October was one of those months where I didn't think I read a whole lot, but it turned out to be 25, bringing the year's total to 239. There were some very good reads this month; lots of 4.5 and a couple 5 star reads.
On a side note, does anyone else find it supremely annoying that you can't export a single bookshelf from Goodreads? You have to export your entire booklist. And sorting sucks, because they lump all your shelves for one title into a single cell. Anyway, just throwing that up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes.
It was an e-book bonanza for me this month - I read 18 out of 25 books electronically. I keep thinking I want a new ebook reader. I still have an eBookwise, and adore the backlight, which is what stopped me from buying anything for a very long time, but it really is obsolete now. And I adore the versatility that reading on my phone gives me. I can read any format and I always have it wherever I am. Although I'm thinking that for vacations, a dedicated reader might still be nice, though.
One other thought, and that is on hero names. I had 2 reads this month where the hero's name threw me, simply because it didn't sound hero-like, or it was unusual. Yes, I admit it's totally shallow, but it bothers me. Anyone else?
Hey - it's election day! Make sure you get out and vote today.
So... Here's what I read last month:
Shaken by Dee Tenorio. Goodreads rating: 5 stars.
Emotional. Deep. Heartbreaking. Raw. Uplifting. Shaken runs the gamut in an incredibly short format. Tenorio brings every parent's and spouse's worst fear to life and shows that it can be all right in the end. She writes with such depth of emotion it's impossible not to get caught up in it.
Zeke (Devils on Horseback, #3) by Beth Williamson. Goodreads rating: 5 stars.
This is a reread for me. The thing that struck me this time is that it's got to be incredibly difficult to make a slobbering drunk a hero and make him sympathetic, and still incredibly masculine. But Williamson manages it with Zeke. There's really not much else I can add to my original review. This series is must-read. You can read the original review I wrote here.
Just My Type (Bradfords #3) by Erin Nicholas. Goodreads rating: 3 stars.
I liked this entry in the Bradford siblings series, although I found it a bit more disjointed than the others. I thought Mac just needed to grow up and then admit that Sara had already grown up. For her part, Sara was the spoiled baby, and it took her a while to lose some of that and with that came maturity. If you like the series, go ahead. If it's your first book by Nicholas, start with #1 in the series.
Fair Game by Josh Lanyon. Goodreads rating: 4.5 stars.
As always, a wonderfully compelling read from Lanyon. Terrific characters and intensely intimate (as opposed to explicit).
Love Is Blind by Lynsay Sands. Goodreads rating: 4.5 stars.
Sweet, wonderful romance. It's not often that I adore both the hero and the heroine. They were sweet, adorable together and complemented each other perfectly.
A Season of Seduction (Tristan Family, #3) by Jennifer Haymore. Goodreads rating: 4.5 stars.
I loved Rebecca and Jack's story. Flat out loved it. I loved that she tried to empower herself by having an affair and that both their desires to keep their feelings in check backfired on them. Haymore has a wonderful voice.
Simply Irresistible (A Lucky Harbor Novel, #1) by Jill Shalvis. Goodreads rating: 4.5 stars.
Loved it. It was funny, touching, sweet, and hot all at the same time. As only Shalvis can do.
Lady Renegade by Carol Finch. Goodreads rating: 4 stars.
I really liked the byplay between Gideon and his brothers and sister-in-law. Also liked the banter between Gideon and Lori. But I didn't care for the way that Gideon was so mean to Lori for 1/2 the book. Although it *was* realistic in context. I guessed what really happened very early on in the book, but it was less about the mystery of whodunnit and more about the relationship growing between Lori & Gideon. I did think she was awfully sexually bold for an unmarried woman in her time. But there was enough that I really enjoyed to recommend it to western lovers.
Impulsive by HelenKay Dimon. Goodreads rating: 4 stars.
Another terrific read from Dimon. Another hero with hidden depths, a heroine who does a lot of growing up, and some understated silliness/humor. Dimon has hit just the right balance of all these things to make me happy. The last couple of books have had some darker elements to them. This one, not so much. I wouldn’t call it fluffy by any means, but it’s certainly a little more light-hearted than the last couple of books. Complete with her signature wit and terrific characters, it was a great read for me.
Sunrise Over Texas by M. Fredrick. Goodreads rating: 4 stars.
A really good western historical about the harsh realities of living on the frontier in the early 1800s and overcoming them. Although I wanted to smack the hero for a minute at the end, I understood where he was coming from.
Playing For Keeps by Shiloh Walker. Goodreads rating: 4.5 stars.
It's obvious that this book has huge personal meaning for Walker, and the part from the pregnancy on rings so true, it hurts to read. It's a very emotional book, and Walker shows her H/H on their way to happiness, and then snatches it out from beneath them. The 2nd half of the book is their journey to coming back together. As always, powerful and poignant.
A Hellion in Her Bed (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #2) by Sabrina Jeffries. Goodreads rating: 4 stars.
Another good entry in this series. Although thinking back on it, I don't remember feeling a huge powerful connection between the hero and heroine as I have in some other books, this still worked well for me. And truly, I don't recall ever not liking a Jeffries book.
Rakes & Radishes by Susanna Ives. Goodreads rating: 3 stars.
I found the heroine to be too selfish for my taste, but the hero went on a terrific journey of self-discovery.
Don't Cry by Beverly Barton. Goodreads rating: 4 stars.
