11/29/2012

Bragging Time!


Check out the sweet loot (including a whole plethora of Love Inspired Harlequins) that I won:
Muchisimas Gracias to Wendy the Super Librarian!



Season for Surrender (by Theresa Romain)



Season for Surrender (by Theresa Romain)
Conflict:  Big Secret / Reputation Ruination.  Alex (known to the ton as Lord Xavier) puts a scandalous bet on Louisa Oliver.  He has to invite her to his annual "naughty" Christmas party - for two weeks - and if she leaves (because she's too much of a soon-to-be-spinster), he looses the bet.  This is a secret, just between Alex and his jerkface cousin (Lockwood).  But Alex doesn't know that she knows!

Louisa decides to attend the naughty festivities, thinking "Meh.  Well, what the heck - couldn't hurt.  Not gettin' any younger, and I've had a crazy year, so I might as well have an adventure!"  And she overhears Alex and Lockwood discussing their bet - and here's what I love... Instead of getting super-pissed, freaking out, and calling them out in front of everyone... she GOES ALONG WITH IT!  Like this:

Alex (in the hallway to Lockwood):  Lockwood, I know we made a bet, but you're totally forcing yourself on Louisa.  It's rude and it's going to ruin her!  Her reputation is worth more than ten pounds.

Lockwood (being a jerkface):  Whatever killjoy.  Give me your booze and quit nagging me.

Louisa (hidden in the hallway):
Game on, fools!

She's in on his scheme and therefore has more ammunition.  (Knowledge is power, right?)  Alex decides to take her to the library to keep her out of Lockwood's perverted grasp, so about 65% of the book takes place in the library.  This AMAZING library.  Although her initial reaction (internally) is amazement, she fakes a reaction of "Oh wow...it's... alright... I guess, you know, for a library..."  This perplexes Alex, and he realizes that she's definitely no mousy/gullible bluestocking (like a geek who wears ratty granny panties).  He realizes that she's actually a bookworm babe!

Why do I empathize with this heroine:  She's just awesome.  She loves reading and romances, and she's smart, and she's in control of her sexuality.  She another heroine (my favorite type) who won't suffer a fool lightly just to look pleasant in front of everyone.  Plus, she'll defend herself and her loved ones if backed into a corner.

Overall:  Never bet against the bookworm romance-reader when love is on the line!  The best was reading Louisa and Alex flirt with each other and bond during their library time - realizing that their impressions of the other was wrong... They're both sensitive intellectuals looking for a Happily Ever After.

In conclusion... Libraries are PERFECT for romances.  The intimacy, the soft lighting, the quiet calm. All those winding staircases... shelves to grab on to... books with steamy scenes - the heroine even reads (and re-reads!) a scandalously suggestive romance!... hidden corners and spaces... all that [carnal] knowledge... I'm just saying... things can get crazy...

Warning: Searching for "libraries" (or almost anything) on Pintrest can drain a lot of time be a bit distracting.  Just a bit.

Now for some gratuitous library porn (of what I'd imagine Earl Xavier/Alex's library looks like - except pretend the lights are "oil lamps" or "candles", since I'm not clear on the logistics of gas-lighting during the Regency Era.):













NOTE:  I'm counting this as book 2 for the Holiday Reading Challenge 2012, since it's during the Christmas season, but check out the author's note at the end (for quite a few pages), about how Christmas during Regency times was what we're usually expecting (like a Christmas celebration during Victorian era).

11/25/2012

The Inconvenient Duchess (by Christine Merrill)



Tears began to trickle from under the closed eyelids of the woman before him
 and he looked away.  Better not to look and be fooled by a whore’s tears.

(Because Marcus Radwell, Duke of Haughleigh, is done rakin' around...)

