November was a pretty darn good reading month. I have to say that I honestly enjoyed every book I read last month. Some better than others, but nothing said "meh" to me when I was finished. Considering I had one set of family here for a week and then took off to visit another set of family for Thanksgiving, I'm amazed I read as much as I did.
This month's honorable mention goes to the trio of old Anne Stuart books I read: One More Valentine, Cinderman, and The Soldier and the Baby. I bought a collection on Fictionwise of Anne Stuart "out-of-print gems." These are 3 of the 5 books included in the collection. They're from the mid-1990s and each campy and fun. It's interesting to read earlier work from one of my favorite authors. I hope they bundle more of her older books. On to my 5 Phaves:
5. Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James. This was a very entertaining book about a lawyer from Chicago who is on temporary assignment in Los Angeles for her firm. While there, she's asked to coach an actor who will be playing the part of a trial lawyer for a film. The actor, of course, is the "sexiest man alive" and attracted to this very smart, self-confident attorney who does NOT fall all over herself trying to impress him. The dialogue is witty and the situations seem realistic to this midwesterner. Terrific debut and I look forward to Ms. James' March release, Practice Makes Perfect.
4. Thread of Fear by Laura Griffin. Ms. Griffin is a new-to-me author. I will be looking for more. This romantic suspense novel tells the story of a forensic artist who is so haunted by the stories behind faces she draws that she wants out of the business. But she's so good at what she does and a very determined sheriff won't let her quit. As the artist and the sheriff fall in love, the artist also becomes a target for a killer. This had great pacing and I was fascinated by the descriptions of what a forensic artist does. It must take great delicacy to do that kind of work and Ms. Griffin conveys that without doing too much of an info dump. This was hard to put down.
3. To Taste Temptation by Elizabeth Hoyt. Geez, does this woman miss? Ever? Not yet anyway. I love the way she tells a story. When a widow agrees to chaperone a young American in Georgian society, she becomes involved with the girl's older brother, despite every effort to hold herself aloof. The brother is in London to discover the truth behind a massacre while he served as a Colonial soldier. He can't afford to be distracted. Naturally they can't resist one another. Delicious. I can't believe I waited 6 months to read this.
2. A two-fer for #2. I had not planned on reading these. Really. I love her historicals, but these sounded too much like chick-lit and not my cuppa'. But there they were--on display at the library. Oh what the heck. Sugar Daddy and Blue-eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas may not be what I thought I normally like to read, but I was quite wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. In SD Liberty and Gage don't even meet until approximately half-way through the book. But I was positively captivated by Ms. Kleypas' descriptions of growing up poor in rural Texas, so I barely noticed it took awhile to get to the romance. BED was distinctly different from SD, yet equally riveting. Yes, I was quite wrong. I'll be first in line for Smooth Talking Stranger this spring.
1. Ultimate Weapon by Shannon McKenna. I read most of this while on the Pennsylvania Turnpike last Wednesday. With my itty-bitty book light. (Library copy--can't afford trade.) Thank the Good Lord I don't get car sick and I didn't have to help drive. I loved this and could not put it down. Strong, determined heroine with a traumatic past meets strong, determined hero with a traumatic past. Her achilles heel is a toddler with special needs she's trying to adopt. His achilles heel is the old man who educated him and showed him a world beyond the streets. Together they need to rid the world of a monster. Heat. Lots of yummy heat. Tension, suspense, passion, awesome pacing. Ms. McKenna keeps getting better.