Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Last 2006 books

I have been trying to finish up all the 2006 books I had in my TBR so that I can vote in the AAR Annual Reader Poll. Last year I voted early because I had read so many excellent books my choices were easy. But this year I'm finding that while I read many very good books by the end of the year, not as many were excellent ones.

Here are the last of the 2006 books I had in my TBR that I was able to finish this month and will probably make an appearance somewhere on my ballot since they ranged from excellent to very good.

All U Can Eat by Emma Holly
Holly is one of my favorite erotic romance authors because she can combine hot, spicy, explicit sex with a good plot and plenty of romance. So many of the erotic romances I have read are strong on the sex but weak in the plot or romance. Frankie Smith is the owner of a popular diner in California and unselfconscious about her sexuality. There are some very graphic sex scenes with a hot former Marine who she hires as her cook, and a pair of bisexual guys. Jack West is the chief of police of this small town and has a secret crush on Frankie. When Frankie finds a body behind her diner, she and Jack are thrown together. On the way to solving the mystery Jack and Frankie fall in lust and love and the pages sizzle with some delicious sex scenes. The tone was light and with a nice touch of humor. I enjoyed this one from start to finish. My grade: A-

Crossroads Cafe by Deborah Smith
It's hard to believe that an author as talented as Smith has to self-publish her books but that's the state of the world these days. What is wrong with publishers anyway? This book was recommended by Wendy and completely blew me away. Are you in the mood for a good cry? Well, get out a box of tissues because you're going to need them. Cathy Deen is a beautiful, rich, Hollywood actress who is injured in a horrific car accident and suffers disfiguring burns that end her career. Thomas Mitternich is still grieving the death of his wife and son in the devastating attack on 9/11. He is wandering aimlessly, sleeping in the bed of his truck and slowing drinking himself to death when he finds his way to Crossroads, North Carolina. Cathy has become a recluse is Hollywood and is eventually convinced to come home to Crossroads where her Granny's house waits for her. This story is about the healing power of love and what a story it is. But it's not sad and depressing. This book is darn funny with wonderful characters and great dialogue! It's a beautiful, heartwarming, humorous tale of two damaged people who overcome their internal terrors. It's told in first person alternating between Cathy's and Thomas' POV. I highly recommend. My grade: A

Lover Awakened by J. R. Ward
This book was sitting on top my nightstand for the longest time, but I just wasn't in the mood for a paranormal. I'm sorry I put it off so long because I greatly enjoyed it. LA is the 3rd book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and I think it's my favorite so far. Although it was 464 pages I thought it was a very fast engrossing read. Zsadist was kidnapped as a child and sold as a blood slave. During his captivity he was tortured and sexually abused for many years. His twin brother Phury rescues him but he is horribly scarred inside and out and believes he is unworthy of love. He has multiple sexual issues due to the violence and pain from his captivity and is probably the most tortured hero I have ever come across in my reading. Bella was kidnapped by one of the Lessers and Zsadist won't rest until he finds her. When he finally finds and rescues her Bella is in pain and she turns to Zsadist. The love scenes are wonderfully steamy and sexy. Another story about the healing power of love that really worked. My grade: B+

The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Holt
This is Hoyt's debut novel and I was impressed with her style. However there were lots of events in the plot that I thought were implausible but Hoyt's writing was so smooth and superbly well written that I was able to completely overlook that. Anna Wren is financially strapped and seeks work as the secretary to Edward de Raaf, the Earl of Swartingham, while he is away from home. She gets hired sight unseen and when Edward figures out who his new secretary is he is amazed. The sexual tension builds between them culminating in some very explicitly hot steamy sex. I have to admit I loved those scenes even if I didn't believe for second that they could actually happen that way. Edward was a wonderful hero, not handsome even unattractive from his small pox scars. I loved the way that Anna never sees him as ugly. This was a very sexy fast-paced read with great characterizations. My grade: B+

Okay, now I can go vote. Everyone, don't forget that you must submit your ballot by midnight February 18th.

Now I need to figure out what books to take on my trip.



Kristie (J) said...

Like you, I usually vote earlier too but since I didn't get as much books in last year, I've been holding out too to get a few last minutes books read. And it's a good thing 'cause the ones I've read will figure in my voting too!

ReneeW said...

Kristie: Me too! I think every one of these books fit into some category on my ballot so I'm glad I waited.

nath said...

I've just read a review of Crossroads Cafe at Dear Author and now yours... I'm on a hunt now!

ReneeW said...

Nath: It is a wonderful book. Dear Author posted 2 reviews I think. One an A and one a B. And Wendy gave it an A.

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