Since I prefer to write about the books that were especially memorable for me, and since I am reading fewer books on average, I am preserving the alliteration in my title by only mentioning four books this month. Everything else that I read was pretty enjoyable and three of the books books were re-reads so not mentioned here. It was a good month.
4. Promoted: To Wife and Mother by Jessica Hart. TBR Day hostess SuperWendy reviewed this book and her enthusiastic review combined with a most excellent price point for Kindle convinced me to buy this book. I ended up reading it almost right away and I'm glad I did. I'm not going to bother with much description; Wendy does such a good job in her review. I will tell you why I liked it though: hero and heroine in their 40s, teenagers (I have one of my own), dealing with the failing health of a parent, and finding time for romance between job and family responsibilities--that last one is darn hard. I thought Hart put all of these things together so well. I enjoyed the humor and the way Perdita and Ed responded to one another. I don't know whether to love or hate TBR Day. It always costs me money. In this case it was well spent.
3. The Lass Wore Black by Karen Ranney. This book is the sequel to A Scandalous Scot which was a Phave last July. While in many ways this book stands alone quite well, I think it would help to have read ASS before this one because of the backstory involving the heroine, Catriona. In the previous book Catriona is a very beautiful and frivolous young woman who makes some poor decisions. Frankly she wasn't very likeable in that book. As this book opens, she has an unexpected encounter at a party in London with one of those poor decisions. She leaves the party only to suffer a bad carriage accident that leaves her horribly scarred and a shell of her former self. Catriona retreats back to Scotland and moves in with an aunt. Her aunt hires a doctor, the hero Mark, to help Catriona out of her depression. Mark pretends to be a footman at first and doesn't reveal to her that he's a doctor. He challenges Catriona and their encounters help Catriona to essentially see what's most valuable about life. For me, the best part of this book was seeing how Ranney transformed Catriona into a character I liked and respected. I also really liked Mark and the way he comes to understand, and love, Catriona.
2. The Departed by Shiloh Walker. I've deliberately steered away from paranormals lately, but 1) I like Walker's RS books, and 2) I was intrigued by this series of FBI psychics. I meant to read The Missing, which is the first book in the series first, but I accidentally picked this up instead. Fortunately I don't think it mattered. This stood alone just fine. The heroine in this story, Desiree, or Dez, can hear ghosts of those who have not yet crossed over to the other side, or departed. They call to her and Dez helps her team discover the circumstances of the death and bring justice. Her boss is the team's leader, Taylor. Dez and Taylor are attracted to one another, but have never allowed a relationship to develop. But when Dez is shot and nearly killed, Dez and Taylor have a brief and intense encounter while Dez is recovering. But then Taylor pulls back and Dez decides to leave the FBI and strike out on her own. Several months later Dez finds herself pulled to the small town of French Lick, IN, which just so happens to be Taylor's home town. Dez is led by a ghost to save the life of a young woman and then she and Taylor uncover the truth behind the ghost's death. Along the way, Dez helps Taylor solve the mystery behind the disappearance of Taylor's little sister, who had been missing two decades. And of course Dez and Taylor resolve their relationship. I loved the characters and their backstories. The suspense was well done and took an interesting twist at the end. I'm anxious to go back and read The Missing before moving on to the newly released The Reunited.
1. A Kiss for Midwinter by Courtney Milan. I had this before Christmas but decided to re-read the previous books in the series before reading this. Milan's books are a treat to read and I suspect I'll re-read them frequently in the years to come. This Christmas novella is the story of Lydia, daughter of a wealthy merchant, and Jonas, a doctor who knows Lydia's deepest secret. Lydia's behavior towards Jonas is often rude because she can't stand to be reminded of what he knows. She's a cheerful person by nature and prefers to put the past behind her. But Jonas has fallen in love and he patiently waits for an opportunity for her to get to know him. I liked his patient pursuit, he's not obnoxious or overbearing. This novella is a wonderful character-driven story and an excellent read whether it's Christmas or not.