Phyl's 5 Phaves from March

5. Glitter Baby by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. This is an SEP "classic" as it was originally published in 1987 and republished to coincide with the release of her latest book, What I Did for Love. The new book is set a generation later and one of the characters is a daughter of the h/h in GB. GB is more of a women's fiction book with strong romantic elements than a straightforward romance. I've noticed that some bloggers/commenters really do not like GB. I, however, found it to be quite a page-turner and loved the story of Fleur as she comes into her own and learns to stand up for herself. For a "contemporary" that's over 20 years old, it wears very well.

4. Fragile by Shiloh Walker. This is the first book I've read by Ms. Walker. This was a really interesting romantic suspense about a social worker with a brutal past and an ER doctor who gets to know her when she has to bring clients (abused children) into the hospital. Devon is attracted to Luke but has so many issues to deal with (the title "Fragile" is apt). Luke has problems of his own to deal with, including a twin brother who is on the edge. Ms. Walker does a great job of blending the suspense with the ups and downs of a developing relationship. I thought it very realistic. They have to deal with stress--from their pasts, their jobs, and the outside threat that is very real. I'd love to see a book about Luke's twin, but the website gives no hint that one is forthcoming.

3. The Bride Price by Anne Mallory. I blogged about this back on TBR Day because I thought this was such an effective look at Regency society and a rather unusual story from many angles. I loved the subtle way it was told and how much was unsaid, yet clear to the discerning reader. It was just a well-written story with characters I fully enjoyed. Through Caroline and Sebastian we see just how society operated, how much power the wealthy and titled had, and the importance of legitimacy. I will definitely be reading more by this author.

2. Promises in Death by J.D. Robb. This is installment number 34 in Nora Robert's crime series and the series shows no signs of going stale in this book. The case this time involves the murder of a cop who just happens to be the girlfriend of Chief Medical Examiner Morris, and this makes the case personal for the whole cast of characters. The fact that it was personal gave the book some poignancy. And there are also lighthearted moments as Eve continues to grow into her friendships--she hosts a bridal shower for Louise in the middle of the investigation. It's a "life must go on" moment and shows how far Eve has come since book 1.

1. Kill for Me by Karen Rose. I have become an absolutely huge, huge Karen Rose fan. Her books are taut, finely crafted, and suspenseful. They are NOT for the squeamish! This was book 3 in her Vartanian family trilogy. While I think on the one hand this book can stand alone, I do think it's a case of being a much "fuller" read if you've read the previous two books. There's a large story arc involving the small Georgia town where the Vartanians are from and many of its citizens. In this story it's a race against time to break up a human trafficking ring and Susannah Vartanian holds the key to doing so. Working with special agent Luke Papadopoulos, they track down the bad guys and save some young girls who are in trouble. KR writes books that take place over very short periods of time (e.g. 1-2 weeks) and are extremely intense. I have really come to appreciate how talented a writer she is to keep up the tension and bring all of the threads together. Great, great read.


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