Like my previous post, this is actually a retrospective list of what I had read the past couple of weeks:
Mistress Bride by Michelle Reid – A discussion of Reid’s books prompted me to pull out this favorite of mine. I really like how Reid uses societal constraints to keep the protags apart. She did this in the Sheik’s Chosen Bride by having the loved wife of a prince of an Arab principality leave her husband because of infertility. In Mistress Bride, the Arab Sheik is supposed to marry a nearby Arab heiress but has instead carried on a public affair with a wealthy Englishwoman. The question of why the Sheik never asked Evie to marry him before she becomes pregnant is never satisfactorily answered.
The Father of Her Child by Emma Darcy – Michael Timberlane is a famous Australian literary agent whose marriage fell apart when his flighty society wife starts flinging bits of wisdom from some Lauren Magee with whom she works. When Lauren and Michael meet each other Michael has every intention of eeking out some revenge but after one night together, Michael realizes that his conclusions regarding Lauren were wrong and that they are meant to be together. Their HEA is put in jeopardy when Lauren realizes Michael obfuscated his identity and by Lauren’s ex husband. I liked that the two had to confront their own biases conclusions about each other that they formed from other’s hearsay and accusations.
The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark – this was a decently written UF but it’s not got the romance that I like in a cross over book and because of that, I’m not compelled to read the second. Much of the story is setup as well. I’ll write a full review later this month.
Too Proud to be Bought by Sharon Kendrick – very silly story. Zara is a waitress who catches the eye of Russian Billionaire, Nikolai Komarov. She resists his advances and thus places herself in the whore category in Nikolai’s eyes. She would also be in the whore category if she accepted his advances. No winning with Nikolai. His own desire for her is blamed on her whorishness. So Nikolai arranges for Zara to be his personal waitress when he travels. She also eventually falls into his bed, thus confirming her whorishness. Somehow she becomes a whore no longer, but I wasn’t sure at which point she crossed over that line for Nikolai.
I realized I hadn’t read (or purchased) Thread of Fear and Whisper of Warning by Laura Griffin. After reading those two, I went on to re-read Untraceable, Unspeakable, and Unforgivable. I generally agree with Jayne’s reviews here. It was because of Jayne’s reviews that I read these books. She isn’t a regular reader of romantic suspense and when Snapped came to my door, I finally broke down and read her. It was great and I had to buy her backlist titles. Thanks Jayne!
Cover Me by Catherine Mann – I bought this because I wanted to read more romantic suspense. This book had 23 reviews on Amazon with an average of 4 and 1/2 stars. The story features a heroine who lives in an off the grid community in the Aleutian Islands in Alaska and a pararescue Army person. I probably won’t read another Mann story. Her writing style doesn’t appeal to me. She info dumps and overexplains all the time. At one point, late in the book, she has one pararescue guy say to the other while they are searching for explosives: “I think the explosive sniffing dogs have found something.” Plus, she was always violating the rules she had set up. I.e., no one who left the Islands could return yet when the heroine is taken off the Island, she doesn’t question that she’ll return at all. The off the grid community is comprised of about 150 people but they all have their own business and seemingly a lot of ready cash. What does an off the grid community need with cash and how do they get it if they are off the grid? Ironically, the villain in this story does everything for the love of a woman which made me think of last week’s op ed post.
In looking over my list of September book reviews, I realized that my historical reading was way, way down so I read three historicals:
One Night in London by Caroline Linden – The 1st half of the story was bit irritating because so much of the internal monologue was spent on the mental lusting between the characters. What made this so irritating, beyond the obvious, is that the hero had been jilted by a woman that he professed to love. It wasn’t until about the midway point that he began to think about his feelings of loss and betrayal. the 2nd half of the story however picked up quite a bit and I ended up liking the book much more than I thought it would. Full review here.
Whisper of Scandal by Nicola Cornick. I’ve wanted to read Cornick ever since I talked to her editor Tara Parsons at RWA this summer. I choose Whisper of Scandal because it’s an adventure book that takes place, in part, in the North Pole. The book had several three-star reviews at goodreads that read like 4 or 5 star reviews which I found baffling until I read the book. Cornick is a smart writer and she’s got great dialogue. The story was unusual but part of it wasn’t completely satisfying. I know I’ll read her again because her voice is good and her plots feature different types of characters.
In the Arms of the Marquess by Katherine Ashe. Much of the conflict in the story depends upon the hero’s willful misunderstandings of the actions of the heroine. While the prose is lovely, the hero is one of those who thinks all women are jades and whores. He seduces the heroine when she is purportedly engaged to another to prove to himself and to her that she’s just like every other woman he has bedded and who has wanted to bed him. My enjoyment of the prose wasn’t able to overcome my dislike of the way in which the angst was contrived. Full review here
The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin. I liked the world and the characters but the denouement was a let down, much like I felt the denouement disappointed in Butterfly Swords. Full review to come.
Blood of the Demon by Rosalie Lario. This is the first book I’ve read from the new publisher Entangled Press, and I liked it. My biggest problem was that the story felt short for a paranormal. It’s around 74,000 words and there definitely was room for more development of the characters. Full review here.
Mark of the Sylph by Rosalie Lario. This October release is the 2nd in the series and while it’s full of interesting and weighty ideas that are never fully explored. Much of the story is spent on the 2 characters coming onto each other and resisting each other’s advances and ultimately falling in bed. I really had to force myself to finish this one as I didn’t feel like it advanced the world that was set up in the 1st book. I’ll probably read one more in the series to see if this author is one to watch. Full review to come.
Fighting Fair by Anne Calhoun. This is a self published short story that is under 15,000 words and deals with marriage in trouble. Calhoun has a great voice and her characters feel modern and real. Unfortunately, I felt that the length of the story was too short for the subject matter. The story opens with the characters in couples’ therapy which the husband doesn’t think that they need. One of the impediments to their relationship is the husband’s work and I felt that that was too easily resolved which allows the characters to fall to bed with each other. I wasn’t convinced that their marriage troubles have been resolved and thus found the story unsatisfying. It’s more of a “it’s not you, it’s me” here, I think.