Posted by: Jennifer | July 9, 2009

My June 2009 Wrap Up

Wrap Up of June 2009 Reads:

  1. All She Wants for Christmas/The Trouble with New Year’s Resolutions – Paige Tyler – My immediate reaction was that I wished I hadn’t paid $15.95 for this 120 page book which contained two stories. I remember picking up this very thin book and thinking “Seriously, $15.95????” As such, I was unhappy before I started reading. I don’t really have anything terribly negative to say about the stories, they were fine, readable and even enjoyable. I liked the characters and the relationships between the heroes and the heroines. However, I’m not sure that stories centered around spanking are my thing – especially at such a high cost for the print cost. I could be tempted to buy more Paige Tyler works, but only in electronic format – for far less money. Reading this book made me realize that I do have different expectations for books based on their cost – which I don’t think I consciously realized.
  2. Sweet Persuasion – Maya Banks
  3. Don’t Bargain With the Devil– Sabrina Jeffries– This was my least favorite of the books in the School for Heiresses’ series. Lucy annoyed me greatly, and I wasn’t terribly fond of Diego either. I don’t think this book was bad. I think that I had high expectations that the book failed to meet for me. I read this book rather quickly – skimming through a great deal of it. I may have to go back and re-read it a bit more carefully. Lord Kirkwood and his wife, Sarah, were a big part of the plot – and they are important characters in the conclusion to the School of Heiresses’ series (Don’t Wed Him Before You Bed Him) which I read later in the month.
  4. Graceful Submission – Melinda Barron (re-read; first time in paper) – I first read this story when it came out in electronic format – and enjoyed it enough to buy it in print. I really liked the relationship between Grace and Toffer. This was one of the earliest BDSM stories that I read, and I very much enjoyed the way that Toffer introduced Grace into his lifestyle of bondage and submission. Some of my favorite parts of the book are in the beginning when Grace and Toffer are getting to know each over online. I found those scenes to be powerful – and rather sizzling, as well.
  5. A Hint of Wicked– Jennifer Haymore
  6. Tied Up, Tied Down – Lorelei James (re-read; first time in paper) – This is another book that I bought because I enjoyed the electronic version so much. I am a big fan of James’ Rough Riders’ series. In this one, Kade McKay returns home to learn that his one night with Skylar Ellison resulted in a little bundle of joy. While Skylar isn’t ready to get back together with Kade, she can’t deny him access to his daughter. To help, Kade moves in with Skylar. Of course, Skylar and Kade grow closer while living together and taking care of their baby girl.
  7. Scandalizing the Ton – Diane Gaston
  8. The Confessions of a Duchess– Nicola Cornick– This book was funny and cute. I got quite a kick out of the ways that the heroine, Laura, dowager Duchess of Cole, tries to foil to machinations of Sir Montague. Plus, I really liked the relationship between Laura and Dexter Anstruther. There was a nice twist regarding the thief that Dexter had failed to catch on his first trip to Fortune’s Folly several years earlier. Overall, this book made me smile. I now plan to read the rest of the books in this particular series.
  9. Confessions of a Little Black Gown – Elizabeth Boyle
  10. Regan’s Pride – Diana Palmer  (re-read) – I have already mentioned that I am a HUGE Diana Palmer fan. I wouldn’t say that Regan’s Pride is one of my favorites, but it is still a good. Carly has been in love with her best friend’s brother for years. However, he firmly believes he is too old for her. His coldness sends her into the arms of his cousin. Years later, Ted has to deal with what his coldness to Carly has caused.
  11. Savage Obsession – Diana Hamilton (re-read) – When I re-read this book, I wasn’t aware the Diana Hamilton had recently passed away. I think that I need to find some of her other books that I own and read them again. Hamilton has always been one of my favorite Harlequin Presents authors.
  12. Dark Guardian– Rebecca King(re-read) – This is definitely one of those romance novels with some elements that wouldn’t go over so well today. After all, the main characters first have sex when Fliss (the heroine) is only 17. Brand (the hero) isn’t aware of her age, but it is still a little creepy. I do have to admit that I didn’t find it so creepy when I first read the book back in 1991/1992. Of course that could also be because I can’t help my overwhelming attachment to guardian/ward stories.
  13. Guardian Angel – Julie Garwood (re-read) – I love, love, love this book. Jade is one of my all-time favorite romance heroines. Sterns, the butler, is one of the best supporting characters I have ever run across. And then there is Black Harry. This books always makes me laugh – and definitely puts a smile on my face.
  14. Trial of Innocence – Anne Mather (re-read) – I was always a big fan of Anne Mather’s Harlequin Presents’ books. In this one, the heroine is caught between her recently deceased husband and his younger brother – who may or may not be the father of her young son. I love this plot convention even though I’m not sure why. Robyn admittedly irritates me quite a bit because she is a bit obnoxious in her attempts to keep Jared away from her and her son. However, she does eventually give in to the man who should have been her first choice.
