Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Month That Was December 2012

Lemon Drop: Under my umbrella...ella, ella, ay, ay, ay....

Me: Oh Lord, make it stop!

Lemon Drop: It's Rihanna Auntie Wendy!  You need to get hip with the new school yo.

Me: Can't you sing Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head?  That's a nice song.  A nice song that doesn't send Auntie Wendy shrieking into the other room.

Lemon Drop: Sure I could, if you want to hear Old Lady Music ::sniff::

Me: I'm going to ignore that, but only because your Hello Kitty umbrella is almost as cute as you are.

Lemon Drop: Never!

Me: I'm sorry, I shouldn't have even suggested such a travesty.  Anyhoodle, how about I tell you what I read last month?  December means Auntie Wendy is busy, so I read a lot of short books this month, including several short stories.

Title links go to full reviews.

The Rules of Engagement by Ally Blake - Harlequin Presents, 2012, Grade = D
  • Commitment-phobe heroine has fling with hero, develops feelings, and then when he finds out she has three broken engagements it all blows up in her face.  Really, really thin conflict made this a slog of a read for me.  Harlequin Cheat Sheet: Hero With Money And Parent Issues, Heroine With Daddy Issues, Commitment-Phobia, Wise-Crackin' BFF.
Front Page Affair by Mira Lyn Kelly - Harlequin Presents, 2011, Grade = B
  • Old money heroine agrees to help new money hero out of a jam by pretending they've been having a secret torrid affair for the benefit of the snooping paparazzi.  The fly in the ointment?  She's had a monster crush on him since they were kids.  Harlequin Cheat Sheet: Friends To Lovers, New Money Hero, Old Money Heroine, Disapproving Family
The Lady Who Broke The Rules by Marguerite Kaye - Historical romance, Harlequin, 2012, Part of Series, Grade = B
  • Disgraced daughter of a Duke finds herself attracted to an American businessman who also happens to be a freed slave.  A very tricky set-up, with very tricky characters, which I thought the author handled very well.  Harlequin Cheat Sheet: Disgraced Heroine, Asshole Ex, Neglectful Father, Battle Ax Aunt, Merchant Hero (The Horror!)
Home For Christmas by Carrie Weaver - Harlequin SuperRomance, 2005, Part of Series, Grade = B-
  • Single mother heroine looking for a fresh start is dismayed to find herself attracted to a man who is all wrong for her - a thrice-married single father to a surly teenage daughter.  Harlequin Cheat Sheet: Heroine Done Wrong, Plot Moppet Tot, Playboy Hero, Surly Teenager, Single Dad, Single Mom
Woman In A Sheikh's World by Sarah Morgan - Harlequin Presents, 2012, Part of Series, Grade = B
  • Heroine has to plan a party for her former lover (the sheikh) and his virgin bride.  She's not over him and thinks once he's married she'll be able to move on.  Then he shows up on her doorstep with the announcement that his bride has run away.  Uh oh.  Two headstrong characters that need to learn to put their pride aside in the name of finding happiness.  Harlequin Cheat Sheet: Busy Business Lady Heroine, Sheikh Hero, Don't Rein Me In!, Runaway Bride
Lady of Shame by Ann Lethbridge - Historical romance, Harlequin, 2012, Part of Series, Grade = B+
  • Disgraced younger sister of a Duke returns home with her daughter only to fall in love with the resident chef.  Lovely story, really enjoyed it.  Harlequin Cheat Sheet: Disgraced Widow Heroine, One Kidlet, Working Class Hero, Big Secret
Maid Until Midnight by Joanne Rock - Historical romance short story ebook, Harlequin Historical Undone, 2012, Grade = C+
  • Nice, steamy medieval story that features a hero who kidnaps his intended bride after her father welshes on the deal.  Liked the characters, but felt certain aspects of the story were too "big" for the short word count.
To Undo A Lady by Christine Merrill - Historical romance short story ebook, Harlequin Historical Undone, 2012, Grade = D
  • Heroine on the run lands at a theater where the hero is looking for a new actress to replace the ungrateful wench that just up and left him.  Really loved the setting of this one, but the author takes a risk to resolve the conflict that just didn't work for me.
His Wicked Christmas Wager by Annie Burrows - Historical romance short story ebook, Harlequin Historical Undone, 2012, Grade = B-
  • Heroine enters into wager with hero in order to get him to come to the wedding of her sister and his brother.  The problem?  Yeah, she broke his wee lil' heart years ago and he's a mite bitter.  Good, but wished it were a little bit longer.  Review forthcoming at TGTBTU.
An Illicit Temptation by Jeannie Lin - Historical romance short story ebook, Harlequin Historical Undone, 2012, Grade = B
  •  Heroine masquerading as a princess falls for the man charged with taking her to her intended groom's homeland safely.  A tie-in to Lin's full-length My Fair Concubine, a very solid short story.  Review forthcoming at TGTBTU.
Letting Go by Sarah McCarty - Erotic romance short story ebook, Spice Briefs, 2012 reprint from 2007, Grade = D
  • Oh joy, another BDSM story.  NOT!  A heroine I seriously wanted to maim.  Or shoot.  Or just beat over the head with some good ol' fashioned blunt force trauma.  Review forthcoming at TGTBTU.
Lemon Drop: Short stories?  Isn't that like cheating?

Me: You've been talking to your Uncle again.  Hey, it got me to 100 books read on the year.  My blog.  My record keeping.  My rules.

Lemon Drop: Geez, okay, okay.  Mental note: never call Auntie Wendy old and never question her record keeping, no matter how dubious it is.....

Me: Now you're learning.....


SonomaLass said...

Yay, somebody else read the Marguerite Kaye! I like her historicals a lot, and she often goes to times and places that are unusual in the genre. I got nervous about the racial aspect, but I thought it was handled well enough to make the love story work.

Alas, I got the single digital book, not the bundled reprint, nor did I know that it was part of a continuity. Guess I will have some other titles to look for now (because more books, that's what I need).

Wendy said...

SonomaLass: I've read two books in the continuity now, and my guess is the overarching conflict throughout the series is the matter of whether or not the presumed dead heir really married whats-her-name and fathered her child. I'll admit, it's conflict that hasn't moved me - so I'm likely to keep picking and choosing throughout the series as plot descriptions appeal.

I thought Kaye handled the racial aspect very well, and while I think it does require viewing your history through rose-colored glasses to buy into the happy ending - I was comfortable doing so because I thought Kate and Virgil were such a nice match.

Sheri said...

I figured you'd put the one of her with the umbrella, rain coat, and boots. :) Although I don't think she was looking up in any of those. Too busy looking at the Hello Kitty boots.

Wendy said...

Lil' Sis: Yeah, she's not looking up. Not that I can blame her - because Hello Kitty rain boots! ZOMG! I debated one of the tricycle shots as well.....