- Title: Good Time Bad Boy
- Author: Sonya Clark
- Published: Self-Published, June 2015
- Source: Purchased
- Length: 316 pages
- Tropes: Good Ol’ Boy, Smartass Heroine, Small Town, Music, Dysfunctional Families
- Quick blurb: Country singer on the skids has to make amends for getting hometown barmaid fired.
- Quick review: New-to-romance author needs to write more romance.
- Grade: A-
This month’s TBR Challenge theme is Recommended Reads, and boy howdy, do I choose my friends wisely.
I bought Good Time Bad Boy last year when everyone else (e.g., Sunita and Janine at Dear Author and others) was raving about it. And of course it got buried pretty quickly because I rarely make an effort to keep contemporaries at the top of the queue.
I finished it in one night.
I haven’t read Liz’s review yet, but I’m sure she’s done her typically smart things with it. I’ll just do my usual thing because otherwise we’ll be here until next Tuesday.
The premise is pretty simple – the heroine is a small-town barmaid who puts the smackdown on a handsy drunk customer, who just happens to be the hometown celebrity. He gets his shit together enough to make amends and there’s an HEA and a crap-ton of angsty-yet-fun goodness in between.
The binge is done. I have no more new Kearsley audiobooks. *sob*
I started my re-reads even before the binge ended. I listened to Winter Sea again first, because I had to prepare myself for the re-read of Firebird.
I love this book. I have I mentioned this before?
Firebird was even better the second time, because I allowed myself to just sink in and wallow in it.
WALLOW. IN. IT.
Wallow: to indulge in an unrestrained way in
something that creates a pleasurable sensation.
My facial expressions while reading this book are even dopier. Except when I’m ugly-crying, and no one needs pics of that.
Also, I really need to go to St. Petersburg.
These challenges make me feel like an overachiever because they totally enable my hoarding/binging tendencies. I’ve been sitting on SEVENTEEN (17) (no lie) Carla Kellys for years because I knew that once I started, I’d have to read them all. So I did. And it was gooooood.
I’m only going to do the Harlequins in this post — more on the Signets next time! (And yes, I’ve read all of Kelly’s other Harlequins. I’m a capital-F Fangirl.)
Her Hesitant Heart
- Title: Her Hesitant Heart
- Published: Harlequin Historical, January 2013
- Source: Purchased
- Length: 282
- Tropes: Deep Dark Secrets, Scandal & Gossip, Beta Hero, Military Man, Widower, Schoolmarm
- Quick blurb: Newly divorced schoolmarm finds refuge teaching at remote army fort.
- Quick review: Great setting and perfect pacing, but the angst needed a bit more balance.
- Grade: B+
“I can’t tell you how nice it was to open my front door and take a whiff of someone cares.”
Nobody does historical military romance better than Carla Kelly. She has an exquisite knack for world-building that has me THERE every single time, and this book was no exception. The only thing that knocked it down to a B was the uneven angst balance — it was all on the heroine, with the stalwart hero basically standing around waiting to display his stalwartiness. Continue reading
I wasn’t kidding about the “binge” thing.
Only one dud in this bunch, the rest will go on the re-read list next year. Or this weekend. Or maybe I’ll sneak out of the office potluck early.
Falling for the Teacher by Dorothy Clark
- Title: Falling for the Teacher
- Author: Dorothy Clark
- Series: Pinewood Weddings
- Genre(s): Inspirational, Historical (1841 Upstate New York)
- Publisher: Harlequin, September 2013
- Category: Love Inspired Historical
- Source: NetGalley
- Length: 288 pages
- Trope(s): Tragic Past, Small Town, Extreme Self-Doubt
- Quick blurb: Schoolteacher returns home to care for her ailing grandparents and finds the brother of her rapist managing the family business.
- Quick review: Really annoyed with the heroine in the beginning, but chemistry and character development turned this into an unexpectedly emotional read.
- Grade: B
He rose and looked down into her eyes. “Sadie….”
Her name was a gruff plea from his constricted throat – her answer a barely heard whisper. Time was lost in his need to comfort her, to protect her, to love her forever. He sucked in a breath, fighting his heart with every bit of strength he possessed and hating himself for winning the battle. “I’ll see you safe to the house.”
I struggled with Sadie’s overwrought, baseless accusations in the first third of the book, but as Cole slowly wins her over, we get the backstory details we need to root for their HEA.
- Title: Flowers from the Storm
- Author: Laura Kinsale
- Narrator: Nicholas Boulton
- Series: N/A
- Genre(s): Historical
- Publisher: Avon, 1992
- Source: Purchased ($2.99 ebook, $3.49 audiobook)
- Length: 565 pages (19 hours)
- Trope(s): Sheltered Spinster, Dukish Duke, Evil In-Laws, ANGST ANGST AND MORE ANGST (did I mention the ANGST?)
- Quick blurb: Sheltered Quaker woman feels called to help a notorious (but brilliant) duke when she finds him wrongfully imprisoned in her uncle’s asylum.
- Quick review: Go away and leave me alone. I’m still swooning.
- Grade: A- for story, A+ for narration
“It was an Opening,” she whispered.
“It was…you,” he said.
OH. MY. GOD. You people weren’t kidding about this book. Good lord. It’s going to take me months to recover my equilibrium, and god help whatever books I’m reading and listening to next.
The minus on the story grade is for the slight lag in the pacing after the [NO SPOILERS], and I wondered about Maddie being called “Duchess” instead of “Your Grace,” and I couldn’t figure out why her father didn’t play more of a role in her spiritual conundrum, but then I had to replay the last chapter three times because, you know, OH. MY. GOD.
[Gimme a sec, I need to swoon again: *~*SWOON*~* <thud>]
Sorry, where was I? With the wrong narrator, this audiobook would have been a disaster of epic proportions. Nicholas Boulton captured Jervaulx’s anger and anguish — and Maddy’s longing and confusion — so bloody brilliantly I had my headphones on all night for four nights straight. And I stayed up until 3 o’clock this morning and I don’t care if I fall asleep at my desk and drool on my keyboard.
These characters, and all their lovely, glorious angst, will live with me — and I can’t think of much higher praise for an author than that.
- Title: Any Duchess Will Do
- Author: Tessa Dare
- Series: Spindle Cove, Book 4
- Genre(s): Historical
- Publisher: Avon, May 2013
- Source: Edelweiss
- Length: 384 pages
- Trope(s): Smartass Heroine, Brooding Duke, Marriage-Obsessed Mama, Bad Knitting
- Quick blurb: Duke’s mother declares she can turn a barmaid into a duchess in one week.
- Quick review: Shut up and quit bugging me, I have to read the whole series again.
- Grade: A-
Her. I’ll take her.
The only other time I’ve used a gif in a review was the previous book in this series. So…yeah.