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Recently Read: Jan - March 2013
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mirole



Joined: 06 Aug 2010
Posts: 278
Location: Toronto, Ontario

PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Natalie: I share your reaction to Ellen O'Connell

I have read only her Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold so far and I asolutely loved it!

It was my first American historical, I had been wary of delving into that but I am so happy I gave it a try.

There was a lot about horses and although I am not a big fan of animals in general, if a writer is talented enough, I am riveted like here or in Jilly Cooper's Riders.

I just wish Ellen O'Connell got a major publisher deal - she so much deserves it.
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 1693

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Edge of Courage, Elaine Levine - C+

This started out rather well, with one of the most tortured heroes I've read about (his PTSD is not just a plot device here). The problem is, the author is clearly trying to setup the next books in the series, so the second half of the story lost focus because of too many new characters and POVs. The authors also writes western romance so I'll give her another chance since I've been craving them more recently.

Sarah Mayberry,
All They Need - B+
Suddenly You - A-


I've been on Sarah Mayberry glom lately. All They Need has a heroine suffering the consequences of the psychological abuse and a very sweet hero (too good to be true, but hey! a girl can dream). The brother of the heroine is a hero in Suddenly You. A chance meeting with a single mom who was dumped by his best buddy forces him to confront some unpleasant truths about himself and his friend and to, basically, grow up and take on responsibilities befitting an adult man.

I named Suddenly You as a my favorite category romance for the annual AAR poll.


Last edited by Natalie on Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Leigh



Joined: 29 May 2007
Posts: 2689

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Natalie wrote:
The Edge of Courage, Elaine Levine - C+

This started out rather well, with one of the most tortured heroes I've read about (his PTSD is not just a plot device here). The problem is, the author is clearly trying to setup the next books in the series, so the second half of the story lost focus because of too many new characters and POVs. The authors also writes western romance so I'll give her another chance since I've been craving them more recently.

Sarah Mayberry,
All They Need - B+
Suddenly You - A-


I've been on Sarah Mayberry glom lately. All They Need has a heroine suffering the consequences of the psychological abuse and a very sweet hero (too good to be true, but hey! a girl can dream). The brother of the heroine is a hero in Suddenly You. A chance meeting with a single mom who was dumped by his best buddy forces him to confront some unpleasant truths about himself and his friend and to, basically, grow up and take on responsibilities befitting and adult man.

I named Suddenly You as a my favorite category romance for the annual AAR poll.


I really liked Suddenly You too. More than All They Need. I think there was thread about it at one time. Some people were disappointed that Harry was still friends with guy but I understood it. They had years and years of friendship.

She has a self pub book, that I need to buy otherwise, I think I have read all of her Superromances.
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Islandgirl2



Joined: 14 Nov 2010
Posts: 282

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

These past months for me it's been all about Courtney Milan and Ellen O'Connel.

I mean I'm amazed that so many of my favorite authors stopped writing but now I have these two new authors to read and catch up on.

I can't believe Ellen O'Connell doesn't have a publishers deal as mentioned. I've read Beautiful Bad Man/Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold/Dancing on Coals and am in the middle of reading Sing My Name. Seriously she's a lot better than many authors that get published. Her heroes are all different. She just plain has the guts to write them honest. Take Matt Slade he's not the Union Officer but served on the Rebel side he doesn't as he says cuss and brushes the heroines hair..So different then the norm in historical romances. I mean how many authors write the hero as serving on the side that won the war. Almost always that's what's done. I just can't rave enough about her.

Courtney Milan it's The Governess Affair and Unlocked and the most recent The Duchess War. All great.
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stl_reader



Joined: 03 Aug 2011
Posts: 234
Location: Missouri

PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wallbanger - Alice Clayton

I give it a solid B. A very amusing contemporary with a cheeky young heroine.

Did I, as a baby boomer, relate to these hip young characters? Nope.

And could I have lived without body part references such as "his Hi, There!" and "my Hoohah"? God, yes.

And did I have to suspend disbelief that these folks (especially her) could be so far along in their careers, so savvy, at such relatively young ages? Or that on the night of their "meet-cute," she just happened to have run out of a clean set of her usual shorts/t-shirt pjs and so had to put on a baby doll nightie (so when she meets "him", naturally she's in sexy lingerie)? Or that she lives in San Francisco but apparently doesn't own a robe?

Yes. I did have to suspend disbelief all over the place.

