Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What I Read Last Month

Here's a look at what I read in September.

Total books read: 8

Young Adult ..... 1
Mystery ............ 1
Crime fiction ...... 1
Graphic Novel .... 1
Romance ........... 4

Of the romance novels read, one was a contemporary romance and three were paranormal. Although I debate whether Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh isn't more urban fantasy than romance. It's one of those that border on the edge between the genres.

Some thoughts.

1. Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis [2011]
Lucky Harbor, Book 1
Contemporary romance
Thanks to Hilcia who passed her copy of this book to me the last time we met up, as I probably would have otherwise passed on a really sweet and fun romance. I enjoyed the small town romance in this book--the main characters were believable as was their love story and both truly deserved their happy ending. I'd give this book 4.5 stars if we could give half grades! 

2. Into the Flame by Christina Dodd [2009]
Chosen Ones, Book 4
Paranormal romance
I had read the first three books in this four book series a couple of years ago and just never got around to reading this last one when it was released. I came across it in my box of TBR books and decided to finally read it and finish the series! I worried that it would be slow going since I may have forgotten a lot about the series story arc, but a lot of it came back to me as I read the story and the author reviewed some details from the first three books within this storyline, so it worked out fine. 

Into the Flame is an exciting conclusion to this story of a family held together by faith, love and goodness as they face the consequences of a pact their long ago relatives made with the devil. In the first book a prophecy is revealed that slowly comes to fruition in each of the four books in the series with a shocking plot twist in this last book. The romance part of this story didn't get much page time in this story, but it actually seemed fitting for the characters and the plot and was no less believable than the others. Overall, this book and the series as a whole is enjoyable for the author's ability to blend good story telling with mythology, strong family bonds and a little bit of romance. GRADE: B-

3. Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh [2009]
Guild Hunters, Book 1 [RE-read]
Paranormal romance/urban fantasy
I decided to re-read this favorite book of mine because I want to catch up with this series and read the next three books that are out already and I the last time I read Angels' Blood was when I read the ARC back in February 2009. I thought it was brilliant then and am pleased to say that my rating stood the test of time two and a half years later when I reread it last month. 

Angels' Blood takes place in a fascinating world with diverse, intriguing and often frightening characters. The story line is intense, original and very engaging. Looking forward to the next books! Five stars. 

4. An Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine Harris [2008]
Harper Connelly Mystery, Book 3 
Another enjoyable installment in the Harper Connelly series. The murder mystery was rather disturbing in this one, making this book, I think, more intense and pardon the pun--grave-- than the others. On the other hand, the parts of the story relevant to Harper and Tolliver's personal lives were more heartwarming and optimistic, so that helped soften the harshness of the murders. I'm looking forward to reading the next and last book in this series. 

5. Night After Night by Kathryn Smith [2009]
Brotherhood of the Blood, Book 5
Paranormal romance, historical romance.
I finally picked up this last book in the five book Brotherhood of Blood series, featuring the vampire Temple and Vivian--the ward and protector of the Brotherhood's arch enemy--Villiers of the Order of the Silver Palm. I started this series several years ago when I was a newcomer to reading romance. The series is a really great blend of paranormal and historical romance. The overarching series plot is well thought out and executed throughout the five books with a successful conclusion in this last installment. I thoroughly enjoyed each book, but I have to admit my reaction to this last novel wasn't as favorable as the earlier novels. I think this is largely due to the fact that in the years since starting this series, my tastes and expectations have become a bit more discriminating. 

I really liked the characters in Night After Night and the way the series conflict built up to its anticipated denouement in this final book, but I had two issues with the book that keep me from giving it a higher rating. One is that I felt that the first few sexual encounters between Temple and Vivian were a little unrealistic, too much too soon and overall the romance too rushed. My other issue is that the resolution of the conflict felt overly simplified. The build up was great--but I felt in the end the villain was defeated way too easily. I expected a more intense, if not complicated clashing between the Brotherhood and their enemy, The Order of the Silver Palm. However, if you enjoy both paranormal and historical romance and are looking for a series that combines both genres, I do recommend you check out the Brotherhood of Blood series. 


6. Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler [2010]
Young adult
This is a young adult contemporary urban fantasy novel that creatively employs the biblical mythology of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to tell the story of how a modern anorexic teen learns what hunger really means, giving her the knowledge and hope to do what it will take to fight for her life. The story is a four star read, but because of the nature of the topic, the unflinching honesty with which the author tells the story and the power of the story's message, Hunger deserves five stars. You can read my review HERE

7. Beowulf by Gareth Hinds [2007]
Graphic Novel

Through detailed artwork, artist and story teller, Gareth Hinds creatively brings the classic epic poem of Beowulf to life on the pages of this graphic novel. The legend of Beowulf itself isn't a terribly exciting one, though. Beowulf is certainly heroic as he battles the formidable Grendel, Grendel's mother and a fearsome dragon before he ultimately perishes. If there is a lesson to be learned from Beowulf and his story, however, I'm afraid it escapes me, hence the three star rating on goodreads. 

8. Survivor In Death by J.D. Robb [2005]
In Death, Book 20
Crime fiction 
This is my favorite book so far in the futuristic crime series featuring the prickly Lieutenant Eve Dallas, her husband Roarke and her supporting investigative team members. And Mavis. LOL. You can read my review HERE.  

My favorites books this month are Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh and Survivor In Death by J.D. Robb. Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis comes in a super close second place. 

