Tag Archives: 1990s

Dreaming of You, by Lisa Kleypas

16 Jul

DreamingOfYouI’m back with another historical romance from Lisa Kleypas–and not just any one of them.

For a rather large number of romance readers, Derek Craven, the hero of Dreaming of You, is up there with Mr Darcy, as far as favorite romantic heroes go. Ergo, the book shows up often on “top 100” romance lists.

I, however, came late to Ms Kleypas’ books; this book had been out ten years, if not twelve, when I finally read it, and I had read a lot of romance during that time (including a number of Ms Kleypas’ later novels) so my opinion has always been…a tad less enthusiastic than the norm, shall we say.

As usual, reader beware: there’s explicit sex and cursing on the page.

Dreaming of You, by Lisa Kleypas

This is the second book in a duology; Derek Craven, our hero, was introduced as a rather important, and quite intriguing, secondary character in Then Came You, published a year earlier.

Our heroine, Miss Sara Fielding, is a little country mouse who just happens to be a well known novelist, and who is visiting London to research her next opus. And let me tell you, this background for the heroine creates all sorts of problems for me.

Here’s the (as always hated) blurb from my copy:
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After the Night, by Linda Howard

27 May

After the NightAs some of you know, I took a very quick trip home last week. While the occasion was my mother’s 80th birthday, the lion’s share of preparation and actual effort was for my sister.

In order to maximize the benefits of these efforts, we keep a spreadsheet as a Google document. That way, should she manage to find a title on the “books to get” list she can mark it off, and I won’t be carting duplicates to her. In the same manner, I will mark off those books she requests as I get them.

Unfortunately, she hasn’t done the best job at this so far. Not only did I take her one duplicate on this trip–despite begging her since February to double check the list–but I found seven other duplicated books, from previous shipments, that she had sneaked to my mother’s house.

After some swearing (out of range of the parental unit), I grabbed them and tossed them in my bag. Good thing I did, because while my flight down there was on a new plane, the trip back was on a relic that didn’t have outlets to charge my phone. All those books? Yeah, out of reach.

But there it was, a dog eared print copy of one of my favorite Linda Howard books, coming to my rescue.

Now you get my thoughts.

Please note: there’s an attempted suicide, subtle sexual coercion, and some generalized Southern asshattery in the novel

After the Night, by Linda Howard

There are a couple of things you may want to take into account as you read this review.

The first is that I am a fan of Ms Howard. I have read everything she wrote up to 2008, and I still own all of those books, save five: All That Glitters, An Independent Wife, To Die For, Drop Dead Gorgeous and Raintree: Inferno. The first two are her debut and sophomore efforts, both released in 1982. The next two are the Blair Mallory novels, which a) are narrated in first person, and b) I hated, with the passion of a thousand suns. The last one I just couldn’t get into.

I also own, but haven’t finished reading, Burn, which she released in 2009. I may also have Ice, and perhaps even Veil of Night, but there was something about Burn that put me off trying any of Ms Howard’s newer work.¹

The second is that this novel was, if not my very first, one of the first Linda Howard books I ever read, back in 1997. As such, it holds a special place in my heart. I can see some of its problems, but I know I’m blind to others. This is very much a book of its time; it was published in 1995, likely written the year before that. Not only are faxes essential for business, there are no cell phones. Hell, not even car phones are mentioned! You may correctly assume that some of the gender and social issues in the book follow pattern.

I cannot even begin to fathom how a reader would react to this book today.

Here’s the blurb, from the print copy in question:
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Boots & Badges, by Rachel Lee

22 May

I am late for this month’s TBR Challenge, but the lovely SLWendy is very forgiving, so here’s my contribution, such as it is.

Boots and BadgesBoots & Badges, by Rachel Lee

I grabbed this one from my TBR shelves pretty much on the way out the door and with very little forethought–all I checked was that it fit with this month’s theme (old school: ten years or older).

It does, in spades; Boots & Badges is a one-author anthology published in 1999 by Silhouette. All four of the short stories are part of Ms Lee’s successful Conard County series.

Here’s the (melodramatic and inaccurate) blurb from my print copy:
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Lord of Scoundrels, by Loretta Chase

18 Feb

Lord of Scoundrels 2I cannot believe I waited so long to read this book.

