Monday, August 25, 2008

Highly Recommended Reads

I got distracted from my voracious reading habits over the summer, but now I’m sneaking back to it. Between blogging and editing and promoting, I found time in the last two weeks to read the following books, all of which I fell in love with. I can’t recommend one over the other, but rather, recommend them all depending on what you’re in the mood for.

The Paper Marriage by Susan Kay Law
Berkley Trade
Released March 4, 2008
ISBN-10: 0425219356
ISBN-13: 978-0425219355

Publisher's Blurb:
The life of Ann McCrary was turning out exactly as she'd imagined since she was a young girl. She was on the verge of getting everything she ever wanted until a shocking tragedy left her young and vibrant husband in an irreversible coma.

Now, twelve years later, Ann is still in stasis herself, unable to move forward, unable to move back. Until a famous ex-ballplayer and the troubled teenage daughter he barely knows move in next door, jolting her out of her frozen state.


This book left me awed, pretty much as all the books I’ve listed here. I must say, the hero had most of the best lines, which was great. I love jocks as heroes. Especially the ones who never expected to grow up, but find they have to. The boyish joy they have in life is a lot of fun to play with. Especially when they get bowled over by that one female. And Ann McCrary is just the one to knock Tom Nash to his knees. Well, her, and his daughter too.

Ms. Law plays all the emotions, and yet, she brings in great bits of humor too, which keeps the tone from being depressing. I fell in love with this book and am kicking myself for not getting an autographed copy at the RWA book signing. I was there, but sticking close to a budget. This was the first book I’ve read by this author and I guarantee I’ll be looking for more.

Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas
St. Martin's Press St. Martin's Press
ISBN-13: 9780312351649 Pub. Date: March 04, 2007
Pub. Date: March 25, 2008 ISBN-13: 9780312351632

Publisher's Blurb:
Liberty Jones has dreams and determination that will take her far away from Welcome, Texas—if she can keep her wild heart from ruling her mind. Hardy Cates sees Liberty as completely off-limits. His own ambitions are bigger than Welcome, and Liberty is a complication he doesn't need. But something magical and potent draws them to each other, in a dangerous attraction that is stronger than both of them.

When Hardy leaves town to pursue his plans, Liberty finds herself alone with a young sister to raise. Soon Liberty is under the spell of a billionaire tycoon—a Sugar Daddy, one might say. But the relationship goes deeper than people think, and Liberty begins to discover secrets about her own family's past.


I did not see the ending coming on this one. She kept me guessing right up to the end and I loved it. I’ve been impressed with Lisa Kleypas since the first historical of hers I read and now, I have to say I’m a fan of her contemporaries too. I’m absolutely salivating to get my hands on Blue Eyed Devil, the follow on to Sugar Daddy. The heroine is gutsy and strong in the face of odds that would break many a man or woman. The choice she is faced with is difficult and heart wrenching. And yet, in the end, she makes the choice and finds the ultimate happiness. What more could you ask for?

Blaze by Susan Johnson
Publisher: Bantam Books
Pub. Date: August 1992
ISBN-13: 9780553299571

This book was my one trip into the past these past few weeks. Going through a used bookstore that was closing, a friend pulled this off the shelf and told me it was a must for any romance collection. She said it broke all the rules and stirred up controversy when it first came out, sixteen years ago. I’m not much a student of such things, but I shrugged and bought the book. It sat on my shelf for a couple months, until one day I was in the mood for something from the past. Not just the historical time period, but an older book as well. Based on what editors are telling authors today, it was eye opening how much standards have changed. I’m used to reading books written by a different benchmark and at times found it a little hard to keep up with, but as soon as I got in the rhythm, so to speak, I was hooked.

I think what impressed me most, was the depth of research the author put into the story, complete with end notes to back up certain aspects of the story. Now if only history classes in college had been taught this way, we’d have more historians running around. In fact, I felt as if I learned quite a bit about the Westward Expansion of the 19th century. I appreciate the effort. In fact, one friend told me that’s how she studied history. By reading historical romances. Now there’s a burden to historical authors! Better be accurate.

If you can get past the old style of writing, this is an enjoyable read. Sexy from the first page, it was hot enough to fuel a few Cowgirl and Indian Chief fantasies!

Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Pub. Date: September 2001
ISBN-13: 9780671034009

Publisher's Blurb:
FBI agent Nick Buchanan is about to take his first vacation in three years when he receives a phone call from his best friend and former college roommate, Father Tom Madden. Tom relates the horrifying tale of a confession that he heard from a killer seeking absolution for a gruesome crime he has yet to commit. Worse yet, the madman, who calls himself the Heartbreaker, confesses that his intended victim is Laurant Madden, Tom's gorgeous younger sister. The Heartbreaker is crazy about Laurant--really, really crazy.


Julie Garwood heroes never fail to capture my heart. Nick Buchanan is no exception. Neither is his best friend, Father Tom, or fellow agent Noah Clayborne. More about Noah later.

I started out as a Julie Garwood historical fan, but now find myself becoming a fan of her contemporaries. In fact, I need to go to the bookstore and get the rest of the series and then tackle them in order. I actually read Killjoy first, many years ago and again recently, but since Heartbreaker comes first in the series I’m starting here.

As far as suspense goes, well, Ms. Garwood kept me on the edge of my seat. Her villain is oh so very twisted and I didn’t see the ultimate connection at all. It was as much a surprise to me as it was to Nick. Once the pieces began falling, it was as if I heard the pieces of a stained glass window tinkling as they fell into the proper pattern to complete the picture.

After a several year hiatus, I’m now scrambling to get caught up again. Ms. Garwood continues to display her talent as a bestseller.

Killjoy by Julie Garwood
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Pub. Date: July 2003
ISBN-13: 9780345453815

FBI Analyst Avery Delany finds herself running against the clock to solve a mystery that hits far too close to home. She’s supposed to meet her Aunt Carolyn at an exclusive resort, only Carolyn never shows. She did, however, leave a phone message with clues and the ball starts rolling when. Enter the hero who’s looking for a killer named Monk.

I love almost any book set in Colorado. This one takes the reader on a breathless journey through the Rocky Mountains near Aspen. A hard driving hero, a killer in love with a psychopath, and a few twists along the way make this a thrilling read.

I do recommend starting at the beginning with Heartbreaker, followed by Mercy then Killjoy. The rest of the books, in order, are – Murder List, Slow Burn and Shadow Dance.

Now, what did I say about getting back to Noah Clayborne? Yeah, Shadow Dance is his story. Be fair and read them in order, but I think he’s Ms. Garwood’s favorite. I’ve read Shadow Dance and Noah, well, as heroes go, they don’t get much better than Noah. Completely drool-worthy. Keep a towel handy.

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