TBR Challenge Review: Triplets for the Texan by Janice Maynard

Format: Mass Market
Pub Date: May 2017
Length: 215 pages
Publisher: Harlequin
POV: 3rd
FTC: Received at RT Booklovers Convention

I fully admit, I'm ignoring the theme for this month. It's Recommended Read, and I can't say this book was recommended by anyone, except perhaps the author who signed it for me at RT. But...I am making an effort to whittle away at the still giant pile of books I brought home from RT the last year or two, and this one was at the top of the pile.

I'm not a category romance reader. I WILL read them, but I don't tend to seek them out, and I'm not one of those people who knows all of the parameters of each individual line. I also, nearly always, feel like authors in category books try to tell too big of a story, so I nearly always feel like stuff was rushed at the end.

Ok...disclaimers out of the way.

I fully admit that the entire premise of this book is kind of...unromantic to me. I'm a mom, and the thought of THREE babies, all at once? NOPE. Then there is the fact that our heroine has Hyperemesis gravidarum aka chronic, debilitating nausea, vomiting, and dehydration. Ewww.
Just...not romantic. Add in the reasons for and methods of getting pregnant, and this is probably one of the least romantic set ups I've ever seen. It's a bold choice, but the author fails to pull the HEA off to my satisfaction, and the sexytimes never felt even in the realm of plausible.


Tardy TBR Challenge Review: Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep

Format: mass market
Pub Date: June 2010
Length: 432 pages
POV: 1st, past
FTC: purchased used

Tardy as usual with my review, but since autumn is basically me running from soccer field to soccer field, I'm going to be happy I managed to read at all.

This month's theme is paranormal, and while I haven't been reading a ton of romance, I have been reading some Urban Fantasy with romantic elements: namely, the Elemental Assassins series by Jennifer Estep. This is Book 2.

The basic premise is a retired assassin becomes somewhat of a vigilante/Robin Hood for people in trouble. A one woman A-Team, if the A-Team killed people. And in Ashland, people have magic that usually revolves around Fire, Ice, Stone or Air. Gin, our protagonist, is not only deadly efficient with knives, she has both Stone and Ice Magic.

I think this is a book best read in series order, but it can stand alone. You just won't get some of the emotional heft unless you've read the first book in the series.


Reading, Not Blogging

I've been reading again (yay), but not blogging. Partly due to the crazy soccer season, and partly due to issues with my laptop. I'm typing this on my phone.

I've also been reading (gasp!) some YA. I know, I know. But it's not 1st/present, so it's ok.

I've been on the hunt for new books to suggest for our school district approved literature list. So far, I've read American Born Chinese (a graphic novel), and All American Boys. Right now, it's Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez and an Urban Fantasy novel by Jaye Wells called Volatile Bonds.

The latter is because I can only take so much YA.

Next up is the new Jill Shalvis book.

What are you reading?


Review: The Painted Queen by Elizabeth Peters and Joan Hess

Format: hardcover
Pub Date: July 2017
Publisher: William Morrow
Length: 323 pages
POV: 1st past, with occasional 3rd in the form of Manuscript H

I started reading the Amelia Peabody series in college. There is just something about them that is so compelling. The series runs from the late 19th century through World War I and ends with the discovery of King Tut's tomb. This series is my comfort read series. The first is a solid Novel with Romantic Elements book.  Back in 2013, I even led a read along on Twitter, but stopped midway following the death of Elizabeth Peters that year.

When Peters passed away, it was well known that she was working on a new manuscript, although her fans were never quite sure how far she had progressed on it. I assumed we'd never see that book, but I was happy to hear that her estate was working to get it finished and into the world.

If you have not read the series, this is absolutely NOT the book to start with. Although each story is a standalone mystery, this series was NEVER about the mysteries. Those have always been secondary to the relationships, and there are multiple arcs that should be read in order. If you're just starting the series there are two ways to read it: as it was published or chronological. After Peters finished the Tomb of the Golden Bird, she went back and started publishing "in between" books that covered archaeological seasons she had skipped. The Painted Queen is one of those "in between" books, taking place between Falcon at the Portal and He Shall Thunder in the Sky.


Review: Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai

Format: mass market
Pub Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Avon
Length: 371 pages
POV: 3rd, past
FTC: Received an ARC from the pub/author at RT17

Ok, it wasn't that long ago that I had a post up about wanting less sexual content in romance.  That I had become a sex scene skimmer, because there's way too much *boring* sex in romance these days. So much so that the plot gets lost. Of course, I maintained that there were a few exceptions to that rule, and Alisha Rai's books have always been that for me.

Hate to Want You is Rai's first Avon book, though, so I wasn't sure exactly what to expect. Well...the sexual content isn't light. If you thought her signing with Avon meant less sex, dispense with that notion right now. The good news is that, like the other Rai books I've read, the sex scenes move the plot forward. There is absolutely NO Tab A into Slot B laziness in her writing.

At first, this book is solely about sex. Our hero and heroine meet once a year for no-strings-attached sex, despite a huge, ongoing family feud that broke them up as teens. When Livvy shows up in town, Nicholas decides that their once a year arrangement just isn't enough. It's through their sexual relationship, already well established, that their love rekindles. So few authors can make me buy into that anymore, but this book did it well.

There's also plenty of plot outside the bedroom, as a good ole family feud is brewing about a grocery store dynasty. You get lots of side drama from both families. Lots of emotion. There's a lingering sweetness here, too, as this is a second chance at love story.

I'm always terrified when Avon buys someone who has a strong voice I love, but this book was fabulous. It's definitely a keeper, and I'm looking forward to the next in the series.

My Grade: A


One night. No one will know.
That was the deal. Every year, Livvy Kane and Nicholas Chandler would share one perfect night of illicit pleasure. The forbidden hours let them forget the tragedy that haunted their pasts—and the last names that made them enemies.
Until the night she didn’t show up.
Now Nicholas has an empire to run. He doesn’t have time for distractions and Livvy’s sudden reappearance in town is a major distraction. She’s the one woman he shouldn’t want . . . so why can’t he forget how right she feels in his bed?
Livvy didn’t come home for Nicholas, but fate seems determined to remind her of his presence—and their past. Although the passion between them might have once run hot and deep, not even love can overcome the scandal that divided their families.
Being together might be against all the rules . . . but being apart is impossible.