Well, hasn't the romance online community been messed up this week? I'm glad I've managed to stay away from the big blogs and virtually hang with folks who tell it like it is and mostly just want to read some good books. So in that spirit, how about a little book talk and a couple of pretty pictures?
First up, I've totally failed at posting my last two TBR Challenge reads. I did read the books. In February my recommended read was Almost a Scandal by Elizabeth Essex. This review of the book at DukeDukeGoose (damn, is that not the best blog name ever?) is what made me decide to read it for the February challenge. I have to admit I was skeptical because it's a Regency "chick in pants" book and I generally find them implausible. Not this time. Essex made it perfectly reasonable that heroine Sally Kent could pass as a young boy who knew her way around a ship. People often see what they want to see. And when the hero figures out the truth pretty quickly, well, it's because he knew the family. Sailing in the British Navy was not a comfortable job, and Essex doesn't shy away from that. At the same time she doesn't dwell on the unpleasantness overmuch through all the action. The relationship between Sally and Col develops at a reasonable pace and the resolution makes sense. I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
My series catch up book for March was Jade Lee's Wedded in Scandal. This was a case of going back to the beginning after having started mid-way through her Bridal Favors series last year. This book is about Helaine, a woman who is trying to establish her dressmaker's shop. Helaine is actually the daughter of a disgraced Earl who ran away leaving his wife and daughter destitute. Helaine is trying to win the business of the hero's sister who is about to be married and needs a trousseau. I found quite a few things to like about this book. The first is the way Helaine stands her ground against Robert, the hero, who wants to make her his mistress. He has no clue who she really is and Helaine is aware that she could lose the business she's carefully built if she chooses wrong. I also thought parts of the book were quite funny. Humor is always subjective, but this book made me laugh out loud in some places.
I've been averaging 2-3 audiobooks per month, mostly listening while in the car. All re-reads. I listened to Courtney Milan's Turner series and recently started in on Nora Roberts' Chesapeake Bay series. Oh, and I listened to Nicholas Boulton's reading of Flowers from the Storm. OMG, now I know why everyone was raving about his performance. So glad I bought that one. I'll listen again, I'm sure. I (mostly) gave up buying soda to pay for my Audible subscription. I figured it was a good incentive to cut down on my diet soda consumption and it's been totally worth it.
A few brief comments about other recent reads:
I have loved Grace Burrowes "Kiss" series. I think she has a great contemporary voice and I hope she keeps writing them. I'm a non-lawyer working in a law school and I do enjoy books that feature lawyers. I thought the first book, A Single Kiss, gave a fascinating look at family court.
Today I finished Razed by Shiloh Walker. I loved it. Could not put it down. Keelie is a closed-off woman and Zane has been in love with her for years. It's sweet with a healthy dose of angst. It's not one of Walker's suspense novels. I would say you should read the first Barnes brothers book (Wrecked) first.
I keep a list of what I've read in the sidebar on my blog (in case you're seeing this in a feeder). Looking back at the last couple of months, I'd say I haven't read any clunkers; I'd recommend them all. I will say that I especially liked Once Upon a Rose (Laura Florand), Riding Dirty (Jill Sorenson), and Say Yes to the Marquess (Tessa Dare). I have to admit, that last one surprised me. Dare's books are really anachronistic and the purist in me usually shies away from books like that. But she has a way with characters that I can't help but love.
OK. Well this has been a long post. I'll conclude with a couple of pictures. We had to travel to eastern Pennsylvania last week to see my parents. We made a "slight" detour and went up to Niagara Falls to see the ice that had built up over the winter. A good chunk of the ice is gone now, but there was still a lot to see. We enjoyed the view, spent a wonderful night in a B&B on the Canadian side and visited a most awesome quilt shop in Ithaca, NY on the way south. Here are a few pictures of the ice: