Saturday, July 31, 2010

What I'm reading for the next couple weeks

Blind Spot by Nancy Bush

Deadly Fear by Cynthia Eden

Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt

A Little Bit Wild by Victoria Dahl

Infamous by Suzanne Brockmann

Running Scared by Lisa Jackson

Kiss Me If You Can by Carly Phillips

White Heat by Brenda Novak

Should be a great bit of reading! So what will you be reading in the next couple of weeks?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Three Nights With a Scoundrel by Tessa Dare

The bastard son of a nobleman, Julian Bellamy is now polished to perfection, enthralling the ton with wit and charm while clandestinely plotting to ruin the lords, ravish the ladies, and have the last laugh on a society that once spurned him. But meeting Leo Chatwick, a decent man and founder of the exclusive Stud Club, and Lily, Leo’s enchanting sister, made Julian reconsider his wild ways. When Leo’s tragic murder demands that Julian hunt for justice, he vows to see the woman he secretly loves married to a man of her own class.

Lily, however, has a very different husband in mind. She’s adored Julian forever, loves the man beneath the rakish facade, and wants to savor the delicious attraction they share — as his wife. His insistence on marrying her off only reinforces her intent to prove he is the only man for her. Obsessed with catching a killer, Julian sinks back to the gutters of his youth, forcing Lily to reach out with a sweet, reckless passion Julian can’t resist. Can her desire for a scoundrel save them both–or will dangerous secrets threaten more than their tender love?


This one really touched me. I think it's my favorite of the trilogy. I've been watching the obvious love between Julian and Lily since book 1 and couldn't wait to read their story.

I loved that Julian, once he decided to share his past (and only halfway through the book!), really opened up to Lily. And that Lily accepted him, warts and all. I really appreciated that Lily's deafness was portrayed realistically, but that Dare showed that she could still have a mostly normal life. Being half-deaf and a lip-reader myself, I appreciated her noting that when faces were turned away, Lily couldn't see what people were saying. I also liked her noting that Lily basically got the gist of what people were saying, even if she didn't understand everything that was said. How true this is! I spend a ton of time nodding my head to conversations I didn't really quite get. I was surprised, however, to read about a community of deaf people who were signing, and how accepted it was. It made me wonder if I should look it up to see if signing was an accepted language back then already. But not enough to actually go do it :)

Anyway, I liked that even though Julian and Lily love each other at the beginning of the book, they took the time to get to know each other (ok, Lily forced it on him, but isn't that always the way?). It allowed for deeper sharing and acceptance between them.

Julian also had a long road to take toward self-acceptance. Coming from his background, it was good to see him coming to terms with it all. And that even though he had a very rough beginning to life, that he had a place to go where he was loved and accepted as himself. And how awesome that Lily accepted all those parts of him. It was also really great to see Julian work out his differences with Moreland. And to see all the couples interacting.

I liked that Lily never played a victim card. She was a strong, smart, lovely woman. And I was thrilled that Julian recognized this and treated her accordingly (when he wasn't trying to marry her off for her own good, LOL). And I loved it when she called Julian on the carpet for his treatment of her and his poor treatment of himself.

An interesting end to the mystery of who and how Leo was killed as well. SPOILER: The fact that nobody was to blame - a random act of violence - really helped settle Julian. Sill, very difficult to accept for them all. END SPOILER.

One thing I didn't quite catch (and maybe it's because it was 2 am when I finished - not conducive to remembering well) was how Julian and Lily were living - as the Bells or as the Bellamys (given how Lily suggested they use Bell). Also I would have liked to know if they were still accepted by the ton or if they had to move toward a more gentrified set. But very small in the grand scheme of things, for sure.

Tessa Dare is definitely a star on the rise in historical romance today. I can't wait to see what she has coming up next.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bookwatch: Pride and Pleasure from Sylvia Day

Finally!! A release date for her next historical!!! Woohoo! I love me Sylvia Day's historicals.

Taken directly from Sylvia Day's website:
Coming January 25, 2011

Wealth has its dangers…

There are disadvantages to being an heiress, as Eliza Martin knows well. Fortune hunters flock to her, acquaintances lie and pander, and lately, someone is engineering "accidents" to propel her to the altar. But Eliza will not be bullied, and she will get to the bottom of this plot. All she needs is a man to infiltrate her assemblage of suitors and find the culprit. Someone not easily noticed; a proficient dancer, quiet, and even-tempered.

