When I decided to join this challenge I was looking for something to make my months more fun and I confess it was always quite the eagerness to start the book for the month. Obviously all the books were new stories for me and although I knew about some of the author's styles, the plots and characters were always a surprise in waiting. Sometimes I had luck, others not so much. But the goal here is to read, not to be with only magnificent books..although that's an appealing thought!
Thanks to Wendy for the challenge itself and once more, to Hilcia, for it was in her blog I knew about this in the first place!
As for the books chosen, here are just a few words about them...
January: The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan (novella)
This story was very interesting and well written, although a little something in one of the main characters put me slightly off. A governess demands satisfaction from her previous employer about her work and his man of affairs is told to take care of it, but...things aren't as simple as that. This is the beginning of a great series which I kept reading and loving!
February: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie (recommended by friends)
This one is so well raved by many readers of romance, some people told me I would love it and I did. It's the story of two different people with apparently nothing in common who agree afetr a disastrous first date not to see each other again..but fate has another plan for them. Witty and fun, what a story!
March: Embrace Me at Dawn by Shayla Black (the most recent in the Doomsday Brethren series)
This wasn't as captivating as I thought, considering I'm a fan of the series. A man tortured after a terrible loss tries to regain his wife's forgiveness and love but she is changed, which means new experiences and paths for them both until they reach happiness. Apart from the apparent change of personality from one book to another in the main female protagonist, all the usual from a paranormal.
April: The Wild Marquis by Miranda Neville (new author to me)
This one wasn't bad but I had high hopes for it. The plot wasn't as amazing as that even with the bookish themes in there. A woman starts working for a titled noble to find out some rare books he wants. In the meantime they fall in love and have to deal with others bent on finding the same books. A bit of a disappointment.
May: The Naked Duke by Sally McKenzie (more than 1 book by her to read)
I thought this would be a funny but special read. Instead, I had a story of a silly woman from America coming to meet her family but finding an even sillier duke before that. They start a relationship at some point but honestly I wasn't very impressed or interested. I know it had some good details and well explored but overall a major disappointment.
June: Morning Glory by Lavyrle Spencer (it won a RITA)
This was in my radar for a long time becaue it had poor heroes and usually I love stories where they don't have much but are humble and good people. The romance between and ex convict and a widowed single mother others thing crazy more than captivated me, I was amazed by how much loved these two characters trials until they got their HEA. Wonderful!
July: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (it's a classic romance alright)
This is a classical author and one whose work I enjoy quite a lot. I immediately thought of her when I saw this theme and I did like the story of Fanny and how she had to deal with people whose behavior wasn't humble or morally acceptable and how difficult it was for her to show the man she loved things only had to be simple between them. It was a very interesting read but not as good as some of the author's works.
August: Cooking Up the Storm by Emma Holly (erotica read)
This is an erotic story which I picked because it talked about a chef and right now I'm all into those ind of shows on tv. Anyway, this is the story of a chef coming to a city where he hopes to work at a restaurant and eventually buy it from the owner. But he falls in lust and later with love with her so he changes his mind eventually. Lots of sexual positions and partners in this one. Not what I'm into these days so it wasn't as special as that but I can't say it was bad for what it aims for.
September: Montana Man by RC Ryan (western)
Hum...I already forgot what this one is about, I only recall a man who loved a girl and she left, he wanted to forget her, now she's back and they fall in love again. Don't like lovers reunited at all, but as always we think THE book can change our mind...oh well, not this one for me.
The biggest disappointment.
October: Water Bound by Christine Feehan (paranormal suspense)
This book was good enough for hat I expected of it. Although very much into the usual trademark of the author, not worthy feeling like characters who have a common goal at one point and eventually fall in love forever. Lev and Nikki have secrets, mostly Lev, but together they find out they're stronger and after dealing with an enemy who wants to ruin their lives, they get their HEA at last. Good but not impressive.
November: The Witness by Nora Roberts (a book very talked about when it was out)
This one is a winner, I love the author's work, she was my first addiction in terms of romance novels and I'll aways cherish her name for that. This story is powerful, it's about a woman who saw what she shouldn't as a teenager and now that she's a grown up she's still hiding until a police officer gets himself into her life. Together they'll hunt the bad guys and live happy ever after. Perfect story and telling!
December: Western Winter Wedding Bells by Cheryl St John, Jenna Kernan, Charlene Sands
This one was good overall, one story better than the others. All of them had the Christmas in the horizon and a wedding too. All three stories had strong main characters looking for happiness and being special in their own way. The second story was my favorite about a young women considered a thief but innocent who lies to a sheriff to be his governess. Funny, sweet and romantic in my opinion.
-> So, in the end, this was fun, interesting and a joyous experience and that is why I'll go for it again next year, hopefully with another set of good books to pick and enjoy during that.