Saturday, October 25, 2008

Maverick Wild by Stacey Kayne

Maverick Wild gave me many hours of entertainment this weekend. It is the second story in the Morgan brothers duo by Stacey Kayne.

Chance Morgan is eager to continue his carefree bachelor existence and not at all eager to get married. However, meeting Cora Mae Tindale again puts a wrench in those plans. Cora is the daughter of his hated stepmother. When they were kids, she was a boon companion who Chance and his brother enjoyed corrupting. Many times they got the young girl in trouble with her mean, overbearing mother, but she never complained about the abuse that she suffered at her mother's hands.

When Chance and Tucker ran away to join the Confederate Army, they knew that they couldn't take little Cora Mae with them. But Chance promised to return for her. However, when they were able to come back, Cora was gone, and their stepmonster had sold their father's farm. Bitter about women and how marrying them destroyed a man's life, Chance vowed never to get married.

Twenty-one years later, they are reunited when Cora Mae arrives in Wyoming to visit her stepbrothers for a short time. When she arrives, she finds that Chance has become a hard, dangerous stranger who only sees a hated Tindale when he looks at her. Little does she know that he sees a beautiful red-head with bewitching curves that make it very difficult to be resistant to her.

He needn't worry that she wants to trap him into marriage. After a painful and harrowing experience with a man that her mother tries to force her to marry, Cora Mae has sworn never to marry. She just wants to feel a sense of family and home that she felt when she tagged along with Chance and Tucker as a girl.

Maverick Wild was an excellent book. It helped to cement my appreciation for Stacey Kayne as a western writer. It's not a copycat of her first book, Maverick Wild. The heroine and hero are different people with different motivations. Yet the elements that made her first novel appeal to me are there in spades: emotion, vivid descriptions of western life, good storytelling, and likable, appealing characters.

Cora Mae is not a rough and ready cowgirl like Skylar. She's more of a homemaker who is very happy knitting and crocheting, and baking goodies. She is a sturdy, curvaceous woman, who has been made to feel that she is unattractive. Although she is self-conscious after years of being put down by her mother, she has an inner strength and spunk that makes her a worthy opponent for Chance. She also has a sweetness and a kindness that makes everyone around her love her. Chance sees this in her, but is determined to resist the pull she has on him, at times showing a suspicious attitude towards her that is hurtful to Cora Mae.

Chance is definitely a western hero. He's very attractive in a hard, sexy way. He's tough and independent, but clearly loves his family and wants to protect them. Although he fights his attraction for Cora Mae fiercely, when he realizes how dangerous her plight is, he steps up to the plate to take measures to keep her safe, even if it means losing his freedom. Of course, deep down, the real reason is that he wants her to stay.

The chemistry between the characters is just as heady and appealing as it was in Mustang Wild, but there is also a poignancy as Cora Mae heals from her fears of men and opens her heart and mind to being loved by Chance.

If you would like to read a western that reinforces the joy of hearth and home, and features characters who are struggling to get over painful pasts to find a happy future, you will love this book.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Beguiled by Arnette Lamb

I started this book a while ago, and put it down for several months. It was really good when I started reading it, but I am a mood reader so it wasn't fitting my mood. I finished it yesterday and I was ready to read it then. Agnes Mackenzie is a heroine after my heart. She has purpose and drive, but also a heart. She can be ruthless when needed, but for the best reasons. She is tough and a warrior. I wish there were more genuine women warriors in romance. I also liked the hero, Edward. He is a scientist and a thinker, but also a man of action. Both characters embody elements that I love about Scottish people: passion, pragmatism, loyalty to the end, and love of family. The love scenes come late in the book, but they are well written and emotional. You want this couple to be together, and I loved that Edward supported Agnes's mission and was willing to change his own life to be with her and to help her fulfill her mission. I highly recommend this older romance for a reader who likes Scottish romances, strong heroines, sexy, cerebral heroes, and a good bit of adventure thrown in. This is part of the Clan Mackenzie series which starts with Highland Rogue, and is followed by Betrayed, if you like to read books in order.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Stalkerific Romance Hero

I think you are probably going... The what hero? Well it's a made up word. It's my word for the romance hero who's obsession for the heroine borders on being stalkerish if it was real life.