…so do certain men

Thief-taker Jasper Bond is entirely too large, too handsome, and too dangerous. Who would believe that an intellectual like Eliza would be seduced by a man of action? But the combination of her stubbornness and the mystery makes the case one Jasper can’t resist. Client satisfaction is a point of pride and it’s his pleasure to prove he’s just the man she needs after all…

Between this and IZZY, I'm all verklempt.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bound by Nature by Cooper Davis

It doesn’t take Hayden Garrett’s college degree to figure out why Officer Josh Peterson is the last man alive he wants to face. Not because of the council’s harebrained idea to broker peace between their clans.

It’s the sweaty palms that prove Hayden never got over his embarrassing attraction to his alpha rival. Mate with him? Nothing fills Hayden with more desire—or dread. Josh doesn’t have a gay hair in his fur. At least not one he owns up to.

Despite Josh’s reputation for being a connoisseur of female flesh, he’s always cared about Hayden. In a different world, they might have been friends. Now, face to face after five years, the bitterness in Hayden’s eyes fills Josh with regret for what could have been—should have been.

As Hayden and Josh journey through rituals—and intimacies—that will knit their souls for life, passion and anger flares, revealing a powerful secret. The truth about a long-ago sharing of hearts, bodies and souls that ended in tragedy.


I so wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't. I liked the premise a lot: two young men fallimg in love even though they are from different, rival packs, and both heir apparent to the alpha. An incident in their shared past drives them apart, and the book alternates between the retelling of that past and their interactions in present day. However, the book lost me in a couple places. First and foremost, although it's quite clear they both are to become pack alpha, neither acted alpha at all. They were both sweet boys at 22 and although they had matured in the 5 years between portions of the story, at 27 they still retained that same sense of innocence. Don't get me wrong - it made them really likable, wonderful guys. It just didn't fit in with their portrayal as alpha heir-apparent.

The story itself was told in an innovative way, unfolding both current events and past events at the same pace in alternating chapters, from both POVs. And while I enjoyed it, there seemed to be a lot missing, from pack interaction to a lack of repurcussions on both sides from the past. I would have loved to see either of them interacting with their pack, but it truly seemed as though they were marooned on a deserted island - almost nobody else appeared in the book. On one hand, this is good, because the focus was definitely on the two heroes, but on the other hand, they were being forced together because of their packs - so why don't we see any pack action?

Hayden and Josh are both sweet guys, and I enjoyed their journey back to one another. They are caring, passionate, and nice. The kind of guys you'd imagine as your good friends. I liked that about both of them. The problem was that since they were both "alpha", in my mind, that wasn't how they should come off all the time. And in the end of the retelling of the events of 5 years ago, Hayden came off like a scared guy, rather than an alpha. Same with Josh. Although their weakened states were explained (they'd just mated), and they were still quite young (22), I still didn't buy the attitude that was as un-alpha as they come in a dangerous situation.

So while I liked both Hayden and Josh, and the plot itself had terrific potential, it didn't gel for me. I wasn't quite sure why they were wolves, other than to drive their potential "forced mating" and to allow the author to mention their mating scent ad nauseum. Oh, and in one of my pet peeves, Josh called Hayden "Alpha" during sex. [insert: Cowboy here and gag me]. It is a serious pet peeve of mine when characters call their lovers by a stupid pet name all through sex. Once, maybe. But during sex "that good", one would assume they could hardly remember their own name, much less use someone else's.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

YotH: Knight of Desire by Margaret Mallory


His surcoat still bloody from battle, William FitzAlan comes to claim the strategic borderlands granted to him by the king. One last prize awaits him at the castle gates: the lovely Lady Catherine Rayburn.


Catherine risked everything to spy for the crown. Her reward? Her lands are declared forfeit and she is given this choice: marry FitzAlan or be taken to the Tower. Catherine agrees to give her handsome new husband her body, but she's keeping secrets, and dare not give him her heart. As passion ignites and danger closes in, Catherine and William must learn to trust in each other to save their marriage, their land, and their very lives.


