Thursday, April 29, 2010

Seduction and Reunion in Death

Seduction In Death (#13)

Not a whole lot to say about this one, other than some random thoughts…

This one is very case-focused, but no less engrossing. The thing that struck me in Seduction in Death was how incredibly supportive of Eve that Roarke is. He’s enjoying himself as a 'temporary consultant, civilian'. And a bit appalled that he is working so closely with the police. Where in Betrayal, Eve supported Roarke, in Seduction, although still shaky from Mick’s death, Roarke takes on the caretaker role. I love watching the two of them support and care for one another. Their relationship has really grown over the course of the series; matured into a true marriage – one of compromise (in two people who don’t care to compromise), affection (that’s becoming a much more easy and loving affection than an all-out lusting love), support and humor.

Reunion in Death (#14)

Somehow, this one didn't grab me as much as the others have. However, the interactions are so good, as always, and the secondary characters interesting. I'm having a tough time seeing how Louise doesn't mind Charles having sex w/other women ("it's just his job"). I wasn't sure why Peabody's parents seemed to have so much more interaction with Eve and Roarke than with Peabody, except to offer insight into their pasts.

However, this book was a real step forward in Eve coming to terms with her past. She finally revisits Dallas, and remembers some more of what happened to her, but is still left shaken and confused. And Roarke is so supportive, while inside his heart is absolutely breaking for her. As Eve recounts and remembers what her father had done to her, Roarke has the following reaction:

“Good Christ.” He barely breathed the oath, had to jam his fists into his pockets for there was nothing and no one to fight, to punish for terrorizing the child that was now his wife.

And later…

He left her alone as much for himself as for her. The rage he’d managed to clamp down was threatening to snap free. He wanted to use his fists on something. Pound them until his arms screamed for rest.

She’d shower, he thought, with water that was brutally hot, because she’d once been forced to wash in cold. He never wanted her to be cold again, to shiver as she had shivered in that room where the ghosts, the viciousness of them, had been so tangible he’d seen them himself.

Watching her relive that night, as she too often did in dreams, had ripped him in two. It had left him helpless, useless, and with a violence borne of the fury he had nowhere to vent.

To have birthed and bred her, beaten and raped her all for selling her to other scum. What god had made such creatures as that and set them to prey on innocents?

Riding on rage, he stripped off his shirt as he strode into the small workout area. He yanked the speed bag into place. And attacked it, bare-fisted.

With each punch his anger grew, spreading through him like a cancer. The bag was a face he didn’t know. Her father’s. Then his own father’s. He battered at it with a concentrated rage that bloomed into hate. Pounded, pounded, as the black haze of that hate narrowed his vision. Pounded, pounded, as his knuckles wen raw and bloomed with blood.

And still he couldn’t kill it.

Wow. Robb’s portrayal of Roarke’s impotence in the face of Eve’s recollection is remarkable. And the rest of the scene is equally as powerful.It's just too long to quote here, but I so wanted to!

The juxtaposition of Eve’s growing relationships and expanding personal life against the revelations of her past are interesting to note, and make perfect sense. As her personal life becomes more rich and fulfilling, she has the support system in place to begin to loosen her block on the past.

On a lighter note, I loved how, when in Texas, she can’t fathom the open space and the lack of people, traffic, and noise. She proclaims herself a city girl, and just can’t see the appeal of living anywhere there is open space. It was pretty amusing, actually.

I noted almost directly after I finished this one that I hadn’t enjoyed it as much as the others. I’m not quite sure why now, as I go back to find bits and pieces to share. There is plenty here to really love, and looking back, I think I did enjoy it.

Oh, if only I could appreciate Nora Roberts in the same way that I do JD Robb.

Betrayal In Death (#13) by JD Robb

Note that this review does contain spoilers, but nothing that I think would ruin the book altogether for you.

In this one, Eve has to track down a hitman. Different because we know from the start who the villain is, the reader follows Eve as she figures out the “why” and who hired him. I was immediately suspicious as soon as Roarke’s old friend Mick appears. I just knew he was tied into the mystery somehow.

I love this one so much because it's so rare that we see Roarke as vulnerable as he was and Eve so forthcoming with her affections... her love. She initiates the "I love yous" several times not only with Roarke, but with Mavis, too. She listened and offered advice to Peabody. She takes great strides in her relationships.

