2011, Drifting Along

 December 16, 2011

I'll keep rolling along
Deep in my heart is a song
Here on the range I belong
Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds.

Yes cowpokes, it's that time of the year again.  It's time to wave goodbye to 2011 as it sinks slowly into the west/east, whichever.   First of all, I want to thank everyone who has dropped by, even those who didn't agree with me.  And, thanks Tracy (Tracy's Place) for the reading challenge.  Another great place to hang out is over at Bookworm2Bookworm.  Special groan goes out to my writing circle - congratulations to those who made their goals and those who didn't.  (You know who you are.)  Now, for all my 2011 recaps.

The Books I Read This Year and Luved.  They were not necessarily published in 2011 and they are in no particular order.
1.  Unveiled by Courtney Milan
2.  Notorious Pleasures by Elizabeth Hoyt
3.  Scandal of the Year by Laura Lee Guhrke
4.  What I Did for a Duke by Julie Anne Long
5.  Secrets of a Proper Countess by Lecia Cornwall
6.  Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by Sarah MacLean
7.  Where Serpents Sleep by C.S. Harris
8.  Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie
9.  Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
10. A Lady's Lesson in Scandal by Meredith Duran
11. Shameless by Anne Stuart
12. The Taming of the Rake by Kasey Michaels
13. Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt

My Biggest Disappointments.  Now, before everyone gets excited, these are my disappointments.  That doesn't necessary mean they were bad books.  Doesn't mean I won't read that author again.  All it means is that for some reason, the book just didn't click with me.  In no particular order.
1.  Invitations to Ruin by Bronwen Evans
2.  The Heiress by Lynsay Sands
3.  The Heiress by Lynsay Sands, oh, I'm sorry was I being redundant?
4.  A Borrowed Scot by Karen Ranney
5.  The Reluctant Vampire by Lynsay Sands
6.  The Pleasure of Bedding a Baroness by Tamera Lejeune

Romance voices we will miss:  Beverly Barton, L.A. Banks (Leslie Esdaile), Sandra Hyatt

And welcome to the scary world of having your books read, all you Debut Authors.  Congratulations for being published!  There were some wonderful words coming from Cheryl Ann Smith, Stephanie Sloane, Bronwen Evans and Lecia Cornwall.  One book from this number especially stood out.  Lecia Cornwall, Secrets of a Proper Countess.

My Favorite Family/Series Books.
Kasey Michaels Blackthorne brothers, hunka hunka.  Loved the first, The Taming of the Rake.
Elizabeth Hoyt, the Makepeace family.  I have been totally sucked into the Maiden Lane series, which Ms. Hoyt has created and am s-o--o-o-o looking forward to Winter's story come July of 2012, although I must confess I am getting him mixed up with Courtney Milan's Smite.
Speaking of which, Courtney Milan's Turner brothers, and I actually downloaded Smite's story today!!!  Thank goodness the internet came back up!!! Unraveled.
Julie Anne Long's Eversea family in the Pennyroyal Green series.
The MacKenzie brothers, yum, from Jennifer Ashley.
And, don't forget those Rohan's, those really bad boys that Anne Stuart has created.
Sara Lindsay, I haven't forgotten the Weston's.

Covers that Caught my Eye.  Even though I don't mind the headless covers, there seemed to be an awful lot of them on the books I chose to read this year.  And, I didn't feel that any grabbed my eye. So, here are the ones that worked for me.  Loved the cover of Where Serpents Sleep by C.S. Harris; Silk is for Seduction by Loretta Chase, although those sleeves were interesting and I kept wondering what was keeping that dress up; The School for Brides by Cheryl Ann Smith, because it seemed to be almost historically accurate; loved the red/purple theme in Scandal of the Year by Laura Lee Guhrke; and, I thought When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James was different enough to make it interesting.

