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Friday, December 31, 2010

Let's Crunch Some Numbers, Part 2: More Graphy Goodness

While everyone is preparing for festivities and planning for the new year and all of those excellent things, it's a great time to take a look back at all the good stuff that was accomplished in 2010. And as far as What Book is That is concerned, the best way to do that is with graphs!  The first round of graphy goodness went up back in July and reflected everything up until June, so these numbers reflect all the WBaT developments from July-December.  I read and reviewed a total of 75 books from July to December.

Up first is the breakdown of reviews by letter grade.  All letter grades that were used are reflected here; I had to leave out ones with a value of zero since you can only have so many slices in your pie chart with this particular generator.  Unsurprisingly, I had way more positive reviews than negative reviews.  I think it's because life is too short to read bad books- or maybe I'm getting better at picking books that I enjoy.  Either way, this is how the reviews break down.
Next is the breakdown of sources of books.  Review books slightly edged out books I own this time- maybe it's because they were the focus of the Fall into Reading Challenge this time around?  Tour books makes sense as I stopped signing up for them due to my relocation, and library books makes sense as well for much of the same reason.  Here's how it all panned out:
What an interesting, fun, and productive year it's been.  I want to take a second and thank everyone for all the laughs, conversations, and good reading.  I hope everyone stays safe and happy as they celebrate new beginnings tonight.  Here's to a great 2011 and many more after that!

Illustrated Friday: Stranger in the Woods

I love nature photography, and books told through photos, and this one is a particular favorite! There's a stranger in the woods (he's on the cover!) and the animals that live in the woods don't know quite what to make of him.

I hope 2010 was as excellent a year for you as it was for me. Stay safe if you're heading out to welcome in 2011, and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Review: Magic Burns

Magic Burns (Kate Daniels, Book 2)Title: Magic Burns
Author: Ilona Andrews
Page Count: 260 pages
Publisher: Ace
Genre: urban fantasy
Copy for review was purchased by me

50 words or less: Kate Daniels is back and the trouble is double.  Magical flares, interested Beast Lords, wandering wards, and a tragic grammatical error mean that gods are walking the streets of Atlanta and the shit has, as they say, hit the fan.

Somewhere, a random traveler on United Airlines is very happy, because back in October I accidentally left this book in the seat pocket on a plane while I was traveling after I'd finished it.  It's no loss, though, because I would happily replace this book several times over for the amount of enjoyment that I got out of reading it.

I highly recommend having all the books handy so you can read them one after the other, as once you pop the fun will absolutely not stop.  Kate is one of my favorite heroines ever, both for her gallows humor and her unwavering ability to kick ass and take names.  What starts as a task to retrieve some important maps that belong the Pack that have been stolen rapidly spirals into a quest to save all of the world from marauding gods.

We meet some great characters in this book as well- Julie, who rapidly sets up shop in Kate's heart and helps her stay a little more human, Bran (sob!) the trickster and thief, and we get to know Curran a little better too.  I loved the complex mythology surrounding the Morrigan/Morfran conflict and the way that that conflict is allowed to play out against the backdrop created by the setting.  I love the level of detail that goes into explaining why things work or don't work, and how that mythology is consistent throughout the book.

I also love the tension between Curran and Kate, because we all know that underneath all the verbal sparring and anger and what have you are feelings, feelings feelings.  Feelings that we know will be acted on at some point, but until then, we have to wait, which is almost as nice.

This is the last review for 2010 here at What Book is That?, and it's a fitting end to a year of great reading.  I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this series in the new year.

Overall Grade: A

Review: Eternal Kiss of Darkness

Eternal Kiss of Darkness (Night Huntress World, Book 2)Title: Eternal Kiss of Darkness
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Page Count: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon
Genre: paranormal romance
Copy for review was purchased by me

50 words or less: Chicago PI Kira's life is changed forever when she goes in the warehouse where Mencheres, a Master vampire who is older than dirt and just as tired.  Kira seeing Mencheres at all means she's seen to much, but will he be able to let her go now that he's finally met someone worth keeping around?

Aside from having the worst cover I've come across in quite some time, this story is a very solid and enjoyable offering.  Admittedly, the author in this case is kind of a sure thing as far as I'm concerned, but I do enjoy seeing the setting of a series I already enjoy (Cat and Bones) expand and increase in depth to encompass a different set of characters and story elements (the Night World books.)  It's nice to know that the town is big enough for the two of them, so to speak.

