Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Month That Was December 2010

Lemon Drop: You are late Auntie Wendy.

Me: I know cupcake.  I got sidetracked with "year end" posts, so my regular monthly recap is later than usual.

Lemon Drop: Here I've been waiting for updates on all the naughtiness you read last month!  Sigh.  And I have my very own book review to give! 

Me: Awww, a chip off the ol' block you are.  OK, let's get started and then you can give me your reading recap, OK?

Lemon Drop: Sweet!

Me: Well, I read 8 books in December, which is pretty good for me since December historically tends to be a Reading Dead Zone for me.  Of course three of these were short stories, and there was an anthology in here - but yippee!  Eight!

Title links will take you to full reviews

Silent Night Stakeout by Kerry Connor, Harlequin Intrigue #1236, 2010, Grade = B
  • Simply put, a good solid romantic suspense tale.  Criminal defense lawyer heroine finds herself working with homicide cop hero after a client she just got off a burglary rap is murdered outside her office.  Liked that the adversarial relationship didn't equate civility and common sense getting tossed out the window.  Compelling mystery that definitely runs on the dark side.  Nice resolution to crime and the romance elements.  Harlequin Cheat Sheet: Lawyer Heroine, Cop Hero, Adversaries!, One Dead Client, Christmas Ahoy!
Western Winter Wedding Bells by Cheryl St. John, Jenna Kernan, Charlene Sands, Harlequin Historical #1011, 2010, Grade = B-
  • Historical western anthology that didn't have a lot of staying power for me, but fit the bill in terms of pleasant holiday reading.  Nice inspirational feel to St. John story without being preachy, although I wanted more back story.  The Kernan would have annoyed as a full-length novel, but as a short story it works thanks to heroine's back story and the hero's young daughter.  The Sands entry featured one of my favorite themes in westerns - the hero bent on vengeance for the death of a loved one. Harlequin Cheat Sheet: Small Town = Goody Goodness, Beta Hero (St. John), Heroine Determined To Salvage Daddy's Legacy (St. John), Heroine With A Past (Kernan), Lawman Hero (Kernan),  Big Misunderstanding (Kernan), Widowed Heroine (Sands), Hero Bent On Revenge (Sands), Two Kids (Kernan & Sands), Christmas Ahoy!
A Town Called Christmas by Carrie Alexander, Harlequin SuperRomance #1455, 2007, Grade = C
  • My last read for the 2010 TBR Challenge.  A pleasant holiday story that didn't register a strong reaction (either way) in me.  Liked all the players, but did feel the main couple got a bit lost amongst all the secondary characters and holiday goo-ga. Harlequin Cheat Sheet: Small Town = Goody Goodness, Preggers By Another Man Heroine, Jilted Military Hero, Family, Christmas Ahoy!
Hot to Touch by Kimberly Kaye Terry, Kimani Romance #214, 2010, Grade = C-
  • Photojournalist heroine doing a story on smoke-jumpers (firefighters) runs afoul of the hero, the second in command at the station, who thinks womenz gotz no place around his line of work.  Good story, and a nice amount of research that kept me engaged.  However there were some awful romance novel writing cliches here that succeeded in really annoying me.  Harlequin Cheat Sheet: Journalist Heroine Determined To Prove Herself, Firefighter Jackass Alpha Hero With Woman Issues, Grovel Ahoy!
What She Needs by Anne Calhoun, Spice Briefs, digital erotic romance short story, 2010, Grade = B
  • Heroine has semi-regular hook-up arrangement with hero at local hotel.  The catch?  He calls the shots and she does exactly what he wants, how he wants it.  The joy in this story is the pay-off.  I knew immediately where this whole thing was going, but there's a moment at the end where we get inside the heroine's mind and...just wow.  I see a lot of female readers really relating. Harlequin Cheat Sheet: Dominant Hero, Clandestine Hook-Up, Back Door Action Ahoy!
For Your Pleasure by Elisa Adams, Spice Briefs, digital erotica short story, 2010, Grade = B
  • Heroine takes to spying on hunky new neighborhood who hasn't gotten around to putting up curtains in his bedroom yet.  She wants him to look her way, and when he finally does...well, you know.  This is pretty standard erotic fare with a well-done voyeuristic angle.  Another dominant hero and a positive ending that has this one pretty close to erotic romance territory.  Harlequin Cheat Sheet: Fun With Voyeurism, Dominant Hero, Spank Ahoy!
Knightley's Pleasure by Destiny D'Otare, Spice Briefs, digital erotic romance historical short story, 2010, Grade = D-  
  • Subtitle: When Impulse Buys Go Horribly Wrong.  Basically erotic fan fiction that sluts up Jane Austen's Emma.  I'm not an Austenphile, but this still felt epically wrong to me.  Silly virgin heroine, a hero who picks a laughable spot to deflower an Austen heroine, and just....well, wrong.  Harlequin Cheat Sheet: Virginal Heroine With Seduction On Her Mind, Noble Hero With Rescue Complex, One Debauched Costume Party (Is There Any Other Kind?)
Stranger by Zoe Archer, Kensington Zebra, Victorian historical paranormal romance, Part of series, 2010, Grade = B-
  • The conclusion to the author's Blades Of The Rose series.  Nice, intellectual hero who meets his match in inquisitive, determined American reporter heroine.  Felt the romance took a bit of a back seat to the wrapping up of all the "series stuff" - but still an entertaining read with some nice world-building and I liked the way Archer tied-up the series.
Lemon Drop: Auntie Wendy, what's Back Door Action Ahoy! mean?

