Recommended reading and an ever growing library TBR

It’s Wendy the SuperLibrarian’s Reading TBR Challenge time again and this month the theme is a book that has been recommended to you. Now most of my library loans tend to be the books I have sought out due to someone’s recommendation. I am loathe to spend money on a recommendation unless I have tried it first as I read way too much to purchase books without a thought. I am soooo far away from a One-Click reader but I do end up chasing library copies down constantly and this leaves me with reader anxiety.

A fortnight ago I stood at my shelves looking at my library loans trying to decide what I was going to read next when I was overwhelmed by the number of books I had amassed. With 28 library books to choose from, I knew I had reached that moment of terror that so many avid readers experience – I was about to declare reading bankruptcy and return every single book to the library just to rid myself of the pressure of reading and reviewing each one. And then I realised – I am a shallowreader and I don’t need to engage with my books in a critical manner. I just need to read them. So I embarked on a book-a-day reading bonanza! As of today, my library loan TBR now stands at 18 items! Yay! Of the 10 books that I read recommendations came from that wonderful (and at times scary) space Twitter where I have met so many like-minded readers who have recommended these authors to me such as: Miss Bates and Roz and Anna Campbell and Rachel Bailey and SuperWendy herself as well as probably many other people. And I thank them all! And yes – I will quickly run through all 10 books that I read:

Molly O’Keefe

His Wife for One NightHis Wife for One Night

So this one had a mashup of my favourite tropes: friends-to-lovers, marriage-of-convenience, cowboys (well…cowgirls?). Jack had married his BFF Mia 5 years earlier but he is a bit thick and doesn’t pick up on her “I lurve you” vibes until she asks for a divorce and suddenly they are having hot sex. Mia walks out on him and there is a big bomb blast and lots of damaged characters and lots of healing to be had. It was an angsty read and despite some loose ends that I would have liked to have seen resolved, I enjoyed this book and I particularly liked its ending.

Tyler O'Neill's RedemptionTyler O’Neill’s Redemption

An old-love-rekindled trope. This book had a lot going on with the hero Tyler’s criminal parents constantly putting him in a tenuous position with heroine Juliette who loved him desperately when they were in their late teens. I love books that explore moral ambiguities and Tyler certainly was this. He lies constantly to the heroine but this doesn’t make him a bad person as his lies are a consequence of covering for his family and a fault of mislaid loyalties. Juliette herself is professionally ambiguous and is pulled up on her mistakes too.

 

 

Sarah Morgan

Christmas Eve: Doorstep DeliveryChristmas Eve: Doorstep Delivery

I absolutely adored Sarah Morgan’s Playing by the Greek’s Rules and so I am chasing down Morgan’s backlist which is the only reason that I read this title as I’m not a big fan of medical romances. The few I have read have been okay but I rarely seek them out. However, this was a rare Sarah Morgan held by the library so I reserved it. I liked the heroine Hayley in this book. There can be no hidden agendas with someone as open and gormless as she comes across but she also was just so sweet. The thing about Hayley is that she is only ever quiet when she desperately needs to confide in someone. Hero Patrick is a cool dude too. He is divorced, has custody of his two children and is an obstetrician in the Lakes District. He and Hayley meet and have a one-night stand before the book begins and their story kicks off when Hayley turns up searching for the hot guy she slept with to discover he has a full family. Just like in romantic suspense, I felt that the medical dramas contribute too much plot for the short form of a category romance and this detracts from the necessary character development needed in romance fiction. Though I liked both the medical plot and the romance plot of this book ultimately, I found the book much more twee than I like to read.

 

Woman in a Sheikh's WorldWoman in a Sheikh’s World

Meh. Sheikh’s are perhaps my worst trope. I rarely pick them up because I have such big issues with whitewashed characters from fake Middle-Eastern countries. I struggled through this book. I was especially annoyed that the hero’s name Malik – which I love love love (it was  my male best friend from high school’s surname and the name we mostly used for him) and it was destroyed by being nicknamed/shortened/Anglicised to the odious name of Mal which just made me think of the Australian Prime Minister. This is not a good thing. On the plus side – how awesomely hunky is the hero on the cover! He’s rockin’ the Sakis Rouvas look a la shirt down to the fourth eyelet growwwwl!

