* 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*].
Aria, by Shira Anthony -- recommended for those who like male/male romance, musician tales, and grief recovery -- Dreamspinner Press, 12/12
(I didn't love this, so I skimmed most of it. Neither character really worked for me, and although I liked reading about an opera singer, there just wasn't enough about that to make up for the lackluster storyline and characters.)
A Kind of Home, by Lane Hayes -- recommended for those who like male/male romance, those who like musician tales, and those who like childhood crushes becoming adult relationships -- Dreamspinner Press, 6/17
(This was okay. I liked the premise, and I found the band aspects interesting. The romance was kind of tentative (more like a one-night -- one-month-ish -- stand than a mature relationships), and I felt like Isaac's issues were a little overdone.)
Candy Man, by Amy Lane -- recommended for those who like male/male romance (specifically Amy Lane), those who like second chances in life, and those who like opposites attracting -- Dreamspinner Press, 12/14
(I liked this and only skimmed a bit. It's not quite a typical Amy Lane book, in that it's not very angsty. Sure, Adam is struggling, but he's such a good guy, and it's clear he's going to get it together. And Finn is so upbeat and positive. My only real complaint was in the speed of the romance and how Finn is so confident that it's a 'forever' love when he just got out of a long-term relationship and this one is so much shorter...but still, very sweet.)
Rockton novels, by Kelley Armstrong -- highly recommended for those who like romantic suspense, unique settings, and unusual murder mysteries -- Minotaur Books, 5/16 - 2/19
(Yay, I've found a new author/series!! I really like these, and it's a combination of Casey and Eric (and their relationship), the secondary characters, and the unique mysteries and setting. Having a small town that's 'hidden' from the rest of the world (in the Yukon, no less) for safety but which also houses criminals who buy their way in...it's just well done, creative, and some great reading. I can't wait for the next one!)
Deeds & Confetti, by Brandon Witt -- recommended for those who like male/male romance, those who like Colorado settings, and those who like drag queens -- Dreamspinner Press, 9/17
(This was entertaining. I liked the main characters, and the May-December romance is sweet (though it's slightly weird that Ryan has had a crush on Steven since he was a young teen). Some of the secondary characters seemed a little over-the-top to me, but this is the fourth book in the series, I believe, and I didn't read the others. I'm sure they're explained better there. My favorite part was Steven and the familiar Denver landmarks.)
Creative Process, by Jodi Payne -- recommended for those who like male/male romance, those who like tales about artists and their process (obviously), and those who like emotive writing -- Dreamspinner Press, 9/17
(I really enjoyed the writing here, but I had a couple of issues with the other aspects of the book (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2851108078). Still, there are some definite positives to this.)
Darling James, by Tinnean -- recommended for those who like historical male/male romance, those who like spy tales, and those who like understated relationships -- Createspace, 11/15
(This was interesting, and even though I skimmed the middle portion, I liked the romance and hints of mystery between James and Remy.)
The Perfect Alibi, by Phillip Margolin -- recommended for those who like complicated legal mysteries/thrillers, those who like understated romance, and those who like a more distanced writing style -- Minotaur Books, 3/19
(I enjoyed the mystery and procedural aspects of this very much, even though the writing style is weak (and choppy). There's a fair amount of telling, and at the sentence level, it's just clunky (to me). Still, I found the mysteries pretty compelling, and I enjoyed it (and will probably look for the next one, if there is a next one).)
Finding Jake, by Bryan Reardon -- recommended for those who like psychological suspense, those who like male POV, those who like parent-child tales, and those who like emotional stories -- William Morrow, 2/15
(So full disclosure: I 'know' Bryan -- from LJ, actually, many years ago. We lost touch about that time that many people left LJ, and when I saw him on FB (on a mutual friend's feed), I looked him up and discovered that he'd been published. I read a couple of his YA manuscripts, so this isn't a surprise...and I found this very compelling and hard to put down. I wouldn't say I 'enjoyed' it, as the story is very intense, but it was engaging and well written. I already have a hold on another of his books. :D)
Little Wolf, by R. Cooper -- recommended for those who like male/male shifter tales, those who like some mystery, and those who like many different kinds of beings -- Dreamspinner Press, 5/15
(This frustrated me, I will admit. I did read the last chapter or two, but the rest was just too many details with very little value. And I didn't think Tim and Nathaniel fit that well together (basically because Nathaniel deserved so much better). Tim was annoying, and I just couldn't get past that. Not my cup of tea, sigh.)