The Complete Reading List by Author

Author Commentary & Tallies Shameful 2012 – 2016

On reading romance: Emotional Version and Pseudo-Intellectual Version.

I buy everything these writers publish. Click on their name to be taken to a summary of their catalogue: Tessa Dare (actually on double-secret probation right now, so not an autobuy, but still an autoread)Laura Florand; Lisa Kleypas; Julie Anne Long; Sarah MacLean; Courtney Milan (Milan is The. Very. Best.)

Recommended books are in bold and reviewed books are linked below, but here is a ruthlessly streamlined recommendations list:
So You Want to Read a (Historical) Romance,
Ten Great Romance Novellas to Get You Started,
and these are Things That Occur to Me While Reading Historical Romance Novels.

In case you’re wondering, I read 416 romances between February 2012 and January 2, 2016.

Alexander, R.G. Ravenous novella (Declan/Trick/Jennifer)
Alexander, Victoria Love with the Proper Husband (Marcus/Gwen)
Alexander, Victoria Lady Amelia’s Secret Lover novella (Robert/Amelia)
Alexander, Victoria The Prince’s Bride (Rand/Jocelyn)
Alexander, Victoria The Importance of Being Wicked (Winfield/Miranda)
Alexander, Victoria Lord Stillwell’s Excellent Engagements novella (Winfield/Felicia&Lucy&Caroline)
Ashe, Katharine In the Arms of a Marquess (Ben)
Ashley, Jennifer The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie (Ian, not surprisingly/Beth) – GENRE OUTLINE
Ashley, Jennifer Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage (Mac/Isabella)
Ashley, Jennifer Many Sins of Lord Cameron (Cameron/Ainsley) – GUILTY PLEASURE
Ashley, Jennifer The Duke’s Perfect Wife (Hart/Eleanor)
Ashley, Jennifer Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift (Ian, Mac, Cam, Hart)
Ashley, Jennifer The Seduction of Elliott McBride (Elliott/Juliana)
Ashley, Jennifer The Untamed Mackenzie novella (Lloyd/Louisa)
Ashley, Jennifer The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (Daniel/Violet)
Ashley, Jennifer Scandal and the Duchess novella (Steven/Rose)
Ashley, Jennifer Rules for a Proper Governess (Sinclair/Roberta “Bertie”)
Ashley, Jennifer A Mackenzie Clan Gathering (Ian/Beth)
Ashley, Jennifer Bodyguard (Shifters Unbound) novella (Ronan/Elizabeth)

The list has gotten SO VERY LONG, please click on the jump.

Continue reading

Author Commentary & Tallies Shameful


My Autobuy List (with Links That Will Take You to a Summary of the Author’s Catalogue)

Tessa Dare (actually on double-secret probation right now, so not an autobuy, but still an autoread)
Laura Florand
Lisa Kleypas
Julie Anne Long
Sarah MacLean
Courtney Milan – The. Very. Best.


Recommended books are in bold.

The (Shamefree) Tally 2016

Last year, this list had only one book and it was an Outlander graphic novel. I am proud of that, although I do have two glorious historical costume books to read and review.

The (Shameful) Tally 2016

  1. Ashley, Jennifer A Mackenzie Clan Gathering (Ian/Beth)
  2. Bryce, Megan To Catch a Spinster (Nathaniel/Olivia)
  3. Bryce, Megan  Some Like It Charming (Ethan/Mackenzie)
  4. Kelly, Carla Beau Crusoe (James/Susannah)
  5. Kennedy, Elle The Score (Dean/Allie)
  6. Leigh, Eva Forever Your Earl (Daniel/Eleanor)
  7. Leigh, Eva Scandal Takes the Stage (Cam/Maggie)
  8. Lin, Jeannie My Fair Concubine (Fei Long/Yan Ling)

Reviews of Pre-2015 Reads (I swear, I will get to this.)

Name Tally June 27, 2015: Simon (9); Alec/Alex (8); James (8); Michael (8); Sebastian (7); William (7); Robert (6); Daniel (5); Jack (5); Benedict, Charles, Colin, Duncan, Edward, Gareth, Harry, Ian, John (4); Andrew, Blake, Gabriel, Jackson, Julian, Lucien, Marcus, Phillip, Phin/Finn, Rhys, Richard, Stephen, Tristan (3); and only one David.

