Book Hoarders Anonymous

I have too many books. There, I admit it. I'm working on it though.
The Substitute Bridegroom - Jeanne Abbott

Cute. Complicated, but cute. I mean; it reads pretty straight forward but the behind the scenes stuff is a complicated mess.


So ok, our h, 2 months out from her 21st birthday whereupon she would take the reins for half her family spice company, is being pressured to marry by her uncle. She doesn't want to marry the lout. Uncle somehow manages to get a box at the theater, and after a time, she develops a headache. Lout offers to take her home and for whatever reason, she doesn't refuse. Lout actually took her somewhere with every intention of forcing himself on her. Stranger rescues her, and returns her to her home, thinking she's an actress. Uncle seizes opportunity and presses the issue with marriage. Her cousin, not the brightest candle in the room, decides to help her by putting an advertisement in one of the papers. She succeeds, arrangements are made, and...


Our H, rake apparently, who seems determined to blow through his finances for some ungodly reason, is being pressured by the family matriarch to marry. Since she is in possession of all the family funds, her threat to write him out of her will if he doesn't isn't one to be ignored. While dealing with this news, he stumbles across a woman being accosted, beats her attacker, and takes her home, under the assumption she's an actress (cough). After a number of refusals from various eligible women or their families, he's bummed. His best buddy stumbles across the advertisement, and arrangements are made...

They don't figure out who each other is until after vows are exchanged. He takes her to the family pile where an old friend of hers works. Shortly after their arrival, several attempts are made against him. He assumes it's the friend as the friend really really likes her...or that was his impression at least. Then again, at times the h is very naive.


Then their carriage is attacked by highwaymen who a) attempt to kill him (unsuccessfully), and kidnap her (successfully). Naturally, it turns out to be her uncle and the erstwhile intended. Of course, through a comedy of errors... the cousin goes to the maid, who hides her in their quarters and gets the coachman to go to the H's townhouse where, possibly due to the maid being drunk, and the cousin being hysterical, he is under the impression the h IS and wishes her to come with him to reassure her cousin. The H goes off to rescue the h, and is successful. The uncle falls down the stairs in the confrontation, it's revealed that the would-be intended was actually the result of the uncle raping some woman, that the uncle had caused the accident that killed the h's parents, and likely had killed someone else involved in a dual by shooting them in the back. Oh, and his wife was more than happy to have his death declared an accident because she hated him.

Forever My Love - Heather Graham Pozzessere

I haven't read any of the author's contemporaries and am just not feeling the urge to hunt down any more.


It's a second chance romance brought about by a friend of the H's being a dirty cop and targeting people he thought might know something.


Issues I had - H was an overbearing asshole, h all but fell over with her legs in the air. That pretty much sums it up.


They had divorced 3 years previous after a) losing a child to SIDS and b) her having a bad miscarriage. Essentially he decided he'd been too rough w/sex so stopped touching her so after a year of this, she filed for divorce.


They never really talked it over; just his demanding she sleep with him, her complying irritably, etc.


Ends with an epilogue where she's 5 months pregnant, they'd remarried, and the Dr had mailed results back of the sex of said kid. Seeing as how the book was released in 1990, and my "helpful" OB's technician had just blurted out that my firstborn was a boy while doing an ultrasound 2 years previous...

Fantasy - Lori Foster

I guess prostitution and human trafficking are A-ok as long as it's men, they volunteer, and it's for charity.


Reminds me of something a friend came up with to mess with Nigerian scammers - Sophonda Cox and her prostitutes for Jesus.


Reading a bit more into it, and my next impression was "why do you hate your little sister so much?" So ok, the h's slightly older sister has this charity event where she's auctioning off 5 day getaways to Gatlinburg along with a handsome stud. She's apparently decided to go one further and pimp out her little sister - luggage already packed without h's knowledge, flight arranged ASAP, honeymoon suite set aside - and buys the last man of the event for her. It seems spur of the moment at the time, but then not really when the limo whisks them off to the airport.


Now, why would I think she hates the little sister? Oh I dunno - little sister hasn't dated ever (you find out why later), little sister has phobia about flying, little sister is not willing to do this.


