My favorite books of the last decade

50 Favorite books from 2010 – 2019

Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy did her best books of the decade post which I thought was great so I’ve created my own. It was lots of fun to look back at the last 10 years and remember books I’ve loved. I’ve kept a spreadsheet of the books I’ve read every year since 2004 so I went back through my spreadsheets and picked out these books. I didn’t give all of them an A, but these are the ones that have stuck with me.

I’ve listed anywhere from three to six favorite books a year. These books span a number of genres and some are books published that year and some are books published years and years ago. I don’t review all the books I read so if I have a review for the book on my blog I will show a link after the book covers. (I started my blog during 2013 so there are no reviews before that.)

2019

Doggirl by Robin Brande

2018

What the Dog Ate by Jackie Bouchard

Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

2017

The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

2016

Killing Trail by Margaret Mizushima

Cold in the Earth by Aline Templeton

In the Shadow of the Glacier by Vicki Delany

2015

Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal

Lock In by John Scalzi

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The Martian by Andy Weir

2014

The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron

Iron Night by M.L. Brennan

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

Earth Girl by Janet Edwards

2013

The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Death Masks by Jim Butcher

The Touchstone Trilogy by Andrea K. Höst

2012

2011

2010

Have you read any of these books? How did you like them? Are any of them favorites of yours?

Thoughts about books I’ve read–Feb 2018

I’m trying something a little different with my reviews. I’ve only done a handful of separate reviews so far this year. So instead I’m going to list all the books I read during a month and write a few sentences about each one or give a link (if I’ve already reviewed the book). I really want to get my reviews under control. And in some cases just write a few sentences. (Did I mention that already?!!)

A Matter of Loyalty by Anselm Audley & Elizabeth Edmondson

A Matter of Loyalty by Anselm Audley & Elizabeth Edmondson

Series: A Very English Mystery #3

Genre: Historical Mystery

Source: Ebook, purchased

287 pages

My Rating: B+

Reviewed: February 23

Bottom Line: The last book in this series (because the author–Ms. Edmondson–died). The author’s son finished the book and did a good job with this British cold war mystery.

Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

Series: Cutler, Sutter & Salinas #2

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Source: Ebook, Library

304 pages

My Rating: B

Reviewed: March 19

Bottom Line: A romance and a mystery . . . Ms. Krentz does a good job giving both equal time. 

White Nights by Ann Cleeves

White Nights by Ann Cleeves

Series: Shetland Islands #2

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Source: Ebook, purchased

392 pages

My Rating: B+

Reviewed: May 25

Bottom Line: The white nights of summer–where it never gets completely dark during the summer. That theme runs throughout this very good mystery.

Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

 Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

Series: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #6

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

371 pages

Source: Audiobook, Library

My Rating: A

Narrator Rating: A

Reviewed: March 16

Bottom Line: Excellent story and narration. The story arc which started in the last book continues in this book.

A Youthful Indiscretion by Elizabeth Edmondson

 A Youthful Indiscretion by Elizabeth Edmondson

Series: A Very English Mystery #1.5

Genre: Historical Mystery

Source: Ebook, purchased

60 pages

My Rating: C+

Reviewed: February 23

Bottom Line: A short story that provides some background to the books I read before I read this one. However, it isn’t necessary to read this to understand the books in this series.

Rivers of London: Body Work by Ben Aaronovitch

Rivers of London: Body Work by Ben Aaronovitch & Andrew Cartmel

Series: Peter Grant/Rivers of London Graphic Novels #1

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Graphic Novel

Source: Graphic Novel, Library

128 pages

My Rating: B

Reviewed: April 19

Bottom Line: I don’t read many graphic novels, but I really enjoy the Peter Grant series so I really liked the illustrations and the story in this graphic novel. It gave me a new way of looking at the series.