This book is one of those that, I think, either works for you or it doesn't.  It's a good example of needing to consent to what's going on in a story in order for the illusion of reality to be maintained (here's a really good article from Dear Author on this concept).  If that consent is given, whatever goes on in the world feels authentic and makes sense.  If the consent is not given or is withdrawn, the whole shebang collapses like a house of cards.  At the time that I read it, I consented to the situation that was presented and so was able to enjoy the story, despite some elements that admittedly, in retrospect, kind of make me scratch my head.

The conflicts and drama with Mencheres have been a long time coming- his visions have dried up, existing has become a bore to him, and he's ready to finally die- for real this time.  He's in the process of trying to do that when Kira stumbles upon him.  Mistakenly thinking that he's in mortal peril, she intervenes on his behalf.  This totally blows his mind, because he can't figure out why anybody, human, vampire, or otherwise, would want to do that.

Kira is one who calls it like she sees it.  When presented with a situation that seems crazy (like, oh, I don't know, Mencheres is an ancient vampire) she accepts it as reality until she gets some tangible evidence to the contrary.  She's kind of irritated that she was kidnapped, but not too much, she's really really concerned about her super sick sister and her loser of a brother, and concerned that she's going to lose her kind of crapapple of a job when this whole being kidnapped thing is over.

These two fumbling their way towards love was entertaining, and their dealing with a pressing PR issue for the supernaturals is entertaining (did Mencheres kill someone on camera? If so that would be a big problem...) and the whole story wraps up nicely at the end.  We figure out why the visions have "dried up" for Mencheres- turns out one person's blackout is another person's symbolism.  Who would have thought?

All in all, this was an enjoyable story that wasn't too taxing, but wasn't too predictable either.  I'm interested to see how the couples in the World books play into future Night Huntress books.

Overall Grade: B+

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

eBites: Jaq's Harp

Blog With Bite

I'm starting to see mentions of this story crop up all over the place, and although it doesn't release until February (from Carina Press) I'm really looking forward to reading it.  Check out the description:

In a world of floating islands and bio-engineered beans, the bad guys are taken down by agents of the Mother organization—agents like Jacqueline “Jaq” Robinson. Instead of accepting her next routine assignment, she sets out on a mission of her own—to destroy Giant Corp, the company responsible for her sister’s wasting illness. Jaq must steal her cure from Giant’s headquarters high above the city…even though she’ll be brought face-to-face with Harper English, the man who left her to go deep undercover at Giant.

For Harp, Jaq had been a distraction the mercenary thought he couldn’t afford. But once he sees her again, Harp knows he’s made a mistake. Even though she vowed he won’t have her again, it’s clear they still have a powerful attraction. Harp’s determined to get a second chance with Jaq—if they can escape Giant Corp and get back to solid ground in one piece…
Coming soon from Carina Press.

The first chapter is available to read at the author's website, so check it out!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Things That Make You Go Squee: Upcoming 2011 Releases- YA

What's better than one list of anticipated titles? TWO lists of anticipated titles! This time around, I'll be focusing on the young adult titles that made my list of delicious books forthcoming in 2011.  Some of these have been making waves in the blogosphere so it'll be exciting to see whose bite lives up to the bark.

Across the Universe Across the Universe by Beth Revis- A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone--one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship--tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Why I want to read it: Romance in space? Sign me up!
Expected Release Date: January 11, 2011

DeadlyDeadly by Julie Chibbaro- A mysterious outbreak of typhoid fever is sweeping New York.
Could the city’s future rest with its most unlikely scientist?
If Prudence Galewski is ever going to get out of Mrs. Browning’s esteemed School for Girls, she must demonstrate her refinement and charm by securing a job appropriate for a young lady. But Prudence isn’t like the other girls. She is fascinated by how the human body works and why it fails.

With a stroke of luck, she lands a position in a laboratory, where she is swept into an investigation of the fever bound to change medical history. Prudence quickly learns that an inquiry of this proportion is not confined to the lab. From ritzy mansions to shady bars and rundown tenements, she explores every potential cause of the disease. But there’s no answer in sight—until the volatile Mary Mallon emerges. Dubbed “Typhoid Mary” by the press, Mary is an Irish immigrant who has worked as a cook in every home the fever has ravaged. Strangely, though, she hasn’t been sick a day in her life. Is the accusation against her an act of discrimination? Or is she the first clue in a new scientific discovery?