H is typical Foster knuckledragger - mentally stakes his claim without bothering to find out if h even likes men (would have found it amusing if h had actually preferred women but that's not gonna happen). He gets pissy because she's hesitant - decides she's playing a game even though earlier she'd bolted into the street because a couple of guys were hitting on her. Of course, night 2, she has a nightmare, and reveals why she hasn't dated. Her parents took her and sister on a cruise. She got tired and went back to cabin, didn't get door shut, 3 men gang-raped her. Of course, since our H bears the MWOP, it cures everything so she's going at it with him sometime later - him tied up naturally. And within a day or three, apparently she's just fine with him being on top, etc. Only has one more nightmare. All better now I guess.


And then they catch a flight home and he's pissy because she's distant, not that he's given her any sign he wants to pursue her after they get back. Then he goes off on a job for a week or was it two, and she's given up on him, figuring he was just giving her what her sister payed for (well, that wasn't quite what she was thinking but that was likely because it never occurred to her to think of him as being a gigolo). He hunts her down, yells at her (and with her past, she doesn't wig out on him?), and they come to an accord. HEA. Gag.


I didn't realize this book existed when I read the Visitation series, and I'm grateful, as I do not think I would have been able to stomach reading Shay's book after this - Shay being the big sister of the h.

Stress & the City - Stephanie Rowe

Well...I didn't HATE it...


Not really a romance although there is a HEA. Also, in spite of the whole "falling in love, one laugh at a time" bit promised by the book line, not really funny.


The h, stress therapist whatever that is, discovers her fiance is cheating on her just before the wedding so bails and goes on her honeymoon alone. The book starts at the New Years eve party her friend has insisted she attend days after getting back (yep; one of those interfering best friends. Ever notice they're all commitmentphobes? Yet they have all sorts of relationship advice...). Friend drags her to meet two hot guys (one is the H), then abandons her with one. While she's attempting to have an awkward conversation, douchebag ex shows up, wanting her back, so she lays one on the poor guy who gallantly plays along, or is that takes over. Not sure. Great. Wonderful.


She finds out a few days later that he's her new client. The next 2 months are seemingly filled with her harassing him into...unpacking (he's lived in the house for 6 months, everything is still in boxes), thinking about what he'd originally wanted to do with his life (we never actually find out what he DOES do though)...and reminding herself that...he's engaged. All the while, the friend is offering advice.


The engaged. I'd guess he's afflicted with white knight syndrome. His best friend's parents died 2 years previous so he told her he'd marry her to protect her. She was in college - I'm not entirely sure how old either of them are as we aren't told, but I'd guess late 20s and her parents supported her. In any case, he shied away from thinking about how their friendship would be affected by any of this, or the possibility of having a physical relationship with her. He was going to remain faithful (apparently it crossed no-one's mind that maybe she wouldn't if stuck in such a situation).


So...the friend comes in, and has the talk with him, since he was obviously too dense to take her hints.


At the same time, the best friend drags her out on a double date and well, double date assumed she was like her friend apparently. He takes her home, she shuts the door in his face, and smells oregano. Oh noes - an intruder. Our H had broken in and was making a pizza for her. Guess it's a good thing she wasn't armed.


The epilogue starts minutes before she goes into labor with twins. And there are hints that his brother and her best friend are trying hard to ignore each other by sniping.

Impetuous  - Lori Foster

I could have rated this one higher, but I didn't due to personal annoyance at the intro and also due to the ill fit of the heroine's past in light of how the relationship progressed. Oh, and the behavior of others when she did sort of react in a logical manner.


Ok, our h has exactly one friend in the whole world. She's a bit of a wallflower, and deliberately tries not to to attract male attention. Her friend decides she must come to her halloween party and our h rather stewpidly uses the excuse of a lack of a costume. Best friend, who really should know better if she's the friend everyone claims her to be, gets her a harem costume that's barely there. Of course h loses her nerve and bolts. Of course, she unwisely doesn't run home, but rather hides in the poolhouse where the resident playboy and brother-in-law to her bestie follows her and introduces her to the idea of an orgasm. She wears a mask and refuses to take it off.


Over the course of the next however many chapters, he insinuates himself into her life - as a "friend" while managing to be rude and insulting. Somehow she doesn't take it personally and allows him to steamroll her. Then he spends the night. Then he finds the blue contacts that, for reasons known to absolutely no-one (was not explained) and puts two and two together. He goes off on her, is rude for realz, insulting, mean... somehow she hides in the bathroom. He leaves.


After a few days - and his getting yelled at a bit by his brother and sister-in-law who express concern that the h will retreat into her shell again, he goes back and she reveals how her marriage was. He asks her to marry him, and is upset that she tells him she has no intention of ever marrying again.


His brother is unhappy with her over this. I don't know that I saw how her bestie reacted.

A few weeks later, she decides she loves him and plots to seduce him in the pool house, HEA.


Time table is uncertain but it was before Thanksgiving. And the first meeting was the halloween party. So...a month maybe? That she's supposed to go from repressed and uncertain of herself to a femme fatale? And eager to jump into a marriage in spite of it only being two years since she escaped a marriage that was, based on her description, abusive? Right. I would think our H would realize this was something that couldn't be pushed at this point. I would think her bestie would realize that even if she didn't have the dirt on it, it was really bad, and stop trying to drag the h outside her comfort zone.


Instead, she has a best and only friend who dresses her like a ho, when she knew or least should have known, this was too much for her, she has a bestie's husband who gets snide because she's essentially afraid of marriage, she has a pest who steamrolls her into way more relationship than she's ready for and goes off on her when he finds out she was the girl hiding, yes; hiding, in the pool house, then, after listening to her describe a marriage that fortunately didn't involve bruises or broken bones but hell, a husband that, for want of a better word, raped her on a regular basis, gets his tighty whities in a knot because she doesn't want to get married.


And somehow, because ROMANCE and we gotta have a HEA!! Even if in reality it would take a lot of patience and therapy, and a long period of platonic getting to know each other (along with a few panic moments when he gets carried away), we get it in 2 weeks because she's miserable that the impatient jackass got offended rather than dialing back a bunch of notches and trying to actually win her over.

Night Moves - Julie Kenner

It's hard to get really involved in the ROMANCE when you're irritated, annoyed, and disgusted by the characters.


Heroine - you cheated. You know you did. You even realized it after the fact. You're also dumber than a box of hammers to have ever let your best buddy talk you into posing nude for him in the first place, let alone masturbating for him.


Hero - you are a first class jackass. You set out to seduce her and hopefully break her and her boyfriend up because YOU didn't want to be a third wheel.


Authors in general - stop making the poor cuckolded bastard to be dull, boring, and apparently oblivious to the h's neighbor, best heterosexual friend, etc. Just once I'd like to see the ass the h cheated with come away with a black eye and a few broken ribs.


Also, the idea of studying erotica as a college course seems sketchy at best.


Kidnapped! (Harlequin Blaze #345)(Forbidden Fantasies) - Jo Leigh

I've spent the last 7 days staring at it balefully. The back cover reads interesting. But then you get to the set-up...and the end.


The h was kidnapped as a teen, along with her cousin. She escaped, her cousin...didn't. She sort of got over that, only to get kidnapped *again* while in college, by a couple of fellow students. So she's become agoraphobic - supposedly. Daddy Warbucks has surrounded his precious darling with ex agents and military types, under the guise of well, household employees. She lives "alone" and is clueless of this.


The H is one of these - her chauffeur. He finds the whole thing stupid - he wouldn't mind the elaborate security if it was a head of state, but some pampered princess? Yes, he does hold her in contempt. He's worked for her for a few months. She is attracted to him, and he's aware of it, also finds it amusing.


Her therapist suggests a kidnapping for hire adventure to help her with her phobia.


He listens in on her telling her friend about it, does research (which he apparently left lying around)


She meets her dad for dinner at a restaurant, which is cleared in advance of their arrival, sees pity in the H's eyes, and decides to go through with it.


H's brother is worthless pondscum that the H has been bailing out since they were kids. He finds the "research" and decides to fill in...or arrange a fill in - I quit at this point - because he owes some bookie a lot of money.


Since I read the last few chapters as well...the h apparently only found out that her staff were all security people after she more or less rescued herself, because her dad was incensed and blamed the H for everything. The H kept to his cover as hapless chauffeur the entire time he was in her presence, and didn't take the opportunity to take care of the bad guys when he had several chances. No - I didn't understand that. She was in her room, he could have taken them out one by one, and solved the whole problem. Granted, he likely wouldn't have killed his brother but still...


The part I didn't read - the middle - I can only guess that...the kidnapping happened, he allowed himself to be captured assuming it was just a game, slept with the h (that he considered useless and pitiable), figured out it wasn't a game, didn't do anything about it until AFTER they'd reached the Caymans and she'd been dragged off the boat (read *that* part), etc.

Wildfire -  Ilona Andrews

One reviewer said this one was more chaotic than the previous one. I think it's a case of it being potentially the end of the series, having way too many loose ends to tie up, and needing to sacrifice something to keep the page count reasonable.


Unlike previous books, there were thing happen that we only heard about rather than experienced. Since I have a feeling those things probably would have been a chapter or three long each had they been fleshed out...


The other thing - the info dumps, while small at least, seem kinda pointless in a book released what - 3 months after the previous installation? Something. Close enough that I was able to read them back to back without the previous one sitting around very long. Granted, I'm not fond of info dumps in the first place and kinda wish authors would just stick that in a brief info guide at either end of the book. I don't recall running into them in the Kate Daniels series, so why this one? Well, other than there being a long time between book 1 and book 2 maybe, but this book didn't need any backstory.


After reading it, I'm inclined to agree with someone who suspects Linus. Kinda funny though that he wasn't implicated. And...I never realized the DA was uh...special.


Boy was that stupid for someone to interfere with the trials. If they'd succeeded, she likely wouldn't have been strong enough in the first place, and in failing, they couldn't hide.


Heh; poor Connor. He kept trying to do the honorable thing and give Nevada a way out for her newfound House's sake, even if it killed someone.

White Hot -  Ilona Andrews

The temptation was great to stay up reading it last night but the other half spoke. Sleep was needed.


Nevada accepts a job to bring a murderer to justice. More specifically, to find out who done it and let the bereaved have said person.


Is a conspiracy, and the people involved don't want it solved. So they come after her. Rogan is involved in the sense that his people were providing security for the victims...and were controlled into killing them and each other.


Lots of action, and eventually...ah yes; our H/h become a thing and stop dancing around each other.

Ms. Match - Jo Leigh

This was a hard rating for me to decide because it's an easy read, and really, there's nothing majorly annoying about the H or the h. However, the underlying plot is skeevy.


Ok, the H is in fact, seeing the h's sister. She asks him when he calls her if he can get a date for her sister to take to their parents' anniversary. I might add that their relationship never progresses beyond her stringing him along but still... He agrees, figuring he'll score points with her, only the guy he gets to agree has to back out at the last minute so he does it himself.


The h, well, she's the family changeling. A brain who is merely attractive in a sea of beauty, and she has deep seated feelings of inadequacy when it comes to her looks, though she doesn't really acknowledge this.


They're both good dancers though, and the anniversary party is thoroughly is the gin and tonic. They share a room - and just sleep it off(!).


He sees her sister not long after this, and is once again left unfulfilled. He calls another girl for a booty call. Ok, at this point I was not liking him very much. However, he finds himself constantly thinking of the h so starts insinuating himself in her life. She figures it's a game so pushes him away, or tries anyway. Chemistry is her downfall I suppose.


Eventually, he has a busy week and can't see her, her sister - in the dark about all this - decides to drag him to her niece's birthday party - the h sees about the time he realizes he's screwed...and the sister is understandably angry.


Of course, she refuses contact with him, deciding he fit in better with her family than she did with his world. They do a mutual mopefest, sister demands to know what she told him about her (well, nothing other than sister likes to string them along until they give up, then she'll sleep with them).


They do eventually get back together - he approaches her friend for help, and her friend sets her up on a blind date with him. She shows up on his doorstep to talk things out with him and he tells her he's the blind date. We never really see an epilogue so no idea how well she worked things out with her family. She said she was trying to bridge the gap, but the sister affected by all this was still at odds with her.

Now You See Him... - Anne Stuart

It could have been a 4 if our H hadn't been so bloody determined to send the h on her way "for her own good". Since he's a spy, and she, unknowingly, is the daughter of an Irish terrorist (who died when she was a tot, ostensibly by drowning but actually attempting to plant a bomb) who had another daughter who is now a fanatic...and wants her dead just because she exists... yeah, you can see how well this works. He almost succeeded once but called her for some inexplicable reason which prompted her to try to hunt him down. She didn't know he was a spy (he was undercover) so got the shock of her life to find out there actually was a person by that name but it wasn't him...and she got angry and started looking for him.


