For Heroines, we got:
- 1 Gold Digger, WAY Over Town
- 1 Recalcitrant Baroness
- 1 Disabled Chef
- 1 Victorian Vampire Slayer
- 1 Secret Ho
- 1 Insecure Single Mum
- 1 Insecure Commoner
- 1 Repressed Widow
- 1 TSTL Novelist
For Heroes, we got:
- 1 Morally Ambiguous Frenchman
- 1 Math-Challenged Aristocrat
- 1 Repentant Reverend
- 1 Secret Regency Wolfman
- 1 Hot Viking
- 1 Swingin' Bachelor Journalist
- 1 Undercover Italian
- 1 Scandalous Rake
- 1 Science Nerd
- 1 Former Street Thug Turned Millionaire Businessman
For Romantic Obstacles, we got:
- "I can't love her - my insatiable werepenis is too hardcore for her delicate feminine ladyflower!"
- "I can't love him - I used to be a whore!"
- "I can't love her - I turn into an eagle during the day!"
- "I can't love her - she's obviously a gold digger and I need to marry money to fund my expedition, in a totally unrelated and non-hypocritical way!"
- "I can't love him - my traumatic past makes emotional vulnerability impossible!"
- "I can't love her - I've bet my best horse I can bang her within the month!"
- "I can't love him - he only married me for my money!"
- "I can't love her - she's too good for me and I'm WAY too smart for her!"
- "I can't love him - my job takes precedence, plus he's as untrustworthy as a three-dollar bill!"
In Miscellaneous, we got:
- 1 Secret Werewolf Club
- Several Dangerous Mantraps
- 1 Airborne Marble Penis
- 1 Wind-Up Fish
- 1 Case of Arson
- 1 Secret Love Child
- Several Sanctimonious Sermons
- 1 Bear BFF
- 1 Sleezy Villain with a Nipple Fixation
- 1 Stolen Pair of Spectacles
*March Pick* In For a Penny, by Rose Lerner. A+
Winner of the "Better Make Mine Beta" Hero Award
Pros: Adorable hero. Realistic and painful conflict. Great historical detail. Sweet romantic development.
Cons: Heroine occasionally overcome by Body Issues.
*March Pick* How To Knit a Wild Bikini, by Christie Ridgway. A+
Winner of the Baggage-Handler Hero Award
Pros: Sex-on-Legs hero. Strong-but-damaged heroine. Nice but subdued sequel baiting. Fantastic secondary characters. Lovely chemistry. Oodles of emotional baggage.
Cons: Slightly confusing fake-lesbian plot. Uneven timeline. Completely misleading title.
Like No Other Lover, by Julie Anne Long. A
Winner of the Gold Medal in Hero Nerdiness
Pros: Fascinatingly self-sufficient heroine. Sexy but clinical nerd hero. Gorgeous writing. Low-key conflict.
Cons: Slow pacing.
Immortal Warrior, by Lisa Hendrix. B+
Winner of the Best Series Introduction Award
Pros: Conscientious usage of Dude Group. Hot vikings. Sympathetic villain. Great setting. Good secondary characters. Good build-up for rest of series.
Cons: Little action except at climax. Hero and heroine don't spent too much time together. No animal POV.
Rises the Night, by Colleen Gleason. B+
Winner of the Pythagoras Love Triangle Award
Pros: Heroine has matured. Good twists! Sizzling sexual tension. Excellent secondary characters. Nice pacing and action.
Cons: Heroine still does Dumb Things and Ignores Advice.
Heart of Stone, by Jill Marie Landis. B-
Honourable Mention, Baggage-Handler Hero Award
Pros: Nice depiction of religion. Heroine with a real, un-watered-down past. Hilarious Surprise Love Child.
Cons: Telling-over-showing writing style. Bland hero. Subversion of historical accuracy in order to exclude Catholicism.
Lady Be Bad, by Candice Hern. C
Winner of the "No Religion, Please, We're Fictional" Award
Pros: Decent writing. Nice sexual awakening plotline.
Cons: Slow pacing. Inconsistent characterization. Shameless exploitation of religion for titillation without following through. Misogynist hero who hates Dem Slutty Womens until the very end.
Dreaming of You, by Lisa Kleypas. C-
Winner of the Too Stupid To Live Medal of Honour
Pros: Somewhat intelligent hero who recognizes intrinsic stupidity of heroine.
Cons: TSTL heroine. Lazy setting description. Florid sexual description. Cartoonish villain. Cartoonish characterization in general. Uneven pacing. Hero who totally slept with that hooker, Katiebabs.
*March Dud* A Certain Wolfish Charm, by Lydia Dare. D+
Winner of the Scooby-Doo Award in Lame-Ass Paranormal Worldbuilding
Pros: Unintentionally hilarious AlphHole hero shenanigans.
Cons: Drippy heroine. Violent caveman hero. Ridiculous and inconsistent worldbuilding. Intrusive sequel-baiting. Hateful secondary characters. Uneven romantic development. Huge gaps in character motivation and reasoning.
Non-Romances I Read This Month:
Belong To Me, Marisa de los Santos. A-
My mother suggested I read this. She found it by going into a bookstore and asking after something like chick lit, but classier, and this is what the Chapters employee gave her.
Santos tells the story of happily-married Teo and Cornelia who move to the suburbs to try and start a family. Almost immediately, the quirky, artsy Cornelia makes an enemy of blond-bobbed, Stepford-wife SuperMom Piper. In a lesser book, Piper would have been the one-note villain, but here she's as much of a protagonist as Cornelia as her perfect life comes apart at the seams once she realizes her best friend is dying of cancer.
As well, two other newcomers arrive in the 'burbs - insightful child prodigy Dev and his single mother Lake, who hides a mysterious connection to Teo and Cornelia. All these storylines intertwine but remain independent, making for a intriguing read. What I like best is the author has a great love of language - so her book reads like literature while still being loving and cheerful instead of relentlessly grim. People have this weird conviction that true art can't be happy. Do people not realize that happiness does exist in reality? Being grim and depressing doesn't make you more "real."
The Book of Negroes, by Lawrence Hill. B+
This was a Christmas gift from my Nana that I finally got around to reading - the story of a girl stolen from Africa to be a slave and the progress of her life as she moves in and out of slavery, eventually establishing a kind of tenuous independence for herself, ultimately learning that White People Can't Be Trusted. It was an interesting read, but even as I enjoyed the experience I felt a kind of detachment from the novel that I usually feel while reading University-assigned books: I liked the reading, but I didn't really like-like the book.
The Pink Ghetto, by Liz Ireland. B
This was pure fluff - occasionally entertaining fluff, but still fluff. Lazy, insecure do-nothing heroine miraculously lands a job as an editor at a romance publisher. How? Who knows. She has absolutely no idea what to do and no real drive to learn but somehow manages not to fuck everything up - although she stills fucks a whole lot of stuff up. Most of the enjoyment from this novel comes from the depiction of the romance publishing industry which manages to be both satirical and respectful. It's clear the author has experience in the industry. Sadly, the insecure do-nothing heroine from whose POV we read this tale is incredibly annoying.