Diamond Girl by Julie Mulhern

Series: The Country Club Murders

Genre: Historical Mystery

Source: Ebook, purchased

38 pages

My thoughts

This was a fun short story while we all wait for the next Country Club Murder book! It’s about Aggie DeLucci who is Ellison’s housekeeper. She’s an important character in the series so it’s nice to find out a little more about her. And even though it’s such a short story the mystery is good and finishes up well.

My Rating: B

A Rare Book of Cunning Device by Ben Aaronovitch

A Rare Book of Cunning Device by Ben Aaronovitch

Series: Peter Grant #6.5

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Audiobook

Source: Audiobook, Purchased

29 Minutes

My Rating: B

Reviewed: April 19

Bottom Line: Very short, but what a fun story about something larger than Peter’s dog running around the British library!

Twelve Days of Faery by W.R. GingellTwelve Days of Faery by W.R. Gingell

Series: Shards of a Broken Sword #1

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Ebook, purchased

136 pages

My Rating: B+

Reviewed: June 8

Bottom Line: A short book (novella), but a fun and satisfying fairy tale retelling that turns the usual fairy tales upside down!

…………………………..

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

Review: Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

Series: Cutler, Sutter & Salinas #2

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Setting: Seattle, Washington and San Juan Islands

Publishing Date: 2018

Source: Ebook from library

Synopsis: Seattle gallery owner Virginia Troy has spent years battling the demons that stem from her childhood time in a cult and the night a fire burned through the compound, killing her mother. And now one of her artists has taken her own life, but not before sending Virginia a last picture: a painting that makes Virginia doubt everything about the so-called suicide—and her own past.

Like Virginia, private investigator Cabot Sutter was one of the children in the cult who survived that fire… and only he can help her now. As they struggle to unravel the clues in the painting, it becomes clear that someone thinks Virginia knows more than she does and that she must be stopped. Thrown into an inferno of desire and deception, Virginia and Cabot draw ever closer to the mystery of their shared memories—and the shocking fate of the one man who still wields the power to destroy everything they hold dear. 

Jayne Ann Krentz is a “comfort read” author for me and this book didn’t disappoint. I haven’t read the first book in the series and though there were a few references to characters from the first book I didn’t feel lost. I am considering reading the first book since I enjoyed this book.

A little background

I enjoyed reading about Virginia Troy who owns an art gallery in Seattle. Even though she had a traumatic childhood, twenty years later she has managed to put a lot of that behind her and is a success. However, she’s aware of some others who survived the cult her mother was a member of who haven’t managed to get past the trauma. When Hannah Brewster, one of the few adults who survived the fire the night the cult was destroyed, dies and her cabin burns to the ground everyone thinks it’s suicide, but  Virginia thinks she might have been murdered. Hannah Brewster was an artist, but her paintings never sold in Virginia’s gallery. They are just too dark for most people. Hannah always painted scenes from the night of the fire at the cult. They always show the children who were at the cult as well as the cult leader. Before Hannah died she sent Virginia a digital camera with a photo showing a wall she painted in her cabin. Hannah notices that this painting of the fire is a little different from others Hannah painted. Since the police and everyone else thinks Hannah committed suicide and that she was crazy, Hannah decides to go to a private detective agency.

Cutler, Sutter and Salinas isn’t just any agency. The private detectives are also survivors of the cult and the police officer who was there that night and who saved the children. Cabot Sutter is one of the surviving children and he’s inclined to agree with Virginia that Hannah’s death should be investigated. Cabot and the rest of the investigators of the agency believe that although Quinton Zane, the leader of the cult, was declared dead that he might have faked his death and that he’s still alive. Cabot is eager to see if he’s behind Hannah’s death.

The romance and the mystery

Cabot and Virginia work together to solve the mystery and though they don’t want to like each other at first they admire each other. The admiration grows as they get to know each other and see the honesty and bravery both show. They were both scarred by their time in the cult, but they have managed to rise above it even though they both have issues. I like the way Ms. Krentz shows their angst as well as their integrity and courage. I felt the romance was real and that it didn’t overtake the mystery.

