September came and went in the blink of an eye. I read 24 books (ok, 25 really, since Castles/The Lions Lady is really two books), bringing my total read for the year up to 215 (or 216 - see above), or so Goodreads tells me. I'm fairly certain that I missed a couple books somewhere between August and September, but I'm damned if I know what they were.
My goal for next month? Get back reading the In Death books. I haven't read one in 3 months. Im starting to wonder what Eve & Roarke are up to. Of course, it doesn't help that I'm a complete and utter failure in the In Death Challenge. And although I'm reading, I'm not really reviewing much, so I'm a total failure at the Year of the Historical Challenge as well.
Anyway, here are my reads for September. Some good ones in there.
The Darkest Hour (KGI, #1) by Maya Banks: Goodreads Rating: 5 stars
Really, really liked this one. Open, honest feelings on the part of hero and heroine. Honest portrayal of drug addiction and grief. And of finding love again. Wonderful family relations between brothers, and parents and children as well. Loved it. Can't wait til the next one. I would compare this to a Cindy Gerard only more raw.
A Touch of Scandal by Jennifer Haymore: Goodreads Rating: 4.5 stars
Garrett's book. Loved them together. Loved their sense of family, separately and together. I loved that there was no mistrust between them. And love Garrett's sister, whose book was just released. Dying to read that one!
Inside Out (Brown Siblings, #3) by Lauren Dane (ARC read): Goodreads Rating: 4.5 stars
Review to come closer to release. But I'll tell you that I loved it. Like all of them. Lauren Dane was noting on twitter the other day that someone had said her books were anti-family. I think I've noted in every single review how much I adore her sense of family. Cope was amazing. And Ella just "gets" him. More detail to follow.
Till Dawn with the Devil: Lords of Vice by Alexandra Hawkins: Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
I enjoyed this book much more than the first in the series. Most of the focus remained on the main couple for most of the book. While I found the Lords of Vice's nicknames less annoying this time, I still find them trite.
I really liked that Sophia, while acknowledging her disability, compensated and didn't allow it to get her down. She was a strong woman no matter what life, or her brothers dealt her. Although I hated the way her brothers treated her, I really liked that they came together in the end and how wonderful Gabriel was with Sophia.
This was my do or die book for the series, and I'm happy to say that I'll be waiting for Dare's book anxiously.
Two to Tangle by Leslie Kelly: Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
A reread. I read it when it first came out as a Temptation, and loved it then. Once I got over the silliness of Chloe never once slipping and calling Trent, Troy, even in the heat of passion, I was able to fall in love with this sweet, passionate story. Complete with eccentrics on both sides of the families, both Trent and Chloe were down to earth, nice people, and I wanted to see them together. The imagery is wonderful. I could completely see Trent in the rain and envision their courtship played out in a display window. The date they had in the store was so romantic. I also loved that Trent could have believed the worst of Chloe but instead chose immediately to believe her explanation of a sityation he'd misconstrued.
Two nice, fun people in a passionate but incredibly sweet and romantic relationship. Love this one!
SEALed with a Promise (SEALed, #2) by Mary-Margret Daughtridge: Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
This was a reread. I thought I was picking up the third book, but realized, oops! Anyway, I liked both characters. Loved seeing how Emmie grew and her perception of herself changed. Also liked that Caleb had a difficult time letting go of his grudges, but managed to do it anyway, and managed to do the right thing. They were both loyal friends. Although I hated that Caleb was using her in the beginning, even he never realized when his feelings became real. But fully embraced them anyway.
Seduced by a Highlander (Children of the Mist, #2) by Paula Quinn: Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
I liked this one. Two families in a feud, brought on by a teenager's mistake, and compounded by another's. I liked the sense of family amongst Isobel's siblings. And liked that even though some of the distrust remained, they eventually saw Tristan for who he was. And that Tristan was willing to end his charade of a character and just be himself.
Love Me If You Dare (Bachelor Blogs, #2) by Carly Phillips: Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Really enjoyed this one. I definitely knew the villain from the first time they appeared on the pages, but it didn't stop my enjoyment of the story. I do wish that the heroine would have let go of her issues a little earlier. I felt like she didn't quite deserve the perfection that was the hero.
Wicked Delights of a Bridal Bed (The Byrons of Braebourne, #4) by Tracy Anne Warren: Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Loved the open honest friendship between Adam and Mallory, but hated that the author had him act out of character at the end.
Castles/The Lion's Lady by Julie Garwood: Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Castles: I thought this one was a tad forgettable.
The Lion's Lady: Not this one! I adored Christina. She was so fresh, and what a wry, subtle, wicked sense of humor she had! Lyon was great in that he never tried to change her. This one was excellent.
Ransom (Highlands' Lairds, #2) by Julie Garwood: Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Once again, loved Garwood's writing. And loved the first half. My heart broke for Gillian. I wasn't as thrilled with the past portions of the book. But overall, still a very enjoyable read.