The stalkerific hero has appeal in romances. Let me tell you something. I believe that most women want to be adored like in the Stone Roses song from the 80s. You want to feel like you are the sun and the man is the earth, orbiting around you. Does this happen in real life? Probably not to most women. But in the romance book...It can happen.

The stalkerific hero can also be called the hero in pursuit. Once he realizes that he is in love or maybe he still thinks it's lust, he becomes totally fixated on the heroine. His body, mind, and soul is focused on her. He'll do anything, break any rule to have her. Again, very appealing.

Real life, not so much. How would you feel if you were a heroine who always manages to see said hero staring at her at every ball she attends. He is invited to every party she goes to. He tracks her down, even buys the company she works at, just so she can stay in his proximity. He knows where she lives. He might even kidnap you and take you to his private island or enclave in the middle of nowhere. And forget about not ending up in this guy's bed or married to him. It's going to happen, whether you want it or not. Real life, that is a scary proposition, even if you like this guy.

In romances, if well done, I find this very appealing. That is not to say that I haven't read a few books where it icked me out more than a little. But I have to say it's a refreshing change from the hero who tried to avoid the heck out of the hero because HE DOES NOT LOVE HER!!!! HE REALLY DOESN'T. LOVE DOESN'T EXIST. You know the whole spiel. In their defense, some of these guys are shapeshifters or vampires. In other words, it's in their blood to be possessive over their mates. Maybe that's why I like paranormals. (Big grin). Let me just warn you, these books may not be the most P.C. romance novels. But I think they are interesting and enjoyable in a fantasy/strictly between the pages of a book capacity.

What are some good stalkerific heroes? Here is a list of the heroes in books that I have read that could be classified as stalkerific. Thanks to All About Romance as a resource, since I can't always remember the names of the characters.

  • Simon Hunt from Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas
  • Derek Craven from Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
  • Wynter, Viscount Ruskin from Rules of Surrender by Christina Dodd
  • Christopher Raine from The Care and Feeding of Pirates by Jennifer Ashley
  • Comte d'Esmond from Captives of the Night by Loretta Chase
  • Charles Harcourt from Beast by Judith Ivory
  • Ruan, Duke of Cynnsyr from Lord Ruin by Carolyn Jewel
  • Arden Mansfield, Lord Winter from The Dream Hunter by Laura Kinsale
  • Sylvester "Devil" Cynster, Duke of Ives from Devil's Bride by Stephanie Laurens
  • Major Michael Fallon from Must Have Been the Moonlight by Melody Thomas
  • Roger "Sam" Starret from the Team 16 Books and Gone too Far by Suzanne Brockmann
  • Adrik Winter aka "Warlord" from Into the Shadow by Christina Dodd
  • Jasha Wilder from Scent of Darkness by Christina Dodd
  • Rurik Wilder from Touch of Darkness by Christina Dodd
  • Doug Black from Into the Fire by Christina Dodd
  • Clayton Danvers from Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
  • Nikolai Wroth from The Warlord Wants Forever by Kresley Cole
  • Lochlain MacRieve from A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole
  • Sebastian Wroth from No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole
  • Bowen MacRieve from Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night by Kresley Cole
  • Conrad Wroth from Dark Needs at Night's Edge by Kresley Cole
  • Courtland MacCarrick from If You Dare by Kresley Cole
  • Hugh MacCarrick from If You Desire by Kresley Cole
  • Ethan MacCarrick from If You Decieve by Kresley Cole
  • Dageus MacKeltar from The Dark Immortal by Karen Marie Moning
  • Cian MacKeltar from The Spell of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning
  • Remington Knight from One Kiss from You by Christina Dodd
  • Gabriel Ansell, Earl of Campion, Scandalous Again by Christina Dodd
  • Sebastian Durant, Viscount Whitfield from A Well-Pleasured Lady by Christina Dodd
  • Luke Bardell from Ritual Sins by Anne Stuart
  • Michael Dubrovnik from Glass Houses by Anne Stuart
  • Anthony Malory from Tender Rebel by Johanna Lindsey
  • Adrian de Lancey, Earl of Shropshire from Uncommon Vows by Mary Jo Putney
  • Lord Raith from The Rogue's Seduction by Georgina Devon
  • Ransom Quincy, Marquess of Blackburn from That Scandalous Evening
  • Robert Mackenzie, Earl of Hepburn from Some Enchanted Evening
  • Heroes from Once Upon a Pillow by Christina Dodd/Connie Brockway
  • Damien De La Sola from Treasure of the Sun by Christina Dodd
  • Adam Keane from Princess by Christina Dodd
  • Prince Damior of Baminia from The Runaway Princess
  • Crown Prince Damien from Penelope and Prince Charming by Jennifer Ashley
  • Austin Blackwell from Perils of the Heart by Jennifer Ashley
  • Rafe MacGinnis from Rafe's Revenge
  • Nicholas Blackthorne from A Rose at Midnight by Anne Stuart
  • Elliot Chalmers from Some Sort of Spell by Frances Roding
  • Wolf Mackenzie from Mackenzie's Mountain by Linda Howard
  • Joe Mackenzie from Mackenzie's Mission by Linda Howard
  • Zane Mackenzie from Mackenzie's Pleasure by Linda Howard
  • Chance Mackenzie from A Game of Chance by Linda Howard
  • Micah Steele from The Last Mercenary by Diana Palmer
  • Justin Kinmurrie, Duke of Kylemore from Claiming the Courtesan by Anna Campbell
  • James Malory from Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey
  • Christoff, Marquess of Langford from The Smoke Thief by Shana Abe
  • Lucas Hunter from Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh
  • Vaughn De Angelo from Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh
  • Clay Bennett from Mine to Possess by Nalini Singh
  • Michael Wyndham from Love's Prisoner by MaryJanice Davidson
  • Vane Kattalakis from Night Play by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • Dante Pontis from Winter Born by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • Wrath from Dark Lover by JR Ward
  • Rhage from Lover Eternal by JR Ward
  • Zsadist from Lover Awakened by JR Ward
  • Butch from Lover Revealed by JR Ward
  • Vishous from Lover Unbound by JR Ward
  • Gyles Rawlings, Earl of Chillingworth from All About Passion by Stephanie Laurens
  • Marcus Savin from The Mercenary by Cherry Adair
  • Lucas Kendrick, Duke of Harndon from Heartless by Mary Balogh
  • Sir Ross Cannon from Lady Sophia's Lover by Lisa Kleypas
  • Nick Gentry from Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas
  • John McKenna from Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas
  • Prince Dmitri Petroff from Secret Fire by Johanna Lindsey
  • Phillip Caxton from Captive Bride by Johanna Lindsey
  • Selig Hardraad from Surrender My Love by Johanna Lindsey
  • Valerian from The Nymph King by Gena Showalter honorable mention to most of the Harlequin Presents heroes who are stalkerific in a scary way as they really don't want to love the heroine, but can't resist her, and they make her pay for it.

If you see some missing, please feel free to post a comment. I haven't read Christine Feehan, or I am sure some of the Carpathians would be on here. I've heard about those guys. :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Mammoth Book of Haunted House Stories

I found this volume to be very good reading. Pretty much all of these stories were thrilling, and some were extremely scary, necessitating a brief break before I could continue reading. It took several months to finish reading this book, but this is the kind of book you read in sessions anyway. Definitely makes me glad that I live in a brand new house. One of my favorites was "The Whistling Room" by William Hope Hodgson. Highly recommended.

The Dark: New Ghost Stories

This was a good book of ghost stories. As the blurb on the back says, no two are alike. They take the reader in different directions. I like this anthology because it shows how versatile the the ghost story is. And what defines a ghost is in the eye of the beholder, and the storyteller. None of these stories would keep me up at night, but there is a lingering unease as I remember reading some of them. Various settings are used, and the imagination of the writers seems limitless to me. Read these stories if you want a fresh, different look at ghosts. I definitely think this volume has ghost stories for the millenium.

