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Rose Lerner

I love books! I also write them. FYI: I use this space for recs of books I wholeheartedly love only. My recs are honest, but I have social relationships with some of the romance authors whose books I rec. 

Damned if You Do - Olivia Waite Oh wow. This story was awesome. The sex was hot (REALLY hot), the romance was sweet (REALLY sweet), but my very favorite part was the humor, which was brilliant. Olivia Waite is fun and creative and fresh, not to mention an extremely talented writer. I can't wait to read the rest of her stuff (plus the companion story, which I hope is about the hero's ex-girlfriend!).
Unraveled - Courtney Milan I've loved ALL of Courtney Milan's books, but this was easily my favorite. I am so madly in love with Smite, I can't even tell you. Seeing him learn to express his feelings was...I have no words. There was a scene with his older brother that had me in tears. I absolutely loved the stuff about his profession as a judge, too--I can't even remember the last time I read/watching a legal storyline this believable and compelling. And all the secondary characters were so charming! I continue to adore Richard Dalrymple particularly, but OMG EVERYONE.

I haven't stopped thinking about this book since I read it. I turned around and made my roommate read it the next day just so I could talk to her about it. (She loved it too.)
No Proper Lady - Isabel Cooper This book was AMAZING. All I want to talk about right now was how great this book was. The characters are amazing, especially Joan, who is so strong and tough and liberated and when she cried and said she wanted her mother I got all choked up. The worldbuilding is wonderful. The way she sets up the time-travel elements and shows someone from the future reacting to the Victorian Era was fantastic. I've always loved time travel stories but this might be the best one I've read. And the writing was just brilliant and heartbreaking and charming and funny.
The Gamble - Joan Wolf This book made a HUGE impression on me in high school. I had a blast re-reading it, and Philip was just as dreamy as I remembered.
The Duke of Shadows - Meredith Duran I loved this! I was riveted from the first page, especially by Emmaline and her incredible POV. And I really liked the way the India setting was used.

Time Management for System Administrators

Time Management for System Administrators - Thomas A. Limoncelli This book is changing my life as we speak. I'm not a system administrator but I think the advice is great for anyone who does self-directed work (for me, writing). It's very straightforward, practical advice. I highly, highly recommend it.
The Black Hawk - Joanna Bourne It was wonderful to see more of Justine and Adrian. I love these characters so much, and they love each other so much, and <333! I've been waiting for this book a long time, and it was worth it!
The Dragon and the Pearl - Jeannie Lin This book is perfect. Every moment is mesmerizing. The tension and growing tenderness is palpable between these two very controlled, yet lonely and vulnerable people. Neither believes they have anything to look forward to, and it was wonderful watching them dragged towards happiness while they squeezed their eyes shut and dug in their heels. I just...I can't even talk rationally about this book, I loved it so much. There are so many perfect little moments, and Suyin and Li Tao are brilliant, compelling characters, and they are incredibly sexy together in an all-the-more-intense-for-being-slightly-understated way. [WARNING: MINOR SPOILER] And then he gave her a tattoo! Talk about a good surprise.
Unclaimed - Courtney Milan Courtney Milan is a genius in many ways, but one of my favorite things about her writing is the sheer depth of longing in her books. I bought Mark and Jessica as meant for each other within seconds of them meeting, their connection was so intense and real. And I felt Jessica's bitter loneliness in my bones. This moment killed me:

"When she'd first tried to seduce him on that long-ago night, he'd grinned at her and told her he rather liked himself. And that, more than Weston, more than her reputation and all her fears for the future, seemed a suddenly unbridgeable gulf.

She loved him. But she would never like herself."

