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text 2017-02-01 18:37
February 2017 Reading List
To Defy a Sheikh (Harlequin Presents) - Maisey Yates
Dangerous Allies - Renee Ryan
The Sweetest Thing (Just Desserts) - Deborah Fletcher Mello
Beauty and the Rake (The Rookery Rogues Book 3) - Erica Monroe
Lighting the Flames: A Hanukkah Story - Sarah Wendell
Celtic Viking: Historical Romance (Heart of the Battle Series Book 1) - Lexy Timms
Courting His Countess - C.J. Archer
Craving Temptation - Deborah Fletcher Mello
The Johnstown Flood (Paperback) - David McCullough (Author)
By Starlight - Dorothy Garlock

Halfway through Romance Bingo and I am behind in my goal to black out the card. Time to prioritize romance over any other challenge until the card is complete. Luckily, some romance will satisfy other challenges, so I can kill birds with not as many stones.

 

1. The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough (Diseases and Disasters challenge)

 

2. To Defy a Sheikh by Maisey Yates (Romance Bingo - Secret Billionaire)

 

3. Dangerous Allies by Renee Ryan (Romance Bingo - Rogue)

 

4. By Starlight by Dorothy Garlock (physical TBR)

 

5. His Ring is Not Enough by Maisey Yates (Romance Bingo - Virgin)

 

6. The Sweetest Thing (Just Desserts #1) by Deborah Fletcher Mello (Romance Bingo - Free Space; Pop Sugar Challenge - Author is POC)

 

7. Craving Temptation (Just Desserts #2) by Deborah Fletcher Mello (Romance Bingo - Eyeshadow and Bosom; Pop Sugar Challenge - MC is different ethnicity than reader)

 

8. Beauty and the Rake by Erica Monroe (Romance Bingo - Fairy Tale Re-telling)

 

9. Key of Knowledge (Key Trilogy #2) by Nora Roberts (Romance Bingo - Key to the heart; Library Love)

 

10. Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell (Romance Bingo - Guy/Girl Next Door; Pop Sugar Challenge - holiday setting other than Christmas)

 

11. A Lady Dares by Bronwyn Scott (Romance Bingo - Pirates)

 

12. Celtic Viking by Lexie Timms (Romance Bingo - Man in Kilt)

 

13. Courting His Countess by CJ Archer (Romance Bingo - Gothic)

 

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review 2016-08-17 03:21
Motives
Dark Paradise - Sara Craven

I don't have strong feelings about this book. It was different from what I expected. Matt's reasons for taking Kate to the Caribbean were more involved than just revenge. That part was kind of different. Matt is actually a nice guy, but Kate has already prejudged him as a jerk because of a bad experience in her last relationship. The way she talked to him at the wedding reception was pretty cold. I wish that some of the jerky heroes in the other Harlequin Presents I've read where they deserved it had been given that set down. Normally, I think the Vintage HPs are more exciting, but this one wasn't really. It wasn't bad. Kind of forgettable.

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text 2016-08-17 03:17
Finally Speaking the Same Language

Vows of RevengeVows of Revenge by Dani Collins

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars


It's hard to say what I felt about this book. Probably why I procrastinated my review. The writing is very good, and I think the author went deeper with the story. I think that for a HP book, the relationship feels very realistic. The drama isn't manufactured, even when the author could have gone for one of those easy HP drama tactics (that admittedly I love since i am a drama hound).

Roman is a complicated guy. He is very emotionally disconnected and is not good at expressing himself verbally as far as emotions. He sends out a lot of mixed signals to Melodie and then doesn't understand the way she reacts to him as a form of self-protection. If it was about sex and being generous with his money, he'd probably be the perfect boyfriend, but that's rarely enough for a woman after a while. I was surprised at the vulnerability that Roman shows when he admits that he's used to women ending relationships because of his remoteness. And the fact that it bothers him that Melodie thinks he's one of the bad guys initially. He pursues her, sexually like a volcano, but holds himself back emotionally. I think that Melodie was brave to keep going with him, not knowing how he felt about her, and when she suspects it, that fear of rejection holding her back. I like that he's 100% self-made and it hasn't been easy for him. He's suffered some major hardships in his short life. I just wish that he wasn't such a wreck at being emotionally available.

Melodie has her own issues. Her father is despicable. And she's lived in the shadow of his inability to show love for his children and his wife, and her feelings of inadequacy. She turned her back on his money with strings attached and has been trying to make it on her own, and Roman has a habit of messing that up for her. She's conflicted about their relationship and its tone, but she has feelings for him that don't seem to want to go away.

