Best Books of 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 was another interesting year in Reading Land and it’s fun to look back at what I read and pick out my favorite books and authors of the year.

Number of books I read:289
Number of new-to-me authors whose books I read: 116
Other challenges I participated in: A to Z Reading Challenge
Favorite authors of 2011: Cameron Dane, Elizabeth Hoyt, J.D. Robb, and Riley Shane
Favorite new-to-me authors of 2011: C.C. Galloway, DJ Gross, Larissa Ione, and Nicole Sheldon

Now comes the fun part - taking stock and picking the best of the best. I read so many great books this year that it was reaaaaaly hard to categorize this part:

My Top Twenty Books of 2011 (new-to-me-books)
My Top Re-Reads of 2011
Honorable Mentions

My Top Twenty Books of 2011

Note: Not necessarily all published in 2011 but all were new-to-me reads
Also note: The books are alphabetized by title as I love them all equally

Beneath the Shield Cover 1. Beneath the Shield by Diana DeRicci
Buy Link






Blood Rose Cover 2. Blood Rose (Realm of Nine, Book 1) by Riley Shane
Buy Link






Celebrity in Death Cover 3. Celebrity in Death (In Death, Book 34) by J.D. Robb
Pre-Order Link






Chasing Alex Cover 4. Chasing Alex by Riley Shane
Buy Link






Come Unto These Yellow Sands Cover 5. Come Unto These Yellow Sands by Josh Lanyon
My Review | Buy Link






Hail Mary Cover 6. Hail Mary by C.C. Galloway
My Review | Buy Link






Immortal Rider Cover 7. Immortal Rider (Lords of Deliverance, Book 2) by Larissa Ione
My Review | Buy Link






International Relations Cover 8. International Relations (International Relations, Book 1) by Riley Shane
Buy Link






The Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals Cover 9. The Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals by Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer
Buy Link






New York to Dallas Cover 10. New York to Dallas (In Death, Book 33) by J.D. Robb
My Review | Buy Link






No Mercy Cover 11. No Mercy (Dark Hunters, Book 29) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Buy Link






The Palisade Cover 12. The Palisade by George Seaton
Buy Link






Quick to the Hunt Cover 13. Quick to the Hunt (Hawkins Ranch, Book 7) by Cameron Dane
My Review | Buy Link






Scandalous Desires Cover 14. Scandalous Desires (Maiden Lane, Book 3) by Elizabeth Hoyt
My Review | Buy Link






Simply Irresistible Cover 15. Simply Irresistible (Lucky Harbor, Book 1) by Jill Shalvis
My Review | Buy Link






Stolen Justice Cover 16. Stolen Justice by DJ Gross
My Review | Buy Link






Two-Man Advantage Cover 17. Two-Man Advantage (Seattle Marauders, Book 1) by Riley Shane
Buy Link






Unlikely Protector Cover 18. Unlikely Protector by Nicole Sheldon
My Review | Buy Link





Wicked Intentions Cover 19. Wicked Intentions (Maiden Lane, Book 1) by Elizabeth Hoyt
My Review | Buy Link






Winter Wonderland Cover 20. Winter Wonderland (International Relations, Book 2) by Riley Shane
Buy Link








My Top Re-Reads of 2011


Aidan and Ethan Cover 1. Aidan & Ethan (Seeking Redemption, Book 1) by Cameron Dane
Buy Link






The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie Cover 2. The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (Highland Pleasures, Book 1) by Jennifer Ashley
My Review | Buy Link






The Taste of Magick Cover 3. The Taste of Magick by Riley Shane
Buy Link








Honorable Mentions

These books barely missed making the top twenty list but they’re excellent.