I really liked this one. A TBI agent with an unruly teenage daughter meets a therapist who's up to her neck in a murder investigation. Nobody was perfect, but they all worked at improving their relationships. Heroine might have been a bit judgemental at first, but came around. The mystery was creepy enough to hold my interest.
Talking With The Dead by Shiloh Walker. Goodreads rating: 4 stars.
Shiloh Walker never shies away from the dark and this novel is no exception. Heavy on the ghosts, but it worked. A horrid childhood for two brothers plays out here, along with a small town sheriff thrown in. As always, Walker shines with the heavy emotions. There were a few holes, but Walker always manages to make it work for me anyway.
The Clayborne Brides: One Pink Rose, One White Rose, One Red Rose by Julie Garwood. Goodreads rating: 3.5 stars.
Definitely not my favorite Garwood. This is 3 stories about a trio of brothers, all intertwined with an overarching storyline. It was ok, but not totally compelling. I think that she does medievals so much better than Western historicals.
A Rogue's Pleasure by Hope Tarr. Goodreads rating: 3 stars.
A bit predictable, but enjoyable nonetheless. Plucky heroine, rakish hero and adventure.
Going Down (Holding out for a Hero, #1) by Shelli Stevens. Goodreads rating: 3.5 stars.
I liked the hero, his family, and the small town feel of the book. I had a moment's pause early on where it felt as though Tyson was using his position as sheriff to impose sex on Ellie, but I didn't see it again and that particular scene didn't play out that way either. My biggest complaint with the book was that they became engaged after about 2 weeks. It was awfully fast. But I did feel the connection, and felt Ellie begin to create relationships around town, so I let it all go for the most part. Tyson was really engaging, and Ellie was justified in her secrecy, given the short time frame of the book. I think much of my problem is with the short format. I don't read a lot of novellas, mostly because I want the long drawn out build up to a relationship. But boy howdy, am I looking forward to Tyson's brothers' stories. Even if they're also novellas.
Relentless (Heat) (Temptation, 841) by Leslie Kelly. Goodreads rating: 4 stars.
An older Temptation from Kelly. The heroine hears that her fiance only wants her for the money and prestige, and meets the hero immediately thereafter, not knowing that he was there when she made her discovery. Liked the premise, mostly because he felt bad about keeping things from her (it wasn't the "for your own good" thing that I hate so much), and liked both the hero and heroine. And boy, do I miss the Temptation line.
Loving Ranger (Men of S.W.A.T., #4) by J.C. Wilder. Goodreads rating: 3.5 stars.
JC Wilder's books are a little like candy for me. I always love them. I liked the idea of this story, but there were definite flaws in the execution. But like candy, I really didn't care. It was just fun to read. And the fun factor outweighs all the problems. Sissy's accent irritated me. I wondered how Jace explained his absence to his undercover boss. I wanted more on the outcome. The mean-ass FBI agents and cops seemed over the top. But still, it was fun to read and I ate it up. And like I felt after Cowboy's story, once again I'm looking forward to the next one.
Setting Him Free by Alexandra Marell. Goodreads rating: 3.5 stars.
This was a reread from ages ago. After being the only two survivors of a plane crash and spending a day together surviving, the hero and heroine decide to meet up at a later date to see if their relationship still feels right. Hero had some issues to work out, and I appreciated that they didn't become engaged after a day. I also liked the heroine.
Passion to Die For (Silhouette Romantic Suspense #1579) by Marilyn Pappano. Goodreads rating: 3 stars.
I had a really tough time with a hero named Tommy. Shallow? Yes. But there it is. I liked the premise, liked the background stories. I even understood why Ellie acted the way she did. But I had a hard time with how quickly her revelations made her feel worthy of love. I also had a hard time with who the villain was. It just seemed so unlikely and they were so devoid o feeling. It didn't quite sit right. Having said all that, what an interesting premise. And I do like Pappano's voice a lot as well.
The Wicked House of Rohan by Anne Stuart. Goodreads rating: 3 stars.
I liked the hero, but the heroine went from accepting her fate out of desperation to loving every second of it just like that, and that really irritated me. Many Stuart heroines teeter on the TSTL edge, and while she didn't necessarily do anything to endanger herself (other than offer herself up), I found her too-trusting nature to be pretty TSTL.
Overnight by E.C. Sheedy. Goodreads rating: 3.5 stars.
My heart broke for both Deanne and Julius (and really, his name threw me - who names a kid Julius these days?). They both had a hard time growing up, and their shared history made their connection that much stronger. I really liked how Deanne was honest with Julius about her connection to his family before they had sex, and that he didn't hold her responsible. I liked that Deanne made him look at himself and acknowledge his fear of getting close again. Which made her transformation to her "new self" that much stronger.
What I didn't care for so much was the side story with Kurt. Whether it's because I have high school boys myself or just that I didn't care for their total villainous characters with no redeeming qualities (although some of them did second guess what they were doing) I'm not sure. Maybe I just don't want to acknowledge that boys can be that cruel at that age even though I know it to be the truth, and a rather likely truth at that. I think what blew the scenario for me was their willingness to use guns. That seemed the piece that blew it over the top for me. Plus, it did seem a bit of a contrived plot to make the hero realize how much he loved the heroine.
Overall, I enjoyed the story very much, and thought the dialogue between Julius and Deanne was what pulled the story together for me.
Once a Ranger by Carrie Weaver. Goodreads rating: 2 stars.
A disappointing read from my favorite line, HSR. I found Kat to be wishy washy, the villain to be stereotypical, and the ending to be too quick.