The love scenes were very sexy and well-written. There's a lot of chemistry between them and they set the pages on fire together. From the beginning, there's a powerful string that keeps pulling them together. But I loved when Roman finally says how he feels for Melodie. She doesn't have to guess or try to read his behavior. It's all on the table. And it's clear that Roman isn't going to take it for granted in the future.

I think some readers will love this book. Very much a modern romance, although with a traditional happy ending.

Overall rating: 3.5/5.0 stars.





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text 2016-06-24 06:35
Thumbs Down For This Hero
The Girl Nobody Wanted (The Santina Crown Book 7) - Lynn Raye Harris

My review is a bit spoilery, but it's nothing you couldn't predict if you tend to read romance novels.

I didn't like the hero in this much at all. Leo was a very selfish person. I get that he was raised with a poor moral compass in may ways, but his attitude towards women and sex was objectionable to me. I can't stand heroes who use women for sex and don't even care about them emotionally. He actually bragged to the heroine Anna about having a fivesome with some models! Ugh. This is one instance where I wish the heroine was repulsed by the hero. He started out just mainly wanting to have sex with Anna because she was prissy and he wanted to take her down a peg. When he found out she was a virgin, he got an attack of conscience. They are stranded on an island (the hero's fault) and Anna decides she's tired of being a good girl. One thing leads to another. Anna hands out some of Leo's own medicine back, saying they are over once they get off the island. Of course, she finds out she's pregnant, and when she looks him up, he treats her very poorly indeed.

Leo's not all bad, but he's got a lot of traits that are deal-breakers for me in a hero. He makes it seem like it's a big deal that he's celibate for a few months. Yes, that's pretty unusual for him, since apparently woman regularly drop trousers for him. But the man acts like he's God's gift to the world, and makes it seem like marrying Anna is a huge sacrifice. I for one believe that a woman should feel like she's the only woman in the world to a man she's going to marry. I especially expect that in a romance novel hero. Anne is very insecure, and while that's not Leo's fault, he definitely doesn't help build her confidence any, even knowing she was essentially jilted by the man she was supposed to marry, who married his sister instead. When Anna lets him off the hook, then he decides that maybe he's in love with her after all. No thanks. I wouldn't marry this guy either. Of course, you know they end up together, since this is a romance novel. I hope Leo grows up and becomes a man, in ways other than being able to have sex with many woman.

I like Lynn Raye Harris as an author. I think she's a good writer. I just have high standards that this hero did not meet.

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text 2016-06-24 06:05
A Hard Bargain
A Virgin for His Prize (Ruthless Russians) - Lucy Monroe

I was surprised how much I liked this one. I had been disappointed with the other book in this duology, An Heiress for His Empire. This book, it hit all the right notes.

I really liked the discussions that Romi and Maxwell had. It was clear that they were actually friends in addition to lovers. I am 1000% over playboy/womanizer heroes, but I think this worked for me because Maxwell did have some vulnerability. He may have seemed like he was holding all the cards, but Romi was someone he really wanted and needed in his life, despite his fear of falling in love and his belief that love didn't exist. Romi is nicely independent and straightforward.

I did think the whole, "I'm tired of being a twenty-four year old virgin" comment was a bit eye-rolling. That really is not that old to be a virgin. If you're a virgin, it's probably for a reason. Just be honest and admit that you really want to be with Maxwell, no qualifications on it. The way that writers play virginity is either like it's a burden or some kind of special status. It's neither. It's just a state of identity that a person has or doesn't have. Yes, losing one's virginity is a momentous occasion, so treat it that way and move on.

I really liked Maxwell's Russianness (big surprise). Even though he had lived in America most of his life, it was clear this an important part of his culture. He reflects many of the values that Russian men value highly. He felt more Russian to me than Viktor in the first book. I liked him better as a person, other than his slamhound tendencies. I don't think I would have been as sanguine as Romi was about staying in his apartment where he brought all his conquests, even if they didn't share his bed (he used the guestroom).

This feels like more of a modern romance than some HPs, with a heroine who is very millennial (Not in a bad way though), and that did appeal. The wedding was really sweet and how devoted and adoring Maxwell becomes towards the end of the book really worked for me. I like that they do understand each other and accept each other as they are. The marriage between this couple feels strong, like it will last for many years.

The love scenes are steamy and descriptive, but Monroe is a bit coy about the BDSM, with Maxwell having dominant tendencies and Romi being somewhat sexually submissive. I did like that she wasn't willing to be tied up until she felt like she could trust him again. That made a lot of sense to me.

The strong bond of friendship between Romi and Madison (from the other book) is a prominent aspect of this book, which I also liked. Romi and Madison both feel like women I might have known or interacted with in my real life. It's cute that SBC (sisters-by-choice) married friends/business rivals.

So, I was pretty satisfied with this book.

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