One of the delights of this holiday season is that there are more ways than ever to get everybody’s favorite gift; books, books and more books. Whether you’re getting or giving a new eReader, a gift card, or an old fashioned bundle of paper with a colorful cover, there is plenty of goodness on the shelves for the romantically inclined this year.
My first, and strongest recommendation are the historical romances of Joanna Bourne. There are three: THE SPYMASTER’S LADY, MY LORD AND SPYMASTER and THE FORBIDDEN ROSE. All involve the ongoing spy game between France and Britain in the 1800s, and all are fabulous. The heroines are smart, sassy and brave. The heroes are bold, engaging and sexy as all get out. The dialogue is spirited and entertaining, the history is excellently researched, and the plots are as engaging and suspenseful as the relationships. I cannot wait to read more by this author.
In contemporary romances this year, my favorite find for this year is Julie James. I picked up SOMETHING ABOUT YOU after reading the opening in the bookstore. I was immediately gripped by the heroine, the writing and the set up. As the story continued I fell in love with the snappy, intelligent writing, the entertaining dialogue and the push and pull of the relationship between two strong, smart, sexy characters. I also enjoyed her JUST THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE. In this one, James takes on the challenging proposition of creating a believable romance with a leading movie star. Like SOMETHING, SEXIEST is entertaining, smart and satisfying from beginning to end.
There’s a lot going on in the Young Adult section these days for the romance reader. I very much enjoyed the book BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia. This first in a series is the story of a young man in a very small Southern town who falls in love with the daughter of a family of powerful “casters” or magic users. It’s a tale of love, courage and self-discovery. Both the young hero and heroine are believable and engaging. The book does ramble in spots, but the premise and the characters were strong enough to keep me turning the pages. It’s sequel BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS is queued up in my reader.
Over in mystery, I very much enjoyed the paranormal cozy SECONDHAND SPIRITS by Juliet Blackwell. Witches are popular crime-solvers these days, but Blackwell’s heroine rings very true in terms of personality and contemporary magic-working. The mystery is suspenseful, the hero is a treat and the side characters a lot of fun.
If your readers’ tastes include a walk on the wild side, I’ve got two anthologies to recommend. The first is WEDDING FAVORS, an anthology of erotic tales based around wishes made during weddings to a magic fountain in New Orleans. Okay, the basic premise is a little strained, but the stories deliver, both in terms of heat and satisfying happily-ever-after. The second is FOUR PLAY, which contains a pair of novellas by Maya Banks and Shayla Black. And yes, the title means what is says. These are engaging and very, very hot menage stories. Both authors are experienced and skilled enough to carry off the complexities of the set up and bring them to an engaging conclusion.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t close by reminding you of the romance selections at Book View Cafe available for download into that new eReader. You can sample our romantic reads in our free download; THE PASSIONATE CAFE, which contains sample chapters and short stories guaranteed to warm and brighten the coldest December nights.
Here’s wishing us all peace, light and warmth, as well as a cozy chair and a good book this season!