Always On My Mind

Jill Shalvis

One of my favourite romance series is Lucky Harbor. Set in an idyllic seaside town in the Pacific Northwest the books jump from resident to resident as they find love.
This book finds talented baker Leah falling for firefighter and best friend Jack. It's actually a fake dating story as Leah tells Jack's ailing Mother Dee that they're together to make her happy.
It's got a small arson subplot to add to the action but it's mostly confused mutual pining.
It's full of clichés and the writing never elevates above readable but it's a fun read and if you like a sweet contemporary romance this is a good one.
Read before but not reviewed in the 2014 epic romance binge.

Rating: C+



You Drive Me Crazy

Anna Premoli

Maddison works in mergers at a corporate bank. She'd much rather be set free to shop using the money of whichever rich guy she can snag.
She applies for a transfer to the bank's New York office and instead finds herself being sent to Seoul.
Shocked by the culture clash and her stern new boss (and next door neighbour) she begins to grow as a person and to take a chance at real love.
The characters in this are pretty cardboard and the plotting incredibly by-the-numbers but occasionally the dialogue crackles into life enough to be enjoyable.

Rating: C+



The Royal We

Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

heather-cocks-jessica-morgan-theroyalweThis is a soapy romance novel telling the story of an American exchange student who falls in love with a future British King.
Basically it's an AU version of the courtship of the Cambridges.
This book has been really popular with one of my online communities. Honestly I didn't really enjoy it very much. I'm guessing it plays better if you're American and have a really romanticized version of Royalty in your head.
I have no romantic notions regarding the Royals and very limited sympathy for them.
If you like a competently written contemporary romance about royals then this might be for you.

Rating: C+



Snow Crystal Trilogy

Sarah Morgan

sleigh bells in the snowThis is a competent trilogy of romances set in remote ski resort, both in winter and summer. Individually they tell the story of the three brothers (two of whom are twins) who own the resort as they fall in love with various degrees of reluctance.
The best part about the books is the brothers' crazy family.
The summer book is a bit weaker than the other two as it lacks a satisfying resolution to a key subplot. It gets and individual rating of C. The other two books share the collective rating of C+.

Rating: C+



Romancing The Duke

Tessa Dare

Romancing the DukeTypically if I'm reading a romance I'm looking for a contemporary piece preferrably one with some humour.
I only read this competently written historical romance because of an intriguing online recommendation that talked about this book's depiction of fandom in glowing terms.
This seemed a good enough reason to give Romancing The Duke a try.
The heroine is the penniless daughter of a famous writer who made a fictional version of her younger self the star of his novels.
She inherits a castle from a family friend, a fan of the novels. Only to discover that the castle is falling to bits and is still occupied by a blinded Duke who claims the pile is still his.
The fandom bits are the best thing about the book.
I liked the way the author captured the burden and privilege of having a popular public persona.
As examples the limits on who the heroine can appear to be in public and the absolute loyalty she can call on from the fans of the books.
I've definitely read worse romances and if you have a background in fandom and a weakness for historicals then you'll lap this one up.

Rating: C+



The Belgariad

David Eddings

pawn of prophecyThis five volume series is an expertly and cynically constructed slice of epic fantasy.
Nearly every clichéd trope of the genre is trotted at one point or another but the sheer pace of storytelling stops it from becoming boring.
I've read this series many time but even after all this times I find myself enjoying some of the characters and rooting for the (inevitable) happy ending.
It's outdated, generic as all hell but it's one of my comfort reads.
If you're looking for a quick, easy-to-read fantasy fix then this is an acceptable option.

Rating: C+



Barefoot Season

Susan Mallery

Barefoot SeasonThe first of a trilogy set on Blackberry Island in Washington State.
This tells the story of a returning injured army veteran trying to take over the reins of the hotel she inherited.
This brings her to loggerheads with her ex-best friend.
Decent romance novel with an enjoyable emphasis on female relationships over the actual romance stories.

Rating: C+



Married For Christmas

Noelle Adams

married for christmas

Rating: C+



Kiss An Angel

Susan Elizabeth Phillips


Rating: C+



Lois Lane Tells All

Karen Hawkins

lois lane tells all

Rating: C+