Friday, October 8, 2010

The Month That Was September 2010

Lemon Drop: Auntie Wendy! You're back! Are you here to tell me about what books you read last month?

Me: I sure am Lemon Drop! Are you ready?

Lemon Drop: Well, I guess this is a good time. I can pencil you in between begging Mommy for more food and leaving her a present in my diaper.

Me: Alrighty then. Ahem. I started out the month in a bit of a slump, but managed to get 10 books read. OK, so mostly Harlequins. And two short stories. But still....10!

Title links will take you to full reviews

Wanted! by Vicki Lewis Thompson, Harlequin Blaze #544 , 2010, Book 1 in series, Grade = C
  • Heroine on vacation decides to get her groove back with sexy, sweaty, anonymous cowboy. When cowboy turns out to be the middle son of the family whose ranch house she's staying at complications ensue. Lick-able hero, but found the heroine annoyingly wishy-washy. Also, by the time the Big Family Secret conflict was introduced, I felt there weren't enough pages left to adequately deal with the fallout in a semi-believable manner. Harlequin Cheat Sheet: Cowboy, Heroine Done Wrong, Just A Fling, Sequel-Baitin' Brothers, Big Secret
Ambushed! by Vicki Lewis Thompson, Harlequin Blaze #550 , 2010, Book 2 in series, Grade = C-
  • Rodeo-ridin' hero comes home to take care of injured horse he saved from slaughter house and hooks up with heroine, a girl he knew back in high school. Plenty of sizzle, sexy banter, and enjoyable characters. But the slapped-on introduction of Does The Heroine Want To Have Babies Some Day? conflict at the end and the way it was "resolved" pushed every single one of my hot buttons. The only thing that saved this book from a big fat D (or F) grade was the fact that the first 3/4 of the story were really great. As it was, I deserve a medal for not hurling my Sony Reader across the room in total disgust. Harlequin Cheat Sheet: Cowboy, Heroine With Flaky Family, Just A Fling, Sequel-Baitin' Brother
Claimed! by Vicki Lewis Thompson, Harlequin Blaze #556 , 2010, Book 3 in series, Grade = B
  • Uptight older brother hero, who still feels guilt over his father's death, hooks back up with the heroine, the woman he was seeing before the family tragedy. Felt the heroine should have been able to control her hormones better considering how badly the hero had previously treated her, but other than that, this was an enjoyable read and saved the trilogy for me. Harlequin Cheat Sheet: Guilt-Riddled Hero, Heroine Done Wrong By Hero, Just A Fling, Reunited, One Disapproving Brother
In the Shelter of His Arms by Jackie Braun, Harlequin American #3840 , 2005, Grade = B+
  • Down on her luck heroine gets rescued by hero after her car dies in the middle of nowhere. Pretty soon she's working as a waitress in his bar and renting a tiny apartment above his garage. A really lovely story about two people haunted by their pasts. The only bump in the road for me was the hero's annoying as hell sister, who drove me batshit crazy. Harlequin Cheat Sheet: Abandoned!, Heroine With Strong Survival Skills, Beta Hero Done Wrong, One Annoying Relative
The Gentlewoman's Predicament by Portia Da Costa, Spice Briefs, historical erotic romance ebook short story, part of series, 2010, Grade = B
