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 May 2014 (and if you’ve missed any, be sure to check out past recs via the Related Posts section at the bottom of the post):
To say that I love Whitney Gracia Williams's Reasonable Doubt serial would be a massive understatement. To say I don't love this book would be perjury. Pun always intended. Volume 2 is just recently out this past Monday, but Volume 1, though not telling the full story, left me panting both from the chemistry of the hero and heroine and for more! The book hits on some of my favorite tropes: office romance, hidden identity, friends to lovers...yet also enemies to lovers! Hate-sex never looked so good.
I have read some really great book this past month. But if an author makes me laugh- then that book jumps to the top of the list. Paw Enforcement by Diane Kelly due out June 3, simply just charmed me. Part of it was Megan Luz, the take- no- prisoner- heroine- except she must, since she is a police officer. With her tough attitude and baton twirling skills she is a force to be reckoned with — except the Chief and the other men don't realize it yet. Then there is Sergeant Brigit, Officer Luz's new K-9 dog- partner, because what man wants to work with her now after she Taser her last partner in the cojones! Brigit who realizes by smell at the very first meeting that she is the most seasoned one on the team, is not going to play dead.
Having the dog be a character is nothing new— numerous authors have done it, but Brigit has got as much attitude as Officer Luz and it's so entertaining to watch them butt heads. Still they got a job to do, and they do it well, and along the way they meet a hunky bomb squad officer and his dog.
I have to say my best book of April was definitely Burning Dawn by Gena Showalter. It was funny and packed with witty one-liners action and HOT characters! This was Gena at her best! I couldn't put it down and was loling like a lunatic! Best pick me up!
Google books helped me pinpoint a nagging quote, which turned out to be
from By Possession by Madeline Hunter. I started rereading a little just
to get the context and next thing I knew, I was completely swept away yet
again by this intense Medieval romance that shows how power imbalances can
ruin the most enduring love. Of course there is well-earned redemption and
happiness in the end.
Jo Goodman is on my shortlist of best authors writing western historical romance. Each book of hers that I read convinces me of this, and In Want of A Wife is definitely a keeper. Morgan Longstreet and Jane Middlebourne are the kind of quiet characters who make a huge impression on a reader. Their love story unfolds in a rational and mature fashion as they get to know one another, despite their unromantic beginnings when Morgan sends for Jane as a mail order bride.
The drama at the end builds beautifully, and the secondary characters (many of whom are familiar from other Goodman westerns) add to the richness of the story.
Devil's Game by Joanna Wylde isn't technically out until June, so make sure you grab it in a couple of weeks. Liam and Em are star crossed lovers in rival motorcycle clubs and they have a lot of baggage between them like fake internet identities, kidnapping, and a club war. Somehow they get through it all with plenty of action, adventure, and sexy times. Em is no dummy and it's always nice to read about a heroine who kicks a little ass.
No Proper Lady by Isabel Cooper features a hardbitten warrior from a dystopian future besieged by demonic creatures, who's traveled back in time to the late 19th century, to try and prevent her world from ever coming to be. She finds romance along the way. I loved the concept and the heroine as well, and am looking forward to the sequel, Lessons After Dark.
My best of May is a tie between Bad For You by Abbi Glines and Maybe Matt's Miracle by Tammy Falkner, Bad for You features my favorite tropes a tortured rocker and an innocent girl who takes a risk on a bad boy. Maybe Matt's Miracle features a tattooed softie with a heart of gold and a desire to get the woman he wants in his life and in his bed.
My favorite read in May was actually a reread of my favorite Mary Stewart book, This Rough Magic (1964), an in memoriam reading after I learned of her death. I have no objectivity where this book is concerned. Reading it, I am young again, with a believing heart. I love the Corfu setting, and I love that Stewart makes me see the “white sand . . . aquamarine sea . . . and golden-green trees.” I love the connections to Shakespeare’s The Tempest. My favorite scene is Lucy and Sir Julian Gale feeding each other lines from the play. Stewart has some great lines about kisses. This one, though not her best, is good: “[His mouth] was cold, and tasted of salt, and the kiss seemed to last forever.” My only regret is that This Rough Magic and Stewart’s other romantic suspense novels are not available as ebooks.
A book that kept me up past my bedtime was Ruin Me by Jamie Brenner. I loved the world-building, an intriguing blend of New York City, street art and soap opera. The daughter of an iconic gallery owner, our heroine becomes entranced with a street artist that mother would not approve of. Further mixing things up is the ambitious gallery manager looking to overthrow the heir apparent.
One of the best things I read this month is KJ Charles's Non-Stop Till Tokyo, which features a multilingual biracial hostess at a Japanese bar who gets framed for the murder of a yakuza boss. She takes off and is helped by an ex-Sumo wrestler with a shady past, and ends up getting herself out of her immediate trouble and then on to more adventures (I hope). It was a romantic thriller, and I think that is a very tough combination to manage, but Charles absolutely nailed it. It's got fascinating details on language, and Japanese etiquette, and the issues of being an outsider in an enclosed world. I picked it up because I fell in love with Charles's writing in the Magpie Lord series (an historical PNR m/m), and this is just as awesome, although entirely different.
Master's Flame by Annabel Joseph, the third in her Cirque Masters erotic romance series. Again, Joseph does BDSM exquisitely, and gives a look into the life of circus performers—very adult sexually charged circus performers. How can you not love a flame-haired redheaded heroine nicknamed La Vampa? The sex scenes are sizzling but always go beyond the physical too.