The Complete Reading List by Author

Author Commentary & Tallies Shameful 2012 – 2015

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.

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 Bodyguard (Shifters Unbound) novella (Ronan/Elizabeth)

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

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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.

2015 READING LISTS: Recommended books are in bold.

The (Shamefree) Tally 2015

  1. Gabaldon, Diana The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel  Illustrated by Hoang Nguyen

The (Shameful) Tally 2015

  1. Balogh, Mary The Proposal (Hugo/Gwen)
  2. Balogh, Mary Only Enchanting (Flavian/Agnes)
  3. Banner, Darryl Dog Tags (Brandon/Jesse)
  4. Bennett, Sawyer Alex: A Cold Fury Hockey Novel (Alex/Sutton)
  5. Berg, J.L When You’re Ready (Logan/Clare)
  6. Bettencourt, Rick Marketing Beef (Evan/Dillon) BEST TITLE EVER!
  7. Bowen, Sarina Coming In from the Cold (Dane/Willow)
  8. Bowen, Sarina The Year We Fell Down (Hartley/Corey)
  9. Bowen, Sarina The Year We Hid Away (Bridger/Scarlet)
  10. Bowen, Sarina Blonde Date novella (Andy/Katie) CLASSIC
  11. Bowen, Sarina The Understatement of the Year (Graham/Rikker)
  12. Bowen, Sarina The Shameless Hour (Rafe/Bella)
  13. Bowen, Sarina and Elle Kennedy Him (Wes/Jamie)
  14. Burrows, Grace Douglas, Lord of Heartache (Douglas/Guinevere)
  15. Calhoun, Anne Liberating Lacey (Hunter/Lacey)
  16. Callihan, Kristen The Hook Up (Drew/Anna)
  17. Callihan, Kristen The Friend Zone (Gray/Ivy)
  18. Calmes, Mary A Piece of Cake novella (Jory/Sam)
  19. Dare, Tessa When a Scot Ties the Knot (Logan/Madeline)
  20. Darcy, Norma The Bluestocking and the Rake (Robert/Georgiana)
  21. Dev, Sonali A Bollywood Affair (Samir/Mili)
  22. Dune, Lyla Low Tide Bikini (Brock/Sam)
  23. Falkner, Tammy Tall, Tatted, and Tempting (Logan/Kit)
  24. Falkner, Tammy Smart, Sexy, and Secretive (Logan/Emily)
  25. Florand, Laure A Rose in Winter novella (Raoul/Allegra)
  26. Florand, Laura Once Upon a Rose (Matthieu/Layla)
  27. Florand, Laura A Wish Upon Jasmine (Damien/Jasmin)
  28. Florand, Laura All’s Fair in Love and Chocolate novella (Simon/Ellie)
  29. Florand, Laura All for You (Joss/Celie) read The Chocolate Touch first
  30. Ford, Rhys Sinner’s Gin (Kane/Miki)
  31. Frank, Ella Try (Logan/Tate)
  32. Frank, Ella Trust (Logan/Tate)
  33. Grant, Cecilia A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong  novella (Andrew/Lucy)
  34. Guhrke, Laura Lee Catch a Falling Heiress (Jack/Linnet)
  35. Hawkins, J.D. Insatiable 1 and 2 (Jax/Lizzie)
  36. James, Eloisa Desperate Duchesses (Damon/Roberta)
  37. James, Eloisa An Affair Before Christmas (Fletcher/Poppy)
  38. James, Eloisa Duchess by Night (Jem/Harriet)
  39. James, Eloisa This Duchess of Mine (Elijah/Jemma)