AUTHOR COMMENTARY: The Library/Cheap on Kindle List
Jennifer Ashley –  I love/hate her. An autobuy, if I’m being honest. – CATALOGUE LINK
Mary Balogh – Predictable, but safe, well-written, often lovely
Loretta Chase –  Reliable, sometimes great, wrote one of the all time classics
Meredith Duran – Great character studies
Suzanne Enoch – B+ list
Elizabeth Essex – Potential
Juliana Gray – B+ list, really strong, almost an autobuy
Cecilia Grant – interesting, massive potential, almost an autobuy
Lorraine Heath – B- list, so if there’s absolutely nothing else and it’s free, maybe
Eloisa James – B+ list, “I like Eloisa James, but never as much as I feel like I ought to like her.”
Carla Kelly – Sweet Regency romances, large back catalogue, newer work has Mormon themes
Caroline Linden – Great potential
Julia Quinn – An excellent place to launch your reading. Start with The Bridgertons
Penny Reid – Autobuyish, contemporary, charming and fun heroines, friendships, interesting heroes

Other Authors:
Victoria Alexander – Popular, funny, perfectly serviceable, but not quite.
Elizabeth Boyle – Clever, but I prefer a little more maturity in my protagonists.
Grace Burrows – Popular, plot moppety, into precious bodily fluids.
Gayle Callen – Too serious for my taste, nicely enough written, reasonably romantic.
Kresley Cole – Failed paranormal romance experiment, misogynistic
Gaelen Foley – She used the word “orifice” in a love scene.
Shana Galen – Perfectly pleasant, occasionally quite good, but nothing special Karen Hawkins – Too slow getting going.
Cheryl Holt – Fantastic banter but wildly, distractingly uneven tone, also sexist.
Elizabeth Hoyt – Very popular, not my taste, a little rough for my delicate sensibilities
Sophie Jordan – Consummation on the floor of a rat infested cellar and they were not locked in
Kieran Kramer – Bland. If You Give a Girl a Viscount.
Stephanie Laurens – Tried in 2012. 30 page love scenes. Don’t do it.
Kate Noble – Very good, just not my style: Regency spies, mostly chaste.

Malin has excellent reviews on her site, and a broader range of books.

My Favourite Characters

Reading Lists for 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012 (416 books between February 2012 and January 2, 2016): Continue reading

A Mackenzie Clan Gathering by Jennifer Ashley

Lovehating Jennifer Ashley’s books continues to be my romance reading pleasurannoyance. This entry into her Victorian Mackenzie series (listed below) isn’t even a kissing book, A Mackenzie Clan Gathering is a story about her most popular hero as the writer cashes in on the success of her novels. I don’t begrudge her that, a woman’s got to eat. HOWEVER, however, right off the top, I am saying it: I don’t believe that Jennifer Ashley wrote this book. I think it was ghostwritten. There were telltale stylistic elements that didn’t ring true for my experience of her writing.

From Amazon (notes from me): The Mackenzie clan is about to gather for (loathsome douchecanoe) Hart’s birthday at the sprawling family estate in Scotland (Yay! Do we get to see Cameron and Mac? BOO! Only in passing). But before the festivities can start (the entirety of the book), the house is robbed, and thieves make off with an untold fortune in rare art (for a really stupid reason).

Ian and Beth Mackenzie, who are alone at the castle during the robbery (being perfect and perfectly in love and having perfect children who are each perfect in their own perfect way), must do what they (almost exclusively Ian) can to retrieve the family treasure and find out who is targeting the family (the Mackenzies are aristocratic jerkwads, so there is a Nixon Enemies List worth of suspects). But Ian is distracted by a family friend (Beth’s brother-in-law from her first marriage) who claims he might have the power to “cure” Ian of his madness forever (Ian’s madness is actually something along the lines of autism with social challenges and extensive, varied, and ridonkulous savant elements).