BUT...the heroine was pretty sassy--I love a woman who can deliver some good zingers--and there was some very fun chemistry between H/h!

Not a perfect story, but very enjoyable and fun to read. Thanks to all of you who recommended this book!

BTW, I understand this was originally a Twilight AU fan fiction and that some folks are upset that now you have to pay for it. (I paid what, 99 cents? Cheap enough.) But the way I figure it, presumably most of the folks who follow Twilight fanfic *did* get the fanfic back when it was free, wouldn't you think? And if it has now been pulled from fanfic-dom and cleaned up and edited for sale to the masses, what's wrong with that? Is the author supposed to include a disclaimer that the story started as a fanfic? What am I missing?
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Blackjack1



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 796
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All I Ever Needed, Jo Goodman (B+) - This is the third installment from Goodman's Compass Club series that I'm working my way through. Many of the aspects of her first two books that I really enjoyed are here as well, including the romance of two attractive and appealing leads. Sophie is similar to the heroines of the first two books in that she is victimized by people in her life and in need of rescue, but as with the other two women, she is more than willing to fight back. East is a compelling hero for her. One plot twist that I greatly enjoyed was the initial premise that jump-starts their romance, which is a rumor started by a scorned ex-lover that East and Sophie are engaged. East believes Sophie to be dull and wants to rebuff her in a gentle and honorable way, only to find in the process that he's unexpectedly charmed by her. I liked that East has to come to terms with his infatuation for Sophie, and I was entertained by his comeuppance and the blows to his pride as she continuously rejects him. Sophie has a few secrets that take time to emerge, including her long unrequited love for East. I like too that she's not what she seems and that this keeps him in a constant state of imbalance. He dearly comes to regret all of his previous remarks and negative thoughts about Sophie. I have to admit though that I found this book a bit repetitive with respect to the mystery and had some difficulty at times separating it from the first two. This could also just be due to reading them too closely to each other, and so I need to space out the final installment to do each one justice. Overall though, I really like Jo Goodman and find her books very romantic.
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pwm in mi



Joined: 19 Oct 2011
Posts: 366

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski

I really enjoyed the first 3/4 of this New Adult book. Camryn, a 20 year old from North Carolina, decides to buy a bus ticket to nowhere in order to escape her life. She has had a horrible fight with her best friend, as well as a trauma from her senior year that still haunts her. The loss of the friendship puts her over the edge and she decides she needs to just get out. I really liked Camryn, an interesting mix of someone who " wants to live outside the box" yet is pretty OCD.

On the road she meets 25 yo, Texan Andrew Parish who is traveling to have a final visit with his dying father. Andrew is wonderful. Protective without being over bearing. Respectful. H was on his way to being on my list of best romantic heros EVER.

And then it happened:
SPOILER ALERT:















When Andrew and Camryn decide to have sex it is revealed that Andrew has Dominate tendencies. And of course, Camryn in her 20 year life has always longed to be dominated. REALLY, REALLY!!! I was pissed. It pulled me right out of the story. I felt it was such a 50 Shades rip off. Andrew has been avoiding having sex with Camryn, and at this point the reader is lead to believe that this is the reason. We find out latter there is another reason why he is avoiding becoming more intimate with Camryn, and I think this would have been enough. There was no need for the BDSM theme and it felt like this was an attempt to hop on the 50 bandwagon.


The end of the book felt a little rushed, and a bit soap opera-ish. I think the author could have spent more time with it.

So the first 3/4 was a solid B+ the last 1/4 D+.
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jaime



Joined: 23 Sep 2011
Posts: 528

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Painted Faces by L.H. Cosway

I enjoyed this romance about a transvestite - and you can't beat the price, It's on sale right now for $.99.
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SaltyGirl



Joined: 22 Jan 2013
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

THE EDGE OF THE EARTH by Molly Joseph (B+)

This was a really daring book..... an American ventures into an east European nation to translate some rare documents for which she is one of the few remaining speakers left. The hero is the hottie professor she meets over there. Traditional romance story develops..... but then the country decends into war, and some really, really awful things happen to the heroine.

There are warnings all over this book about "non-eroticized violence," so I think the author did as best she could to warn readers about what was coming.

The end of the book was what made it for me. The hero and heroine have to work through what happened, and I love a good meaty, emotional story. This one was VERY different, and stuck with me for days after I read it.
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pwm in mi



Joined: 19 Oct 2011
Posts: 366

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jaime wrote:
Painted Faces by L.H. Cosway

I enjoyed this romance about a transvestite - and you can't beat the price, It's on sale right now for $.99.