  40. James, Eloisa A Duke of Her Own ( Leopold/Eleanor)
  41. James, Eloisa The Duke Is Mine (Quin/Olivia)
  42. James, Eloisa The Ugly Duchess (James/Theo)
  43. James, Eloisa Three Weeks with Lady X (Thorn/India)
  44. Jaymes, River Brad’s Bachelor Party (Brad/Cole)
  45. Jaymes, River The Backup Boyfriend (Alec/Dylan)
  46. Jaymes, River The Boyfriend Mandate (Memphis/Tyler)
  47. Kelly, Carla Libby’s London Merchant (Anthony/Libby)
  48. Kelly, Carla One Good Turn (Nez/Liria)
  49. Kennedy, Elle One Night of Sin (Gage/Skylar)
  50. Kennedy, Elle One Night of Scandal (Reed/Darcy)
  51. Kennedy, Elle The Deal (Garrett/Hannah)
  52. Kennedy, Elle The Mistake (Logan/Grace)
  53. Kelly, Carla With the Ring (Sam/Lydia)
  54. Kelly, Carla Marrying the Captain (Oliver/Nana)
  55. Kelly, Carla The Surgeon’s Lady (Philemon/Laura)
  56. Kelly, Carla Marrying the Royal Marine (Hugh/Polly)
  57. Kelly, Carla The Admiral’s Penniless Bride (Charles/Sophia)
  58. Kelly, Carla The Wedding Journey (Jesse/Nell)
  59. Kennedy, Sean Tigers and Devils (Simon/Declan)
  60. Lauren, Christina Beautiful Beloved novella (Max/Sara)
  61. Lauren, Christina Beautiful Secret (Niall/Ruby)
  62. Lauren, Christina Sweet Filthy Boy (Ansel/Mia)
  63. Lauren, Christina Dirty Rowdy Thing (Finn/Harlow)
  64. Lauren, Christina Dark Wild Night (Oliver/Lola)
  65. Lerner, Rose Sweet Disorder (Nick/Phoebe)
  66. Linden, Caroline When I Met My Duchess novella (Gareth/Cleo)
  67. Linden, Caroline All’s Fair in Love and Scandal novella (Douglas/Madeline)
  68. Long, Andie M. The Alphabet Game (Gabe/Stella)
  69. Long, Julie Anne It Started with a Scandal (Phillipe/Elise)
  70. Long, Julie Anne The Legend of Lyon Redmond (Lyon/Olivia)
  71. Lund, S.E. The Agreement (Drake/Kate)
  72. Lyons, Kathy Two Week Seduction (John/Alea)
  73. Mabie, M. Bait (Casey/Blake)
  74. Merrow, J.L Muscling Through (Al/Larry)
  75. Montgomery, L.M. The Blue Castle (Valancy/Barney)
  76. Milan, Courtney Trade Me (Blake/Tina)
  77. Northcote, Jay First Class Package novella (Jim/Patrick)
  78. Quinn, Julia The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy Smythe-Smith Book 4 (Richard/Iris)
  79. Phillips, Susan Elizabeth Heroes Are My Weakness (Theo/Annie)
  80. Reid, Penny Friends Without Benefits (Nico/Elizabeth)
  81. Reid, Penny Beauty and the Mustache (Drew/Ashley)
  82. Reid, Penny Scenes from the City: A Knitting in the City Surprise
  83. Reid, Penny Truth or Beard (Duane/Jessica)
  84. Reid, Penny Elements of Chemistry (Martin/Kaitlyn)
  85. Reid, Penny & L.H. Cosway The Hooker and the Hermit (Ronan/Annie)
  86. Robert, Katee Wrong Bed, Right Guy (Gabe/Elle)
  87. Simonson, Sheilia Bar Sinister (Richard/Emily)
  88. Ward, JR Dark Lover (Wrath/Beth) – WORST OF THE YEAR
  89. York, Sara Pray the Gay Away (A Southern Thing Book 1) (Jack/Andrew)

