Wot I Read In November

This was not a good month for numbers; it has been a very busy time at work and at home, I started two major crochet projects, and I took two trips, all of which cut into my reading time.  But it was an excellent month for quality; there wasn’t a single thing  this month that I regretted taking time to read.  The total came to 12 full-length novels, of which one was a re-read, and two shorter works.  Six of 14 were e-books, four were from the library and the other four were mass market paperbacks.  Four books were ARCs, one was loaned by a friend, which means I bought five of the 13; three digital and only two in print. (I bought more than that, of course, but I haven’t read them yet.)

This are, as usual, pretty brief reactions. I’m happy to discuss any of these books further if you’re interested!

Historical Romance

Last Night’s Scandal by Loretta Chase.  I loved Chase’s Lord Perfect for a lot of reasons, but two of them were the kids, Olivia and Peregrine. They were not your typical romance “plot moppets,” and their relationship was nicely developed for their age.  Friends to lovers is one of my favorite romance plots anyway, and having an entire book in which that friendship was developed made the “to lovers” part even better. WIN

Forever In My Heart by Jo Goodman. This book, originally released in 1994, is the third about the Dennehy sisters. It starts on the East Coast, but about half of it takes place in Colorado; I purely love Goodman’s Western settings and characters.  She also develops some standard romance elements with a unique spin. WIN

Marry Me by Jo Goodman.  I re-read this book cover to cover when I thought I’d just be skimming through it for my review over at Dear Author. It sucked me right back in, and I loved every page. WIN

Unveiled by Courtney Milan.  Courtney is one of my favorite new romance authors.  She writes unique and engaging characters and fascinating situations, usually resolved with an interesting legal twist.  This book will be released early next year; expect to hear a lot more about it then. WIN

Contemporary Romance

Trust Me On This and Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie.  Both of these books are vintage Crusie — some screwball comic elements, a few wacky characters, even dogs.  (Crusie confirmed in a SmartBitches book club chat that the dog in Trust Me was added for the re-release; a major retailer wouldn’t stock the book unless it had a dog on the cover, and she didn’t want a dog on the cover unless there was one in the story.) I enjoyed both books; Bradley features slightly deeper main characters and better dogs, but the secondary romance in Trust Me is terrific. WIN

Happily Ever After by Nora Roberts.  I’ve enjoyed La Nora’s return to the straight contemporary romance, and this series ended up being very satisfying for me.  I’ve realized recently that while her romances are always good, it’s her world building that makes each new set of books a delight.  Her research into settings and careers makes each new place and set of people fascinating to explore.  Also, she does friendship, male and female, better than many writers.  WIN

“Midnight Assignment” by Victoria Dahl.  This is in the Midnight Kiss anthology; I haven’t read the other stories yet, but this one was terrific.  Another triumph of interesting setting — these characters work for the federal government, investigating banks, and even in such a short piece, the glimpse of what that entails really informed the story.  Plus, of course, there’s a flawed heroine and some hot sex — hey, it’s Victoria Dahl!  WIN

Paranormal Romance

Angel’s Pawn by Nalini Singh.  This novella features minor characters from Nalini’s Guild Hunters series, and it was fun and refreshing to see that world through the eyes of a different hunter and the vampire who is her favorite prey.  WIN

Archangel’s Consort by Nalini Singh.  This is an ARC of a book that will be released early next year, and I was excited to get to read it. It features the same couple, Raphael and Elena, as the two previous novels in the series; their continuing place at the center of the series reminds me of Nora Roberts’ In Death books written as J.D. Robb, with Eve and Roarke.  Not at all a bad model to follow! Expect more about this book as its release date nears. WIN

Blood Spells by Jessica Andersen.  This latest installment in the Mayan apocalypse series (The Final Prophecy books) is especially crack-tastic.  It features a marriage in trouble (another of my favorite romance plots!), which is a good twist on the fated mates device that’s at the center of the magical power in Andersen’s universe.  The troubled marriage in question has been around for four books already, so there was an extra depth to the romantic resolution here.  WIN

Romantic Suspense

The Search by Nora Roberts.  I don’t read a lot in this genre, but I read La Nora’s.  Yes, the villain POV freaks me out, but it’s always worth it.  And there’s her way with setting and character — I want to go live with these people!   Also,  dog rescue is fascinating, and it was a nice twist to have the heroine be the expert.  WIN

Mystery

The Last Camel Died At Noon by Elizabeth Peters.  I read the early books in this series when they were new, and I read this one for a Twitter chat. I think taking a break from the series (a LONG break) has been good; even so, the main characters came right back to me.  The mix of humor, suspense and Egyptology in these books is great.  WIN

Fantasy

The Bird of the River by Kage Baker.  Reading this book was bittersweet for me. Kage Baker, one of my favorite fantasy and science fiction authors who was also just a terrific person, died of cancer just a few weeks before my father did this year. I think this is her last full-length book. As always, her writing is wonderful, her storytelling is engrossing, her characters are complex and fascinating, and her world is rich and fascinating.  This story, a young woman’s coming of age tale, is sweet and funny. It is set in the world of her earlier fantasy novels The Anvil of the World and The House of the Stag, to which I was glad to return for one last adventure.  WIN

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Liz
    Dec 02, 2010 @ 16:57:33

    You’re EEEVIL–your enthusiasm for books you like is infectious. But thanks to this, I knew to get Midnight Kiss, among too many other books, at Harlequin’s half-price e-book sale today.

    I agree with you about Nora Roberts, though I was tired of rich-people’s-weddings world-building by HEA, and found it meh (first was best for me). I swore I would not go the JD Robb route because starting a series that is closing in on 40 books seems nuts–but then Naked in Death was available as a library audiobook, and the selection is slim, so what could I do? Now I’ve got my work cut out for me.

    Reply

    • sonomalass
      Dec 03, 2010 @ 23:33:35

      Liz, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the Bride Quartet. It’s not something I admit often, but the truth is that I don’t like weddings. But there’s something about the work going into them, and the humor of what goes wrong, that really worked for me in these books — along with the great camaraderie of the main characters, of course. I just got my ARC of the third book back from a friend, and I’m actually thinking of re-reading it. (Okay, I’m a sucker for “little sister’s best friend” as a plot device.) I need to read the other stories in Midnight Kiss, too. Oh, and I bought 12 books at the eHarlequin sale yesterday!

      Reply

  2. Vi
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 17:07:46

    I read Marry Me on Tuesday and still can’t stop thinking about what a fantastic book it is. I’ve read Goodman’s books before (Compass series mainly). None have captivated me like the Reidsville books. I hope she writes more books set in this town. Haven’t read any of the Dennehy sisters series, so now I’m intrigued.

    I love, love everything Nalini Singh writes!

    Reply

    • sonomalass
      Dec 03, 2010 @ 23:37:03

      Vi, the Dennehy sisters books are pretty good; the Colorado setting is a strength, I think. Plus all four of the sisters are strong-willed and have professional goals, which is unusual in most historical romances, particularly Regency-set ones.

      Marry Me is my favorite Goodman so far, and it’s going to be tough to beat it. I want to label it like Mary Poppins: “Practically perfect in every way.” Glad to know you enjoyed it too!

      Reply

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