Book Number: 36
Title: Ask Graham
Author: Graham Norton
Amazon Synopsis: Graham Norton is not only a hilarious and fearless television host but a weekly agony uncle, advising readers of the Telegraph on a weekly basis. Here, his witty, entertaining, helpful responses are collected for everyone to benefit from his words of wisdom. With a new foreword by Graham and many responses updated since they first ran in the newspaper, this book of inimitable advice covers a range of subjects, including ungrateful spouses, errant partners, failing relationships, problems in the workplace, and social etiquette. Each perfectly pitched response includes just the right mixture of sound advice, humor, and, occasionally, reprimand.
My Thoughts: Graham Norton makes me laugh. I love his TV show, so I thought I’d try the book. I expected snarky advice and humor. But I didn’t expect genuinely good, caring advice, and he doles that out as well.
Book Number: 37
Title: Sutcliffe Cove
Author: Ariel Tachna & Madeleine Urban
Dreamspinner Synopsis: Seeking first-time riding lessons in the rolling hills of Connecticut, Gerald Saunders is pleased to discover Sutcliffe Cove. The current proprietor, Brett Sutcliffe, welcomes the beginner, and Gerald quickly finds a home away from home at the farm as he spends more and more time volunteering there. Over the course of a few months, Gerald and Brett build a strong friendship, but it’s not until Gerald is off on vacation that the two men realize their friendship could be so much more … sexually satisfying, emotionally intimate, or even warmly loving. But Gerald is so laid back, Brett just isn’t sure what to do next. Move forward and deepen their relationship? Or back off and just be friends with benefits?
My Thoughts: I took horseback riding lessons when I was little, so I have a soft spot for stories where people learn to ride. The people in this book are a little too good to be true, but it’s still enjoyable.
Book Number: 38
Title: A Summer Place
Author: Ariel Tachna
Dreamspinner Synopsis: Overseer Nicolas Wells had been coming to Mount Desert Island for ten summers to help build cottages for the rich and powerful. Despite his secrets, he had grown comfortable in the peaceful little island town, getting to know its inhabitants and even to consider some of them friends. The eleventh year, however, he arrived to startling news: the island’s peace had been shattered by a murder. At the request of the sheriff, Shawn Parnell, Nicolas agreed to hire Philip Hall, the local blacksmith and the probable next victim, in the hope that the secure construction site would be safer than his house in the village. He never expected the decision to lead to danger. Or to love.
My Thoughts: This historical romance includes some mystery — who is really after Philip? — along with the love. It also deals with homophobia and having to hide who you love. I liked this one a lot.
Book Numbers: 39-42
Title: Love Means … Courage, Love Means … No Shame, Love Means … No Boundaries, Love Means … Freedom, Love Means … No Fear, Love Means … Healing
Author: Andrew Grey
Dreamspinner Synopsis for Love Means … No Shame: Geoff is in the city, living the gay life to the hilt, when his father’s death convinces him to return to the family farm. Discovering a young Amish man asleep in his barn, Geoff learns that Eli is spending a year away from the community before accepting baptism into the church. Despite their mutual attraction, Geoff is determined not to become involved with him, but Eli has discovered that Geoff shares his feelings and begins to court him, neatly capturing first Geoff’s attention and then his heart. Their budding relationship is threatened by closed-minded, gossipy relatives and the society at large, a whole new world to Eli, and he must decide whether to return to the community, his family, and the world and future he knows or to stay with Geoff and have faith in the power of love.
My Thoughts: This series of books centers on a family and the people they connect with, and the people they connect with, and the people they connect with … It’s like a Faberge commercial. All the characters are extraordinary in some way, but they’re still likeable, and I found myself enjoying their adventures and pleased when they found love.
Book Number: 43
Title: Nothing Ever Happens
Author: Sue Brown
Dreamspinner Synopsis: Andrew’s life is a cliché: he’s a gay man trapped in a loveless marriage, thanks to his religious, overbearing mother. Then a new couple moves in down the street, and Andrew finds himself falling for Nathan in a big way. Nathan is straight, married, and just about to be a father, but after one fateful night out together at a club, Nathan has to face the fact that his feelings for Andrew go way beyond that of a friend and neighbor. When Andrew’s wife asks for a divorce, both men’s lives are thrown into disarray. Arguments about their responsibilities to their wives and children, doubting themselves and each other, and some harrowing lies pull them apart … but they never leave each other’s thoughts.
My Thoughts: Coming out is never easy — especially with a bitch of a mother. Andrew did the best he could. And in the end, he was true to himself.
Book Number: 44
Title: Not Alone
Author: Sonja Spencer
Dreamspinner Synopsis: Andy Parker moves to a small town on a lake to start over after a bad breakup. The big drawback? He’s alone with no prospects for romance. He meets Eddie Ferguson at the local grocery and strikes up an easy friendship, but the divorced man isn’t really Andy’s type. Still, a friend is a friend—and when Mr. Oblivious Eddie says, “So use me,” Andy’s imagination goes wild. But will trying for more risk any chance of a friendship?
