2011 Top Reads.

Books and reading have been a godsend this year, and while I’ve probably read less GLBT romance this year, I’ve picked up a few more urban fantasy and paranormal novels.

I did get a LOT of books I just couldn’t finish, and it wasn’t just bad editing. It just seemed as though these books needed more polishing and depth. Nothing worse than a book you cannot get into, rubbish storytelling and a novel that feels underdone.

But, there were loads that were just brilliant and below are my top reads for the year.

Marine Biology by Gail Carriger was a cute, short read about a werewolf and merman. Her Parasol Protectorate series is amazing and her first foray into gay, paranormal writing makes me hope she writes more in this genre. Get it at Smashwords for .99c.

Harper Fox has been a little hit and miss for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed The Salisbury Key. It was just a little different and the writing was pretty gripping. $6.50 at Samhain.

Room at the Top by Jane Davitt and Alexa Snow was a smutty piece of goodness that I thoroughly enjoyed at the end of winter. Plenty of sexy, spanky threesome goodness and I am a huge fan of work that these two produce. $7.99 at Loose Id.

I liked Basic Training by Marquesate quite a lot. There were parts I felt that needed to be a little tighter and near the end there was a couple of cheesy bits. But, it was cool, sexy and I love the almost military procedural tone of the text. Very entertaining. $7.99 from MLR Press.

I always enjoy James Buchanan’s writing, and it was brilliant to read another Deputy Joe novel this year. Spin Out was great. Sexy, hot and emotional reading. $8.99 from MLR Press.

Hot Head by Damon Suede was super entertaining and while I thought it needed some tightening up editing wise, it was a cool read that I’ve re read twice now. Maybe it was the fireman sex? heh. $5.59 at Dreamspinner Press.

The Locker Room by Amy Lane had some uber angst going on, more than I usually enjoy! But I have a total jones for sport romance and this was a delight to read. $6.99 at Dreamspinner Press.

Bad Company by KA Mitchell, was kinda gay for you and kinda not. Hard to explain… I love this authors writing. Solid story telling that’s emotional and packs a punch. I have all her books in paper back, one of the few! She is made of awesome. $4.50 at Samhain.

My absolute favorite book from this year and 5 plus star read has to be Bad Boyfriend by KA Mitchell. I just finished this fab book and it was just magic. Not only was the storytelling brilliant, but it’s probably one of the hottest books that I’ve read in an age. Eli’s mouth alone is a reason for reading this! Highly recommended! $3.15 at Samhain.

Feel free to mention your top reads in the comments section!

Eli and his mouth???? Nom.

Shorts.

Lord of the White Hell is out! Woot! If you’ve not ordered it then do. It’s such an amazingly cool book and one of my favourites from this year. I’ve been reading a little – mainly paranormal and mystery paperbacks. I find I have very little patience with TSTL female characters though. The ending of the last Rachel Gibson I read nearly sent me over the edge. Bleh! Currently I’m reading free stuff via Aleksandr Voinov. Titled Special Forces, so far lots of violence (stabbity, punching muscle stuff) and very little sexy time. Am hoping for more sexy time soon…

I’ve not read Josh Lanyon in a while, so this was a cool pick up. I always enjoy Josh’s deft plotting and smart characters. In Fair Game he’s created an ex cop who is forced to give up a career he’s loved and take up a more desk bound job. The dynamics between Eliott and his lover Tucker were pretty tense and steamy, although at times I wished Tucker was featured a little more prominently. I think the focus was more on Elliot’s journey and the mysterious disappearance of the young men, kinda like his scooby swan song. Cool read and worth checking out.

Life, Over Easy by K.A. Mitchell was very cool. A sexy college boy paranormal with great world building and spooky bits which were suitably eerie! The romance between John and Mason was sexy and the scenes between them had loads of lovely tension and drama. There was much angst about moving on with life after loss and coping with change. I liked this book hugely. K.A. Mitchell’s books are always incredibly entertaining, hot and honest. Get it here from ARe.

His Hearth by Mary Calmes was an interesting piece. They dynamics between the boys were a little hard to figure out initially and I felt like their actual personalities and motivations took a long time to become clear. If I’d real the blurb more closely, I might have been less surprised by the paranormal elements that seemed to appear out of left field too. There was little building of tension and the book at times felt too short to get any real sense of the world and characters. While I usually enjoy this authors lovely, imaginative and fresh voice, this one missed the mark for me. Available here via ARe.

Best contemporaries from 2009

Contemporary ebooks are my main squeeze. I love books that will make me laugh and give me that big sigh of satisfaction at the end. Sometimes a hint of angst is nice and I love a broody hero. While there are many established authors in this group, it is great to see some incredibly cool new talent coming through. 🙂

Below are my favorites from 2009, click on the covers for more information.

Best historicals from 2009

Many historical romances caught my eye in 2009 and some have been brilliant reads. I think it’s a difficult genre to do well, with some struggling to find that all to important believability factor which I find essential in making a book memorable and entertaining!

Below are my favorites from 2009, click on the covers for more information.

Shorts.

