After finishing Nightkeepers by Jessica Andersen (awesome book! Review to come soon), I thought I'd read some historicals before going into more paranormals (Deidre Knight's Red Fire and Larissa Ione's Passion Unleashed and Ecstasy Unveiled, not to mention the next two books after Nightkeepers). I've read so much about Julia Justiss that I picked up her book and another by Anne Mallory. Sad to say, I was disappointed.
A Most Unconventional Match by Julia Justiss utlized my favorite trope: friends to lovers. I was so sure I would love this! Unfortunately, the book (the writing, the characters) just didn't grab me. I read until the chapter when the hero and heroine met again after seven years, before I finally gave up. One good thing I do have to say for Ms Justiss: The hero has a speech impediment and his dialogue clearly showed it (unlike other books).
I was intrigued by For The Earl's Pleasure by Anne Mallory, as it also seemed to be a friends to lovers story, plus the fact that the hero became a ghost and only the heroine could see him (I gathered this from excerpts and reviews). I thought it was interesting and it probably is. I wouldn't know because I couldn't get past the first chapter where Ms Mallory meant to show that the hero and the heroine were at odds with one another and how they kept baiting each other through the years. She was able to show this marvelously, however, the characters came across as silly. I know there's not much maneuver room for historicals, unlike say in paranormals where the author is only limited by her imagination, but still...
A previous DNF (one I hadn't blogged about) is Hard to Hold by Stephanie Tyler. Just about everything about this book caught my attention--the cover, the back summary and the excerpt, and so, I picked it up while I was browsing in a bricks-and-mortar bookstore without reading the reviews beforehand. I don't know though whether it would have helped. I believe I read up to Chapter Three before I gave up. Aside from the fact that I didn't like the heroine (not usually something that happens to me), the book just didn't grab me. I forced myself to read on, but at some point, I just couldn't, so I stopped.
However, your mileage may vary, so don't let my DNF reviews stop you from picking up and enjoying these books. I know for a fact several reviewers gushed about Julia Justiss and that Shana enjoyed Hard to Hold, so you may have the same taste as them.