Friday, December 05, 2008

Recent good reads

I was looking through my book spreadsheet and discovered I have read an amazing number of books so far this year ... 135 (with 30 published in 2008). But I have only reviewed 20 books (8 published in 2008) this year. Pretty pathetic. Another interesting fact ... I have read 81 books from my TBR this year, some of which have been living in my closet for years. A couple of years ago my TBR had over 250 books. Now it's down to 107.

No chance of getting full length reviews done for all of my reads this year but here are some quickies of three 2008 books that are worth checking out:

TITLE/AUTHOR: Your Scandalous Ways by Loretta Chase

Chase has demonstrated her genius yet again. Set in 1820's Venice, YSW is a wonderful book full of charm and wit. Francesa Bonnard is an unapologetic courtesan. In fact, she calls herself a "great whore". After she is publicly humiliated and divorced by her husband, she flees to the Continent and becomes a notorious and much sought after woman. James Cordier is a spy for the English government and is anxious to retire and return to England. But his last assignment is to steal a packet of letters from Francesca that are potentially damaging to her ex-husband's political career. Francesca and James are wonderfully intelligent characters, the dialog is witty and the setting was so unusual and realistically portrayed. The humor is wonderfully written as well. This is a very funny book. Here is the first paragraph:
"Penises. Everywhere."
Ha! That caught my interest immediately and the story never let me go. And the sex scenes are nice and steamy. But there is a lot of depth to this story too.


TITLE/AUTHOR: Death Angel by Linda Howard

THOUGHTS/OPINIONS: I'm having a hard time figuring out how to describe this book. It has an odd paranormal element to it that kinda freaked me out but overall I think I liked this book.

Drea Rousseau is a mistress to Rafael Salinas, a very dangerous crime lord and malicious killer who hires assassins to do his dirty work. After one such hit job, the assassin asks for a few hours with Salina's mistress as part of his payment so Salinas just gives Drea to him, and they spend some hours in some scorchingly hot sex. Whew! The assassin is a cold blooded killer and the "hero" of the book and we eventually find out his name is Simon Goodnight. Hmmm, so both the "hero" and "heroine" are both thoroughly unlikeable characters. Drea has been playing stupid in front Salinas for a long time but now she is desperate to get out of her situation. She outsmarts him and pulls some sneaky moves and gets away with a mountain of money. But Salinas sends "The Assassin" after her.

I don't want to spoil the story for you so I'll just say that Drea ends up turning her life around and totally redeems herself. Simon eventually realizes he loves her and protects her from Salinas. I really came to like Drea. Now Simon is a total mystery and we never find out who he really is and what makes him tick. The ending was rather abrupt but I liked it anyway. I don't think this book will appeal to everyone but Linda Howard is a must read for me. And the sex scenes alone are worth the price of the book (paperback only - due out in April 2009 - otherwise get it from the library). But then I'm slutty that way.


TITLE/AUTHOR: Tribute by Nora Roberts

THOUGHTS/OPINIONS: Roberts is a very consistent author and her skill is evident in this book and I really enjoyed it quite a bit. A lot of her recent books have had paranormal elements with ghosts and whatever but this one had none of that and I was so glad. I think she should stick to straight contemporary because ghosts just don't do it for me.

Cilla McGowan is a former child star with a lot of baggage. She returns to her famous grandmother's old neglected house in Virginia and decides to renovate it. Cilla is a pro at remodeling houses and I was fascinated by all the details of turning a run down disaster into a beautiful home. Roberts definitely did her homework in that area but if house renovation is not your thing, you should probably skip this book because while the story was good, it wasn't all that gripping. Ford Sawyer lives across the street and writes graphic novels. The story hinges around a mystery involving the death of Cilla's grandmother many years ago and was pretty tame but was so well written I enjoyed it anyway. Cilla is a very strong, smart woman and very likeable. Ford is what I would call a beta hero but yummy in his own way. A pretty good read all around.


Sorry for the shortness of these "reviews". I have a few more 2008 book to review so those should be coming up shortly.

Reading now: Under the Wire by Cindy Gerard. This is a romantic suspense with a younger man plot line (one of my favorite). Very good so far.

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