Mustang Wild by Stacey Kayne

I started this book on Saturday and finished it the same day. This book was incredible. It has the great elements of an authentic western setting, engaging characters, sensual romance, humor, and danger. You will love Skylar as she is an incredible woman with a sense of honor but also the grit and determination to do what it takes to make a life for her younger brother. She was forced from a young age to suppress her feminine side and to work and to live as a cowboy, and nobody would question her abilities. Skylar ends up accidentally married to playful, but dangerous former bounty hunter, Tucker Morgan. He's gorgeous and tempting, but having a home for her brother is her first priority. The end goal is to get to Wyoming, get paid for her mustangs, and get an annulment. She just has to keep her hands off him, and his hands off her. Tucker wasn't looking at getting married ever, but he has one heck of a bride on his hands. She's willing to pull her weight and then some, and earns his respect. And she's beautiful. He finds it harder than he thought to keep from taking his wife to bed, and soon finds that he wants her forever. I really enjoyed this book. It was fun, it was intense, and I felt like I was there on the trail to Wyoming, with dust in my mouth, the cold wind blowing on face, hearing the mustangs neighing, and dodging bullets, along with the characters. If have been feeling at a loss as less and less western romances are being published, I highly recommend picking up this book. It will keep you entertained for hours indeed. Stacey Kayne is a new go to author for me when it comes to western romances.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Revenge Sex

Why is revenge sex so prevalent in romance novels? Maybe because it sparks the interest. I am no hypocrite. I am often attracted to books with revenge sex. Does that mean that my interests are depraved? I certainly hope not. If asked why I read those books, I would have to say that it makes a romance a lot more interesting. Some readers don't like revenge stories. I do. It's intense, it's edgy, it's powerful, if done by a good storyteller.

This is a challenge for an author: to take a couple who are brought together through a vendetta of one of the people, whether it be the hero or heroine. How can one go from hate to love? Well the old saying is that hate and love are opposites of the same coin. Passionate emotion is not always positive, but it is definitely tempestuous. It makes for good conflict in a novel.

The overwhelming amount of books that I read with revenge sex come from one line: Harlequin Presents. And most of the time, it is on the part of the hero. He is mad for some reason, so the first thing he thinks about is taking the heroine to bed to "teach her a lesson." And it's not going to be rape, because he will seduce her body and steal her soul until she is his, until he is done with her. Only he doesn't feel done when it's over. She gets under his skin, and it must be love. Sound familiar? It probably does if you've read more than ten Harlequin Presents romances in your life.

When the woman is the perpetrator it seems to backfire more quickly. Again I am likely to be accused of sexism. But I fervently believe that most women are not wired to isolate sex from love. I am not saying that some can and do have sex without love all the time. But I don't want them in the romance novels I read. Again I guess I am a sexist. But to be honest, I don't like heroes who have sex with women they don't and cannot love. The heroine is exempt because she is already in there, so to speak.

Women use sex as a weapon all the time, but generally not the romance heroine in the books I read and like. I know a lot of women love Sex and the City, but I hate it because I don't agree with that sexual attitude. Yes I said it. If you don't like it, we can agree to disagree. So back to what I was saying. Most romance heroines cannot go through with using sex as a weapon. At least not succesfully. I have read very few romance heroines who were able to do this. And I am not sure I would like a romance heroine who did. Fundamentally, I need to have some degree of respect for the heroine, even if I hate the hero. If I don't respect the heroine, it practically destroys the book for me. When I have read books with the heroine as the "revenge sexer" she usually cannot go through it with the hero. She either values herself too highly to take this step, or she is love with the hero by the time they finally have sex/make love. The exception to this rule is the assassin heroine. She might do this and it is done for the mission. I don't like it (too much like prostitution) but I can live with it. I usually stand up and take notice if I read this in a book. And there are times when I really like books that challenge my notions. But for a heroine to do this merely for revenge, it feels wrong because it goes against her nature. Evolutionarily speaking women are wired to seek a safe and lasting committed union with a man. It would be a disadvantage to accept any man who would not give her this as a lover. This wiring is deeply entrenched and that is why I think it goes against most women's natures. Again you may call me a sexist, but I am a scientist and this holds up scientifically. This heroine who does have sex for revenge has put herself at a disadvantage to be used and abused. Heroes who are stupid enough to use revenge sex deserve to have it blow up in their faces, as it always does.
Now that I have probably infuriated any person who reads this blog, lets move on to the next point.

