I have to look back and thank March 2010 for being an unusually pleasant month. Normally, March is anything but pleasant around here. It's usually cold and damp and busy. Yet after our record-breaking snows of February, spring burst upon us. We had quite a bit of sun. I had ample time to read. I even liked most of what I read. And then I made a happy quilt for the Brenda Novak auction. Really, I do hate to see April arrive. Because there's that little matter of my taxes...
Before I list my top 5, I have to give an honorable mention to The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, a re-read that I liked just as much this time as I did the first time around. Another book that almost made the cut was Karen Ranney's A Promise of Love. This is one of her earlier books. Twice widowed, Judith is a woman who has suffered terrible abuse at the hands of her second husband. She is unwanted by her family, so her father sends her off to Scotland to a man who survived Culloden and has watched his people struggle after they abuse they've suffered at the hands of the English. This book has a lot of dark moments. But the book is also about healing, so is ultimately positive and satisfying. Nonetheless, not a light read.
5. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen. This little book is yet another gem by Allen. Perhaps it's best described as a tale of second chances. There is far less romance in this book than in her previous two, although once again food plays a significant role in the story. Even though it's short, Allen manages to draw you into her story with her descriptive writing and quirky characters. I like the book so well that I really wish it were longer and deeper. Still, a very enjoyable and satisfying read (although it really made me crave some cake!).
4. Proof by Seduction by Courtney Milan. This is Milan's debut novel (she had a RITA-nominated novella published late last year) and I really liked it. Jenny Keeble is a woman who has done what was necessary to survive without falling into prostitution. Jenny is known as Madame Esmerelda, a fortune-teller, and she has come to the attention of a powerful Marquess, Gareth. Gareth is determined to prove that she is a fraud, in order to "save" his cousin Ned. Both Jenny and Gareth do a lot of growing in this book and I liked these somewhat unconventional characters. When I was done I thought the book reminded me a bit of Lydia Joyce's books, although not so gothic.
3. Something About You by Julie James. James' latest book has received some well-deserved positive reviews out in blogland. This story of a U.S. Attorney who needs to be protected by the FBI as she's the sole witness to some events surrounding a murder. One of the agents assigned to her case is an agent she has negative history with. And of course sparks fly and attraction ensues. This book has wonderful, funny dialogue and a fast-paced plot. The mystery is well-balanced with the romance and nobody behaves stupidly. Thoroughly enjoyable from beginning to end.
2. Heart Change by Robin D. Owens. I blogged about this book at the beginning of the month. I just love this whole series and thought this was an excellent addition to it.
1. Naked Edge by Pamela Clare. This romantic suspense novel is part of Clare's I-Team series about a group of investigative journalists at a Denver newspaper. Besides being a pretty decent suspense story, the book featured a serious look at Native American culture through the character of the heroine, Kat. Clare's obvious love & respect for Native culture shines through the story. The book features some past characters from earlier books in the series, but mostly this is Kat & Gabe's story. Like the Julie James book, there is a great balance between the romance and the suspense. Like the Allen book, I was craving food when I was done. Numerous mentions of Navajo fry bread have me anxious to try making it in my own kitchen.
Hmmm. Maybe there's a theme here. Books that feature food are sure to be a Phave?