For a variety of reasons, June was a particularly busy and stressful month. I've spent this first week of July taking a few deep breaths and relaxing. Blogging has not been high on my list of things to do. I did finish 2 quilts. One had to be ready for the annual NQA show and another had to be ready for a goodbye party. I'll be posting pictures of those soon.
Meanwhile, here are 5 books I remember really enjoying back in May.
5. Shattered by Karen Robards. Years ago I read as many of Robards' historicals as I could find in my local library. At the time I wasn't too interested in RS, so I didn't continue to read her. A friend recommended Shattered to me and I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. Lisa Scott grew up in privilege in a small Kentucky town. After working for a large law firm in the big city she's back home to care for her mother who is slowly dying of ALS. She goes to work for DA Scott Buchanan, former neighbor whose upbringing was as different from Lisa's as could be. While working for him, Lisa is assigned to log cold case files. A co-worker shows her a file that includes a picture of a missing family-- and the mother bears an uncanny resemblance to Lisa. Lisa goes to Scott and their efforts to solve the cold case and discover the truth about this missing family lead to attempts on Lisa's life and the uncovering of decades-old secrets. Meanwhile, Scott, who had had a thing for Lisa when they were teens, and Lisa grow closer together. This was an entertaining and suspenseful read and I suspect I'll be reading more of Robards' RS in the future.
4. Her Hesitant Heart by Carla Kelly. Click that link! Look who finally has a real honest-to-gosh web site! The banner across the top is very pretty. Anyhow, Kelly's latest isn't a Regency, but a Western set in Ft. Laramie, WY several years after the Civil War. Susanna Hopkins is practically penniless when she arrives at the fort to begin teaching the officers' children. Army surgeon Joe Randolph is immediately drawn to the sad, quiet Susanna. Both of them bear the scars of the past; Susanna is particularly anxious to hide hers as the truth about her divorce would cost her this job and leave her destitute and alone. As usual, Kelly does the angst well amid the fascinating details of life in a 19th century army outpost. I enjoyed Joe and Susanna very much and I was intrigued by the very real class distinctions that existed between the officers and enlisted men, that carried over to their families. I really loved this book and perhaps the only reason it wasn't #1 this month is that the character of Joe was so very much like Jesse Randolph in The Wedding Journey, a book I re-read shortly before this book. Western lovers should definitely read this for the authenticity and period detail as well as the emotional and touching romance.
3. Kill and Tell by Linda Howard. This was my May TBR read. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this very over-the-top RS.
2. The Chocolate Rose by Laura Florand. This is another winner for me in Florand's Chocolate series. This one takes place in the south of France instead of Paris where top chef Gabriel Delange has a famous restaurant. Once upon a time, Gabriel had worked for Jolie Manon's father in Paris, and Gabriel has never forgiven Manon for what Manon stole from him. When Gabriel sues Manon to stop publication of a cookbook that has Gabriel's creation on the cover, Jolie comes to Gabriel to try and repair the breach. Gabriel falls hard for Jolie almost immediately, but Jolie is conflicted over what she sees as her duty to her father. Jolie is a mass of insecurities that almost became too much. Fortunately there was so much to love: Gabriel's big personality and persistent pursuit of Jolie, sexy and witty dialogue between the two, vivid descriptions of the village, and of course the food porn. Honestly, I just loved it and in less than a year, Florand has become a must-read author for me.
1. Aftershock by Jill Sorenson. OK, so here's how old I am. I came of age during the "golden age"* of disaster movies in the 1970s. My personal favorite is The Towering Inferno, but Earthquake was awesome with the introduction of Sensurround that made you feel the earthquake and its aftershocks sitting there in the theater. Reading Sorenson's Aftershock was a bit like revisiting those riveting movies of my youth. With more romance. Paramedic Lauren Boyer finds herself trapped in a large cavern created by the collapse of San Diego freeways when a huge earthquake hits the city. She's trapped with a number of other survivors, including Garrett Wright, an Iraq war veteran. Soon, not only is it a battle to merely survive, it's a battle against fellow survivors. I tell you, once I started this I did not put it down. I intend to get around to reading the sequels, too. Meanwhile, this book was awesome. Seriously.
*Disaster movies at Wikipedia.