The Inconvenient Duchess (by Christine Merrill)
Conflict:  Insta-Marriage / Big Secret.  For some mysterious reason, Miranda is sent unannounced to the Duke of Haughleigh (Marcus, a widower).  Her reputation is automatically compromised just by being in his presence unchaperoned, because he's such a rake, so now they have to get married.  He's bitterly pissed, and for good reason!  They're both equally forced into the marriage.  After Marcus does some private-investigating in London for two weeks, he figured out the secret (about one-third through the novel), so she doesn't know that he knows... and in the mean time, she has to adjust to her knew life/title as the Duchess of Haughleigh.

Why do I empathize with this heroine:  Let's put it this way: her "situation" sucked so badly, it made me consciously thankful to be living in 2012.  Although she deserved a privileged upbringing, Miranda grew up destitute, doing the worst work of a housemaid just to survive.  (And remember, because of the time period, with our rich main characters, this is horrifying and unacceptable.)

I mean, she literally shows up all rainy and pitiful on Marcus' doorstep, like this:


Plus, not only is she dealing with her world being flipped around, Miranda also has the villain (slimy-yet-handsome rakish brother-in-law) forcing himself on her in the creepiest way, basically tormenting her like a feral cat clawing at a bird with broken wings.  I don't believe that she's wussy, she's just the victim of some not-so-great parenting, and we see how this puts her into a corner (sometimes literally).

Overall:  Recommended for those experienced romance-readers who love historicals, especially just to hear their opinion/feedback.  This was for Bebe's book club and I agree with her four-star rating ("couldn't wait to wake up and start reading").  It was rough reading about the conflict, but I also enjoyed the romance build-up in this one.  Even if their first "love-scene" is officially awful (basically him just wanting to consummate the marriage, thinking that she doesn't love him), I think it was pretty historically accurate (sadly enough) for a romance novel.  I actually imagined that insta-marriages happened as quickly, almost like, "Oh, no! We're in a shitty situation - whelp, I guess we have no other option but to get married," and this book does a good job of showing us that awkwardness.  There was also a nice balance between the perspective of the hero and heroine while watching their relationship / affection bloom.  My eye-rolling was kept to an extreme minimum (just a little bit for that villain fight-scene at the end).  Since this is Book #1 in The Radwells series, I'm considering picking up Book #2, the villain's story (An Unladylike Offer).

Things I LOVED:

  • The signet wedding ring
  • Their heart-to-heart conversations
  • Their chess game
  • The Christmas morning gift for Miranda*


*NOTE:  I'm counting this as book 1 for the Holiday Reading Challenge 2012, since it has Christmas at the end (for quite a few pages), and that Christmas scene wraps up the HEA so nicely!


11/18/2012

A Notorious Countess Confesses (by Julie Anne Long)




"I shouldn't like to debate St. Peter when I arrive or meet with any nasty surprises. 
    I haven't the wardrobe for Hell."

(Lady Fennimore, on her death-bed, confessing to Adam about love, like Song of Solomon - jealousy, fire, and floods - all-consuming intensity and passion!)


A Notorious Countess Confesses (by Julie Anne Long)
Conflict:  So wrong, it's right / Past Baggage Issues.  The "surface conflict" (about 80% of the novel) is that she's an ex-courtesan, and he's a vicar - and they're totally falling in luuuuurrve.  Everyone in town thinks it's wrong.  But we know it's right.  And then there's a "base conflict" (rears its ugly head at the very end):  They both have to get over the fact that she has a "complicated" past.  Which is apparently not as easy as it should be.

