I promise to get back to posting more regularly and, therefore, writing a little more in depth, but I decided to take a mini-break from reading my September ARCs (with a couple of exceptions) and just read for pleasure. But, this also meant I didn't feel compelled to get my thoughts down in writing right away.
'Birds of Paradise' Diana Abu Jaber: I've been getting a lot of women's fiction sent to me recently, and I'm not sure why. I don't dislike it, but it isn't my first choice of reading material. Anyway...This is a good mother-daughter story that, in my opinion, was elevated above the crowd by its lush descriptions of pastries and the Florida fauna. There's some good relationship stuff here, but I wish the men were more fully realized characters, rather than seeming to exist only to serve as foils for the women.
'Icebreaker' Dierdre Martin: I didn't hate it, but it never quite gelled for me. I never got fully invested in the romance or cared if either the hero or heroine got their HEA, which is not what I want or expect from a Romance novel. And, on a side note to Ms. Martin and other similarly misguided writers: There are some females who find the Stooges funny.
'Kitty and the Midnight Hour' Carrie Vaughn: After reading ARCs for the two upcoming Kitty Norville books, I thought it was time to go back and read the first Kitty novel. Strangely, I'm glad I didn't start here, because I don't know if I would have continued with the series. It wasn't bad, it just didn't grab me and make me feel compelled to keep reading more about this character. But, I liked seeing how Kitty first met Cormac and, basically, how she got to be the Kitty she is now.
'A Lady's Lesson in Scandal' Meredith Duran: I don't have a lot of "keeper shelf" Romance authors, but Meredith Duran is one. This story was a little Eliza Doolittle and a little Anastasia and even a little Dickens. In spite of that, it mostly avoided falling prey to cliche, except near the end when there was an ill-conceived and fairly well unnecessary kidnapping. I don't think this was her best work, but it was still really good and reminded me why she earned one of the limited spaces on my "keeper shelf".