Comfort Reads – TBR Challenge 2017

My Dearest Enemy by Connie Brockway

March’s prompt for the TBR challenge is “comfort read”, which is defined as a book that uses a favourite trope or setting, or is by a favourite author.  I’ve chosen something from my TBR that everyone seems to have read except me – Connie Brockway’s My Dearest Enemy, which combines two of my favourite things, an enemies-to-lovers romance and a story in which letters play an important part (I do love an epistolary novel!).  It’s a gloriously romantic, character-driven story set at the end of the 19th century, in which our hero – a famous explorer – and heroine – an advocate of women’s suffrage – butt heads over the home they both love, sniping and pushing each other’s buttons as the attraction between them deepens.

Avery Thorne finds himself all but disinherited upon the death of his uncle Horatio, who, believing Avery to be a […]

TBR Challenge 2017: New-to-Me Authors

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

The combination of cheap and “sounds intriguing” has lured me into buying many a book. And since I’m fairly dangerous in used bookstores, I have a massive TBR pile. So, when prompted to pick out a book by a new-to-me author, my dilemma was something along the lines of which new-to-me author to liberate from the stack. I’ve heard good things about Jennifer Donnelly’s books over the years.  I wasn’t quite in the mood to tackle a giant doorstopper of a book this month, so I skipped over The Tea Rose and picked up her 2003 young adult novel, A Northern Light, instead.

From the cover blurb, I was uncertain whether to expect YA romance or historical fiction. I think this haunting coming-of-age novel is more properly classified as historical fiction and while I did find it hard reading at times, I loved the story. Set […]

By | February 15th, 2017|Categories: Caz AAR, Lynn AAR, Romance reading, TBR Challenge|Tags: , , |4 Comments

TBR Challenge 2017: A Quick Read

It’s the 3rd of week of January (already!), and that means it’s time for romance bloggers to start shrinking their TBR piles in unison.  Or, if you’re like me, you read everyone else’s blog entries and start bingeing on books.  This month of the TBR Challenge starts off nice and light, with short reads such as novellas, category romance, etc…  Caz and I both had fun.


That Despicable Rogue by Virginia Heath

Virginia Heath registered on my radar when her début novel came out in the Spring of 2016, but I didn’t manage to get around to reading it.  I did, however, pick up her next book, Her Enemy at the Altar, and enjoyed it very much – on the strength of that one book, I decided I had a new author to follow by virtue of the fact that Ms. Heath’s writing is accomplished, her characterisation is strong […]

By | January 18th, 2017|Categories: Caz AAR, Historicals, Lynn AAR, Romance reading, TBR Challenge|Tags: , |8 Comments

December TBR Challenge – Holiday Reads

his-christmas-countess-us

The multi-blog TBR Challenge tends to end with holiday romances in December(or at least it has during all the years we’ve participated), and those tend to be fun comfort reads for us. Both of us tend toward historical holiday reads, and this year is no different.  Caz picked a European historical, while Lynn went with a Western anthology. […]

By | December 21st, 2016|Categories: Caz AAR, Lynn AAR, TBR Challenge|Tags: , , , , |5 Comments

Nov TBR Challenge

countessshshameless When I started reading romance, I stuck almost entirely to historicals and romantic suspense. When I saw this month’s TBR Challenge prompt, I knew I had no shortage of historical reading in my closet o’TBR. I decided to go with a new-to-me author and picked up Liana LeFey’s 2012 debut, Countess So Shameless. This Georgian historical, set in France and England during the reign of George II, has enough intelligence and unique characterization to keep me reading but also enough eyeroll-inducing plot twists to make it difficult for me to recommend.

The novel opens at Versailles where the teenaged Melisande Compton has come to court with her French mother and English father. We learn very quickly that this isn’t entirely a pleasure visit and while in France, Melisande learns a dangerous and devastating family secret. Overcome with emotion, she runs headlong into Lord Alessandro Orsini, a rakish diplomat for the Papal States. Though warned early and often by her mother of […]

October’s TBR Challenge: Romantic Suspense

 This is the fourth book in Rachel Grant’s Evidence series, but fortunately, this is a series in which all the stories are self-contained, so it’s not absolutely necessary to have read the other books.  There are some characters who have obviously appeared before and it’s clear that certain plot details were planted in previous books, but the author has given enough information here for a newbie like me to be able to dive right in and enjoy.

Incriminating Evidence is a fast-moving, well-paced story with plenty of intrigue, nail-biting moments of peril and action running alongside a sexy and nicely developed romance between an unlikely couple – an introverted archaeologist and a wealthy businessman running for political office.

Isabel Dawson is an archaeologist whose current gig is searching for ancient settlements that could be threatened by the upcoming timber harvest in Alaska. She’s a bit of a loner, so her job of hiking through […]

By | October 19th, 2016|Categories: TBR Challenge|Tags: , , , |7 Comments

TBR Challenge – Wild Card!

tuliptreeThis month’s TBR Challenge is a wild card.  When told to go whereever my mood takes me, I find myself overwhelmed with choice since I have quite a sizable TBR pile these days. For this month’s read, I decided to dive into a box of old Coventry romances from the 1970s that I picked up at a library book sale. These books are trads, mostly of the Regency variety, but the line did publish a few from other time periods as well.  My pick, a 1979 release called The Tulip Tree by Mary Ann Gibbs, was one of these and is a Victorian romance set during the 1840s.