My Thoughts: Yes, it totally will. No, actually, it won’t. All people looking for love should be so lucky when they go to the grocery store.
Book Number: 45
Author: Zahra Owens
Dreamspinner Synopsis: Jonas Hunter is a high-class body for hire with a small, exclusive, mostly male clientele who pay big bucks for his undivided time and attention. Discretion is Jonas’s middle name—he can play his role to the hilt for the client’s benefit and at the same time disappear seamlessly into a crowd, safely anonymous. He’s persuaded to take on a new client who is everything he despises in a man: the effeminate, tantrum-throwing, attention-seeking bad boy of Paris haute couture named Nicky Bryant. Nicky’s shows are outrageous and always good for a front cover, and his appearance never fails to turn heads. But Jonas soon learns Nicky is a carefully maintained façade himself. As a fiery attraction grows, Jonas and Nicky have to find a way to walk the tightrope between their public and private personas. They’ll need to learn to love and trust each other around the other people in their lives if they’re going to share their hearts.
My Thoughts: The first chapter was pretty good, so I bought the book. The rest of it … not so much.
Book Number: 46
Title: Just Guys
Author: B.G. Thomas
Dreamspinner Synopsis: When a new couple moves in next door, the two gay men capture Grant’s fascination immediately. Mark and Tony are guys, just guys, and clearly in love. Grant finds it appealing enough that he begins to question not only his marriage of twenty years but also the direction of his entire life.
My Thoughts: I’m a sucker for I’m-married-to-someone-of-the-opposite-sex-but-I’m-really-gay books.
Book Number: 47
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Amazon Synopsis: When Anita Blake meets with prospective client Tony Bennington, who is desperate to have her reanimate his recently deceased wife, she is full of sympathy for his loss. Anita knows something about love, and she knows everything there is to know about loss. But what she also knows, though Tony Bennington seems unwilling to be convinced, is that the thing she can do as a necromancer isn’t the miracle he thinks he needs. The creature that Anita could coerce to step out of the late Mrs. Bennington’s grave would not be the lovely Mrs. Bennington. Not really. And not for long.
My Thoughts: I really loved the early Anita Blake books — before the books turned into sex, sex, and more sex. I’ve got nothing against sex, but I’d like a little plot every now and then. Flirt gave me that plot. Anita was actually out there raising zombies! May Laurell continue on in this manner.
Book Number: 48
Title: Gideon’s Sword
Author: Preston & Child
Amazon Synopsis: At twelve, Gideon Crew witnessed his father, a world-class mathematician, accused of treason and gunned down. At twenty-four, summoned to his dying mother’s bedside, Gideon learned the truth: His father was framed and deliberately slaughtered. With her last breath, she begged her son to avenge him. Now, with a new purpose in his life, Gideon crafts a one-time mission of vengeance, aimed at the perpetrator of his father’s destruction. His plan is meticulous, spectacular, and successful. But from the shadows, someone is watching. A very powerful someone, who is impressed by Gideon’s special skills. Someone who has need of just such a renegade. For Gideon, this operation may be only the beginning …
My Thoughts: I’m a Preston & Child fan, but this isn’t up to their usual standards. And *S*P*O*I*L*E*R**A*L*E*R*T* Gideon is supposed to be dying within the year. How long can the series possibly last?
Book Number: 49
Title: Fantasy in Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Amazon Synopsis: It is the most puzzling case Eve Dallas has ever faced: the founder of the computer gaming giant U-Play is found decapitated in his locked, private playroom. And now Eve and her team are about to enter the next level of police work, in a world where fantasy is the ultimate seduction-and the price of defeat is death…
My Thoughts: This locked room mystery kept me guessing for a while. In fact, I was sure the wrong person was the bad guy until close to the end.
Book Number: 50
Title: Gallows View
Author: Peter Robinson
Amazon Synopsis: Former London policeman Alan Banks relocated to Yorkshire seeking some small measure of peace. But depravity and violence are not unique to large cities. His new venue, the quaint little village of Eastvale, seems to have more than its fair share of malefactors, among them a brazen Peeping Tom who hides in night’s shadows spying on attractive, unsuspecting ladies as they prepare for bed. And when an elderly woman is found brutally slain in her home, Chief Inspector Banks wonders if the voyeur has increased the intensity of his criminal activities. But whether related or not, perverse local acts and murderous ones are combining to profoundly touch Banks’s suddenly vulnerable personal life, forcing a dedicated law officer to make hard choices he’d dearly hoped would never be necessary.
My Thoughts: This is the first Inspector Banks novel, and I will definitely continue on with the series. I liked the fact that he was involved in multiple cases. It as also nice to have someone in charge who wasn’t depressed or an alcoholic or struggling with his wife and family.
Note: I read these books for Bookalicious Babe’s 100 Book Challenge for 2011.
Photo by *0* PrincessCCCC