Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 book challenges and January book reads

Happy new year everyone! Instead of listing all of my book reads for the year, I'm going to do it monthly, at the end of the month, like today. I'll also be adding my 2010-2011 crossover reads that's left over on the list. First, I'll list the challenges for the year. All of them are small this year.

TBR Top 12 picks:
1. Bad Blood by Linda Fairstein
2. Kiss of Midnight by Lara Adrian
3. Red Lily by Nora Roberts
4. White Doves at Morning by James Lee Burke
5. Cooking Up Murder by Miranda Bliss
6. Pandora's Clock by John Nance
7. Still Life by Louise Penny
8. The Boneyard by Michelle Gagnon
9. Bait by Karen Robards
10. Whale Song by Cheryl Kaye Tardif
11. Payment in Blood by Elizabeth George
12. Silent Scream by Karen Rose

Top 12 Alternates:
1. Speak No Evil by Allison Brennan
2. Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
3. Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
4. Secrets of the Grave by Tami Hoag
5. The Mark by Jason Pinter
6. Final Approach by Rachel Brady
7. The Ark by Boyd Morrison
8. Without Mercy by Lisa Jackson
9. Assassin's Honor by Monica Burns
10. Love Lessons by Cheryl Holt
11. Deadly Night by Heather Graham
12. The Screaming Room by Thomas O'Callaghan

TBR Lite 6 picks:
1. Chasing the Night by Iris Johansen
2. Boiling Point by Karen Dionne
3. Kill Zone by Vicki Hinze
4. Full Pursuit by Jasmine Cresswell
5. The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde
6. The Perfect Couple by Brenda Novak

Mystery Reader Cafe Challenge:
1. Mystery author's last name with "M": Coming Back by Marcia Muller
2. Mystery set in your state or where you're originally from: Tombs of Endearment by Casey Daniels (Ohio).
3. Mystery title using your initials: Kitty Hitter by Andy Straka (leftover from this year's challenge for KH).
4. Amateur Sleuth: Steamed by Jessica Conant-Park
5. Young Adult: Marked by PC Cast (though it's paranormal)

On The Porch Swing challenge:
1. Dark/Black: Touch the Dark by Karen Chance
2. Number in title: 311 Pelican Court by Debbie Macomber
3. One word title: Mutation by Robin Cook
4. Mystery author last name with "K": Gone by Jonathan Kellerman
5. Orange/pink: Blood Orange by Drusilla Campbell
6. YA Sci Fi: The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle

@Bethfishreads's Challenge:
1. Verb in title: You Can Run by Carlene Thompson
2. Size: Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur
3. Number in title: 44 Charles Street by Danielle Steele
4. Jewel/Gem: The Jewel of St. Petersburg by Kate Furnivall
5. Evil in title: Fear No Evil by Allison Brennan
6. Life stage: The Wild Child by Mary Jo Putney

Romance Book Club:
1. Romance author first name with "J": Guarded Heart by Jennifer Blake
2. "Kiss" in title: Kiss of Crimson by Lara Adrian
3. Travel/movement: Stop Me by Brenda Novak
4. Historical/Contemporary romance set in Western USA: Summer Secrets by Barbara Freethy (WA)

Here's my list of 2010-2011 crossover books on my TBR pile:
Sketching Evil by Donna Anders
Death Takes a Honeymoon by Deborah Donnelly
Dark Challenge by Christine Feehan
Austenland by Shannon Hale
Dante's Numbers by David Hewson
The Program by Greg Hurwitz
Parallel Attraction by Deidre Knight
Some Like It Wicked by Teresa Medeiros
Handyman by Linda Nichols
Northern Lights by Nora Roberts
Count to Ten by Karen Rose
Die For You by Lisa Unger

