I'm catching up!!
5. Swept Away by Karen Templeton. Someone must have mentioned this book in their blog back at the beginning of the summer (probably for TBR day). I wish I could remember who so I could say thank you. Anyhow, I'm glad they did as this was a nice inexpensive download for my Kindle that I really enjoyed. Carly Stewart is a retired ballerina who is traveling through little Haven, OK with her recently bereaved father when their RV breaks down. What starts out as a brief stay grows into something more when Carly finds herself attracted to rancher Sam Frazier--widower and father of 6 kids, including a 15yo teenage girl with an attitude. Carly is an atypical heroine. She's not the mothering type and she is truly struggling over the loss of her career. Sam had married his high school sweetheart and never figured he'd fall for someone like Carly who is independent, tough, and a little prickly. This short category romance is an example of the genre done right. Great pacing, well-developed characters, and even a nice secondary romance between Carly's father and the local midwife.
4. Wicked Surrender by Jade Lee. This was a rather interesting story of Sher, a woman running a minor playhouse who feels keenly what it costs the members of her troupe to live on the edge of society. I don't mean polite society, but society in general. Actors are easy to cast aside and ignore. It is automatically assumed as well that actors are of loose morals. Sher and the members of her troupe are one small disaster from living on the street. What Sher wants more than anything is the security of a respectable marriage and a family. She receives a proposal of marriage from Kit, a younger son from an aristocratic family. She accepts the proposal to the dismay of Kit's family. Meanwhile, Kit's cousin Brandon, a Viscount, wants to make Sher his mistress. Sher is very attracted to Brandon, but she is determined to achieve her goals and she manages to resist Brandon. I really liked the way Lee wrote Sher as a woman whose "no" meant "no." As Sher suffers rejection from Kit's family, and the rest of society, Sher begins to have doubts that marriage to Kit will give her what she's looking for. This book struck me as a realistic portrayal of the kind of class conflicts that were likely in that era. I enjoyed the characters and the setting. I have the sequel in my TBR pile.
3. A Night of Scandal by Sarah Morgan. This book received a lot of attention around romance blogs this summer, so I gave it a try and have to add my voice to the chorus and say it was really enjoyable. Nathaniel is an actor who had a very traumatic childhood. Katie is a costume designer working on Nathaniel's current play and hoping for a big break. When something happens at the start of a performance that brings someone from Nathaniel's past back into his life, Nathaniel runs from the theater and uses Katie to hide from everyone. Katie is the opposite of Nathaniel. She's shy and has a poor self-image. But she is emotionally whole while Nathaniel is not. I liked the way they helped one another and enjoyed the emotional aspects of this story. Again, this is another example of the short novel done right.
2. The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley. This is the 3rd book in Ashley's Mackenzie brothers' series and rather different than the previous entries. Ainsley and Cameron are both widowed; Cameron's marriage had not been a happy one while Ainsley had had a genuine fondness for her much older husband. Now Ainsley is left with little money and has a position working as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria. I found it interesting (and realistic) that Ainsley is truly at Victoria's beck and call, even if it means searching Cameron's room looking for something she believes a blackmailer may have hidden there. Cameron catches her and it leads to him helping her stop the Queen's blackmailer and, of course, their romance. The plot didn't draw me in so much as the characters. Again, Ashley has created vividly drawn characters who have some very real problems to solve. I love the writing--there's humor and emotion. This was a great entry in the series.
1. Master of Crows by Grace Draven. Almost all of the books I read are chosen because 1) I've read the author in the past and liked their books, or 2) I've read a good review somewhere online. I rarely, rarely, browse or choose a book because of it's cover. Then I saw this cover on the Passive Guy's blog:
It just seemed so romantic. Anyhow, for $2.99 it was certainly worth a try. And I ended up just loving this story. Talk about your tortured heroes. Silhara is a mage targeted by the god Corruption. Corruption comes to him night after night, trying to seduce him. Meanwhile, the magicians of the Conclave are suspicious of Silhara and they send Martise, a slave woman, to spy on him. It turns out that Martise has an unusual magical gift and as Silhara works to teach Martise how to use her magic, they become attracted to one another. Silhara has no future as long as Corruption remains undefeated, and Martise is still obligated to Conclave. They need to defeat Corruption and find a way to be together. It turns out that this cover has lots of great details from the book. I'm sure I'll read this again.