Passion Favors the Bold by Theresa Romain

4.5 stars and a wish for more!

This book had everything I love: a road trip, a curmudgeonly hero, a bit of a swindle, a heroine determined to make her own way in the world….

Theresa Romain’s writing is a delight because of the way she builds up layers and layers of fine detail until suddenly you’ve arrived at the plot’s climax, and everything makes perfect sense. Her characters manage to have conflict without being horrible to each other, and the secondary characters are generally a delight.  I’m already eagerly anticipating the next book in this series.

-Disclaimer – I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora Bell

4 Give-Me-MORE stars!

Oh, how I loved Thea! A lady who knows what she wants, and isn’t going to let some meddling duke get in the way. Or the meddling duke’s meddling servant, who cooks up plan after plan to get them in bed together! I especially loved the “surprise” the duke’s valet had waiting for them in the carriage.

This was a five-star H/h pairing and I loved them together!

Dalton’s mysterious mission and “dark past” was a little harder to believe, and the plot did tumble into predictable toward the end with a too-easy resolution, knocking this down a star. Even so, it’s on my keeper shelf and I’ll be looking for more by Lenora Bell!

Baron by Joanna Shupe

3.5 not-into-rich-politicians stars

This was maybe not the best-timed read for me, coming as it did just before the events of November 2016. I was not inclined to kindness toward a rich politician, and really never warmed to the hero of the story as I might have in, say, 2015. I also wasn’t sold on just what the attraction was between the two of them – he seemed to dislike her so much but just had to have her anyways?
For all that, it was still a good read, and I hope to re-read it in a year or two when (if) all this has settled.

**I received this as a free NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review**

A Viking for the Viscountess by Michelle Willingham

2 disappointed wasted-time stars.

I am saddened that I actually finished this. I’d promised myself not to waste time reading less-than-three-star books, when I have such a big TBR pile. And yet, I kept turning the page, hoping this pile of plot would redeem itself. Alas, no. It had neither the panache nor the crazysauce to earn even three stars.
The hero slid so easily into 19th-century England, aside from his brawny Viking desire to go around beating people up for looking cross-eyed at his lady love. And the people whose lives he slid into? Not a single one had trouble believing he was a time traveler! Wow!
Add to that the insta-attraction he and the heroine (sorry, I’ve already forgotten her name, it’s been 3 days) had for each other, and, well, I’m not actually sure why 2 stars. Oh yeah – because the book was well written in terms of actual English grammar, and that counts for something these days! But for Pete’s sake, please have some beta readers who are not your friends, or get a viciously skeptical editor, or something. This story had potential and instead just made me mad.

HIS ROAD HOME by Anna Richland

His Road Home by Anna Richland on GoodReads
I’ll confess, right off the bat: I don’t read much contemporary romance. I’m not sure why – maybe I overdid it on Nora Roberts in the first decade of this century; maybe it’s not escapist enough – whatever the reason, I read 10 or even 20 historicals for every contemporary.

That said – if someone gave me more contemporaries like this one, I would read them like crazy!

This book – really more of a novella – was every bit as poignant as it needed to be, considering the hero lost his legs and suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Both of these are dealt with in a non-patronizing way, and I especially like that the heroine, Grace, steps up to the challenges thrown her way. As the family member and friend of people who’ve dealt with TBIs, I also appreciated the very realistic and sensitive portrayal of what Rey went through and how frustrated he was.

Other great stuff: it’s a road trip story, which is always a win for me. Rey is a cocky smart-ass, which also really works for me. My best friend dated a guy just like him in high school who, coincidentally, went into the Army. I know the type and Rey’s character rang true all the way through. The supporting characters were great too; I especially liked when Rey met Grace’s parents.

5 stars, and definitely on the re-read list.