Reviews of Pre-2015 Reads:

  1. Ashley, Jennifer Rules for a Proper Governess (Sinclair/Roberta “Bertie”)
  2. Dare, Tessa How to Catch a Wild Viscount (Luke/Cecily)
  3. Dare, Tessa Say Yes to the Marquess (Rafe/Clio)
  4. Donati, Sara Into the Wilderness  (Nathaniel/Elizabeth)
  5. Florand, Laura Shadowed Heart (Luc/Summer)
  6. Kleypas, Lisa Again the Magic (McKenna/Aline)
  7. Linden, Caroline What Happens in London (Edward/Francesca)
  8. Linden, Caroline Blame It on Bath (Gerard/Kate)
  9. Milan, Courtney Talk Sweetly to Me (Stephen/Rose)
  10. Quinn, Julia Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (Colin/Penelope)
  11. Quinn, Julia It’s in His Kiss (Gareth/Hyacinth)

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.

More Author Commentary… Continue reading

Insatiable I and II by J.D. Hawkins

Ladies and gentlemen, I have read about 400 romance novels and seen a lot of tropes, but Insatiable has done it. The hero of this book achieves CLICHE APOTHEOSIS. He is arrogance in human form, a vain, cocksure stereotype.

Insatiable II: Insatiabler was the obvious title for the second book in this duet and a missed opportunity on Amazon’s part, but I’ll still let them set the tone:

Lust-maker. Pleasure giver. Fantasy creator. I can blow your mind in five seconds flat — but trust me, you’ll want this to last all night.

There’s not a woman in the city who can resist me. Except one.

Now she’s got a proposition: Seven days. Every position. No strings attached.

She wants to know what she’s been missing.

Who am I to say no?

Hero Person lives in the most superificial city on earth, Los Angeles, and somehow raises the narcissism bar. Slutboy is perfect looking and clueless, a parody of a confident, successful man. He sends the heroine a picture of his abs while he works out. Faithless Jaden talks about women the way we worry men talk about us by reducing us to our body parts and manifest bangability. His best friend is a dudebro. They surf and choose which chicks on the beach they’re gonna bang. They do the same in bars, but only with the world’s choicest pieces of ass. All of the women stop whatever they are doing whenever Machismo Moron walks into a room, as well as a certain percentage of the men, one assumes. King Stud is the one every man wants to be and every woman wants to be with. Just ask him, he’ll tell you, and if you’re lucky, he’ll magnanimously choose to sleep with you. Tool Time is rich and glamourous, a celebrated architect who built his life up from nothing according to the three seconds of half-assed sympathetic backstory he shares.

Manwhore stops in his tracks when he sees Lizzie, but she’s not single. Don’t worry, the second she is, they get it on. He was about to share his Little Manwhore with another woman, but he casts that loser aside. Lizzie and Cologne Ad start to get busy on their host’s bed at a party because that is how classy grown-ass humans conduct themselves. Vainglorious Asshat is mesmerized by Lizzie and the way she can use him and leave. But wait. She wants something more and he’s fascinated, so the Reformation of a Rake and a Marriage of Convenience turns into the Pig Becomes a Person and Fuck Lessons. She can’t believe her luck. Preenboy is so amazing and he’s chosen her! He’s universally attractive, movie star handsome, and ripped. He even drives a Ferrari. (Red? “Do I look like an amateur?”)

Lizzie has just gotten out of a long-term relationship and wants to learn to be the world’s best lay so she can hold on to the next one. Not that the last one was worth keeping, but the story needed a dated, sexist cliche to latch onto to justify the temporary relationship. Douchecanoe is just the one to teach her the superficial skills she needs to please a man. When Lizzie meets a new guy, of course, he turns out to be all that is boring, traditional, and repressed. Because in all the world, there are only two men: the kind of guy who tosses your salad in a utility closet at a friend’s wedding to show up your ex and his new girlfriend (actual scene) and the beige guy in chinos. But wait. Lizzie’s magical ladyland becomes all Funky Jockstrap can think about. They’ve been together for three days of coitus, he’s managed to sabotage her new relationship, and now he wants a commitment. Can Lizzie trust Lounge Lizard? Can Boastful Beefcake be what she needs?

This story has been done well before. Many times. What those books have and these books lack is a sincere emotional connection for the leads to build on and, no, having relations slowly while  looking each other in the eye doesn’t count.

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

Bait by M. Mabie


A man and woman meet when she is on the verge of getting engaged to her long-term, perfectly nice, boyfriend. Man and woman spark and decide to hook up. They go on with their lives and strike up an increasingly inappropriate, emotional infidelity based, long-distance quote friendship unquote. When they are in the same city they boff, then she goes back to her decent. loyal boyfriend. Then she gets engaged to said boyfriend, so she and the man have one last goodbye boff. Then the woman MARRIES her boyfriend, even after the man shows up on her wedding day begging her not to.  SHE STAYS MARRIED. Man and woman keep their distance until man’s mum dies and woman comes to secretly stay with and comfort him while still MARRIED to SOMEONE ELSE.