End Amazon. (I’m just getting started)

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie is included on top 10 romance lists and it is everything bad and good about Ashley’s books all at once. The plotting is histrionic, the hero extreme, and the love story surprisingly sincere in a way that both irritates one for being too farfetched and sucks one in because “he loves her so,” and “that’s hot”.  One skips the silly elements on rereading and it helps with the experience considerably. A Mackenzie Clan Gathering takes place a full decade after Ian and Beth’s love story when they are happily domestic and have three children.

The Mackenzie family castle having been robbed, Ian sets out to solve the crime using all the Ian Is Amazing Skills at hhis disposal: He can track a falcon on a cloudy day; play any piece of music on the piano after hearing it once (which is sadly not relevant to the matter at hand); memorize treaties and treatises; build elaborate Rube Goldberg domino machines; remember any conversation he participated in, but not necessarily understand the subtleties of it; he’s a mathematical genius; a crack shot; can improve your odds when gambling; he can hear a noise anywhere in a 25,000 square foot castle and ascertain immediately a) where it came from and b) if it is a threat to his family; he has superior autobiographical memory, and, GOD DAMN, does he love his wife and please her in bed.

Who wouldn’t want to spend more that with that guy? Me. I wouldn’t. The book had no romance plot and all Ian’s cure consisted of was the already known healing power of Beth’s love (redemptive affection plots are Ashley’s bread and butter), getting to the bottom of a conspiracy against the family (also serving to encourage one to read The Stolen Mackenzie Bride) and  reaffirming that the aforementioned skill sets and adoring wife are enough for Ian and he doesn’t need to be fixed.

The Mackenzie Series:
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie – No, but sometimes yes, when I feel like it. He loves her so.
Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage – Occasionally.
The Many Sins of Lord Cameron – Guilty pleasure. I just really like it, okay?
The Duke’s Perfect Wife – No. I loathe the hero.
A Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift – Visits with the ones I like and the ones I don’t.
The Seduction of Elliott McBride – No, I’m proud of the review though.
The Untamed Mackenzie  – novella – NO. Don’t.
The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie – No, but very almost yes, so maybe, plus Lord Cameron.
Scandal and the Duchess – Quite fun, enjoyable novella.
Rules for a Proper Governess Nothing special.
A Mackenzie Clan Gathering – novella – Please see above
The Stolen Mackenzie Bride – Set in 1745, no thank you.

A summary of Jennifer Ashley’s catalogue can be found here. (Hint: That’s all of it right above this paragraph) Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

Only a Promise by Mary Balogh

Oh, Mary Balogh, reading one of your Regency romances is like slipping into a warm bath. Comfortable, always enjoyable and relaxing, you are so wonderfully consistent in your heartfelt stories about broken people finding a kindred spirit to fit their pieces to.

Only a Promise is book six in Balogh’s current series, Survivors’ Club, and one I greatly enjoyed. The full series, so far, is as follows –

  1. The Proposal
  2. The Suitor
  3. The Arrangement
  4. The Escape
  5. Only Enchanting – also particularly enjoyable
  6. Only a Promise
  7. Only a Kiss
  8. Only Beloved

As is the way of things for women in all but certain parts of the modern era, Chloe Muirhead is a victim of circumstances beyond her control. Blessed with the kind of vibrant good looks and vivid red hair that have made men tell her she looks like an elite courtesan (much like that time someone told me, “You have a really nice voice, you should be a phone sex operator”) and a trio of family scandals, Chloe has made not one, but two precipitous departures from London matchmaking seasons. Settled into spinsterhood as the companion of an elderly family friend, it’s not an unhappy arrangement, but neither is it one in which she is particularly content. It will do.

Ralph (which I know is pronounced “Rafe”, but I have to constantly correctly myself) Stockwood is one of the survivors of the series name. He went to war at eighteen with three of his closest friends and came back alone, horribly wounded, and with deep-seated guilt for both his role in convincing his friends to buy commissions and for not dying with them. His recovery was slow and fraught with suicide attempts, but many years on he is once again functioning, although not fully emotionally connected to his life. Like Chloe, Ralph is largely going through the motions, although he is more obviously weighed down by his demons.

