It was actually rather difficult to pick my 5 favorite books from last month. Only a couple stood out as being fabulous reads. Most were just average. They were enjoyable, but not so compelling that I dropped everything to finish them. Maybe that's why I got so much quilting done. I wasn't held captive by my reading. It's interesting to note that 4 of the 5 are historicals, but not a Regency-set in sight. One medieval and 3 Georgians. I came this close to putting Sylvia Day's Don't Tempt Me on the list, which is set in pre-Terror Paris. It deserves an honorable mention for the setting alone.
5. What a Scoundrel Wants by Carrie Lofty. This book took me over a week to read. Like Christine I found this book very slow going to start. I spent a week reading the first half. I finished the last half over a two-day period. I really enjoyed how different it was from more traditional romance. Even though I wasn't loving it, I kept at it because there's been so much positive buzz on the 'Net. I found myself confused by who was allied with who. I kept wondering if I was supposed to know more about the Robin Hood mythology than I do. I understood why Meg & Will had their first passionate encounter, but nothing from that encounter and their respective subsequent behavior meshed *for me* with their ongoing lust for one another. It just didn't compute. Also, it seemed to take way too long to explain the essential conflict in the story. Once that finally began to make sense to me, I became more and more engaged. Enough so that I did reach the point where I didn't want to put the book down. There's a moment when Will actively seeks in his own mind to put himself in Meg's shoes and imagine going through life blind. When he does that, I finally believed in his attraction to her. And we finally understand enough about Meg to know why she had trust issues. Then I could believe in her attraction to him. All in all I'm glad I read it and I will be watching for Ada's book.
4. Veiled Passions by Tracy MacNish. I blogged about this one here. This book stuck with me for days. I really found the theme of revenge very compelling.
3. A Lady's Secret by Jo Beverley. I used to be a member of JB's Yahoo group and when she was writing this she called it her "nun on the run" book. It does have a humorous beginning as Petra, dressed like a nun, receives help from Robin to escape from some nasty people. JB's books are always good and this one, connected to her Malloren series, was no exception. I also read Lord of Midnight this month, one of her medievals. I liked that one, but found the heroine to be a tad annoying--enough so to keep the book from being a Phave.
2. Flat-out Sexy by Erin McCarthy. I am an anti-NASCAR snob, for sure. I've avoided the Harlequin NASCAR books, even if they have great reviews. But I'm a big Erin McCarthy fan and I wasn't going to miss this. I found Tamara to be a well-written character who, as a widow with serious responsibilities toward her children, must decide whether to take a chance on a relationship with another driver. It means living with the risk that she could be widowed again. She's also slightly older than your typical heroine and I found her insecurities about her body (that bore those 2 children) to be honest and realistic. Elec (strange name) also seemed realistic and not too-good-to-be-true. I raced through this one and am eagerly awaiting the next title in the series, Hard and Fast (May 2009).
1. To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt. I've yet to read an Elizabeth Hoyt book that I did not absolutely love. Honestly, she delivers consistently well-crafted books with characters that are just out of the ordinary. Some of the best parts of the book concern Lord Vale's PTSD and the way that Melisande deals with it (of course it's not identified in the book as PTSD). There are some traumas that one cannot fully recover from. The reality of this enhances the book. Melisande is a heroine who is not physically beautiful, but she displays an inner beauty that Vale recognizes and falls in love with. It's heart-stopping the way he shows her that. I read this book while on a cross-country flight and the 4.5 hours felt like 2. I was entranced.