Someone is killing Roarke’s employees, and he takes it personally. They have to figure out why, but in the meantime, he is devastated, angry, and hurt. Eve has to initiate the caretaking for once, and she is uncharacteristically liberal with her affection.
“I can take care of myself.”

She expected to feel anger, resentment, or at the least, impatience. Instead, there was only concern. He, a man who rarely lost control, was on the edge of rage. And mired in grief.

She did something she had never done in public, never done while on the job with other cops looking on. She put her arms around him, drew him close, and held him with her cheek pressed gently to his.

“I’m sorry.” She murmured it, wishing she knew more of the art of comforting. “I’m so damn sorry.”

The rage that had been spitting into his throat, the burn scorching the rim of his heart eased. He closed his eyes and let himself lean.

Through all the miseries in his life, there’d been no one to offer him the simple soothing of understanding. It swamped him, washed away the worst edge of grief, and left him steadier for it.

Later, when Roarke lets Mick go, he reveals the following, and we see a bit of how Roarke sees himself, as he shares more of his past:
He wasn’t sure he himself knew or understood the all. But he could give her another part of it. “Your past comes to you in nightmares that try to eat you up from the inside. Mine, it lives in me. In corners of me. Do you know how many years it was before I ever went back to Ireland after I left? I don’t. And it was sometime after that before I ever stepped on a Dublin street. It wasn’t until you went back with me to bury my friend that I went again to that part of Dublin that birthed me.”

He looked down at his hands. “I used these, and my brain, and whatever else I could find to claw and steal and cheat my way out of that. And I left behind those who’d come through it all with me just as much as I left behind the dead bastard who’d made my life a misery. He damaged me, Eve, and might have made me what he was.”

“No.” She came forward then.

“Oh yes. He could have. Without the friends I made, and those pockets of escape I had with them, he would have. I was able to go my own way because there were those I could count on in the worst of times. When I took you with me to Dublin last year so I could wake and bury Jenny, I realized I’d never paid that back. I couldn’t have turned him [Mick] over, Eve, not even to you, and lived with it.”

When Mick dies, Roarke once again turns to Eve.
“Ah God.” Helpless sorrow flooded over him, into him. He could do nothing but rock, his bloody hand clinging to Mick’s while the sorrow drowned him. His eyes were stark, naked with it when they lifted to Eve’s.

While the business of law went on around them, she rose, signaled her men and the MTs who rushed into the room back. And went to her husband. Kneeling with him, she put her arms around him, drew him in.

Roarke laid his head on his wife’s breast, and grieved.
He was alone with his thoughts when dawn broke., From the window of his bedroom, he watched day tremble into life and whisk away the dark, layer by thin layer.

He’d hoped for rage, had searched for it. But he hadn’t found it. He didn’t turn when Eve came in, but the worst of the ache eased because she was home.

OMG. The way that Robb pulls you into their relationship is just outstanding. When I read that, it was as if my arms were closing around Roarke as well. And how far these two have come in their relationship, where Eve can publicly show her love for him – while on the job, no less – and he can so publicly show his weakness and lean on her. And her paragraph breaks. Perfectly placed. Fucking sighworthy right there.

Eve’s friendship with Peabody moves to a new level in this one as well, as she listens to Peabody’s McNab woes and very reluctantly offers advice. McNab’s jealousy of Charles comes to a head n this one, and Peabody is forced to man up and move on – neither of which she is very good at. So she turns to Eve, who actually steps up to the plate. Their working relationship and their friendship take huge strides.

Just a freaking fantastic entry.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

YotH: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean

A lady does not smoke cheroot.
She does not ride astride.
She does not fence or attend duels.
She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen's club.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she's vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she's been missing. But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.

If she's not careful, she'll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love . . .

What I liked: I really liked both Callie and Ralston. They made a great heroine and hero. Callie is sick and tired of being on the shelf, and having no adventure in her life. An offhand comment from her sister about how passive she is makes Callie sit up and take notice. She begins to write out a list of things she would do if she could. First is to kiss someone… passionately. Ralston had been kind to her years ago, and she’s been in love with him ever since. So she finds herself in his bedroom late at night to ask for a kiss.