This was a reread for me, and I enjoyed it even more the 2nd time around. I don't usually care for medievals but this struck all the right chords with me. The opening scene hooked me immediately, with Catherine's desire for a last bit of freedom before she does her duty to her father and the king, and with William's wish to be able to take her away from all her troubles. You see immediately that he is a man of honor, and she is also bound by her sense of loyalty and honor.

William was a wonderful hero who, while a fierce warrior, was filled with love as well as self-doubt. The times encouraged husbands to doubt their wives and wives to doubt their husbands. William's problem is that he's plagued by jealousy. And a right hand man who holds sway with him. William lets himself be talked into doubting and disbelieving Catherine, and she does not care for it at all. K, neither did I. Not one bit. When William realizes that he trusted Catherine implicitly all the years before, and why wasn't he trusting her now, it was like watching a light bulb go off over his head. I also loved how protective he was and how accepting he was of Jamie and Stephen.

Catherine is a strong heroine, yet also filled with softness and love. Her past experiences have taught her that she can rely on herself. Still, once she's married and has no say over her future, she'd rather share her life with William than not. Yet she gives as good as she gets when her loyalty is questioned. And is strong enough to save herself. Fiercely protective of her loved ones, brave in the face of adversity. A wonderful heroine.

It was definitely worth the reread. Oh, and perhaps my favorite cover of the year.

Monday, July 19, 2010


March 22, 2011
No blurb yet...

Unbridled by Beth Williamson

Hell hath no fury like Alex Finley…

For as long as Alex could remember, life had taken everything from her. Her father had abandoned her and her dying mother, only to return upon her death to reclaim the family’s Wyoming ranch–with a new wife. Alex’s rage drove her away to Los Angeles to live with a man who could never satisfy her.

Only after ten years does she come home–and she hits the town with a vengeance, unleashing her pent-up lust on willing cowpoke Connor Matthews. But she’s in for several shocks. It turns out that the ranch is now a resort, that her late father split the estate between Alex and her young step-brother, and that Connor–the bucking bronco she wants in her bed–is running the place.

Now, Alex is torn between accepting a new family, and a lover who can give her everything she needs–or selling out to a smooth-talking neighbor and leaving the past behind her. But only when her life is on the line does she realize what she desires most of all…


Although I've read Williamson's contemps, it's always been her historicals that spoke to me. I feel like historicals are her strong suit. However, Unbridled was really, really good. I admit to being worried when there was a menage in chapter 1, but it had meaning, and from there out Williamson built a beautiful story of 2 lost souls finding each other. Feelings are raw and the language is raw to match.

When Alex finally works up the courage to go home after 10 years, she discovers that she can't deal with her feelings of anger toward her father because he has died. This leaves her no outlet for her hurt feelings and anger, and so she lashes out at the people around her. She comes off as coarse, rough, and frankly, a little mean. Once she begins to deal with her feelings, and begins to spend time with Conor, she starts to soften up, and discovers that she isn't the only person affected at the ranch. I admit, she had a lot to deal with. Her family home was no longer her home, but a vacation ranch. Her father wasn't there, but the woman she saw at her mother's funeral and her son were both there. It takes Alex a while to realize that, no, the world does not revolve around her.

For his part, Conor didn't want to believe anything bad about Alex's father - he had taken Conor in at a time when nobody else would, and treated him like a son. Conor had heartbreak in his past as well, mostly of his own making. But he matured and got over it. One could argue that because Conor had a guiding hand as he went through his early 20s, he was better able to cope and come to terms with his past. Alex, on the other hand, missed out on her father's guidance and support, and was therefore years behind in dealing with her hurt. There was a point, though, when I wanted to scream at her to just get over it already and grow up. And, thankfully, that's when she did.

Another thing that bothered me was the overuse of "cowboy" during sex. It's a personal pet peeve of mine. Every time I read it, I think it sounds contrived and fake emotionally. Otherwise this was an emotional, deep story, with well-drawn characters and a nice sense of family (yes, even though it took a long time to get there). The characters made their own chosen family, and whenever that happens, it's always a nice touch.

But please, please, please, authors - there is no need for the suspense plot in an otherwise well-fleshed book. This isn't Williamson's to own alone, but almost every author out there. Why must they persist in this? This book would have been just as strong, IMO, had the neighbor just been an asshole and nothing else. Ok, rant over.