There's a lot of book packed in this, and some other things bothered me too - her lack of subtlety, her strange determination to help the Irish cause. Yes her sperm donor was Irish, but she was American. Her being independently wealthy yet having cousins who were hillbillies. And for some reason, she was sure he was lying yet it never occurred to her that maybe he was lying about everything.

Out Of The Dark (Silhouette Intimate Moments) - Justine Davis

That wasn't painful at all (said with much sarcasm).


Basic plot - h and her uncle run a horse training facility. 3 horses have died. They're suspicious so the uncle sends her to his old buddy - the H - who he knows works for a security firm, for aid.


The H - it's like Ted Striker is a romance hero. Oh, he doesn't *talk* about it, but he's constantly in his head about *3* whole incidents where things went south. And you know, two of those were directly related to someone else charging off without listening to the voice of reason. But. You know. It's all his fault. Because. You know. He's jinxed. And he's just sure either the h or his old buddy is next. Well, yeah. If you keep moping around instead of say, duct taping one or both to chairs and let you - the former Ranger (I assume - army, special forces) - do your job.


The h - high energy - she's always jumping to conclusions and charging off blindly. Her dad is Mr Suave, and a user. So she's sworn off anyone who she finds attractive and who fits the description (read, I'd never go out with anyone who'd have me). So she doesn't figure she's his type and any passes he makes at her are because...why exactly? She's also so willing to give everyone the benefit of the doubt that it never even occurs to her that one of her clients might be trying the same thing with her that her dad did to her mom. Oh, she notices his interest but she's not interested so disregards him completely. Since he's behind the mysterious equine deaths...this somewhat blind view of things means it never occurs to her to be the least bit suspicious about some guy who knows her dad having two horses in her barn, one who dies a mysterious death (and was insured for a million bucks).


Which brings something to mind - if you had in your barn a bunch of expensive horses, one of which was insured for a million bucks, why would you not have security of SOME sort? Cameras, a guard, SOMEthing.

A Lawless Man - Elizabeth Bevarly

I feel like I was had actually. The synopsis implied that the h kept running afoul of the H and driving him bats. Indeed, it started that way. Of course, this angle was quickly tossed in favor of them running into each other, him kissing her senseless, etc., which wasn't nearly as interesting, even with the added bit of him investigating her brother for fraud while chasing her. Eventually, he did make the arrest, her brother did call her to bail him out and reveal that she was sleeping with the cop who'd just arrested her. And of course, she did confront him and they did avoid each other 'til the trial (a whole two months, and it was more him avoiding her because she had little resolve it seems).


So... there was his pursuing a divorcee with two small children and who happened to be the sister of someone he was investigating. Not cool, particularly since he knew it was unethical.


There was her all but falling over with her legs in the air. She'd just had a discussion with her friend and business partner about said partner's relationship with HIS partner - he was pressuring her for sex and she was using her kid and the h's kids as a shield, because she didn't feel ready for it. Since her partner had been dating the guy for some time and still didn't feel ready, the h getting it on with some guy she'd met 2 weeks before seemed...irresponsible? Could you not at least get to know the guy better first?


Then there were the twins. Ok, why is it authors write kids as desperate for the attention of an adult of their own gender? Kids had a dad. Why weren't they unhappy about dear old dad remarrying? Why were they so eager for mommy to date the cop? They were 8.

Night of the Magician - Stephanie James, Jayne Ann Krentz

Kinda reminds me why I don't tend to read Ms Krentz's contemporaries - while her historicals always feature an oddly independent woman and no-one would dare manipulate her into a relationship, the contemporaries seem to have family members all but arranging a marriage. Weird and bass-akward.


So the requisite manipulative family members - the h's aunt, shallow, perfectly willing to take advantage of the h's business acumen while insulting her about her wariness towards men. The h's brother, who seems like a genius version of the aunt. No - didn't like brother or aunt.


