Many of you know that I have an atrocious memory. It’s partly due to my OCD meds and partly due to my chronic insomnia. It’s also the reason I keep a separate doc file of books I’ve read so that I’m not rereading lame books all the time. This year I read enough books (467–see the list) that they all should be a faded blur, but some books stood out as being really memorable. I’ve recommended or will recommend each of these books. This is in the order I grabbed them from my file. It’s hard to pick a fave.
Most Memorable Books of 2014:
The Write Man For Her by Christie Walker Bos ****1/2
Blurb: Work, work, work. That’s how Jessica Anne Singer has dealt with the loneliness since her divorce. Except for her squawky cockatiel, Merlin, Jessica hasn’t had a date in years, but all that’s about to end. Jessica’s best friend, Cath, has decided that Jessica needs to meet her dreamy online professor, Brant Wilson.
Creative writing professor Brant Wilson is intrigued by one of his online students, Jessica Singer. She seems more worldly than most of his students and has a penchant for arguing with him over just about everything, which he finds oddly enjoyable. But when she asks to meet with him in person to discuss her grades he immediately refuses. He never meets with his students face-to-face. Never.
Undeterred, Cath hatches a harebrained plan to find the reclusive professor. When the plan actually works, Jessica uncovers the real reason the professor doesn’t meet with his students. Stunned by her discovery, Jessica must decide if she’ll listen to her head or her heart when it comes to determining if Professor Brant Wilson is the right man for her.
What I liked about it: This book’s premise was so great. I’m spoiling it for you and telling you he’s a paraplegic. I’ve read this more than once this year and recommended it a couple times. Don’t judge a book by its cover–this one was fantastic.
“Look. You came here expecting to meet one kind of man and found another. This chair and all it represents doesn’t surround me like some ‘thing’, it has become me. You can’t separate us. There’s no point getting to know me without getting to know this,” he said, patting the wheel of his chair. “In my experience, I’ve found most people, women people in particular, just aren’t up to it.”
“What if I am ‘up to it’, as you put it? What then?”
Bounty by Elise Sax *****
Blurb: Abby Williams has got it made: First a new job as magazine editor in London, and now a trip to an exotic island to review a five-star resort with poolside service. Unfortunately, on day two of her vacation, Abby finds herself bound and stuffed into a burlap bag and dragged across two continents. And worse than that? Her hottie abductor has got her distracted. Maybe escape is overrated.
Iain Brodie is a muscle-bound mercenary. He just helped a despotic dictator take over an island. He’s also Abby’s kidnapper, and he has his own problems. Framed for a murder he didn’t commit and a boss who’s out to get him, he has to face facts: Early retirement is out of the question and Abby Williams looks damned good in a burlap bag.
What I liked about it: So. Very. Awesome. And hilarious. A ton of great lines–so many that it was hard to pick a favorite. It’s a little like Jennifer Crusie meets Lawrence Block. I loved it.
“There’s nothing wrong with crazy. I understand crazy. It’s contagious. When crazy is all around, you become crazy. Remember when every man decided to grow a goatee at the same time? Wherever you looked there was a man with a hideous configuration of facial hair? It was global insanity. Contagious. Crazy is like that. You caught crazy like other people catch the flu. It’s nothing to be ashamed about.”
“I’m not crazy.”
Love in Touch by Lucy May Lennox ****
Blurb: Kassie has felt adrift ever since her dad died when she was in college. Now 24 and living in Seattle, she gets interested in learning sign language through her roommate, a sign language interpreter. One day at a Deaf community event, she sees a young man sitting off by himself. Kassie feels compelled to try signing to him–the fact that he’s strikingly handsome doesn’t hurt.
Jake has been deaf and blind since birth. His disability has cut him off from the world, but beneath his isolated exterior, is a smart, sweet guy with a dry sense of humor. Despite the odds, he’s highly educated, but at 26, he’s gotten stuck in a rut, with few friends and no clear career plans. Until a sweet-smelling girl introduces herself to him unexpectedly, and opens up a whole new world to him.
Jake is more intelligent, more genuine than anyone she has met before, and for the first time Kassie starts to feel like her life has some direction. But as their friendship deepens into something more, the difficulty in communicating with each other only grows, and it seems like everyone they know thinks their relationship won’t work. How can they come to a deeper understanding of each other, and a find a future together?