Anyway, I think this is by far Williamson's best contemporary, those few issues I had aside.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Getting a mammogram, and finding a cure

Crossposted at Living In The House of Testosterone

Click here to donate to the Relay for Life! Normally, I don't talk about getting a mammogram, but I registered yesterday for the annual Relay for Life walk, and so the timing seems right. (click the RFL logo to donate!)

Today I had my 5th mammogram (hell, now I know I'm old!). And while I hate having my boobs squished and handled by a stranger and smushed into pancakes, it's definitely a small price to pay for ensuring my continued health.

I am fortunate to have wonderful insurance that pays for my annual mammogram. I hate that my mom's insurance changed their recommendations and now doesn't pay for the annual, but only once every 4 years (even for older women - I guess they figure older women are bound to die sooner or later, right? Ugh.) Considering my grandmother was diagnosed at age 70 via mammogram, had a mastectomy and lived to be 84, this change in my mom's insurance irks me no end. Of course, it was my paternal grandmother, so she can't even claim familial risk.

When the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force came out last November with new recommendations for mammograms, women and physicians everywhere were outraged (myself included). I worry about the thousands of women who may be affected and go undiagnosed because they didn't get their mammogram.

So today, I am focused on prevention and cure. Prevention because I had my mammogram, I've changed my eating habits to be more healthy, have begun exercising again, and try to do more to be healthier overall. Cure, because I registered, once again, for the Relay for Life walk. The American Cancer Society is a wonderful organization, and if you've never been to the Relay for Life, I encourage you to do so. Not only is it a fantastic fundraiser for funds to find a cure, but it's such an inspiring event, from the survivor's lap to the luminarias that light up the night.

So... here is my plea. Please, please support me in the 2010 Relay for Life. We all know someone who has/survived/passed away from cancer. The most recent to make their way into blogland awareness is Jennifer Haymore, who just finished chemo and will soon be facing radiation. I wish her all the best and have been thinking of her.

If I make my goal this year, I will have raised $6000 for cancer research. I'd love to make it $10k if I could - so I'll be pimping until October. Please bear with me. To donate to find a cure for cancer, please visit my donation page:

Once you've donated, I encourage you to post this badge of honor on your blog or website:
I'm a hero. I donated to find a cure.

Thanks for all your support over the years and for your continued support this year. You guys are truly the best. Ever.

Friday, July 09, 2010

JD Robb’s world vs. the current state of affairs

So, as I was reading about the federal Defense of Marriage Act being ruled unconstitutional, and the outcry from that, and thinking on the fact that our conservative SCOTUS will likely overturn the overturn once it hears the case (and I'm sure it will), it got me thinking that we must certainly be on the verge of something big. Some huge uprising. Because as the government (both state and federal) continues to take away rights of individuals & groups of individuals, and we become increasingly ever intolerant of those around us, something somewhere has got to give.

It got me thinking about JD Robb and the futuristic world she has created in the In Death series. And wondering if this storyteller isn't an amazing visionary. Are we on the verge of something equating to the "Urban Wars"? I can certainly see America (if not the world) heading down a path socially that must result in a massive revolt eventually. When things are so tense, that tension has to be cut somehow.

When we read about the world of Eve & Roarke, it certainly never occurs to us that the world in which they live is politically radical by today's standards (ok, it never occurred to me). But think about how 2059 New York:
  • Equal rights for all (GLBT)
  • Legalization of prostitution (with gov’t regulation - resulting in healthier prostitutes and, I assume, happier johns)
  • Gun Control (basically no more guns – and don’t worry, there are still plenty of other ways to kill each other!)
  • Birth Control (it’s accepted, y’all!)
  • Legalization (and regulation) of drugs. Yes, there are still illegals, but far fewer of them, and likely you can get whatever high you want off of something legal.
  • Eradication of multiple diseases (yet I love that they still can’t manage to conquer the common cold).

So, let's look at each of these individually...

Equal rights for GLBT: So many are trying to get here, but as a country (and a world) we have so far to go. Eve & Roarke think nothing of a same-sex marriage. It’s just the norm, like a m/f marriage. And nobody is hurt, maimed, killed, ridiculed, stigmatized, or denied parental rights due to the type of marriage they have. Win. Yet, there are people who still think they have the right to tell others who they can and can’t love. And Love and Marriage? They just go together like… well, a horse and carriage.

