Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February at half-time...

What She Needs by Anne Calhoun
This was a WOW read for me. Tightly written--really, the writing was flawless. Flawless like Megan Hart flawless. Written with an economy that only heightened its emotion. Intense. Palpable. It was also very clever--the reveal packed a punch--despite the well-placed clues and even despite the fact that this is an extremely popular storyline in erotic romance. I absolutely loved this book.

Under His Hand by Anne Calhoun
And this title was the reason I purchased What She Needs. Blogger buzz for Under His Hand hooked me and when I went to purchase it, I grabbed What She Needs too. Read that one, absolutely loved it. Under His Hand was a huge disappointment by comparison. The premise, its characters, the emotional ride. All there. Except, I think they forgot to edit this one. Typos throughout and no where near the economy of the first. I had to wade through run-ons--sentences and internal thoughts/backstory--and step over typos. Seriously, it was as if this entire manuscript had not been edited. So disappointing.

Lessons From A Scarlet Lady by Emma Wildes
All three of my historical reads this month (so far) featured less-than-alpha heroes. Not a bad thing, mind you. Just noticeable coming off a month that featured Stephanie Laurens, LOL. In this one, I have to say I enjoyed watching the heroine undo her man. He wasn't the brightest bulb, but he was honorable enough. Their humor was more of the dork variety--no witty (read knowing) sarcasms here--just fun at the expense of their collective naivete. The secondary storyline was equally entertaining and the sequel baiting effective (I'm thinking the third brother may be significantly smarter than these two.)

Proof By Seduction by Courtney Milan
It might not be fair to call Gareth "less-than-alpha." He was dark, intense--extremely alpha I suppose, if you consider how tightly controlled his demeanor and actions. A powerful read (thinking back on it now). Words fail me, but yes, one of best I've read in awhile.

Prelude To A Scandal by Delilah Marvelle
I adore the covers Marvelle received for this series. Just gorgeous. I didn't much adore this first installment though. Read it completely through and remained unconvinced the entire way. I didn't buy his "addiction." Didn't appreciate the startling dark stuff (without the seriousness in character to support it). And I didn't care for the handling of same-sex relationships because, again, it lacked the seriousness it deserved in this setting. I dunno, maybe Marvelle was actually going for a dark, serious telling. If she was, her efforts were completely undermined by her H/H. Radcliff was embarrassingly dramatic--a blazing idiot--and Justine was as naive as they come.

Call Me Irristible by SEP
I wish I could remember how to write a full-fledged review, cuz this one deserves it. In true SEP fashion, Call Me Irristible features a down-trodden heroine and a hero intent on humiliating her until low and behold, they fall madly for one another. And as with every other SEP title in recent memory, I was slow to accept the premise, but unable to turn away. In the end, I fell hard for Teddy and Meg. And I was reminded of how clever SEP really is. We cheer for Meg because unlike everyone else, she knows Teddy. At least we think she knows him. Right up until SEP clobbers us all with Teddy's point of view. By which time it's too late. Because we're all in love and hurting. Every moment worth it, because that last scene? Sigh-worthy. Really, really sigh-worthy. I re-read those last three pages again and again. Almost didn't want to give the book back to my library.

There was also plenty of the absurd and just the right amount of the past in this one. I don't think I'll ever recapture the magic of Kiss An Angel, but I know I can keep counting on SEP to deliver that falling-in-love sensation--warts and all.

Tongue In Chic by Christina Dodd
Thinking about starting a "retro" challenge. Granted, this title is only 5 years old, but it felt long lost to me. Probably because my blog reader yields dozens of new must-reads every month. Going back 5 years feels like quite a stretch. At any rate, I'm really enjoying Dodd's older contemporaries. This one was fun and sexy. A light, quick read with good humor and a not-too-overwhelming suspense line. I'm going for Thigh High next and am also browsing Rachel Gibson's backlist. Quirky and sexy is my favorite flavor right now.

Beyond The Night by Joss Ware
Blogger buzz put this series on my TBR list quite some time ago. Unfortunately, I'm not so thrilled by sci-fi or urban or whatever this particular setting is called. It was so bleak. And disturbing. I read it through--appreciating Ware's voice and characterization very much. I just don't think I'll go on in the series given the impact their hopelessness has on the HEA.


  1. Wasn't What She Needs great? I did see the big reveal coming (chalk it up to me reading a lot of Spice Briefs....), but there was a nice "moment of truth" in there through the heroine's eyes that just WORKED on so many levels.

    For that reason, you'd think I would have rushed to purchase Under His Hand....and I just couldn't do it. Chalk it up to the premise. And then I read a review (a positive review!) that further reinforced that the story probably wasn't going to be "my thang." Different strokes and all that.

    Heh - I said "strokes" in relation to erotic romance stories.

  2. Are you going to read more of Emma Wildes, Jen? I think she's my gem author for 2010 :) There's just something about her historical books. Hmmm, as for the 3rd brother of that book, not sure he's getting a book...

    Tongue in Chic... that's the 2nd or 3rd book of the series? I can't remember. I like that style of book, but I remember not loving it as I wished, sigh.

    5 years seems like forever, now LOL. Especially when you can't remember what was released back then... :)

  3. Tightly written--really, the writing was flawless. Flawless like Megan Hart flawless.

    Oh, Really? I'll be downloading this one. Thanks for the rec!

  4. That's it Wendy--that moment of truth in What She Needs...made it a fab read for me.

    And I will say, for Under His Hand, Calhoun might have achieved a similar "oh wow, yes" moment had it been polished up.

    Nath - Definitely! will be reading more Wildes.

    Christine - Highly highly recommend What She Needs. :-)

  5. Oh, how I adored that Wildes book. Loved how the heroine had the upper hand in that one.

    And I've heard so much about Anne Calhoun. Must read.


Have you read it? What do you think?

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