The H - wants a toss in the hay so to speak but no commitment. He's a con artist who has managed to mostly be legal and successful. He's into real estate. He lies by omission - he doesn't tell the h anything about himself, knowing she has issues about things like a prenupt, pointless affairs, and men who make less than her. He just doesn't bother to find out why...until he shows off his home and the h reacts even worse to finding out he's wealthy than she had to him thinking he was living by his wits.


Oh of course there's the requisite nefarious crook who must needs be stopped (from preying on the aunt's bank account). And of course said crook doesn't handle being unmasked v. well. And there's the uncomfortable scene where the aunt and the brother are trying to pressure the h to marry the H (who hasn't exactly asked; just demanded), and telling her she's being stubborn (back to name calling I see).


Honestly, I'd have left the lot of them to stew in their own mess.

One Good Man (American Heroes: The Texas Rangers) - Alison Kent

You'd kinda think that a Texas Ranger would be a little smarter than your average bear. Unfortunately, a lot of these books featuring some nameless bad guy seem to have law enforcement heroes who seem...careless?


Ok, so 10 years ago, an armed robbery took place at the diner the h worked at. She was the only survivor, and it was mostly due to being grazed - head - and the addlepated robber not checking. I never really understood why he made the owner drive to the middle of nowhere and killed him elsewhere. The h's parents split up due to dear old dad not being able to handle this, the h's mom got a legal name change (and was able to continue being a vet. Huh). And they reinvented themselves.


The owner's remains have been found and our H shows up shortly after the h gets a newspaper and finds this out. He wants her to undergo hypnosis to see if she remembers anything. She comments that she'd always sort of had the impression the killer knew where she was but since she didn't seem to remember anything, he left her alone.


Undergoes hypnosis, remembers a detail or three, goes home. Ok yes; sex does happen shortly after the hypnosis, and he stays the night after taking her home, but he leaves her there. No-one to watch her or anything.


The killer shows up at the office she works in. She recognizes the tattoo but keeps her cool until well after he's left (and her co-worker comes back from break). She quickly calls H and tells him. He collects her and takes her to his mountain hideaway (that everyone at the office knows about). And then he decides to set a trap. Of course, they go to the pond unarmed and without a phone. He goes back to fetch and well...


We never learn the ID of the killer - there was some speculation that his brother worked with the Rangers but it's never clarified. And even when he's suspicious that there might be a leak, he doesn't exactly make much effort to cover his tracks. And why, if you're setting a trap, would you ever be unarmed, let alone without the phone?

Royally Bedded, Regally Wedded - Julia James

The biggest issue I had with this one was probably the kid. I know that small children tend to think of themselves as the center of the universe but good Lord. I can only guess that the h doted on him to the point that he never knew the least disappointment, in spite of the abject poverty they lived in (which was another thing - what did she DO for a living? There was no mention of a J.O.B. at any point). This of course lead to him being a sullen brat near the end of the book when they were shipped unceremoniously back to their shack in Cornwall. And her pleading with him to cooperate or have fun or something.


Beyond that, there is the inequality - this isn't the first of these HPs I've run into where the author felt the need to drill into our heads that the h was impoverished. The method of administering this though is downright insulting - frequently referring to the h's clothing as cheap, as if there's something wrong with wearing non-designer duds. And the looks dept. - as if no-one is capable of actually looking at the face in question and seeing the bone structure, including the h who apparently doesn't know what conditioner is for, and has never made even an attempt to look attractive.


The H, refreshingly, isn't a jackass. He's overbearing, but then, he is a prince and used to getting his way. He gets tricked into bringing her to his home country where she is promptly separated from the child. He loses it and decks his brother, grabs her and the kid, finds a priest, and marries her to keep them safe.


One makeover later and he sees her as she really is (well, minus the overly dried out frizzy hair that deep conditioning and probably a brazillian blow out rendered manageable). She doesn't recognize herself in a mirror (back to that never actually looking at oneself thing I guess). Of course, dear old dad places H under house arrest trying to force him to declare the marriage null. He apparently refused and told them where to stick his title.


Tracks down h and sullen brat on a beach in England whereupon the kid magically stops sulking and starts trying to make a castle and demand attention while he and the h are attempting to discuss things. Augh. They work it out but boy I hope the kid figures out how to share attention as the h is pg in the epilogue.

Currently reading

The Nights Before Christmas (Heat #6)
Vicki Lewis Thompson