What I liked about it: This book was fascinating. It opened my eyes to a whole world of people. Like many New Adult books it was a little more edgy than conservatives might be comfortable with, but it was really brilliant.
Jake took her hands and gently stopped her signs. No. I D-O-N-T C-A-R-E A-B-O-U-T C-O-L-O-R. He gave a little impatient sigh, hesitating for a moment before he asked, C-A-N I T-O-U-C-H Y-O-U?
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion*****
The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.
Rosie Jarman possesses all these qualities. Don easily disqualifies her as a candidate for The Wife Project (even if she is “quite intelligent for a barmaid”). But Don is intrigued by Rosie’s own quest to identify her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on The Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie―and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.
What I liked about it: This book was so hilarious. Fans of the Big Bang Theory would love this book, but also anyone with an Aspie around. It has an abundance of F words, though. So, if those bother you, skip this one. The scene where all of the Aspie kids are offering solutions to him has got to be one of the funniest moments in literature I’ve ever read.
“Time’s up. Excellent work. All the rational solutions came from the aspies. Everyone else was incapacitated by emotion.”
The Witness by Nora Roberts *****
Blurb: Daughter of a cold, controlling mother and an anonymous donor, studious, obedient Elizabeth Fitch finally let loose one night, drinking too much at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent to lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive.
Twelve years later, the woman now known as Abigail Lowery lives alone on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance security systems designer, her own protection is supplemented by a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. Unfortunately, that seems to be the quickest way to get attention in a tiny southern town.
The mystery of Abigail Lowery and her sharp mind, secretive nature and unromantic viewpoint intrigues local police chief Brooks Gleason, on both a personal and professional level. And while he suspects that Abigail needs protection from something, Gleason is accustomed to two-bit troublemakers, not the powerful and dangerous men who are about to have him in their sights.
And Abigail Lowery, who has built a life based on security and self-control, is at risk of losing both.
What I liked about it: Abby is another Aspie and a prodigy–and her character is awesomely awkward. The characterization in this reminded me of why Nora Roberts is queen. Brilliant writing. I loved the main characters and other characters. Just brilliantly characterized. The beginning (when she is sixteen) is wordy—as if to prove this isn’t a category romance. Lots of profanity, but so well written. Will reread.
“I know it, but I make up for it by being so good-looking.”
She didn’t want to smile but couldn’t help it. “You’re not that good-looking.”
Body of Evidence (#2 in series) by Rachel Grant ***** (Thriller)
And she thought facing a firing squad was bad…
When archaeologist Mara Garrett traveled to North Korea to retrieve the remains of GIs lost in combat, she never imagined she’d be arrested, convicted of spying, and sentenced to death. Her only hope is Curt Dominick, the powerful, ambitious, and infuriatingly sexy US attorney prosecuting her uncle, a former vice president of the United States.
What starts off as a rescue mission quickly morphs into a race across the Pacific. Someone is after Mara, and they’ll risk everything to stop her from reaching Washington DC. With betrayal around every corner, Curt and Mara have little reason to trust each other and every reason to deny the sparks between them that blaze hotter than the Hawaiian sun. Still, desire clashes with loyalty when they discover a conspiracy that threatens not only their lives but the national security of the United States.
What I liked about it: This was intense emotionally and the plot was deep. Soooooo well-written. This was a rollercoaster ride that I advise everyone to go on.
Her tiredness was so much more than jet lag. It was firing-squad lag, attempted-murder lag, and losing-all-sense-of-safety-and-belonging lag.
Honor Among Orcs by Amalia Dillin (FTR) *****
Blurb: After nearly a decade as the king’s whipping-girl, Princess Arianna has no intention of going quietly into marriage to some treasonous noble, or serving obediently as the king’s spy until her death is more convenient. When she discovers a handsome orc, chained and trapped inside a magic mirror, Arianna cannot help but see a lasting freedom from her father’s abuse.
Left to rot inside a mirror by the king, Bolthorn never imagined his prayers would be answered by a princess. Nor did he ever expect to meet so worthy a woman after knowing her father’s cruelty. He needs her help to escape the mirror before the king marches against the orcs, but all he can offer Arianna is ice and darkness in exchange for her aid. If Arianna can free the monster behind the glass, perhaps she might free herself, as well. But once they cross the mountain, there will be no return, and the deadly winter is the least of what threatens them on the other side.