When Ralph’s elderly grandmother, and Chloe’s host, summons him for a Your Grandfather Is Ancient, You Need to Marry and Produce an Heir to the Dukedom discussion, Chloe takes a wonderfully bold step. She knows Ralph isn’t looking for a love match and she wants a home and family. She proposes to him. He refuses, then reconsiders. Lickety split, Chloe and Ralph are married, the duke dies, and the two of them are thrust into a new world.  Not only are they negotiating the terms of their relationship, one they had agreed would not go beyond mutual respect and politeness, but also how they’ll function in their public roles.

Ralph is a very closed off character, a polite and dutiful automaton. He’s not cold per se, just distant and unengaged. His unfurling takes time and Balogh gives it to him. Weeks pass instead of the usually compressed timelines in these novels and that’s one more reason Balogh is very good at what she does: People heal slowly. Chloe is likeable, relentlessly capable, and practical, but she has issues eating at her as well and has one fantastic, and I felt realistic, freak out that relieves her character from being too ideal. She’s strong, but she’s not invulnerable. The quietly stalwart and encouraging way Chloe and Ralph support each other confirms how well they match as a couple.

Of the Survivors’ Club series, I enjoyed this book and Only Enchanting the most. Only a Promise did reference a lot of characters from Balogh’s other series and that gave me mixed feelings as I both wanted a visit with the Duke and Duchess of Bewcastle (CLASSIC!) and had trouble keeping everyone straight. There are enough characters in this series to keep track off without bringing in guest stars. I am on my library waiting list for the next book, Only a Kiss, and would buy it immediately if Balogh’s publisher caught up to the rest of the romance world and lowered their prices for e-copies of their authors’ works.

Also by Mary Balogh is A Handful of Gold  for which I created a romance review template.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

Once Upon a Marquess by Courtney Milan

Courtney Milan is the best, the very best, romance writer currently publishing, but she is not perfect and Once Upon a Marquess is a delightfully imperfect novel. Her trademark elements – eloquence, unexpected romantic moments, family politics, deciding for oneself who one will be – are here, they just don’t come together quite as successfully as they have in some of her previous efforts. The first book in her new Worth Saga, Milan is laying a lot of groundwork and she is mostly successful in establishing not only the main characters, but the necessary supporting relationships that leave the reader looking forward to the novels to come. I’d pre-order them now, if I could.

Lady Judith Worth is living in less than genteel poverty after a treasonous father and brother ruined the family name and fortune. At 26, she has held her remaining family together for eight long years through force of will and the kind of determination a general would marvel at. In her care, she has a fourteen year-old sister and a twelve year-old brother. The latter has just come home from a term at Eton, bloodied, bowed, and refusing to return. The former is somewhat spoiled and meant, I think, to come across as eccentric, but I found myself wanting either a fuller explanation for her behavior or some movement towards maturity. I assume both the reasons for her character and the growing up will be ongoing through the series.

Christian Trent, the Marquess of both Ashford and the novel’s title, comes back into Judith’s life when she requests his help. Once upon a time, they were young and in love. Once upon a time, he was asked to press the case against Judith’s brother and he did so successfully. Knowing he broke her heart – and she his – Christian wants nothing more than to do something, anything, to help the Worth family, even if it means keeping himself from Judith. He really does try, but Judith may be practical and managing quite well as head of the family, but she’s still unable to resist to the undeniable chemistry Milan has created for her leads. It handily separates itself from the “his eyes looked into her soul” fare of many genre works and, like real life couples, Judith and Christian have so much fun together and truly revel in each other’s company. Of course, their history stands in their way and Judith is determined to forge ahead on her own, but Christian is the world’s most adorable and charming tortured hero even when his quirkiness can be a bit much.

A complete summary of Courtney Milan’s catalogue, with recommendations, can be found here. Since it’s the holiday season, I’ll specifically recommend A Kiss for Midwinter as both a classic of the genre and one of my top five (three? two?) romances of all time.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare

I have an addition to the Things That Occur to Me While Reading Historical Romance Novels:


Never mind all those times people in these books get down to their skivvies in drafty old manor houses, lust’s powers are even greater than I supposed. How else could a person wearing a linen shift and corset while standing barefoot in a snow squall be aware of anything than the fact that she is bitterly cold? But I have gotten ahead of myself. First an explanation:

Elinora, having written a popular pamphlet reminding women that they don’t need marriage to have value, is on her way to Spindle Cove. Tessa Dare fans know it as the setting of her highly entertaining series of the same name and a hive of unusual, outcast, and delightful young women. Waylaid by coach schedules and finding herself riding in a carriage with the man who rejected her years before, she and the very subject of her pamphlet (“Lord Ashwood Missed Out”) end up needing to spend the night alone together in a shepherd’s hut to last out a winter storm. They have quite a bit to sort through these two and part of it leads Nora following Dash out into the snow scantily clad. Fortunately, they make it back inside and under the covers with reasonable alacrity. Events proceed apace from there.

