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 November 2012 (and if you’ve missed any, be sure to check out past recs for May, June, July, August, and September, and October 2012):
Worth the Price is the first self-published novel by Delilah Hunt and a wonderful traditional-style romance. While it's less erotic than her previous novels, the characters remain rich and engaging with a well-written romance. Brandon Sharpe takes Danika up on her offer to help her financially with the surprise catch that she marry him to secure the funds she desires to help her father. Brandon's fiercely protective of his feelings and his wife, determined to make the marriage work and find the happiness that has always alluded him. They're two people who aren't sure of themselves as well as the feelings of the other thus the bumpy ride watching them learn to temper their love with trust and understanding is a pleasing reward for readers.
Something Unexpected by Tressie Lockwood. This book is a gem by the author and tells the love story of two characters who are brought together first by heartbreak and then by a baby. Zacari seduces Keary one night after drowning her sorrows at a bar having discovered her boyfriend and best friend had been having an affair. Soon after, Keary leaves to work abroad and she finds herself unexpectedly pregnant. When Keary finds out months later, he's determined to be there for his child and for Zacari despite the obstacles from outside forces and Zacari's own walls. Something Unexpected is both erotic and tender with enticing characters you can't help to root for as they fall for one another.
The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson — this YA fantasy novel has a many-layered heroine who's swept into a bizarre and terrifying apocalypse, all the while fearing she is turning into a monster. I liked how Hopkinson mingled various folklores (Caribbean, Russian) in the fantasy elements, and I loved how the heroine, Scotch, gets incredibly cranky and complains at just the time when a real person would have been bitter about their circumstances. It was lovely to see a teen character so sure of herself and her own feelings, and determined to make her own choices.
A Night of No Return by Sarah Morgan pairs a Cinderella-with-a-Spine Heroine with an Emotionally-Wounded-Workaholic-Beast to deliver a satisfying romance. Emma battles a snowstorm to get some important papers to her boss while he's taking a break at his country estate, only to discover the man surlier than a bear with a thorn in is paw and drunk as a skunk on top of that! Lucas is normally so methodically, so driven, so ambitious, and frankly so immune to just about anything other than work that this behavior confuses her to say the least. She's loathe to leave him alone, and besides, Mother Nature has her pretty well snowed in. Alone. With her sexy boss. At his old money country “house.” Gee, whatever shall they do? A downright likeable heroine who goes toe-to-toe with a brooding Alpha Presents hero and wins it all in the end.
My selection is an indie-published (formerly trad published in the UK) historical fiction: Green Grow the Rushes by Harriet Smart
A very intelligent romantic Edwardian saga set mostly in Scotland, focusing on an ambitious, highly-skilled cook who finds herself involved in the lives of two upper-class Scottish families when she marries their mutual friend.
Sultry with a Twist by Macy Beckett – I've been feeling a bit of small-town burnout, so I wasn't sure if this book would work for me, and the fact that the heroine’s name is Mae-June July Agustine didn't help either. But boy was I in for a treat!
This is a small-town contemporary, and as such, it has quirky secondary characters, a charming setting, and a plot that will stretch you suspension of disbelief. But the main characters have depth, the town didn't feel cartoonish, and the story is very interesting. The romance is the focal point of the book, and not even the sequel-bait characters distract from it. Their story is a mix between second chance at love, friends-to-lovers, and even unrequited love. It felt authentic and full of heart. I hope you read it and be as charmed as I was.
An outstanding debut from an author I’ll be reading again.