Thursday, August 25, 2011

End of Summer~~

The sun and the moon, take turns in the sky
The days drift by too soon
The meadows are kissed by a cool autumn mist
And it looks like summer is over...
Dusty Springfield

Hard to believe that the summer flew by yet again, of course some of those hot humid days couldn’t pass quick enough for me.

One of my favorite things to do during the summer is-surprise! - read. Some of the wonderful books I read this summer were:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I liked it so much I read the rest of the trilogy, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, all in ten days. I know, it’s considered a young adult, it was great….I recommended it to several folks, of all ages, when they came back they raved about all three books too!

It’s always great to read and oldie but goodie, which we did for the mystery book discussion in July with Double Indemnity by James M. Cain. Many of us hadn’t read it, and I’m happy to say that a few of the group were going to read more of his mysteries.

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand was a delight! Helen Simonson’s debut will make you smile and remind you that love happens no matter what. These books will leave it with a smile, a real gem.

Love You More by Lisa Gardner~~one of my favorite authors~~once again has us tagging along with Detective D. D. Warren as she tries to get the answers to did Tessa Leoni kill her abusive husband or did someone else? Where is Leoni’s six year old daughter who also disappeared?

Meet Joanna, Ingrid and Freya Beauchamp in Melissa de la Cruz’s magical, sexy tale of witches, Witches of East End, who aren’t just any witches, that haven't been allowed to use their powers since, well, almost forever! Paranormal at its best. Loved it, and can’t wait for the next one in the Beauchamp women series.

Speaking of paranormal, nothing like a visit to Jim Butcher’s detective wizard Harry Dresden in his latest, Ghost Story (#13). Harry’s been murdered and he’s in limbo where he still tries to save his friends and the Windy City from the bad guys...of all types.  This is one series that just gets better and better.

Since I also like to eat, cookbooks are big for me during the summer. My favorite was Amy Finley’s How to Eat a Small Country: A Family's Pursuit of Happiness, One Meal at a Time. Findey was the third season of  the Next Food Network Star… when her French husband was spending so much time cooking on TV and not at home, he wasn’t happy.. Amy walked away from it all, they move to France and well, read it and enjoy this book about love, food and family. (Some great recipes)

I’m always looking for new and interesting ways to cook vegetables, especially the local one. Barbara Scott-Goodman and Liz Trovato give some great ideas with their cookbook Eat Greens: Seasonal Recipes to Enjoy in Abundance. These are just a few of my summer reads that I enjoyed. What were some of yours?

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer~~

Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Reading~~A Vacation for the Mind!

“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.”

Mason Cooley

It’s the middle of summer! Time to get away, which is not always that easy, so remember this: a book can take you anywhere you want to go. Where would you like to go?

Think about it~~want to visit jolly old England? Pick up a book by Edward Rutherfurd, Phillippa Gregory, Sharon Kay Penman, Alison Weir, Bernard Cornwell, just to name just a few. What did it take to build a cathedral in England? Pick up the classic Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Fantasy and British history together…Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley; Jennifer Roberson will take you on a very merry romp with Robin Hood and Maid Marion in her wonderful novel Lady of the Forest.

Take a trip through America? How else would I know how Centennial, Colorado started from a speck of sand millions of years before it became a town? I learned more about geology from James Michener in Centennial then I did in school. Larry McMurty took me on a cattle drive from Texas to Montana in Lonesome Dove that I wouldn’t have gone on otherwise. How about going along with Lewis and Clark in Stephen E. Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage as they head west to the Pacific? Civil War? MacKinlay Cantor’s Andersonville will haunt you with what one human being can do to others. Michael Shaara wrote, for me anyway, one of THE best fiction books on Gettysburg, Killer Angels. Don’t forget Margaret Mitchell to check out that most southern of southern belles, Scarlet, in Gone With the Wind. Even if you have already read it, celebrate Gone With the Wind’s 75th anniversary and read it again!

What to tag along and help solve a mystery? Help find out who the real killer is? Find out what happens when things aren’t quite what they should be? Any of these authors will love to have you tag along… Lisa Gardener; Chelsea Cain; Ridley Pearson; Charles Todd; Cara Black; Dashell Hammett; Raymond Chandler; James Ellroy; Nancy Pickard; Donald Westlake; Julia Spencer-Fleming; Karin Slaughter. This is a few of the variety of mystery authors that will envelope you in some twists and turns to the end.

How about helping to stop terrorism around the world? These are a few of my favorites, Daniel Silva; John le Carre: Stella Rimington (Rimington was the first woman to head MI5) Helen MacInnes; Alex Berenson: Clyde Eagleton; Charles McCarry; Tom Clancy; Len Deighton~~check any of these out and go on a page turning ride that will make your adrenalin pump.

Do you love a good legal thriller with great courtroom scenes? I know I do. Pick up Steve Martini; John Grisham; Scott Turow; David Ellis; Phillip Margolin; John Mortimer; William Diehl…just some that make you feel that you are inside the courtroom, watching the characters and give great descriptions of their reactions.

Ah, romance. What would summer be without romance? Some great historical romance writers are~~Lisa Kleypas; Rosemary Rodger; Katherine Woodiwiss; Jude Deveraux; Mary Balogh; Beatrice Small, without whom I would never have know what a Kadin was... nor, ahem… what they did.