Despite the busy time of year I’ve found a few moments of reading time. I’ve had a few surprisingly good novels and some rather angsty, which I’ve liked! Normally if there is whining or sobbing the book finds its way into my did not finish pile. I might be getting a bit soft!

Change of Heart by Mary Calmes was a great shifter romance. There was a bit of the old “gay for you* trope going on, but it was well done and nicely wrapped up with the *we’re soul mates* kinda thing. I liked that it was angsty and that there were a few misunderstandings and heart to hearts that made for a nice, sexy wee read. I have a thing for cat shifter romances too, so a bit of were pussy romance was all good! Check it out via ARe.

The Strongest Shape by Tessa Cárdenas is one of the best ménage books I’ve read in ages. No one felt like that odd one out and the boys truly worked together to make their relationship work – with much angst of course!! The secondary characters were well written and while the world building was reasonably strong, it was the interactions between the 3 that held my attention. Honesty, there is nothing better than well written ménage, where all characters feel like they’ve a part to play, as opposed to one being the odd cock out. It was plenty hot too! Wicked, cool read and the cover is gorgeous. Best viewed in a large format. Merow. Pick it up here at ARe.

Cutting Cords by Mickie B. Ashling was an ok read, in the authors last book I found the overwhelming emotional moments a little too heavy. While this was in a similar vein, it felt more balanced. Sloan and Cole are certainly characters you have to grow to like and at times I did find them hard work. But, there is something about the author’s style that keeps me coming back for another go. Check it out here at ARe.

Dark Heart by Thom Lane was an absolutely magic fantasy read. Excellent world building with a sexy, servile slave boy and hot, badass mage. I loved this book and cannot believe I’ve not picked it up before now. The cover alone is enough to send me back for a second look. hehe. I loved the world the author created, even though I periodically wanted the slaves to rise up, the whole in service thing did rather appeal to my kink. I thought the ending was well done too and not wrapped up in a bow. Has me with fingers crossed that there might be more! A very good read that is well worth picking up. You can purchase here at ARe or Fictionwise is particularly cheap at the moment.

An Improper Holiday by K.A. Mitchell was a charming historical romance read. I do think an accurate historical depicting a gay relationship is a particularly difficult thing to do and there is only a certain amount of scope. But, I think the book was well executed and a very sweet read. This author consistently delivers the goods and this gem is no exception. Totally sexy reading and the story has one particularly intriguing secondary character that totally deserves a HEA too. Get the book here from ARe.

If you’re new to ebooks, check this post out for instructions and apps 🙂 Basically, if you’ve got an ipod touch or an iphone I suggest you go large and have a go. It is totally addictive!

Chasing Smoke by K. A. Mitchell.

ka mitchell chasing smokeAn old mystery brought them together. Solving it could tear them apart.

In the best of times, Daniel Gardner hates visiting his family. With his boyfriend pressuring him for a mortgage-serious commitment, Christmas in Easton, PA sounds, for once, like a welcome escape. His old house holds more than memories of a miserable adolescence, though. It has Trey Eriksson.

At seventeen, Trey was taken in by the wealthy Gardner family after his father was jailed for his mother’s murder. Until he left for the Army, he fought a double-edged battle—for proof of his father’s innocence and against his attraction to Daniel.

Fifteen years later, things haven’t changed. Trey is still looking for the real killer. And Daniel has never forgotten how Trey used to sneak into his room at night.

Now new clues to the murder are resurfacing—and so is Trey and Daniel’s sexual chemistry. Except this time, Trey has come to terms with his orientation.

But their connection may not be enough to overcome the mistakes of the past. Not while a murderer still walks free…
From
Samhain Publishing.

It is no secret I am a bit of a fan girl for K.A. Mitchell and this new book was a gem.

The novel had a great hook with a return home, first love and a tightly scripted mystery that in no way detracted from the central theme of two men falling in love again. The novel has a slow, sexy burn to it and the tension between Daniel and Trey made my toes curl. The flashes back to when they’re younger feels a little illicit as you read about their burgeoning love, but it’s sensual and beautifully written and makes their interactions as adults that much more bittersweet and sexy. And hot, holy shit. O-o

I think what I enjoy most about K.A. Mitchells writing is that she understands the rhythm of a good book. Her pacing is excellent and there are no lulls where I feel inclined to ferret off to check my twitter account, or other assorted internet wankyness. I’m reading till some ridiculous hour and am still desperate to know what happens next, despite my tiredness. This is what a good book should be all about. That and making me laugh out loud at lines like …Ghosts of Erections Past… Imagery? hehe. 🙂 Loved it!

Get it here at All Romance eBooks or Samhain Publishing.

Custom Ride by K.A. Mitchell.

custom-ride-ka-mitchellA stint in the military left Ryan with a bitter memory of life in the closet. Jeff, a mechanic, has too much to lose if his private life goes public. The heat of their attraction boils over on a stormy summer night, but satisfying that need only makes them both crave more.
From Samhain Publishing.

I am a confirmed K.A. Mitchell fangirl, so it was kinda cool to discover a book of hers I had not actually read. It is a part of an anthology called Temperature’s Rising, but you can purchase Custom Ride on its own. 

