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50-book challenge I

June 14, 2010

Some readers in groups like lesfic_unbound are participating in the 50-book challenge this year, and since I’ve reached # 50 a while ago, I thought I’d share my reading list of 2010.

The summaries are not mine; they’re from the author’s or publisher’s Web site. The comments in blue are mine.

#1 – Gerri Hill – The Scorpion

Poking a sleeping bear with a sharp stick is foolish. Marty Edwards is about to be very foolish.

Investigative reporter Marty Edwards has found her niche: cold cases. She loves pouring over old notes, hunting down long-forgotten witnesses, and digging down through the layers of an unsolved murder case. But this time, Marty is digging where someone obviously doesn’t want her. And that someone might also include the Brownsville Police Department. Why else would they assign Detective Kristen Bailey to baby-sit her?

Barely surviving two attempts on her life, Marty abandons Brownsville and the case. Danger follows her as the case turns red hot. With Detective Bailey along for protection, they race along the Gulf Coast, neither knowing who, if anyone, they can trust. The hardest part is learning to trust each other before it’s too late for their hearts–and their lives.

I like most of Gerri Hill’s novels, and this one is a good read with really interesting characters. Some parts of the plot seemed a bit unrealistic to me, but I still enjoyed this novel.

It won a well-deserved GCLS award in the category romantic suspense.

#2 – Marianne K. Martin – Love in the Balance

Accountant Connie Bradford feels her life is changing for the better. Riding high on the crest of a huge promotion, she has finally ended the unsatisfying relationship with her boyfriend. Everything is moving in logical transition. Until she meets Kasey Hollander. . .Carpenter Kasey Hollander lives a life of work-centered exclusion. Owner of a successful renovation company she hires Connie to handle her books, and the two quickly hit it off. Since her ex-lover left her hurt and humiliated, Kasey has been determined to play it safe as far as relationships go — and what could be safer than a platonic friendship with a straight woman?

A lesbian and a straight woman become friends and then fall in love. A solid romance.

#3 – Marianne K. Martin – Legacy of Love

What was it about Sage Bristo that drew women to her? Maybe it was the tall, toned body and androgynous good looks. Perhaps they liked her confidence — her movements and manner so sure and decisive. Or was it the air of mystery, the temptation of a challenge to unravel? Sage couldn’t explain the attraction, but she had certainly benefited from it, at least physically. Women would do anything for her. But never the woman she needed the most — the one woman who could lead her through the realm of desire, to the one thing she desires most.

Good novel with a strong main character. I could relate to Sage’s respect for the elderly women in her life.

#4 – SX Meagher – The Legacy

The good news is that you’ve just been given a guest house in a great gay and lesbian resort area. The bad news is that your mother, who gave you away at birth, left it to you in her will.

Noel wants to sell her gift as soon as possible. But when she makes a few trips down to Rehoboth Beach before putting it on the market she’s convinced that she’d get a much better price if she made some repairs.

Enter Toni, handywoman extraordinaire and noted ladykiller. As Noel gets more involved in repairing the house she finds she’s more interested in the renovator than the renovations. Toni is just the kind of woman who gets her motor running.

But there are so many complications: they live in different states, Toni’s in no hurry to settle down, and Noel’s still stinging from her recent breakup. But when she and Toni are alone, they can’t keep their hands off each other. Noel wishes she could just sell the place and walk away. But when she lies in bed and looks into  Toni’s eyes, she realizes just how hard that will be.

It’s not my favorite SX Meagher novel, but still enjoyable

#5 – Jordan Falconer – Knight Predator

Carlisle Crowley is a striking, beautiful vampire hell-bent on living her undead life to the fullest. The last thing she needs hanging around her is Bronwyn Hunter, a seventeen-year-old love-struck human girl. As Crowley struggles to reconcile her blood-thirsty instincts with her human past, Bronwyn proves to be an insightful and steadfast ally. When Crowley’s dark and mysterious past comes back to haunt her, the pair embark on a journey of self discovery that tests their relationship to the limit.

A vampire story. I’m sorry to say that the plot couldn’t really capture my interest. I stopped reading halfway through.

#6 – Blayne Cooper / SX Meagher / KG MacGregor – Undercover Tales

Undercover Tales is a trilogy of complimentary works penned by three authors with very distinctive styles. Stories range from melt-the-pages erotica, to humor-laced romance, to twist-filled adventure… all with a touch of mystery.

Three (or rather four) not-so-short short stories. I enjoyed Narc and Quicksand most.

