Monday, August 02, 2010

Lori's July Reads

I had a blast yesterday having lunch with Nikki and Tracy. We live within about 25 minutes of each other, so we do this every so often. I adore my chats with Nikki about books — we almost always, without fail, have the same reaction to books, the same favorite in series, like the same authors and can't get into the same books. Tracy is just full of awesome, and while we have some different tastes in books (she likes the paranormals far more than I do!), of those that we do share, we often have spirited discussions. Plus, both women have families, and we spend a lot of time talking about them. Nikki's rant on All Night With a Rogue got us started discussing "first times" (yes, our own) and it was ummm... interesting, LOL.

Anyway, on to July. July was a huge reading month for me. I think it helped that youngest was off at camp all month, and work was a bit slow, so I wasn't completely exhausted when I got home every day. Turns out I read 28 books. Yes, 28. Including 3 five-star reads. Yay! And OMG. If you haven't read the new Hoyt yet, run don't walk and grab it. Fabulous!

And I'm still on target for tracking my reads this year. Go me! So far, it looks like I've read 166 books.

Books are linked either to reviews here or at Goodreads when I couldn't be arsed to do one here.

The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran
Goodreads rating: 5
I have been putting off reading Duran for fear of being disappointed. What a doofus I am. No disappointment here. This was at times heartbreaking, joyous, beautiful, and gut-wrenching. My only niggle was that Emma wouldn't listen to Julian's explanations at first. But then, she'd had some... issues, let's say, and so I was able to forgive it.

Cold Sight (Extra Sensory Agents, #1) by Leslie Parrish
Goodreads rating: 5
Another winner from Parrish. I loved how Adrian let himself open up to Lexie. Lexie was a great heroine. And the "woo-woo" factor was low, but perfectly inserted, on Adrian's part and on the part of the rest of his team. Can't wait for more!

Wicked Intentions (Maiden Lane, #1) by Elizabeth Hoyt
Goodreads rating: 5
OMG, this book is made of awesome. Darker than her previous books, with much less humor written in, but I still ate it up like chocolate cake.

Unbridled by Beth Williamson
Goodreads rating: 4.5
A full-length western contemp from Williamson (whom you know I love). Overall, a wonderful read. Nicknames during sex is a pet peeve of mine, and the continued use of "Cowboy" during sex drove me batty. Excepting that, I loved the story itself and the developing relationships between the heroine and all the rest of the characters.

Remember Me (The Rosewood Trilogy, #1) by Laura Moore
Goodreads rating: 4.5
Thank you to Nikki for this book! It was so good! If you love horses, reunited lovers, unrequited teenage love, and overcoming adversity to triumph, this is the book for you.

Three Nights with a Scoundrel (Stud Club, #3) by Tessa Dare
Goodreads rating: 4.5
The best of the trilogy, IMO. Julian and Lily were wonderful, both separately and together. And I admired Dare's accurate portrayal of deafness.

Knight of Desire by Margaret Mallory
Goodreads rating: 4.5
A re-read for me, and although I generally don't care for medievals, I absolutely adored this book. Fan-freaking-tastic.

The Homecoming (Shelter Bay, #1) by JoAnn Ross
Goodreads rating: 4
Oh, how I adore JoAnn Ross. I'm a crack-ho for her books. This is more like a return to her older books (The Stewart Sisters trilogy is one of my faves of all-time!). A softer, more relationship-focsed book than her High-Risk series. And man oh man, I adored Sax and Kara.

Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage (Highland Pleasures, #2) by Jennifer Ashley
Goodreads rating: 4
I liked this SO much more than Ian's book. The story of a married couple finding their way back together is one of my favorite tropes, and Ashley did a fabulous job with Mac and Isabella.

REVELATION (de La Vega Cats, #2) by Lauren Dane
Goodreads rating: 4
Another great book from Dane. Although I normally abhor witch books (seriously abhor), somehow with Dane I'm able to not only stomach it, but adore it. She did the same thing to me with wolves, too. My only complaint is that the ending of both books so far, rather than being a cliff-hanger for the next book, feels more unfinished.
ETA: Note that the HEA is complete, but there's a continuing story arc over these books, and that's what I'm referring to.