The book is seriously hot right from the get go, so not for those who don’t like it a little bit dirty. Fortunately, I do and that first scene warmed the cockles of my grubbly little pron heart. I liked the idea of a big, well muscled mechanic with tattoos all over this ex military boy in a bar. They’re both so overcome with lust and Ryan can’t help but give in to this brick wall of a guy. Noice! I think this is one thing that K.A. does particularly well, that immediate sex. No pissing about and waiting for chapter 4.

Once I moved on from the pron though, the story while ok, was perhaps not as meaty as I am used to. Yes, I can hear you now telling me it’s an anthology, it is supposed to be short and succinct, but it felt like it lacked the depth of character that I’ve come to expect from one of her books. They were still likable and the the story was good, but it lacked some of the polish her later books have. And, the end, what on earth? I had a bit of a moment at the end. I kept flicking back and forth through the pdf to see if I had skipped some pages, but no. That really was the end and it was rather abrupt. (I want my happily ever afterly please. Kthnxbye)

So, sexy read with abrupt ending. Get it here from the lovely Samhain Publishing or All Romance ebooks.

Collision Course by K.A. Mitchell

ka-mitchell-collision-course-largeI read Collision Course at the end of a seriously crappy week and it was truly a pleasure to just loose myself in this book. The characters were compelling and the writing was tight and flowed beautifully. I can honestly say that there were no points where I drifted off to surf the net (which I often do when I am reading. Attention span=gnat) and I was throughly entertained with Joey and Aaron’s story.

This is a drama and a lengthy one at that. I am always impressed with K.A. Mitchell’s ability to write such meaty books that don’t drag. The writing always has a point and never seems to descend into mindless page filling fluff. Yay! The premise was cool and her characters were complex and likeable. I think Joey and Aaron might have to be one of my favorite pairings in recent memory! K.A. has also slipped in some seriously cool music, so I had a ready made sound track in my head. heh. Goldfrapp ?? Woot! I wondered at the end, was the theme in Joey’s head Strict Machine? 

You might also want to read this with a fan handy as the sexual tension is off the chart. The instant and compelling attraction the boys have, that makes getting to a bed impossible, was so hot and absolutely worthy of much praise, like the Jake and Remi getting on knees scene. It wasn’t over the top, but sexy, varied and delectable.

John Ganun photographer

It was so nice to see characters from one of her previous books, Diving in Deep, which I also enjoyed. I had a few sniggers at Joey and Noah and there endless navel gazing and am now jonesing for Doctor Jae Sun Kim’s story. Please!!!!

If you’re still not rushing off with credit card at the ready, perhaps the prequels over at K.A. Mitchell’s blog might convince you that this is must read material, or you can get the goodness at the Samhain site. Gorgeous summer night reading and I cannot wait for the next one.

Check out the warning below that the book comes with…
Warning: This love story may overheat readers or the devices used to read it. Explicit male/male sex scenes involving extra penetration, toys, and spanking. 

Merow.

Diving In Deep by K. A. Mitchell.

From Samhain Publishing.

You never forget your first time. 
Cameron Lewis loves his job as an instructor/trainer for a water safety firm that inspects water parks. He gets to travel from March through September, always moving on to something different. When a strange emptiness starts plaguing him, he chalks it up to turning thirty.
He manages to shake off the feeling—until he walks into a classroom and discovers that the eye candy in the front row is actually a very grown up version of his best-friend’s kid brother. 
Noah Winthrop never forgot his first time. Scary, painful and then absolutely amazing—and with Cameron, the guy he’d always wanted. He’s had a crush on his brother’s best friend since puberty and now nothing will keep him from finally getting Cameron Lewis to notice him. 
Even though Cameron once rejected him, Noah is determined to get it right this time.

The first time, everyone remembers. There can only be one and I think this was what initially drew me into the story. The first time for Noah and Cam is so hot and real. And, it was not all candies, hearts and flowers. You could understand where Noah was at. That whole scary out of control feeling he has that comes with having sex and being that close to another person. He wants it so badly but he is nervous and does not want to give that away and scare Cam off. OH. So. Good!

Noah has always had a crush on Cam who is his older brothers best friend. He finally gets his wish during a family wedding. But Cam leaves the next day and it is not until years later that they meet again. The chemistry is still there and Noah is determined this time not to immediately fall to his knees in front of Cam in the first hour. He is kinda successful!! 🙂 I loved how Noah still seems to retain this core of determination, he just loves Cam and always has. It appealed to my inner romantic geek. Not to say that he is a pushover because Cam totally needed a boot in the ass at times. But as a character he was very appealing. 

The road to happiness does not always run smoothly for the boys though. There are the complications of family, friendships, distance and Cam’s fear of vulnerability. Cam was not always likable, due to his obtuseness but you felt for him. Maybe he needed soup?

This is the 2nd book of K. A. Michell’s that I’ve read and I liked it. A lot! It’s a hot, sexy read and well worth checking out. And, there’s swimming, you know…  mens+swimsuits=merow. How could you not want to read it?

Get the goodness here at Samhain Publishing.
Check out K. A. Mitchell’s site.

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