Here's my list of non-challenge January TBR reads:
Summer Breeze by Catherine Anderson
Murder With Puffins by Donna Andrews
Jingle Bell Bark by Laurien Berenson
A Stab in the Dark by Lawrence Block
Water Inc. by Varda Burstyn
The Shadow Of Your Smile by Mary Higgins Clark
Animal Appetite by Susan Conant
Dragon by Clive Cussler
Just Desserts by Mary Daheim
My Scandalous Bride by Christina Dodd, etc.
Isle of Palms by Dorothea Frank
To the Brink by Cindy Gerard
The Man with the Load of Mischief by Martha Grimes
Asking for Murder by Roberta Isleib
Past Perfect by Susan Isaacs
Stalemate by Iris Johansen
Justice by Faye Kellerman
Hunger by Jackie Kessler
Dirty Martini by JA Konrath
The Dangers of Deceiving a Viscount by Julia London
Every Breath You Take by Judith McNaught
Exclusive by Fern Michaels
At the Scent of Water by Linda Nichols
Don't Blink by James Patterson
Too Many Cooks by Joanne Pence
My Lost Daughter by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg
Sisters by Danielle Steele
Dirt by Stuart Woods
Brothers in Arms by Marcus Wynne

Starting next month, I'll be reading lots of paranormal romance. But I do have two this month, which is left over from this fall. See you in 1/31/2011 for February's. I'll be back here, once I cross off a title on my list. Happy new year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tie Dyed and Dead

Last year, I've read the third book in the Josie Toadfern series. This year, I've read the sixth book--I know, I skipped around. In Tie Dyed and Dead, Josie is in charge of laundering the Mayfair sisters costumes for their reunion benefit concert for their mom. The Mayfairs were a big singing group in the sixtes. And when ugly business reared its ugly head, so did some controversy, which also leads to murder. It's up to Josie to get herself out of being a suspect and figured out the aired dirty laundry, when it leads to another mother, and a shocking family secret. Plus, Josie falls in love with her Mr. Right. A great cozies with good stain-busting tips.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Murder List

If you love a fast-paced thriller with hints of romance, you'll enjoy the Murder List. Regan Madison is one of the owners of a hotel franchise chain, who deals with family issues and work. After her two best friends encourage her to attend a seminar, things take a turn for the worse. When Regan's cell phone turns up missing, someone sent her a photo of one of the people on her "murder list.".. who ended up dead. Then she receives a fax with her "murder list" on it. Alec Buchanan is ready to move on to move to Boston and join the FBI. But when he meets Regan, both of their worlds collide. Assigned to bodyguard duty, he protects her from a hidden threat from the killer, and then falls in love. Before he leaves, he believes on a hunch, that they got the wrong killer, and saves her life. What a great read!

~Coming soon, my TBR reading list and challenges, later this week!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

When We Meet Again

If you love great historical romances with a hint of mystery, you'll enjoy When We Meet Again by Victoria Alexander, the 10th book in the Effington Family series. Four years ago, Pamela Effington seduced a prince for one night in Venice--a night they wouldn't forget. Later, they meet again, when Prince Alexi Pruzinsky from Avalonia resided in Pamela's home she had inherited, and thrown in a faux engagement, to save her ruined reputation. Alexi had his own troubles, when he was exiled from his country and pretty much ran out of funds. As they charaded, they fell in love and battled demons and foes who stood in the way, when they realized they were meant to be together.

 I really enjoyed how Pamela and Prince Alexi were reunited after a chance encounter. Both Pamela and Alexi overcame many obstacles from the past and to now to find their way back to each other again. The opening pages had me at hello and gripped me into a fascinating ride about when they first met and their backstory of how they came together. I practically cried tears of joy and happiness throughout this beautiful and harming story. With a touch of mystic intrigue on how Pamela became royalty made it even more enchanted as as timeless classic with a dash of humor. Overall, it was a great novel!