I also really like Anson Salinas also who was the policeman who saved the children and adopted three of them whose relatives wouldn’t or couldn’t take care of them. He’s very honorable and intelligent. There’s obviously a strong bond between him and the boys he adopted.

There’s a lot of action and adventure in the book that I liked. I didn’t like the parts that are in the antagonist point-of-view as well. I understand why at least some of it was necessary for the story, but still didn’t like those parts as well. The book also surprised me several times which is always fun.

I don’t like romantic suspense as well as a book that’s just a mystery, but thought this was quite well-done. I really do like Jayne Ann Krentz’s writing. These books continue the mystery of the cult and how it’s affecting the present day throughout the series.

My rating: B

Reading Challenge

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

Excerpt: ‘Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick

til-death-do-us-part

Excerpt from ‘Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick

I reviewed this book yesterday. I really like it–gave it a B+. This excerpt comes from the beginning of the book and luckily there aren’t too many from this point-of-view! This POV really creeped me out…l0l. I like that the book is suspense and also historical romance!

She belonged to him.

He was locked inside a cage the size and shape of a coffin. A dark thrill heated his blood like a powerful, intoxicating drug.

When the time came he would purify the woman and cleanse himself with her blood. But tonight was not the time. The ritual had to be followed correctly. The woman must be made to comprehend and acknowledge the great wrong that she had done. There was no finer instructor than fear.

He huddled inside the concealed lift, listening to the sounds of someone moving about in the bedroom on the other side of the wall. There was a narrow crack in the paneling. Excitement sparked through him when he caught a glimpse of the woman. She was at her dressing table, adjusting the pins in her dark brown hair. It was as if she knew he was watching and was deliberately taunting him.

She was passable in appearance, but he had seen her on the street and had not been particularly impressed with her looks. She was overly tall for a woman and her forceful character was etched on her face. She was dangerous. It was all there in her unnerving eyes.

The woman rose from the dressing table chair and moved out of sight. A moment later he heard the muffled sound of the bedroom door opening and closing.

Silence.

He slid the cage door aside and opened the wooden panel. The wall sconce had been turned down low but he could make out the bed, the dressing table, and the wardrobe.

He moved out of the lift. The heady exhilaration he always experienced at such moments roared through him. With every step of the ritual he came closer to achieving his own purification.

For a precious few seconds he debated where to leave his gift. The bed or the dressing table?

The bed, he decided. So much more intimate.

He made his way out through the tradesmen’s entrance and slipped, unseen, into the gardens. The gate was still unlocked, just as he had left it.

A few minutes later he was lost in the fog. The weight of the knife in its sheath beneath his greatcoat was reassuring.

The ritual was almost complete.

The woman with the unnerving eyes would soon understand that she belonged to him. It was her destiny to be the one to cleanse him. He was certain of it. The connection between them was a bond that could be shattered only by death.

 

Posted by arrangement with Berkley Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Jayne Ann Krentz, 2016.

 

‘Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick

til-death-do-us-part‘Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick
Series: Unknown
Genre: Historical Romance, Mystery
Setting: Victorian London
Published by Berkley
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: April 19)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
352 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Calista Langley operates an exclusive “introduction” agency in Victorian London, catering to respectable ladies and gentlemen who find themselves alone in the world. But now, a dangerously obsessed individual has begun sending her trinkets and gifts suitable only for those in deepest mourning—a black mirror, a funeral wreath, a ring set with black jet stone. Each is engraved with her initials.

Desperate for help and fearing that the police will be of no assistance, Calista turns to Trent Hastings, a reclusive author of popular crime novels. Believing that Calista may be taking advantage of his lonely sister, who has become one of her clients, Trent doesn’t trust her. Scarred by his past, he’s learned to keep his emotions at bay, even as an instant attraction threatens his resolve.

But as Trent and Calista comb through files of rejected clients in hopes of identifying her tormentor, it becomes clear that the danger may be coming from Calista’s own secret past—and that only her death will satisfy the stalker…

Initial impressions

  • Amanda Quick is a favorite author of mine. I love her characters and the humor and fun she puts into her books. This book has all those things plus suspense!