Me: Uhhh, didn't you mention that you have a book review?

Lemon Drop: Oh, yeah I do.  Who's Hiding In The House is a very good book.  I enjoyed it very much.  It tastes like chicken.

Me: Wow.  That sounds....delicious.

Lemon Drop: Oh it is Auntie Wendy, it is.  Lots of fiber too.  Yum!


    Amy said...

    ROFL! Chicken? And I see Lemon Drop has a knot blanket that she's laying on. I'm about 3 behind in my own making of them for future mommy/daddy friends.

    Lil Sis said...

    I started buying cloth books...she kept shredding the board books and I thought she was getting too much fiber. :) We still read the board books of course but now she has a cloth book to chew while I read the board book to her. :)

    Sarah said...

    Your inclusion of lemon drop's book review made my night. Cutest thing ever!

    Marie-Thérèse said...

    My identical twin nieces who are a few months younger than the adorable Lemon Drop actually need to add a bit more fiber to their diets. Clearly, Tante MT needs to go buy them some yummy board books! ;-p

    nath said...

    LOL, she's so cute. Really a chip off the old block :)

    And good on the reading front :)

    Leslie said...

    I love seeing young readers surrounded by books. Next thing you know she'll be asking for an e-reader. :)

    You seem to be doing well with the Spice Briefs, more hits than misses. I think I'll try the Anne Calhoun story. It reminds of something Megan Hart would write and I love her writing.

    Becky said...

    I have 3 little ones and wanted to pass on three book suggestions for Lemon Drop. Megan, my daughter, adored (and still occasionally looks at) the That's Not My... books published by Usborne. They are tactile books and Usborne offers a nice selection, they hold up really well, and are board books. Around the same time (roughly 1-2 years) she also really enjoyed Feely Bugs which is also tactile. Sadly, it isn't quite as hardy as the That's not my books. Finally, Megan and Charlie got There's a Mouse About the House when they were 2 and 3 and still enjoy looking at it. So much so, that we also got A Squirrel's Tale and it's also a hit. I would suggest it for 18 months or so and up. Most handily, it has a template on it so you can make a new squirrel or mouse when you lose the first.

    Wendy said...

    Amy: Lil' Sis got a couple of really beautiful blankets as baby gifts. My aunt sent her a crocheted one that was just GORGEOUS!

    Lil' Sis: She'll get past the chewing once the teeth start coming in. The important thing is she's learning about the joys of books now :)

    Sarah: The kid is gifted I tells ya.

    Marie: There are lots of cute board books out there. I'm kind of "out of the loop" on children's books because I don't buy them for work. Luckily the librarian who does in the cubicle right next door :)

    Nath: Yeah, it was a good month. December is usually really SLOW for me - but I didn't travel this year, so I think that helped.

    Leslie: LOL - well she's not past the chewing stage yet, so a Nook is probably a bad idea at this stage :) And I really liked the Calhoun story. Sort of like Megan Hart....but not nearly the level of angst.....

    Becky: Oooh, thanks Becky! Off to investigate......