The Closer You Get Cover 1. The Closer You Get (Distance Between Us, Book 2) by L.A. Witt My Review | Buy Link






Eternal Rider Cover 2. Eternal Rider (Lords of Deliverance, Book 1) by Larissa Ione
My Review | Buy Link






Finding Deaglan Cover 3. Finding Deaglan by George Seaton
Buy Link






Just Like Heaven Cover 4. Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith Quartet, Book 1) by Julia Quinn
My Review | Buy Link






Kiss of Snow Cover 5. Kiss of Snow (Psy-Changelings, Book 10) by Nalini Singh
My Review | Buy Link






Prior Sins Cover 6. Prior Sins by DJ Gross
My Review | Buy Link






Treachery in Death Cover 7. Treachery in Death (In Death, Book 32) by J.D. Robb
Buy Link

Waiting on Wednesday: I Want Candy by Susan Donovan

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases!

I was delighted by Susan Donovan's Cheri on Top - it's funny, romantic, and sweet. I'm really looking forward to the sequel, I Want Candy.

I Want Candy Cover Title: I Want Candy
Author: Susan Donovan
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Release Date: February 28, 2012

Book Description (from Amazon):

Candace Carmichael was just getting used to the lavish life when everything went sour. Now the down-on-her-luck real estate agent is back in Bigler, North Carolina, jobless and illegally rooming with her her mother in a swank retirement community. All this makes her wonder why she ever considered her BFF Cheri’s invitation to move back home. Life in this small mountain town may not be as glamorous as the one she had in Tampa, but she knows a girl can’t be too choosy in this market. Besides, everyone’s happy to welcome Candy back—especially one handsome widower named Turner...

Turner has grown up to be one fine-looking piece of man candy—and looks even tastier in his sheriff’s uniform. Maybe that’s why she couldn’t resist kissing him when he pulled her over for a traffic violation. Even if a relationship was part of Candy’s business plan, Turner would be off limits—he still wears his wedding ring, four years after his wife died. If falling in love too fast is a crime, Candy is soon guilty as charged and ready to be fingerprinted. But is she ready to lock away her dreams and hand Turner the keys to her heart?

Free Read: Magic Gifts by Ilona Andrews

Sunday, December 25, 2011

From December 24th to January 7th, Ilona Andrews is offering a free Kate Daniels novella on their website: http://www.ilona-andrews.com/magic-gifts/

Magic Gifts will also be available as bonus content in the back of Gunmetal Magic, out 7/31/12.

Friday in Review

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays everyone!!!!

Below are the newest reviews I’ve written here, on Joyfully Reviewed, and on Romance Junkies. The master list and categorical lists on the right-hand side are updated as well.

Reviews for upcoming releases:
- The Duke Is Mine by Eloisa James (available 12/27/11)

All other new reviews:
- A Clockwork Christmas by Stacy Gail, PG Forte, Jenny Schwartz, and JK Coi
- Small Town Christmas by Jill Shalvis, Hope Ramsay, and Katie Lane
- The Duke Is Mine by Eloisa James
- Take Me Home Tonight (Welcome to Paradise, Book 2) by Elle Kennedy
- Christmas in Lucky Harbor: Simply Irresistible/The Sweetest Thing (Lucky Harbor, Books 1 and 2) by Jill Shalvis