Why would you want to take someone who you clearly despise to your bed? That is a question I have never been able to answer. I wouldn't even want to spend time in the same room with someone I can't stand. But these men definitely want these women in their beds. Of course there is the matter of a sexual attraction between them, no doubt intensified by the apparent so-called hatred they feel for these women. What really bugs me is when the hero is not even mad at the heroine per se. It is her father, brother, step-father, uncle, grandfather, you name it. I guess the hero doesn't want to do time for murder and wants to get some sex with an attractive women in the bargain, so off to bed with you. It's laughable when you think about it. That doesn't make me avoid these books, unless I get burned out. Sometimes I read one where the hero is particularly idiotic, or the heroine is doing her impression of a doormat, and the unavoidable urge to throw the book against the wall surges within me. Then I have to take a time out from the good old revenge sex books. But when I get over burnout, I pick them up again. It's a great catharsis, it's not my life, but fiction. And at the end of the book, all is well.

It sounds crazy, doesn't it? Well maybe I'm crazy too, because I find myself reaching for these books first, if I want to read a romance that packs a punch. Well second, anyway. First of all, I reach for the tortured, scarred, virgin heroes. (Smile). It's not pretty or nice, but for the hours I am reading the story, if it is told well, I am far from bored. And if the author does her job well, I am wowed at how I got from point A to point Z. An excellent example of this is Comanche Moon. Hunter hated whites. Loretta hated Indians. By the end of the book, true love was felt on both sides. So it is very possible.

The revenge angle is also used quite a bit in historical romances. In the past, it was not so unusual for a woman to be claimed as a spoil of war. In the medieval times, often the women left behind in a siege were taken as wives or mistresses or worse by the conquering party. I certainly don't mean to stereotype men, but I believe it is part of the nature to conquer, and to take women. It's a residual urge from the times when life was short and brutal, and the biological imperative to reproduce ruled. When the average life span was less than 35 years of age, whether the woman liked you wasn't really that important. Now men are not alone in primitive urges. It is a visceral part of a woman that responds to an aggressive, masculine man. If you don't believe it, look at the top-selling romance authors nowadays. Most of them write stories with strong, sexually-aggressive, alpha males who claim the women they want, and usually with little delicacy.

Is revenge sex rape? It's a kind of rape. If you make somebody feel things they don't want to feel, is that not rape? Sometimes I feel very unsettled when I read a romance with a hero who is determined to seduce a heroine who doesn't want to have anything to do with him, but might feel a reluctant attraction to him. This is not even necessarily occurring in just revenge sex-themed romances. I think that attraction is a visceral and carnal emotion that doesn't necessarily translate at the higher brain and mental levels. The sexual urge is powerful, but as rational humans, we have learned to control and sublimate those urges. So it is not fair to prey on a person's "lower urges." Especially when you make it clear you don't like her, and she'd be a fool to like you. Usually though, the heroine is halfway in love with the hero by this point. And if there is a past between them, she never stopped loving him.

Do I have you intrigued? Or are you merely scratching your head, wondering what I and many other romance novel readers and writers are smoking? Life is complicated. Life isn't pretty. Life doesn't read the book. Neither should romance novels. Some do, but for me, the most compelling romance books throw the books out the window. I can say no more to defend myself. If you have never read a romance with revenge theme, I challenge you to read one, and find out for yourself if you see the appeal of these books.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

October Scare Fest

Every year I do the same thing, in a fit of masochism. I pull out the scary books and watch the scary shows on tv in honor of Halloween being in the month of October. By the end of the month, I am through with it, and I back away from the scary stuff.

So I am in the midst of organizing my Halloween month reading. As I love classic horror and ghost stories, I have tons of anthologies to choose from. Most likely I will read stories from these anthologies:

  • The Irish Book of Weirdness: A Treasury of Classic Tales of the Supernatural, Spooky and Strange by Mairtin O'Griofa
  • Hex and the City by Simon R. Green (Book 4 in the Nightside Series)
  • The Mammoth Book of Haunted House Stories
  • Classic Horror Stories: 16 Stories of the Supernatural
  • The Dark: New Ghost Stories edited by Ellen Datlow

Today I was reading Haunted House Stories, and also yesterday at the gym. Some of these stories are pretty scary. "The Whistling Room" by William Hope Hodgson really gave me some shivers. Also another story about a guy being stalked by an ancient presence of a Egyptian cat diety was pretty darn scary also. Well most of them are thrilling. And the funny thing is they are are all older stories, no blood, guts and gore. More modern horror is overly reliant on such underpinnings, and when you read it, you feel distinctly disgusted instead of genuine terror.

I will post at the end of the month with my thoughts on the reading, and my overall progress. If you are doing your own scare fest, happy scares!

