Now that the dust has sorta settled on my last bit of editorializing, it's time for me to stop putting off the general housekeeping here at the Bat Cave. Case in point, a recap of the reading I got done in August. My grand total is seven books. Not too terrible, but also not very good. Here's how it all breaks down:
Sensual Winds by Carmen Green (Kimani Romance, Contemporary Romance, 2009, third book in trilogy) My Grade = C. Heroine is sent to Key West to break up with the hero, who is engaged to heroine's boss. She gets there, hurricane hits shore, and the two are stranded together in the Dream House hero was building for his fiancee. Unfortunately the compelling conflict gets resolved within the first few chapters, which leaves this story adrift. The characters seemed like nice people, but bye-bye conflict made this a bit of a boring read. Full TGTBTU Review.
Sierra Bride by Jenna Kernan (Harlequin Historical, Historical Western Romance, 2009, part of series) My Grade = B-. Widowed heroine rescues hero from thugs attacking him in a back alley. He's smitten and determined to make her his mistress. Her late, unlamented husband was a no-good scoundrel, and she's not about to sell herself to another man. That is until her auntie's home is threatened and she desperately needs the money. Kernan is one of my favorite western authors and this story was a bit of a letdown. The romance was just OK, and frankly I was disappointed that the setting took a back seat in this story. Kernan's talent (I think) lies in her incredible ability to craft compelling heroines and her use of setting as conflict. This wasn't a "bad" read by any stretch of the imagination, but she's done better. Full TGTBTU Review.
Kiss It Better by Portia Da Costa (Erotic Romance, Black Lace, 2009, part of very loosely connected series) My Grade = B. Hero rode to heroine's rescue 15 years ago while on holiday, and neither of them have forgotten each other. He stumbles across her photo in a newspaper article while recovering from a car accident, and heads to her tiny English cafe determined to "take things slow" and woo her. A Big Secret plot and enough sex scenes to make your grandmother's hair fall out. Full Review.
Wild, Wild Women Of The West by Delilah Devlin, Layla Chase & Myla Jackson (Historical Western Erotic Romance Anthology, Kensington Aphrodisia, 2007) My Grade = C-. A pretty uneven anthology, but nothing outright offensive. Two C reads and one DNF. I'd be willing to try all these authors again. Full Review.
Cowboy Comes Back by Jeannie Watt (Harlequin SuperRomance, Contemporary Western Romance, 2009, book two in series) My Grade = C+. Hero and heroine were childhood sweethearts until she told him she wasn't ready for marriage and oops, his penis fell into another woman and knocked her up. He's back in town now that his rodeo career has gone bust, and heroine is beyond less than thrilled to see him. Well-written category romance, but felt the author spent too much time on "other stuff" instead of focusing on the oodles of conflict between romantic couple. Pacing issues aside, I plan on reading more by this author. Full TGTBTU Review.
Full House Seduction by A.C. Arthur (Kimani Romance, Contemporary Romance, 2009, book four in series) My Grade = C. Heroine heads to east coast to over see the final construction on a new casino her brother-in-law is building. Hero owns the construction company and is still hauling around baggage from the death of his parents. This was an OK story, and I liked the romantic couple, but this is book four in a series and has a terminal case of series-itis. Fans will probably like it, newcomers will probably be overwhelmed. Full TGTBTU Review.
After by Amy Efaw (Young Adult, Viking, 2009) My Grade = B. Star athlete, exemplary student, over-achieving 15-year-old girl with white trash mama conceals her pregnancy, gives birth to daughter in bathroom, and throws infant in trash can in alley behind her apartment building. She's arrested and awaiting a court hearing while in lock-up to determine if she should be tried as an adult. A compelling book about an extremely difficult subject that didn't descend into preachiness. Some of the adult characters rang my "too good to be true" bell, but if I had a teenage daughter, I'd want her to read this book. Full Review.
Four C grades? That's kind of depressing. And it's been ages since I've read an "A" book. Here's hoping September drops something truly spectacular in my lap.