I've got a whole slew of stuff to write up, and not a lot of motivation. But I've been having such a great time reading, that I need to at least share my thoughts - thumbs up or down on these books.
Crazy Sweet - Tara Janzen
OK, this is Travis & Red Dog's story. Meh for the main storyline. Disappointing. It's really hard to write an engaging storyline for a woman whose emotions you've taken away. But, as always, the secondary storyline was fantastic, and kept me glued to the book. Smith and Honey were wonderful, hot, engaging. They reminded me a bit of Kid and Nikki for some reason. I'm assuming (read... hoping) that their story is "On the Loose", coming in 2007. Crazy Sweet gets a thumbs up for the secondary story line. Good save there.
Take Me - Lucy Monroe
Loved it. Jared was wonderful - warm and caring. Cali was great - I loved it that she learned how to stand up for herself. I only wish that she hadn't been the cliched married virgin, although at least we get a different and decent twist as to the reason. I think Lucy Monroe has a wonderful way with writing stories that pull you in and make you feel what her characters are feeling. Thumbs up for the entire trilogy.
Under the Wire - Cindy Gerard
Fan-fricken-tastic. Next to To the Edge, the first Bodyguard book, this one is my favorite. I loved Manny and Lily. There was not a moment that I wasn't drawn into the storyline. Not a moment where I rolled my eyes. Not a moment where I got bored. Nothing was overdone. Nothing was faked. Loved, loved, loved it. I cannot wait for Dallas and Amy's book. I only hope it doesn't fall victom to the "long awaited book" syndrome and become a snoozer. I have a hard time believing that any book Cindy Gerard writes would be a snoozer, but Under the Wire will be a tough one to follow up.
Something Sinful - Suzanne Enoch
In book 2 in the series, An Invitation to Sin, I was disappointed in the way she wrote the characters. I think others were, too. The duke was written as downright mean, and there was no humor at all. This one goes back to more humor. Sebastian, the duke, comes off much nicer. Shay's story is pretty good, aside from the heroine's mother treating her like dirt. Why, oh, why must this happen to all heroines? So cliched. Anyway, this was a much better contribution to the series than book 2.
Pleasure for Pleasure - Eloisa James
Well, this is the final book in the Essex sister's series. Josie's story was ok, but the secondary story here shined. Griselda's romance (Mayne's sister) was great (if you do away with the cliched ending). Loved it. There was a bit of the older woman/younger man issue that Kristie blogged about, but it wasn't overpowering. Mostly, they had a lot of fun. As for Mayne and Josie, I got a bit tired of Josie complaining about being fat all the time. Did women back then complain about their weight as much as we do? Just curious. Mayne is one of those milquetoasty heroes, but he was preferable to Josie. I did really love the scene where Mayne prances around in Josie's dress to teach her how to walk properly. And we got glimpses of both his alphaness and his sensitivity when he thought Josie had been raped. So, all in all, I guess if you like the series (which for the most part I did) then the book is a worthwhile endeavor to finish it off.
Touch Me With Fire - Nicole Jordan
This is a reissue of one I'd never read before. I absolutely loved every page of it. Great stuff. I only wondered a bit about the believability of some of the gypsy storyline, but I was able to set it aside. Why? I don't know. Perhaps it's because Jordan writes so well, or because her characters are always so beautifully formed - deep, thoroughly fleshed out. Or her love scenes are so dang hot. Beats me. I just know I dug this book. It gripped me from page 1. Love Nicole Jordan. Definite thumbs up.
Beyond the Limit - Lindsay McKenna
This is another in the Morgan's Mercenaries series. McKenna's heroes are sensitive, but strong. Their women are strong, but they are never bitchy. The two Trayhern boys are nothing like their father - it's an interesting thing, and McKenna explores it. Pete has a better relationship with his father than his brother Jason did, but he is still a different sort of guy. I love that she always has a strong sense of family in her books, but they are never sickeningly sweet. Quite the opposite, in fact. Just normal people with normal problems in extraordinary circumstances falling in love. These are military romances, heavy on the romance. Good book.
Side note - what's with all the cliched endings in books lately? And has anyone else noticed that I seem to be prejudiced against the heroines in my books? Or do I just have higher expectations of them? Is it because we're women and we're inherently looking for fault in other women? Subconsciously thinking of them as competition for the heroes in the books we read? Or am I just a freak? Do you expect your heroines to be perfect? I'm noticing that I'm really tough on the heroines I'm reviewing. The exception lately was Cassie in Taking Chase. Fantastically written heroine.