I don't know if this ever happens to you when you read a book, but every once in a while I become very interested in the Secondary Characters.   Sometimes one might say they almost steal the show.  This year I have a few to present to you for your rumination.  Usually, I'm not a big fan of children in romance books, but Emmy from Seducing the Governess, by Margo Maguire, was so sweet, I just loved her.  Then there is poor Lady Clara from Silk is for Seduction by Loretta Chase.  I felt so sorry for her and because of her, I was not able to root for the main couple's HEA.  She needs her own story.  Brandon - what a tortured secondary character from Shameless by Anne Stuart.  I'm hoping for a story about him and seeing as how he's a creation of Anne Stuart, he'd probably retain his angst ridden outlook.  And, then there is Daniel.  Daniel, the teenage hunk from Jennifer Ashley's, The Many Sins of Lord Cameron.  I had to keep repeating, under age, under age, under age.

From the Sublime to the Horrible...yes, there were some secondary characters that stole the show and not in a good way. There was Iris, aka it's all about me me me me, from The Sinner who Seduced Me by Stephanie Sloane.  And Prudence, you remember petulant Pru, heartless Pru, atrocious Pru from The Pleasure of Bedding a Baroness by Tamera Lejeune.  If ever a character needed to fall into the La Brea tar pit, it was rotten-to-the-core-Crabby-Appleton Prudence.

The Gus Award:  And now to those adorable, cuddly woof, meow, tweet, whineeeey characters.  There were three animals that remained in my brain long after the book was closed.  From Titus the dog's devouring of Lord Weston's coat in The Angel in my Arms by Stephanie Sloane, the foul mouthed parrot shouting words like "Codswallop" and "Stick it up her bum," from The Devilish Montague by Patricia Rice, and a pet lamb named Dinner, who follows our hero around from Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare.  All of these animals were memorable and fun to read...the winner is:  The parrot.  Any animal in a romance novel that can make me laugh out loud deserves an award.

Drum roll please...Now it is time for the Mr. Toad award.  This has been a banner year for twitchin' Timothy Toads, (see digression) but we are not here to discuss twitching toads.  No siree, we are here to reward a spectacular, orgasmic award to the most memorable Mr. Toad to hit my romance books this year!  Here are some that have been imprinted on my brain, foreverCastleford from Dangerous in Diamonds by Madeline Hunter.  Never was a guy in danger of his Mr. Toad falling off from over use then Castleford.  And, I believe he may be the first historical hero who was required to have an exam by our heroine.  This has one of the best destroying of the bed scenes and drunken reminiscences of friends and fond farewell's to Mr. Toad activities ever written.  And, who can forget Piers' "hung like a horse" Mr. Toad from Eloisa James' When Beauty Tamed the Beast.  Does he have a noodle or a log and why isn't he hung like a horse or is he?  Anthony from Invitation to Ruin by Bronwen Evans.  He's so big!  How big is he?  He's so big the heroines hands cannot go around it.  Really, how can this man do anything?  How can he walk with that thing between his legs?  Does he have wheels attached, like a shopping cart?  His stage name could be Girth Stalk!  Then there is the well-endowed Benedick from Shameless by Anne Stuart.  Oh those Rohan's!  It must be slices, it dices, the Ben-e-dick-o-matic.  Who can forget Cameron's freakishly long Mr. Toad from the The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley.  I know I couldn't; it gave me nightmares all evening.  And, the winner is...ahhh that moment my eyes beheld the magical words "hairy scrotum!"  Yes, Aiden, nothing better than that vision from Mia Marlowe's, A Knack for Trouble from the anthology Improper GentlemenCongratulations gentlemen! 

Welcome 2012...We should see the arrival of Elizabeth Elliott's book this year.  That one has been changed from The Assassin to The Dark Knight and is maybe scheduled for June of 2012.  Carolyn Jewell is expecting a historical romance or two.  Deborah Simmons has her ebook and a release of more of her back-list.  And, keep your eyes out for all those back-list being release to E's.  Of course, all my favorites will be series and old coming this year!!!


Dr J said...

What a great post!! Enjoyed all your comments. I had to think, while reading, that I would be hard put to go back and make a list of all the books I had read, loved, didn't like, etc. And the Mr. Toad awards were especially humorous. Great writing and many thanks for helping us review our own reading histories of 2011.

SidneyKay said...

Dr J: Glad you like the post.

Melissa said...

Loved the review! I had to keep checking back to remember my comments on some of the books. I'm always amazed at how you can remember the various story lines.

And the Mr. Toad awards were fabulous. I was laughing so hard and had to share with hubby.