Upcoming reviews:
- Dear Miss Darcy by Laura Briggs and Sarah Burgess
- Hitched (Faerily Imperfect, Book 5) by Mia Watts and Katie Blu
- Kissing Sherlock Holmes by T.D. McKinney and Terry Wylis
- Miracle of the Bellskis by Astrid Amara
- When a Scot Loves a Lady (Falcon Club, Book 1) by Katharine Ashe
- Through Traitor’s Gate by Melinda Barron
- White Knight (Scandals, Book 2) by Mari Carr
- How to Dance with a Duke (Ugly Ducklings, Book 1) by Manda Collins
- I Want Candy by Susan Donovan
- Some Like It Hot (Rising Star Chef, Book 2) by Louisa Edwards
- A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch
- Pride & Passion (The Brethren Guardians, Book 2) by Charlotte Featherstone
- Prior Sins by DJ Gross
- Trouble at the Wedding (Abandoned at the Altar, Book 3) by Laura Lee Guhrke
- Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
- Bachelor Number Four by Megan Hart
- Vengeance Paid With Blood (Drone Vampire Chronicles, Book 13) by Stephani Hecht
- Princess Charming by Nicole Jordan
- If You Give a Girl a Viscount (Impossible Bachelors, Book 4) by Kieran Kramer
- Blame It On Bath (The Truth About a Duke, Book 2) by Caroline Linden
- A Rogue by Any Other Name (The Rules of Scoundrels, Book 1) by Sarah MacLean
- Secret Light by Z.A. Maxfield
- Because of You by Cathy Maxwell
- Slow Ride (Fast Track, Book 5) by Erin McCarthy
- The Saint (Highland Guard, Book 5) by Monica McCarty
- Blue Moon by Mackenzie McKade
- Blood Persuasion (Immortal Jane Austen, Book 2) by Janet Mullany
- Mark of the Rose (Tudor Vampire Chronicles, Book 3) by Kate Pearce
- Raw Desire by Kate Pearce
- No Shoes, No Shirt, No Spells (Mystic Café Series, Book 1) by Rose Pressey
- Hot as Hades by Alisha Rai
- Celebrity in Death (In Death, Book 34) by J.D. Robb (coming February 1st)
- The Tattooed Duke (Writing Girls, Book 3) by Maya Rodale
- Head Over Heels (Lucky Harbor, Book 3) by Jill Shalvis
- A Little Wild by Kate St. James
- Primal Law (Alpha Pack, Book 1) by J.D. Tyler

Waiting on Wednesday: A Perfect Storm by Cameron Dane

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases!

I'm a huge Cameron Dane fan, so it's pretty much a guarantee I'm going to race out and buy her books. She rarely writes standalones, so that makes A Perfect Storm a nice change for me.

A Perfect Storm Cover Title: A Perfect Storm
Author: Cameron Dane
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Loose Id
Release Date: December 27, 2011
Cameron Dane Reading Order can be found here on Wit and Sin.

Book Description (from Cameron Dane's website):

On an island off the coast of Maine, Lucien Cabot monitors the dark clouds rolling across a bleak sky. Patience and planning have been Lucien’s two closest friends for years, and now Mother Nature has aligned to create the perfect storm he needs to exact his revenge.

Television producer Sophie Emerson can’t believe her luck when the mysterious owner of Raven Island offers her a story about the island and castle. She really can’t believe it. Still, if real, this offer could be the break her career needs. Although suspicious, Sophie agrees to meet Lucien at his home.

Gotcha. Lucien can taste victory -- if only he can resist the keen intelligence, beauty, and light in Sophie. Falling for his guest is the last thing Lucien can afford to do.

Trapped on Raven Island, Sophie is shocked by her powerful desire to know more about Ravenstoke’s clever, darkly attractive master. In secret, Sophie also searches for the truth behind her invitation to Lucien’s island.

A perfect storm of fierce attraction and unbending revenge soon rages behind the walls of Ravenstoke. In the aftermath, once the debris has cleared, will Sophie’s love for Lucien be enough to bring him into the light?

Teaser Tuesday

Monday, December 19, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I love Kate Pearce's work, so she's an autobuy author for me. Even if she wasn't, The Tudor Vampire Chronicles combines three of my favorite things - romance, vampires, and Tudor England. That's why I'm excited I found my copy of Mark of the Rose, book 3 of The Tudor Vampire Chronicles (it was MIA for a few months following a cat-related catastrophe).


"The mocking laughter faded and she struggled to breathe through the horrible sweet stench of decay. She knew the Vampire's taunts were meant to frighten her, but this time they had the opposite effect." - Mark of the Rose by Kate Pearce, page 176

Review: Small Town Christmas by Jill Shalvis, Hope Ramsay, and Katie Lane

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Small Town Christmas by Jill Shalvis, Hope Ramsay, and Katie Lane
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9781455513611
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Jill Shalvis Reading Order
Three heartwarming holiday stories to prove that love is the greatest gift of all.