Being a Spindle Cove novella, the reader gets to visit with Dare’s previous characters – Griff and Pauline; Thorne and Kate; Colin and Minerva; and Bram and Susanna – who  are caught up in  Nora’s impending visit and sexual one-upmanship amongst themselves. More importantly, we get to see Minerva’s sister, Charlotte, who is going to have a book of her own. Huzzah!

Lord Dashwood Missed Out is not a particularly strong novella. My battle with Dare’s insistence that I not only willingly suspend my disbelief, but club it into submission continues. It’s not just that some events are historically questionable, but that they are questionable full stop. I didn’t feel like I ever really connected with the characters, particularly Dash, and as a whole the plot seemed haphazardly joined together. Dare does have a charming novella called The Scandalous, Dissolute, No-Good Mr. Wright which I suggest you read instead.

A complete summary of Tessa Dare’s catalogue, with recommendations, can be found here.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

Boomerang Bride by Fiona Lowe

I am continuing my Harlequin book sale purchase reviews with this contemporary romance from Fiona Lowe. It was sufficiently entertaining for middling escapism, but suffered from being too neat and tidy in its resolutions and characters. I know it’s an escapist genre and I know that contemporary romances often have themes of family healing, but the story suffered from Saviour Syndrome.

Matilda Geoffrey has arrived in small-town Wisconsin from rural Australia in her grandmother’s wedding dress. Owing to grief over said grandma’s death (that’s the rationalization), Tildy has fallen prey to an online huckster who has taken her life savings and left her hanging. To be fair, he had spent three days with her in Sydney before she gave him all of her money, but it’s still a silly macguffin you have to go with to get to the rest of the story.  Baffled and broke, Tildy’s first encounter with an American is gorgeous “Viking” Marc Olsen who has arrived for Thanksgiving with his family. Driving his Porsche all the way from his fancy career as a New York architect, he is not happy to be home and things go from bad to worse when he learns his sister has a potentially life changing illness.

Tildy is a delight, but suffers from surfeit of pluck. Her life has been ruined. She is alone and friendless. She will rise again, but, for heaven’s sake, can she not have a true down or beleaguered moment? I don’t think she even cries, not even after a night sleeping in her car without adequate clothing or being accustomed to a new climate. She handles everything with aplomb. Tildy looks for a job and her efforts turn the local gift shop into a thriving wedding planning business. Tildy needs a place to live and Marc needs someone to help out with his sister’s illness, so she moves in to do the laundry and make wonderful meals and desserts. Marc’s sister needs a caregiver, Tildy is a registered nurse. Marc’s sister is struggling with her new body, Tildy helps a man enamoured of her to press his suit. I kept waiting for the supporting cast to exclaim “THANK GOD, YOU’RE HERE!” as Tildy whirls through their small town reviving its economy, winning everyone over, healing Marc’s family, finding a new partner for his sister, and saving him from a sterile, childless life as an incredibly successful loner.

If you would like to read a similar kind of story wonderfully executed, I highly recommend Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s laugh-out-loud funny romance Natural Born Charmer.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride by Christi Caldwell

Christi Caldwell is a historical romance author I have been meaning to try for a while and the free copy of Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride helped with that considerably.

Pledged to each other as children, Lady Emmaline Fitzhugh and Lord Drake have spent virtually no time together and she is sick and tired of it. Relegated to the sidelines of her own life, Emmaline learns of Drake’s return to London and decides it is time to GET ON WITH IT ALREADY! She doesn’t really question the validity of the match chosen by their parents, she naively believes that she and Drake just need a chance to spend time together and they will naturally fit. What with it being a romance novel, that is precisely what happens and both of them find what they need in each other.