I've seen a lot of good reviews for this one, but hadn't pulled the trigger. I have a hard time wrapping my head around a drag queen that is not gay. I know, my bad for stereotyping.
Thanks for posting the price, that appeared to be my tipping point. It's going on my huge TBR pile, but I will give it a go.
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PWNN



Joined: 11 Apr 2010
Posts: 912

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The overwhelming majority of cross-dressers are straight - about 80%. It's a preference or fetish not a sexual orientation. Being a Drag Queen also isn't the same as cross-dressing - it goes well beyond a change of clothing - it's performance art.

Also just think of all the modern day women that would have been considered cross dressers 100 years ago. Wink
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jaime



Joined: 23 Sep 2011
Posts: 528

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pwm in mi wrote:
jaime wrote:
Painted Faces by L.H. Cosway

I enjoyed this romance about a transvestite - and you can't beat the price, It's on sale right now for $.99.


I've seen a lot of good reviews for this one, but hadn't pulled the trigger. I have a hard time wrapping my head around a drag queen that is not gay. I know, my bad for stereotyping.
Thanks for posting the price, that appeared to be my tipping point. It's going on my huge TBR pile, but I will give it a go.


He works as a drag performer but he is - like Eddie Izzard for example - a straight transvestite. There is lovely chemistry between him and the heroine. I don't want to say much about the book because I read it pretty much unspoiled and I think that added to my reading experience.
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 1693

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meredith Duran - That Scandalous Summer - B+

Another solid effort from Ms Duran. A few niggles like a relatively slow middle part and some contrivances kept it from being a DIK. I found a heroine very refreshing: she was fairly rakish (for a non-erotica historical) and even had alcohol issues. I can't think of another book with the same theme, usually only the heroes are allowed to have vices.

There's a preceding novella that's also pretty good.
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Winnie



Joined: 07 Sep 2009
Posts: 94
Location: Utica NY USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elisabeth Naughton - Wait for Me - C

Meredith Duran - That Scandalous Summer - A

Courtney Milan - The Duchess War - A-

MD & CM were great books. EN was meh!
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Blackjack1



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 796
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lessons of Desire, Madeline Hunter (A-) - Disliked the title but greatly enjoyed the book, which was nice because I have had contradictory feelings about Hunter's books. I liked The Arrangement but found myself somewhat emotionally distant from it, and I did not care much for Dangerous in Diamonds. I think this is a good example of why it can be rewarding though to continue on with an author, as Hunter is a writer that produces a wide range of quality (for me, at least). Lessons in Desire was emotionally engaging and had two wonderful protagonists in Elliot and Phaedra (great name for a woman!). This novel though is also very interesting intellectually as the conflict at the heart of the novel and the romance itself concerns feminism and whether women lose too much of themselves in the institution of marriage. I sympathized greatly with Phaedra, a product of Bohemian parents and a mother, in particular, who embraced the free love philosophy, for good and bad. Phaedra idolizes her mother and believes that feminism requires renouncing marriage as a form of ownership. There is much truth to many of the ideas here concerning the loss of women's property rights in 19th-century marriage as well as the loss of sexual equality for women in general in marriage, as studies still show today that once couples marry they tend to adopt more conservative gender roles.

Does "HEA" require marriage or can it be defined more loosely as devotion outside of legality? I'm on the fence on this issue in my own personal life. So, I sympathized with Phaedra's dilemma when she falls in love and must confront on an emotional level what it means to love someone but reject the concept of ownership and all that it means: demands for fidelity as opposed to giving fidelity freely. Hunter is dead-on here in her history of the 19th-century free love debates, and I love her historical depth in this novel. I love Elliot too, who bears the burden of being the conventional partner, steeped in aristocracy as well as holding fairly conventional beliefs about marriage and gender roles. He too must confront patriarchal ideals to understand himself better, and in order to become the lifelong partner Phaedra needs. This is one romance where the two protagonists mature, develop, and change over the course of the novel, and I appreciate that kind of hard character work Hunter puts in here. The ending surprised me and may be a bit more ambivalent than will satisfy some. Perhaps a slight tick off the grade only because I thought more than felt at times, but nonetheless, I loved it, and I feel encouraged to read more of Madeline Hunter's backlist.
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