Kissing Santa Claus
NASCAR driver Logan Perrish returns to Lucky Harbor, Washington, with love in his heart and a ring in his pocket. But can Sandy Jansen forget the past and give him a second chance? Or will Logan be spending another Christmas alone?

I'll Be Home for Christmas
After ignoring the advice of Miz Miriam Randall, local matchmaker, Annie Roberts expects another hum drum holiday in Last Chance, South Carolina. But when a stray cat arrives in the arms of Army sergeant Matt Jasper, a calico named Holly just may be the best matchmaker of all.

O Little Town of Bramble
All Ethan Miller wants for Christmas is to celebrate in Bramble, Texas, with family and friends. But when his childhood neighbor, Samantha Henderson, comes home for the holiday, Ethan realizes that the girl-next-door could be the girl of his dreams.


Small Town Christmas Cover “Kissing Santa Claus” by Jill Shalvis
I’ll admit right off the bat that I’m in love with Jill Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor series. So when I saw that Logan Perrish – who failed to win his ex-wife’s heart back in The Sweetest Thing – was getting a story of his own, I had to read it.

“Kissing Santa Claus” is a wonderful holiday treat. Logan fell hard and fast for Sandy without even knowing it. It’s only after spending five months away from her that he realizes he can’t live without her, so he returns to Lucky Harbor, intent on proving his love to Sandy. Who can resist a sexy man willing to pull out all the stops for the woman he loves? Not me. I do wish that “Kissing Santa Claus” were a bit longer, especially since I’d have liked to read about Sandy and Logan’s initial fling. Nevertheless, “Kissing Santa Claus” is an entertaining story with a dash of Christmas cheer and a healthy dose of sensuality that will likely please Lucky Harbor fans.


“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Hope Ramsay
A handsome military man rescuing a stray cat? That’s pretty much all you need to capture my interest. Hope Ramsay’s “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” starts of sweet and has some incredibly touching moments throughout the tale, but it falls short as a romance. There’s chemistry between Matt and Annie, but Ms. Ramsay never capitalizes on it. In fact, just when I thought that something might happen between them, the story ends, leaving me an unsatisfied reader. This is the first story I’ve read by Ms. Ramsay and I liked her writing style enough that I’d read a different book by her even though “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” didn’t do much for me.


“O Little Town of Bramble” by Katie Lane
Friends become almost-lovers just in time for Christmas in “O Little Town of Bramble.” There was something just a bit “off” about Katie Lane’s story. It’s a contemporary romance, but the people and the town of Bramble feel like they fell out a sixties television show – in other words, the dialogue and incidents came across as staged. This made it hard to connect to the characters, even Ethan and Sam who were just a little too perfect to feel real. Ethan’s a small town farmer who never got to live out his dreams and Sam’s the little sister he never had who comes back to town all grown up and transformed into the woman he desires above all else. I liked both Ethan and Sam – in fact, I liked everyone in Bramble – but I wasn’t able to connect with them. There are some truly cute moments in “O Little Town of Bramble” but on the whole the story just wasn’t for me.


Small Town Christmas has a touch of spice and a whole lot of sweet, making it a charming anthology overall. Not all the stories were to my taste, but Jill Shalvis’s “Kissing Santa Claus” was a delight and readers who are looking for more Christmas than romance in their reading might enjoy “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “O Little Town of Bramble” more than I did.

Review: Christmas in Lucky Harbor by Jill Shalvis

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas in Lucky Harbor: Simply Irresistible/The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis
Series: Lucky Harbor, Books 1 and 2
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance Christmas in Lucky Harbor Cover
ISBN: 9781455502523
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Jill Shalvis Reading Order

Simply Irresistible
Maddie Moore is at a crossroads in her life. She’s lost her job, ditched her jerk of a boyfriend, and isn’t in the best financial condition. With nothing left for her in L.A., Maddie heads to the small town of Lucky Harbor, Washington, to check out an inheritance left to her and her two half-sisters by their mother. What she finds is a run-down inn and two siblings who are nearly strangers to her. Maddie, the middle sister, has always been known as “the Mouse.” But Maddie wants to make a go of restoring and running the inn, which means she has to find her voice and convince her sisters to at least consider a trial period. It also means that the inn needs some serious work done on it. Maddie gets more than she bargains for when she hires contractor Jax Cullen. Jax turns Maddie on like no other man has, but with her life in chaos and her decision to stay in Lucky Harbor in peril, is Maddie really ready to take a chance on falling in love with Jax?