Prudence is determined to find out. In a time when science is for men, she’ll have to prove to the city, and to herself, that she can help solve one of the greatest medical mysteries of the twentieth century.

Why I want to read it: I'm a sucker for a good historical and this one is certainly unique.  Plus you have to love a smart heroine in the leading role.
Expected Release Date: February 22, 2011

Enclave Enclave by Ann Aguirre- WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE

In Deuce's world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed 'brat' has trained into one of three groups-Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear--to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She's worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing's going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce's troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn't like following orders. At first she thinks he's crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don't always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she's never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce's perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy... but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she's ever known.
Why I want to read it: I love a good dystopian and this one comes highly recommended.  I just wish they could settle on a) a title and b) a release date!
Expected Release Date: April 12, 2011

Hexbound (Dark Elite, Book 2)Hexbound by Chloe Neill- Lily Parker is new to St. Sophia’s School for Girls, but she’s already learned that magic can be your best friend…or your worst enemy.

They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. Turns out, even a little magic can turn you to the dark side. That’s why Lily has to learn how to control her newly discovered paranormal abilities, on top of avoiding the snobs who think they run her school, nursing a crush on a cute sophomore with a big, werewolf-y secret, and fighting the good fight with her best friend Scout as they take on Chicago’s nastiest nightlife—including the tainted magic users known as Reapers.

Then Lily’s invited to a private meeting with Sebastian. He’s hot, powerful, and offering to help her harness the magic flowing in her veins in a way no one else can. He’s also a Reaper. Lily can’t hide her suspicions. But she’ll soon find out that the line between good and evil isn’t always clear…
Why I want to read it: I loved the first book in the series and have frankly yet to read anything by this author that I didn't want to love and hug and pet and squeeze forever and ever.
Expected Release Date: January 20, 2011

Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy) Wither by Lauren Destefano- What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

Why I want to read it: Aside from the lushly beautiful cover, this sounds like a dystopian that takes some familiar elements and creates something totally new.  I'm anxious to see if I'm right.
Expected Release Date: March 22, 2011

Red Glove (Curse Workers)Red Glove by Holly Black- The cons get twistier and the stakes get higher in Red Glove, the sequel to White Cat.

Why I want to read it: Loved the first book in a big way.  Does it matter that I don't even really care what this book is about, that I'm confident already that I'll enjoy it?  I'll just say it once, though, and then I'll shut up about it: I could live without the Dexter looking cover and the kind of vacuous girl.  Just saying.
Expected Release Date: April 5, 2011

What YA books are making you all tingly for 2011? What needs to go on my "read at any cost" list? Tell me tell me!

Things That Make You Go Squee: Upcoming 2011 Releases- Adults

So apparently the year is almost over, and that means it's only logical to think about the things that are coming in the piping hot, fresh new year that exciting and fun.  Which basically means that I've spent the better part of today going through all the posts and ideas and tidbits and whatnots that I've stuck in my Google Reader lately and have been salivating over.  'Tis the season, after all!

In no particular order, and with as much information as my googling, Amazoning, and Goodreading will permit, here are some Things That Make Me Go Squee:

Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter)Archangel's Consort by Nalini Singh-Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux and her lover, the lethally beautiful archangel Raphael, have returned home to New York only to face an uncompromising new evil…

A vampire has attacked a girls’ school—the assault one of sheer, vicious madness—and it is only the first act. Rampant bloodlust takes vampire after vampire, threatening to make the streets run with blood. Then Raphael himself begins to show signs of an uncontrolled rage, as inexplicable storms darken the city skyline and the earth itself shudders.

The omens are suddenly terrifyingly clear.

An ancient and malevolent immortal is rising. The violent winds whisper her name: Caliane. She has returned to reclaim her son, Raphael. Only one thing stands in her way: Elena, the consort who must be destroyed…

Why I want to read it: Elena facing off against the Mother in Law of Doom? Sign me up!
Expected Release Date: January 25, 2011

This Side of the Grave (Night Huntress, Book 5)This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost- Half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her vampire husband Bones have fought for their lives, as well as for their relationship. But just when they've triumphed over the latest battle, Cat's new and unexpected abilities threaten to upset a long-standing balance...

