Saturday, December 24, 2011

Another Look Book Reviews 2011 "Best Of" Book Recap

Since Another Look Book Reviews focusses on all kinds of romance books from the past and the present some of my winning selections are books that have been out for years. 

For 2011 I have read a whopping 180 books! That’s 15 books a month or around 3 books a week. So how do I recap all of the amazing books I read? I decided to create a lexicon of “Best Of” in 10 different categories. So without further ado, here is my Best Of list.

Disclaimer – In regards to the snippets you are about to read, any grammatical errors are mine. None of the blurbs are copy and pasted but rather me re-typing. Errors could occur even after my careful reviews.
Also the images I used were just internet images and I have no idea who they belong to. If the images are yours and you would like credit, please contact me and I shall immediately do so.

BEST FIRST KISSSheet Music by Tibby Armstrong (read April 2011, review here)

Kyra was a music journalist and David was a rock star. The combination was powerful.   I rated Sheet Music a perfect 5 hearts and I remember months later that first anticipated kiss between Kyra and David. I find musicians to be so sexy and David was smoking hot.

“First he kissed her eyelids. One and then the other. She smiled and he breathed a laugh at her amusement.

Next he moved to the tip of her nose. It’s warm softness brushed against his lips. He inhaled the sweetness of her breath, growing harder at the anticipation of her lips against his own. No, he definitely hadn’t experienced this in a long, long time.

He swept a series of kisses over the satin of her cheek and along her jaw up to her ear where he whispered, “I want to taste you.”

Ok tease over…it just gets better and better from there.

BEST M/M – I’ll Be Your Drill, Soldier! By Crystal Rose (read May 2011, review here)

If I was to give an award for worst title, “I’ll Be Your Drill, Soldier” would also receive that award.  This book was fabulous. One of my favourites of the entire year and I just found the title cheapened the content of the book. I’ll Be Your Drill, Soldier was way more than a hot M/M erotic book. In fact, there wasn’t all that many erotic scenes at all. My favourite part of the book was when Phillip and Ryan were emailing one another while away at war. I am going to shorten this tease but you’ll get the point.

“…and slide in as deeply as I can. I’m so fucking hot for you right now I could burst. September – Just wait until September. I’m going to fuck you until you walk funny. I’ll be home, Phillip. Don’t ever doubt it.

Ryan, You know I’ve always found you and Phil insanely hot but I always kinda saw Phil as the top. That was kinda hot. Tory

Dear Ryan, Your letter has been submitted and will be out “Salute to our Troops’ Penthouse addition. Brendan

Ryan, When you check your email, make sure you are replying to the right one, and don’t click “reply to all” Patrick

Ryan, Wow. Can I just say that was the best Christmas present EVER. If you wanna write Phil another one like that please do. I’ll even forward a good heading for you. Sandy

Ryan, For fuck sakes! Ryan do me a favor…don’t ever email me again. Mark

Ryan, Wow, baby I didn’t know you were such an exhibitionist. When you get home we’ll take care of that fetish. Girls? You wanna watch? Maybe sell popcorn? Phillip

Best Deflower Scene – Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas (read Dec 2011, review here)

Oh man I love Lisa Kleypas books. I love her historicals and Devil in Winter easily got a 5 heart rating from me.  Evie and Sebastian take a carriage ride to Gretna Green in Scotland to get quickly married and then the big wedding night approached. There was a bit of delay regarding  the nighttime lovemaking because they ultimately passed out from being so tired and weary from the vigorous journey from London. Oh that’s not to say, the next morning things heated up.

“Lie still. You don’t have to do anything, my love. Let me take care of you. Yes. You can touch me if you…mmm, yes…” He purred as he felt her trembling fingers touch his gleaming hair, yhe back of his neck, the hard slope of his shoulders.
He moved lower, his hair roughened legs sliding along the insides of hers, and she realised that his face was just above the triangle of her fiery red curls. Flooded with embarrassment, she automatically reached down to cover her private area with her hand.
St. Vincent’s erotic mouth lowered to her hip, and she felt him smile against her tender skin. “You shouldn’t do that,” he whispered. “When you hide something from me , I want it all the more. I’m afraid you’re filling my head with the most lascivious ideas…you’d better take your hand away, sweet, or I might do something really depraved.”