Legalization (and regulation) of prostitution: Prostitutes are disease-free, for the most part in Robb's world. There are varied types of licenses, and while licensed companions or LCs) may not be the cream of the crop socially, in general, they can earn a decent living just like the rest of us. Government regulation allows the "profession" to remain clean. It all seems somehow less… skanky, doesn’t it? Win. We're a people who are going to cheat no matter what. So why not make it clean and earn some revenue off the cheaters? Heck, we're willing to do it to the smokers, the drinkers, the SODA drinkers, why not the cheaters? You’d think it hard to improve upon Nevada’s legalized prostitution, gambling, and no income tax, wouldn’t you? Robb seems to have accomplished that.

Gun Control: Robb’s view of the mid-21st century shows that you don’t need a gun to protect yourself against your neighbor (unless you're Roarke). Almost anything will do. And she shows that there are still many ways to commit crimes, so we wouldn’t be depriving criminals of their God-given right to carry a gun and shoot some unsuspecting soul while hiding behind the 2nd amendment be a criminal and kill either. And the police still have weapons to protect and serve, but they are able to set varying levels of strength to incapacitate a suspect without having to have perfect aim. And there are no more accidental shooting deaths of children playing with mommy & daddy's guns. Win. Yet today, we still have gun bans being struck down as unconstitutional. It always strikes me as crazy the way the 2nd amendment, which clearly states the people’s right to bear arms to ensure the security of the nation (not to go bear-hunting for sport or kill your neighbor) is (mis)interpreted these days. Really, we promise to still kill each other - don’t worry. In Robb’s world, the definition of "arms" has simply been altered to reflect the advance of technology.

2nd amendment: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Birth Control: I think we can all agree that it’s better to avoid unwanted pregnancies in the first place than to have gazillions of unwanted children running around. In Robb's world, this is a given. Win. It's the method of avoiding those unwanted pregnancies where we all differ right now. Yet there are still those... read: mostly men – oh, and the Catholic church. Wait. Those are mostly men. Nothing against any religion in particular and please take this in the light-hearted jokey way it's intended, but wanna bet if little boys could get pregnant that the church would change its stance on birth control? Sorry - please don't email me or crucify me (no pun intended) for that statement - I was kidding. Kind of... Sorry, where was I? Oh yes. There are still those who would limit a woman’s right to choose birth control. (note that I did NOT say abortion) To not populate the planet with a bunch of unwanted children.

Legalization (and regulation) of drugs: In this shitty economy, think of the revenue that could be generated by legalizing and regulating drugs. Win. Sure, in Eve & Roarke’s world there are still illegal drugs. Nobody is advocating legalization of everything, but revenue, less smuggling, regulation of ingredients and their levels for safety... it all makes for a compelling argument in Robb’s world.

Eradication of diseases: We are certainly headed toward eradication of many deadly diseases in today's world. In the 50s, who’da thunk that we wouldn’t get polio or smallpox anymore? Robb’s utopian view on disease control is equalized by the notion that we still can’t cure the common cold. Win. Yet today, we still have drug companies and government that get in the way of medical research in the name of money and/or religion.

Given how right these things seem within the context of Eve & Roarke’s world, why can’t we get to a similar place ourselves? Well, apparently, what we need is a good ol’ fashioned revolution. Or Urban War. Once we achieve full-on civil unrest, can we get ourselves over this huge hump that has us marginalizing some people and vilifying others? That has us clinging to our constitutional roots as though they were immovable pillars of stone, rather than ideological pedagogy. I'm guessing the founding fathers would never have envisioned the world of child porn on the internet. Yet we stubbornly use the first amendment to cover this rather than use the Commerce clause. (Aside: Is it because those who look at porn the most are those we would give the right to regulate it? Again, read: men. Or Congress.) So why do we cling to this document rather than use it as a guide in principle to handle the changing times? If the Urban Wars were to actually happen, would government open its eyes and see a different way to go? Would the people?

Interesting thoughts, and they make me wonder if JD Robb is a silly little woman with a rather active imagination or if she’s a visionary.

There you have my (somewhat) tongue-in-cheek (but not really) thoughts on our world today and Robb's world, now less than 60 years away. Heck, WW2 is 70ish years old. Think of what's happened in that space of time!

(OK, Nora fans... I'm kidding. I know she's not a silly little woman, although she does have a rather active imagination.)