The story

  • Calista Langley is a businesswoman who introduces respectable people to other respectable people and provides them a place to meet and get to know each other.
  • She has attracted a stalker who is sending her increasingly menacing “gifts.”
  • Trent Hastings, a successful author, visits her pretending to want her services to meet people, but is really concerned that she’s taking advantage of his sister.
  • When he learns about Calista’s stalker he and his sister offer their help.

Pluses

  • It has been awhile since I read an Amanda Quick book. This book is just as much fun to read as I remember all the others being. The characters have Ms. Quick’s trademark humor.
  • Calista is a strong, likeable character who has managed to carve out a life and business for herself.
  • Calista’s stalker and the things he does are very spooky.
  • I like that Calista has the sense to be scared about the “gifts” she’s receiving and to tell someone else who may be able to help. The items she’s receiving are called “memento mori” by Victorians. (Many Victorians were obsessed with death.)
  • Trent is a great character. He’s an author who writes a detective series which is serialized in a newspaper and he’s quite famous. He meets many fans during the book–some who like the direction his book is taking and some who don’t! He also channels his main character when he’s helping Calista! Sometimes with funny results.
  • There are a number of red herrings in the story that kept me guessing to the end.

Minuses

  • Trent is described as standoffish and he’s suspicious of Calista, but that changes very quickly. Having Trent change more slowly might have been more realistic, however I have to admit I like the two characters a lot and his change of heart didn’t bother me too much!

And concluding thoughts . . .

  •  I hope the author decides to turn this into a series. I really like the characters and the time period.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • The author of a string of New York Times bestsellers, JAYNE ANN KRENTZ uses three different pen names for each of her three “worlds”.   As JAYNE ANN KRENTZ (her married name) she writes contemporary romantic-suspense.  She uses AMANDA QUICK for her novels of historical romantic-suspense.  JAYNE CASTLE (her birth name) is reserved these days for her stories of futuristic/paranormal romantic-suspense.
  • She earned a B.A. in History from the University of California at Santa Cruz and went on to obtain a Masters degree in Library Science from San Jose State University in California.  Before she began writing full time she worked as a librarian in both academic and corporate libraries.
  • She is married and lives with her husband, Frank, in Seattle, Washington.

Reading Challenges

TBR Review: The Witness by Nora Roberts

witness

The Witness
by Nora Roberts
Series: None
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by Penguin, 2012
492 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: Daughter of a controlling mother, Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever.

Twelve years later, the woman known as Abigail Lowery lives on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she designs sophisticated security systems — and supplements her own security with a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. But Abigail’s reserve only intrigues police chief Brooks Gleason. Her logical mind, her secretive nature, and her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something — and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed.

With a quirky, unforgettable heroine and a pulse-pounding plotline, Nora Roberts presents a riveting new read that cements her place as today’s most reliably entertaining thriller — and will leave people hungering for more.

“After weighing the pros and cons, I’ve decided sex with you would be mutually satisfying. You’re attractive and pleasant. And clean. You kiss very well, and while I’ve found that’s not always a reliable gauge for skill in bed, it often follows. If you’re agreeable, we can finish dinner, I’ll show you the greenhouse, then we can go in and have sex. I’m on birth control, but I would require you wear a condom.”
and
The minute her feet hit the ground, the puppy who’d begun to yip and dance at her voice leaped so high he executed a midair flip before he tumbled into a sprawl.
The woman laughed, scooped him up as unsnapped his lead.
“Come on!” she called again. “Come on and introduce Abigail to your little brother.”
“Her favorite son right now, too,” Brooks told Abigail. “Let’s say hey.”

Cheers

  • I haven’t read any Nora Roberts books for quite a while. I do like a number of her stand-alone romantic suspense books and this is excellent.
  • I love Bert. He’s a wonderful character and wonderful dog.
  • Abigail and Brooks are such great characters. She has been through so much and she’s survived and found happiness and courage. Brooks is a law enforcement officer in the best sense of the word. He’s all about “Serve and Protect.” I like them so much.
  • I love how direct Abigail is. She says exactly what she thinks and it’s often hilarious. (Check out the first quote!)
  • There is a lot of suspense in this book. I was never sure when something scary might happen.
  • Sometimes with a romantic suspense I feel the suspense suffers because of the romance or the romance feels shoehorned in and unrealistic. That isn’t the case for me with this book. I feel Nora Roberts got the mix nearly perfect.

Jeers

  • The ending is good, but I thought it was a little too easy.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I’ve had this book for about a year and I’m so glad I finally read it. I read it quickly considering I was with my SIL and BIL much of the time and though I wanted to read felt I’d be a little rude if I did so…LOL.
  • It was the perfect book for me at this time. I wouldn’t want to read the first part of the book if I’d been by myself as I will be next week since my husband is traveling for work. I found the first part of the book especially suspenseful.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Review: River Road by Jayne Ann Krentz

river-roadRiver Road
by Jayne Ann Krentz
Series: None as far as I know
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by Putnam Adult, 2014
E-book, Library
336 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: It’s been thirteen years since Lucy Sheridan was in Summer River. The last time she visited her aunt Sara there, as a teenager, she’d been sent home suddenly after being dragged out of a wild party—by the guy she had a crush on, just to make it more embarrassing. Obviously Mason Fletcher—only a few years older but somehow a lot more of a grown-up—was the overprotective type who thought he had to come to her rescue.

Now, returning after her aunt’s fatal car accident, Lucy is learning there was more to the story than she realized at the time. Mason had saved her from a very nasty crime that night—and soon afterward, Tristan, the cold-blooded rich kid who’d targeted her, disappeared mysteriously, his body never found.

A lot has changed in thirteen years. Lucy now works for a private investigation firm as a forensic genealogist, while Mason has quit the police force to run a successful security firm with his brother—though he still knows his way around a wrench when he fills in at his uncle’s local hardware store. Even Summer River has changed, from a sleepy farm town into a trendy upscale spot in California’s wine country. But Mason is still a protector at heart, a serious (and seriously attractive) man. And when he and Lucy make a shocking discovery inside Sara’s house, and some of Tristan’s old friends start acting suspicious, Mason’s quietly fierce instincts kick into gear. He saved Lucy once, and he’ll save her again. But this time, she insists on playing a role in her own rescue . . .

“Damn,” he said softly. “This is going to get complicated.”

“No kidding,” Deke said. “I think we just got stuck with the check.”

and

“You said none of those arranged matches got past two dates, right?”

“Right. Most didn’t get past the first date, actually.”

“We are now on date number three. Given your track record, that constitutes a relationship.”

Cheers

  • Jayne Ann Krentz writes books that are quick, fun reads. Her books are comfort reads for me.
  • This book is a classic Jayne Ann Krentz. I love her characters.
  • Mason is an alpha male. I like to read that type in a romance sometimes!
  • Lucy is a strong heroine and she tells Mason when he’s overbearing or overprotective. And he listens!
  • The attraction between Mason and Lucy is mutual, but neither is sure about the other. I especially like that Mason is insecure and doesn’t want to mess this up by doing things Lucy doesn’t like. He’s an alpha male who’s willing to listen, learn and change when it matters to him.
  • I like the mystery. I figured most of it out, but not all of it and almost at the end of the book.

