Meet Reviewer Lea Hensley
About Me Personal Reading Tastes

I have loved to read since childhood. Some of my best memories, as early as age 7, are those of being tucked away reading the latest books from my weekly trip to the library. Reading has always been much more important than TV and a required activity for my busy life since it forces me to slow down.

The first romances that made a large impression on me were Christie by Catherine Marshall and The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye in the 1970s. I left romance reading far behind after overindulging in Rosemary Rogers books in the late seventies. I still read profusely but concentrated on non-fiction, Tom Clancy type novels, the latest Pulitzer Prize winner, or a book of straight history text.  I turned away any time I saw one of those torrid romance covers and didn’t read a single romance until 2001 when I accidently purchased Dream of Me by Josie Litton thinking it was pure historical fiction.  And, wow, was it ever an eye-opener! I had finally discovered the truly wonderful, in-depth world of romance and there has been no turning back for me.  Romance is solidly my first love for reading.

I live in northeast Oklahoma with my husband, an English bulldog named Spencer, and my ever favorite cat Dickens. I have enjoyed a lot of variety in my life. I was a stay-at-home mom for 9 years, a banker for 13 years, and owned a decorative accessories store for a number of years before choosing to stay at home.  My biggest love is floral gardening, and I have grown and preserved (dried) flowers for over twenty years. 

What I'm a sucker for in a book: Alpha males, mature leads who clearly communicate, longer books (at least 350 pages), captive/capturer stories, cabin romances, the hero’s comeuppance, mistresses, pregnancy, a confident, emotionally healthy hero, and former lovers reuniting and trying again.

What I don't particularly care for in a book: Thieves, romantic suspense, smart alecks, women masquerading as boys, easily avoided misunderstandings, amnesia, marriage in name only, and heroines under 20.

What drives me absolutely nuts in a book: Dishonesty, mouthy heroines, the Big Misunderstanding, TSTL heroines, torture, violence, exaggerated evilness, and groups of girlfriends sitting around talking about men.

Favorite Romance Novels Favorites by Sub-Genre

Absolute Favorites

Keeper of the Dream by Penelope Williamson
Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Favorite Classic

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Favorite Romance Authors

All-Time Favorite Romance Authors

Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Lisa Kleypas
Linda Howard
Judith Ivory
Penelope Williamson

Best Discovery/Buried Treasure Authors

Kate Lyon
Sherry Thomas

My Biggest Glom

Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Lisa Kleypas
Linda Howard

 

Medieval:

Keeper of the Dream by Penelope Williamson
By Possession by Madeline Hunter

European Historical:

Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught
Broken Wing by Judith James
His Every Kiss by Laura Lee Guhrke
Sleeping Beauty by Judith Ivory
Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas

Frontier or American Historical:

The Passions of Emma by Penelope Williamson
Surrender by Pamela Clare

Contemporary:

Remember the Time by Annette Reynolds
It Had to Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James
See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson

Category:

Duncan's Bride by Linda Howard

Alternate Reality:

Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward
Kiss of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning
Son of the Morning by Linda Howard

Favorite Characters Favorites by Plot Type

Favorite Hero

Iain MacKinnon, Surrender by Pamela Clare
Raine the Black Dragon, Keeper of the Dream by Penelope Williamson
Dan Calebow, It Had to Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Phin Tucker, Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie
Wyatt Bloodsworth, To Die For by Linda Howard

Favorite Heroine

Sophie Dempsey, Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie
Claire Fraser, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Annabelle Granger, Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Amanda Briars, Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas

Most Tortured Hero

Zsadist, Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward

Strongest Heroine

Claire Fraser, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Favorite Couple

Jamie and Claire Fraser, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Raine the Black Dragon and Lady Arianna, Keeper of the Dream by Penelope Williamson
Zsadist and Bella, Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward
Dan Calebow and Phoebe Somerville, It Had To Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Best Villain

Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent, It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas

Cabin or Road:

Her Bodyguard by Michelle Jerott
Winter Garden by Adele Ashworth
Perfect by Judith McNaught

Suspense:

Death Angel by Linda Howard
Cry No More by Linda Howard

Funny:

To Die For by Linda Howard
Indiscretion by Jillian Hunter

Sexy:

The Real Deal by Lucy Monroe
Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie
Not Another Bad Date by Rachel Gibson

Favorites by Mood

Comfort Reads:

Dream of Me by Josie Litton
Dream Man by Linda Howard
Then Came You by Lisa Kleypas

Most-Hanky Reads:

Death Angel by Linda Howard
The Passions of Emma by Penelope Williamson
Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught

Guilty Pleasure:

The Devil's Waltz by Anne Stuart
Passion by Lisa Valdez
The Maiden Bride by Rexanne Becnel

Least-Favorites

Most Disappointing Books

Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward
Beast by Judith Ivory

Worst Books

Almost a Gentleman by Pam Rosenthal
A Nerd in Shining Armor by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Most Annoying Lead Character

Delanie Eastman, Hide and Seek, by Cherry Adair

Authors I Have Given Up On

Julie Garwood
Stephanie Laurens
Nicole Jordan

Authors Others Love That I Don't

Jo Beverley
Sandra Hill
Susan Johnson
Nora Roberts
Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick

 

Non-Romance Favorites

Favorite Author

Tom Clancy
Jan Karon

Favorite Book

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

Favorite Mystery

Debt of Honor by Tom Clancy
The Chamber by John Grisham

Favorite Nonfiction

Histories of The Civil War and World War II
Works of Henry David Thoreau

Favorite Women's Fiction

The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch by Marsha Moyer
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Favorite Set of Connected Books

The Mitford Series by Jan Karon
The Jack Ryan Series by Tom Clancy

Book Most Often Reread

Books by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Books by Lisa Kleypas

 

 

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