Click here, if you're intrigued in timeless historical romances!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tough Customer

If you love great thrillers, you'll love Sandra Brown's Tough Customer. Dodge Hanley gets a call from Caroline King, a woman from his past, when her daughter was in trouble. From Atlanta, he headed back to Houston as a private eye and met his former love, Caroline and his daughter Berry, who he never met before, since he left when she was born. During this investigation of a stalker/serial killer who wanted to see Berry dead, old memories come back of how he met Caroline and conceived Berry, while Berry dealt with the discovery of Dodge as her birth father and her chemistry with Deputy Sheriff, Ski Nyland. Until they got the bad guy, there was plenty of old and new love, and plenty of drama to the shocking twist in the end.

This was another fantastic romantic suspense. I cared for Dodge, Caroline and Berry as a whole. I loved the interweaving backstory of how he met her and segued her to the present. I loved the Houston backdrop for the background location and settings for this story. This would take you on an emotional roller coaster ride from start to finish, full speed ahead. Great action, plenty of hot romance, intrigue, mystery and suspense to the end.

Will you be a tough customer? If so, pick up a copy today!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ice Cold

In the 8th installment of the Rizzoli and Isles series, you'll enjoy Ice Cold by Tess Gerritsen. When Maura went to Wyoming for a medical conference, she didn't know what she'd gotten herself into with some new friends. Stranded in winter with nowhere to go, they uncovered a secret community called Kingdom Come, when things weren't what they seemed. Things do go from bad to worse, when someone discovered them. For Jane Rizzoli, she received the call that Maura's missing; and days later, she headed to Wyoming with Gabriel and Daniel to find her, with the belief that she died in a fiery car crash. In the middle of the story, you'll get a surprising twist of turns I won't give away, when the shocking truth is revealed on how and why, when there wass a joyful reunion in the end. This is a book you have to read for yourself and not give away any spoilers.

I love the change of pace of scenery from Boston to Wyoming during the winter. I also loved the focus on Maura's journey for survival than the spotlight with Jane on a case.  I also loved how Gabriel and Daniel joined the search party. I felt my tears well up throughout this thriller, esp. on how Maura cared for Julian. This was one of the finest and best thrillers of hers yet.

Ready to embark on a cold journey? Grab a copy right now!

Guarded Heart

It's been about two years, since I've read a historical/contemporary romance by Jennifer Blake. In Guarded Heart, Ariadne Faucher, a widow who's avenging the death of her foster brother, by asking Gavin Blackford to give her fencing lessons. Little did they know, that he would be onto her plot on why she wants him dead, and fall in love with him. But Ariadne had emotional baggage with her birth mother who gave her away, and her Russian servant, who wants her to himself, more for money than in love. Lots of suspense and drama and great scenery for this historical romance. You'll love it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Probable Claws

In Clea Simon's Probable Claws, the 4th installment in the Theda Krakow feline cozy series, you will fall in love with Theda.  When Theda learned that someone poisoned kittens with bad cat food, she investigated the issue to find out what really went on. When she talked to Dr. Rachel, someone attacked her and then killed Rachel, while they framed her for the murder. While she ws on bail, she tried to put the pieces together in Rachel's life, while she savaged her relationship with Bill as someone sabotaged her journalism career as well. In the end, she discovered the truth with a shocking ending.

This was an enjoyable cozy to read that featured cats. I do care for Theda, while someone set her up for being the fall guy--or shall we say, fall gal. I do love the feline aspect of it, too, when it had put the heart of the matter of animal abuse of the worst and cruel kind. I do love the Boston location with depicted and lovely scenic location and settings. This would make you root for Theda with great drama, non-stop action, some mystery with a hint of intrigue along the way.

Will you have probable claws to pick up this cozy? Check it out today!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Red is an ugly color

If you loved Big Girl by Danielle Steel, you'll love Red by Erica Spindler. Before she was a best-selling thriller author, she was in romantic suspense. Like Big Girl, this dealt with loving yourself for you who are, and it didn't matter what anyone else thought. It's also about fashion, photography and modeling. Becky Lynn Lee was poor and ugly from Mississippi, who came from a broken home and a group rape, when she escaped to California for a new life. Jack Gallagher wanted recognition from his father, when his treated his other son better. Both rage and fury brought Becky and Jack together in California, as they worked together and take on the world, with tons of obstacles in the way. When they fall in love, things were complicated, as they were thrown for a loop as the years fall by. In the end, they let go of the past and move on.

