Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lori's March reads

So how was your month? I had some really good reads this month. Looks like lots of 4s. I don't feel like I'm reading as much as I did last year, and I'm not sure why. I did go away on a business trip. Usually that means loads and loads of reading, but I was busy from 6 am til 11 pm every single day. So yeah, not a lot of reading was done. I think the entire week I read only 3 books. Usually on a weeklong business trip, it would be more like 7 or 8. Plus, my mom has been really ill, and I spent a week with her at the hospital. And reading was not at the top of the list. Listening to her complain about every last little thing, and generally raise mayhem - that was on the list and was exhausting. I will say this, though. I knew she was ok when she was bitching and moaning, so it was a bit reassuring even as I wanted to club her. Looks like things are ok for the time being, though my sister and I are keeping a very close watch.

This month, I also had the chance to have a day with Nikki, Tracy, and Holly. That was a lot of fun, as always and brought up The Challenge.

So... I read 19 books this month, bringing my total so far for 2011 up to 51. Although I'm still sure I left a few off the list early on. Anyway, this month not too many below a 4, which means I read a shit-ton of awesome. I want to draw particular attention to the last book on the list, Bending Toward the Sun. I'll be doing a full review very shortly, but this was such a profound read for me, and I think that so many under the age of 30 really have no idea what the Holocaust felt like, what it was like to have family there, or the emotional toll it took. We are 70 years removed from the start of WW2, and it's something that I hope we never, ever forget.
Anyway, here's the list for March:

Sweet as the Devil by Susan Johnson
2.75 stars
This was better than its predecessor, but that isn't saying much. I did really like the hero here, but there were a lot of things that irritated me. Read and reviewed for Book Binge.

Dark Deceptions (A-Tac, #1) by Dee Davis
4 stars
Really liked this one. I liked that the hero and heroine didn't hold a grudge after they found out that neither was to blame for their breakup years before. Although Nash held onto his skepticism a little longer than I would have liked, I thought it realistic given who he was. I found Annie's actions believable, even though I did think she should have accepted help sooner rather than later. Definitely liked the interactions between the team members, and am looking forward to their own stories. In fact, immediately downloaded books 2 & 3.

Creation in Death (In Death, #25) by JD Robb
4 stars
Another good entry in the series, although not a whole lot stuck with me about it. Reviewed here.

Strangers in Death (In Death, #26) by JD Robb
4 stars
eThis was highly focused on the case, and far less on Eve & Roarke's relationship. However, when the book focuses on the cases, it allows us to see Eve's growth in her professional interactions - both with her colleagues and with victims. Reviewed here.

Deadly Heat (Deadly, #2) by Cynthia Eden
4 stars
Loved it. I thought the suspense portion was well done, and the relationship, while it grew quickly and was really based on sex at first, carried weight. And I love that Kent said I love you first - even though the love portion of a relationship went against everything he was about, and that Lora was the one to freak out just a little when he said it. And I'm dying to know - if you've read it, if you had the same thoughts about the villain as I did (I guessed it early on because of this connection I made).

Deadly Lies (Deadly #3) by Cynthia Eden
4.5 stars
Really, really well done romantic suspense. Wonderful growth on the part of the heroine (you need to read Deadly Fear (book 1) before you read this one). You could see her confidence and feeling of self-worth grow from the beginning to the end. The only thing that keeps it from getting a 5 is that there were lots of times when I thought, "Really? You're getting it on now?" Additional thoughts on Goodreads.

After Dark with a Scoundrel (Lords of Vice, #3) by Alexandra Hawkins
4 stars
I really liked this entry in the series. While the nicknames of the heroes really still irritate me, I am enjoying watching each get their comeuppance.

A Lot Like Love by Julie James
4.5 stars
Loved this story. The contrast between Jordan's girly-girl and Nick's manly man was fantastic. I loved the whole "pink" wine joke between them. I liked that they basically accepted each other, and once Nick learned that Jordan was not a snooty rich kid, but earned all her wealth herself, he lightened up a little and let himself fall. And oh, how he fell. James writes with a wonderful mix of humor and intelligence, and never treats her readers as less intelligent than they are. Some might think there was too much wine talk, but I actually thought it fit well with the story and characters. I'm looking forward to reading Kyle's story in the future, as well as any of the FBI team that James will be writing about.

His Wife for One Night by Molly O'Keefe
3.5 stars
I read this based on a rec from Wendy. We frequently love the same books from Harlequin. I wasn't disappointed. It lives up to the SuperRomance intensity of emotion, filled with heartbreaking moments and family. I loved how absent-minded Jack was. I loved how Mia stood by his family, even when they may not have deserved it. I loved how she steered Jack to his realization that what happened was not his fault, even if he could feel some responsibility for it. Definitely not a light read, but an emotional one with good characterization and heartwrenching emotions.