As with many of the older romances I’ve read, the heroine in this one is rather young. Allegra Lakesby is 18, and upon her father’s death, she learns that not only do she and her mother need to vacate Lakesby in order to allow her cousin to claim it as his inheritance, but […]

By | September 21st, 2016|Categories: Caz AAR, Lynn AAR, TBR Challenge|Tags: , , |2 Comments

TBR Challenge 2016 – Kickin’ It Old School

tangled August’s TBR Challenge prompt is “Kickin’ it old-school” and it’s a prompt I always enjoy as it gives me the opportunity to pick something from the TBR Pile of Doom, which still looms large next to the bed. I went for Tangled by Mary Balogh, a standalone title originally published in 1991 which features a somewhat unusual premise; one I haven’t read before although I’m sure this isn’t the only book to have made use of it. I see that the book has engendered very mixed reactions over the years, and although I can understand why, I enjoyed it, principally because Mary Balogh is so skilled at portraying the emotional lives of her characters in a way that makes them feel very real to the reader.

The book opens as Lady Rebecca Cardwell is saying a fond farewell to her husband, Julian, before he departs with his regiment for Malta, and then the Crimea. He is accompanied by his foster brother, David, Viscount Tavistock, whom she dislikes and blames for Julian’s joining the army. Julian is eagerly reassuring his anxious wife that he will be in no danger, and it’s clear that he is keen to be on his way and sees the whole thing as an adventure. […]

July TBR Challenge post – RITA season

burningskyThe 2016 RITA awards were announced last week, and now it’s time to get a little nostalgic for this month’s TBR Challenge. In years past, I’ve gone all the way back to the first awards handed out in 1982 to read my pick. However, this time around, I went with something much more recent – The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas, nominee for a 2014 RITA in the paranormal romance category. Though it didn’t win that year, this book is a wonderful read.

Most readers probably recognize Thomas as an author of superb historicals.  This novel, set in an alternate world that intersects somewhat with 1880s England, marks her first foray into YA. I enjoyed the characters and the world created for them, and this book would definitely go on my DIK shelf.

Our heroine, Iolanthe Seabourne, is of a type that anyone who reads a lot of paranormal (YA or adult) will recognize.  She is that special snowflake deemed the most talented of her generation. Of course, she doesn’t initially have a clue about her stupendous powers; they never do. It’s rather like those awkward historical heroines who are drop dead gorgeous but can’t understand why men fall all over themselves to catch a glimpse.

Even if she comes from a familiar subset of heroines, I liked Iolanthe. I liked her hero, Prince Titus, too. The story opens in a mysterious, magical land referred to as the Domain. Iolanthe lives in the Domain with her guardian, and she knows that she is an elemental mage. However, she has no idea just how gifted she is. An incident that occurs when she is conjuring a simple lighting of the path for an acquaintance’s wedding brings Iolanthe to the attention of Atlantis, the dictatorial tyrants who have dominated and oppressed the Domain for generations. […]

By | July 20th, 2016|Categories: Caz AAR, Lynn AAR, TBR Challenge|Tags: , , |7 Comments

TBR Challenge: It's Catch-Up Time!

david It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Grace Burrowes’ writing, and although I’ve read the majority of her books, there are still a few I haven’t got around to, as she writes them faster than I can read them! When I read Daniel’s True Desire at the end of last year, I realised that I had somehow missed out on reading David, the ninth book in her Lonely Lords series; David Worthington, Viscount Fairly, plays an important secondary role in Daniel’s book, which is what jogged my memory.

Through unusual circumstances (explained in Gareth, book six in the series) David has inherited a high-class brothel named the Pleasure Palace. He doesn’t quite know what to do with it, and thinks he’ll sell it eventually, but doesn’t relish the prospect of turning the working ladies out onto the streets without being able to offer alternative employment. So he’s stuck with it for the immediate future while he decides what to do. One thing he does know, however, is that he needs someone – a madam – to run the place on a day to day basis.

While pondering these problems, his man of business, Thomas Jennings, asks David to look in on Mrs Letty Banks, the former mistress of David’s younger sister’s late husband (this is what I meant about this not being the best place to start with this series!). David is surprised by the request, but on encountering the lady by chance, can see why Jennings was so concerned. Mrs Banks is pale, too thin and obviously not taking care of herself, despite the settlement she received from her former protector.

Letty, a vicar’s daughter, was forced by circumstances into becoming a courtesan. She is struggling to make ends meet, not because she is a spendthrift, but for other reasons that become clear as the story progresses. She is reticent and wary of men – a very unlikely courtesan in fact, something which intrigues David even as he acknowledges that he is attracted to her. […]