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LFL



Joined: 05 May 2007
Posts: 690

PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I loved Dancing with Clara though it was certainly an angsty tearjerker and I understand why so many readers find it problematic. My favorite Balogh may be A Christmas Promise, but I waver on that.

I'm also very fond of Snow Angel, and the Dark Angel/Lord Carew's Bride/The Famous Heroine/The Plumed Bonnet series (I haven't read the last one in that series yet). Oh, and A Chance Encounter, if you can get your hands on it. I'm sure there are more. I wish more of the trads were digitized, as they are some of my favorite Baloghs.

I really need to read More than a Mistress.
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Susan/DC



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1653

PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We all have different favorite Balogh titles. I wasn't too fond of More Than a Mistress because I thought Jane was too perfect and I could not warm up to her. The emotional connection we make or don't make with books is highly personal, so it's not surprising that we all have such different reactions. I agree, however, that No Man's Mistress was not nearly as good. I kept thinking that the fact that the heroine's actions were illogical and made her more vulnerable (don't want to say too much because it's sort of a spoiler) and so made no sense to me.

I've reread The Notorious Rake, Irresistible, and The Temporary Wife many times, and A Chance Encounter is also very good. I'm also fond of A Certain Magic because I love friends-to-lovers stories and it's a prime example of how Balogh creates scary but believable villains. They don't chew the scenery or engage in skanky villain sex, but they are capable of creating misery (real or potential) for the hero and/or heroine.
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Susan/DC



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1653

PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We all have different favorite Balogh titles. I wasn't too fond of More Than a Mistress because I thought Jane was too perfect and I could not warm up to her. The emotional connection we make or don't make with books is highly personal, so it's not surprising that we all have such different reactions. I agree, however, that No Man's Mistress was not nearly as good. I kept thinking that the fact that the heroine's actions were illogical and made her more vulnerable (don't want to say too much because it's sort of a spoiler) and so made no sense to me.

I've reread The Notorious Rake, Irresistible, and The Temporary Wife many times, and A Chance Encounter is also very good. I'm also fond of A Certain Magic because I love friends-to-lovers stories and it's a prime example of how Balogh creates scary but believable villains. They don't chew the scenery or engage in skanky villain sex, but they are capable of creating misery (real or potential) for the hero and/or heroine.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4209
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LFL wrote:
I'm also very fond of Snow Angel, and the Dark Angel/Lord Carew's Bride/The Famous Heroine/The Plumed Bonnet series (I haven't read the last one in that series yet).

I read The Plumed Bonnet a couple of years ago when it was reissued. I went into it not expecting much; in fact, not expecting anything at all because of the title. Boy, was I mistaken. I loved that book. Just goes to show!
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Blackjack1



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 566
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the great suggestions as I had already been trying to search the AAR site for Balogh recommendations. I have also at the top of my list The Secret Pearl and Heartless as these both generate lots of positive responses it seems.

As far as Susan/DC's comment about Jane from MtaM being "too perfect" I can see that and did start to feel that by the end. But I enjoyed that we discover all of Jane's attributes through the hero's eyes instead of being told that she's pretty fabulous. So, we learn that she has a wonderful singing voice, reads voraciously and loves to discuss and analyze literature, embroiders beautifully, etc., as he learns all of this. I ended up feeling amused therefore because Jocelyn is so clearly perplexed and keeps asking her "who are you?" as he in his arrogance had typecasted her from the very beginning based on superficial impressions. For those who enjoy reading about the unraveling of the hero, I thought this was a great read. Okay, I'm done gushing now Smile
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LFL



Joined: 05 May 2007
Posts: 690

PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tee wrote:
LFL wrote:
I'm also very fond of Snow Angel, and the Dark Angel/Lord Carew's Bride/The Famous Heroine/The Plumed Bonnet series (I haven't read the last one in that series yet).

I read The Plumed Bonnet a couple of years ago when it was reissued. I went into it not expecting much; in fact, not expecting anything at all because of the title. Boy, was I mistaken. I loved that book. Just goes to show!


I enjoyed the The Plumed Bonnet as well. The one I haven't read yet is A Christmas Bride which I understand is related that series. It's being reissued soon in a 2-in-1 volume with A Christmas Beau.

I don't know how I could have forgotten The Temporary Wife, which Susan mentioned above. That one is wonderful, though the premise requires a little suspension of disbelief.
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stl_reader



Joined: 03 Aug 2011
Posts: 212
Location: Missouri

PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finally got around to reading The Secret Pearl and actually did not enjoy it as much as I liked A Precious Jewel. Both stories for me had very strong and very weak points, and both had me imagining scenarios of the H/h's HEA long after the books had gone back to the library. I just thought APJ was a little better and a little more interesting.