What was your favorite read in September? 


  1. Like Super Librarian...I lost my reading mojo. Sad.

    I haven't read the graphi novel of Beowulf yet, but if I remember the original story correctly, it was supposed to be related to historical oral traditions through a morale tale, but yea, I don't know what the point was.


  2. You ears must have been ringing when you left that comment because I was in the post office mailing you a box of books at that same time! Maybe something in there can inspire the return of your reading mojo! : )

    If you remember the moral of the story of Beowulf, please share.

  3. I like these roundup posts, so I’m commenting on both!
    Jill Shalvis is one of my all-time favorite contemporary romance writers, this weekend I’ reading her latest book, Animal Attraction and I can’t wait for book three in the Lucky Harbor series, love Chloe, I think she’s my favorite sister.

    We sure have similar tastes, I have read and enjoyed all the books in your list except the JD Robb ones (I never got into the series but don’t tell Nora ok? That's my secret shame) and An Ice Cold Grave because I don’t really like Harris’ books…

    Hopefully October will be as productive, happy reading!

  4. I read a lot of good books in September, but the 3 worst books I read this year is what I'll remember September for!

  5. I keep meaning to pick Jill Shavis' books but I never know where to start.

    Seems like Simply Irresistible was cute though! :) But I've been kind of let down by contemporaries lately. :P

    Anyway, looks like you had a good month with lots of good reads.

  6. Love Jill Shalvis' books! Her books always contain humor as well as heat. *g*
    I'll have to see if my library has that Beowulf Graphic novel.

    I have no idea what my favorite read of September was. That's just sad. *g*

  7. I do intend to get around to the Lucky Harbor books one day. I have her latest (Animal Attraction?). As for my favorite Sept. read, at this rate you'll probably have to wait until January for me to blog it, LOL.

  8. My favorite was Silk is for Seduction by Loretta Chase. It was so wonderful!

  9. Hi Brie! :)
    Thanks for visiting. I like the roundup posts, too, but it always makes me realize I should just write the darn reviews for each book and post them during the month!!! Sheesh.

    I'm definitely going to read more Jill Shalvis. Absolutely the Lucky Harbor books.. maybe her "animal" ones, too.

    Isn't it GREAT when you find a new book blogger with such similar tastes? [you and me!]

    Interesting.. I REALLY like Harris' writing--at least in her two series that I've read [Lily Bard series and now Harper Connelly], BUT I can see why it doesn't appeal to some readers. There's just something about her heroines that draws me in.

    Wait, what?!!! You have not read any JD Robb books???! *gasp* :O You did notice I host an In Death Reading Challenge, right? Anytime you feel like trying out the first one, we are here to chat it up with you.

    No pressure. ; )

  10. Linda, oh no!!! THREE of the worst books of the year all in the SAME month? ouch! :(

  11. Alex, Ooo you should start with the one I read--Simply Irresistible! It's the first book in the Lucky Harbor series, which I think is just going to be a trilogy but don't quote me on that.

  12. Brandy, do tell me what you think of the Beowulf graphic novel if you can get your hands on it at the library. The artwork was detailed and imaginative and gory (ew!) but the story is kind of meh if you ask me.

  13. Phyl! LOLOL! Oh you made me laugh!!! I look forward to finding out your favorite September read in January, then. :D

  14. Maija, oh I'm SO happy to hear you loved Silk is For Seduction, too!!!! I can't wait for the next one!!!

  15. little_alys Have a spoon ready. :)

  16. Sigh, I can't remember what I read in September... Isn't that sad? LOL, actually, no. Best read would probably be Demon Marked by Meljean Brook :)

    Angel's Blood is urban fantasy in my opinion. The series fall into paranormal territory once Ms Singh decided to write about Dmitri :)

    You did good, varying your books ;) and re-reading is sometimes really good :)

    Glad you enjoyed Survivor in Death. That's the book that made me read the series again. I was about to give up on it. Glad I didn't :P

  17. Ms. Christine! I'm so glad you enjoyed Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis. The next book is great too! Yay...

    I loved Angel's Blood by Singh... sigh... I couldn't pick up the next two books in that series, but did read the latest. Hope you enjoy the rest of the series. UF/PNR is a good description of this series. It gets a bit confusing.

    And I bow my face in shame when it comes to the J.D. Robb books... no I have not followed through with those this year! :(

  18. I'm so glad to hear that you are continuing to enjoy the Harper Connelly series. I was sad when I finished the last book but it ties the series up nicely. Sounds like you had a really good reading month!

  19. nath, interesting that Survivor In Death is what brought you back to the series. I hope it's not downhill from here. I'm still really enjoying the series. As long as I try to overlook the silliness of Roarke being civilian consultant for every dang investigation. I mean, really?

    Hils, I picked up Archangel's Consort today and read the first chapter, hoping to stick with it, but have three other books that I've started reading, too, so I don't know if I can handle four. LOL. Did you try to read the two following Angels' Blood or were you just not compelled to read them?

    No worries about the J.D. Robb books! If you feel like picking them up again and discussing... you know where to find me. :)

    samantha, I finished the last Harper Connelly book the other day. I'm so sad it's over!!! But like you said, I feel good about how it was wrapped up. I'm happy with it. Have you read Harris' Aurora Teagarden books? I guess it's either those or the Sookie ones up next for me when it comes to Charlaine Harris. :)


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