Summer Reading Wrap-Up

IT’S STILL TECHNICALLY SUMMER, DAMMIT.

Minimal snark this time, but maybe a little squee here and there. Maybe more than a little. It’s a long list, so get comfy.

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A bunch of stuff by Joan Wolf

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*ahem* NEW AUTHOR CRUSH

The American Earl made my heart happy and I loved every word of it so just buy the damn thing and read it already so you can be happy like me.

I also loved The Pretenders (friends-to-lovers fake engagement) and A London Season (friends-to-lovers angst-o-rama) and Lord Richard’s Daughter (missionary’s daughter falls in love with  enigmatic rescuer).

The Arrangement and The Guardian, both “reluctant guardian” tropes, were good, but leaned a bit too heavily on the average-par suspense.

Royal Bride (re-released as The English Bride, age gap, friends-to-lovers marriage of convenience) started out good, kind of fell apart in the middle, and finished up with some political drama.

I have White Horses in the TBR — and that’s going to make me want to read that one Mary Stewart book with the horses and then I’ll have to read ALL THE MARY STEWART and then I will whinge about why we can’t get Mary Stewart in ebook or audio.

Anyway. Last summer I read Joan Wolf’s Esther story during my FSAT take-down, and it was BY FAR the best Biblical novelization I’ve read. I might reade her others, but only after I finish her Regencies and Dark Ages books.

ALSO: I want those old Signet covers to make a comeback.

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Earth Bound by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner

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I loved the others in the series, but this one KILLED ME DEAD. <dead> Good lord, this was utterly fan-freaking-tastic. Definitely one of my top reads this year, and it’s poking at my DIK shelf. I need a moment to recover just remembering that telephone call scene in the restaurant *swoon* <thud>.

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Las Morenas series by Genevieve Turner

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Speaking of KILLING ME DEAD: Turner’s The Farmer Takes a Wife is going on my Nearly Perfect Novellas list (remind me to do a post about that). Summer Chaparral was stupid good as well. I’m hoarding the rest of the series. Maybe for election night. I haven’t decided yet.

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The Must Love Time Travel series by Angela Quarles

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Chainmail just won the RITA for Paranormal Romance, but I loved Breeches even more. LOVED IT. I’m listening to the audiobook right now and it’s soooooo gooooood. I started Kilts, but I had to put it on a brief hiatus because I liked it so much I didn’t want it to end. I’m not the only one that does that, right?

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The Widow’s Auction by Sabrina Jeffries

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This is a stand-alone re-release of a novella from an out-of-print anthology. You should read this because it’s only $1.99 and IT’S SABRINA JEFFRIES AND SHE CAN DO NO WRONG JUST TRUST ME OKAY.

This story isn’t as glorious as Dorinda and the Doctor (only 99c!!!), but I totally bought into the “OMG What If He Recognizes Me While I’m Selling Myself Wearing a Half-Mask??? But Never Mind I’m Too Horny to Care” plot because IT’S SABRINA JEFFRIES AND I’LL GO WHEREVER SHE TELLS ME AND I’LL LIKE IT. Okay? Okay.

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An Affair in Winter by Jess Michaels

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If you’re looking for a quick read with flaming sexual chemistry and swoony wooing, this is it. Good lord.

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Reclaiming His Past by Karen Kirst

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I’ve read all of Kirst’s backlist, and there was only one dud, and this wasn’t it. Single Mom Rescues Amnesiac Cowboy and it’s almost practically perfect. Miss Bates did a great full review that sums up all my Emotional Emotions.

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The Last Single Girl and The Catching Kind by Caitie Quinn (aka Bria Quinlan)

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I bought Catching for 99c because Jeannie Lin told me to, and Single was free. Both are fun and romantic, but Single is ridiculously cute and charming and immediately went on my list of Nearly Perfect Novellas.  I just bought the rest of the series.