Why do I empathize with this heroine:  When we first meet our heroine, Eve, a former actress/courtesan from London, she is pessimistic:  She never should have forgotten that the world was on the side of the planners, not the dreamers. - p. 5.   She grew up Irish-poor in Killarney, raising her siblings and doing whatever it took to survive (so she doesn't take shit from shit).  By the third chapter, she's shrugging off the insults from her overly-righteous neighbors (calling her the "black widow" and other general acts of rudeness/snobbery).  Our hero, Adam (Get it? - Adam and Eve!!!) is a beta hero!  So he's not a loud-spoken, pushy, huge, hulking, Adonis Alpha stud.  And he's a vicar.  He's sensitive, patient, compassionate, and wise, and although he's a beta hero, he's still confident and controlled - and yeah, he's pretty rough in his own way.  You could say he has the alpha strength emotionally.  He deals with every aspect of life - spiritual or otherwise; funerals, weddings, poverty, charity, births, confessions, etc.  He's the ultimate romance hero, because he has to be what everyone in town needs him to be.  They all rely on him for guidance and support, so this guy's emotional intelligence level is through the roof.  On top of this, he is tall and handsome with an awesome velvety drool-inducing voice (ignore that dude on the cover, I'm thinking Matthew MacFadyen from P&P)... so the ladies be lovin' his homilies!

It was superbly refreshing to read a historical heroine not be a wuss (or a milksop as Lady Fennimore would say).  She made everyone check themselves during a bake sale auction (which was also sort of her first "debut" into the town).  She helped out (and inspired) a family in-need in a major way.  What I liked most of all, she can dish it and take it with the best of them -  just like feisty Ol' Lady Fennimore!  She supports her own family (and has since adolescence), but she doesn't want to be lonely.  When she turns to Adam for help with "making friends" in the local Church charity group, romance of biblical proportions ensues throughout the pages.

Overall:  The base conflict hurdle (both of them getting over Eve's courtesan past) was the toughest part to read through, and it was like watching a Three-Stooges slapping match.  I just wanted to shout, "HOLY CRAP - you're both hurting each other, so just stop it already!"  We're talking maybe fifteen pages worth of torment (dangerously close to the end!), where I was really pissed off with both the hero and the heroine, so much that I worried it could jeopardize my expectations of the happy ending.  Nope!  Silly me.  Happily Ever After guaranteed.  (And my distress was still not enough to downgrade the book.  I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.)  NOTE:  There were definitely some minor flaws that I'm blaming on the editor* - but I can't lie and say that I didn't "really like it".  In my opinion, Julie Anne Long's writing is just that entertaining.  Her supporting characters, the way she sets up a scene, describes the ulterior motives, and finally delivers those three little words that I want to read... all of it ended up being wonderful.  No page is wasted.

I'm reading the Pennyroyal Green series out of order, and I'm loving it!  (Yes, they CAN be read out of order, but seriously, I need to stop at this book, because I think something crazy is about to happen with Olivia Eversea... for those who have read the books, I'm not sayin' anything - but I'm just sayin')  I started with What I Did For a Duke (book #5) and haven't shut up about it since:  5 stars on Goodreads.  Paperback worthy.  On my keeper-shelf, etc.  I told myself, back in October, that I was going to wait for reading Adam's story.  Now I definitely know that I can't read the next book without finishing the previous ones, because this one had a bit of a breakthrough part with Olivia's character (which I know involves past drama)... if I find out one more crazy thing about Olivia's plot line, it won't have the freshness of true shock.  Gotta get back to these - in order.  (After the 2012 Holiday challenge, of course!)

Things I LOVED:

  • Lady Fennimore (as a character and plot device)
  • battling the "milksops"
  • the baked goods auction scene
  • the tiny pillows given to Adam and they way he "lectures" back
  • The St. Christopher medal
  • Adam's Song of Solomon "Place me like a seal" speech at the end
  • also this line in the Epilogue:  "... and puppies. Because Molly the dog really was a bit of a slut." (in reference to the O'Flaherty's dog, Molly)  Very rarely is the pet the pregnant one at the end.  ;)




*(A minor technicality that irked me:  Many times throughout the book it's "Eve" or "Evie" for the heroine's name - or Lady Balmain or Countess Wareham.  Too many names.  Ugh.  And there is a repeated phrase 209 & 212 - "It would take more than Olivia to unnerve him..."  Shame on you editor.  Shame!)

