Thursday, December 8, 2016

MINI-REVIEWS: November 2016 (Part 2)


Saving Grace
Saving Grace by Julie Garwood
Historical Romance
Dutton --1993

RATING: 4 STARS

When Lady Johanna learned that she was a widow, she vowed she would never marry again. Only sixteen, already she possessed a strength of will that impressed all who looked past her golden-haired beauty. Yet when King John demanded that she remarry -- and selected a bridegroom for her -- it seemed she must acquiesce, until her beloved foster brother suggested she wed his friend, the handsome Scottish warrior Gabriel MacBain.

At first Johanna was shy, but as Gabriel tenderly revealed the splendid pleasures they would share, she came to suspect that she was falling in love with her gruff new husband. And it was soon apparent to the entire Highlands clan that their brusque, gallant laird had surrendered his heart completely. But now a desperate royal intrigue threatened to tear her from his side -- and to destroy the man whose love meant more to her than she had ever dreamed!


I have been craving a medieval-set romance for awhile and was happy to find this book in a used bookstore especially since I know how much Quinn loves it.  For me, Johanna is the star and the main reason why I could see myself re-reading it.  I just loved seeing her develop into a confident young woman who ultimately ends up saving the day herself.  Gabriel was appropriately alpha for the setting, but I liked the fact that he wasn't a jerk.  His devotion to his clan and Johanna was nice to read about.  I also thought it was interesting that I grew to like Gabriel as Johanna did.  I thought the clan issues were intriguing and provided a nice background to the romance.  As expected from Julie Garwood, the writing is beautiful and, while the pace is slow, it works well for the characters and the situation. 

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The Engagement Game (49th Floor, #3)
The Engagement Game (49th Floor #3) by Jenny Holiday
Contemporary Romance
Entangled Publishing --October 2015

RATING: 4.25 STARS

The black sheep of the old-money Rosemanns, advertising executive Marcus has made his own way in the world—and done extremely well for himself—but his family is still pressuring him to join their investment firm and settle down with a quiet, unobjectionable girl.

Which is why the sexy Rose Verma is the perfect date for his family’s charity ball. A bleeding-heart lefty from the wrong side of the tracks, Rose has never met a stray dog she didn’t love or a polka-dotted mini-dress she couldn’t rock. Marcus has enough dirt on Rose to “convince” her to play along. And if he lets it slip that they’re engaged, all the better.

But all’s fair in love and blackmail, and Rose is ready to play a few cards of her own…


I love pretend relationship romances and this was a good one.  Rose was a fantastic heroine who is competent, intelligent, and someone I would love to have as a friend.  I thought her character development was well-paced and worthy of her awesomeness.  Marcus took some getting used due to the fact that alpha/billionaire heroes aren't my thing, but he showed himself to be a genuinely nice guy who just needed some lightness in his life.  I loved the utilization of animals to showcase each character's true feelings.  The writing was a sharp and funny as I have come to expect from Jenny Holiday.  Discovering her books has been a highlight of my 2016 reading experience.

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A Rake's Guide to Seduction (Reece Family Trilogy, #3)
A Rake's Guide to Seduction (Reece Family Trilogy #3) by Caroline Linden
Historical Romance
Zebra -- 2008

RATING: 4 STARS


Anthony Hamilton is the most scandalous man in London, a gambler, a fortune hunter, an infamous rake. Celia Reece is sure he's never had one thought of her, except as his friend David's younger sister. Who would ever guess she's the only woman he's ever loved—and can never have…


I found A Rake's Guide to Seduction to be an entertaining and sweet historical romance.  The hero, Anthony, is a misunderstood rake who has been in love with his friend's sister for years.  There is so much catnip for me in that sentence and that is the main reason I read this.  Besides Anthony's plight, I also enjoyed reading about Celia's development from spoiled debutante to loyal, mature widow.  This is a couple that works best because they have both had time to grow up and become better people.  Also, huge bonus points for the house party aspect!  I do wish that there hadn't been the random danger moments towards the end because the romance did not need that external conflict.  Another successful book from Caroline Linden!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

2017 TBR CHALLENGE: Sign-Up Post

 
Hosted by Wendy the Super Librarian

What is the TBR Challenge?

Once a month participants pulls a long-neglected book out of their TBR (To-Be-Read) piles, read it, and provide "commentary" on that book on the 3rd Wednesday of the month. Commentary on your chosen read can happen anywhere online: your blog, Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads etc. You can sign up here.

Commentary "due dates" and themes for 2017 are below:
January 18 - We Love Short Shorts! (category romance, short stories, novella etc.)
February 15 - New-To-You Author
March 15 - Comfort Read (Favorite Author? Favorite Trope? Favorite Sub Genre?)
April 19 - Contemporary
May 17 - Something Different (outside your comfort zone, unusual setting, non-romance etc.)
June 21 - Favorite Trope (a favorite theme - amnesia? secret baby? fairy tale? friends-to-lovers? etc.)
July 19 - Series Catch-Up (a book from a series you're behind on)
August 16 - Kicking It Old School (publication date 10 years or older)
September 20 - Historical
October 18 - Paranormal or Romantic Suspense
November 15 - Recommended Read (a book recommended to you by someone)
December 20 - Holiday Themes


For my reading challenges, I always like to create a preliminary list of books that I want to complete. I usually like to look back at the end of the year and see how accurate my predictions were.  For this particular challenge, I am going to list out a few possibilities for each theme.

January 18 - We Love Short Shorts! 
  • The Warlord and the Nightingale by Jeannie Lin
  • Be Not Afraid by Alyssa Cole
  • How to Catch a Wild Viscount by Tessa Dare
February 15 - New-To-You Author
  • Tiffany Girl by Deanne Gist
  • Cotillion by Georgette Heyer
  • Rock Chick by Kristen Ashley
March 15 - Comfort Read 
  • The Season by Sarah MacLean
  • A Change of Heart by Sonali Dev
  • Rock Wedding by Nalini Singh
    April 19 - Contemporary
    • Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Laurens
    • Anyone But You by Jennifer Crusie
    • The Marriage Contract by Katee Robert
    May 17 - Something Different
    • Paris in Love by Eloisa James
    • Where Am I Now by Mara Wilson
    • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
    June 21 - Favorite Trope
    • The Wedding Journey by Carla Kelly
    • Like No Other Lover by Julie Anne Long
    • The Prince Who Loved Me by Karen Hawkins
    July 19 - Series Catch-Up 
    • Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones
    • The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
    • A Secret Affair by Mary Balogh
    August 16 - Kicking It Old School
    • The Windflower by Laura London
    • The Bride by Julie Garwood
    • Mistress by Amanda Quick
    September 20 - Historical
    • True Pretenses by Rose Lerner
    • Destiny's Embrace by Beverly Jenkins
    • Moonlight On My Mind by Jennifer McQuiston
    October 18 - Paranormal or Romantic Suspense

    • North of Need by Laura Kaye
    • Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter
    • Wicked As They Come by Delilah S. Dawson 

    November 15 - Recommended Read
    • Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron 
    • Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
    • What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss
    December 20 - Holiday Themes

    • Married for Christmas by Noelle Adams
    • Christmas Miracles by Mary Balogh
    • Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell