At the end of last year, we ran our fabulous bloggers’ lists of top reads of the year. Those posts were so fun that we’ve decided to continue, asking our bloggers to share the best thing they’ve read each month (or things, plural, if our bloggers declare a tie ’cause they just can’t choose). It doesn’t have to be a new book, as evidenced below; just something that made the month sparkle just a bit more. So here’s this month’s installment for April 2012 (and if you’ve missed any, be sure to check out the January, February, March, and April 2012 recommendations):
Demon’s Bride by Zoë Archer (released May 1). This story is an interesting mix of historical and paranormal. When your story hero makes a pact with the devil for power and wealth and the antagonist is trying to save his soul, it makes for a fascinating conundrum of who truly is the good guy and who truly is the bad guy, and with several battles against not only against demons from hell, but against your fellow Hellraisers, it is quite an exciting tale.
I thoroughly enjoyed “The Governess Affair,” the new novella from Courtney Milan. It reminded me, in plot and thoughtfulness, of Jo Beverley’s An Arranged Marriage, the first of the Regency Rogue series. And that is my highest compliment for a book like this — two wonderfully portrayed protagonists, each proud and intelligent, sizing each other up. I’ll definitely be looking forward to the first full-length book in Milan’s new series.
P.S. A nod to the Megan and Myretta epilogue wars — this epilogue is delicious and totally needed to kick-start the new series. You’ll see!
When She Wasn’t Looking by HelenKay Dimon is an action-packed category that I inhaled in one sitting. The heroine who has spent her entire adult life on the run realizes her time in Oregon is up when the deputy sheriff hero knocks on her door dropping names from her past. While he’s trying to sort out the weirdness of what should have been a routine wellness check, a hired goon shows up gunning for the heroine. A cat-and-mouse style suspense thread with a dollop of mystery and zippy dialogue make this stand-alone story shine.
Her Best Worst Mistake by Sarah Mayberry — If you like enemies-to-lovers stories, you will love this book. Marty is straight-laced and stuffy, Violet is a wild child. Together they make sparks fly. Great Contemporary Romance full of heart, great sex and lots of emotion.
I loved Mary Balogh’s The Proposal, Mary Jo Putney’s No Longer a Gentleman, Sherry Thomas’s Beguiling the Beauty, and Julia Quinn’s A Night Like This, but if I’m limited to a single recommendation from among all the historical romances I’ve added to my keepers this month, I’ll go with a novella rather than a novel: “The Governess Affair” by Courtney Milan. The characters and their story are extraordinary. The heroine refuses to be a victim, and the hero is torn between a fulfilling a goal he’s been working toward his entire life and the action required by his feelings for the heroine and his own moral code. These are characters I can’t forget, and Milan’s usual lucid, powerful prose is also a joy. I’ve read some great contemporary romances too. I particularly enjoyed Overseas, the debut novel of Beatriz Williams. A time travel that moves between WW I France and 21st-century New York City with a hero who is both a soldier-poet and a hedge fund billionaire, it captured my heart and my imagination to a degree that made suspension of disbelief easy. It may be the only time-travel romance I’ve ever recommended.
My best read in May was Dead and Buried by Barbara Hambly, one of the newer entries in her Benjamin January series of historical mysteries. I was completely submerged in her vivid social historical detail, as usual, but this particular book also revealed some major secrets about an important secondary character, Hannibal Sefton, whose past has previously been an enigma. I figured out Hannibal’s secret early on, but it didn’t matter in the least, because there was still the murder plot, and Ben’s breathtakingly dangerous journey to discover the truth.