Jeers

  • The end is a little flat for me.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I haven’t read a book by Ms. Krentz for quite a while. I have paper copies of a lot of her books which I periodically read (or did when I read more paper books).
  • This was a good summer read. I haven’t read a romantic suspense lately and this one works for me.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Review: Fatal Affair by Marie Force

fatal-affairFatal Affair
by Marie Force
Series: Fatal series, Book 1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by Carina Press, 2010
E-book, Purchased
294 pages
Grade: C+
Synopsis: Washington, D.C., Metro Police Detective Sergeant Sam Holland needs a big win to salvage her career–and her confidence–after a disastrous investigation. The perfect opportunity arises when Senator John O’Connor is found brutally murdered in his bed, and Sam is assigned to the case. Matters get complicated when Sam has to team up with Nick Cappuano, O’Connor’s friend and chief of staff…and the man Sam had a memorable one-night stand with years earlier. Their sexual chemistry still sizzles, and Sam has to fight to stay focused on the case. Sleeping with a material witness is another mistake she can’t afford–especially when the bodies keep piling up.

It struck Sam that death was the great equalizer. We arrive with nothing, we leave with nothing, and in death what we’ve accomplished–or not accomplished–doesn’t matter. Senator or bricklayer, millionaire or welfare mother, they all looked more or less the same laid out on the medical examiner’s table.

What worked for me:

  • I like the Washington, DC setting.
  • This was a quick book to read and I like the first third of the book where there was more focus on the mystery.
  • I like the characters in the book–especially Sam, Nick and Sam’s dad.

 What didn’t work:

  • I was expecting a mystery novel (perhaps my fault for not reading more about the book) instead of romantic suspense. I used to read quite a bit of romantic suspense, but haven’t for several years. It always seems the suspense or the romance suffers. In this case, the suspense and mystery suffered.
  • The above quote isn’t really true. Death may equalize things to a degree, but how we live our lives does show up on the medical examiner’s table. Did the person have enough to eat? Was he a drug addict? A senator who still gets special treatment even in death?
  • The last third of the book has lots of explicit love scenes…that just seems out-of-place for the setting and murder mystery.
  • Nick and Sam fall into bed much too quickly…they had a one night stand six years ago and suddenly they’re in love.
  • Sam does lots of things which I think would have gotten her into a lot of trouble with internal affairs in a police department.
  • Sam wouldn’t have been allowed to interrogate her ex-husband. It would have tainted the case.
  • Everything wrapped up much too neatly.

My thoughts:

I like relationships between characters in a mystery series, but not at the expense of the mystery. I wanted a police procedural mystery so I’m disappointed this was much more romance than mystery. Since Sam was a personal friend of the Chief of Police as well as a detective working for him there should have been more distance in their professional relationship. Both should have bent over backward to keep the relationships professional.

Have you read this book? What do you think about it?

I’m participating in the 2014 New Author Reading Challenge hosted at the Literary Escapism blog.  I’m also participating in the Book Bingo Challenge.

Review: Now You See Her by Linda Howard

bed64-nowyouseeherNow You See Her
by Linda Howard
Series:
Genre: Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Published by Pocket Books, 2003 (originally 1998)
E-book, Purchased
362 pages
Grade: C+
Synopsis: A talented painter in her early thirties, Paris Sweeney has achieved enviable success: her work sells at an exclusive New York City gallery, and her popularity is at an all-time high. Life is good, and Sweeney, as she prefers to be called, is content.

But lately, Sweeney’s dreams — lush, vivid, and drenched in vibrant hues — seem to echo a growing restlessness that has taken hold of her. Suddenly, impulsively, Sweeney falls into a night of intense passion with millionaire Richard Worth. Now, the true dangers of her all-consuming urges are about to be revealed where Sweeney least expects it: in her paintings.

After a creative frenzy she can barely recall, Sweeney discovers she has rendered a disturbing image — a graphic murder scene. Against her better instincts, she returns to the canvas time and again, filling out each chilling detail piece by piece. But when a shattering, real-life murder mirrors her creation, Sweeney falls under suspicion. With every stroke of her brush, she risks incriminating herself with her inexplicable knowledge of a deadly crime. And every desire — including her hunger for Richard — is loaded with uncertainty as Sweeney races to unmask a killer.