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The Grantham Girls series by Amanda Weaver

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The first in the series, A Duchess in Name, is a superb marriage of conveniences story – my heart ached for the heroine and I wanted to punch the hero in the face but then he got his shit together and my heart ached for him and then there was some drama and then everyone was happy and I was happy. The other two are almost as good, and I’ll be looking for more from Weaver.

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Fly With Me by Chanel Cleeton

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Cleeton made me cranky because she made me like New Adult and now she made me like an alpha pilot against my will and I hate that. I bought Fly With Me when it was on sale for $1.99 and 87 people on Twitter squeed about it.  It made me full-snot ugly-cry when I was sneak-reading it at work. Unfortunately, it’s back to $7.99 and that’s way too high a price point to impulse-buy the rest of the series, but they’re on the wishlist.

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Everything I Left Unsaid series by M. O’Keefe

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I’m not sure I’ll ever read these again because they aren’t exactly comfort reads, but I probably won’t need to — just seeing the titles brings it all back. That, my friends, is what Really Good Writing is all about.

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The Heiress of Linn Hagh by Karen Charlton

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A kinda interesting but sorta uneven gothic suspense . The “escape from a locked room” premise is done really well, and it’s broodingly atmospheric, but it lacks the rising tension I need in a mystery. If you read this, do NOT get the audiobook – the prolific and much-awarded narrator pronounced the setting of “Bellingham” as Belling-JAM. With a hard “J.” My jaw still hurts from grinding my teeth.

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The Lady Darby Mysteries by Anna Lee Huber

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Book Anxiety over these, and now I know why. The covers are absolutely gorgeous, the initial premise is fantastic and the settings are compelling, but… I have no idea why they didn’t work for me. I made it through the first two and DNF’d the third because I just didn’t care. Huber seems to be trying desperately to emulate Deanna Raybourn and C.S. Harris — maybe she’s trying too hard?.

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From This Moment by Elizabeth Camden

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I am relieved to say this was sooooo much better than her last one.

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Company of Rogues series by Jo Beverley

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My first Beverleys, and they were posthumous :-(. I did Arranged Marriage, Unwilling Bride, Forbidden, Dangerous Joy and Hazard on audio from the library, and ebook for Christmas Angel. Which others are must-reads?

Also: Can we discuss the ending of Dangerous Joy? Did I really read that? Did that really happen?

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Forbidden Nights with the Viscount and Scandal with the Rancher by Julia Justiss

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Have I ever mentioned my Big Huge Slobbery Author Crush on Julia Justiss? I loooooove Julia Justiss. LOVE HER. And then she went and WROTE ME A WESTERN *nerdflail*. If you haven’t read her entire backlist, please go do so right now. I’ll wait patiently for you to finish and squee at me.

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Softly Falling by Carla Kelly

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OK, so you already know about this Author Crush (see here and here). I loved the setting and the romance and the tension and Kelly’s always-phenomenal historical world-building. But… BUT. Ugh. I was really put off by the portrayal of the Chinese restaurant owner. I really wish she would edit out those unnecessary bits so I could recommend this without serious reservations.

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To Charm a Naughty Countess by Theresa Romain

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Romain’s books deserve much better than these dopey wallpaper titles and covers. This one is a friends-to-lovers/second chance with a smart and strong widowed heroine and a reclusive hero who has panic attacks. READ THIS TRUST ME.

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The Legend of Lyon Redmond by Julie Anne Long

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I had Book Anxiety for months. I finally read it. And now I don’t remember anything about it.

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Marrying Winterbourne by Lisa Kleypas

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Ditto with the Book Anxiety. Except this time I had to read the first book in the series again because I didn’t remember anything.

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Ravished by Amanda Quick

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Saved this one for the end so I could add all my live-tweets

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2 thoughts on “Summer Reading Wrap-Up

  1. *waves* Thanks for the Miss B. shout-out! Oh Kirst, how do I love thee, let me count the ways? BUT no Christmas rom from her this year: my heart breaketh. Also, I love these posts! Because then I go out and look for every single book, author you’ve recced. All uncertainty about what to read next: poof, gone.

    BTW, I’m listening to Tiffany Girl … I think you’d like it.

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