Ralston, finding himself in one awkward situation after another with Callie’s adventures finds himself in the unlikely role of the “sensible” one, pointing out how close Callie is to ruining her reputation should she be caught in one of her adventures. However, they make a trade. She will help his illegitimate sister with her entrée into society, and he’ll help her fulfill her adventuresome list.

I really liked the friendship that developed between Callie and Juliana, and the sibling relationship that developed between Juliana and Ralston and Nick. Sure, there were misunderstandings, but that served to make them all human. I also loved the relationship between Callie and her siblings – Mariana and Benedick.The love there was obvious, and Benedick’s shock and horror when he realizes he put the idea of being adventurous into Callie’s head was priceless.

Through the course of the book we see growth in Gabriel – he becomes so much more than just a rake. A loving brother, a protective suitor, and a fun-loving all-around great guy. Callie grows into her own woman; unafraid to do what she pleases, willing to flout society’s rules. I thought all the secondary characters were well-fleshed out also.

There was plenty of humor (always a huge plus for me) and a lot of love to go around; tender and sweet at times, and volatile and all-consuming at others. I’m looking forward to Nick’s book as well – he seems to have some sort of secret or trauma in his past, but it doesn’t stop him from being a terrific guy as well.

I definitely recommend this one. Self-awareness and growth, some good laughs, some love & tenderness, some intrigue, a duel, and just lovely writing.

Friday, April 16, 2010

NSFW photos... thoughts, cheese, and whine

So, I usually check my blogs at work. I use Google Chrome's Incognito window, just to be on the safe side, but there are still files that make it through to my temp folder. And thus, available to TPTB (the powers that be) at work. Now, I had to sign a contract for TPTB that I wouldn't download any sort of inappropriate material at work. This would include NSFW photos and cookies.

I love to look at beautiful naked men as much as the next person, and there are some sites I just don't look at while at work, even in my GReader, because I know that there will be NSFW cookies (waving to Kris). I always view these posts at home or on my phone.

Lately, I've noticed that a completely unrelated post will have totally inappropriate pictures in it. And by that, I mean looking at the post title doesn't give me any clue whatsoever that there might be NSFW pics in it. Like a random "about my life" post. There were 5 or 6 in my GReader this afternoon alone. And NSFW doesn't just include naked people; it also includes a lot of other stuff such as hands down pants, m/m kissing, etc. And even some book covers!

So, I'm going to have to stop bloghopping at work (which I'm not supposed to be doing anyway). Which means I become totally scarce around blogland since I spend approx 11-12 hrs each day at work. Add in commute time, a little family time, a little food time, and I'm down to about 2 or 3 waking hours to sit online. And I'd rather be reading.

So here's my question: Is it really such an inconvenience to note in your post title something to the effect of (NSFW pics included)? I realize it's a pain in the ass, but I can't be the only person with this problem. I enjoy looking at pretty cookies as much as the next girl, but not enough to get fired.

Anyone else notice this trend? Of cookies included when there is nothing in the post to warrant it? And of no notice they're there?

I know I sound like a prude, and I am soooo not, but with the limited time I have, I want to get the most out of my bloghopping.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Her Best Friend by Sarah Mayberry

What's a girl to do when she's secretly in love with a friend and he's married to someone else? She gets over it. That's what Amy Parker has done. Rather than lose her best bud Quinn Whitfield with an ill-timed, crazy confession of affection, she's taken the smart route. She's eased away from him. Just enough to get past the unrequited bits. And you know, it's working.

Until the day Quinn announces he's now single. That's right. He's single. And he wants to hang out. With her. Get reconnected the way they used to be.

Oh, this is so not good for Amy's equilibrium. Daily doses of Quinn remind her of everything she loves about him. But if he's free…and she's free…well, maybe the time has come for one of those crazy confessions.