There are some stories that make you smile and give you a warm, cozy feeling reading them. Simply Irresistible is that kind of book. Jill Shalvis has delivered one of the most delightful books I’ve read in a long time. I loved everything about the aptly-titled Simply Irresistible.

Maddie, Tara, and Chloe are three half-sisters who seem to have nothing in common except one free-spirited, now-deceased mother. They’re virtual strangers at the beginning of Simply Irresistible, and part of the charm of the story is watching them start to become a family. I adored Maddie’s kindness and humor, Tara’s surliness and veiled caring, and Chloe’s zest for life and outrageous comments. In Simply Irresistible, Maddie also finds herself and her personal journey could have made the book fantastic on its own. However, what sends Simply Irresistible over the top into favorite book material is the romance. I loved Jax and Maddie together. Jax is the kind of guy I curse Ms. Shalvis for creating because I want one of him to show up on my doorstep (tool belt optional). Maddie and Jax hit it off from the start – almost literally since Maddie nearly runs Jax over – and the two of them make Simply Irresistible sparkle.

Simply Irresistible is one of the most entertaining books I’ve read this year and it’s got an honored spot on my keeper shelf. I finished Simply Irresistible one happy reader and I dove right into the second Lucky Harbor novel, The Sweetest Thing.


The Sweetest Thing
On the surface, Tara Daniels may have it all together, but being back in Lucky Harbor – the place where she made one hell of a mistake as a teenager – keeps her frequently on edge. As does sexy sailor Ford Walker. All Tara wants to do is get the inn she co-owns with her sisters up and running while she puts her life back together. She doesn’t have time for Ford or the feelings he evokes within her. Too bad her body and heart have no interest in following Tara’s plan. To make matters even more complicated, Tara’s sexy ex-husband shows up in Lucky Harbor, determined to win her back. The past is catching up with Tara and with two gorgeous men also in pursuit, life in the small town of Lucky Harbor is about to get very, very interesting.

Love lost and found is the name of the game in The Sweetest Thing. The second installment in Jill Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor alternately sizzles with sexual tension and tugs on your heartstrings. Tara and Ford have each been through things in life that have marked them forever. Though I won’t spoil what those events were, there are times that The Sweetest Thing brought tears to my eyes – tears of both joy and sadness. Tara and Ford both show only parts of themselves to the world and as I read The Sweetest Thing, I delighted in uncovering the layers of their personalities. Ms. Shalvis had me rooting for these two to get together, but she didn’t make the journey easy on Tara and Ford. Their road to happily ever after was filled with bumps, but the obstacles that had to be overcome made the end result that much sweeter.

A brilliant supporting cast of characters rounds out The Sweetest Thing, further bringing Ms. Shalvis’s world of Lucky Harbor, Washington to life. I can’t express how much I adored everyone in The Sweetest Thing, but the fact that I began reading the third Lucky Harbor novel, Head Over Heels, as soon as I finished Ford and Tara’s book should indicate how much I love this series.


Christmas in Lucky Harbor is an omnibus containing the first two Lucky Harbor books. While both books can be read as standalone stories, the Lucky Harbor series is simply too good for readers to miss out on a single novel. I practically devoured Christmas in Lucky Harbor and I highly recommend it to readers who enjoy contemporary romance.

Now, when can I move to Lucky Harbor?

18 & Over Book Blogger Follow

Thursday, December 15, 2011



18 & Over Book Blogger Follow is a weekly feature that begins on Fridays and runs through the weekend, hosted by Crystal from Reading Between the Wines and Kelly at Secrets of a Book Lover.

