General

Best Reads of 2012

I’ve read so many books this year I don’t remember all of them. So many books that reading interfered with the writing. Which is not okay, but I can accept it.

So these the best of the books I do recall reading. If there is one thing this list is based on, it is how memorable the books are, how much I liked it, how much I re-read each book. That list bit, re-rereading, probably puts a basis on books from the beginning of the year, since there’s been more time to re-read a book from January than the book I finished last week. At the same time, I am more likely to recall the book I finished yesterday than the book I finished in January. I figure that evens things out.

So in no particular order:

1) A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

I read A Natural History as an ARC, it comes out on February 5, 2013, and I still have to do a review on it. But let me just say it’s fabulous. It’s written as a memoir of a old lady who had the most fantastic adventures in her youth. She studies dragons, falls head long into danger and apparently does something for the cause of feminism. She also gets her husband killed, which leaves me wondering how she acquired the title Lady Trent. I like the matter-of-fact way this is written. I can almost believe this is a real memoir. It’s very different (and also much better IMO) than previous Marie Brennan books.

2) Goblin Quest by Jim Hines

Funny, full of adventure, and also has goblins as I never pictured them before. Fun to read and I cannot wait to get started on the next Goblin book.

3) Men Under the Mistletoe by Ava March, Harper Fox, Josh Lanyon & K.A. Mitchell.

This is an ARC from last Christmas, one I only got around to reading in January of this year. 😉 But it’s one I’ve re-read again and again and again. I said in the review that Winter Knights Harper Fox is the best story, but I keep re-reading the Lone Star by Josh Lanyon. I don’t actually understand why.

4) The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells

This is another book I’ve re-read a few times. It’s good. I love love love the world and the main character. I want more books in this world. I don’t think Martha Wells has come close to plumbing the depths. Even if she chose a different main character, I wouldn’t mind, I love this world so much. It’s beautiful and magical and really vivid.

5) Imagine by Jonah Lehrer

This is probably the only non-fiction book on this list. It’s about imagination and creativity and how it all works. Very interesting.

6) Stars & Stripes by Abigail Roux

I don’t know how many times I’ve re-read Stars & Stripes. A lot. I don’t know what it is, the romance, the ridiculous danger or the characters. This one is special is because the main characters come out to their family, act openly like a couple for maybe the first time. There is even talk of children. Next, they need to come out at work.

7) Bridge of Dreams by Anne Bishop

I don’t know how long I waited for Bridge of Dreams to come out (ever since I heard about a new Anne Bishop book probably). It’s worth the wait and explores the word in far greater detail, has far more bizarre creatures than I dreamed even Anne Bishop to come with and make work. I loved it, and yes, this too is a book I’ve re-read a few times.

8) Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard

I’m pretty sure Servant of the Underworld is a first novel and it is amazing. It doesn’t feel like a first novel at all. I can quite decide if this fantasy or urban fantasy or something in between, but whatever it is, this book pulls you in.

9) To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to include this in a Best Reads list, but even though I never really re-read, it is still worth reading and not a book I am likely to forgot anytime soon so . . .

I don’t know what else to add. 9 are probably enough. But in case they are not, here are some honorable mentions:

1) Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold: I love Lois McMaster Bujold and I wanted to add this just for that, but I don’t think it stands out quite enough for a Best Read novel. 😦

2) Cake by Derekica Snake

I feel that Cake could have been stand-out, but it’s missing something. I don’t know what. It’s a disturbing and exciting all at once, but it needs something.Memorable, though, if only for how disturbing it is.

3) Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

Finished this just yesterday and fun fun fun read. Fun!!!! Also, quick. Took only a few hours to finish reading.

4) Black Sun Rising by CS Friedman

I love the setting, the system of magic. Very imaginative. I like the anti-hero. Very nice. But I am not sure about this one yet. I need a little bit more time to digest, I think. It falls in some bizarre science fantasy category, though I put it on my fantasy shelf.

Covers to come later!

Book Review · General · reading

Book Review: Men Under the Mistletoe

I meant to write this around Christmas, but that didn’t happen for various reasons. So here it is in the New Year.

Men Under the Mistletoe is a collection of four stories: My True Love Gave to Me by Ava March, Winter Knights by Harper Fox, Lone Star by Josh Lanyon, and The Christmas Proposition by K.A. Mitchell. None of these writers are new to me. 😉

I don’t normally like regency romances, but My True Love Gave to Me is pretty good. A lot better than I expected. The characters drive the story. Thomas left Sasha when they were both 17 because his desires scared him. The second part of the story is pretty damn emotional. I liked it a lot. The characters are special. They can’t exactly be open about their relationship, but they get a HEA anyway. And the way they do the HEA  isn’t too unrealistic!

Winter Knights is probably the best story in the whole anthology. It’s my favorite anyway. 😉 It has a twist on the Arthur and Lancelot legend. The main character gets lost in the snow and they appear. Well, a version of them. 😉 I can’t tell if it really happened or if he was just dazed and hallucinated the whole thing. I am inclined to think it really happened. But I like the idea of Christmas ghosts. Anyway, the whole thing is pretty romantic. I loved it.

Josh Lanyon wrote the Adrian English books, a really good romantic suspense series. Lone Star doesn’t disappointment. Even if there is no suspense. There is a ballet dancer and a Texas Ranger and a high school romance. Mitchell goes home after catching his lover with someone else; he hadn’t been back since before his father’s death and decides to settle the estate while he’s there. They do get a HEA or at least it is implied. But in this short story they haven’t decided how to make their romance work when one lives in NY and the other lives in Texas. I think that part deserves a story all its own.

I loved the ending of The Christmas Proposition. It was funny and sexy and not that full of angst. Mel discovers he’s going to host a wedding a week before the event and his life gets a little crazy. There is some family drama – K.A. Mitchell does a good job of explaining family history, past problems and so on. And the ending made me laugh. 😀