Tag Archives: 2010s

A Christmas to Remember (anthology)

20 Feb
Cover for the anthology "A Christmas to remember", showing two people, shot from the back, holding hands in front of a red door where mistletoe hangs from a red bow near the top. One of them wears a blue jacket and a grey glove; the other wears a white jacket and a red glove. They appear to be a man and a woman, but the shot shows only a sliver of their silhouettes in the bulky clothes, focusing instead on their hands. The bottom half lists the contributors: Jill Shalvis, Kristen Ashley, Hope Ramsay, Molly Cannon and Marilyn Pappano.

Over the years, I have realized that most genre romance Christmas stories are not a good match for me.

No, that’s not true.

Most genre romance Christmas stories at best irk me, at worst enrage me.

And yet, I have so many of them spread all over the TBR cordilleras of doom, both print and digital. (I blame poor impulse control when an author I’ve liked is involved, or if the blurb is clever.)

Anyhow, this anthology (one of several so named), was my choice for SuperWendy’s TBR Challenge for December 2022 (“festive”). I hoped that, being short stories, I could read it quickly (I did), and review it quickly (oh, sweet innocent past me).

For what it’s worth, here is the belated review. Beware: relentlessly hetero, relentlessly white; death of parents, death of spouse, death of child (all off-page, as character backstory); some sex, not terribly explicit, on page. Oh, and spoilers for a couple of the stories abound in the review.

Continue reading

Scoundrel, by Zoë Archer

15 Feb
A white man wearing kakhi pants and a dirty/sweaty white shirt, the sleeves rolled up to the elbows, and riding boots, holding up a short shovel on the right hand, while pulling out a gun from a cross-body holster with the other. There's a sort of leather fanny pack hanging from his wide leather belt. He's standing on grassy ground surrounded by stone ruins, with a couple of crumbling Ionic columns on the background.

Once upon a time, Zoë Archer (now writing historical romances as Eva Leigh), exploded into the readerly groups around which I circled, with the Blades of the Rose series. Given who was recommending the books and what they were saying about them, I promptly got them (in print) as they were released. And then I dithered for a couple of years. Upon finally reading Warrior, I confidently declared that I would read the rest in good order.

That was ::ahem:: over a decade ago.

Fortunately, SuperWendy’s TBR Challenge has come to the rescue! (again). Edited to add: the theme this month is ‘getaway’, and my brain immediately went to ‘escaping’, which this book fits perfectly.

Reader beware: explicit sex and some violence; the villains may seem over the top, unless you’ve been reading the news. Also, this book is fully 400 pages long.

Continue reading

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From The Making Of The Princess Bride, by Cary Elwes

8 Feb
Cary Elwes in full Dread Pirate Roberts costume, in a still from the climactic duel between him and Iñigo Montoya at the top of the Cliffs of Insanity. The background has been deleted so it's just off-white, with "As You Wish" in ornate font reminiscent of the 15 and 1600s across the top, and a black banner across the middle with the rest of the title in gold and white letters.

In my original notes for this review, I had written that I got the book because SuperWendy reviewed it, but apparently I dreamed that part. What did happen is that, when I saw the kindle version was on sale in January 2018, I nabbed a copy.

Then there it sat, unread, in the humongous if nebulous digital TBR of doom, until June, when the TBR Challenge theme that year was “comfort read”.

Boy, did I need a comfort read! So I dived in and practically inhaled it, wallowing in all the sweet (and bittersweet) nostalgia it evoked.

After which I still managed to miss posting the review on time; in fact, the original draft was from January 2019, a full half a year later.

However, in the spirit of “better late than never” and “blog fodder!”, here is the finished, and hopefully more coherent, final version.

Continue reading

The Third Mrs Durst, by Ann Aguirre

6 Feb
Cover for _The Third Mrs. Durst_: a white woman shot from the back from shoulders to hips, holding her hands behind her back; she's dressed in a black two-piece outfit with sheer gray sleeves with black dots, and red leather gloves. The title is in white block letters, except for the word "third" which is in red like the gloves.

(I read this book on time for SuperWendy’s November 2022 TBR Challenge (theme: lies), then never finished the review. As I’m struggling to read, I’m hoping writing this will help jumpstart the reading mojo, because the next TBR day is but two weeks away!)

I was in a panic about what to read, when I remembered I had this ARC. Given that I generally love Ms Aguirre’s voice, it was a no-brainer.

Continue reading