Wrapping up NetGalley January

NetGalley January is a wrap. Well, the thing is, January is over, and since the little snowman in the picture says it was NetGalley January, there you are. That’s it for the month.

Those of us signed up for the 2012 NetGalley Reading Challenge are just going to have to soldier on, chortling with glee at all the lovely egalleys NetGalley will be sending us through the rest of the year. Every month can be NetGalley Month.

But back to the wrap. And I must use plastic wrap, since everyone needs to be able to see what I read.

Two books came out of my NetGalley TBR pile from September and October:






In addition to The Black Stiletto, which was fascinating, I also read the start of a very neat new mystery series, The Dharma Detective. I can’t wait for The Second Rule of Ten.



I also read a couple of Regency Romances from relatively new authors that were both a little different from the usual. It’s always interesting to see authors take the standard tropes and stretch the boundaries just a little bit. Or in the case of A Lady Awakened a “lotta” bit.

I read one YA/Cyberpunk that received a lot of buzz, and from the other posted wrap-ups, it looks like I’m not the only one who read Cinder. This title was highly anticipated. (I was turned down the first time I requested it, so I replied directly to the publisher outlining my specific review qualifications and was okayed on the second go-around).

Banshee Charmer is the start of a great new urban fantasy/paranormal series from a brand-new author. The author is doing a blog tour and the book is getting a lot of very nice attention.



I liked the first book in the Dark Dynasties series, Dark Awakening,  quite a bit, so when the second book, Midnight Reckoning listed on NetGalley, I grabbed it. Definitely fun for paranormal romance fans.



And, as always, I rounded out my reading month with titles from Carina Press. The icing on my reading cake: more urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and my science fiction romance fix for the month.










I posted thirteen reviews this month on NetGalley. I did finish a fourteenth book from NetGalley, The Devil of Jedburgh by Claire Robyns. But because I reviewed it for Book Lovers Inc., I can’t post the review on my site until after the review on BLI goes live, and that’s scheduled for February 9. I also finished The Night is Mine by M.L. Buchman sometime the night of January 31, but I can’t swear whether it was before or after midnight. I know that night was his, I just didn’t keep track of how much of it! So there you have it. My tally for this NetGalley Month. It’s all good for the 2012 NetGalley Reading Challenge. And it was all good reading!

A Lady Awakened

A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant is a romance that flies in the face of convention, just like  its main characters do. In fact, this debut romance is so unconventional that reviewers have found it impossible to merely “like” the book.  It’s either been really loved, or practically a “wallbanger” (as in “throw against the wall in disgust”) book. I’m glad I followed my curiosity and read it, the differences made it well worth the time.

Martha Russell is a widow after a mere 10 months of marriage. Her late husband was a drunken fool, but his pride kept him from countermanding her orders for improvements on the estate and nearby village. He was unwilling to admit that he couldn’t remember whether he had given the orders for the school, and the new roofs for the tenants’ cottages, and the other things she thought were necessary. Drunken blackouts, you see.

But driving himself and his carriage into a crash had not been in her late husband’s plans. Nor had it been in Martha’s. Russell had expected Martha to provide him with an heir to his estate, it was why he married her. Russell hadn’t wanted his brother to inherit. Thomas Russell was still remembered around the neighborhood for his abuse of the female servants.

But Martha hadn’t had time to give her husband an heir, in spite of his assiduous efforts in that area, distasteful to Martha as they were. Martha had nevertheless done her duty by him, and dreamed of all the improvements she could make to the estate.

When the lawyer reads her late husband’s will, Martha knows she isn’t pregnant. She’s three days past certain. However, she feigns uncertainty in order to buy time. She’s desperate, and knows there must be a way to keep the demon brother at bay.

In Church on Sunday, the Lord does provide in the form of a handsome and feckless neighbor. Theophilus Mirkwood has been forced by his father to rusticate at their family’s country estate until he learns responsibility. Martha Russell offers to pay him 500 pounds for his stud services, for one month.

Yes, that’s right. She wants him to get her pregnant. He thinks she’s also paying for pleasure. She is absolute dead set against enjoying the act. Martha refuses to surrender any part of her essential self, and that includes her pleasure, to a man she sees as a wastrel.

And yet, this is a love story. It really is. It’s amazing how they get there.

Escape Rating B: This is the first romance I’ve ever read where the sex is not any good for either partner for the first half of the book. It’s an amazing place to start the story. Really, truly. There are a lot of stories where sex turns into love, and stories where the heroine’s first time isn’t so great, but this one is a first. The sex isn’t good for either of them, and it isn’t supposed to be.

This courtship is about a lot of other parts of their relationship. When all of the other issues (and are there ever a LOT of other issues) are resolved, then the issues in the bedroom work out. But this is a romance and not erotica. Love is more important than sex, in spite of where (and how) they start.