__________

She didn’t want to be different. She had seen her parents use their talent as an excuse for all sorts of god-awful, selfish, self-aggrandizing behavior, and seen the havoc they had wrought in other people’s lives. She didn’t want to be like that. She wanted to be a perfectly normal person who happened to have a talent for painting; that was different enough, but she could handle that.

What worked for me:

  • This is a straight-forward romance even with the paranormal and suspense aspects.
  • Sweeney and Richard are pleasant characters.
  • This was a fun, quick read and though it hasn’t stayed with me I did enjoy it.

What didn’t work:

  •  Even without the paranormal aspect this book is not at all plausible!

My thoughts:

I think this was originally a category romance. The style of writing is simple and light despite the murder. I like many of Linda Howard’s books especially some of her earlier books, but this is not one of my favorites by her. Nevertheless, I’m not sorry I read it. Sometimes it’s nice to read a quick, easy book.

Some of my favorite Linda Howard books are Mr. Perfect, Dream Man and Kill and Tell.

__________

Have you read this book or any others by Linda Howard? Which are your favorites?

My Winter TBR List

toptentuesday2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme I participate in when I can. It’s a great meme and is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog. Every week a new topic is presented. It’s not only fun to think about my own list, but to read what other people come up with!

This week–the ten books on my winter TBR list. The books on my list are all books released in December, January and February. Thus, the list has many books from my December books on my radar post from last week as well as books on my TTT 2014 most anticipated books also from last week!

» » » » » »

dangerous-womenDangerous Women

edited by George R. R. Martin & Gardner R. Dozois

Series: some stories in the anthology are from authors’ series

Genre:Fantasy Anthology

Publication Date: December 3

The Dangerous Women anthology contains so many great sounding stories by some of my favorite authors! I’ve put this book on hold at my library.

» » » » » »

Darkwalker

by E. L. Tettensor

Series: Nicolas Lenoir series #1

Genre: Historical Fantasy Mystery

Publication Date: December 3

This book sounds so interesting. I like fantasies with a mystery involved and I’ve bought this book, but haven’t had a chance to start it yet.

» » » » » »

the-countess-conspiracyThe Countess Conspiracy

by Courtney Milan

Series: Brothers Sinister #3

Genre: Historical Romance

Publication Date: December 17

I like Courtney Milan’s books a lot. I discovered I haven’t read her last book so I need to do that before reading this one!

» » » » » »

deadshiftedDeadshifted

by Cassie Alexander

Series: Edie Spencer #4

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publication Date: December 31

I’m excited about this book. This series has been one of my favorites from 2013.

» » » » » » 

River Road

By Jayne Krentz

Series: Unknown

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Publication Date: January 7

I like Jayne Anne Krentz’s romantic suspense books so I’m looking forward to this book.

» » » » » »

lines-of-departureLines of Departure

by Marko Kloos

Series: sequel to Terms of Enlistment

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication date: January 28

Terms of Enlistment was one of my favorite books from 2013 so I’m very excited a new book is coming out!

» » » » » »

broken-homesBroken Homes

by Ben Aaronovitch

Series: Peter Grant series #4

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publication Date: February 4

These books are set in London and the rivers in London are a big part of the series which makes it so interesting to me.

» » » » » »

carousel-sunCarousel Sun

by Sharon Lee

Series: Carousel #2

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: February 4

I loved Carousel Tides when it came out a few years ago–one of my very favorite books! I was so excited when I saw there will be at least two more books in this series. They are such fun fantasies. I’ve been to one of the Maine boardwalks and carousels so that made the story even better for me.

» » » » » »

Cress

by Marissa Meyer

Series: Lunar Chronicles #3

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Publication Date: February 4

I loved the first two books in this series so I’m very much looking forward to this book. They’ve been such interesting twists on the fairytales.

» » » » » »

white-spaceWhite Space

by Ilsa J. Bick

Series: Dark Passages #1

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Publication Date: February 11

This is being marketed as The Matrix meets Inkheart so I’m very intrigued!

» » » » » »

What books are you most excited to read this winter?