I stopped reading Bait about 80% of the way through and discovered that this bullshit continues for two more books – which I did not read – and, from what I previewed, the woman’s nice husband turns into a horrible person as well, I suspect as some sort of device meant to make it not so bad that the man and woman have behaved abominably and it FAILS MISERABLY. Theirs is not some tragic love, their bond defying convention and time. They are vile people indulging themselves at the expense of their ethical obligations as grown ups. Man comes off slightly better than woman, but not by much. Neither one is actually making a sincere effort to live honourably. Breaking up with your nice boyfriend is hard, but not complicated. Marrying him because it is sensible and practical is selfish and mean.

The only bright spot in this book was discovering that there is a cheesecake store in Seattle called “The Confectional” which may be the best bakery name I have ever heard other than the one I have called dibs on for myself: The Butter Tart.

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

Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas

Again the Magic  has all of the trademark Kleypas smolder and charm, but a plotting issue which I feel gets in the way of the novel’s success and frustrated me again on my recent re-read; however, I have returned to the secondary plot several times as it has one of my favourite heroes and is, with The Heiress Effect, the romance for which I really wished a separate novella, or novel, had existed for the heroine’s sister.

Meeting as children, Lady Aline* Marsden and stable boy John McKenna were friends and then lovers (short of consummation) in their teens. Their secret was discovered and they were separated by her dastardly father. McKenna went to Brighton and, later, New York. Aline stayed home with her sister, Livia, and her brother, Marcus (of It Happened One Autumn).  In addition to the emotional blow of losing McKenna, Aline suffered a terrible accident which permanently disfigured her legs. At 31, she has never married and does not intend to. Livia, also unmarried, is still at home because her fiance died and she miscarried their child. First in a socially and then a self-imposed exile, Livia is just about ready to return to the land of the living.

With this set up, McKenna returns to the Marsden’s ancestral home. In the delicious manner of all Kleypas heroes, he is filthy rich, gorgeous, and sardonic; he also happens to be hell-bent on exacting revenge on Aline. You see, she pretended to reject him as beneath her to make him leave. McKenna’s plan is not a great one, just to “use her and leave her”, but the reader knows that these star-crossed lovers are going to get a second chance. The problem with Again The Magic  is that he’s just so grumpy and she’s so stubborn. Her friend actually, specifically, accurately describes McKenna as “sturm” and Aline as “drang”. While their denouement was absolutely swoon-worthy, this is Kleypas after all, they were an annoying couple; HOWEVER…

Traveling with McKenna to the Marsden house party is a blonde god of an affluent American, Gideon Shaw. Seductive, proudly louche, and complicated, he and Livia run into each other and the spark is instant. The amount of love story and chemistry that Kleypas gives them in their brief appearances slayed me. I adore Gideon. He is a high-functioning alcoholic who is aware of his problem, but unsure of what to do, or if he wants to or is, indeed, able to do anything about it. Kind and wry, Livia changes his perspective, not because she magically heals him, but because he realises how much more he can have, if he becomes healthy. I found his character incredibly charismatic and alluring in the way that an alcoholic can be only be in a romance (or Thin Man) novel. Livia and Gideon’s love story did yeoman’s work of helping me get through the main plot. They were so sweet together, without ever being overly so, that I found myself waiting for them to reappear and engage me in the story.

A complete summary of Lisa Kleypas’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.

*Aline – Being uncertain of the author’s intended pronunciation of this name is the pebble in the shoe of my reading experience of Again the Magic.

Ten Great Romance Novellas to Get You Started


  1. Ashley, Jennifer Scandal and the Duchess  – enjoyable
  2. Dare, Tessa The Scandalous, Dissolute, No-Good Mr. Wright  – fantastic
  3. Dare, Tessa Beauty and the Blacksmith – fun, bring your willing suspension of disbelief
  4. Duran, Meredith Your Wicked Heart  – such fun
  5. Grant, Cecilia A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong – very good
  6. Hoyt, Elizabeth The Ice Princess – nice version of a common trope
  7. Milan, Courtney A Kiss for Midwinter CLASSIC as a novella and of the genre


  1. Bowen, Sarina Blonde Date CLASSIC new adult, a perfect novella
  2. Florand, Laura All’s Fair in Love and Chocolate – fun, quick, light, steamy

PARANORMAL – It’s not my cup of tea, but this could help you determine if it is yours.