What I liked about it: I will admit that, while I probably would have remembered this because it’s brilliantly written and awesome…you don’t read many orc romances and that makes it memorable. This was a fantastic book and I read it in one sitting because I couldn’t stop reading.
For a time, a fleeting moment. No one could touch her here. No one would see her red eyes, or her swollen face. Not even Bolthorn, while they remained in the dark. And in that moment, free within his prison, she wept.
Stranded with a Hero by Karen Erickson, Cindi Madsen, Coleen Kwan, Roxanne Snopek. *****
Mindy can’t believe she’s stuck with her ex–best friend—and the man whose heart she broke years ago—for the holidays, though the tension between them is more than enough to keep them warm. Josh Powers never forgot Mindy, but he can’t risk his heart a second time.
Naomi’s sworn off men like Aaron—rich, cocky, and dismissive of holiday traditions. Aaron decided to spend Christmas in sunny Australia to avoid snowy New York, not to fall for the woman his best friend warned him away from. But when a volcano grounds him, Aaron and Naomi’s relationship becomes eruptive.
The last person police officer Nate Walsh expected to discover in a snowstorm is his brother’s ex and former town rebel, Kelsey Cooper. She’s his complete opposite and totally off-limits, but as they wait out the storm together, all he can think is how he wishes she’d stay forever.
Frankie Sylva was determined to free the reindeer cruelly held for a holiday roadshow, even if it meant risking her own life. Deputy Sheriff Red LeClair set out to save a stranger in a snowstorm, never expecting he’d be the one to be rescued.
What I liked about it: I rarely recommend anthologies. There’s always a throwaway story or two…or the whole anthology. This was a great anthology. My favorite was An Officer and a Rebel.
“That hung-over feeling that won’t go away? That’s love.”
“Stellar,” Kelsey dead-panned. “I can see why there’re so many songs written about it.”
My Spy (HQ: Texas #2) by Dana Marton *****
Blurb: A mission gone wrong forced injured soldier Jamie Cassidy to start anew…and run right into the path of deputy sheriff Bree Tridle. The sassy, sexy Texan was as determined to uncover a local money-laundering scheme as Jamie was to keep her safe from the stalker hot on her trail. But Jamie, now an undercover operative, was also on a covert mission of his own: track smugglers threatening to bring terrorists into the U.S. Could Jamie’s and Bree’s cases be related? When a deadly attack on Bree’s home escalates the danger and their attraction, Jamie and Bree must face their enemies together to save not only their country, but their one chance at love.
What I liked about it: Freaking brilliant. Both main characters are kickass and give no quarter. The hero being a double amputee made this a very memorable book. It’s a bit darker than other books I’ve read, but so brilliantly plotted.
He strapped his legs on then pulled up his pants.
“You know, we do have a public-indecency ordinance in place. You seem to have a habit of going pantless in public,” she remarked as she stood and squeezed water out of her hair and clothes.
He glanced back as he got to his feet. “You going to arrest me for that?”
She sighed. “I kind of like it. Does that make me shallow?”
Switched by HelenKay Dimon *****
Blurb: For Aaron McBain, it was just another routine job, protecting his client at an office Christmas party. Until commandos stormed the place and took a hostage. But they had the wrong woman…the very woman Aaron had started dating—under a different cover.
Risa Peters couldn’t convince the gunmen she was the wrong hostage, nor could she believe her so-called “tax attorney” boyfriend wrested her away. But as the threats against her escalated, Risa and Aaron found themselves trapped in the building in the midst of a deadly conspiracy. And only her sexy new protector—a man she hardly knew but already wanted—stood between her and a bullet.
What I liked about it: I could give you like twenty favorite lines from this one. This was Die Hard meets Knight and Day and it was hilarious and clever. I’ve read quite a few HelenKay Dimon books and this is my favorite so far and made me a fan for life.
“When this is over I’m going to kiss you.”
“Not just okay. It will be one of those long sexy ones, all heat and passion.”
She smiled as she shifted her weight around. The moves looked like dancing but likely had more to do with nerves. “I’m not arguing.”
