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Recently Read July - October
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pwm in mi



Joined: 19 Oct 2011
Posts: 352

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn- This is a psychological thriller that was excellent. If you like a story that keeps you guessing, this is for you. As mentioned in another thread, do not read reviews as it may spoil the story.

Caught in the Act by Jill Sorenson another great romantic suspense story from Sorenson. She is fast fast becoming a favorite. Reminds me of Pamela Clares work.

Night Fall by Ellen Connor this is a post apocalyptic tale/paranormal mash up. Lot's going on in this story. Much of it entertaining, some of it confusing. That said, I will continue reading the trilogy, simply because it is off the beaten path for me.

[/b]
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Blackjack1



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 698
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scandal Wears Satin, Loretta Chase (B) -- I enjoyed reading this book and found it light and fun. Sophy was extravagant in the usual way Chase's heroines often are and the hero, Longmore, was dashing and handsome in an abstract way. I enjoyed the hijinks involved in having them pair up and save Clara, and I always enjoy Chase's predilection for a "road trip" romance as it creates so many interesting opportunities for the hero and heroine to interact. I wanted Longmore to come alive and be fleshed out more as I had trouble grasping onto a clear picture of him. I'm finding that Chase often just does a better job with her female protagonists. I also felt a lack of depth in their romance and so their professed love for each other felt a bit more like lust and good times. Nonetheless, it was fun and I looked forward to picking it up each night.

Ravishing the Heiress, Sherry Thomas (A-) -- I found that I really admired Thomas's interest in examining a "what-if" scenario for the plight of two teenagers forced into an arranged marriage. Millie and Fitz are both sympathetic and kind people who deserve the happiness that they eventually carve out for themselves. I have to admit that I loved Millie's inner strength. She was proud and didn't allow the circumstances of her husband's love for another woman to diminish her at all, though it easily could have in the hands of another writer. I also was surprised given some of the reviews I read here that Fitz does sincerely and visibly fall in love with his wife through their shared experiences. It was lovely to read his transformation and though their evolution as a loving couple is serene and quiet, it felt no less deep or passionate for this careful treatment. Hastings and Helena seem to offer the other extreme of a volatile and explosive passion, as well as the reverse of the unrequited love plot. The only deductions for me for this novel is that the ending as others have noted is quite brief and a few more scenes between the two would have been nice. Nevertheless, I loved this book and am so looking forward to the final installment in October.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4223
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gone Missing by Linda Castillo

Another book in her recent ongoing series featuring Chief Kate Burkholder and Agent John Tomasetti. Both of these characters are excellent at their game, but their personal lives leave much to be desired. They're working at it--sometimes winning and sometimes failing. That's the appeal here with following their journies.

This particular book is involved with missing Amish teenagers who have rebelled somewhat from their strict upbringings. Linda Castillo is an excellent writer who brings authenticity to this story and I loved it from beginning to end.
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KayWebbHarrison



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1241
Location: SE VA. USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heather Graham:

The Unholy [#6 in her Krewe of Hunters series (July 12)] - romantic suspense with ghostly paranormal elements. Excellent mystery; romance of central couple solid; best ghost ever--Bogie himself. Set in Los Angeles at a special effects studio; remake of a mummy/noir film.

The Unspoken [#7 (Aug 12)] - continues with characters and mummy after The Unholy; set in Chicago and under Lake Michigan. Again central couple's romance and solution of mystery share equally in story.

#8, The Uninvited is due out in Sept. Looking forward to in. Meanwhile, I have an extensive backlist to catch up with. I just started the second of Graham's trilogy set in Key West [Ghost Shadow, Ghost Night, and Ghost Moon]. I'm really enjoying the ghostly paranormality. The author does a good job of making it all seem logical. Of course, the actual villains are all too human.

Kay
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Jane A



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 760
Location: So Cal

PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just finished the regency Royal Renegade by Alicia Rasley. I'd picked up another book by her, Poetic Justice, for free, and loved it. So I was interested to read Royal Renegade which turns out to be the prequel to that book. It's the story of a Major in Napoleon's army who is charged with the task of bringing a Russian princess to England to marry one of the royal dukes in order to create an alliance between those two countries. Tatiana has spent most of her life in the shadows of the Russian court and has no position of importance there at all, so she is rather unsophisticated and very down to earth. She was a joyful person and I liked her immensely. The Major is a grim man who has spent many years in the war which has affected his psyche. Initially he finds Tatiana's liveliness grating, but eventually she brings a lightness and joy to his life that had been missing. Naturally they fall in love and for me this was one of the most romantic stories I've read in a long time. My one quibble was towards the end and the unlikely machinations which occurred in order to bring about an HEA. However, the rest of the story was so good I will give that a pass.