This Harlequin Superromance was another Sarah Mayberry hit. It was emotional, warm, witty, and thoroughly engrossing. This is a best friends to lovers theme. Amy and Quinn grew up together, literally from the time they were infants. Right about the time they discovered the opposite sex, Amy decided that Quinn was the one for her. Unbeknownst to her, he was having fantasies about her as well, which freaked his 14 year old self out completely. Enter the new girl in town, Lisa, who became Quinn’s girlfriend and then wife. Amy was put in the unenviable position of pretending she was thrilled for her two best friends, and pretending she didn’t hurt terribly. When the book opens, we learn that Quinn is getting a divorce from Lisa, who cheated on him. And Amy is trying to purchase the theater that her great-grandfather built.

What I liked: Oh how I love that the characters experienced real emotion and that passing from friends to lovers did not happen quickly or easily for them. Quinn is both shocked and uncomfortable when he realizes he’s thinking of his best friend as a woman rather than as his pal Ames. He worries about what a relationship could do to their friendship. Worries so much that he almost blows the whole thing. Amy wonders whether she should share the fact that she’s been in love with him for years. I loved that Quinn didn’t get over the heartbreak of his divorce right away. Like any “real” person, it took him about 2-3 years to get over it and even think about moving on. He’s lost weight, people are concerned about him. When he realizes how good it feels to be around Amy again, he wants to hold onto the feeling. That in turn, grows into more adult and romantic feelings.

For her part, Amy had to get over her idealized love of Quinn and move into a more adult, true love. Because these two were such good friends, they accepted each other's faults and still loved the other. They learned that expecting someone to change who they are just because you love them is unrealistic. They grew as people and as a couple. I loved how they each had a wonderful relationship with their parents, and how Amy’s folks treated Quinn like a son, since he was their daughter’s lifelong friend. And I especially loved that Quinn was able to show Amy that she wasn’t alone in her teenage adoration. The scene where he shows her where he carved their initials into a tree in her backyard was so sweet, and it was Amy’s point of total acceptance of Quinn’s feelings for her.

This was a wonderfully written book. Mayberry has the knack of writing real people, not caricatures. You can always relate to the feelings her characters experience. And in this one, you can definitely picture yourself as either Amy or Quinn, and that’s the point, right? To relate to the characters in a real, tangible way. Finding love the second time around and best friends to lovers are common themes in HSR, and Mayberry pulled them both off flawlessly. This is why I still read category.

Instant Temptation by Jill Shalvis

T.J. Wilder is the perfect package of breathtaking adventure and raw sex appeal. Even better, he’s about to reconnect with the one woman he’s never been able to forget…

To Harley, the landscape around Wishful, California, is exhilarating, untamed, and more than a little dangerous. The same could be said for T.J. Wilder, who’s invited himself along on her trek to study a rare coyote. Harley’s career is riding on this trip, and she doesn’t need a stubborn, incredibly sexy distraction. But T.J. is a professional guide who knows when to stay back and when to provide invaluable expertise–just like he’s done since they were in high school. And Harley, as usual, is torn between throttling him and giving in to the raw attraction that’s been smoldering all these years.

T.J. knows how proud and capable Harley is, but he’s damned sure not letting her put herself at risk when there are illegal hunters in the area. She needs him, with the same soul-stirring urgency that he’s always craved her. And here, in this beautiful place days from civilization, he’ll finally have a chance to prove it–over and over again. . .

Oh goodness. When I read Instant Gratification, I noted that Jill had me at hello. She did here as well, only not with the humor, which was more understated in this book, but with TJ and Harley themselves. Their characters are so well done, so well formed that I couldn’t help but root for them and sigh every time they had a confrontation.

TJ is the last Wilder brother, and is feeling a bit uncomfortable living with all the love and couplehood happening in his family. And Harley is going through some changes as well, having finally gotten her degree and beginning the next phase of her life.

I absolutely loved both TJ and Harley, TJ especially. This book seemed somehow softer than the previous two, and I mean that in a great way. It was about TJ discovering his inner feelings and coming to terms with how he felt for Harley and his life, and for Harley to learn to love TJ as an adult and get over what happened years before. TJ is now my favorite Wilder brother (Stone previously held that distinction). He seemed so real, and someone that hot also willing to explore his feelings? Oh yum.

Shalvis gives us a glimpse of the love that Cam and Katie, Stone and Emma, and Abby and Nick have without having them overpower TJ’s story. It was great to see them all so happy, and also to remember some of the humor in the previous stories, such as Stone’s incredible fear of needles. All that happiness also is part of the impetus for TJ to explore his feelings and adds to his discontent.