Hidden Away (KGI, #3) by Maya Banks
4 stars
I was all hopped up waiting to read Garrett's story. He didn't disappoint. I still think that The Darkest Hour (book 1) is my favorite, but this one came in a close second.

Living on the Edge (Edge, #1) by Shannon K Butcher
4 stars
Review forthcoming at Book Binge. Oh how I adore Shannon K Butcher's romantic suspense. If I had my way, she never would have written the Sentinel Wars (although I know that Casee loved those books, and to be honest I didn't read them). I would tie her up and force her to write RS all day long if I could. Suffice to say that there were a whole lot of things I liked and very few that I didn't.

To Desire a Wicked Duke: A Novel (Courtship Wars, #6) by Nicole Jordan
4.5 stars
I loved it! I've been waiting for Tess' story, and it did not disappoint. I loved that Rotham had been secretly wanting her, and thought the revelations about her fiance sad. And actually loved the way Jordan handled it. Tess was disappointed, but still had those good memories of him. The opening scene between Tess and Rotham was awesome. Loved how he was caught in a mess of his own making. And owned it. I've really enjoyed this series. Jordan remains a favorite author for me.

Almost Home (Chesapeake Diaries #3) by Mariah Stewart
4 stars
Although I love Stewart's writing, there was one thing that bothered me about this book. I kept wishing that Steffie would just tell Wade to shove off. But she didn't, and Stewart handled the why very well. And Wade was a sympathetic character. but still... This new series has made me go back and reread some of her older books. Some I loved so much, like Devlin's Light. A softer, gentler Stewart, but equally as riveting as the intense books she wrote that I adore so very much.

Dangerous Desires (A-Tac, #2) by Dee Davis
4 stars
I liked this one a lot. Liked that Madeline was not a perfect heroine. She made her choices and then lived with them, although I did think she was a little too competently kickass in the beginning. I liked Drake a lot as well. Well done plots, and no TSTL sex in this one, either. I have book 3 lined up in my nook just waiting.

The Sweetest Taboo (Men To Do) (Harlequin Blaze #68) by Alison Kent
5 stars
What is there to say about this book? Kent has written the shower scene to end all shower scenes (and quite possibly the longest one. Ever). Plus, a hero to die for in Sebastian. He's surly, confused, unpredictable, and extremely lovable because of all of it. Erin has a lot of soul searching to do, and that part is written so realistically - her feelings of abandoning her grandfather's dream, her guilt for not wanting the same things as he did. So great. This is the other Blaze on my keeper shelf along with A Dash of Temptation.

A Dash of Temptation (Men to Do) (Harlequin Blaze No. 72) by Jo Leigh
5 stars
This is, hands down, my favorite category and contemporary romance ever, and makes my list of best romances ever. Oh how I adore Dash Black. And Tess is a perfect foil for him. You. Must. Read. Reviewed here.

Bending Toward the Sun: A Mother and Daughter Memoir by Leslie Gilbert-Lurie with Rita Lurie
5 stars
I will be doing a full review of this, but if you ever wondered what it was like to live through the Holocaust, be a Holocaust survivor, or to be the child of one, this is the book for you. It begins with the Gamss family's experiences hiding out in an attic for 2 full years (14 people in a 15 ft long attic, 4 ft high). Sections are told by Rita, who lived in the attic as a young child, Leslie, her daughter, and Mikaela, her granddaughter. I think this is a must read for anyone, but especially as we lose the folks of this generation, it's so important not to forget their experiences. I recognized a lot of myself in Leslie, and a lot of my mom in Rita. Although she was not in Europe, we had family there, and the profound effect of the Holocaust on both my mom's and my generation should continue to be told.


  1. Glad you liked the O'Keefe. Woot!

    And *sigh*, the Kent and Leigh Blazes have been in my TBR....forever! Ugh.

  2. Well, read them. And you aren't allowed to say anything if you don't like them.

  3. Lori: I'm sure I'll at least "like" them :) You and Nikki never seem to steer me wrong when it comes to categories.

  4. Looks like March was a rough month for you. It sounds like a vaca is needed. :)

    I might need to give the Dee Davis books a try. "No TSTL sex" is always a plus in my book! :) That's one of my pet peeves so I'm always thankful when h/h show some restraint when being chased by killers etc.

    I loved A Lot Like Love too! Can't wait for Kyle's book.

  5. Very nice month, Lori :) You make me want to read the the Cynthia Eden. I read the first one and it was okay... but been wavering about the other two from the trilogy.

    Ohhhh, so the Shannon K Butcher is strictly RS, right? No paranormal elements? I might take a look then.

    Glad you enjoyed the Julie James :P That one is really a winner.

    As for Almost Home, hmmm. I just thought a lot of little "insignificant" things were going on at the same time ^_^; Like the magic and ouija...

  6. I'll have to look into this AK also. How can you resist a book that has (Men to Do) in the title :-) I have the JJ book in my pile too....just haven't read it yet (darn my genalogy obsession!)


Have you read it? What do you think?

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