Wrapping up NetGalley January

NetGalley January is a wrap. Well, the thing is, January is over, and since the little snowman in the picture says it was NetGalley January, there you are. That’s it for the month.

Those of us signed up for the 2012 NetGalley Reading Challenge are just going to have to soldier on, chortling with glee at all the lovely egalleys NetGalley will be sending us through the rest of the year. Every month can be NetGalley Month.

But back to the wrap. And I must use plastic wrap, since everyone needs to be able to see what I read.

Two books came out of my NetGalley TBR pile from September and October:






In addition to The Black Stiletto, which was fascinating, I also read the start of a very neat new mystery series, The Dharma Detective. I can’t wait for The Second Rule of Ten.



I also read a couple of Regency Romances from relatively new authors that were both a little different from the usual. It’s always interesting to see authors take the standard tropes and stretch the boundaries just a little bit. Or in the case of A Lady Awakened a “lotta” bit.

I read one YA/Cyberpunk that received a lot of buzz, and from the other posted wrap-ups, it looks like I’m not the only one who read Cinder. This title was highly anticipated. (I was turned down the first time I requested it, so I replied directly to the publisher outlining my specific review qualifications and was okayed on the second go-around).

Banshee Charmer is the start of a great new urban fantasy/paranormal series from a brand-new author. The author is doing a blog tour and the book is getting a lot of very nice attention.



I liked the first book in the Dark Dynasties series, Dark Awakening,  quite a bit, so when the second book, Midnight Reckoning listed on NetGalley, I grabbed it. Definitely fun for paranormal romance fans.



And, as always, I rounded out my reading month with titles from Carina Press. The icing on my reading cake: more urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and my science fiction romance fix for the month.










I posted thirteen reviews this month on NetGalley. I did finish a fourteenth book from NetGalley, The Devil of Jedburgh by Claire Robyns. But because I reviewed it for Book Lovers Inc., I can’t post the review on my site until after the review on BLI goes live, and that’s scheduled for February 9. I also finished The Night is Mine by M.L. Buchman sometime the night of January 31, but I can’t swear whether it was before or after midnight. I know that night was his, I just didn’t keep track of how much of it! So there you have it. My tally for this NetGalley Month. It’s all good for the 2012 NetGalley Reading Challenge. And it was all good reading!

The Black Stiletto

What if you found out your mother used to be a superhero? That’s the premise behind Raymond Benson’s The Black Stiletto, and it makes for one amazing story.

When I say superhero, don’t think of the family from Pixar’s The Incredibles. It wasn’t that kind of book, and this isn’t that kind of family. Benson’s Black Stiletto is way more like a female version of the original Bob Kane Batman.

What do I mean by that? Unlike Superman, the X-Men or the Fantastic Four, Batman is an unmutated, grown on Earth, human being. Highly trained and highly skilled, and possibly obsessive-compulsive to the max, but completely human. In the original Bob Kane comics of the late 1930’s, Batman began by avenging the deaths of his parents.

The Black Stiletto also has revenge on her mind.

But the story begins with a middle-aged man named Martin Talbot reading his mother’s diaries from the late 1950’s. His mother Judy is in a nursing home in suburban Chicago with Alzheimer’s; she doesn’t recognize him, or anyone else, anymore. So her lawyer gives him a floorplan of her house which shows a secret room in the basement, and a key.

Behind that hidden door, Martin discovers a treasure-trove and a puzzle. His mother’s diaries are there, from 1958 onwards. All of the original comic books featuring the Black Stiletto, which are worth a fortune on the collectible market. Two Black Stiletto costumes. But the diaries are astounding. The diaries of his mother’s life in New York City as a young woman, when she lived over a gym and learned to fight.

Martin remembers his mother always kept in shape. There’s still a punching bag hanging in that basement. He remembers her practicing in every place they lived. He knows she lived in New York, but not with him. He was born in Los Angeles. But he never knew his father, the mysterious Richard Talbot. And reading the diaries, he realizes that he never knew his mother. But for the diaries, because of Alzheimer’s he never would.

But was she really the Black Stiletto? And was the Stiletto a hero, or a just a vigilante? Read along with Martin to find out.

Escape Rating B: What an astonishing book! Superheroes are always larger than life. To suddenly discover that one of your parents was one, how much would that rock your world? When Martin discovers that his mother was nothing like he thought she was, it makes him question the whole of his life.

The diary that Martin is reading only covers the very earliest period of Judy’s time as the Black Stiletto. Those early years do come back to haunt the present, but it’s those early years that I really want to know about. Martin has lots more diaries to read, and I’m dying to know what’s in them. Read The Black Stiletto and you will be too.