Harley was a little harder to love. She held on fast to her issues, and it became clear she didn’t want to let TJ know just how much he meant to her out of fear of getting hurt again. But she also treats him wonderfully most of the time. I found it amusing that every time they thought they were going to have sex, they got interrupted (I seem to see that in my books a lot lately). But when they do come together finally, it was amazing, for TJ, Harley, and me as the reader. Because their feelings had time to grow and be nurtured.

I also loved the little shout out to Shalvis’ dog Mountain Barbie, who unfortunately passed away several months ago. She nicknames a group of sorority girls “Mountain Barbie”s, and from reading her blog over these years, it sounded as though Mountain Barbie would have made a perfect sorority girl.

I loved the book. It was sweet, sexy, funny, and emotional. A perfect combination. Shalvis remains a go-to author for wonderful, witty and warm contemporaries.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Has Anyone Read...

Christy Reece? She has three books--two of them out: No Chance, Second Chance and Last Chance (comes out April 27). If you've read her books, did you like them? Hate them? Details! I'm wondering if I should get them.

BTW--WAVES! I've missed you guys :)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Lori's March Reads

Here's what I read in March, according to my Goodreads account. I read 28 books, 3 of which I rated as 5-star reads. Awesome!

Come Toy with Me (Harlequin Blaze #437) by Cara Summers
Goodreads rating: 3
Publisher: Harlequin
I found I don't really care for listening to audiobooks. I'm not able to multitask enough. This was a free download from Audible quite some time ago, and I just got around to it. However, the story itself was cute, and I liked the hero a lot. The heroine avoided being TSTL, so that was a plus as well. I didn't care for the reader, which I imagine can make or break a book.

Doctoring the Single Dad (Silhouette Special Edition) by Marie Ferrarella
Goodreads rating: 3
PublisPublish Posther: Silhouette
I didn't get enough of Lucas' thoughts. Seemed like with his beloved wife dying less than a year before, he should have had more struggle with a new relationahip. And I didn't believe Nikki's sudden doubt in the relationship. It seemed like an obvious plot device to drive the final confrontation.

Having Justin's Baby by Pamela Bauer
Goodreads rating: 4
Publisher: Harlequin
Really, a 3.5. It's a best friends to lovers theme, and I thought the author did a great job of showing the uncertainty, the hurt, etc between friends.

In Bed with the Badge (Cavanaugh Justice #17) (Silhouette Romantic Suspense #1596) by Marie Ferrarella
Goodreads rating: 4
Publisher: Silhouette
Typical Cavanaugh Justice book. Which means I enjoyed it, but I didn't want to have its babies.

Mountain Investigation (Bear Claw Creek Crime Lab) (Harlequin Intrigue #1147) by Jessica Andersen
Goodreads rating: 3
Publisher: Harlequin
Hmmm... I can't remember much about this one, which probably says something.

Naked Edge (I-Team, #4) by Pamela Clare
Goodreads rating: 5
Publisher: Berkley
Oh holy mama, was this good. I loved every second of it, from the Native customs shown to Gabe's man-whore tendencies. I loved how careful and tender he was with Kat, and then how he'd do or say something so boneheaded that I wanted to smack him. And as you've been hearing, there is an amazing climax scene (no pun intended) that shows the depth of Gabe's love for Kat. I think I actually gasped. If I had one quibble, it was that Gabe was too comfortable with his situation in the end. But to make him suffer would likely have prolonged the book, so...

Nothing But Scandal (Zebra Debut) by Allegra Gray
Goodreads rating: 3.5
Publisher: Zebra
There were some parts that dragged, and I would have liked to see a little more groveling from the hero. But overall, a solid book.

Original Sin (The Seven Deadly Sins, #1) by Allison Brennan
Goodreads rating: 3
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Because I'm not a fan of the supernatural and of witches, or of overly religious tones in books, this wasn't a tremendously enjoyable read. However, if you are a fan of witches (and implied therein, the supernatural), then you will likely love it. Excellen, excellent heroine, and fantastic writing from Brennan. It just wasn't my cuppa.