 

A Night of No ReturnA Night of No Return

I really enjoyed this book which had everything I love in a great Mills & Boon.

It had a rural English setting – TICK!

Getting it on with the boss – TICK! (though there is NO WAY that this would get a tick in reality – gross!)

Stuck in a blizzard – TICK!

Complex family issues causing relationship angst – TICK TICK TICK!

This book starts out with a stressed out hero trying to escape his demons. He drinks himself stupid, passes out and when the heroine arrives he is mean and horrid until the sparks fly. As the story develops, they each discover they both have had damaging events that mean that they need to reassess their own lifestyles. I liked this story but I wish the ex-wives of these characters weren’t demonised so much. It is rather annoying.

 

Jennifer Hayward

An Exquisite ChallengeAn Exquisite Challenge

I really enjoyed Hayward’s The Italian’s Deal for I Do and I have been reading her backlist looking for the same book feel ever since with no success. This is the fourth title by Hayward that I read and sadly it left me flat. The world of wine espionage and PR press does nothing for me, I didn’t feel that there was a genuine tension between the protagonists and though I did finish reading the book it bored me (just a tad). The other thing is – what is up with the male model on the cover!? He looks all of 20 years old. He could be any one of my uni students. He is, as my Yiayia used to say, a ‘koutsko (colloquial Greek for a bubby babe, wee bairn, lil’ one) and far from the high flying 30+ year old hero depicted in this book (and why is he holding her head?).

 

Yes, I did read 4 more books but the rest were titles that I recommended to me so I won’t write about them here. They were: an exquisite travel journal, 2 Lynne Grahams and an Anne McAllister. My reading bonanza is over. Even though I still have 18 books are still waiting for me – Tessa Dares, Mary Baloghs, Sara Cravens and Eloisa James – they are all going back. I have chosen to declare bankruptcy on all but 2 of them – an interior decorating book and Rachel Gibson’s What I Love About You. My next work shift will see me returning the lot but no doubt I will borrow plenty more to replace them as I am always finding books that have been recommended to me. If you are one of the many people who have recommended  a read to me – I thank you. And if not, feel free to suggest one in the comments.

All the books reviewed have been borrowed from a public library in New South Wales

 

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5 thoughts on “Recommended reading and an ever growing library TBR

  1. What a great idea! I so sympathize regarding the reader anxiety toward the TBR. I often wonder why in the world I’m looking for more books every week when I have so many yet to read. I just can’t help myself. Maybe we’d all taper down our piles if we looked for more than one book to match the theme each month. What was the title of the travel journal — they’re another favorite of mine. Yes, I’m looking to add another book! hahaha

  2. I’ve read a number of these already! His Wife For One Night was my first ever read by O’Keefe and I got positively stupid over that book. I squee’d about it to everybody. There is a follow-up book featuring Mia’s sister – His Unexpected Family. It resolves a lot of the family drama leftover from HWfON. The other O’Keefe you read is in my TBR still.

    I picked up a bunch of Sarah Morgan’s medicals when Harlequin had a big sale. Not sure if I have that one? I’ll need to check.

    Morgan’s sheikh book – I liked it, but didn’t love it. Sheikhs aren’t a favorite for me either (for all the reasons you stated!) – but Morgan and Maisey Yates are the two authors I like who write sheikhs on occasion Oh! And Marguerite Kaye has written historical sheikhs for Harlequin Historical. I’ve liked those too – although I haven’t read the new one yet.

    I loved A Night of No Return – but it’s a boss/secretary romance so there you have it. Pretty sure this one won a RITA?

    I’ve never read Haywood but I’m almost positive I picked up The Italian’s Deal for I Do as a conference freebie. Will need to check my print pile…

    • I’m going to have to look your reviews now 🙂 I adored that the hero was comfortably celibate for 5 years in HWfON.

      I don’t have much experience in the Sheikh reading. Perhaps there are fairer treatments that I am unaware of. I was surprised with Lynne Graham’s The Sheikh’s Secret Babies as the hero does pray with his imam before his wedding. This was a first for me (maybe there are more out there that other readers will happily share with us).

      And I am totally with you re the boss/secretary romance. One of my first and favourite Charlotte Lamb’s Obsession. Also, my mum married her boss – my dad 😀 (not secretary though) so perhaps it is a family thing 😉

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