A chance encounter in the street opens the book and proves Emmaline’s mettle as a partner and as a person, but Drake is ready to dismiss her and return to his life of mistresses and routs; however, he has an interfering friend who likes Emmaline and feels she will be good for him. Working in cahoots, Emmaline is assisted in frequently showing up and surprising Drake at social events. He finds himself annoyed and increasingly intrigued by her omnipresence. When he gives in to his feelings, things almost proceed apace, but there is that pesky little matter of the lingering trauma from his wartime experiences. Afraid of what he might be capable and in spite of his feelings for her, Drake makes a valiant and ultimately doomed effort to push Emmaline away.

Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride was a better than average romance and I will seek out more Christi Caldwell books – it seems to me that I have one called A Marquess for Christmas or some such lingering on my Kindle – but I will be borrowing her books rather than buying them for now. Even so, it’s nice to have a new author for my B-list and the promise of a large catalogue to fall back on in a pinch.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

Tank by M. Malone

Contemporary romance’s love affair with billionaire heroes continues. My assertion that being a billionaire is akin to living on another planet and that the transition is not as simple as “now I can afford to buy shoes” continues. In this first book in the Billionaire Bad Boys series by M. Malone, sets up the novels that follow while bring together a big lug and a sweet young woman.

From Amazon (with comments from me): Tank Marshall has anger issues. (He has PTSD, is scary for a living, and keeps weapons in his home.) Years ago he swore off fighting but everything in his life lately is out of control. (Not good for the guy with PTSD). His mom’s cancer is back and the deadbeat dad he hasn’t seen in years is offering an inheritance in exchange for redemption. (As is the way of fiction, he managed to abandon his wife and young sons, spread his seed to others, and make billions at the same time because that last thing is apparently quite straightforward.) So he prowls the streets at night, looking for an outlet for the rage. (He is introduced to the reader while looking for victims to defend and bad guys to pummel.)

There’s only one person that keeps him anchored in the midst of the chaos. One person untouched by violence and money and lies. Emma Shaw. (Redemptive Female – Table for One!)But the one thing that Tank hasn’t learned yet is that when billions are at stake, there’s no such thing as innocent. Because the only woman he trusts is the last woman he should. (This is an overstatement.)

Money. Changes. Everything. (I hear this is true, but would love to test it personally.)

End Amazon
As the first book in Malone’s series, the streets are not paved with gold yet, but Tank and his brother have received some money from their father. Not being stupid and needing to pay for medical expenses (*see photo below), they accepted the money, but being honourable, they are not sure they want to take all of it, or pay the price their dad requires for it, specifically spending time with him. Dealing with his father’s machinations, Tank has been spending a lot of time at his lawyer’s office and is warm for the form of the receptionist, Emma. She, in turn, has noticed him, at 6’5″ it’s hard not to, but he seems like a bad news and she has been trying to resist his weekly dinner invitation. When their paths cross outside the office, their relationship tentatively begins.
Like Tank, Emma has a history of trauma. Her parents were murdered during a home invasion during which she was hidden and therefore spared. Trying to get herself back on track, she wants to return to university with an eye to veterinary college and really needs money for tuition. When the nice old man she brings documents to offers her a MILLION DOLLARS if she can convince Tank to visit and she agrees which is, let’s all admit, a perfectly sensible thing to do. You can imagine what happens next: They fall hard and fast, she learns he is sweet beneath his behemoth exterior – even though the author often conveniently ignores their height difference – and everything is daisies and candy floss for about 10 minutes until all of the sundry plot complications explode simultaneously.
I didn’t dislike Tank,  but I didn’t particularly like it either and at some point I am going to write a diatribe about overkill in romance plotting, but not today as I was more concerned with the ongoing romance trope that violence management issues can be cured by love: “Ever since the beginning, being around you has been one of the only times I feel calm. Happy. You center me, Emma.” Is it her responsibility to keep him that way?  Can his outbursts really be that selective? What happens when he doesn’t feel calm around her? Will it involve all of the guns he keeps in his closet? The reader sees him respond with disproportionate violence when defending people, so how far does “but he would never hurt me” go?
*the photo below
 Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author orAuthor Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

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