Donald Hardy - Lovers Knot: My first historical and surprisingly great w/ mystery and paranormal aspects to it. Thanks for this - who knows how long I would have gone without reading a historical if it weren't for your contest! : )
Heidi Cullinan - Miles and the Magic Flute: I really got sucked into this one, and was hooked up until the end, which lost a little bit of the luster for me. It was a little too happy of a happy ending, if that makes any sense? But overall what an awesome book!
J.c. Herneson - Spring of the Stag God: I probably fell a little on the generous side of things with this one because I've honestly never read anything like it. It's way past anywhere I've gone in terms of fantasy, as either a reader or writer.
Dorien Grey - The Secret Keeper: This one was tough for me, I could tell it wasn't the first book in the series and I felt like I was missing part of the longer story arc. Kinda ruined the story for me a bit. I'm pretty anal about reading a series in order...a pet peeve. : ) But the writing was top-notch.
Clare London - Blinded by Our Eyes: Even though I saw a few things coming in this mystery, I thought this was a really well written book and I genuinely cared about the main character.
Carol Lynne & T.a. Chase - Dracul's Blood: Another book who's premise was totally unique and brilliant - not at all wat I was expecting - I bumped it up a few points for that reason. : )
Michael Griffo - Unwelcome: I feel a little bad because I think the YA book suffered slightly because I hadn't read the first book in the series and I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd missed out on something. That kept the characters from feeling as close, I think. But I felt that was my issue, and not the authors fault, so I bumped that score up to an 8 from my original 7. Reading books out of order is a pet peeve - had I realized it earlier I would've had time to get the first book and read it before. That's the problem with my procrastination. Pretty bad on my part considering thecover says 'Lesson Two'! Though it's not in very big print.
Shane Allison - Nice Butt, Gay Anal Eroticism: I'm not sure judging these stories with the same criteria is a good thing, lol! Characterization and setting seemed less important and some of these shorts did better than others, but judging it from the whole isn't easy. I did find most of it...arousing? LOL! You can give it an extra point for me if you feel like that should figure into it. But I didn't really connect with characters so much as enjoyed watching them in my head, which is more like watching porn - where characterization isn't such a big thing.
Alexa Land - Feral: I enjoyed this one, it had a nice build that kept me turning the pages and held my interest. The author did a nice job with setting, taking the time to set the scene without becoming overly detailed. I enjoyed the authors ‘voice’ though there were a few character foibles here and there that seemed off and thus pulled me from the story – but I did connect to them, was able to relate to them, which was nice. So not perfect scores but overall, I enjoyed the read.
George Seaton - Saving Skylar Hand: I enjoyed this book immensely. The characters developed through childhood, into puberty and beyond and it all felt real, and I found all the characters relatable. The author has a beautiful writing style and knack for providing a sense of setting w/o needing no overkill in details - that being said, I could have personally handled a little more. But I did find myself able to see the story unfolding inside my head w/o having to work to fill in the blanks. I thoroughly enjoyed both protags. A simple story, which I can totally appreciate as well as a little bittersweet here and there, nice.
Kate Aaron - The Dead Past: I thoroughly enjoyed this novella. The author drew me completely into the setting to the point I felt like I was there. I liked the characters and wanted to continue reading in order to discover more about them. The mystery was also well plotted and kept me interested in reading more, though I felt the resolution came and was resolved a little quickly. I enjoyed this enough to go looking for the author and was happy to see there is another book available in the series. I'll be picking that up. Well done, Kate! : )
Kim Fielding - Astounding!: This was a bit of an odd book for me as it started out feeling like it was going to be one thing and then turned on a dime part way into the story. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, mind you, just an odd thing. The cover as well, made it feel like I was getting a contemporary romance only to be surprised by the sci-fi aspect, so I didn’t get the vintage pulp-mag connection right away. I enjoyed the characters and the author included enough setting details throughout most of the book that I didn’t have to work as hard filling in the blanks. As someone who has never visited Yosemite, I would have appreciated more details about the area, but that was a small thing. I did feel at times that the emotional aspect of the relationship was a teensy bit heavy-handed here and there, but I enjoyed the story overall! My first time reading this author and based upon what I read, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another book by her.
Kate Aaron - The Slave: What I appreciate most about this author, is her ability to take a subject matter that holds zero interest to me as a reader, while still managing to create characters that keep me engaged enough to continue reading in spite of that fact. There was enough setting and world-building to make the story feel real, though I confess I would have enjoyed seeing even more detail included, especially with regard to the Master’s complex considering the bulk of the story takes place there. The relationship is the plot here, one of self-discovery and in that sense, was well fleshed out, but otherwise not too complicated. Overall, I prefer this authors Puddledown Mysteries over this fantasy-based story, but like any great author, Kate managed to make this story work for me.
Lynn Kelling - Loving the Master: The characters really put this one over the top for me. I enjoyed the fact this author didn’t completely ignore setting, adding details about the world in which the characters moved around in—I could have used more of that. I could have done without some of the sex and still enjoyed the story just as much, but that is a personal taste thing. I didn’t always ‘believe’ what was happening within the story, but the characters themselves felt real to me. All in all, I’m not much of a BDSM fan and that didn’t matter in the least with this story, the characters were well-drawn and I cared what happened to them, which allowed this story transcend the BDSM subgenre ties(no pun intended) to become a really nice romance. Two thumbs up.
Jp Bowie - Every Breath I Take (All I'll Ever Need #2): "A well-written romance with enough tension to keep me reading along to discover how it was all going to turn out at the end. I would have enjoyed more detail to setting, there was enough here that I didn’t feel like I had to work the whole time I was reading, trying to imagine those details for myself but I could have used more. I realize that’s an issue within the genre as there are many readers who don’t like much or any setting details. That being said, I’m selfish and greedy, and therefore always asking for more. : ) While the characters all felt real and I became invested in what happened to them, for me, there were perhaps too many POV’s for such a short novella length book. I would have preferred less in this size word count, or perhaps a longer book to allow the reader more time with and insight into each character. This felt like a second book in a series, so perhaps there is more to be found in an earlier work. I did appreciate that while this felt like a sequel to another book, the author provided enough backstory that I never felt lost in this book. All in all, well done!"
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