* 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*].
The Valentine's Day Resolution, by Ava Hayden -- highly recommended for those who like sweet male/male romances, those who like dual POV, and those who like a solid resolution -- Dreamspinner Press, 8/17
(I like Hayden's writing, and this was similar to her other works in its overall satisfying feeling and sweet romance. There's always a hint of angst, but the characters are sympathetic, and the epilogue resolved pretty much everything (perhaps more tidily than is realistic, LOL).)
A Merciful Fate, by Kendra Elliot -- highly recommended for those who like the Mercy Kilpatrick series, for those who like mystery/suspense, and for those who like stories with rural/unique settings -- Montlake Romance, 1/19
(I loved this 5th book in the series just as much as the others. I think my favorite parts are Mercy herself (she's the best combination of fiery and vulnerable), Truman (who's so calm and giving and real), their relationship (which is mature and lovely), and the colorful secondary characters (all of whom are pretty unique and complex). Okay, I just like everything about it. :D I can't wait for the next one!)
Last Look, by Mariah Stewart -- recommended for those who like suspense, those who like cold case files, and those who like romance (non graphic) -- Ballantine Books, 5/07
(I enjoyed the mystery aspects of this, but I thought the characterizations and romance could have been a little stronger. They weren't bad, by any means, but I like a little more emotion and heat between the love interests, and this was pretty mild. Still, the mystery really was pretty engaging.)
Dark Waters, by Toni Anderson -- recommended for fans of Toni Anderson, for those who liked the first one (Dangerous Waters), for those who like mystery/suspense, for those who like dual-POV, for those who like Canadian coastal settings, and for those who like steamy (though not too graphic) romance -- Montlake Romance, 8/13
(Although I didn't like this as much as the first, it was still an enjoyable read. This one focused on Brent Carver (Finn's older brother) and his involvement with his ex-cellmate's daughter. I like the Canadian setting, but I tell you what, I'm really glad I live in the US with its justice system (despite all the flaws) compared to what they face in Canada!)
Dark Truth, by Mariah Stewart -- recommended for those who like mystery/suspense, those who like non-graphic romance, and those who like sympathetic characters -- Ballantine Books, 10/05
(I enjoyed the mystery here, although I figured out the killer pretty early on. Still, it was an interesting journey, despite the lack of heat in the romance.)
Screwups, by Jamie Fessenden -- recommended for those who like male/male romance, those who like college tales, those who like coming out tales, and those who don't mind somewhat selfish characters -- Dreamspinner Press, 3/14
(I didn't love this, sadly. The premise sounded intriguing, and the writing itself was fine. But I didn't really enjoy the way Danny made everything about him. I felt like Jake was a much more sympathetic character, and even though Danny clearly had a hard time of things, to me it didn't justify his behavior. *shrug* I think it just wasn't for me.)
[Sleepless in San Francisco, by Ryan Field -- recommended for those who like tons of graphic sex (male/male) with very little plot -- Riverdale Avenue Books, 12/18]
(Yeah, I didn't like this at all. The characters were one-dimensional, there was little-to-no world building, the emotional connection was pretty much non-existent...you get the picture. It was basically just a ton of sex -- really, just sex scene, filler, sex scene, filler, etc. Totally not my taste.)
[Perfect Match, by AG Meiers -- recommended for those who like male/male romance, those who like mail-order-bride-type set-ups, and those who are willing to suspend their disbelief -- Riptide Publishing, 1/19]
(I ended up liking the two main characters quite a bit, but the whole set up was so outlandish and unbelievable to me that it kind of ruined the story some. Basically, there is this dating website that promises a 'perfect match,' and they sent a stranger to Canada to pretend to be another man's perfect match...it was just ridiculous. Also, Jayden's reasons for going along with the pretense also seem weak to me. But I like Sven, and I like Sven's family -- and Jayden grew on me.)
[Off the Ice, by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn -- highly recommended for those who like male/male romance, those who like pro hockey, those who like coming-out tales, and those who like somewhat graphic (and fairly frequent) sex -- Riptide, 10/17]
(I loved this! I loved all the hockey aspects (which weren't overdone, imo), and in fact, I loved Tristan in every way. Sebastian took a little longer to warm up to, but he definitely felt like a good partner to Tristan. There was a part near the end that I didn't love, I will admit, and there was more sex that I personally prefer, but overall, this is a very entertaining read, and I can't wait for the next one in the series (doesn't come out till June, waaah).)