This is a Friday blog hop with the objective to find and visit other book blogs that share the same interest as you, namely books geared towards the 18 & over crowd, and make new friends!

Question of the Week: Who popped your erotic cherry? ;) What was the first erotic or erotic romance book you read? And if you don't read erotica, what book had the first graphic love scene that you read?

In high school I fell in love with Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. Having a life-long love affair with fairytales, I eagerly purchased Rice's Sleeping Beauty trilogy set (The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty's Punishment, and Beauty's Release), written as A. N. Rolquelaure, without actually paying attention to what the books were. Needless to say, these books were one hell of an eye-opener. They're straight up erotica and probably the most twisted, bizarre erotica books I've ever read. They're like a train wreck that you can't look away from, so even though they're not good, I have fond "WTF?" memories of these three stories. LOL.

Waiting on Wednesday: Destiny by Carly Phillips

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases!

I adored the first Serendipity series book, Serendipity - it was a delightful contemporary romance. Nash wasn't my favorite character in Serendipity (mostly because I grew protective of Ethan, the hero of Serendipity), so I'm eager to see how Ms. Phillips makes me fall for him in Destiny.

Destiny Cover Title: Destiny
Series: Serendipity, Book 2
Author: Carly Phillips
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: January 3, 2012

Book Description (from Carly Phillips's website):

Nash Barron may be cynical about love, yet even he likes a good wedding. But the only good thing about his brother’s wedding is Kelly Moss. Nash can’t help but admire her confidence and beauty, but he’s forced to keep his distance because getting involved with Kelly could destroy his relationship with his newly discovered half sister, Tess...

Kelly came to Serendipity to give Tess–her half sibling as well, thanks to an illicit affair–a second chance at life. She learned long ago not to rely on anyone but herself. Besides, she doesn’t want to upset Tess’s life by pushing for a fling with Nash. Except the more she gets to know him, the more vulnerable she becomes to the kindness beneath his gruff exterior, and the less she’s able to stay away. But she has other reasons for keeping her distance. Like the secret from her past she knows Nash will never forgive...

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I've never read a Jeaniene Frost book before, but I'm starting with book 1 of her Night Huntress spin off series:


"If you ever do something like that again, I'll stab you in the heart. Son of a bitch, I can't believe you threw me out of a plane!" - First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost, page 125

18 & Over Book Blogger Follow

Friday, December 9, 2011



18 & Over Book Blogger Follow is a weekly feature that begins on Fridays and runs through the weekend, hosted by Crystal from Reading Between the Wines and Kelly at Secrets of a Book Lover.

This is a Friday blog hop with the objective to find and visit other book blogs that share the same interest as you, namely books geared towards the 18 & over crowd, and make new friends!

Question of the Week: What are three new-to-YOU-authors that you've read and loved this year?

1. DJ Gross: I picked up Stolen Justice for review on a whim and fell in love. I'm very picky about my romantic suspense, but this had me on the edge of my seat, devouring the book.

2. Larissa Ione: Again, another author I picked up for review at random. I went gaga over Eternal Rider and Immortal Rider, the first two books in her Lords of Deliverance series and I can't wait to glom up her backlist.

3. Ann and Jeff VanderMeer: Technically two authors, but they co-wrote The Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals, a book that had me laughing from beginning to end.

Thursday in Review

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It’s update time again :)

Below are the newest reviews I’ve written here and on Romance Junkies. The master list and categorical lists on the right-hand side are updated as well.