BTW, I recommend that anyone planning to read A Christmas Bride read A Precious Jewel first. The heroine of A Christmas Bride is the stepmother of the hero in A Precious Jewel, and the events of A Precious Jewel are significant to the story line in A Christmas Bride. I'm surprised that these two books were not packaged together for the upcoming release.
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Blackjack1



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 566
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reforming Lord Ragsdale, Carla Kelly (B/B+) - This was my first Kelly book and it's long been on my TBR shelf. It is in the end a sweet story and I appreciated the genuine friendship and care Ragsdale and Emma develop for each other. Too many romance novels revel in lust and physical attraction at the expense of expressing the companionship that sustains a romantic relationship in the long term. I also enjoyed the banter between Ragsdale and Emma as they develop their friendship and I appreciated that Kelly creates so many scenes with them together - working, relaxing, confiding. Their coming together against the odds is satisfying. This book though wasn't a DIK for me based on a few problematic issues. I was uncomfortable with Ragsdale's willingness to buy a servant and keep her indentured for most of the novel, even if this is a realistic account of the nature of indenturing political prisoners. I'm uncomfortable with an uneven balance of power between men and women in romance novels and tend to mentally reject a romance where a woman is held captive, though I recognize too that Kelly tried to minimize the impact of this by having Ragsdale "save" Emma in a card game. I also felt a little put off by Ragsdale's prejudice against the Irish, even though Kelly takes pains to write him sympathetically. He's depicted as a smart man though and I had difficulty respecting that he despised all Irish people based on his experiences with a few in a tragic wartime event. Emma to be fair has her prejudices against the English, but she's in captivity and is powerless in this society. I felt too that Ragsdale's "reformation" happens too quickly. I fully expected Emma to succeed in reforming him, based on the title alone if for no other reason, but he transitions quickly from a bigot and insensitive aristocrat to a generous benefactor of the poor and needy. I also felt strangely ambivalent about the romance here. I suppose that some of this is due to the absence of a sexual relationship. But here the romance is missing almost entirely until nearly the end of the novel. Their relationship transitions from enemies to master-servant to friendship believably enough, but the leap to romantic love happens too quickly and though I could believe it to be possible, I didn't see it develop enough. I enjoyed reading this book but wouldn't feel compelled to return to it again. And I am still curious to read more Kelly books as she has a number of well-respected ones.
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pwm in mi



Joined: 19 Oct 2011
Posts: 307

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Firelight by Kristen Callihan

This is a historical paranormal. This is an example of a book that started off great but then lost steam in the second half. AAR review was spot on (B-)http://likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/bookReview.pl?BookReviewId=8923. I think Callihan is a very good writer and the story had a very gothic feel to it. But it took way too long for H and h to get together and the mystery/paranormal story took over. I was wondering where was this writer's editor. That said I will read the next in the series as I think Callihan is a good writer with a fresh voice.
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pwm in mi



Joined: 19 Oct 2011
Posts: 307

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="angela"]Within Reach - Sarah Mayberry - A+ - This book was a complete homerun for me. Ms. Mayberry is a new to me author and wow,she has a new fan in me. I loved both h and h. So real,authentic, and at times sad.

Just finished this last night. Really enjoyed it. Mayberry has a wonderful way of making her characters so easy to identify with. I kept thinking these could be people who live in my neighborhood. It's refreshing to see adult character behave like adults.
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Blackjack1



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 566
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Always a Scoundrel, Suzanne Enoch (B) - This was a fun book and I had trouble grading this as just a good book or a really good book because it has elements of both. I especially enjoyed the dynamic between the hero (aka, the Scoundrel) and the villain, who is a true Villain. Cosgrove, the villain, is a handsome, charismatic rake, and a thoroughly despicable man who manipulates and ruins people for the sheer pleasure of it. The Scoundrel and our hero, Bramwell Johns, is a sheep in wolf's clothing, just waiting to meet the woman who can reform him. Rosamund is caught between the two men and not by choice. Her family is marrying her off to Cosgrove at the start of the novel to help pay off her irresponsible younger brother's gambling debts to him, and Cosgrove leaps at the chance to acquire a moral young woman to corrupt and torture. Bramwell surprises himself by getting involved in trying to save the hapless Rosamund, and that is essentially the plot of this interesting dynamic. I enjoyed the cat and mouse game, but unfortunately from a romance perspective, I think I enjoyed the dynamic between the two men more than the romance between Rosamund and Bram. Rosamund is just not nearly as interesting as the male characters and so it's never really clear for me why both men strive so hard to get her. Enoch also relies a bit too much for my liking on elusive chemistry to explain why Rosamund and Bram fall in love rather than portraying a gripping romance. This novel is not as good as London's Perfect Scoundrel, which has a similar storyline but doesn't lose sight of the central dynamic between the hero and heroine.
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Kayne



Joined: 31 Mar 2007
Posts: 859

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="pwm in mi"]
angela wrote:
Within Reach - Sarah Mayberry - A+ - This book was a complete homerun for me. Ms. Mayberry is a new to me author and wow,she has a new fan in me. I loved both h and h. So real,authentic, and at times sad.