11/15/2012

Book Lovers Inc. Holiday Reading Challenge 2012

I think I'm doing it...  Yup.  Yeah, I'm doing it.

I've got 9, (possibly 11) "holiday" books waiting:

1225 Christmas Tree Lane - by Debbie MacComber - zomgPUPPIES!!!1  (probably no sex though...)

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor - by Lisa Kleypas

A Wallflower Christmas - by Lisa Kleypas - Finally got a copy!

A Virgin River Christmas - by Robyn Carr - UPDATE: might switch this with another one

Bring Me Home for Christmas - by Robyn Carr - maybe not, since it's Book #16 in the Virgin River series - undecided...

The Inconvenient Duchess - by Christine Merrill - For Bebe's book club

Season for Surrender - by Theresa Romain - SBTB Sizzling Book Chat

Christmas Conspiracy - by Robin Perini

A Holiday to Remember - by Helen R. Myers

Holiday Sparks - by Shannon Stacey

Switched - by HelenKay Dimon
The BLI Holiday Reading Challenge

Challenge Rules:

1. The BLI Holiday Reading Challenge will start on November 14 and will end on December 31.

2. You can read as many holiday themed books for the challenge as you wish, pick your level:

Santa’s Helper: read 1-3 holiday themed books
Serial Mistletoe-er: read 4-6 holiday themed books
Candy Cane-aholic: read 7 or more holiday themed books

3. The books you read for this challenge must all be holiday related books. The holiday doesn’t matter, it can be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc. and the story can have any connection to the holiday (for example set around Christmastime, or having Santa or an elf as a character, the cover being festive, featuring snowflakes, etc.).

4. The format, length or genre of the books do not matter, they can be ebooks, paperbacks, audiobooks, and short stories and novellas do count as well. It’s okay for the book to overlap with other challenges. The only thing is that they can’t be children’s books, but YA novels are good. Re-reads are also fine.

5. Start the challenge by signing up!

Should I read Christmas Male?  (See post below:  It got mixed reviews, but it's D.C. with the Capital Building on the cover - and it's Christmas-y.  And action/drama.  Make it twelve?  Twelve Days of Christmas?)



11/10/2012

The Wrong Bed (...They Wrote Back!)

I previously mentioned (in an asterisk) that I would email Harlequin to ask what the "Wrong Bed" label meant in their Blaze series of romances...

THEY WROTE BACK!

---------------------------------------------------------
CAGirlinDC:
Hello!  I read my first Harlequin (Slow Hands by Leslie Kelly).  What is the wrong bed series, and why is it called that?  Thanks!
---------------------------------------------------------
Harlequin:
Hello Jena,

Thank you for your inquiry.

There are more than 50 Wrong Bed books. Each book opens with the hero and heroine in bed early on in the story. However, they either don't know each other, or they know each other and hate each other. In Leslie’s book, she ends up with the wrong guy, not the one she thinks she’s bidding on at the bachelor auction.

If further assistance is needed, please contact us.
---------------------------------------------------------

I think it's the "more than 50 Wrong Bed books" part that surprises me... so after looking at that google image-search results (for harlequin blaze wrong bed) - I had a good chuckle looking at all of the covers, however, there were three (not in the Wrong Bed category, of course) that IMMEDIATELY jumped out to me:


1 - This one, obviously:

Yes, that is clearly the wrong bed.

2 - This one (from "The Player's Club") because it has San Francisco's most wonderful Golden Gate Bridge (at night!) in the background, and pretty much any image of that bridge will instantly catch my eye and make this Cali girl's heart swoon:

Judging by the look on his face, I'm sure Lincoln doesn't care if he breaks his own rules.

3 - This one (from "Uniformly Hot" - yes, I showed Mike, and we laughed) because it has D.C.'s Capitol Building (also at night!) in the background, and since I see the Capitol Building all over the D.C. area, it's another American architectural wonder that catches my eye:

Christmas MALE - get it?  Like mail - but it's "male" because he's ... alright, moving on.

