Published in 2008
The Perils of Pleasure – JA Long ~ A
Private Arrangements – Sherry Thomas ~ A-
Your Scandalous Ways – Loretta Chase ~ A-
Dawn’s Awakening – Lora Leigh ~ B+
The Countess Takes a Lover – Bonnie Dee ~ B+
The Spymaster’s Lady – Joanna Bourne ~ B+
Kristen’s Addiction – Evangeline Anderson ~ B+
Death Angel – Linda Howard ~ B+
Price of Desire by Jo Goodman ~ B
Your Scandalous Ways by Loretta Chase This was nothing but eight hours of pure reading bliss. It takes mad skillz to write a romance between a seasoned courtesan and a weary spy and make it seem like the most romantic story ever. Probably my favorite romance of 2008, along with Private Arrangements.
Kristen’s Addiction by Evangeline Anderson
Anderson is one of 10 new (to me) authors I tried this year. She is very up-and-down for me. In terms of romantica, I find writers like LA Day, Shiloh Walker, and Lora Leigh to be more consistent. My biggest complaint is that she adores the coy, lady-doth-protest-too-much heroine which grates more than half the time. But I did like this one even tho I plainly state in my “About Me” page that I hate vampire stories. It’s a straightforward metaphorical story of vampirism as chemical addiction, hence the title. The heroine is plus-sized too, which is always a welcome change.
The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne –
I cannot wholeheartedly recommend this book. I felt underwhelmed when I read it many months ago and my feelings havent changed one iota. Logistically, I had a lot of problems with the book, the most glaring of which is that I am told over and over again that the Heroine is the bestest, most clever, most seasoned spy ever, yet she is outwitted and captured repeatedly by the Hero throughout the course of the novel. However, the prose is precise and wonderful. I can forgive a lot for good prose and will I ever come across another romance novel that uses Plato’s Symposium in an “I love you” scene? It deserved the B+ just for that.
The Price of Desire by Jo Goodman
I had lots of reads that I graded a B but this is on my list because for the first 3/4 of the book, this was a solid A for me. I am not the biggest Goodman fan. I find her pacing d-e-a-d-l-y and it usually negates any pleasure I have in the sharp, smart dialogue but for the first time, I was carried away by the story, characters, AND dialogue. It all worked for me. The heroine has probably the most horrific past of any heroine in a historical romance. Every time I thought the everything was revealed, more revelations came up. I ate it up since I like dark. Too bad about the horribly weak ending. Had to lower by one whole grade because of it.
Favorite Reads not Published in 2008
The Iron Rose — Marsha Canham ~ A-
The Rainbow Season – Lisa Gregory (aka Candace Camp) ~ A-
The Iron Rose by Marsha Canham
I tried this author for the first time thanks to rubberducky (Kim). I love all those swashbuckler movies like Captain Blood and The SeaHawk starring Erroyl Flynn but I’ll much rather watch them than read them. However, I couldn’t help be carried away by the rich historical atmosphere and larger-than-life characters. The heroine is a bucaneer, captain of her own ship, and probably had as much chest hair and balls as any alpha hero you as going to find in a historical romance. The hero wasn’t a nambypamby but he definitely played “The Girl” which I thought was awesome.