With the mysterious disappearance of vampires, rumors abound that a species war is brewing.  A zealot is inciting tensions between the vampires and ghouls, and if these two powerful groups clash, innocent mortals could become collateral damage. Now Cat and Bones are forced to seek help from a dangerous "ally"--the ghoul queen of New Orleans herself. But the price of her assistance may prove more treacherous than even the threat of a supernatural war. ...to say nothing of the repercussions Cat never imagined.
Why I want to read it: I'm excited to read a Cat and Bones novel where they unite against a common enemy instead of each being their own worst enemy.
Expected Release Date: February 22, 2011

BloodshotBloodshot by Cherie Priest- Raylene Pendle (AKA Cheshire Red), a vampire and world-renowned thief, doesn’t usually hang with her own kind. She’s too busy stealing priceless art and rare jewels. But when the infuriatingly charming Ian Stott asks for help, Raylene finds him impossible to resist—even though Ian doesn’t want precious artifacts. He wants her to retrieve missing government files—documents that deal with the secret biological experiments that left Ian blind. What Raylene doesn’t bargain for is a case that takes her from the wilds of Minneapolis to the mean streets of Atlanta. And with a psychotic, power-hungry scientist on her trail, a kick-ass drag queen on her side, and Men in Black popping up at the most inconvenient moments, the case proves to be one hell of a ride.

Why I want to read it: Snarky heroines that get up to hijinks and a mysterious-sounding cast of secondary characters ring my bell.
Expected Release Date: January 25, 2011

Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, Book 5) Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews-
Plagued by a war between magic and technology, Atlanta has never been so deadly. Good thing Kate Daniels is on the job.

Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but she’s still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be—now that the Order is disparaging her good name, and many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate’s mate.
So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. Turns out this is not an isolated incident, and Kate needs to get to the bottom of it—fast, or the city and everyone dear to her might pay the ultimate price . . .

Why I want to read it: I'm so close to being caught up and will go immediately into withdrawal when I finish Magic Bleeds.
Expected Release Date: May 31, 2011

Hounded: The Iron Druid ChroniclesHounded by Kevin Hearne-
Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old–when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.
Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power–plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish–to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.
 Why I want to read it: Gotta love a sharp wit and a sharp sword!
Expected Release Date: April 19, 2011

Blood Secrets: An Alexandra Sabian NovelBlood Secrets by Jeannie Holmes- WHEN ALEXANDRA SABIAN SINKS HER TEETH INTO AN INVESTIGATION, SHE DOESN’T LET GO.

Alex allowed a case of murdered vamps to get personal and is suspended from the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigation. Now she’s facing an official inquiry but has a chance to redeem herself. The catch: She must once again work with Varik Baudelaire, her former mentor and ex-fiancĂ©, as he spearheads a search for a missing college student. But Varik has been keeping secrets from Alex and his mysterious past is on a collision course with his present.

When Alex and Varik discover a carefully handcrafted doll at a crime scene, neither of them can see how close the danger really is or that a killer known as the Dollmaker has made Alex the object of his horrific desire. Now the only way out of the Dollmaker’s lair is through the twilight realm of the Shadowlands, where all secrets—for better or worse—will be revealed.

Why I want to read it: Loved the first one, want to see what happens to the characters and what develops between Alex and Varik.
Expected Release Date: June 28, 2011

Kiss of Snow (Psy/Changeling)Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh-
Since the moment of her defection from the PsyNet and into the SnowDancer wolf pack, Sienna Lauren has had one weakness. Hawke. Alpha and dangerous, he compels her to madness.

Hawke is used to walking alone, having lost the woman who would’ve been his mate long ago. But Sienna fascinates the primal heart of him, even as he tells himself she is far too young to handle the wild fury of the wolf.

Then Sienna changes the rules and suddenly, there is no more distance, only the most intimate of battles between two people who were never meant to meet. Yet as they strip away each other’s secrets in a storm of raw emotion, they must also ready themselves for a far more vicious fight…

A deadly enemy is out to destroy SnowDancer, striking at everything they hold dear, but it is Sienna’s darkest secret that may yet savage the pack that is her home…and the alpha who is its heartbeat…

Why I want to read it: It's a Psy-Changeling book, which is enough said in my book.  Seriously though, Hawke getting his comeuppance is going to be excellent indeed.  Except I want it on Kindle.  Sigh...
Expected Release Date: May 31, 2011
As the year goes on, there are always more books available than there is time to read them, but these are ones that I'll be fitting into my schedule come hell or high water.  What are your must reads for 2011?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Win in the New Year: Spirals of Destiny GIVEAWAY!

What's better than a happy new year? I'd have to say a victorious new year!  I'm pleased to announce that Jim Bernheimer, author of Spirals of Destiny Book One: Rider is awesome and has offered a print copy of the book to one lucky winner!  I reviewed the book here and really enjoyed it, and here's your chance to read and enjoy it as well!

For those who haven't heard, here's the scoop:
Forget everything you thought you knew about unicorns and maidens... A unicorn is not supposed to survive the death of its rider, but Majherri did. Now he is a pariah, mistrusted by the Greater Herd. To reclaim his lost honor and status, he will entrust the remnants of his life to a new human female while unraveling the mystery of his continued existence. Kayleigh Reese is not Battle Maiden material. She's three years older than any other recruit and has enjoyed a peaceful, nomadic life working with her artist mother. The rigors of joining the High-King's elite unicorn cavalry are clearly not for her. Now, with a bond to Majherri, she must overcome her mother's disapproval, the ire of her commanding officer and fellow trainees, and, most importantly, the secrets of her unicorn's past if she is to become a legendary warrior. To prevail, they must quickly come together as a team and unlock the powerful and dangerous magic inside them.

Sounds good, right?  Here are the rules of engagement:
-U.S. only, please!
-Entries will be accepted until 11:59 pm on Friday, January 7th, 2011.
-To enter, leave a comment with your name and a way to reach you if you win. It's that simple!

Ready? Ready! Enter away for your chance to win a really excellent book!

Review: I'll Be Slaying You

I'll Be Slaying YouTitle: I'll Be Slaying You
Author: Cynthia Eden
Page Count: 320 pages
Publisher: Brava
Genre: paranormal romance
Copy for review was purchased by me

50 words or less: Sandra "Dee" Daniels is a human bounty hunter with a serious chip on her shoulder when it comes to vampires. When she runs into Simon Chase, a mysterious stranger who connects with her on every level, we all have to hope that Simon's secrets- and Dee's destiny- aren't enough to topple their blossoming romance.

The Night Watch books are good for an engaging read with adventure and spicy romance and for the most part I'll Be Slaying You was no exception.  Dee was a memorable character in the first book in this series and I was excited to hear that this book was going to be all about her and her sashay towards happily ever after.  While her ride wasn't as smooth as the one the happy couple had in Eternal Hunter, I can recommend this book to fans of the first book in the series or to fans of the genre in general.

 I'll Be Slaying You is the kind of book that takes some common tropes in paranormal romance and runs them through the plot blender to end up with something that feels unique.  Dee is a tough cookie overcoming a traumatic past, Simon is the supernatural good guy who's going to help her overcome her prejudices, and together they're going to face off against a super bad guy who's got it in for everything and everyone.

As complicated as Dee is, with being a human working for a supernatural bounty hunting agency and dealing with her traumatic past and the deaths of her family and all that, Simon is a remarkably straight shooter.  He's got his issues but his primary objective is keeping Dee safe.  He completely understands that she might not be able to get over her hangups when it comes to vampires but hopes for the best in terms of having a relationship.  He's not willing to walk away and he'll be dipped if he lets Dee take the easy way out.

Dee definitely earns her wings in this book.  I agree with other reviewers who've said that Dee kind of came off as someone with something to prove in the first book and that that seemed like a liability, but here we see that Dee is a lone operator who talks a good line because she knows how to deliver.  Her words are backed up by actions so the characterization feels a lot more legitimate.  I was also glad to see that she dealt with issues and conflicts that came up by looking at facts, and didn't blow away a chance for a good thing with Simon because of misplaced ideas or other stupidity.

While no new ground was technically blazed with this story, it was enjoyable and fun and made for a pleasant way to pass the time.  I enjoyed the cameos from previous characters and my interest was definitely piqued for the next book in the series, and for other future installments as well.

Overall Grade: A-

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Favorites of 2010- Part 2!

