Eight books later, I've brought Romance February to a close with Sarah MacLean's Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake--which I liked but didn't love. It is perhaps the inevitable weariness of immersion in a single genre? I will say that this had the BEST sex scenes of what I've read. In a omigoodness-I-hope-the-person-next-to-me-on-the-subway-isn't-reading-over-my-shoulder kind of way. Howevs, I found the premise--spinster decides to throw caution to the winds and indulge in the harmless vices the men around her take for granted (fence, drink Scotch, smoke a cheroot), winning the heart of a hopeless libertine along the way--historically implausible. I know, I know, the anachronistically feminist heroine is a tried-and-true romance trope, but I felt like Callie would have suffered some kind of consequences risking her reputation, whether major or minor; I mean, she goes alone to a public house and no one hits on her but the hero?!? And again, the reformed-rake hero is par for the course, but I didn't really like this guy, and I don't think that, even today, most gentlemen are attracted to uppity women. (Except for my boyfriend, of course--but it took ages to find him.) I'm also kinda tired of the lady-virgin dude-slut pairing: I liked that in Proof by Seduction and Delicious the women had some experience. I get that in historicals it's more accurate to have an unmarried man have slept around, but it's still infuriating. Are there romances, I wonder, where the heroine has been around the block a few times, and the hero is the blushing man-maiden? Contemporaries, maybe? Or, ooh, like a medieval one where he's a former monk? That would be hot.
Meanwhile, the bf, who loves reading aloud, has taken up a paranormal thriller romance called Captive Heart, about the world's only water Sybil and a tough no-nonsense cop. It is goofy shit, I have to say--every sentence sounds like a tagline, which lends itself well to Chris's reading style. It's not good, but it's fun to share.
I'm now moving on to some other TBRs, but will leave romance in the mix. Next up is Cynthia Leitich Smith's Blessed, third in the trilogy that started with Tantalize--YA vamp fic with just an edge of sexiness and malice. Then I start Anna Karenina! And finish it in a week! I have total faith in myself.