  • Heroine whose husband sucked in the sack (and not in a good way) goes to an exclusive "shop" to get confirmation that sex is supposed to be "good." Naughtiness ensues. Did feel that the romance portion of this story was pretty thin, but liked that the heroine didn't automatically think "I'm bad at sex" just because Hubby #1 was a moron. I also liked that her "awakening" was handled in a believable manner, and she wasn't swinging from a chandelier while cracking a whip. Harlequin Cheat Sheet: Heroine In Desperate Need Of Orgasm, Mysterious Hero, Mistaken Identity
The Gentlewoman's Ravishment by Portia Da Costa, Spice Briefs, historical erotic romance ebook short story, part of series, 2010, Grade = B
  • Heroine gets "abducted" after leaving her ladies sewing circle and has her wildest fantasies of being "seduced" by a mysterious stranger fulfilled. Naughtiness ensues. Readers need to be willing to roll with the fantasy, otherwise you could poke holes in this story all day long. But it's quick, sexy, and I really liked the ending. Harlequin Cheat Sheet: Heroine Who Likes the Sexy Times, Mystery Lover, Kidnapped!
The Night Season by Chelsea Cain, Suspense, St. Martin's/Minotaur, Book 4 in series, 2011, Grade = B+
  • The city of Portland is experiencing epic rain fall and the flooding has washed up several dead bodies. It's believed these people are the victims of accidental drowning, but when the medical examiner determines one of them was poisoned before hitting the water, it's up to Detective Archie Sheridan and plucky newspaper reporter Susan Ward to get to the bottom of things. Loved every minute of it. A full-length review will happen closer to release date (March 1, 2011). I know, I'm mean.
Dangerous Allies by Renee Ryan, Historical inspirational romance, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical #64, 2010, Grade = C
  • Heroine and hero hook up for a spy mission in World War II era Germany. Great use of history, wonderful plot, but the inspirational elements were problematic. Sometimes they "fit" into the narrative, and other times they felt shoe-horned into a story, like a God Quota had to be met. Also, while the Crisis Of Faith on the part of both characters is very believable, the hero's whiplash turn-around on that issue didn't satisfy me. Harlequin Cheat Sheet: Heroine Desperate To Protect Family, Secret Agent Hero, Crisis of Faith, Living A Double Life
Three Times a Bridesmaid by Nicola Marsh, Harlequin Romance #4173, 2010, Grade = B+
  • Heroine is going to be bridesmaid for BFF #3 and desperately wants some arm candy to throw off the matchmaking scent of her well-meaning friends. Enter, stage left, the hero, who she knew when she was younger, and who broke her heart. A charming story about nice people still hung up by their pasts. Quite lovely. Harlequin Cheat Sheet: Ugly Duckling To Swan, Workaholic Hero, Big Secret, Reunited, Fake Boyfriend/Girlfriend
The Captive by Joanne Rock, Harlequin Blaze #534, Medieval, 2010, Grade = B-
  • Widowed heroine with no desire to remarry finds herself taken captive by Viking hero when he storms her former guardian's castle. Nice sense of place, nice characters, and the author stays away from the ol' "forced seduction" bug-a-boo. However the resolution to the conflict felt a bit like a cop-out to me. Harlequin Cheat Sheet: Widowed Heroine, Viking, Kidnapped!
Lemon Drop: Duuuuuude. Does Papaw know what you read? Sexy cowboys? Respectable Victorian ladies getting their groove thang on? Serial killers? Captive-takin' Vikings?

