Each month, we ask our bloggers to share the best thing they’ve read (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 a bit more.
Without further ado, here’s the installment for February 2013 (and if you’ve missed any, be sure to check out past recs via the related posts section at the bottom of the post):
Cecilia Grant's A Lady Awakened and A Gentleman Undone are the best romances I've read in years. With the former featuring a prim widow who hires a playboy neighbor to get her pregnant, and the latter starring a kept woman and cardsharp who starts an arrangement of running card games with a war-traumatized hero, Grant's stories manage to subvert convention and defy prediction. Both heroines are incredibly special, feminist and business-minded and even a little bit ruthless. They get into trouble and get themselves out of it too, exhibiting plenty of agency. The writing is sophisticated and beautiful, and the fact that the author takes the time to create relationships of mutual respect and friendship between the leads before their desire is fulfilled (in some seriously sexy scenes!) gave depth to the romances. They fall in love with each others' brains and hearts long before their bodies, and that's really delightful.
The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding
This is an adorable Contemporary YA that revolves around the relationship between a girl and her newfound mother. It has love triangles, not-so-mean girls and complicated mother-daughter dynamics, but takes all these generic and often cringe-worthy plot devices and turns them on their head. The result is fresh and very entertaining.
The heroine is honest and eager to know a mother who is just as interesting and complex, albeit a bit difficult. Their interactions are awkward and at times accidentally hurtful, but this only adds more sense of authenticity in the way they slowly build their relationship. And despite its sad premise, the story is hopeful and happy.
I’m sure fans of sweet love stories and interesting relationships will love it, especially those YA readers concerned with the latest trend of gratuitously sexualizing the genre. But even if you’re a bit wary of YA books, I’m sure Romance readers will enjoy it just as much.
The Good Daughter by Jane Porter—Romantic Women's Fiction. It's the second book in The Brennan Sisters series. A good girl redefining herself after a ten-year relationship goes south. In comes a mysterious hot guy on a motorcycle with long hair to help with that defining bit. Ha cha cha!
I had a business trip, which means and excuse to clear out some of my TBR & ditch pile. Unfortunately, I think I may end up keeping these two - Sebastian & Belladonna, by Anne Bishop. If you are looking for something in the realm of dark fantasy with romance, try these on for size. The world building is fantastic, but it really is the people that drive this story.
My favorite right now is Mercenary Abduction, by Eve Langlais. When I did a post on erotic romances with humor a while ago, Ms. Langlais' name was mentioned in the comments—now I want to know why did I wait so long to read one of her books? I laughed out loud the entire time—in fact, I'm still laughing. The hero, Makl, is intent on becoming the baddest mercenary in the galaxy, only his family is so notorious in this field, he's having a hard time competing. I can't even list everything about Makl that I adore, but all of it stems from his comically earnest, straight-faced determination to become the ultimate galactic bad-ass. He meets his perfect match in Olivia, a human he's trying to abduct to be a nanny for his cousin. Their banter, and smexy times (so he can “clear his brain,” per the mercenary rule book he follows religiously), make this such a fun and hot story, one I'm already looking forward to re-reading.