Bookwatch: Mariah Stewart

So, when HelenKay Dimon informed me at a SoCal Blogger get together a few months ago that Mariah Stewart was leaving her gritty romantic suspense and returning to non-suspense writing, I was heartbroken. But as I thought about it, her older books were wonderful. Heavy on the romance and containing a tiny bit of suspense that made complete sense within the story (no last-minute kidnappings, people!). I think Devlin's Light is one of my favorite books of hers - plus, the recipes! Oy, the recipes!

So I picked up Coming Home. And loved it. It was an offshoot of her FBI Shields family, but much softer and quieter. More contemplative. Set in a sleepy little coastal Maryland town. And I realize I never reviewed it. Damn. (I gave it 4.5 stars on Goodreads).

Anyway, Stewart posted her reasons for the change on her website (no longer there - the reasons, not the website!), and you really can't argue with them. She was going through some things in her personal life and needed to move away from the dark and write more slow, uplifting stories. Fair enough.

So now, book 2 in her new series is coming out on July 27.

Home Again by Mariah Stewart

Dallas MacGregor is living the Hollywood dream. At thirtysomething, she’s an award-winning actress beloved by the public and bound for even bigger success. But when her soon-to-be-ex-husband, producer Emilio Baird, is caught in a sex scandal, Dallas’s charmed life turns tabloid nightmare. Determined to shield her young son, Cody, from the ugly uproar, Dallas seeks refuge in sleepy St. Dennis, Maryland—the Chesapeake Bay town where her happiest childhood days were spent.

Reunited with her boisterous, beloved great-aunt, Dallas wants nothing more than to leave her Hollywood days behind. And when she crosses paths with local veterinarian Grant Wyler, her high school summer love, she finds he’s everything she remembers, and more—and that the spark is still there. But Dallas’s promising new life takes a troubling turn when the unimaginable happens and she finds herself living a mother’s worst nightmare, and Emilio storms into St. Dennis to save the day—along with his damaged career. Trapped in the unwanted glare of the limelight once again, Dallas discovers that it’s coolheaded Grant who is willing to risk everything for her and her son, and to secure the future they were always meant to share.

I so want to read this one. Who doesn't love vet heroes?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Lori's June reads

In June I read 20 books, bringing my total books tracked so far this year up to 142. This month I actually had 3 5-star reads, which made me really happy considering last month there were none.

Here's the low-down on June's reads. If you are so inclined, you can follow me on Goodreads as I attempt to track my entire year's reads—something I've never managed to accomplish before.

If I reviewed it here or on Goodreads, I've included a link.

The Prize, Julie Garwood, Goodreads rating: 5 stars
Unbelievable, but this was my first Garwood. I must be the only person on earth who hasn't read this, so no synopsis. But holy cow, why didn't y'all tell me?!?!

Song of Seduction, Carrie Lofty, Goodreads rating: 5 stars
As someone who spent the first 25 years of her life immersed in music, as a performance major, this read like a homecoming to me. Giving life not only to Arie and Tilda, but to Beethoven and Haydn (albeit the younger), I was riveted by this story of love, betrayal, acceptance, forgiveness, and redemption.

Silent Scream (book #11), Karen Rose, Goodreads rating: 5 stars
Like so many others, I couldn't wait to read David Hunter's story. Beautifully done. I loved how honest David was, and how he and Olivia fought for their relationship. Suspense aside, the rest of the story was a beautiful romance and also a great friend story. Rose excels at that, even in the midst of spine-tingling suspense.

Pieces of Sky, Kaki Warner, Goodreads rating: 4.5 stars
Oh how I loved Jessica and Brady. The marked differences in their worlds were only highlighted by her initial high-brow attitude and his rough exterior. But he's really a wonderful hero and she is stronger than she realizes. Can't wait for the next book.

Along Came a Husband (Harlequin Superromance), Helen Brenna, Goodreads rating: 4 stars
Another good addition to the Mirabelle Island series.

One Dance with a Duke (Stud Club, #1), Tessa Dare, Goodreads rating: 4 stars
I liked this one, if only for some of the morally ambiguous behavior displayed by the members of the Stud Club. But I admit to being saddened by the separation of the her & heroine near the end.

