June 2009 was probably my lightest reading month since I began this blog. I read 11 books. Normally I read at least 20. I just ended up getting busy with stuff, not to mention I had to finish a quilt for the wedding I'm attending tomorrow. (Picture to come.) As I look at the list of what I read, I will say that I enjoyed them all, but really, only 3 deserve the status of "phave." They are:
3. Gotcha! by Christie Craig. I continue to thoroughly enjoy these funny books with their witty dialogue by Ms. Craig. Can I call them light-hearted romantic suspense? That seems an oxymoron. There's definitely tension as the heroine is being stalked by a seriously bad dude. But her attitude, her relationship with the hero, as well as her relationships with her family members are wonderfully depicted. The secondary characters are lively, not dull wallpaper background for the hero/heroine. There's snappy pacing and it was truly hard to put this one down.
2. Don't Tell by Karen Rose. I've been working my way through Ms. Rose's backlist and this is one of her earlier books. By reading it now I can see how much tighter her writing and pacing have become since this was published. This one takes place over a lengthier time period and is a fascinating look at how a previously abused woman has totally re-made her life after running with her son from her abusive husband. I found it totally believable and there was plenty of tension. It was a great warm-up for her next release due in just a few weeks. Ms. Rose cannot write fast enough!
1. A Hint of Wicked by Jennifer Haymore. Usually it's pretty easy for me to finish one book and then move on to the next. But this one was unusual enough that I found it darn hard to pick up another book for a few days after. I see from other reviews that this is a book readers either love or hate. There's been some criticism about the realism of the history portrayed here. Indeed, I questioned that any Duke not named Wellington was that close to the front lines at Waterloo (although I was too lazy to actually research the question). But all that aside, I found this to be a well-written, compelling triangle story that stands a few standard romance conventions on end. For example, normally a book will tell the story of the h/h falling in love. Instead we have a heroine who was truly in love with her (presumed) dead husband and now years later has found love again with her second husband. This is how the book begins. And when the first husband turns up alive, Sophie has to make a choice between two men she still loves. (BTW, was the name "Sophie" a deliberate reference to the most devastating book I ever read, "Sophie's Choice"?) I found all three characters sympathetic. In a typical triangle story, one expects to dislike at least one member, but not in this case. In the end, I thought this was an amazing book and I hope Ms. Haymore continues to surprise us and twist the genre for us once in awhile.