Reviews for upcoming releases:
- Scrumptious by Amanda Usen (available 1/1/12)

All other new reviews:
- Men Under the Mistletoe by Ava March, Harper Fox, Josh Lanyon, and K.A. Mitchell
- An Unexpected Gentleman by Alissa Johnson
- Bad Boyfriend (Bad in Baltimore, Book 2) by K.A. Mitchell
- To Command and Collar (Masters of the Shadowlands, Book 6) by Cherise Sinclair

Upcoming reviews:
- A Clockwork Christmas by Stacy Gail, P.G. Forte, Jenny Schwartz, and J.K. Coi
- Miracle of the Bellskis by Astrid Amara
- Dear Miss Darcy by Laura Briggs and Sarah Burgess
- Hitched (Faerily Imperfect, Book 5) by Mia Watts and Katie Blu
- Kissing Sherlock Holmes by T.D. McKinney and Terry Wylis
- Through Traitor’s Gate by Melinda Barron
- White Knight (Scandals, Book 2) by Mari Carr
- Tangled in Tulle (Tulle & Tulips, Book 1) by Nikki Duncan
- A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch
- Pride & Passion (The Brethren Guardians, Book 2) by Charlotte Featherstone
- Prior Sins by DJ Gross
- Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
- Bachelor Number Four by Megan Hart
- Vengeance Paid With Blood (Drone Vampire Chronicles, Book 13) by Stephani Hecht
- The Duke is Mine (Happily Ever Afters, Book 3) by Eloisa James
- Princess Charming by Nicole Jordan
- Take Me Home Tonight (Welcome to Paradise, Book 2) by Elle Kennedy
- If You Give a Girl a Viscount (Impossible Bachelors, Book 4) by Kieran Kramer
- Because of You by Cathy Maxwell
- Slow Ride (Fast Track, Book 5) by Erin McCarthy
- Blue Moon by Mackenzie McKade
- Blood Persuasion (Immortal Jane Austen, Book 2) by Janet Mullany
- Mark of the Rose (Tudor Vampire Chronicles, Book 3) by Kate Pearce
- Raw Desire by Kate Pearce
- No Shoes, No Shirt, No Spells (Mystic Café Series, Book 1) by Rose Pressey
- Hot as Hades by Alisha Rai
- Celebrity in Death (In Death, Book 34) by J.D. Robb (coming February 1st)
- Christmas in Lucky Harbor (Lucky Harbor, Books 1 and 2) by Jill Shalvis
- Head Over Heels (Lucky Harbor, Book 3) by Jill Shalvis
- A Little Wild by Kate St. James
- Primal Law (Alpha Pack, Book 1) by J.D. Tyler

Review: Scrumptious by Amanda Usen

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Scrumptious by Amanda Usen
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance Scrumptious Cover
Release date: January 1, 2012
ISBN: 978-1402259821
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Chef Joe Rafferty made one promise to his dying mother – there will be “no more sluts.” He’s determined to keep that promise and settle down with a nice woman. But when he comes to the aid of his culinary school friend Olivia, Joe meets Olivia’s best friend Marlene. Marly is the exact opposite of the kind of girl Joe knows he should fall for, but what harm is there in taking a slight detour before he gets back on the path to finding Ms. Right?

Mr. Right Now is all Marly ever looks for; she’s seen enough damage caused by love and marriage, thank you very much. Joe would be the perfect candidate for a fling…if it weren’t for the fact that he’s trying to take over the restaurant she’s put her life’s blood into. If Marly wants to run Olivia’s restaurant, she needs to get rid of Joe. The only problem is, the more she’s around the too-sexy-for-her-peace-of-mind Joe, the more Marly wants him to stay.

Forget the frying pan – Scrumptious is all about fire. The fire between Marlene and Joe, that is. Amanda Usen’s debut novel sizzles with passion, but where it really shines isn’t in the romance or the love scenes, but in the food. Ms. Usen’s culinary background shows; the restaurant scenes in Scrumptious are to die for. Ms. Usen’s prose is effortless, light, and utterly charming when her chefs are in the kitchen.