“But you’re not understanding me.” When her eyebrows lifted and her legs stopped moving, he knew he had her attention and kept talking. “This is going to be a hell of a kiss. The kind that knocks your shoes off and has you wondering why you ever bothered to kiss a man before me.” She leaned in so close that all he had to do was meet her halfway. He pulled out of kissing range. Her head dropped to the side, sending her hair falling over her shoulder.
“You’re awfully sure of yourself.”
“It comes from the slow buildup from simple dates to a complex disaster. This has been brewing. It’s all wrapped up with adrenaline and excitement and now it’s spinning out of our control.”
Tempted into Danger (ICE #1) by Melissa Cutler *****
“Keep the asset safe or die trying.”
When a simple mission to deliver the beautiful and brilliant Vanessa Crosby to a safe house goes horribly wrong, ICE agent Diego Santero’s life gets complicated. Keeping the anti-crime analyst safe from the notorious mercenaries after her program will put everything he’s worked for at risk.
Relentlessly hunted and not knowing whom to trust, Diego takes Vanessa on the run, deep into the heart of the deadly Panamanian rainforest. Vanessa reminds herself that she’s just another asset to the ruggedly handsome black ops agent…until their intense situation leads to a release of passion neither expected. But even if they make it out alive, how can they ever have a future together?
What I liked about it: What didn’t I like? She’s a brainy mathematician and he’s a rough experienced special ops leader. It’s brilliant and magical and I’ve recommended this series more than once. It was hard to pick a favorite line in this one too.
“You make velocity look good.”
Secret Agent Secretary (ICE #2) by Melissa Cutler *****
Blurb: Bullets whizzed past as Ryan Reitano and Avery Meadows escaped into the night. How could Ryan have suspected Avery of being the mole inside ICE? It was true she was no ordinary secretary. The way she used her wits and her lethal stiletto heels against the gunmen pursuing them astonished the jaded agent. And that killer body he’d somehow never noticed before…
Too bad there wasn’t time to explore the possibilities. With Chiara’s men hot on their trail, capturing the mercenary was more than just a mission for Ryan. He had his own reasons for wanting the criminal dead. But with his surprising–and utterly enchanting–new partner, perhaps there’d be a chance for romance later…if they survived.
What I liked about it: Two thumbs way, way up. Hilariously awesome scenes and dialogue. Her love of gadgets really sold me on this one. This was just a fantastic series. I’m planning on rereading the series really soon.
“What are you doing?” Ryan asked.
“You’ll see. I have a plan.”
“You’re not supposed to have plans. I’m the one with the plans.”
Primal Instinct by Janie Crouch
Blurb: On the crowded streets of San Francisco, a serial killer watches and waits. Known only as “Simon Says,” he lures his next victim while the FBI grasps for answers. Desperate, they turn to Adrienne Jeffries. Adrienne has an uncanny talent for getting inside the city’s most dangerous minds. But first she’ll have to get past FBI agent Conner Perigo. Skeptical of Adrienne’s abilities, Conner begrudgingly enlists her help…unprepared for the powerful attraction that could jeopardize their focus. With little time, and everything to lose, they must work to find Simon’s next victim—before he does.
What I liked about it: The paranormal aspect of this book was really interesting and I’m glad this is part of a series because I loved this “world.” I didn’t even mind that I guessed the killer early. The characters in this were interesting and complex–fantastic writing in that way.
“I’ve been thinking about me blocking your abilities,” Conner started as they pulled out of the garage.
“I’d be more comfortable if you’d call them my freakishly awesome crime-fighting superpowers. But please continue.”
Island Getaway by Jenna Bennett *****
On the island of roses and ruins, love awaits and danger lurks.
When Annika Holst’s father dies, it’s up to the young librarian to carry out his last will: to take his ashes back to his hometown, medieval Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea.
But no sooner does the plane touch down in Stockholm, than the bag with the cremains go missing. A young American named Nick Costa comes to Annika’s aid… but can she trust the handsome stranger? And what of Curt Gardiner, another young man from “back home,” also visiting his mother’s native Sweden?
To catch a murderer, recover her father’s ashes, and find a missing Viking treasure, Annika has to put her trust in one of them. But the wrong choice could mean not only the loss of her heart… but of her life as well.