  15. Paper Rose – Diana Palmer (re-read) – This is one of my favorite Diana Palmer books.
  16. Brotherly Bonds– Brynn Paulin – anthology including On Your Knees, All Chained Up, Master Me,  and Gentle Control(re-read – first time in print) – I definitely enjoy Brynn Paulin’s works. I mean I own three of the four stories in this book in electronic format and really wanted to have them in print. What is interesting about reading all 4 stories together is that I found the family of BDSM practitioners to be a bit odd. This wasn’t something I noticed as much when I read the ebooks separately. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t like the stories – I just found it odd. The other thing was that I really wanted the sister to have a story. That I would really, really like to read.
  17. A Rogue of My Own – Johanna Lindsey– This was a decent read. I can’t ever pass up a new Johanna Lindsey book. After all, she was one of the first romance novelists that I ever read. Several of her characters top my list of favorite romance heroes (James Malory – big sighs!!! – is SO unforgettable). So, I expect quite a bit from Lindsey’s heroes – and this might be why this book won’t displace any others that are on my list of favorite Lindsey works. I felt as if Rupert was rather flat as a character – and rather shallow. This could have been deliberate because of his spy-like job. However, I didn’t really feel as if we got to see deep enough behind his peacocky, popinjay-ish demeanor. I thought he would have been better suited for a secondary character than the hero. I liked Rebecca much more than Rupert. And, I find that if I like one of the main characters a lot more than the other, I can’t get as emotionally vested in the story as I would like.
  18. Eclipse – Stephanie Meyer – I am surprised by how caught up I got in the Twilight saga. The further along that I got, the more I needed to find out how the story ended. What I kind of liked best about these books were how easy they were to read. Despite the length of the books, they took no time to read.
  19. Secret Thirst – Evangeline Anderson– This was ok. I did like the main characters of Kris and Lauren. I thought the part of the book where the two have to hide out in another vampire’s lair dragged a bit, however. And, I didn’t really think that the sex between Kris and Lauren lived up to her fantasies (which are interspersed throughout the book). I did not find the book overly erotic.
  20. Sins of a Wicked Duke – Sophie Jordan– Very enjoyable book. Dominic Hale was certainly as licentious as billed, but in a likeable way.
  21. Breaking Dawn – Stephanie Meyer– Once I finished Eclipse, I needed to find out how things turned out for Bella and Edward. I can say that I wasn’t at all disappointed with this book. I thought it was quite fitting. In some ways, I thought it might have been better served to have been two separate books: one with Edward and Bella’s marriage and the birth of Nessie and one with the whole Volturi thing. Regardless, I am very glad that I did decide to go ahead and read these books.
  22. Leather and Lace – Taylor Tryst – I don’t really remember much about this book – other than I wasn’t all that sympathetic towards Cleo as the heroine. I think I skimmed through much of this book to get to the end.
  23. To Taste Temptation – Elizabeth Hoyt – I had to go back and buy this book after having read the second and third books in Hoyt’s Legend of the Four Soldiers’ series (To Seduce a Sinner and To Beguile a Beast). I definitely liked both Simon and Lady Emeline – and their courtship. It was also very interesting to read about Emeline’s friend Melissande – and to catch a glimpse of her feeling for Lord Vale. I may have to back and read To Seduce a Sinner again. Anyway, I can’t wait for the last book in the series, To Desire a Devil (to be released in November 2009). This has been an excellent series – one of the best that I have read this year.
  24. Wed Him Before You Bed Him– Sabrina Jeffries
  25. Real Men Last All Night – anthology including Cooper’s Falls by Lora Leigh, Luring Lucy by Lori Foster, The Edge of Sin by Cheyenne McCray and Wanted: A Real Man by Heidi Betts – I totally need to do a post about my anthology angst. I bought this because I read everything that Lora Leigh writes – and I enjoyed Cooper’s Falls. Honestly, I don’t really remember much about any of the other stories.
  26. Finger Lickin’ Fifteen– Janet Evanovich– Funny, funny, funny!!! I laughed out loud at some of the antics of Lula and Grandma Mazur. Lula’s decision to enter the cooking contest had me in stitches – that and Stephanie in the hot dog costume. Oh yeah, and the streaker being carried out of the funeral home with his wanker hanging out??? Too funny!! Also, there was a great deal of Ranger/Stephanie time. I think it has been a while. On the other hand, this means that I missed Morelli. Stephanie and Joe were on a break, and this was the only thing about the book that made me a wee bit sad.
  27. Darkness Burning – Delilah Devlin– I have gotten into this series by Delilah Devlin and plan to continue reading future books. I do have to say that these people have some seriously long and drawn out sex sessions. Once or twice, I actually winced because all of that sex made Mikeala quite sore. I don’t mind books with lots of sex as a rule, but can admit that I did eventually skip over some of the sex scenes in this book because I wanted to be able to concentrate a bit more on the plot.