I have owned a print copy for over a decade, and yet I’ve avoided reading it, afraid I would not like it, let alone love it, the way most romance readers do. And then where would I be? The outcast in the cold, the one person who didn’t appreciate the wonderful thing that Lord of Scoundrels is.

But this year I’m determined to trim the insurmountable and imposing print TBR Mountain Range, and with this month’s TBR Challenge being something recommended to me–and honestly, who hasn’t recommended Lord of Scoundrels within my hearing/reading?–I decided to bite the bullet.

I could kick myself senseless–why, why, why, did I wait this long?

With a hat tip to SLWendy, to Carolyn and to Lori, and so many other romance readers, here’s my review.

Lord of Scoundrels, by Loretta Chase

Before anything else, allow me to point out that this book was first released in 1994. Many people think of romances written in the nineties as texts full of purple prose, with stuttering, virginal heroines who toss their heads a lot while being pretty much useless. And for historical romances, just dress the TSTL-blonde-horror-movie heroine in a corset, yet have her behave the same, and you are set.

I cannot begin to tell you how gloriously not like that, in any respect, Jessica Trent is. She is the complete opposite of the airhead-ninny Regency miss. Jessica knows what she wants for her future, and as the novel starts she has been taking steps to achieve it.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s the blurb, from my print copy:
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Christmas Angel, by Jo Beverley

19 Nov

Christmas Angel coverFor SLWendy’s TBR Challenge.

Okay, I admit it, this one is going to be a cheat.

Sort of.

Mostly.

Though I have at least three other Jo Beverley books in the TBR Mountain Range from Hell, I got this one just last week  because it was featured at Dear Author in one of the recent daily deals. Now, I’ve been hearing praise for Ms Beverley’s work for ages and decided to dive into this one, since it’s right there on my phone.

At that point, I wasn’t thinking about the TBR Challenge, but then Wendy reminded us that the review is due this week, and I panicked.

Again.

And this is the result.

Christmas Angel, by Jo Beverley

This is the third installment in The Company of Rogues series, though I found that it stands alone pretty well. There are some references to the previous stories, and a fairly brief explanation as to what the Company is/was for our male protagonist, but nothing overly intrusive.

Here’s the blurb (cribbed from Dear Author):
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Charmed Anthology (Jayne Castle, Julie Beard, Lori Foster and Eileen Wilks)

15 Jan

(Barely under the wire, I just finished writing this now, and have to run to work)

Charmed anthologyThis is, once again, all SLWendy’s fault. I am not entirely sure how it happened, but I have once again signed up for her annual TBR Challenge. Considering I have already managed two full reviews this year, I’m cautiously optimistic that I may last longer this time around than I did two years ago (when I lasted all of five months *wince*).

Anyhoo, this month’s theme is shorts, and happily there are a number of anthologies in the humongous TBR mountain range. Behold, my brief review of the four short stories in

Charmed Anthology, by Jayne Castle, Julie Beard, Lori Foster and Eileen Wilks

This anthology was originally published back in 1999, but I didn’t get it until a couple of years ago (or something like that, all I know for sure is that it’s been a while). And the main reason I bought my copy is because the first story is written by Jayne Castle aka Jayne Ann Krentz aka Amanda Quick, aka an author I usually enjoy (though I see with extreme surprise that I haven’t reviewed anything by her yet—under any of her names!). I was also happy to see that the last story is by Eileen Wilks, an author I wanted to try…because I have a couple *coughorahandfulcough* of her full-length Lupi novels in the aforementioned TBR mountain range.

At any rate, as is often the case with fickle lil me, the anthology languished in one of the many TBR shelves until now. So, and without (too much) further ado…

The mercifully short back cover blurb:

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Son of the Morning, by Linda Howard

3 Jan

Son of the MorningSon of the Morning, by Linda Howard

Another blast from the past, this classic was published in 1997, and has since polarized romance readers. A mix of romance, suspense and time travel, it boasts one of the most compelling heroines I’ve read. Grace St John’s journey from sheltered academic to self-reliant avenger is wonderful to witness. As Karen Scott has said, Grace is both heroine and hero for a really good chunk of the novel, and while this is one of the best things of the book for me, many a rabid erm, devoted romance reader find it most objectionable that Grace and Niall do not meet for a good two thirds of the story. If this sort of thing seriously bothers you, then frankly, this is not the book for you.

But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. First, the back cover blurb (and I do believe this is the original paperback edition, by the by):
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