#7 – Lynn Ames / Georgia Beers / JD Glass / SX Meagher / Susan Smith – Outsiders

What happens when you take five beloved, powerhouse authors, each with a unique voice and style, give them one word to work with, and put them between the sheets together, no holds barred? Magic!!

Enjoyable short stories whose main characters are “outsiders” in very different ways. I enjoyed the stories from Lynn Ames and Susan Smith best.

This collection of short stories just won a GCLS award.

#8 – Robbi McCoy – Waltzing at Midnight:

First crush, first passion, first love.

Trying to fill the empty places left by children going to college, Jean Davis decides to get out of the house and volunteer in the local mayoral campaign. It soon becomes obvious – though not to Jean – that she has a major crush on the candidate, Rosie Monroe.

Thrilled by the excitement of politics and strangely flustered every time Rosie calls on her for help, Jean has never felt more alive. Rising to every challenge with newfound passion, she surprises everyone, including her husband, by flourishing under the stress of the hard-fought campaign.

When dirty tricks by the other side damage Rosie’s reputation at the worst possible moment, Jean finally realizes that her feelings are not entirely about the thrill of the job. Two decades of doing what was expected of her are abruptly turned upside down, and she realizes she may just be in love – for the first time in her life.

A romance about two mature women. I’m usually not too fond of first person POV, but it worked for this novel. It’s a solid novel, but probably not one I’ll re-read.

#9 – Gill McKnight – Goldenseal

When Amy Fortune returns to her childhood home, she discovers something sinister in the air—but is former lover Leone Garoul stalking her or protecting her?

Amy Fortune and Leone Garoul were teenage lovers. Now, years later, Amy returns to Little Dip, the Garoul home valley to help her aunt finish a botanical project. Except Little Dip is no longer the happy place of Amy’s childhood memories. There’s something sinister in the woods. And why hasn’t Leone moved on? Why does she still dog Amy’s every move?

As more and more of the Garoul family arrive for a special hunting weekend, parts of the puzzle come together and Amy’s fears escalate as she moves closer to the truth—and the secret that has eluded her since childhood.

Not a bad story, but the character development wasn’t deep enough for me and there’s a sex scene that comes too close to being non-consensual and it’s never addressed by the characters.

#10 – Gill McKnight – Ambereye

Hope Glassy loves her job at Ambereye, Inc., despite having Jolie Garoul as her new boss.

Jolie is a moody workaholic. She is awkward, contrary, and on occasion just plain mean. Hope is hardworking, popular, and in recovery from a serious illness. She doesn’t need a bizarre boss. She doesn’t need office politics. And she doesn’t need to work over Thanksgiving either. Nevertheless, that’s what she and Jolie end up doing in Little Dip, home of the Garoul clan.

An important meeting brings them to the valley where it’s assumed Jolie has brought her chosen mate to meet her pack. Much to her consternation Jolie finds she likes this idea, but Hope has no time for romance. She is eager to get her life, health, and career back on track, nothing more. Jolie is determined to change her mind, but how does a lycanthrope woo a human? A small and super-efficient, bossy boots human at that?

I enjoyed this one much more than the first in the series, and it can be read as a standalone. The characters are better developed, and the author captured my interest from the beginning by making me curious about the characters and not revealing too much too soon. Also, there were some really funny scenes. One of the best reads of 2010 so far.

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7 comments

  1. Interesting that two involved a butch handywoman. I read and reviewed a third: A Field Guide to Deception by Jill Malone (Bywater Books), which won the Lesbian Romance Lammy this year.

    It’s interesting that you found the second book in a series (Gill McKnight) more solidly developed than the first where the world-building normally is done.

    So far it’s an intriguing list, Jae. I look forward to the rest of your half-year fifty.


    • Hi Lara,

      you mentioned before that you review novels. Do you have a link to your reviews?


      • I freelance, which means I don’t post regularly, but I have reviews in the Boston Bi Women’s Network newsletter pretty much every issue for the last four or five. I have also had several reviews posted to the Lambda site. I also post at Out in Print, though they refused to post my most recent one.

        The Field Guide to Deception review is at Lambda’s site: http://www.lambdaliterary.org/reviews/fiction/05/04/a-field-guide-to-deception-by-jill-malone/


  2. I enjoyed Ambereye as well – it’s one of the few books that I reread within a short time. And yes, Gerri Hill is almost always a winner.
    Please continue 🙂


    • I reread parts of Ambereye too. The office chair scenes were hilarious 🙂


      • … and not so far away from real office life 😉


  3. […] when it comes to reading fiction, those numbers have declined a bit. In 2011, I read a total of 79 novels. Still not bad, but it was more in the […]



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