  28. Secret Ties– Opal Carew– I didn’t really know what to make of this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the beginning of the book where Summer meets Max and gets seduced into experimenting with BDSM. The story fell apart for me a bit when Summer returned home and got involved with her two best friends. The story was billed as the story of Summer and Max – with no mention of the two best friends. Yet, Summer longs for these two men and does get involved with them. Max, of course, is the hero. Summer does have sex with the two friends and Max – all together, one-on-one and in various combinations. They talk about their feelings of love. Yet in the end, the two friends realize they love Summer, but aren’t in love with her – not like Max. Summer ends up with Max, but this doesn’t negate the possibility of a continuing sexual relationship with her two best friends. It seemed a bit unrealistic to me. So, ultimately, I found the addition of the two friends to be a serious distraction.
  29. A Duke to Die For – Amelia Grey – I always buy guardian/ward stories – they are one of my favorite romance plots. I was also intrigued by the curse that may have killed Henrietta’s previous guardians. Anyway, I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. I hadn’t read anything by Amelia Grey previously, but do intend to in the future. This book is the start of a series about three male cousins – who we met in this book. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
  30. B.A.D. Attitude– Sherrilyn Kenyon – As a HUGE fan of Kenyon’s Dark Hunter books, I decided that I really needed to try books from her other series. This one was decent. I definitely liked both Sydney and J.D. – found them and the story appealing. However, this book didn’t move me the same way that Kenyon’s Dark Hunter books did. I think I was expecting more – which isn’t necessarily fair. Overall, I think that I would like to read some additional books in this particular series in order to make up my mind.
  31. Seduce the Darkness– Gena Showalter– This is the second of Showalter’s Alien Huntress novels that I have read. I think that I read Enslave Me Sweetly which didn’t provoke too much of a reaction – positive or negative. I did enjoy Seduce the Darknessand think I have a better sense of the series itself. I do plan to read the first book in the series to see if that brings the entire series into clearer focus. I do think that my reactions to some of Showalter’s books are due to high expectations. I absolutely adore the books in her Lords of the Underworlds series – and I think that I expect other books to be the same. They are not – and realistically, probably shouldn’t be. So, I haven’t totally made up my mind about the Alien Huntress books, but I do like like them much better than those in Showalter’s Atlantis series (which I can’t get into).
  32. Auctioning Charity – Reese Gabriel– I think that by now I own all of the books that Resse Gabriel has written for Ellora’s Cave. They are all highly romantic stories with highly dominant men and lots and lots of sex.
  33. Eye of the Storm – Ann Jacobs – I did enjoy this story of ex-lovers trapped in close quarters by a raging storm. It probably isn’t my favorite Ann Jacobs story, but was worth a read.
  34. Everything Nice – Mari Carr – Menage stories are definitely all over the place these days, and I like reading stories with different dynamics. In this story, Allie is in love with both Charlie and Alex. Alex is also in love with Charlie. Charlie loves Allie, but is clueless about Alex. I definitely liked the way Carr portrayed Charlie and his difficulties accepting Allie’s desire for a committed menage.
  35. Hard on Miss Hardin– Lyla Sinclair– This is an Ellora’s Cave Exotika story – a line of erotica that does not claim to conform to romance norms (monogamous relationships, HEA). In this story, Miss Hardin finds herself at the mercy of a former student who she might have been rather hard on. This was an excellent short story – one which was rather steamy!
  36. Illegal Moves– Dalton Diaz and Samantha Cayto– This story was ok. I bought it because the main characters had been lovers once upon a time. Overall, I got a bit tired with Caroline’s need for revenge. I also didn’t necessarily buy into Caroline’s insistence that Jordan allow a man to have sex with him in order to make up for his past transgressions. The actual sex scene was well done, I thought – I just didn’t buy the reason for the menage.
  37. Papaya Paradise – Brigit Zahara– This story was ok. I didn’t really get that into the story, but admit that I was reading while my attention was elsewhere.
  38. Riding Out the Storm – Desiree Holt – I thoroughly enjoyed this story, as I do with most books written by Desiree Holt. I can’t resist the heroine/best friend’s older brother story line. It gets me every time. Throw in a dominant best friend’s older brother, and I just have to read it. And, I am glad that I did.
  39. Beg Me – Desiree Holt – I enjoyed the premise of this story – Sable agrees to a bargain with the dominant Alex in order to win an interview. However, things quickly get complicated between the two. I actually thought that the power struggle between the characters got a bit in the way – which is strange given that the power struggle is a big part of the relationship.
  40. Interlude – Desiree Holt– What a delicious interlude this book was. There is something so erotic about semi-public scenes. I think I was a bit taken aback by the fact the club only existed when it was raining – that paranormal element did give me pause. However, it couldn’t take away from how much I enjoyed the book.
  41. Running Wild– Saskia Walker– This is a decent book. However, I will say that the capture thing isn’t really my favorite. I have always found it difficult to suspend my disbelief when characters pretent to run away so that they can be caught.
  42. Seduced by the Neighbor – Crissy Smith – I was surprised by how much I liked this story – very engaging and very sexy.

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