Where Scrumptious falls short is in the characters. Marly has worked so hard to prove herself to Olivia that she’s understandably crushed by the fact that Olivia brings Joe to run the kitchen. And why does Olivia do so when Marly’s perfectly capable? Because Olivia and Marly – two life-long best friends – don’t have a simple thirty second conversation that could have cleared up their big misunderstanding. Joe, for his part, is the typical sexy hero, but it grated on my nerves that he thinks of Marly as a “slut” for most of the book. Yes, she revels in her sexuality…just as Joe does. When combined with a few other things he does in the book, the fact that Joe doesn’t see himself (or any other man) as a slut just shows him to be sexist, a trait I don’t find at all attractive. Both Marly and Joe just didn’t appeal to me as protagonists which made it easy for me to put Scrumptious down. As for the third major player, Olivia, she’s so blind on a number of issues that I wanted to shake her – hard – frequently.

The plot of Scrumptious mostly revolves around misunderstandings and the characters growing up. However, in the last quarter of the book the plot takes a turn into something strange, unnecessary, and way too over the top. I won’t spoil it by saying what happens, but I feel like Ms. Usen jumped the shark a bit in the end. Still, Ms. Usen’s skill at bringing the culinary world to life should not be overlooked. While Scrumptious didn’t hit the spot for me, I would give another one of Ms. Usen’s foodie romances a try in the future.

Waiting on Wednesday: Winter Wonderland and Miracle of the Bellskis


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases!

I've got two holiday picks this week - and both of them are releasing next week! First up is Winter Wonderland a Christmas short story from one of my favorite authors, Riley Shane. The day before that story releases, Miracle of the Bellskis, sequel to one of my favorite Hanukkah stories (Carol of the Bellskis) comes out. Both books are contemporary male/male romances.

Winter Wonderland cover Title: Winter Wonderland
Series: International Relations, Book 2
Author: Riley Shane
Genre: Contemporary Male/Male Romance
Publisher: MLR Press
Release Date: December 14, 2011

Book Description (from Riley Shane's website):

For Connor Marino, Christmas can’t get here soon enough. It’s his first holiday alone with his boyfriend, Delaney Carmichael, and they plan to celebrate by playing tourists in New York City on Christmas Eve, followed by a romantic Christmas day at home. But lately Delaney’s behavior has been odd and Connor is concerned. Connor knows Delaney loves him. Yet he can’t help but wonder if their “Winter Wonderland” of a holiday will be the thing that sends his and Delaney’s relationship into deep freeze...or be the gift the two of them need.


Miracle of the Bellskis Cover Title: Miracle of the Bellskis
Series: Sequel to Carol of the Bellskis
Author: Astrid Amara
Genre: Contemporary Male/Male Romance
Publisher: Loose Id
Release Date: December 13, 2011

Book Description (from Astrid Amara's website):

Too much family…too little Egg Nog.

It's been three years since Seth Bellski forced his boyfriend and ex-boss Lars Varga out of the closet. Since then, Seth has passed the bar and become an attorney, and Lars has started his own firm. Their sex life has gotten steamier, and everything seems perfect between them. Until the holidays arrive.

It's bad enough that Seth's mother and father want them over every single night of Hanukkah. And that Lars's less-than-tolerant parents are sleeping in the room next door for the duration of Christmas, putting the kibosh on their kink. They also end up attorneys representing opposing sides in a divorce case, one which quickly proves to be much more than it seems.

Amidst Hanukkah candles, Christmas lights, burned dinners and delayed court appointments, can Lars and Seth's relationship survive the ultimate holiday challenge: too much family?

Teaser Tuesday

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I've been absolutely loving Blood Rose, but I had to put it down last week to read a bunch of December release review books. So I finally got back to pleasure reading yesterday. Here are the teasers for the two books I'm reading - Blood Rose (paranormal romance) and The Doomsday Vault (steampunk):


"Fuck her promise; she wasn’t going to leave Gray to fight those revenants alone. She grabbed her dagger and started running toward the man she loved, but a hand suddenly grabbed her by her hair, yanking her back." - Blood Rose by Riley Shane, page 120


"He sprinted toward the zombies--and the clockworker in their midst. Alice, unused to trousers, fumbled through her pockets." - The Doomsday Vault by Steven Harper, page 238
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blog contents © Wit and Sin 2010. Blogger Theme by Nymphont.