One dud, but overall the first half of last Sept was a pretty good reading month for me. As always, reviews were originally posted on Goodreads – additional comments in italics below.
Loose Ends by Tara Janzen (romantic suspense)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
You know, I surprised myself when I ended up buying LOOSE ENDS. I loved the first few books in the Steele Street series, then some head-spinning WTF plots in the following books meant that I stopped buying them a few years ago. But having discovered this was the final Steele Street book, I found myself intrigued as to how Tara Janzen would wrap up the series and welcome home the (missing, presumed dead) final member of the crew.
There are paranormal elements, so be warned, this isn’t a straight contemporary romantic suspense (which is a shame, because the SF-ish twists didn’t really work for me). But in the end, I enjoyed this, though readers that have followed the entire series would probably have found LOOSE ENDS more satisfying than I did.
Tara Janzen has a knack for writing male dialogue that has this authentic ring to it and even though it has been years, I loved seeing Superman, Kid Chronopolous & the rest of the Steele Street special ops team back together again. The cars, well ahhh… I’m not into cars by any means (I’m happy as long as they get me from A to B), but the passion Janzen (and her characters) had for them added a fun and sexy dimension to the story.
One of my very first reviews on this blog (all the way back in 2007) was for Tara Janzen‘s CRAZY SWEET (no, I didn’t care for it). So this was a slightly nostalgic read for me and I’m glad the series ended on a decent note.
Prey by Linda Howard
My rating: 1 of 5 stars (romantic suspense)
I’ve loved some of Linda Howard’s backlist, which is probably why I’m still reading her recent releases. But this was just boring. I’m normally a fan of survival/wilderness stories, but I skimmed a lot in this one – neither the plot nor the characters captured my attention. And when we got the POV of the bear… oh dear.
I borrowed this from the library – thank goodness. I keep on picking up her new releases just in case the magic of her earlier books makes a reappearance, but I have generally been disappointed.
Mummy Dearest by Josh Lanyon (m/m romance)
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I didn’t fall in love with this novella. Don’t get me wrong, I finished it in one sitting (it’s a Lanyon after all!), but the story was too short for me to connect with the h/h. Having said that, I loved the writing as always, and I’d definitely read more books in this series.
Josh Lanyon is an autobuy author for me, but this one wasn’t one of my favourites.
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (YA romance)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I LOVED THIS BOOK. Is that enough?
After the wonderful surprise that was Anna and the French Kiss, I was doing my best to temper my expectations. And it helped that the back cover copy didn’t exactly make me want to rush out and buy LOLA.
But Lola herself was a intriguing mix of insecurities and confidence, and before I knew it, I was caught up in her story. I loved how Stephanie Perkins integrated Lola’s love of costumes into her personality. Cricket was really sweet and lovable, so nice(!) – which, you know, isn’t exactly the norm for a romantic lead. But it worked – totally. I was rooting for them as they fumbled their way back together. The positive depiction of non-traditional families was a lovely unexpected plus, and the San Francisco setting made me want to go and visit. And oh, I did a slight squee as Anna and St Clair made an appearance – it was really interesting seeing them again, and this time from someone else’s perspective. Very cool.
I think the difference between ANNA and LOLA was that I could identify with Anna’s experience – Lola’s was slightly more distancing for me. But I loved every minute of reading this, and all I can say is bring on the third book, Isla and the Happily Ever After.
This was one of my favourite books of 2011. Stephanie Perkins’ books are amongst the best that the YA romance genre offers, IMO.
Dead Run by Josh Lanyon (m/m romance)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Adrien English will always be my all-time favourite Josh Lanyon series, but I have to say Dangerous Ground is rapidly making up ground on the AE books. I am dying to see where this series is going – or rather, when and how Will and Taylor get their HEA.
The Paris setting intruded slightly (a bit of a travelogue at times?), but the characters were beautifully drawn and leapt off the page. It’s sort of painful because Will and Taylor are fumbling around in their still new-ish relationship and hurting each other, sometimes on purpose but more often than not by accident. You just want to shake them at times. Possibly Will more than Taylor. But you know, I’ve a feeling the final pay-off will be worth it. <spoiler – highlight to read>I’m a sucker for the amnesia trope and I loved how this was played out in DEAD RUN. </spoiler>
I just want more.
Ah, the angst. I love Will and Taylor.