Pirates by Linda Lael Miller
Goodreads rating: 4
Publisher: Pocket
An old, old time travel from LLM. Loved both the hero and the heroine. Set against the American Revolution, but in the Caribbean.

Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas
Goodreads rating: 5
Publisher: Bantam
This is a reread for me. I loved Thomas' prose, her characters (even if I wanted to smack Camden a couple times), and the way she can mix such matter-of-factness with deep emotion. Great book!

Promise Me Tonight: A Weston Novel by Sara Lindsey
Goodreads rating: 3
Publisher: Signet
This is a "falling for my brother's best friend" novel. I liked it a lot at first, but as the book went on, I realized that both characters were pretty selfish and unwilling to bend. That selfishness is why I lowered a 4-star to a 3-star. I really enjoyed the family interactions, Isabella's wonderful parents, the sibling relationships. But both Isabella and James spent a lot of time trying to out-manipulate the other. I did like Lindsey's voice a lot, and a lot of the book was good fun.

Return to Me (Last Chance Rescue, #2) by Christy Reece
Goodreads rating: 4
Publisher: Ballantine Books
I liked this one a lot. I hated that it took so long for Noah to realize his worth as a person, and thought the protective thing was a bit much, but I understood it. I liked that Samara took control of her life, but not unrealistically. She was terrified, reacted appropriately with a mix of bravado and trauma, and was unfailingly loyal to Noah, even when she would have had every right to go out and do otherwise. The book got better as it progressed, so the slower start didn't bother me.

She's Positive (Kenner County Crime Unit, #7) (Harlequin Intrigue #1144) by Delores Fossen
Goodreads rating: 3
Publisher: Harlequin
I didn't believe that any FBI agent would act the way that Colin did. Plus, Danielle had several TSTL moments. Add in sex while in peril, and... The reason for the 3 star instead of 2 is that I really like Fossen's voice. Intrigues are tough because they are almost always in peril, and there's only a short amt of time to work in the sex. But still, I like her voice. But please, don't do TSTL heroines. Really!

Something About You by Julie James
Goodreads rating: 5
Publisher: Berkley
Loved this one! A bit more intrigue than her first two, but I thought that she wrote the characters reacting in a realistic manner. And I just loved how Cameron felt like such crap after he realized what had happened. They handled that in a mature manner (for the most part *g*). Julie James is something special.

Surrender to Me by Sophie Jordan
Goodreads rating: 3
Publisher: Avon
This was a reread (although I didn't realize it until I started reading). Not a lot special about it. American hero and English duchess roadtrip in Scotland. The heroine bugged me quite a bit in this one. She couldn't get away from the way she was supposed to act (even though she never acted that way unless Griffin wanted her to be with him).

Sweet Temptation by Maya Banks
Goodreads rating: 3
Publisher: Berkley Trade
I had a few issues with this one, most notably, the D/s relationship. There didn't seem to be a give and take. Micah didn't appear to be having sex or dominating for anything other than his own pleasure (including bringing in multiple partners for Angel without any seeming reason for it). He never said anything along the lines of "This makes me happy to see you pleasured". Nope, just ordered Angelina around and treated her awfully. Note that there are several scenes w/multiple partners, including a m/f/m/m/m scene. Where I found, once again, no reason explained for it. It's always been my understanding that a true D/s relationship works because the Dom truly cares for making the experience on that the sub loves. This seemed to be all about Micah taking and giving nothing back. And although Angelina notes to herself that she's enjoying it, I just didn't buy it. Three stars because I like Banks' voice, and enjoy the secondary characters (although Julie almost seemed to be a caricature of herself). Also, Micah does admit his mixed up feelings and does his share of groveling at the end. It just wasn't soon enough and enough quantity for me. I was disappointed in this one and saddened because of it. I really like the other books in this series.
NB: A fangirl tried to get into an argument with me on Goodreads, trying to explain Micah's motivation to me. I just wasn't seeing it.

Tabloid Star (Tabloid Star, #1) by T.A. Chase
Goodreads rating: 4
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Good book about a movie star and his bartender/waiter lover and how they come to terms with his outing. I thought that Ryan was very well written, and liked how he didn't deny who he was, just took control over it instead.