Me: Ahhhh, Lemon Drop, you shall quickly learn that your grandfather has gotten through parenthood by choosing to not think about certain things concerning his daughters. For the record, he thinks your Mommy stumbled across you in a cabbage patch.

Lemon Drop: You mean Mommy didn't find me in a cabbage patch?!

Me: Uh, never mind. Forget I said anything. Here! Look at these shiny car keys!

Lemon Drop: Oooooh, pretty......

Me: Whew!


bafriva said...

Re: Wanted--"Lick-able" hero. LOL! Sorry to read that the story was not worthy.
Re: The Captive. This was a wall-banger for me, as the historical inaccuracies just drove me so crazy that I couldn't get into the story.
Lemon Drop is such a cutie! Can't wait to see what she looks like for your next monthly recap.

Liza said...

Lemon Drop is so cute! Loving seeing new pictures of her every month. I think I might have read 8 books total in September and at least one of those was a short story.

Holly said...

LOL @ Lemon Drop.

I enjoyed Claimed, too, but haven't decided about reading the other two yet. Did you get the 4th book? Josie's brother? I've been meaning to buy it but haven't yet.

I have all those PDCs to read. Guess I better bump them up.

Lil Sis said...

Ok - you have to post that new pic of her in her's the cutest! I think your blog might explode from cuteness. :)

Wendy said...

bafriva: All those cowboys were pretty darn lick-able!

Liza: I did pretty good this past month. Traveling seemed to help. Got lots read while sitting on airplanes!

Holly: Is Josie's brother's book out yet? I couldn't seem to dig it up! Title? Pretty please?

Lil' Sis: Was tempted to post sweater pic, but wanted to use the Deer In The Headlights shot too badly :)

BigDaddy said...

Note to daughters and granddaughter aka: lemon drop. I do not ignore things. I just quietly and patiently wait for the right moment to loose my "cool". Learn years ago from your older sister on when to pick my fight. Love you and love lemon drop (ain't she cute?)

marelou said...

Wendy, I've always enjoyed reading your monthly round-ups. But these conversations you have with Lemon Drop: Love, L-O-V-E!! Them!

JamiSings said...

No, Lemon Drop, you weren't found under a cabbage leaf. You were dropped on Mommy's doorstep by the incredibly Dr. Stork and her bubbly assistant Dr. Pepper.

JamiSings said...

Ug, "Incredible" not "Incredibly"! *said in a really bad William Shatner impersonation* Must learn - to - proof-READ!

I told the librarian where I work that if he wants good resources to check your blog. He didn't know you review more then just romance novels.

vanessa jaye said...

De-lurking, only to say, this:

"Heroine whose husband sucked in the sack (and not in a good way)"

made me LOL!

*Goddess* said...

Ok, I admit it. I'm addicted to these Lemon Drop posts. They're hilarious and she is just so sweet:)

Gail Dayton said...

Enjoy reading your reviews so much. I get some good series romance reads from here. I read probably 20 books last month (I'm up to 12 in Oct. so far) (I read fast & only work part time).

I'm going to suggest Their Newborn Gift by Nikki Logan ( ) (Harl Rom) and Emergency: Wife Lost and Found by Carol Marinelli which is a Harl. Medical Romance. I really enjoyed these two. I'm not much of a short story reader, because they're so dang short! I've been on a series romance kick lately, so thanks for your reviews!

nath said...

Lemon Drop is growing so fast and I love that you brought her back for the monthly recap! :)

Wendy said...

BigDaddy: She is a cutie. I'm hoping to visit this weekend. Haven't seen her and Lil' Sis since way before my trip home last month!

Marelou: LOL - now the pressure is on. Wonder what my Lil' Sis will think if Lemon Drop becomes a blogging rock star?

Jami: LOL - Dr. Pepper! Love that! And sigh, I hear you on the typos. I really wish Blogger would come out with a comment editing feature. I could really use one for myself. Typos, thy name is Wendy.

Vanessa: I just loved the fact that the heroine didn't automatically think "I must be bad at sex." That trope drives me insane!

Goddess: She's a cutie-patootie.

Gail: Thanks for the recs! Yeah, another HR author to try. I'm getting hooked on that line.

Nath: Hopefully I'll bring her back next month. She's at an age where she seems to change almost daily!

Anonymous said...

Janet W: Well I bought In the Shelter of his Arms and I was not really believing in the B+. I just NEVER learn: everytime I buy a Harlequin used that's a contemporary through an online agency, I'm disappointed. If I buy them at a UBS or the library or a garage sale, I don't care. But there's something about it arriving in the mail that raises the stakes. Now I buy a gazillion OOP Regencies through the mail, they almost always disappoint me (especially the dreaded LAST third) but I don't take it personally. Why is that?

Wendy said...

Janet: Shipping costs maybe?

It's why I keep my Paperback Swap account around. I used to be able to score older Harlequins quite easily via UBSes, but these days? The ones that are still in business, I'm lucky to find a Harlequin that's older than 6 months. They just aren't keeping the stock like they used to :(