I managed to find time to read a ton of romance novels last month. I was pissed about my Kindle breaking and for me, when I’m in a funk, a romance novel is the perfect pick-me-up. If the book is well written and there is a believable connection between the main protagonists, I’m a happy camper. I like the ones with a little tension, but the fluffy ones are great too. (I won’t necessarily remember a romance that is merely fluffy but I love the hell out of them while I’m reading them.)
The Princess in His Bed by Lila DiPasqua (Fiery Tales, Book 1): A collection of 3 short stories loosely based on classic folktales. Not bad, not great, these are more erotic than romantic. It’s a quick read, so if you have an hour to spare, sure.
The Dom’s Dungeon by Cherise Sinclair: Holy shit. This one is BDSM erotic romance, with lots and lots (and lots) of hot, kinky sex. There is an actual story, with relatable characters, and it is pretty well written. I’ve read just about everything Ms. Sinclair has written and loved all of it. Read this if you like graphic, kinky romance.
The Doms of Dark Haven by Cherise Sinclair, Belinda McBride and Sierra Cartwright: I borrowed this for the Sinclair story, which was fun. The McBride story was decent, but as it was a shifter romance, it was a little unexpected. I remember being vaguely irritated by the Cartwright story, but that’s it. Don’t bother with this one.
Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh (Psy-Changeling, Book 1): Paranormal romance, interesting premise, but the execution was bland. I’m waiting for the next book to come in from the library, but mostly because I am trying to figure out why this series is so popular. The 10th book was just released, so clearly Ms. Singh is doing something right. I say don’t bother, but I am in the minority.
Silk is For Seduction, by Loretta Chase (The Dressmakers, Book 1): I love the shit out of Loretta Chase (see below) and I was super excited for Silk is For Seduction to be released. It was good, but the whole book had such a frenetic tone and the characters seemed so desperate for each other (I don’t know how else to describe it) that I felt kind of uncomfortable? This makes me sad. Read it, why not, but if you are a Loretta Chase fan, I will warn that it isn’t quite to her usual standard.
Lord Perfect, by Loretta Chase (The Carsington Family, Book 3): Yesohyes. I love this book and I re-read it every few months. I love the whole series, actually. Mr. Impossible is my favorite, Last Night’s Scandal is a close second, and Lord Perfect is third. Miss Wonderful and Not Quite a Lady are great, but not-as-great. READ ALL OF THEM ANYWAY.
Ravishing in Red, by Madeline Hunter (The Rarest Blooms, Book 1): Meh, forced marriage, irresistible lust, blah blah blah. I kept putting it down for something else. I just didn’t believe the relationship between the protagonists. I probably won’t bother with the next book. You shouldn’t either.
The Spare by Carolyn Jewel: Actually, I would have said yes, but the ending was something awful. And the paranormal bit was unnecessary. So, no.
Tempt Me at Twilight, Married by Morning, and Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas (The Hathaways, Books 3, 4, & 5): Yes, no and YES. Tempt Me at Twilight was typical Kleypas, wonderfully readable and sexy. I didn’t like Married by Morning because the characters took such an about-face from the previous books. And I loved Love in the Afternoon because I am a sucker for falling-in-love-by-letter stories.
Devil’s Desire by Laurie McBain: God, no. This was terrible. The writing was execrable, the relationship was unbelievable, and the heroine went from consuming hatred to devastating love in THREE paragraphs. This was her first book and it shows. Wild Bells to the Wild Sky was much better.
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire: Ehhh, I don’t know. It was decently written but the relationship between the protagonists was borderline abusive, manipulative and co-dependent and it made me uncomfortable. Also, the resolution seemed like a throwaway “Here’s your happily-ever-after, now shut up” and if these were real people, I would bet on divorce in 2 years. But sure, read it. Whatever.
Charming the Prince by Teresa Medeiros (Fairy Tales, Book 1): Fun and sweet with just enough emotional tension to keep it from being boring. Why not?
Pieces of Sky by Kaki Warner (The Blood Rose Trilogy, Book 1): I liked it quite a bit but it was a teensy bit too long. Also, there was a caricature villain. I hate those. But the story was nice enough to warrant a read.
Naked in Death by J.D. Robb (In Death, Book 1): Okay, so Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb is absurdly ubiquitous. This series is still going strong (some 38 books later) and I can understand the appeal. It’s fast paced with an appealing lady-protagonist and a sexy dude-protagonist. The writing style is pretty simple and straightforward but I think that’s why it’s so popular. It’s easy to read but complex enough to be interesting.
Heartless by Gail Carriger (The Parasol Protectorate, Book the Fourth): Good grief, these books are just terribly clever and funny. This one isn’t quite as good as Soulless (Book the First) but still a fun read. What I love most is that these books don’t take themselves too seriously. And the steampunk accents make me green with envy. I would very much like to travel by dirigible. Read this, but make sure to read the first 3 books or you will be hopelessly lost.
The Children’s Hospital by Chris Adrian: Fuck you very much. That is all.
The Anvil of the World by Kage Baker: It had a slow start and the pace didn’t really pick up until halfway through the book, but overall it was a fun, funny, engaging read. I will definitely be picking up more by Kage Baker. May not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it’s worth reading.
Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde (Thursday Next, Book 4): A more cohesive plot than The Well of Lost Plots but a slightly less fun read. As a whole, another great addition to the Thursday Next series. Read this for sure.
Rose Daughter and Beauty by Robin McKinley: Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales (no really, I watch the Disney movie ALL THE TIME.) Both Rose Daughter and Beauty are re-tellings of this story. I enjoyed reading Beauty more because the story arc made more sense and adhered more closely to the traditional style. I liked how in-depth Rose Daughter was but thought it got a little too metaphysical towards the end. Both are worth reading. Just maybe not within 2 weeks of each other?
Hourglass by Myra McEntire (The Hourglass, Book 1): Interesting premise, a likeable teen-lady-protagonist, smooth writing, but honestly, someone should revoke my nerd card, because time travel makes no sense to me. This is a debut novel and is plenty impressive, but ends on an annoying cliffhanger. I like it despite that. So, yes, read it. (This was just released, be prepared for a loooong wait for the sequel.)