I guess HQ's response classifies "Wrong Bed" pretty well.  Plus, the fact that a person responded back (not putting her name to respect her privacy) makes me like Harlequin more now.  They really do (truly) have some awesome contemporary romance covers.


11/07/2012

Slow Hands (by Leslie Kelly)


Slow Hands (by Leslie Kelly - for Harlequin Blaze) The Wrong Bed: Again and Again
Conflict:  Big Misunderstanding / Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.


The cover quote from Carly Phillips says "a little outrageous"...  Or how about a whole shit-ton of outrageous?!  (**SPOILERS**)  I have to break this down in a numbered outline to make sure I'm not leaving anything out:

1 - She thinks he's a gigolo (because she won him in a win-a-date-for-charity-auction, and his description in the pamphlet clearly said he was a European jet-setting playboy - of course!).  Actuality:  He is a fun-loving and sensitive average guy - happily devoted to his paramedic EMT job.  Result:  Massive misunderstanding.

2 - They genuinely really like each other, but are too shy/nervous to have a deep heart-to-heart discussion.

3 - So they bone like crazy instead...  (Ok, now I see why Harlequin calls the Blaze series"scorching tales of passion and lust".)

4 - ...and yet... they're still too shy/nervous to have a deep heart-to-heart discussion, with meaningful questions such as "Hey, what do you do for a living?" or "What do you like most/least about your job?" or "What were your past relationships like?"

5 - The next morning he makes a rude comment about him being a manwhore (and she deduces that he just slept with her because she "bought" him, and he couldn't possibly have genuine feelings for her, etc.).  He gets offended, naturally.

6 - She apologizes and then, get this... decides to "buy him again" for 30 days (with the direct intentions of more all-night freak-nasty sexy times).
6a. - That's when it dawns on him that she actually thinks he really IS a gigolo! - and he justifies his withholding the truth from her (that he's a paramedic, not a manwhore), in order to prove to her that true love does exist, and he's the perfect guy for her!
6b. - (And he'll NEVER hurt her.  He'll just wait to tell her the truth when the timing is right, and then she'll understand.)

7 - Outrageous-ness ensues throughout the pages.

I feel split on this one.  So many things bothered me.  The whole "buying" part.  The lies by omission.  (Oooooh, I hate that so much.)  An off-color (non-relevant to the story) homophobic comment.  (Ugh. Seriously wrong.)  And so many times that she/he could have easily interjected and mentioned the truth.  (SO MANY TIMES!)  She thinks he's a European jet-setting playboy, yet doesn't ask him about his travels or his job or daily habits in any detail at all - nothing.  Really?  It's as if they only wanted to talk about boning and have flirty-banter back and forth.  He wants to prove that he'll never hurt her by... lying... to... her?!  Silence with the intention to deceive.

Lastly, the "wrong bed" part on the cover just seems odd.  No one ever wants a fling or encounter to be "the wrong bed".  If someone ever reads this and figures out why Harlequin uses the "Wrong Bed" tagline on the Blazes (or previously on the Temptation series), please let me know!*

Why do I empathize with this heroine:  I don't.  (Except her mother died when she was young.  That's sad.)  She is also some sort of super financial ice queen of Chicago... millionairess with her own penthouse - and she's only 28.  WHAT?!  (Oh, that's right - her job is daddy's banking company.)  She's ballsy and tough.  I get it.

One thing I did like:  Her ice queen attitude throughout the book makes her grovelling at the end that much sweeter.