My favorite of hers is Her Best worst Mistake. I was a little wary to read Within Reach because it sounds like it could be sad. I just finished Suddenly You and it had a sad tone to it in the beginning but lightened up. Harry is such a nice guy.
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angela



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 105

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kayne wrote:


My favorite of hers is Her Best worst Mistake. I was a little wary to read Within Reach because it sounds like it could be sad. I just finished Suddenly You and it had a sad tone to it in the beginning but lightened up. Harry is such a nice guy.


I really loved Within Reach. It just felt so real to me. I could identify with both of the characters,having lost people in my own life that meant everything to me. So I could understand the guilt and hesitation with moving on. But there was hope and some really great moments, so I never felt dragged down with the sadness. I would give it a shot if you can ever work yourself up to it.

I'll soon be reading both of those books. I bought a TON of Sarah Mayberry books at the UBS. Trying to space it out, so I don't get an overload Smile

pwm in mi wrote:


Firelight by Kristen Callihan

This is a historical paranormal. This is an example of a book that started off great but then lost steam in the second half. AAR review was spot on (B-)http://likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/bookReview.pl?BookReviewId=8923. I think Callihan is a very good writer and the story had a very gothic feel to it. But it took way too long for H and h to get together and the mystery/paranormal story took over. I was wondering where was this writer's editor. That said I will read the next in the series as I think Callihan is a good writer with a fresh voice.


You and I must have similar tastes in books,because I felt the exact same way over Firelight. It started out so good and then somewhere in the middle just started to fizzle out. I haven't even finished the last 50 pages of the book, I felt bored and just uninterested. Though I might skim it before I read moonglow. I really feel the author has talent but the pacing killed it. So I'm hoping Moonglow is better paced.

The Admiral's Penniless Bride by Carla Kelly - Overall I loved this book. I loved the Admiral *sigh* . A hero with a hook? A hero in his 40's? LOVED IT. My only quibble is the ending. I think most people might agree with me on that. I think the reviewer mentioned that also. Though my frustration isn't just over the hero's actions toward the end, I also felt annoyed by the heroine and what she did. I won't go into it too much because I don't want to say any spoilers. Lets just say I gave my husband an earful of ranting Wink.

Her Best Friend by Sarah Mayberry - Again Ms. Mayberry wrote a great romance with likeable characters. I adore the friends to lovers trope. So this was right up my alley.
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pwm in mi



Joined: 19 Oct 2011
Posts: 307

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

angela wrote:
Kayne wrote:


My favorite of hers is Her Best worst Mistake.






You and I must have similar tastes in books,because I felt the exact same way over Firelight. It started out so good and then somewhere in the middle just started to fizzle out. I haven't even finished the last 50 pages of the book, I felt bored and just uninterested. Though I might skim it before I read moonglow. I really feel the author has talent but the pacing killed it. So I'm hoping Moonglow is better paced.

The Admiral's Penniless Bride by Carla Kelly - Overall I loved this book. I loved the Admiral *sigh* . A hero with a hook? A hero in his 40's? LOVED IT. My only quibble is the ending. I think most people might agree with me on that. I think the reviewer mentioned that also. Though my frustration isn't just over the hero's actions toward the end, I also felt annoyed by the heroine and what she did. I won't go into it too much because I don't want to say any spoilers. Lets just say I gave my husband an earful of ranting Wink.

Her Best Friend by Sarah Mayberry - Again Ms. Mayberry wrote a great romance with likeable characters. I adore the friends to lovers trope. So this was right up my alley.


We must have similar taste because Her Best Worst Mistake is probably my book so far of 2012!!! Have your read Hot Island Nights. This was the story of her best friend who went to down under. I haven't gotten to it yet.
Please post your thoughts about Moonglow, as I have a ton on my TBR pile and it will be a while before I get to it.

By the way, I also enjoyed Carla Kelly's The Admiral's Penniless Bride. I think in someways Mayberry is similar to Kelly as they both write about everyday people, separated by a few centuries of course.
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Leigh



Joined: 29 May 2007
Posts: 2689

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="pwm in mi"][quote="angela"]
Kayne wrote:


My favorite of hers is Her Best worst Mistake.




While it is not out yet, I am really looking forward to Sarah Mayberry's The Otherside of Us.

Here is the blurb:

he making of a good neighbor
The best thing between Oliver Barrett and Mackenzie Williams is a fence. Ever since Oliver's new-neighbor gestures were met with unfriendly responses, he's decided to keep his distance. After all, he's in this seaside town to get his life on track again. That doesn't include working hard to get on Mackenzie's good side-no matter how intriguing she may be.

His intentions are put to the test, however, when his dog becomes infatuated with hers. The two crafty canines do their best to break down the barriers between the properties. And where the dogs go...well, the humans must follow! It doesn't take long for a powerful attraction to build between Oliver and Mackenzie. They soon discover that the worst of first impressions can lead to the best possible outcomes....

This is due out around the 2nd of Jan 2013.
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