Back in July, I posted the first of my favorites of 2010, and a whole bunch of excellent books made the cut that first time.  I'm happy to report that the second half of 2010 was just as productive and satisfying as the first, with many excellent books read by me in a variety of different genres.  Here are, in no particular order, ten of my favorites that I read between July and now:

Drink of MeDrink of Me by Jacquelyn Frank. This was a tasty, engrossing fantasy romance with some paranormal elements that made for an excellent way to relax after a tough work day.  I read this one in one setting and have already revisited it several times since that first one.  I'm a huge fan of this author's work in general but this for me was a really stand out story.  Makes me sad that this is a stand alone book because I'd gobble up a sequel in about thirty seconds flat. Read the What Book is That? review.

The Iron Duke (A Novel of the Iron Seas)The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook.  Seriously, what can I say about this book that hasn't already been said?  I loved it as much as I thought I would the first time out, I gave it as Christmas presents to everyone I thought would enjoy it, and I'm foaming at the mouth waiting for the future books to come out.  I may end up rereading this book today just from thinking about it now!  Steampunk romance is definitely a hit for me. Read my review over at Blog with Bite!

Poison Study

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder.  This is a book that I picked up because of recommendations from folks all across the blogosphere, and I wasn't disappointed in the slightest.  I have the rest of this series on my Kindle and will have to make time to read them, as I'm anxious to see how the series turns out.  This story was lush, vivid, and everything I look for in a fantasy novel. Read the What Book is That? review.

Bear Necessities: Halle Shifters, Book 1Bear Necessities by Dana Marie Bell.  This was the book that cemented this author's place as one of my favorites in the PNR genre.  This book was spicy and fun, with great characters, including many who crossed over from the Halle Pumas series- I love it when that gets pulled off so well!  The next books in the series are on the horizon, apparently, and I'll definitely be reading the rest of this series as it's written.  Waiting is so hard sometimes! Read the What Book is That? review.

Blood Law: A Novel
Blood Law by Jeannie Holmes- This book was bad ass and was an excellent debut offering that left me really hungry for more.  The world was nuanced with commentary on race, gender, and power, the characters were engaging (as much as I want Varik to grovel, I hope Alex does end up giving him another chance) and I was depressed when I finished the book that there was no information on when the next one would be out.  I'm pleased to say that it looks like the next book in the series (Blood Secrets) is slated for release in June 2011- I'll be there! Read the What Book is That? review.

White Cat (Curse Workers, Book 1)White Cat by Holly Black- this book was delicious.  Absolutely delicious.  It was dark and dreamy and exciting all at once, and I was left breathless waiting for the next book, Red Glove, which comes out in April.  It's going to be hard to wait for this one too. Read the What Book is That? review.

The Starlet: A Novel
The Starlet by Mary McNamara.  This one gets the honor of being the most surprising title to stand out among the favorites of 2010.  For being so far out of my normal purview, this book was excellent. Funny, sad, droll and engaging all at the same time, this is another one that will keep you occupied on the next snow day.  Read the What Book is That? review.

The Replacement. by Brenna Yovanoff

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff.  This book lived up to my expectations in every way.  From the first moment I saw the cover (the other one, the creepy one with the stroller) I wanted to read the book, even before I knew what it was about.  I wasn't disappointed in the slightest. It was as haunting, creepy, and sweet as I could have hoped.  According to the author's livejournal, her next book is referred to only as The Demon Book but actually has a pretty cool cover that we'll just have to wait to hear more about and/or see. I for one am excited! Read the What Book is That? review.

Burning Up (Berkley Sensation)

Burning Up by Angela Knight, Nalini Singh, Virginia Kantra, and Meljean Brook.  This was hands-down my favorite anthology of the year, not only for the Psy Changeling story, which I knew would be awesome, but for the highly anticipated prelude to The Iron Duke that was included and was every bit as good as I'd hoped.  Anthologies can be pretty hit or miss in terms of quality and while there were certainly some stories that were more enjoyable for me than others, this one was a winner. Read the What Book is That? review.

Play of Passion (Psy/Changeling)
Play of Passion by Nalini Singh.  Of all the Psy-Changeling offerings this year I think this one was the most anticipated for me and it lived up to my expectations.  If anything, it made me even more excited for Kiss of Snow next year.  Has anyone heard about the release date for the Kindle edition? Read the What Book is That? review.

What books were your favorites this year?  And even better, what books are you looking forward to for 2011? I must know!

I hope everyone's holidays are going well and that everyone is having a fantastic and safe time with family and friends!
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