What I liked about it: The plotting in this book was so intelligent. Every so often I’m blown away by how deep an author can bury me in a book. I forgot I was reading and just enjoyed this book.
And then he’d shake her until her teeth rattled and ask her what the hell she thought she was doing, ducking him. If he liked her answer, he might kiss her.
Cold Sight: Extrasensory Agents (Extra Sensory Agents series) by Leslie Parrish (Leslie Kelly) *****
Blurb: After being made a scapegoat in a botched investigation that led to a child’s death, Aidan McConnell became a recluse. Still, as a favor to an old friend, Aidan will help on the occasional ESA case.
Reporter Lexie Nolan has a nose for news-and she believes a serial killer has been targeting teen girls around Savannah, but no one believes her. So she turns to the new paranormal detective agency and the sexy, mysterious Aidan for help. But just as the two begin forging a relationship, the case turns eerily personal for Lexie-and Aidan discovers that maybe he hasn’t lost the ability to feel after all.
What I liked about it: The hero in this had to be one of my favorite heroes ever. He’s really sexy in a Batman sort of way.
“When this is over, I’ll outromance the queen of hearts.”
He frowned, mumbling, “Wasn’t she a psychotic, head-lopping megalomaniac?”
“Don’t make me hit you before I’ve even seen you naked.”
Unlucky by Jana DeLeon *****
Blurb: Mallory Devereaux is known throughout the town of Royal Flush, Louisiana as a walking disaster and her luck just got worse. She needs to raise ten-thousand dollars in one week to keep the IRS from seizing her adopted father’s business where she works as the demolition foreman. When the opportunity to cool cards at her uncle’s casino comes up, Mallory hopes her luck is changing. But when she realizes her uncle has assembled a tournament of criminals, she wonders what she’s stepped in the middle of.
What I liked about it: Her jinx is awesome and I’ve never read a book with one quite like it. I loved both the main characters.
Favorite Line: “Wow. That wasn’t what I expected to hear at all. I thought you worked up the whammy, touched someone, and then it was all over but the crying.”
Holiday Confessions by Anne Marie Winston *****
He had never seen her face…and yet he could read her better than any sighted man ever had. For ex-model Lynne Devane, meeting someone as powerful and sexy as Brendan Reilly–a man without an agenda–made her want to finally confess who she really was.
Brendan had every intention of getting Lynne into his bed, but trusting her was another matter. History had taught him to steer clear of mysterious women…especially those expecting little wrapped boxes under the Christmas tree. If Lynne truly wanted him, she’d have to prove it.
What I liked about it: His blindness in this felt so true-to-life and I liked their relationship. It felt real. I read this twice this year.
“How did you know? Exactly where my shoulder was?”
He looked momentarily puzzled.
“Just now,” she clarified, “when you put out your hand, you didn’t fumble or grab the wrong body part, or anything. You put your hand right where you intended to.”
He laughed. “How do you know? Maybe your shoulder wasn’t what I was aiming for.”
Gaming for Keeps by Seleste Delaney *****
Blurb: Pen Holloway’s done with men—in real life. Guys in game are so much less drama. But when her partner from Heroes of Fallen Gods invites her to the convention of the year, she panics. What if he’s another jerk? What if he’s not?
Cal Burrows is living his dream of being a spy. One of TRAIT’s misfit spies, but still a spy. It’s the perfect job… until an arms dealer with a taste for blood invades his not-so-secret geek haven. All Cal wanted from ConDamned was to meet his on-line girl. Now, with the threat of mass murder looming, he’s forced to choose between keeping his mission a secret and protecting the girl of his dreams.
Despite their attraction, Pen can’t help but suspect Cal’s hiding something. She also can’t shake the feeling he’s not as much of a stranger as he seems.
What I liked about it: This was a departure from the normal setting as it took place at a con. The author made geeky the new sexy with this one. Even cosplay costumes were a source of hotness. Fun, different, and very hot. I read this twice this year also.
All it needed was a kraken coming out of the vent fan. Okay, it needed more than that, but the kraken would have been a nice start.
Sweet Madness by Heather Snow *****
Blurb: Ever since her husband’s sudden and tragic death, Lady Penelope Bridgeman has committed herself to studying the maladies of the mind, particularly the trauma of soldiers of the Napoleonic Wars. It is this expertise that brings the Marquess of Bromwich’s family to her door.
