If you don't dig past the surface, I had a productive reading month in October. 12 books! Um yeah, if you pick up a shovel though? Well, four of those books were the new Harlequin Historical Undone titles and they're short stories. As in, I can read one on my lunch break short. Still, given that my reading has been way down this year, a girl has to give herself a break every now and then. So yippee! I read 12 books! Here's the breakdown:
The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen - Suspense - Grade B+
Wendy Says: I was disappointed in Gerritsen's last couple of books and found this story to be a marvelous return to form. I also loved that she seems to be setting up the fallout for Dr. Maura Isles' current disastrous relationship. Full review here.
The Magic Of Christmas by Carolyn Davidson, Victoria Bylin & Cheryl St. John - Harlequin Historical western anthology - Grade B-
Wendy Says: I know lots of readers who love Davidson's HH titles, but her story was a dud for me. I thought the Bylin was the strongest of the bunch, and St. John continues to deliver consistent, heart-warming stories. Review over at TGTBTU.
Her Warrior Slave by Michelle Willingham - Harlequin Historical Irish medieval - Grade B-
Wendy Says: I read so few medievals, but this one intrigued me because it was set in Ireland. A good, solid story with quite a bit going on! Glad I have a couple more of Willingham's books in the TBR. Full review here.
The Unmasking Of Lady Loveless by Nicola Cornick - Harlequin Historical Undone, ebook short story, Regency - Grade B
Wendy Says: I've been burnt out on Regencies for a long time, and because of that I'm probably missing out on some really good authors. Check that, I definitely was missing out on at least one good author, Cornick. A nice Christmas story featuring a reunited couple and some spicier R-rated lovin'. Review over at TGTBTU.
Libertine Lord, Pickpocket Miss by Bronwyn Scott - Harlequin Historical Undone, ebook short story, Regency - Grade B-
Wendy Says: If you're a dialogue junkie, this is the story for you. Lots of witty repartee and verbal zingers between hero and heroine. The ending was a little rushed, but an entertaining read. Review over at TGTBTU.
Shipwrecked & Seduced by Amanda McCabe - Harlequin Historical Undone, ebook short story, 16th century, Caribbean - Grade B-
Wendy Says: Loved the Spanish flavor and setting of this one. Also thought the author did a good job of setting up believable motives for heroine's deception. Review over at TGTBTU.
The Viking's Forbidden Love Slave by Michelle Willingham - Harlequin Historical Undone, ebook short story, Irish medieval - Grade B-
Wendy Says: A strong Alpha hero for all you Alpha lovers out there. This type of plot (Hero captor, heroine captive) tends to raise my feminist hackles, but Willingham makes it work and avoids the pitfalls that tend to befall these types of stories (forced seduction anyone?). Review over at TGTBTU.
In Too Deep by Portia Da Costa - Contemporary erotic romance - Grade A-
Wendy Says: My favorite read of the month, and one of the strongest books I've read this year. Loved, loved, loved the librarian heroine, and the shy hero. Nice steamy sex that avoids the recent trend towards the bizarre in this sub genre, and a excellent read for those who normally might not go for "erotica." Minor kink (some light bondage and self-lovin') and a couple who only plays naughty with each other. Full review here.
The Promise of Jenny Jones by Maggie Osborne - Historical western - Grade B+
Wendy Says: This one started out rocky for me because it takes a while for hero and heroine to get on page together. But once they do? Whoa doggie. Also, one of the great romance heroines. Just fabulous. Full review here.
A Scandalous Marriage by Cathy Maxwell - Regency England - Grade C
Wendy Says: I think Maxwell has a nice, easy writing style that flows well but this story didn't really work for me mostly because I really dislike Romeo & Juliet-like plots. Still, it felt good to get something out of my TBR that had literally been collecting dust for years. Full review here.
Rafferty's Bride by Mary Burton - Harlequin Historical western - Grade C-
Wendy Says: Sat up all night with the stomach flu and read this book in a couple of hours. Comforting in a predictable sort of way, but I thought the hero should have been smarter when it came to figuring out the villain. Also, there's a virgin widow angle in this one, that while believable for a change, still got on my nerves.
Snowfall by Sharon Sala - Romantic suspense - Grade C-
Wendy Says: Adversarial couples are extremely hard to write well, and the plot device didn't work in this story for me. The couple comes off like petty three-year-olds. Also, while I did think the suspense thread was interesting, culprit and motive were really obvious. I did like the cop characters though, and the villain is suitably creepy. Full review here.