2011 Most Memorable Story – Contentment by Margaret Ethridge (read July 2011, review here)

There are lots of books that you pick up and really enjoy reading but then once you start a new book, the previous book is all but forgotten. Not so with Contentment  by Margaret Ethridge. The story focusses on Tracy Sullivan who has been married for fifteen years and she really has it all. The great kids, faithful husband, steady job, home in suburbs but due to the petty resentments built over the years from her marriage, she is ready to pack in her marriage. She blows her oblivious husband away with this news and Contentment is all about Tracy’s struggles to find the elusive contentment.

I related to Tracy so much in this story in so many aspects. I shared Contentment with some friends at work and they were sure Margaret Ethridge wrote the story after them. Contentment is an excellent story for married women.

“Whatever confidence Tracy had when she dashed out door fled the moment the whip cord thin; I’m barely-old-enough-to-order-a-drink salesclerk started pulling baby dolls, teddies and negligees from the racks.

Tracy gawked at the displays, trying to envision prying her body into one of the scraps of fabric without the benefit of a crowbar. She caught a glimpse of herself in one of the store’s many mirrors, and her heart sank. She looked exactly like what she was: an almost forty year old woman buying lingerie in a desperate attempt to salvage her failing marriage.”

2011 Best Series Conclusion – Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning (read Aug 2011, review here)

OMG! What a series. What a series. If you haven’t read the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning, you must. Do you hear me? You must! The Fever series is not just an excellent series, it is EPIC. My words of praise are the highest I can possibly convey. The Fever series are NOT stand alones so start at the beginning with Darkfever and work your way forward. You may as well get them all in front of you because they all end of cliffhangers and you can’t breathe until you get the next book in your hand. The long awaited Shadowfever was released in 2011 and although Karen Marie Moning will continue the series with a spin off, the Fever series did draw to an end. Buy it. Now.

“He pulls me around and kisses me. "You're Mac," he says. "And I'm Jericho. And nothing else matters. Never will. You exist in a place that is beyond all rules for me. Do you understand that?"
I do.
Jericho Barrons just told me he loves me.”


“Once, long ago in her world, a sunny day in spring was her favorite, but now a sunny day in winter delights her more. It is the perfect metaphor for their love.
Sunshine on ice.
She warms his frost. He cools her fever.” 

2011 Best Book Tour Novel - Chosen by Denise Grover Swank (read Sept 2011, review here)
I host a few book tours and I provide reviews for authors that reach out to me on their own as they embark on their own personal book tours.  As such, I thought I’d make an award for a book that I didn’t find but rather, it found me. I decided to review Chosen when it was presented to me from the Bewitching Book Tours and I was not disappointed. In fact I loved it so much I reached out to the author myself and asked if she could send me book 2. Chosen is an action suspense romance that took me on a thrilling ride I didn’t want to get off.

“They’re here,” Jake whispered in the monotone he used when he saw things only he could see.
Emma grabbed their few toiletries off the stained Formica counter, tossed them in the suitcasw, and zipped it closed. Lifting the pee-stained mattress, she pulled out the gun she’s stuffed underneath and made sure it was loaded. “Let’s go.”

2011 Best Book to Bring On Smiles – Buried in Briny Bay by Bobbye Terry (read May 2011, review here)

Wow this was a tough category. I had Janet Evanovich, Julie Garwood, Jill Shalvis and Pamela DuMond all grouped together for this category. But I think the crazy sisters, Roxie and Trixie just had to come out on top. What a feel good book Buried in Briny Bay was as it kept me smiling from the first page till the last.

“Did it ever occur to you that you were going a little overboard?” Greg couldn’t help but smile. For some odd reason, her quirkiness appealed to him.

“Not really.” Roxie beamed. “I was having too much fun. I especially liked the look on the preacher’s face when I mentioned I had missed church because I was researching murdering somebody by asphyxiation. I proceeded to explain the proper method for placing a pillow over the person’s head. But first, I thought it only fair I drug the fool.”

Greg chuckled. “Now you’re kidding me, right?”

Trixie shook her head. “Dead serious, not to make a pun. She even talked to Alan, the guy who runs the auto repair about how to sever a brake line and make it look accidental. That’s my sister, the sick one in the family.”

2011 Best Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Book – Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh (read July 2011, review here)
Wow what a tough category. I don’t read a lot of Paranormal but I do love Urban Fantasy so I combined them into one category. However the books that I did read in 2011 that fell within this category was so hard to choose from. Karen Marie Moning, J.R. Ward, Patricia Briggs, Jeaniene Frost, Shayla Black and Larissa Ione were all competing for top spot.  With many of the above authors, I read their entire series back to back so I fell in love with all their stories. However, Nalini's Kiss of Snow came out on top. I just loved that book and I had been anticipating Hawke and Sienna coming together so badly. The Kiss of Snow was spectacular. 

“You have the power to tear me to pieces, to wound me so deep and true that I‘ll never recover. What Rissa‘s death did to the boy I was? You have the ability to do a thousand times worse to the man I‘ve become." 
“You’re in my every breath and every thought, intertwined so deep inside me that love’s not a strong enough word—you have my devotion, your name branded on my soul, my wolf yours to command. A hundred years? It’ll never be enough. I want eternity.”

“She blew out a breath between gritted teeth. “Sometimes I really want to”—a frustrated sound—“bite you!”
He froze. “I might let you.”
“I won’t do it if you’d enjoy it.” 

2011 Best Contemporary Romance Book – The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis (read Dec 2011, review here)
I could have made this category best Contemporary Series and it would still would have won. In The Sweetest Thing I was romantically swept away to a town with characters I fell in love with. Ford was the kind of hero that I have been waiting to have been written for a long time. I love a man that has humour and is oh so sexy. It is such a hard combo to pull off and Jill Shalvis did effortlessly.

“I’m maybe, possibly a little drunk,” he said, and shock reverberated through Tara. Ford wasn’t a drinker…

“So this superhero thing,” he went on. “All the skills I have, you’ve already seen. I’m guessing I do okay in the body department, because you seem to like it well enough. After all, just a few nights ago you were licking my –“

At this point, there seemed to be a scuttle with the phone, and Tara could hear Sawyer in the background saying, “Just hang up man, or I’ll do it for you and consider it a public service.”

“Back off,” came Ford’s voice, and then another tussle. “Some people have no fuckin manners,” he said, slurring slightly. “I want to know that if I could be your superhero, I totally would. But there’s no way my ass is gonna wear a pair of tights, not even for you.” He paused thoughtfully. “I could do sex slave, though. That seems like a fair trade, right?”

2011 Best Historical Romance – Ransom by Julie Garwood (read March 2011, review here)
I think 2011 was year of the historical romance novels for me. I am pretty sure out of the entire romance genre, the historicals were the ones I focussed on the most. I just love them. 2011 was also the year I discovered Julie Garwood. I am addicted to her writing style and I had almost read every historical book she wrote this year. I only have a few left. Now I just want to savour them because I know I am running out. Ransom was my favourite of the bunch if not my most favourite book of the year. 

“Every man has a weakness!” he patiently explained. “I'll find theirs, I promise you.”
“Every man?”
“Yes,” he answered emphatically.
“What is your weakness, Brodick?” she asked.


“She couldn't believe what she did then. Before she could stop herself, she leaned up on tiptoes, put her arms around his neck, and kissed him on the mouth. Her lips brushed over his for the barest of seconds, but it was still a kiss, and when she came to her senses and dared to pull away and look at him, he had the most curious expression on his face.

Brodick knew she regretted her sponatenity, but as he stared into her brilliant green eyes, he also knew, with a certainty that shook him to the core, that his life had just been irrevocably changed by this mere slip of a woman.” 

Well I hope you enjoyed my recap and my choices. It was so hard to pick them out. As always thank you for stopping by. Here's to a wonderful 2012. 


Julie said...

I love how you did this! And this, once again, is reminding me how much I have to read Jill Shalvis!!! :)

Unknown said...

Thanks Julie! I cant wait to read yours.