I loved all the minor characters, and it was great to see the Turner brothers again, and <33333333. And even if none of that were true, I would have loved the book anyway solely for the moment when Mark's fangirls stop trying to marry him themselves and start rooting for him to hook up with Jessica. So awesome!
Season for Temptation - Theresa Romain This book was AWESOME. Funny and good-hearted and sexy and did I mention funny? Julia is one of those awkward, quirky, enthusiastic heroines who says whatever comes into her head, which is a type I love, but I'm not sure I've EVER seen it done so convincingly, organically, and charmingly as it is in this book. I wanted her to be my friend within five seconds of her walking onto the page. And the author managed something very delicate--a hero who's engaged to the heroine's sister--while still keeping the hero and heroine nice, upstanding people. James was so adorable! Look at this:

"The night ended late, with much dancing followed by a spirited and not precisely proper game of charades. Lord Xavier had apparently determined all the clues with the help of several other eager young gentlemen, because the company found itself acting out 'Madame de Pompadour,' 'Mrs. Fitzherbert,' 'Nell Gwyn,' and a series of other royal mistresses. Lord Xavier's eyes glittered with amusement at the young ladies, especially, as they attempted to create a tableau that would reveal the answer without compromising propriety.

"James thought this not quite well done of the man, but had to admit that he himself seemed to be the only gentleman[...]not laughing uproariously and having an excellent time."

It takes a really decent guy to have the social courage to be flatly unamused by douchy BS like this (and yet it really is funny! I'm excited to see more of Lord Xavier too).

I can't recommend this book enough--each satisfyingly familiar romance trope and character type felt totally fresh, like taking a favorite dress, turning the fabric, and resewing it in a flattering new style. (Not that that's something I've ever done, but I've read it in plenty of romances!)
Silk Is For Seduction - Loretta Chase Yay! I love heroines with professions, and this was a great one. I especially loved Lady Clara, and the duke's growing interest in ladies' dressmaking. He made notes in the margins of fashion magazines! Adorable.
Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith Quartet) - Julia Quinn Wow, I love this series idea! The Smythe-Smiths are AWESOME. Honoria and Marcus were completely adorable (I really loved her commitment to the musicales despite their badness and that he had come to all of them without KNOWING she knew they were bad) and I can't wait to read the rest. (I hope Hugh Prentice is the hero of one of them!) Also, I cried like a little baby cow when Honoria's mother said, "I've lost one son already."
One Dance with a Duke - Tessa Dare Loved loved loved Amelia! Heroines who are determined to always be useful and are terribly afraid of being emotionally vulnerable to the hero are my favorite thing! (Well, one of them. I have a lot of favorite things!) Her and Spencer both broke my heart. Tessa Dare's characters are always so, so human. Amelia being the first person to notice Spencer's giant-softy romantic side (which he had never even seen the obvious signs of before) was especially fantastic.
A Lady's Lesson in Scandal - Meredith Duran Meredith Duran continues to be one of my very favorite romance authors writing today. She is a brilliant writer, and this book was amazing. I think I cried about four or five times. And it was wonderful to see a Cinderella/My Fair Lady story that really explored what it would be like to move from rags to riches--the bad as well as the good.
Unlocked - Courtney Milan I love stories about girls who have been bullied. (Stories about girls BEING bullied, on the other hand, are often too upsetting for me to read. Yeah, I don't get it either. I guess it's the hope?) I also love stories about girls with weird laughs, because I have one myself. (I can only think of one other story that fit the bill...it was a traditional Regency, I think, and the heroine was named Margaret or similar and also had a streak of white in her hair. Does anyone remember this book?) So this novella was already two for two and then it added mountain climbing! AWESOME. The scene where Elaine talked about wanting to drown rather than be herself broke my heart, and so did Evan's realization that there are some mistakes you can't fix. I also really loved Evan's jealous cousin and Elaine's complicated relationship with her mother. Thumbs up all round.
The Demon's Surrender - Sarah Rees Brennan I love these books so much. I love every single character. And I LOVED seeing Alan get to be...not the role he plays in the other books of geeky, shy older brother with a badass side, but the complete person that he is behind the role, and seeing someone understand that it's real, but it's also a role. I'm not saying it well, but I love stories about the roles people play in their everyday life, and the ways those roles are and aren't true, and the power they have to shape relationships even when they aren't true or aren't completely true or started out not being true, and the ways people can both trade on them consciously and secretly believe them. And Alan and Sin are both more than average conscious of the roles they take on, so I was swooning over this book. I want a sequel where they go on a road trip and grift their way across England! I want to see them hustle pool and run short cons! I want them to act like "the sexy dancer and her nerdy boyfriend" at restaurants and then go back to their motel room and laugh and probably give each other presents they bought with the take-home pay of the unwary! I could go on, but you get the idea.