September Reads

For the month of September, I read the following books in entirety:

  1. Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident. Eoin Colfer. A+. (Child criminal genius, Faery Police Organization, Goblin Conspiracy, Russian Mafiya, Rescue mission, YA Fantasy). 9/1/08.
  2. Dead Until Dark from Dead in Dixie Omnibus. Charlaine Harris. A. (Book 1 in Sookie Stackhouse Series, Ability to read minds, Local color, Southern Gothic, Vampire Lover, Serial Killer Mystery, Urban fantasy). 9/2/08.
  3. This is All I Ask. Lynn Kurland. A++. (Blind Hero, Plain Jane/Scarred heroine, Timid Heroine, Child Abuse, Arranged Marriage, 2nd Wife, Humorous, Poignant, Medieval, Piaget). Christopher, Gillian. 9/3/08.
  4. Comanche Moon. Catherine Anderson. A++. (Indian Wars, Enemies to Lovers, Captive, Prophecy, Western/Native American). Hunter, Loretta. 9/6/08.
  5. Penelope and Prince Charming. Jennifer Ashley. A++ (Book 1 in Nvengaria Series, Prophecy, Prince Meets Ordinary Girl, Sensual, Magic, Paranormal Regency, Made-Up Country). Damien, Penelope. 9/7/08.
  6. From this Moment On. Lynn Kurland. A+. (Girl in Pants, Warrior, Less than Perfect Hero, Low Self-Esteem, On the Run/Hiding, Betrothal, Medieval, Piaget). Colin, Alienore. 9/12/08.
  7. Into the Flame. Christina Dodd. A++ (Book 4 in Darkness Chosen, series, Shapeshifter, Lovers Reunited, Secret Baby, Fighting Supernatural Evil, Family, Paranormal romance). Doug, Firebird. 9/13/08.
  8. Immortals: The Darkening. Robin T. Popp. B (Book 2 in Immortals series, Did not like heroine, Werewolf Heroine, Sex Magic, Witchcraft, Fighting Demons, Paranormal). Darius,Lexi. 9/14/08.
  9. The Willing Wife. Claudia Dain. A+. (Unhappily married, Reluctant heroine, Emotional scars, Mourning dead spouse, Marriage by Command, Medieval). Rowland, Nicolaa. 9/17/08.
  10. Bought: One Night, One Marriage. Natalie Anderson. A. (New Author, Wary hearts, Heiress, Businesswoman, Bachelor auction, Playboy Businessman, Pregnancy, Sensual, Reproductive Issues, Harlequin Presents). Blake, Cally. 9/17/08.
  11. The Love Match. Deborah Simmons, Deborah Hale, Nicola Cornick. A. (Bluestocking V. Rake. Pagan, Scholastica (The Notorious Duke), False elopement/Partners in Crime/Virgin hero/Scientist/Nerd hero/Matchmaking heroine. Ivy, Oliver. (Cupid Goes to Gretna), Hero in Pursuit/Reformed Rake (The Rake's Bride). Favorite was Cupid Goes to Gretna. Regency Romance Short Story, Harlequin Historicals. 9/21/08.
  12. Mr. Fix-It. Crystal Hubbard. A+. (New Author, Interracial, Fear of Love, Insecurities, Romance Author heroine, Fame, Wealthy Businessman hero, Contemporary). Carter, Khela. 9/23/08.
  13. The Arrangement. Betsy Page. A. (Reread, Marriage Deal, Arranged Marriage, Opposities, Rags to Riches, Virgin Widow, Mechanic Heroine, Cold Businessman, Vintage Harlequin Presents). Tyler, Kate. 9/24/08.
  14. An Innocent Miss. Elizabeth Bailey. A-. (Heroine was too naive, Ingenue, Gossip, Evading forced marriage, Overbearing father, Book 2, Steepwood Saga, Regency, Harlequin Historicals). 9/26/08.
My favorite books this month were: This is All I Ask, Into the Flame, From This Moment On, Mr. Fix-It, Comanche Moon, and Penelope and Prince Charming. Least favorite was Immortals: The Darkening because I could not stand Lexi. She was wishy-washy and pseudo strong and independent. She could have been pretty awesome, since she was a werewolf. I think Elena from Bitten by Kelley Armstrong raised my standards for werewolf heroines.