Gabriel Devereaux’s unexpected and unpredictable episodes are unlike any Penelope has studied. The once proud soldier has been left shaken and withdrawn, but Penelope manages to build a fragile trust between them. Strangely, Gabriel seems completely lucid when not in the grips of his mania, and during the calm bouts between, she is surprised by how much she is drawn to him.
Despite his own growing feelings, Gabriel knows that he is fit for no one and is determined to keep Penelope away from his descent into madness. But even though she knows firsthand the folly of loving a broken man, Penelope cannot stop herself from trying to save him, no matter the cost.
What I liked about it: Part of this takes place in a private sanatorium. His PTSD was well-portrayed and the characters had depth that you don’t always see in romance. This story had heart.
Favorite Line: “Some things can’t be understood,” she said. “We have no control over them. All we can control is how we live in the aftermath. How we make our lives count for something.”
Beguiled by Susan Spencer Paul *****
Lady Lillian Walford Had The Look Of Perfection
Yet a fateful flaw doomed her to a life of silence. And although Anthony Harbreas, the gallant Earl of Graydon, had showered her with his attention, Lillian knew she was fit to be no man’s wife. So why had the much-sought-after earl asked her to be his true-bound bride?
Tricked by her brother into marriage with the lovely Lillian, Anthony was quick to realize his incredible luck. For he knew that beneath the surface of her quiet beauty, Lillian was a priceless jewel. And he was determined to convince his innocent wife of her true worth and their golden future.
What I liked about it: The heroine is mute and uses notes to communicate. The hero falling in love with her is such a sweet story. This is an older book, but I’m glad it made the transition to digital because it was so good.
He unlocked the desk’s top drawer and pulled it open. Inside were what seemed to him to be hundreds of little pieces of paper. On each one Lily had written a few words, sometimes a sentence or two; he could recall the exact moment when she had handed every single one of them to him.
Trials of Artemis: Book One of the Haberdashers by Sue London *****
Blurb: Jacqueline “Jack” Walters loves archery and Greek military history. In her third season she has failed to inspire so much as one marriage proposal and is planning to settle into the quiet life of a spinster.
Gideon Wolfe, Earl of Harrington, has been avoiding marriage but a case of mistaken identity in the library has left him saddled with an argumentative and unwilling fiancée.
What I liked about it: My favorite scene was the rescue, but I loved her character. I’m a sucker for a bluestocking…and the fact that she loves weapons–awesome! Also the writing was brilliant and the book was well plotted.
What a riddle his wife was. But he supposed he had the rest of their lives to figure her out. Provided they didn’t kill each other first.
When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James *****
Miss Linnet Berry Thrynne is a Beauty . . . Naturally, she’s betrothed to a Beast.
Piers Yelverton, Earl of Marchant, lives in a castle in Wales where, it is rumored, his bad temper flays everyone he crosses. And rumor also has it that a wound has left the earl immune to the charms of any woman.
Linnet is not just any woman. She is more than merely lovely: her wit and charm brought a prince to his knees. She estimates the earl will fall madly in love—in just two weeks. Yet Linnet has no idea of the danger posed to her own heart by a man who may never love her in return.
If she decides to be very wicked indeed . . . what price will she pay for taming his wild heart?
What I liked about it: The hero in this was inspired by House (the TV show) and it shows. His biting wit is just so charming. The end of this is just so beautiful…and I don’t say that often. I’ve recommended this book a few times this year.
“I can’t make love on this rock again. I hate to sound conventional, but my knees are scraped. Shall we go home?”
The Secrets of Mia Danvers by Robyn DeHart ****1/2
Blurb: Since losing her sight in a childhood accident, Mia Danvers has resided in a small cottage on the vast Carrington estate. Thought to be dead, Mia lives a life of virtual seclusion—until one night, while walking home, she happens upon a horrendous crime.
Alex Foster, Eighth Duke of Carrington, lives according to society’s expectations for him. He’s never met the woman who lives in the cottage at the edge of his property. But when she arrives at his door in the pouring rain terrified and claiming she has witnessed a murder, she seizes his attention.