  1. Cole, Kresley The Warlord Wants Foreverplenty of THUNDER SEX™!

I also have a ruthlessly streamlined recommendations list: So You Want to Read a (Historical) Romance.

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

Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy

This is my first Australian romance, plus it’s about two men, neither of them are confused about their sexual preference, and it was written by a man. Huzzah!

From Amazon: The most important things in Simon Murray’s life are football, friends, and film—in that order. His friends despair of him ever meeting someone, but despite his loneliness, Simon is cautious about looking for more. Then his best friends drag him to a party, where he barges into a football conversation and ends up defending the honour of star forward Declan Tyler—unaware that the athlete is present. In that first awkward meeting, neither man has any idea they will change each other’s lives forever… But as Simon and Declan fumble toward a relationship, keeping Declan’s homosexuality a secret from well-meaning friends and an increasingly suspicious media becomes difficult. Nothing can stay hidden forever. Soon Declan will have to choose between the career he loves and the man he wants, and Simon has never been known to make things easy—for himself or for others.

Wry and self-deprecating, Simon narrates the story and is a funny and engaging hero. Tigers and Devils is more of a (very enjoyable) love story than a romance novel. Let me see if I can explain what I mean by that. I make no promises.

  1. Simon and Declan fall hard and fast.
  2. Their relationship is largely long distance in the early days. Declan plays for a football (Australian, obviously) team in Tasmania and Simon works in Melbourne.
  3. The reader is told a lot of the early relationship, but the swoony part is largely passed over.
  4. The bulk of the story focuses on the issues they face as a couple as opposed to anything that slows them down from becoming a couple.

Tigers and Devils’ supporting characters were well fleshed out and Simon and Declan felt like real people. Sean Kennedy is a really good and diverting writer, but I could have done with a little more romance. I started it with a sample, then I bought the book, but felt no need to continue on to the following two novels. Tigers and Devils succeeded as a novel about two people falling in love, but I was looking for more of a classic genre romance.

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

A Piece of Cake by Mary Calmes

This novella from the A Matter of Time series was a heightened reality ball of fluff that catches the two leads’ story in media res.

From Amazon: After years of domestic partnership, Jory Harcourt and Sam Kage are finally going to make it official in their home state of Illinois. It’s been a long and rocky road, and nothing—not disasters at work, not the weather, not a possible stalker, not even getting beat up and having to attend the ceremony looking like he just got mugged—will make Jory wait one more day to make an honest man of the love of his life.

A well-intentioned trouble magnet, Jory is kind of guy who things happened to. He and law enforcement official Sam have had a civil partnership and an out-of-state wedding, but now that marriage has become legal in their home state, they plan to marry again. They have two young children and are surrounded by a diverse group of friends and family. It’s a world in which billionaires and cops not only socialize, but also marry.

While Jory is busy being accident prone, Sam cleans up his messes and there is a subplot about something something stalked and/or killer on the loose which climaxes on their wedding day. I think if you were in the mood for some happy, pure escapism with a dose of adventure, this series might be for you. It wasn’t especially good, but it was kind of fun.

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

Libby’s London Merchant and One Good Turn by Carla Kelly

Libby’s London Merchant and One Good Turn  are connected novels and more lovely, consistent, sincere stories from Carla Kelly. Clearly, I am going to read and find something to enjoy in every Regency romance novel in her catalog. This time, my attention was again captured by Kelly’s consistent strengths and minor imperfections (the enjoyable prose; the successful historical setting; her belief in the inherent goodness of people and it’s power to improve lives; her fascination with military history; and, her ability to create truly dastardly villains and then redeem them too easily), as well as the very first time I read a romance and wasn’t sure which man the heroine was going to end up with. Spoilers necessarily follow.

Libby’s London Merchant Continue reading


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