The Sergeant's Lady by Susanna Fraser: Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
What a fresh approach and such a great story. Love that the hero is not of the same class as the heroine, yet they were so in love. Seemed like a more realistic version of the war in Spain than I've read in a long time. (the only romance I can remember seeming more realistic in war is Duran's Duke of Shadows.) Simply wonderful. I can't wait to read more from her.
Texas Tangle by Leah Braemel: Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
I really, really liked this one. So very much! I loved how the three weren't afraid to talk about the issues that would face them. And that they took time - a lot of it - to think seriously about whether they could handle the issues that would arise from a permanent menage. I did think that Dillon's family was a little too accepting at first. Overall, a terrific read from Braemel.
Hot Finish (Fast Track, #3) by Erin McCarthy: Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
I really liked Ryder and Suzanne. I've been waiting for something explosive to happen between them, and boy howdy. I got it. What I really like is that Ryder accepts Suzanne for who she is, and doesn't expect her to change, and frankly doesn't want her to change her fiery personality.
I love marriages in trouble stories, and this one was great. They worked through their issues, and both came to realizations of how they both mistreated their spouse unintentionally and also how they could better treat the other.
Last to Die (Sheridan, #2) by Kate Brady: Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
This read a little tighter than the first one. Which tells me that Brady is going to keep improving and be a hell of a thriller author. I loved Mitch as a hero, and loved his faith in his friends. And Dani was a credible detective, even if she had her own issues to deal with. I liked them together, too.
Hard and Fast (Fast Track, #2) by Erin McCarthy: Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Adored Ty and Imogen. Truly.
Deadly Intent (Mindhunters, #4) by Kylie Brant (ARC read): Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Review coming up closer to release. Suffice to say, I'm in love with the Mindhunters and can't wait for the next one. I'm waiting rather impatiently for Adam's book. Who knows when it will be published, but if Brant doesn't write it, I may have to hire a hitman.
Killing Her Softly (Griffin Powell, #5) by Beverly Barton: Goodreads Rating: 3.5 stars
I really like Barton's books. I guessed the whodunnit here, but I loved how she kept all the characters guessing if Quinn was really guilty of the crimes. The main thing I didn't quite like was that Annabelle seemed so quick to jump on Quinn's bandwagon. She knew what she wanted and went for it. But her undying immediate faith in Quinn's innocence gave me pause. I understood that she recognized her cousin's faults, but still thought she should wonder about Quinn more than she actually did.
Wicked & Willing by Leslie Kelly: Goodreads Rating: 3.5 stars
This reads much more like a typical Blaze would now (even tho it's a Temptation). It's the story of the brother of the hero of Two to Tangle. Troy is a playboy and it's Venus who makes this story. Still, it's got humor and passion and fun. As well as a tug-at-your-heartstrings Cinderella storyline.
Her Very Own Family (Harlequin American Romance Series) by Trish Milburn: Goodreads Rating: 3.5 stars
I liked both the hero & heroine. And Brady's dad, and the compassion that Audrey showed him, was such a wonderful part of the story.
Unspeakable (Tracers, #2) by Laura Griffin: Goodreads Rating: 3.5 stars
I felt as that as hard as Elaina wanted to be part of the team, she never made much effort to do so, except complaining that she wasn't part of it. Griffin showed no real sense of teamwork, and while I understand that at first that was likely designed to show what an outsider Elaina was, it didn't work so well for me. I also am sure that had the morning team meetings been shown, I would have had a better sense of how the rest of the team worked together. In this case, I missed seeing more of the rest of the cast and felt that there was just a little too much time spent on Troy and Elaina (and I realize how strange that sounds).
I liked Troy, and I liked him and Elaina together. I never felt as though I truly understood the reasons for the crimes, though, although I knew fairly early on who the villain was (even if I didn't know his name yet).
I am looking forward to Mia's book, though. I like Griffin's voice and style very much, and that will keep me coming back until I find a book I enjoy as much as Whisper of Warning.
Married By Mistake by Abby Gaines: Goodreads Rating: 3 stars
Lots to like, but more to bother me, I think. Didn't care so much for Adam. And I hate it when the hero and heroine don't TALK to each other.
If Looks Could Chill (Passion For Danger, #2) by Nina Bruhns: Goodreads Rating: 3 stars
This one didn't suck me in as much as the other two did. And I really didn't want to have to pull out my junior high French in order to read Marc's thoughts. The Gina story was far more compelling to me than the main two romances, as well as the play between Alex and Rebel. Of course since I read out of order I already know what happens there, but I enjoyed watching it unfold nonetheless.
Strike Zone (Richmond Rogues, #3) by Kate Angell: Goodreads Rating: 3 stars
Cute. But like all the Angell books it couldn't decide who to focus on between the two couples. But still pretty cute and enjoyable.