So I'd give this a highly recommended, along with the sequel Poetic Justice, which is probably even a bit better than this one. One thing to be aware of - Royal Renegade as an ebook is the slightly reworked version of A Royal Escapade published in the 90's.
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Meg



Joined: 02 Jun 2009
Posts: 109

PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blackjack1 wrote:

Ravishing the Heiress, Sherry Thomas (A-) -- I found that I really admired Thomas's interest in examining a "what-if" scenario for the plight of two teenagers forced into an arranged marriage. Millie and Fitz are both sympathetic and kind people who deserve the happiness that they eventually carve out for themselves. I have to admit that I loved Millie's inner strength. She was proud and didn't allow the circumstances of her husband's love for another woman to diminish her at all, though it easily could have in the hands of another writer. I also was surprised given some of the reviews I read here that Fitz does sincerely and visibly fall in love with his wife through their shared experiences. It was lovely to read his transformation and though their evolution as a loving couple is serene and quiet, it felt no less deep or passionate for this careful treatment. Hastings and Helena seem to offer the other extreme of a volatile and explosive passion, as well as the reverse of the unrequited love plot. The only deductions for me for this novel is that the ending as others have noted is quite brief and a few more scenes between the two would have been nice. Nevertheless, I loved this book and am so looking forward to the final installment in October.


I just finished this and I have to say that this is my favorite book this year. Perhaps it is because I have a soft spot for Heyer's A Civil Contract but Thomas' offering was much more satisfying. I didn't think the title really fit the story line.

Meg
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4223
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kill You Twice by Chelsea Cain

Another book in her series of Archie and Gretchen, although Gretchen is not playing that large a part in these recent stories, which is a good thing. I love Cain's writing, so I'm willing to put up with the Gretchen link, but I would probably be just as happy to say goodbye to her and have him continue on trying to get his life in some sort of order.

I like what Cain is doing with his character still. He's so totally screwed personally, but he's on his game being a detective. Susan's character has never appealed to me and I would not mind if a substitute was found for her. In the meantime, I'll be anxiously awaiting her next thriller in which I'm sure there will be a Gretchen connection.
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Pop Tart



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 126

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first couple of these are forthcoming - the third is out already.

A Notorious Countess Confesses by Julie Anne Long - This has been my favorite since I read What I Did for a Duke. The heroine is a former courtesan and the hero a vicar and I loved them as a couple. As always the dialog sparkles and of course the Everseas and Redmonds are present. But in addition to the dialog I really loved meeting some of the other townspeople.

The Runaway Princess by Hester Browne - A chick-lit Cinderella story. Heroine, Amy Wilde, is trying to get her landscaping business off the ground when she meets a nice guy at a party. Turns out the nice guy is Leopold William Victor Wolfsburg, Prince of Nirona. While she's getting to know Leo, Amy has no idea that he's the ninth most eligible bachelor in the world and a Prince. When she does realize, it's too late. She's fallen for him. I really enjoyed this one.

Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal - This is a first in a mystery series set in England during WWII. Though Maggie Hope grew up in America, she is british by birth and she's come to London to discover a little more about her family background. She's just graduated with a degree in mathematics and would like to get a job working for the war effort. Unfortunately because she's a female, the only job she can get is as a typist (and not a codebreaker as she'd like). So she puts her head down and goes to work at No. 10 Downing Street. Loved the atmosphere and characters in this one. There is some romance and Maggie's adventures continue in Princess Elizabeth's Spy
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 1092

PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pop Tart wrote:
... A Notorious Countess Confesses by Julie Anne Long - This has been my favorite since I read What I Did for a Duke. The heroine is a former courtesan and the hero a vicar and I loved them as a couple. As always the dialog sparkles and of course the Everseas and Redmonds are present. But in addition to the dialog I really loved meeting some of the other townspeople.


Thanks so much for your take. I can't wait to meet the couple and more of the townspeople either. Now I'm even more anxious for this book's release.
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veasleyd1



Joined: 02 Dec 2007
Posts: 2064

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Helen Bryan, War Brides. B.

More women's fiction than romance; in 1995, four elderly women go back to an English village for the 50th anniversary VE Day celebration. Mystery elements.
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Susan/DC



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1663

PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jane A wrote:
I just finished the regency Royal Renegade by Alicia Rasley. I'd picked up another book by her, Poetic Justice, for free, and loved it. So I was interested to read Royal Renegade which turns out to be the prequel to that book. It's the story of a Major in Napoleon's army who is charged with the task of bringing a Russian princess to England to marry one of the royal dukes in order to create an alliance between those two countries. Tatiana has spent most of her life in the shadows of the Russian court and has no position of importance there at all, so she is rather unsophisticated and very down to earth. She was a joyful person and I liked her immensely. The Major is a grim man who has spent many years in the war which has affected his psyche. Initially he finds Tatiana's liveliness grating, but eventually she brings a lightness and joy to his life that had been missing. Naturally they fall in love and for me this was one of the most romantic stories I've read in a long time. My one quibble was towards the end and the unlikely machinations which occurred in order to bring about an HEA. However, the rest of the story was so good I will give that a pass.

So I'd give this a highly recommended, along with the sequel Poetic Justice, which is probably even a bit better than this one. One thing to be aware of - Royal Renegade as an ebook is the slightly reworked version of A Royal Escapade published in the 90's.


I discovered Alicia Rasley when I read her short story in an anthology, A Touch of Christmas. I thought the other two stories were mediocre (or worse) but I thought hers was lovely and poignant, with enough humor to leaven the mix and make it an appropriate tale for the holiday. I've liked everything else I read by her as well -- which unfortunately is far too short a list. The heroine of Royal Escapade is young (19), and I've made no secret of my dislike for very young heroines, but it works here because the book takes place over 9 months, and you get to see her mature during that period. The hero at first seems decades older than she, but another lovely aspect of the book is that you come to realize that he is young too (26); it is his childhood experiences and later as a soldier that have aged him prematurely. It's lovely and exquisitely romantic to see them come together.

I even e-mailed her to tell her how much I enjoyed her work and got a lovely response. While I know quality is in the eye and mind of the beholder, I'm sorry that she didn't get contracts to continue to publish while so many lesser books continue to appear on the bookshelves.
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rock Me by Cherrie Lynn - Really enjoyed this sexy hero, not my normal type, he owns his own tattoo parlor and sports plenty of his own, has several piercings and one in a place I'd never quite imagined before! Shocked Heroine has lived a sheltered life and comes from a wealthy, controlling family. She allows them just a bit too much influence into the choices she makes which kept the book from being perfect. Otherwise I thought it was a fantastic read, both sexy and funny. The heroine has known the hero for years and was attracted to him but he was dating her cousin at the time. They've broken up and she decides she wants a tattoo for her birthday, great set up, I found the part where he was actually giving her the tattoo pretty steamy! The author gives the following warning that I think about covers it - Warning: This book contains explicit sex, naughty language, tattoos aplenty, family drama, a hot rock concert…and a bad boy hero who’s pierced in all the right places.

I feel the start of a tattooed, pierced hero phase coming on! Laughing

Linda
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Blackjack1



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 698
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dream Lake, Lisa Kleypas (C+) -- I liked this book better than the first two, though that's not really saying much. I enjoyed the scenes between Alex and Zoe, particularly after the first half of the book. The main problem is that there are so few of them. I'm not sure I would classify this book as a romance since the romance between the two leads sustains barely half the novel. The rest is a mediocre exposition of dementia and elderly care, alcoholism, the craft of gourmet cooking and home renovation, and of course, the ghost story. I read the review of this novel on Dear Author and fully agreed with the critic who decried the strange amalgamation of a snarky 21st century ghost with an old-fashioned WWII gentleman. I never really did get a handle on the ghost, nor did I care to try given the rather poor plotting of a ghost trapped in limbo and tied to the hero for unknown reasons. Once I learned the reason I was even more underwhelmed. I never really understood or believed in Alex's rejection of love and human companionship. As a plot device it needed to be fleshed out much more. I despised the ending and found it not only unbelievable but a bit embarrassing. The brief moments however between Alex and Zoe had me reminiscing of Lisa Klepas's ability to create compelling love stories -- this just wasn't one of them. For the first time since I began reading her, I think I'm going to wait for reviews before jumping into Crystal Cove this winter.
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pwm in mi



Joined: 19 Oct 2011
Posts: 352

PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sweet as Sin by Inez Kelly
I am slowly working on my TBR pile and got to this very good contemporary. John is a children's book author who survived a terribly abusive childhood. His history fuel his creativity , but left him limited in relationship. His next door neighbor, Livvy, owns a bakery, and has her own issues, but is more emotionally functional than John. Their story very emotionally intense and sensual. I especially liked how the author used John's writing ( a Harry Potterlike tale) to inform the reader about John's struggle with the relationship. I will be adding Inez Kelly to my list of must read authors.
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Lillian Sulivan



Joined: 05 Feb 2010
Posts: 237

PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Captain's Courtship - Regina Scott

A first for me: the first heroine that I active hoped would not get her HEA. Oh, I so wanted to take the titular Captain to Tortuga and get him good and drunk and as he lay in bed with a hangover and a couple of sleeping trollops the next morning explain to him why the heroine was unworthy of his love in so many ways and how he deserved a woman who didn't play games and didn't put conditions on her love.

The book also put me off because it's the middle book about three cousins and there were significant plot arcs that run from book one through book three.

Best,
Lilly
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"Or perchance when the last little star has left the sky,
Shall we still be together with our arms around each other,
And shall you be my new romance?"
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