This romantic suspense was beautiful, heartfelt and moving at the same time. While she took a break from his thrillers, this was a touching story. I cried throughout it and felt the same things as Becky did, when she was mistreated in her youth and how she wanted to make a fresh new start. I loved how Jack cared for her, while he found from his own personal demons. They went through a lot, past and present, to get together and have a future of their own. What a beautiful story!

Grab your hankies and pick up a copy today!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Shelter Mountain

If you loved Virgin River, you would love Robyn Carr's Shelter Mountain. In the second installment of the Virgin River series,  This one was another great romance series with dealt with friendship, family, and a great community of neighbors, who looked after one other. For this one, John "Preacher" Middleton wasn't looking for romance, when Paige Lassiter had entered Virgin River, escaping abuse from her husband, and newly pregnant with her second child. From there, they built trust and friendship as they helped her with the divorce and settling in, while they helped take care of each other, including her son Chris. Plus it focused on Brie, Jack's sister, and Mike, Jack's friend, were the main focus in book #3, as in the young couple of Liz and Rick, and Mel's pregnancy with Jack. It had a good flow for the storyline that was enjoying to go back for reading fun.

I continued to love this series and the characters too. This one was moving and touching to my heart. I loved how they pitched in to protect Paige and her family from her abusive husband. I loved how John and the others supported their new found relationship. I loved how we continue to follow in Jack and Mel's relationship and shone the spotlight to others for the future installment in the series. I just want to find my own Virgin River to join that tight community. Lots of romance and plenty of drama to warm your heart after you read it.

Ready to find your own escape? Join hands by buying this romance!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Malicious Intent

If you love forensic thrillers, you'll love this one from debut Australian author, Kathryn Fox. Dr. Anya Creichton is a forensic pathologist, who gets embroiled into a mystery, when someone asked her to look into the death of one girl. Later on, the conspiracy broils, when more links shows up in past and present cases--the same link of a mysterious fiber in their bodies and a trace of herpes. While she finds the connection, she's also dealing with custody battles with her ex on her son, and the haunting memories of her missing sister, Miriam, from years ago. It's up to Anya, and her best friend, Detective Kate Farrer, to connect the dots, when they later discuss the truth and the culprit was someone they knew close by. What a great new read!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dot Dead

If you love a bit of mystery with a hint of romance, you'll love Keith Raffel's Dot Dead. Ian Michaels works for a Silicon Valley company, when he was assaulted by someone coming home from work. Not only that, the next day, his maid, Gwendolyn Goldberg, turns up dead on his bed. The police are after Ian, since they believe he's a couple, due to some evidence hints that way, when he never met her before. On the day of his funeral, he meets Rowena, Gwen's sister, who helps her discover who killed her. Not only that, once Ian's on bail, things turns a nosedive at work, when his presentation for his company didn't go as planned, along with the funeral. While Rowena and Ian investigate the murder, the cops are against them, while other suspects turns up suspicious, including Ian's boss Paul. When they're closing in on each other, the clues are obvious, as Ian and Rowena fall in love with each other. In the end, there's a surprise that you didn't see coming. Good suspense for a debut mystery author!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Waking Evil

If you love a hot new romantic suspense series, you'll love Kylie Brant's Mind-hunters series. When a dead girl's body is found in the bottom of the pond, Ramsey Clark is on the scene, who works for the TBI. From there, she butts head with Devlin Stryker, who's sort of a paranormal expert. Both of them have something in common, other than their attraction for each other: they both have baggage from the past. On this case, they discover this small town has a secret of its own of a religious nature, when the person they're after, is right under their nose. Great drama, great romance, and a great new series. Although this is the 2nd in the series, I can't read to wait more in 2012.