My Dangerous Duke (Inferno Club, #2) by Gaelen Foley
Goodreads rating: 4
A totally implausible English spy story, but I admit to loving it anyway. A brash, nasty man, who is a lover at heart, and a scared, isolated woman who is also a lover at heart. Toss in an adventure & roadtrip, plus an amazingly tender evening, and a club full of spies, and I ate it up. Oh, and I should add that I haven't read book 1, and didn't miss out on a thing.
Review coming up for Book Binge.

Tempting a Proper Lady by Debra Mullins
Goodreads rating: 4
I remember really liking this book at the time, but I must admit that I didn't make any notes, and I can't remember a thing about it. So not a story that sticks with you, but I remember enjoying the hell out of it at the time (whatever it was about!).
Review coming up for Book Binge.

Everything Changes by Megan Hart
Goodreads rating: 4
Naked told from Alex's POV. It was too short for my liking, and I wanted to get more interaction between Alex and Anne and Jamie - especially exploring the sexual feelings between Alex and Jamie that were so amazingly portrayed in Naked.

Scandalous by Night by Barbara Pierce
Goodreads rating: 4
Let's just say I'll never look at raspberry jam in the same way again! Actually, there was much to like in this book and I really enjoyed it once I got past the beginning. The first chapter or so (following the prologue) was a little confusing. This is part of a series, and can be read as a standalone.

Just Like That (The Bradfords, Book 2) by Erin Nicholas
Goodreads rating: 4
I liked this book a lot. The Bradfords are an interesting family, and Sam's transition from "no cares in the world" to responsible, loving man was great.

Ruthless Heart by Emma Lang
Goodreads rating: 4
Lang's first book under this moniker (she's also Beth Williamson). A very good read. My only qualm was that Eliza fell so quickly into bed with Grady without so much of a hint of insecurity or 2nd thought. Given her upbringing (which Lang points out that Eliza doesn't believe in) I still thought that she should have been a little hesitant. Otherwise I really enjoyed this book. I liked that there was a morally ambiguous hero, and the heroine accepted him for himself. And a very interesting premise, using the LDS religion as a backdrop. I'm hopeful that in the next book it won't be portrayed as completely evil.

Twice Tempted by a Rogue (Stud Club, #2) by Tessa Dare
Goodreads rating: 4
The beginning was a little odd to me - it seemed so strange for Rhys to decide that he and Meredith would be married in almost a split second, but as the book went on, I was more able to see where Dare (and Rhys!) was coming from. Talk about an angsty hero! Overall, really enjoyed this one, and right now, I think there is nobody in historical romance that writes better prose. Just beautiful the way she paints pictures with her words.

The Duke's Captive by Adele Ashworth
Goodreads rating: 4
Very disturbing book to me, because of the dark nature of the theme. The case for the hero's sense of anger, violation, and desire for revenge was well-founded. Beware there's a forced seduction scene, but it didn't detract from the book at all for me. It fit perfectly.
Review coming at Book Binge.

Colters' Woman (Colters' Legacy, #1) by Maya Banks
Goodreads rating: 3.5
Liked this one quite a bit. I do find the 3 on 1 a bit difficult to deal with, but nobody does this better, IMO, than Banks. She does adore having a trio of brothers share the same woman. And makes me adore it, too.

Untraceable (Tracers, #1) by Laura Griffin
Goodreads rating: 3.5
I adored Whisper of Warning (congrats to Griffin on the RITA for WoW, BTW!). I was so looking forward to this one. It fell a bit flat for me. The setup was good but the heroine teetered on the TSTL line, and I felt she used the hero. He was wonderful, though. Still, a great example of the mix of romance and suspense.

Long Time Gone (Konigsburg, Texas #4) by Meg Benjamin
Goodreads rating: 3.5
I do love this series. Benjamin has a great mix of contemporary voice mixed with humor. She adds in a tiny bit of suspense to drive the hero & heroine together.

Just Right (The Bradfords, Book 1) by Erin Nicholas
Goodreads rating: 3.5
Really liked the heroine here, and thought the hero should have let go of his boohoos a little sooner. But overall, a really enjoyable book about an ER nurse and a hottie doctor.

