Real Men Will by Victoria Dahl – B/B+ – see full review here.
Liar Bird by Lisa Walker – C This is an Australian book which is being released in January 2012 (HarperCollins Australia auto approved me on NetGalley – I am loved!). I’ve reviewed it for ARRA and it will be in the December newsletter for members. I’ll post the review here after the newsletter comes out. It’s kind of chick-lit with romantic elements, in that the romance is not the main/sole focus of the story. As I’m not much of a chick-lit reader, I suspect this affected my grade.
Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins – B-/B – see full review here.
Unclaimed by Courtney Milan – B+ – see full review here.
Angel’s Blood by Nalini Singh – B I had listened to the first 2 books in this series on audio (narrated by Justine Eyre) but when I started Archangel’s Consort, I realise I had forgotten quite a bit of the story and so I decided to read the print books which I had on my (massive and intimidating) TBR. I actually enjoyed this one quite a bit, even though I knew what was coming. For those who don’t know, Elena is a Guild Hunter and because of her natural gifts, can scent out vampires. Raphael, Archangel of New York hires Elena for a special and top secret hunt. And they fall in love. Pretty much. It’s all in the journey of course. I wondered idly when I was reading how I’d managed to understand so much on first listen when there was a lot that was hinted (in terms of Elena’s childhood trauma) and not specified. Her story is spread out over the three (so far at least) books which feature her and Raphael. It’s actually quite well done. I certainly don’t remember being unable to follow the story when I first listened to it.
Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh – B As is obvious by the cover, Elena has been Made into an angel by Raphael’s ambrosia kiss. This book is mainly set in the Refuge, a place exclusively for angels. Lijuan is up to no good and someone is killing people in the Refuge. Raphael and Elena’s relationship is really quite new – something I appreciated much better reading these books back to back and so it made sense there was still some settling to do in their relationship. I didn’t love how it ended – I prefer all bad guys to be destroyed/jailed etc as appropriate and I don’t think that happened here.
Archangel’s Consort by Nalini Singh- B-/C+ I remember reading reviews shortly after the release of this book that indicated displeasure at the continued toing and froing between Raphael and Elena. As I said above, reading them back to back, it made more sense to me because they haven’t actually been together that long and Raphael is an immortal being who’s been around for over a thousand years. His values and mores are not Elenas and there’s a lot of adjustment necessary. Where this book fell flat to me was in the conflict with the bad guys. It seems Caliane (Raphael’s mother) is awakening and Lijuan is still causing problems. (*spoiler alert*) That both of them are alive and well at the end of the book was a source of frustration to me. I kind of felt that the author was stringing me a long a bit. I want the bad guys identified and dealt permanently rather than coming back again and again to cause trouble (even though I concede it is not entirely clear whether Caliane is actually a ‘bad guy’) – it feels like they just get away with things and that makes the story a lot less satisfying to me.
Archangel’s Blade by Nalini Singh – A- My full review will be appearing at the ARRA blog. I’ll post a link when it’s up. For now, I’ll just say that this book is my favourite of the series so far (and – hooray! – the bad guys in this book are actually dealt with in a final manner).
Show Me by Jaci Burton – C Sexy short about a woman who secretly likes to watch and be watched and the man who makes her fantasy reality. There is not much character development and I can’t say I connected that well with either of the main characters, but it was certainly hot.
Ready and Willing by Cara McKenna – B+ see my review here.
Fatal Heat by Lisa Marie Rice – C This is a short story wihch is typical Lisa Marie Rice – alpha hero who takes one look at the heroine and that’s it, he’s toast. Hot sex and then heroine gets in trouble and is rescued by hero. Then they live happily ever after, the end. It had a very promising start but it got ridiculous for me when the hero took the DOG on the rescue mission. Also, sadly, there was only one sex scene. I feel robbed. 😛
A Lily Among Thorns by Rose Lerner – C I don’t know why this book wasn’t more successful for me. It had an unusual hero and heroine (a tailor and former courtesan/innkeeper); it was well enough written and had some amusing moments (“does the Regent used French holes?”), but for some reason, I found this story completely put-downable. Looking at my Goodreads, I can see that it took me 7 days to read this. Normally a book this length would take me about 2 days. What this tells me is that I found other things to do rather than pick this book up. While I was actually reading, I enjoyed it well enough, but I was in no rush to keep reading. For the life of me, I can’t articulate why. For some reason I didn’t connect sufficiently with the characters and/or the story and so this one ended up being kind of “meh” for me. I suspect I’m an outlier though, so don’t take my word for it! 🙂 I feel bad that I can’t explain why this one didn’t grab me.
Portrait in Death by JD Robb, narrated by Susan Ericksen – B+. This book has some of my favourite scenes – Roarke melting down, Eve worried he doesn’t love her anymore, make up smex. The crime part took a bit of a backseat to me and I felt it didn’t hold up as well on a re-read/listen as other crime plots, but the Eve/Roarke aspects make this one a winner for me.
Chaos in Death by JD Robb, narrated by Susan Ericksen – B-. The most recent novella in the series, it follows on from New York to Dallas and contains spoilers for that book, so I recommend reading/listening in order. Novellas are enjoyable to listen to but they are mainly about the crime and not the relationship between Eve and Roarke and Eve and her friends. For that reason, I usually rate the novels higher. I’ve done a review of this one for AAR and will post a link here when it’s up.
Imitation in Death by JD Robb, narrated by Susan Ericksen – B. I just realised that the cover is a bit of a spoiler for the book. O-o. Another enjoyable instalment in the series. Peabody makes detective!
Big Jack by JD Robb, narrated by Susan Ericksen – B-. This is the story which makes up the second half of Remember When. There are continuity errors in this from the previous book which threw me a bit (Somerset was still on leave in this book, but he’d returned by the end of Imitation in Death). Much more noticeable when there’s a back to back listen/read.
Divided in Death by JD Robb, narrated by Susan Ericksen – B– (*spoiler alert*) This is the book where Eve finds out Homeland Security knew about what was happening to her as a child and for most of the book thereafter, Roarke and Eve are at odds because Roarke wants to take them out and Eve wants him to leave them alone because she can’t stomach him committing murder. I must say, as much as I enjoyed the story, when I read it the first time and when I listen to it now, I still felt there was a disconnect about Eve’s attitude. Roarke had already committed murder on a number of occasions (and he was fairly elaborate too) (re Somerset’s daughter Marlena’s death) so while I could understand on one level that Eve didn’t want Roarke to commit murder FOR HER because she couldn’t live with it if he was a murderer, she being a cop and all, it highlighted to me that she was living with him and he HAD committed murder, her being a cop and all. I still can’t quite reconcile it, like a piece of information that’s just off to the left or something, so I just shrug and go with it. Otherwise, the usual enjoyable listen.
Visions in Death by JD Robb, narrated by Susan Ericksen – B This one was more successful for me. It struck me that for once, Roarke didn’t have a lot to do with the investigation, only popping in for bits and pieces and a little at the end, which considering his heavy involvement in the previous book was a refreshing change. Some fun stuff with Peabody and McNab, Louise and Charles, Mavis and Leonardo (the part where Mavis asked Eve and Roarke to be the back up birth coaches was hilarious) and some drama for someone close toward the end. I think I must have been pretty worried when I first read the book. I even had (a tiny bit of) sympathy for the villain here. Very good.