Night Moves, HelenKay Dimon, Goodreads rating: 4 stars
I think I liked this even more than Dimon's first Intrigue. I can't imagine how hard it is to write nonstop action, keep a decent plot going, and build a romance at the same time, all in a very short page count. Dimon does a good job of it. Looking forward to more.

Fatal Affair (Fatal, #1), Marie Force, Goodreads rating: 4 stars
A departure from Force's earlier books; this is a suspense set against Washington DC politics. For the most part, it worked well for me. I believe that the hero/heroine will be featured in upcoming books. (anyone else notice that Eve/Roarke-type pairings are popping up all over?)

The Secret (Medieval, #1), Julie Garwood, Goodreads rating: 4 stars
The only reason this doesn't get a 5 is the anachronistic language. I remember the hero's brother calling to him, "Wait up!" It threw me for a second. Otherwise this story was perfect, if a little idealistic.

Catch Me If You Can (Romano and Albright, #1), L.B. Gregg, Goodreads rating: 4 stars
Yup, I'm behind. As always, LB Gregg's unique voice shines through and makes what might have been a ridiculous story into a fun romp.

Whisper of Warning, Laura Griffin, Goodreads rating: 4 stars
I complained about the lack of team cohesiveness in Damaged. This book does it right. You see the police team in action. They work together and are definitely not incompetent. I liked this book a lot and will be reading more.

Raising Kane (Rough Riders, #9), Lorelei James, Goodreads rating: 4 stars
Another great entry in the series. The only reason it's a 4 not a 5 is the language. Kane came off sounding like a hillbilly instead of a cowboy. I loved all the interaction between the men in this one. The brothers, cousins, even Ginger's dad and her son with Kane. Loved revisiting them all and seeing them reveal doubts and insecurities even after they've been happily married. Looks like the next book will be Brandt and Jessie. Oh how I look forward to that one.

Imitation in Death (In Death, #17), J.D. Robb, Goodreads rating: 4 stars
What can I say? Loved it.

Remember When (In Death, #17.5), Nora Roberts, Goodreads rating: 4 stars
How cool was this one? The first part set in modern day, leaving a mystery hanging, and the second part set in futuristic NY where Eve and Roarke follow up on the case. Awesome. I really liked the first part, and I usually am not a NR fan.

Shameless (Banning Sisters trilogy #3), Karen Robards, Goodreads rating: 3.5 stars
I loved the beginning and it went well for about 2/3 of the book. I didn't care for the ending, from the time they returned to London until the end. Beth seemed to change from a forthright girl to a game-player and I didn't like that change in her character. The ending itself was totally rushed. So much more could have been done with it, especially when Neil confronts Beth over her behavior. So the first half was excellent and the ending was just meh.

Heat it Up (Out of Uniform, #4), Elle Kennedy, Goodreads rating: 3.5 stars
I liked Becker—he was steady and sweet. Jane was fun and the perfect foil for him. I sure wish these books were a little longer. I want to see more!

The Marquis (Gypsy Legacy, #1), Denise Patrick, Goodreads rating: 3.5 stars
Somehow when I read the other two a couple years ago, I missed this one. The trilogy is based on a gypsy's predictions, etc for her grandchildren (great-grandchildren? Can't recall...) A nice story.

Damaged, Pamela Callow, Goodreads rating: 3 stars
A debut thriller for Callow, there were a lot of things to improve upon, but the basis for the thriller section was fairly sound. I believe her heroine, Kate, is to be the star of a series of books (see my note above re: Eve/Roarke). I'll give her another try to see how she improves with experience.

Cavanaugh Judgment (Silhouette Romantic Suspense #1612), Marie Ferrarella, Goodreads rating: 3 stars
This was pretty standard fare for Ferrarella. Greer was a terrific heroine, strong, capable, funny. It was harder to get to know Blake. I didn't believe as much in the romance and love after such a short time. Blake seemed like the kind to fall slowly. The I love yous after a single night together didn't work for me. With a higher page count she may have been able to pull it off. Good but not great.I miss Ferrarella's old magic.

Going For It, Elle Kennedy, Goodreads rating: 3 stars
Another non-military book for Kennedy, but no less hot. This one didn't work as well for me for some reason. There was a Big Misunderstanding stemming from the hero's initial selfishness, and that bothered me. Otherwise, as always, a hot, quick read.

There you have it. My reads in June. What did you read? Have you read these? What are your thoughts on any of these books?
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