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 June 2012 (and if you’ve missed any, be sure to check out the January, February, March, and April, and May 2012):
Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost
I’ve been enamored with Bones from Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series for years. Chapter 32 is forever seared in my memory. Vlad from Once Burned gives the vampire a run for his money in the sexy department. Really. Vlad’s possessive and self-assured nature make him perfect for those who love alpha males — SMART alpha males. And heroine Leila is bright, engaging and often quite funny. They’re a dynamic pair and watching them fall for each other (and take advantage of a roomy shower) is enough to keep you flying through the pages.
I suspect I am not the only one who will pick A Gentleman Undone by Cecilia Grant as my favorite read for June. I loved that the heroine was a math geek and that the hero found this to be extremely hot. I loved that they talked to each other, and how they talked to each other, about their most painful secrets. And I loved the varied, complex secondary characters. It was one of the best romances I’ve read in a while.
About Last Night by Ruthie Knox – Cath is a reformed bad girl who can’t see the good in herself. Nev is a stuffy suit frustrated with his life. He’s understanding and patient, she’s fidgety and weary. Together they will find redemption and love. Am I making it sound too corny? In that case, there’s also hot, dirty sex all over the place: the bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen sink, the table and against the wall. Not convinced yet? The hero is British and the story has the perfect balance of romance, angst, and fun. Great summer read, especially if you’re a fan of contemporary romance.
My best read of June is Pale Moon Rider by Marsha Canham.
Marsha Canham has never let me down, and this single title (with a light allusion to her famed Robin Hood trilogy, for observant readers) is no exception. With an aristocratic French heroine who isn’t afraid to do a little dirty work to protect those she loves, and a dashing highwayman hero with his own agenda, romance, and intrigue abound.
The Rebel Rancher by Donna Alward is the second book in a connected duet about cousins-raised-as-brothers cowboys. The hero has finally come home after years on the rodeo circuit to mend fences with his uncle, who is recovering from a stroke. The heroine is the uncle’s nurse, and is getting back on her feet after breaking free from an abusive relationship. A gun-shy for good reason heroine and a hero who hides his pain behind a playboy facade make this an emotionally charged read. There are also so many honest, authentic moments over the course of the story that I lost count. A real gem.
My best read in June was Ravishing the Heiress by Sherry Thomas, a July release. I loved Beguiling the Beauty, but I think the second Fitzhugh book is even better than the first. It’s a book that weaves together several of my favorite tropes—marriage of convenience, unrequited love, coming of age, and the growth of friendship—all clothed in Thomas’s sublime prose. And I loved it particularly because it reminded me in a number of ways of Heyer’s A Civil Contract, but it gave me a different ending, one I much prefer.
My top pick for June is The Siren by Tiffany Reisz. This book was recommended to me by two bloggers that I love and trust. On our way back from the Lori Foster Reader Author Get Together, I started reading The Siren, thinking I’ll read a couple of chapters to get a feel for the book. I could not put it down. Once I was home, despite being tired and needing to unpack and unwind, I continued reading The Siren. Once I finished the book, I cried. The Siren pushed my limits, made me uncomfortable and made me care for the characters in a way that I never expected. The Siren owned me and totally blew me away.