Phyl's 5 Phaves for September

Is is October already? Don't know what it's like by you, but already it feels like November here. Yuk. I need to escape into some good books. So here are some I enjoyed in case you want to escape, too!

5. Fade to Black by Leslie Parrish. This is the first in Parrish's "Black CATs" series. The "CATs" are FBI "Cyber Action Teams" working on Internet-related crimes. This was a suspenseful, entertaining read as the team investigating a serial killer find their way to a small Virginia town because a missing girl from that town may be one of the killer's victims. The team is led by agent Dean Taggert and he works with town sheriff Stacey Rhodes to catch the killer before he strikes again. I liked Stacey because she was smart and capable, not a TSTL bone in her body. Dean is trying to juggle his job and his relationship with his young son (Dean is divorced). The characters seemed realistic and the plot was sufficiently gruesome to keep me glued to the book. I have the next 2 books in the series checked out from the library and will be reading those soon.

4. The Virgin River trilogy by Robyn Carr. There are actually at least 7 books now in this series and I believe 3 more to come in 2010. But the first three books are: Virgin River, Shelter Mountain, and Whispering Rock. These books are set in the very small town of Virgin River in the northern California mountains. It's the kind of territory that is occasionally featured in the news as being popular with marijuana growers. In fact, the growers are a small part of these stories, so it felt rather realistic as I read it. These books are about home, family, marriage, and babies. Carr's heroines have been through the wringer--the first three books feature a widow, an abused spouse, and a rape victim. A look ahead shows at least one other widow. The heroes are former marines who once served together and come to Virgin River to find peace and healing. These books are the quintessential comfort read and I found them quite engrossing. I was very caught up in the world Carr has created and am looking forward to reading more of the series. I will say that you really should read them in order from the first book. Recurring characters are featured heavily as the books move forward.

3. To Catch a Bride by Anne Gracie. This is the 3rd book in Gracie's "Devil Riders" series, but it stands very well alone. The bulk of the book takes place in Cairo when the hero Rafe decides to go there to look for a young Englishwoman who was orphaned some years previously. The girl's grandmother had believed her dead, but now has reason to believe she's alive. I totally enjoyed the unusual setting and once again Gracie gives us a book laced with humor and emotion. This wasn't quite as compelling as the previous book in the series, His Captive Lady, which was my #2 phave in July. But it was darn close. Rafe manages to find Ayisha rather quickly, but soon learns she is resistant to going with him to England to be reunited with her Grandmother. There is more to Ayisha than he realizes and the slow unraveling of the truth was an unexpected plot twist.

2. Summer of Two Wishes by Julia London. I just reviewed this a couple of weeks ago in my previous blog post. This is a very unusual romance and perhaps even rather risky. It deserves a look.

1. Never Love a Lawman by Jo Goodman. This was the first of Jo Goodman's westerns that I've ever read. I should try and find her old ones someday (or maybe they'll be released as ebooks--hint, hint!). I guess you could call this a marriage of convenience/forced marriage story. Rachel has inherited control of a rail spur that leads to the small Colorado town of Reidsville. The will giving her control of the rail line specifies that she marry Sheriff Wyatt Cooper and she agrees to make it a marriage in name early. But when Wyatt falls ill and the truth comes out it becomes a real marriage. Wyatt and Rachel deal with their growing feelings for one another, Rachel's hidden past, and the threat of those who would wrest control of the rail line from Rachel. I loved the setting of this book and once again Goodman uses dialogue to great effect to advance the story and help us get to know these two great characters. Goodman's website indicates there will be more books set in Reidsville and I look forward to them.


  1. LOVE Robyn Carr's Virgin River series. I've read them all and can't wait for the new three in 2010. She also is part of a holiday book this year - with Susan Wiggs and Sheryl Woods, I believe.

  2. I just got the 3 VR books published this year out from the library. I want to stretch them out a little while I wait for the new ones for 2010. I really like her writing.


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