Mia is determined to help the authorities track down the culprit, even though the only person willing to accept her aid is the handsome, arrogant duke. Working closely together proves difficult as Mia’s beauty and independence tempts Alex to ignore convention and follow his desire. But what neither of them know is that this murderer has struck before in Whitechapel, taunting the British press only to vanish—a ruthless killer who knows that Mia is the only living witness to his crime…
What I liked about it: Three words: Jack the Ripper. The heroine in this witnesses a Ripper murder but because she’s blind–no one believes her. It’s an awesome premise and it plays out well.
“The servants are talking,” she said.
“How scandalous,” he said. “Would you prefer I hired mute servants?”
Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After) by Tessa Dare *****
Blurb: As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde
Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks
offered endless possibilities.
And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.
- Ugly duckling turned swan?
- Abducted by handsome highwayman?
- Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?
No, no, and… Heh.
Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over
for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?
What I liked about it: I’m a huge Tessa Dare fan, but this one was perfectly quirky and fun. I went through a flawed character phase and this one fit my mood perfectly and hit all the right notes.
Any self-respecting rake had two kinds of women in his life: those he took to bed at night and those who made him a pancake in the morning. If he suddenly wanted both from the same woman, it was a warning flag. One big and red enough for even a blind man to see.
Amazon Lily by Theresa Weir *****
AS PURE AS A VIRGIN FOREST
She was white gloves and ice cream socials, a nice Midwestern girl who’d come to the Amazon on a mission to save the native Indians. Then Corey McKinney found herself alone in the thick, steamy jungle with a ruggedly handsome bush pilot who dared her to deny what they both knew: she wanted him.
AS DANGEROUS AS A JUNGLE CAT
He was rotgut whiskey and barroom brawls, a street-hardened adventure-seeker who had no time for women with lofty intentions. But Asher Adams was instantly captivated by his passenger’s delicate beauty and feisty spirit, and he found himself caring when it was the last thing he wanted to do.
In a jungle teeming with perils, they must band together as they face the most thrilling adventure of their lives–one that will bring a passion that burns hotter than the South American sun, and a love as beautiful as the…Amazon Lily.
What I liked about it: This is considered a classic romance and I can see why. It was written in the 80s and has a bit of a Romancing the Stone feel to it, but has held up well to age. It’s funny and sweet and sexy and I can see why it’s known as a classic for the genre. I’ll reread again soon.
“Don’t you ever get that drunk. Lily. Or you might wake up and find a damn tattoo on your arm. Or worse, you might find yourself playing bingo with a bunch of strangers.” He leaned closer. “Never play bingo with strangers.”
The Guestbook by Holly Martin (Chick-lit) *****
Welcome to Willow Cottage – throw open the shutters, let in the sea breeze and make yourself completely at home. Oh, and please do leave a comment in the Guestbook!
As landlady of Willow Cottage, the young widow Annie Butterworth is always on hand with tea, sympathy or strong Norfolk cider – whatever her colourful array of guests require. A flick through the messages in the leather-bound cottage guestbook gives a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of everyone who passes through her doors.
This includes Annie herself – especially now celebrity crime writer Oliver Black, is back in town. He might grace the covers of gossip magazines with a different glamorous supermodel draped on his arm every week, but to Annie, he’s always just been Olly, the man who Annie shared her first kiss with.
Through the pages of the Guestbook Annie and Olly, along with all the guests that arrive at the seaside retreat, struggle with love, loss, mystery, joy, happiness, guilt…and the odd spot of naked rambling!
Forget sending postcards saying wish you were here – one visit to Willow Cottage and you’ll wish you could stay forever.
What I liked about it: This is an epistolary book where it all comes out in the guestbook visitors to this cottage are writing in. It reminded me of Cabot’s Boy Next Door which is a fave of mine. Some of it feels contrived, but I don’t care, I loved it.
Favorite Line: I’m here to kill someone and I’m not leaving until I’ve done it.
I LOVE James’s When Beauty Tamed the Beast, too. But I think A Kiss At Midnight might be my new favorite of hers. It’s a tough call. Her Rapunzel book is pretty excellent also!
thanks for the HONOR AMONG ORCS mention, too!! 😀 So excited Bolthorn and Arianna stuck with you!
It’s been a few years since I read A Kiss at Midnight…I’ll have to reread. I loved her Rapunzel one too.
And you’re welcome! *blows kisses*