Yes, I’m still here. More or less.
I’ve been struggling with the anxiety and depression stuff the past few weeks, for which I prescribed myself a LOT of comfort reads, but I did manage to knock down a bit of my TBR. I’m too scatterbrained right now to do anything more coherent than ratings and drive-by comments, so here goes….
- Title: Trust Me on This
- Author: Jennifer Crusie
- Series: N/A
- Genre(s): Contemporary
- Publisher: Bantam, October 2010 (originally published June 1997 by Loveswept)
- Source: Public library
- Length: 320 pages
- Trope(s): Battle of the Sexes, Mistaken Identity, Slimy Villain, Bimbo Sidekick, Mature Couple
- Quick blurb: Fraud investigator mistakes a reporter for a con man’s shill.
- Quick review: Fast, funny and pure fluff, but definitely worth reading.
- Grade: B
“A million guys in this city, and I have to hit a bleeder.”
I got this from the library on a whim after wishlisting all the If You Like Mature Romance recs at Dear Author. Crusie pulls off the farce really well, zinging back and forth between the older and younger couples with great one-liners and a surprising amount of romantic and sexual tension. It’s a fun and memorable one-night read.
- Title: Untamed
- Author: Anna Cowan
- Genre(s): Historical
- Publisher: Penguin Books Australia, May 2013
- Source: NetGalley
- Length: 432 pages
- Trope(s): Heroine Who Says the F-Word, Hero Who’s Prettier Than The Heroine, Evil Gambling Father, Tragic Pasts, Sibling/Parent Issues, Deceit & Manipulation
- Quick blurb: A dandy in disguise changes the lives of a disgraced and debt-ridden family.
- Quick review: Again with the Book Anxiety, but a better outcome this time.
- Grade: C+
“I will write a book of bad ideas,” she said, pulling viciously at the buttons on her sleeve, “and the final chapter will be dedicated to this epic, gravity-defying feat of stupidity. And in a hundred years a celebrated English wordsmith will come across it and write a poetic tribute to the very bad idea that malformed in the brain of one demented duke. His work will run to eleven volumes before his vocabulary has even begun to do justice to how extremely bad this idea is.”
Oy. I need to quit whining for new and different, because more like this is going to kill me.
This took me longer than I thought, because I wound up doing a full re-read of one, and I had to buy and read the newest because it finished off a series.
So… Here are the highs and lows of Harlequin Historical author Sophia James, presented in chronological order (minus the anthologies). Cover images link to Goodreads.
In summary: James is on the dark and angsty edge of Harlequin Historicals — her characters are complex and conflicted, and when she stays away from rakes and pirates, her storytelling skills are memorable. But it’s hit or miss whether all the pieces and parts coalesce enough to suck me into a full-on book trance.
Yes, I’m still here. I have a boatload of reviews in the backlog, so be prepared for a influx of One-Quote Wonders.
- Title: Lady with the Devil’s Scar
- Author: Sophia James
- Genre(s): Historical
- Publisher: Harlequin, August 2012
- Source: Amazon ($4.61 ebook)
- Length: 288 pages
- Trope(s): Scarred Heroine, Illegitimate Loner Hero, Vengeful King
- Quick blurb: Daughter of infamous Highland rebel fights and flirts with French mercenary sent to destroy her castle.
- Quick review: Strong characters and good historical world-building, but not something I’ll read again.
- Grade: B-
He kissed like a warrior would, taking what he needed without discourse to the properness of society, her timid answer pushed away into sheer and blazing want.
Sophia James, along with Julia Justiss and Elizabeth Rolls, was one of my “gateway” Harlequin Historical authors – I glommed her entire backlist when I first got my Kindle.
James is one of those authors that I enjoy, but not enough to rave about, and Lady With the Devil’s Scar fits right in that middle territory – I liked it, but not enough to displace any of my favorites.
Coming up next: The Sophia James Backlist Binge….
- Title: Kiss of Pride
- Author: Sandra Hill
- Series: Deadly Angels, Book 1
- Genre(s): Contemporary, PNR
- Publisher: Avon, April 2012
- Source: Public library ($4.74 ebook)
- Length: 309 pages
- Trope(s): Vikings!
- Quick blurb: Vikings! Vampires! Angels! Time Travel! Satan’s Minions Host a Sin Cruise! Home Improvement!
- Quick review: An utterly goofy and stupidly entertaining read.
- Grade: A-
“Oh my God! It has a halo.”
He jerked to a sitting position and glanced down to his cockstand, which resembled a fat standing candle sitting in a circle of light. Breathing a sigh of relief…he said, “That’s not a halo. It’s just the moon hitting off that round mirror over there and reflecting back here.”
“If you say so.” She was clearly unconvinced. “I think it’s kind of cute, that you would have a halo around your penis.”
Cute? A man does not want his cock to be cute. “It is not a halo.”
She leaned forward to study it closer. “Let’s see if you taste holy.”
HOLY CRAP, this was fun. ALL CAPS FUN, I TELL YOU.
- Title: Unrivaled
- Author: Siri Mitchell
- Series: N/A
- Genre(s): Inspirational, Historical (1910 U.S.)
- Publisher: Bethany House, March 2013
- Source: NetGalley ($9.99 ebook)
- Length: 384 pages
- Trope(s): Family Drama, Reluctant Debutante, Reluctant Heir
- Quick blurb: St. Louis debutante tries desperately to save her ailing father’s beloved candy company, but struggles with her feelings for their rival’s son.
- Quick review: Fun historical premise and setting, memorable characters and complex conflicts — but not my favorite by Mitchell
- Grade: B
“I’ve always thought a meringue is a thing like hope, buoyed as they they are plenty of hot air. A bit pretentious at the start, don’t you think?” He settled his hands on his chest. “But that let that hope wait, let that resolve harden for a while…. Leave the oven door closed, and something wonderful happens. You just have to be willing to wait for it.”
I’d recommend this book for the historical world-building alone. Mitchell combines the early 1900s time period with the drama of rival family businesses to create a unique atmosphere that’s light-hearted and restless and constantly evolving — just like her main characters.
The one thing this book was lacking was a cohesive faith message. I love the low-key and understated spirituality in all of Mitchell’s books, but concentrating all of it in one secondary character — especially one who talks in circles — made it seem like an afterthought instead of an integral part of the story.