5. Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes. This was available as a free Kindle download back in November and I decided to give it a try. This is not a romance (although there is a bittersweet romantic element). Holmes is a Christian inspirational novelist, and Crossing Oceans was her debut in 2010. It's the story of Jenny, a single mother to a 5-year old girl. Jenny has learned that she has incurable cancer, so she takes her daughter and moves back to her father's to find a new home for little Isabella. She has two choices--her own father, from whom she has been estranged since she became pregnant; or David, her daughter's father who never knew anything about Isabella. Jenny has some fences to mend. Jenny is not always likable, but I think that made her human and realistic. She's dying, doesn't always feel well, and has a lot of ground to make up in the short time left to her. I enjoyed this book that was well outside what I normally read these days.
4. Kill Shot by Vince Flynn. A friend of mine got me hooked on these CIA thrillers shortly after Flynn was first published. With the last 2 books, Flynn took his main protagonist, Mitch Rapp, and went back to the late '80s when Rapp was first beginning his career with the CIA. This latest book is a very taut, fast-paced thriller set in Paris. Rapp nearly falls into a trap that has his superiors in Washington thinking he's turned traitor. Rapp is on the run from the CIA and his enemies until he can convince his boss that things aren't what they appear to be. The nice thing about a book set nearly 25 years in the past is that it avoids many political issues that were in more recent books. It was also kind of fun to be reading something with a lower order of technology. A character is using a cell phone that is described as the large, clunky thing a cell phone once was. Once I started this, I couldn't put it down.
3. The Night is Mine by M.L. Buchman. This military romance features a heroine who flies Black Hawk helicopters and is also a heck of cook. Emily is serving on the front line in Afghanistan when she is suddenly called back to Washington to become, of all things, personal chef to the First Lady. It turns out that the First Lady's life has been threatened and the President wants someone he trusts to be by her side. But Emily loves being in the middle of the action and she'd worked hard to get there. She is none too happy to be reassigned. Her commander, Mark, isn't too happy either. You see, Mark and Emily share a mutual attraction that regulations forbid they act upon. When Emily is injured in an attack upon the First Lady, Mark pulls some strings and rushes to her side, staying to help her investigate the attack. Buchman's style has a sparseness to it that enhanced the military aspects. I also appreciated the way he wrote Emily's character. She's strong and determined and her military career means so much to her that she won't sacrifice it in order to have a relationship with Mark. BTW, I did not realize that Buchman is a man until I went to his website when I was done to find more books.
2. Celebrity in Death by J.D. Robb. Robb's "In Death" books are always enjoyable reads, but this one was particularly entertaining. The previous installment, New York to Dallas, was quite dark, so a return to the lighter side of murder (if I can get away with saying that), was most welcome. Eve, who hates the spotlight, is having to deal with a movie being made about one of her cases. While at a dinner party with the cast of the movie, one of the actresses is found dead. This actress was not well-liked, so there are plenty of suspects. All the things that make this series fun to read are in this book--humor, plenty of time with all of Eve and Roarke's friends, and a decent mystery.
1. Confessions of an Arranged Marriage by Miranda Neville. I had been looking forward to this book for months and I was not at all disappointed. Minerva Montrose and the Marquis of Blakeney are forced to marry when they're caught in a compromising position. Each really detests the other and on the surface they are so different that it's hard to believe they can make their marriage work. Minerva's goal has always been to marry someone involved in politics so that she can become an influential political hostess. When you think about the limited roles women could have in that era, it makes sense that she would seek to fulfill her own political ambitions through the right marriage. But Blakeney, a rake with a scandalous reputation, has no interest in politics or any of Minerva's intellectual pursuits. Despite their differences, they are attracted to one another and Minerva really is determined to try to make the best of her marriage. I like the way they get to know one another over the course of the book and manage to find a happy medium that will satisfy their individual goals.