -- recommended for those who like male/male romantic suspense -- Dreamspinner Press, 7/16
(I've enjoyed other Amy Lane books, and when I saw she had a mystery/suspense, I figured it would be great. But it didn't work so well for me. The violence was a little more graphic than I prefer, and the romance between the main characters wasn't as strong as I'd like. *shrug* It just didn't work for me, and I gave up about halfway through.)
So I have about 20 books on my TBR pile (sadly, not much of an exaggeration), but I'm so pressed for downtime right now (the day job is keep me crazy busy -- especially combined with two teens in high school) that even when I have a chance to read, it's hard to then report back. But I will do my best, especially since I like to have a log of what I've read.