The Accidental Countess (Harlequin Historical, #981) by Michelle Willingham
Goodreads rating: 3.5
Publisher: Harlequin
I enjoyed this one, but thought that a lot of issues could have been resolved if the H/H would just talk to one another. Some communication would have been great.

The Hellion and the Highlander (Devil of the Highlands, #3) by Lynsay Sands
Goodreads rating: 3
Publisher: HarperCollins
I wanted to love this one, but I was thrown out of the story every single time that they called each other husband and wife instead of by their names. Once in a while is ok, but oh, that got on my nerves. I did enjoy the little running gag that every time Kade tried to make love to Averill, they were interrupted, either by an attack on Kade or by someone happening upon them. Although I wondered why they didn't just do it at night in their own bed? The whole second half of the book didn't hold my attention too much, as there wasn't a ton of relationship-building between Kade and Avy. Much of the focus turned to the external rather than keeping the focus on them. (full review here)

The Highlander's Bride (Zebra Debut) by Michele Sinclair
Goodreads rating: 4
Publisher: Zebra
I enjoyed this debut book. I loved the relationships between the brothers and between Conor and Laurel. Looking forward to reading the other brothers' books.

To Wed A Highlander by Michele Sinclair
Goodreads rating: 4.5
Publisher: Zebra
Finally. A book where I understand the characters' motivations. I liked both the hero and heroine. They both grew yet never lost who they were. This was an excellent book.

The Mane Event (Pride, #1) by Shelly Laurenston
Goodreads rating: 3
Publisher: Brava
Fun, but not a lot of substance between the H/H except for sex. But that was ok, cause I like her voice and it was a fun read.

The Marriage Ring by Cathy Maxwell
Goodreads rating: 4
Publisher: Avon
Interestingly, a virgin hero, IIRC. And he was determined to stay that way, another interesting tidbit. It was a quick read, and quite enjoyable.

Twins For The Teacher (Harlequin American Romance Series) by Michele Dunaway
GOodreads rating: 3
Publisher: Harlequin
An interesting book. I liked that the author didn't shy away from Hank's feelings for his first wife, but if I was the heroine, after discussing her a lot, and often, I'd want to scream my head off. No woman truly wants to hear about a loved first wife that much. Jolie was too good to be true.

Under the Gun (Harlequin Intrigue Series) by HelenKay Dimon
Goodreads rating: 4
Publisher: Harlequin
I meant to give this a fill review. I liked it a lot. And the shared past between the h/h meant they didn't just jump into sex. Plus, the hero was injured all the way through, which for the most part didn't affect his ability to be a superhero, but often caused him pain an annoyance. Pretty good book, although I never really did buy why she left him in the first place.

Waking Evil (Mindhunters, #2) by Kylie Brant
Goodreads rating: 3
Publisher: Berkley
I think this was my least favorite of the 3, but still a good read.

Waking the Dead (Mindhunters, #3) by Kylie Brant
Goodreads rating: 4
Publisher: Berkley
Loved this one (and the first one, too). Although if bickering and bantering between the h/h isn't your thing, you might want to avoid it. I thought that was done smartly and very well, but I can see how it would bother some.

What the Librarian Did (Harlequin Superromance, #1622) by Karina Bliss
Goodreads rating: 3
Publisher: Harlequin
While I liked it, it wasn't the be-all and end-all that many have made it out to be. I thought Dylan was too quick to judge Rachel at the end, and Rachel was too quick to judge Dylan as well, thinking that he'd exposed Mark to pot. And excuse me, but he's in college. If pot is all he's exposed to, well... he's a lucky kid. So I did think she was a little too rigid.

So, there are my reads for March. I began Betrayal In Death, but had to set it aside. I think that I overdosed on the In Death books and just needed a break. So I missed Christine's challenge this month *sob*. But I'll be picking it up again on my vacation.

TBR on vacation (what? I'm gone for about 6 days with nothing to do!):
Betrayal In Death
Instant Temptation
Shoot to Thrill
Pride and Passion
Catch Me if You Can
Bound by Nature
Reyn's Redemption
Lessons from a Scarlet Lady
Coming Home
Sinful Surrender
Royal Baby, Forbidden Marriage
His Wanted Woman
Mischief Becomes Her
Propositioned Into a Foreign Affair
Five-Alarm Affair
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