Overall:   Here's why I'd give another Blaze a try, and/or I MIGHT pick up another Leslie Kelly book.  It felt like insta-lust, but at about 241 pages, I can't complain.  It wasn't until I got to page 200 that I sat up and paid attention to the story (not just hot boning and lies).  The conflict collided, so everything is out in the open and we even had a few plot bombs dropped on us!  Characters were saying the things that I wanted them to say.  Just when I thought the mess wouldn't be cleaned up and none of it would make sense - curve balls came flying in and then everything just fell into place.  I was satisfied with the ending.  (Well done, Ms. Kelly and HQ Blaze! - Except next time, leave out the inadmissible homophobic comments.  That shit is unacceptable and un-necessary for the plot.)


*(Ok, I'll stop being lazy, and I'll email HQ.)

11/06/2012

Lover Avenged & Lover Mine (by J.R. Ward)

After reading 1,257 pages of J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood (Lover Avenged and Lover Mine back-to-back), I need a break...  So much blood and action and... angsty boning...  After this, I'm looking forward to a safe historical - with lots of swooning and scandalous parlor dialogues using SAT vocabulary.


Be warned: Some spoilers ahead.

Lover Avenged (by J.R. Ward)
Conflict:  Big Misunderstanding / Big Secret / Reputation Ruination.  We're talking scandal and drama in the worst way.  The heroine (Ehlena) feels lied to (and she was - it was a lie by omission, although, she's not explaining 100% of her situation either) and the hero (Rehv) couldn't reveal his secret for fear of ruining everyone's reputation/life - AND he is being blackmailed.  No matter how stressful the plot became, I never doubted the intelligence of the couple.  I understood their insecurities, and I still believed/hoped they could find their Happily Ever After.  Even when it looked supremely bleak/dangerous, I kept reading to see what would happen next.

Why do I empathize with this heroine:  She used to be in the upper-echelon of society (the 1%, the glymera), but her family got screwed over, so she struggles/works in an underground medical clinic to support her father (who is schizophrenic or suffering from dementia - but he keeps an amazing anthology of his memories).  She proved to be really strong and level-headed, especially considering she grew up in a society that was so intensely focused on social status and wealth.  I can't recall strongly disagreeing with any of her choices and she didn't irritate me.  I felt the hero and heroine reacted realistically in their situation: they both REALLY wanted to date each other (and be in a committed relationship), but they were too worried about the reputation/ruination conflict if his/her secret was discovered.  (He's a complete criminal and dangerous symphath in the vampire culture.  She is ex-glymera and desperately trying to avoid bringing further shame to her family.)

Overall: Lover Avenged was good - very satisfactory, and it met my expectations for a J.R. Ward BDB book - not to mention crazy sub-plots with villains, politics, and major romantic developments between supporting characters.  (Suprise! - Everyone's got a secret!)  It was enough to make me pick up with the next book right away just to see how the drama would unfold.  Which brings me to the next book...

Have you ever been so far into a saga / soap opera / series that all of the plot lines are running together - and there are certain ones you like more than others...?  (Well, hello there, Lost, Revenge, and Game of Thrones!)  That started happening with Lover Mine... and I haven't read books 4, 5, and 6 in the BDB series (oops) - but these plot lines were stumbling like a clumsy baby fawn all throughout the pages.

Lover Mine (by J.R. Ward)
Conflict:  Big Secret / Soulmate Salvation.  Both the hero (John Matthew) and the heroine (Xhex) have suffered traumas, and only they can understand/heal/bone each other.  It's a bit exhausting at this point, because the reader has known this for so many pages/books in the series, but the hero and heroine aren't quite on the same wavelength yet... so we have to read through 600+ pages of them realizing that only the hero/heroine can complete her/his life.  (I got a lot of mileage out of my Keurig machine.)

