Saturday, January 5, 2013

Year In Review 2012: The Honorable Mentions

Rounding out the good reads I encountered in 2012 is this batch of what I'm calling Honorable Mentions.  To devise this list, I went back through the books I rated a B or B+ and jotted down the titles that jumped out at me.  Sometimes a book gets a B because it's a good, solid read that I enjoy while I'm reading it - but it doesn't necessarily "stick" with me months after the fact.  These were the titles that "stuck" as I was cruising through my spreadsheet.

Title links will take you to full reviews

Edge Of Night by Jill Sorenson (2011) - Romantic suspense
  •  I don't read a ton of romantic suspense mostly because I recognize I can be hypercritical of the genre.  This book by Sorenson was a really good read.  It had a solid suspense thread, interesting characters, and enough grisly bits to keep me flipping the pages.  I also really appreciated that she wrote a Southern California setting in a factual, recognizable way.  Yes folks, there are ::gasp:: characters who aren't white in this book (including the heroine)!
Unexpected Family by Molly O'Keefe (2012) - Contemporary category romance
  •  Talking about O'Keefe's single titles was the new black last year, so I'm tossing this one in not only because I really liked it - but to remind everybody that she also writes really good category romances too!  This is book two in a duet, and it was great to revisit the characters I fell in love with over the course of book one.  Sassy heroine hiding a secret, an overwhelmed hero who inherits the care of his three nephews and is failing in the Super Surrogate Dad department, and a lovely secondary romance featuring an older couple.
Forward Passes by Jami Davenport (2012 - digital only) - Contemporary romance
  • Damn, I'm really hooked on this series featuring a fictional Seattle-based American football team.  This second book features the team's star quarterback, a hero who has built his reputation around the fact that he's seemingly a cocky asshole.  Although turns out our bad boy really has a mushy, vulnerable soft side.  He's paired up with a heroine who has a notoriously unpleasant track record with "jock" men.  The author is working on a third book in this series - can't wait!

Kill You Twice by Chelsea Cain (2012) - Suspense
  •  Fifth book in the suspense series featuring a female serial killer and her twisted relationship with a homicide detective.  Cain is a spare writer, which is honestly how I like my suspense reads these days (God, I'm beginning to loathe "filler") and the back-story tidbits she teases out about Gretchen over the course of this story were really great.  Also loved Claire and Henry in this book, although I swear Archie made a "relationship" choice in this book that has me questioning his sanity.
The Gin Lovers (serial - Part I &II, III, IV, V, VI) by Jamie Brenner (2012) - Note: print version of entire serial due out in February 2013 - Historical soap opera with some eroticism fiction

  • OK, so I might have started screaming as I finished the final installment of this serial, but up until that point I was hooked on this sudsy soap opera set in New York City in the 1920s.  Jazz music, Prohibition, an unhappy society wife, a unfaithful husband harboring a Big Secret, and a reckless flapper sister-in-law.  In hindsight, and time to adjust to the way the serial "ended" - I realize that this really was one of my more memorable reads of the year.  I really, really, really wish romance publishers would get on board with early 20th century settings.  It's an amazing time period not only in history, but specifically women's history.  (And yes, I realize that World War I was a downer - but I'm talking social history folks....)
And those were some more memorable reads I encountered in 2012.  My final Year In Review post will be a recap of my TBR Challenge reading, with another chance to remind you all that it's never too late to sign up for the challenge in 2013!


Jane said...

I really liked Unexpected Family too. Thought it was a great and realistic look at grief and family issues.

Sheri said...

I really liked Edge of Night too - so glad you loaned it to me. Too bad for some of the naughty bits - I think some of my kids would have liked it. I also thought the writer did a good job with gang culture - I thought it was realistic considering my experience. --Lil Sis

Wendy said...

Jane: Definitely the most memorable part of that story for me were the grief issues. I also LOVED that the hero wasn't some Super Dad right out of the gate and actually ::gasp:: was struggling and ::double gasp:: talking to a professional about it. A shrink in a romance novel? Who woulda thunk it?

Lil' Sis: Yeah, as a teacher it's a little uncomfortable to recommend a book to your students that has smokin' hot sex in it!

Hilcia said...

Hmm... I have Unexpected Family by O'Keefe in my TBR pile, and I really enjoyed The Gin Lovers! I agree that the social history was the best part of the whole thing. Well, that and the whole soap opera, that was fun. :)

Wendy said...

Hils: The ending - the ending just KILLED me! LOL But looking back on it all, I really loved getting hooked on that serial. It was great fun to read and I just loved the atmosphere of it....

Jami Davenport said...

Wendy, Thanks so much for your continued support of my series. I'm happy to report that I'm working on revisions for the next one and hope to have it out within a month.

Wendy said...

Jami: Yippee!