Colters' Wife (Colters' Legacy, #1) by Maya Banks
Goodreads rating: 3
A "meh" read for me. Seemed like it could have been tacked on to the end of Colter's Woman. And when I discovered it was originally a free read on Banks' website, and then I paid for it, I was filled with sad.

Bound By Nature (Forces of Nature, #1) by Cooper Davis
Goodreads rating: 3
Loved the premise of this one, but the author didn't give me enough reason to believe it should have been a wolf story rather than straight m/m other than the desire of 2 packs to mate their alpha heir-apparents for a united front.

Under My Umbrella (Fated, Book 1) by Karen Erickson
Goodreads rating: 3
A chance encounter on a rainy walk home. Once again, I didn't make notes, and I don't remember much about the story other than I enjoyed it but wasn't wowed. I'm beginning to wonder if it's me or the books. Hmmm....

McKettricks of Texas: Austin (McKettricks, #13) by Linda Lael Miller
Goodreads rating: 3
I was disappointed in the closer for this trilogy of 3 brothers and 3 sisters fallingin love. But that's not to say it wasn't good, because a meh book from Miller is a good book from anyone else.

Tempting Adam (Seattle Steam, #2) by Shelli Stevens
Goodreads rating: 3
I do like Stevens' voice and style. Enjoyed this one, but thought the heroine should have come clean about her friendship with Adam's brother sooner.

All Tied Up (Pleasure Inn, #1) by Cathryn Fox
Goodreads rating: 2.5
This read kind of like a Blaze, but with less substance. I really like the premise (an interior design firm of 3 women hired to renovate a B&B), but I think each of the 3 heroines deserve a full-length book.

One Lucky Cowboy by Carolyn Brown
Goodreads rating: 2
My least favorite read of the month. Stereotyped hicks and the banter wasn't really banter for much of the book; it came across as simply arguing for argument's sake. I couldn't wait for it to end.


  1. Wow, look at you go! I'm having fun vicariously, LOL.

    And how did I miss the Hart title?! I'm behind on reading her, yes. But thought I had diligently written every new one down on my TBR list. Thanks for clueing me there.

    Hoyt's've got me headed to Walmart to try to find it on my lunch hour, LOL. Cannot wait. I missed the last 3 of her last quartet. Not going to let that happen here--not with this much praise.

  2. Wow you had a great month of reading!! I see so many books on your list that I have in my TBR!!

    Sounds like you and Nikki and Tracy have a great time meeting for lunch!:)

  3. Go you indeed, Lori! Wow! You got some really awesome books :D

    Isn't The Homecoming by JoAnn Ross a reprint? and are you planning a more in-depth review of the Leslie Parrish? I read the first book of her other series and it was okay... but picked up the two others, but haven't felt like reading them yet ^_^;

    Oh and fun, you got to hang out with Nikki and Tracy!

  4. Hey Nath, The Homecoming isn't new. It's an offshoot of her High Risk SEAL series.

    I had intended to do a full review of the Parrish, and I may still do one, but *sigh* I haven't felt motivated to do it yet. Holly did one at Book Binge, though, and she pretty much sums up my feelings.

  5. What a reading month you had. I read a couple of the same historicals (you finally read Duran!) and had the same reaction. Can't wait to see you and catch up.
    We are overdue!

  6. What a productive month! Good for you, Lori!

    I'm so proud of you, too, for keeping up with posting your monthly read list here! I have so much fun reading your thoughts. Thank you!!! :)

    I'm SO happy that you loved Duran's Duke of Shadows. It is probably one of my absolute favorite historical romances. I'm not much of a re-reader, but this one often comes to mind if I were to re-read. Unfortunately, I borrowed the book from Katiebabs two summers ago and never bought my own copy!!! LOL Time to remedy that.

    I'm adding the Hoyt book to my list.

    I love Tessa Dare's writing. LOVE. I am reading (in between Harry Potter chapters... ) Twice Tempted by a Rogue. I cannot get enough of her writing. I could just read and read and read.... whatever she writes.

    I love Mallory's medieval trilogy. Well. the first two. I have the third book on the nightstand. So far I like the first one best.

    OMGOSH! I didn't even KNOW about Everything Changes!!!?!?!?!?! What rock have I been under????? Holy smokes. I gotta get Naked, too.. Heh. LOL.


Have you read it? What do you think?

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