As for the plot stumbling like a baby fawn throughout the pages:


First, we're reading about John and Xhex (and their present/past/future - and why they're perfect for each other).
Then, we're reading about Darius and Tohr's prequel adventure.
And we're also reading about Qhuinn and Blay's angsty M/M romantic development (Sure, add Saxton too).
And there's a random ghost-hunters kind of plot line, which involves this a couple at a B&B (which is owned by Murhder - the heroine's ex? So, it's Xhex's ex?)
And then there's Payne and No'One hanging out in the spiritual realm area, feeling all sad and stuff.
And then there's Lash (the on-going villain - aka Tony Montana, aka Smoke Monster from Lost) who goes on the ultimate coke bender...of all time... ever seen in text form... ever.  Like he's already dead (evil-reincarnate dead) and he's still taking lines, and talking about taking over South America's whole export, and ruling the world, and more rape, etc.  One day, if I ever write a villain's post - he'll definitely have a shout-out.  He's the villain-iest.  I think on page 442, I stopped and said, "Damn, Lash!" because it was getting beyond lunatic.

Why do I empathize with this heroine:  Aside from her going through a crazy-traumatic rape/kidnapping experience from Lash (again, see above paragraph - no really)... I guess I admire her strong work-ethic and determination for revenge/closure (assisted by the hero and a few supporting characters.  Teamwork, yeah!).  Empathy is more of an automatic response, since practically nothing has gone right in our heroine's life from day 1.  By the time she gets her HEA with the hero, I felt happy in a "Good, I hope I don't have to worry about you anymore," kind of way.

Overall: Good - but again, lots of plot lines, and "WTH is going on?!" moments - so this one you definitely CAN'T read as a stand-alone.  (You'll need to have read at least the first few books in the series and the one right before this one.)  By the end of the book, I felt so burnt out with all the secrets and everyone figuring everything out (or lack thereof in some plot lines) - so basically, get used to a lot of this:



I just can't pick up the next book right now.  I thought that I could, but I just can't.  Maybe if I was younger, and didn't get tired as quickly after work, but 537 more pages of the emotional BDB roller-coaster and non-stop action/blood/boning.  It IS a J.R. Ward book, so I'm expecting even more drama since there are always cliffhangers and new secrets...  after stopping over at Smexy Books, I see that Lash comes back (after he was already "killed").  I just can't right now.

Who knows, maybe in late February 2013.

11/04/2012

November Reading: 3 for book clubs + 1 for the Brady Bunch


I finished Lover Mine (by JR Ward) and Slow Hands (by Leslie Kelly) - which was a free Harlequin Blaze book - I think it's less than 200 pages (and I think it's free for e-readers).  More on these two coming up.

Here's my current reading list for November (and I don't believe I can finish this by 11/30 - but hey, a girl can dream, after all we did get an extra hour last night...)

A Notorious Countess Confesses (by Julie Anne Long) - YES, PLEASE!  I'm reading her series all out of order, and I don't even care.

Whispering Rock (by Robyn Carr) - already mentioned in the 10/29 post - want to finish this one in time for the Christmas book.

Study in Seduction (by Nina Rowan) - The heroine is a math genius.  It got thumbs down from SBTB, but thumbs up from Dear Author.

Loving Lady Marcia (by Kerian Kramer) - I only bought this one for the cover and the title, and the tagline is what really caught my attention... it's parodied after the Brady Bunch.  No lie.  (The House of Brady.  Everybody loves Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.)  Please, please, please let there be football-to-the-face scene... "Hey, you guys... - OH MY NOSE!"

Season for Surrender (by Theresa Romain) - for the SBTB's November Sizzling Book Club pick, and apparently there are outstanding "library scenes".

The Inconvenient Duchess (by Christine Merrill) - another free book by Harlequin, which is also the November book club pick for Reading Until I Fall Asleep.

A Christmas Carol (by Charles Dickens) - for Book Whore's November book club.  I could seriously read this book out the butt.  Anyone in my nuclear family will testify.  I own all the movies, and I've watched them countless times.  I guess this one can't really count as "reading it", since I practically close my eyes and the story is constantly playing in my head.

I don't think I can get through seven books on top of work, exercise, Thanksgiving coming up, and trying to get more writing in for blog posts... but we'll see.  And of course, if the story is good enough - the timing is never an issue!  ;)