January Reads

On Paper/eBook
The list this month is lamentably short.  Partly it was holidays but a greater part were two books which I did not really enjoy and which I spent too much time with – the less interested I am in a book, the more excuses I find not to read (oh, look! TV!  or cleaning!  or sometimes, if it’s really bad, Root Canal!)  and the longer it takes me to read it.
Cover Me by Catherine Mann – DNF – I could rant but frankly, I’ve spent enough time on this book already.  It was silly.  It had a promising first chapter but after that, it was just silly.  The premise had so many holes in it I could have driven a truck through it and I just could not suspend my disbelief enough.  But, you know, that’s me.  If you liked the book, more power to you.  There are plenty of people who did apparently.  I’m just not one of them.
Hot Zone by Catherine Mann – D+/C-  see my full review (if you dare) here.
No Souvenirs by KA Mitchell – A – as a palate cleanser, it’s always nice to go back to a comfort read.  This one is a tried and true book for me.  I reviewed it in October 2010 here and this review appeared in the ARRA January newsletter:
I just re-read this book for the 5th time.  It’s one of my very favourite books by this author – by anyone actually, if you measured by how often I read it.   No Souvenirs is the 3rd in KA Mitchell’s Florida series and features Dr. Jae Sun Kim whom we first meet in Collision Course.   After a planned career move falls through, Kim decides to take a live on board scuba diving holiday in Belize, where he meets sexy divemaster Shane McCormack (“Scuba Cowboy”).   There is instant attraction between the two but things take a sharp turn when on a night dive, Kim and Shane are left behind and have to survive for hours in the water.  And, then there’s a run in for one of them with a nasty sea creature.   It’s not really a spoiler to reveal this as it happens fairly early on in the book and as it’s a romance, we all know that they will make it through and get their HEA but I recall having my heart in my throat the first time I read those scenes and even now, they are still compelling to me.
After the drama in Belize, Shane comes to visit Kim in Jacksonville where they navigate the uncertain waters of their relationship and work out whether there is more to them than what happened on the reef.
Kim is an uptight, analytical and closed-off person and Shane is very easy going and relaxed.  The conflict between the characters is more about Kim not sharing anything of his emotions (does he even admit he has them?).    Shane is more than he initially appears to be and they make a great couple.  I would so love to read more about this pairing – I tweeted the author recently and she told me she misses them too!
If you like m/m romance with hot sexy characters and a bit of angst, then you can’t go past this one IMO.
  
Not Wicked Enough by Carolyn Jewel – B/B-  See my full review here.
The Bro-Magnet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted – B+  See my full review here.  It’s also my **pick of the month**

Pricks and Pragmatism by JL Merrow – B   Very good sexy short about a good looking student with no money who trades sex for a place to stay.  After being kicked out of one place, he moves in with geeky Russell, a friend of a friend.  Russell is not expecting sex however and Luke has to learn to navigate a totally different kind of relationship.  They become friends and Luke begins to value himself again.  It was very sweet and I could happily have read on.  I would have liked more of their HEA but it was a very enjoyable story.

Cop Out by KC Burn – B/B-  Set in Toronto, this is the story of Kurt, a police officer who loses his partner Ben in the line of duty.  He finds out that his partner left behind a life partner of 10 years, Davy.    Ben was deeply in the closet and Kurt is distressed to know that Ben hadn’t been open with him at all about his personal life and they obviously hadn’t been the friends he had thought they were.  Nevertheless, Kurt decides that he will help Davy – he has no-one else except for a sister going through a high risk pregnancy and he’s just devastated.  Because Ben was so far into the closet he could have been living in Narnia, Davy has lost contact with all his friends and he’s just about suicidal when Kurt first takes him in hand (no pun intended).  Kurt isn’t a ladies man by any stretch, he’s never had all that much luck and prefers his right hand actually, but he’s always regarded himself as straight.  However, over a few months, he begins to reevaluate that label because he’s having major feelings for Davy.    This book had a bit of a clunky start for me but Chris from Stumbling Over Chaos gave this one 4 stars so I figured I should persist and I’m glad I did.  The writing certainly got better, IMO, as the book progressed.  I was captivated by the characters and their emotional journey and that’s what kept me going even through the beginning which was a bit hit and miss as starts go.
Kurt comes from a big Irish Catholic family and as he comes to realise he’s gay, he agonises over how and whether to come out.  I appreciated quite a few things about this book – Kurt wasn’t “gay for you”.  He realised, via his feelings for Davy, that he was gay but after he’d come to that conclusion, he realised he was attracted to guys in general.   Another thing I appreciated was that the latter part of the book skipped over a fair period of time – Kurt and Davy spent some time apart getting their shit together separately and they each made a positive decision to be together – there was no nasty co-dependence or anything and Kurt had his sexual identify sorted by then.
There wasn’t a lot of sex in the book but what there was was very good and there was quite a bit of sexual tension at times.  I thought Kurt’s coming out was perhaps a bit easy (but, really, what would I know?) and I did wonder that Davy was the sexual agrressor in their relationship.  It had always seemed to me that Ben must have been the aggressor in his relationship with Davy as he had Davy completely cowed to the point that Kurt felt it was emotional abuse.    I’m by no means an expert in “teh gay” but it did seem  a bit odd that Davy was the top in Kurt and his relationship.  Maybe a sentence or two in the narrative could have cleared that up for me.  This wasn’t a perfect book but from an emotional perspective it definitely delivered for me.  If you find the start a bit clunky, I do recommend you read on.  I think you’ll find it’s worth it.  Thx for the rec Chris!

Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux – B-/C+ This is the second book in the Cut & Run series by Urban and Roux, featuring FBI agents, Ty Grady and Zane Garrett.  In book 1, they commence their professional partnership and start having sex – it’s not what either would call a relationship initially, but by the end, there is a hopeful HFN.  I had some problems with the first book – I found it quite disjointed and the main characters spent a lot of time apart (of which I’m not a fan), but online friends I trust encouraged me to stick with the series.    I find both Ty and Zane compelling characters and they keep me reading even when other things in the story bother me.  This one was a better book, for me, but still not great.  Still, I do enjoy the chemistry between Zane and Ty and, like I said before, I find them compelling reading.  This book mainly takes place in the mountains of West Virginia when a hiking trip Ty takes with his dad, his brother and Zane goes wrong.  There was some clumsy writing – the use of the same word in the same sentence or paragraph for example and some frustrating things – statements that were (for me) unclear or unfinished.  By the second half of the book however, the tension had ramped up and the emotions between Ty and Zane had me hooked and reeled right in.    There is something about this couple that keeps me coming back and I decided to read Fish & Chips (book 3) next to see where they would take me next.

The Kid by Dan Savage – B+ I read it, so it’s going in.  Sure, it’s not really a romance novel – although it is about love and commitment.   The funny and touching story of Dan Savage and Terry Miller’s adoption of their son DJ.  I really enjoyed it.  I can’t really grade it the same way as a romance novel because it’s not fiction.  It’s not like I can say – oh, if only the character had done such and such now can I?  But, as entertainment, I found it easy and funny and touching reading and I highly recommend it. 

On Audio
I confess I’ve been glomming on the Dan Savage lovecasts lately so not much audiobook action either….
Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis, narrated by Karen White – B – my review of this will be up at AAR in a forthcoming Speaking of Audiobooks column.  My review of the paper book is here.

The Next Always by Nora Roberts, narrated by McLeod Andrews – B.  I really liked this one too.  I wasn’t sure I would because I’d heard there was a lot of inn renovation in there, but I didn’t find it overpowering and I enjoyed the romance between Claire and Beckett.  Mr. Andrews is a new-to-me narrator but I hope to hear more of him as he did a great job here.  My full review will be up at AAR in a forthcoming Speaking of Audiobooks column.

Bad Kaetrin.  I promise to do better next month.   🙂

7 comments on “January Reads

  1. Mandi

    I love KC Mitchell…I think Collision Course is my #1 reread of hers..but No Souvenirs is close ;)Fish and Chips and Divide and Conquer really step up that series I think. Very interested to see what you think of them!

  2. Tam

    I enjoyed No Souvenirs as well. I'm a fan of KA Mitchell too. I loved Pricks and Pragmatism and I think the author is writing a sequel of sorts where you get to at least see these guys in it. I can't remember the details. I wanted more as well. I might have to give Cop Out a try. I'm afraid I'm one of those lone voices in the dark who never really got into the Ty and Zane books. First was a DNF for me. Didn't hate it, just didn't care. *shrug* Oh well, someone has to be different. :-)Have a great weekend.

  3. Chris

    Hmm. I might need to read No Souvenirs again – or maybe just all the Florida books!I'm glad you persisted and enjoyed Cop Out! 🙂

  4. Kaetrin

    @Mandi – I started reading Fish & Chips but then my Dan Savage books arrived so I interrupted the reading to read those. It does say something that I was prepared to interrupt my reading but, I'd only just started – they've just got onto the cruise ship – so maybe it doesn't say much at all. LOL!

  5. Kaetrin

    @Tam No, I totally understand about Cut & Run. I didn't love it by any means. I actually found it a really frustrating read but Chris and Kris convinced me to continue. Then I picked up Divide & Conquer from NetGalley and Dreamspinner kindly let me have books 2 and 3 so I could catch up on the series. I heard that the series really picks up. If not for that, I don't think I would have bothered. I liked Ty and Zane but I definitely had problems with the first book.I really enjoyed Cop Out – let me know what you think if you read it. 🙂

  6. Kaetrin

    @Chris I have something like 700 books on my TBR and I sometimes feel guilty when I re-read a book because that pile is LOOMING. But, sometimes, a tried and true is just what I need.I buy so many books and I have so many waiting – I said to my husband the other week that maybe I'm becoming addicted to just HAVING them as opposed to reading them. He said "welcome to 'collecting'". I have so many great books on my TBR I keep meaning to get to and then I get distracted by "the shiny". *sigh*thx for the Cop Out rec!

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