Little paranormal romance? You can’t beat Diana Gabaldon; Karen Marie Moning; Kresley Cole; Lynsay Sands; Sherrilyn Kenyon; J. W. Ward; Gena Showalter; Charlaine Harris; Christine Feehan….vampires, werewolves, witches, shape-shifters, time-travel, men in kilts…oh my! What more could you ask for!

Enjoy more modern day romance? Here you go…Nora Roberts; Jennifer Cruise; Susan Elizabeth Phillips; Jennifer Weiner; Nicholas Sparks; Elizabeth Lowell; Emily Griffin~~to name just a few.

Hopefully one of these authors will take you away.
There you go~~pick where you want to go and lose yourself for a wee bit. As Dr. Seuss said, "Oh! The place you'll go!"

Happy Reading!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Summer Book Shelf

Come on let's read we did last summer
Yea, let's read again like we did last year~~
Do you remember when things were really hummin'
Yea, let's read again~~reading time is here!
(Shout out to Chubby Checker)

As far as I'm concerned, it's always reading time. With summer just around the corner, I have my stack of books ready to about you?

Fallen by Karin Slaughter
A Covert Affair: Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS by Jennet Conant
Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva (Gabriel Allon series)
Eve and Quinn~~both by Iris Johansen
Once Upon a Time, There Was You by Elizabeth Berg
Snowman by Jo Nesbo
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I also make sure to have several romance paperbacks around too, to grab and throw in my bag.

For the summer mystery book discussions~~

China Lake by Meg Gardiner~~June 21st at 4pm
Double Indemnity by James M. Cain~~July 19th at 4pm
The Alienist by Caleb Carr~~August 23rd at 4pm

I know for me, the mood I'm in dictates the book I feel like reading, so I make sure to have several different genres around to choose from. Mixing it up is always a good thing.

What are you planning to read this summer? Let me know.

Let the summer begin! Reading time is here~~~

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

We Cozied Up!

"Reading is to the mind what exerise is to the body."
Richard Steele

I can't think of a better way to exercise my mind then reading a's great to see how many are in agreement.

We finished up the Cozy Up With a Good Book winter book club at the end of April. It was terrific! We had 68 people sign up; 55 Reader's Cards were turned in; and everyone loved the reading as a great way to pass winter. The best part is when folks tell me they read
someone different, or tried a new genre~~
and discovered that they liked it!

The top books the club read this year were:

1) Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot *
2) Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
3) Night Fall by Nelson DeMille *
4) Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve
5) How Green Ws My Valley by Richard Llewellyn *
6) Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
7) Little Bee by Chris Cleave
8) Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke
9) Growing Up Laughing by Marlo Thomas
10) The Help by Kathryn Stockett
11) Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
12) Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
13) Half-Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls
14) Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly
15) Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane

*Denotes books from the winter book discussions

The authors read the most during the book club were:

1) Robert B. Parker
2) James Patterson
3) Stieg Larsson
4) Michael Connelly
5) C. J. Sansom
6) Mary Higgins Clark
7) Lisa Gardner
8) John Dunning
9) Nora Roberts
10) Paul Theroux

We celebrated May 3rd with a party where we discussed~~what else~~books we had read over the winter, gave out raffle prizes, congratulated our top readers, enjoyed refreshments, and looked forward to the summer book club.

Thank you for joining the book club~~and enjoying reading.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Top Ten Books for 2010

"Reading gives us someplace to go
when we have to stay where we are."
Mason Cooley

I am always curious what the top books of the year are so I checked out several lists to see what were listed. Based on what books were on the lists, and what I have read over the year, here is my favorite top ten of 2010.
Top Ten Books of 2010~~~


1) Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

2) Room by Emma Donoghue **

3) A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan***

4) The Help by Cathryn Stockett*

5) Faithful Place by Tana French***

6) Our Kind of Traitor by John Le Carre***

7) The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachmann*

8) The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall*

9) Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes***

10) Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson***


1) Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

2) Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand**

3) Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bourdain***

4) Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff*

5) The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot***

6) The Last Boy: Mantle Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood by Jane Leavy**

7) Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

8) Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol I by Mark Twain*

9) Just Kids by Patti Smith

10) Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory by Ben Macintyre***


1) Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane***

2) Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny***

3) Man from Beijing by Henning Mankill*

4) The Glass Rainbow by James Lee Burke***

5) The Devil’s Star by Jo Nesbo***

6) Midnight House by Alex Berenson***

7) The Red Door by Charles Todd*

8) Stieg Larsson Trilogy:
A) The Girl With  Tattoo**                                                            
B) The Girl Who Played With Fire**
C) The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest*

9) Still Missing by Chevy Stevens*

10) The Scent of Rain and Lightening by Nancy Pickard***

Romance/Paranormal Romance~~

1) Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas

2) Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

3) Summer Hideaway by Susan Wiggs**

4) Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie**

5) Happily Ever After by Nora Roberts

6) Pleasure of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole***

7) Lover Mine: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J. R. Ward

8) Shadowfever (Fever Series #5) by Karen Marie Moning***

9) Dead in the Family (Sookie Stackhouse series #10) by Charlaine Harris***

10) The Darkest Passion by Gena Showalter***

The ones I read have an ***; I put a * by the ones that I want to read; and the ones I am not sure about, I put nothing.

I must say, I surprised myself with my taste for romance...I never realized how much I seem to enjoy the paranormal. Hey, a walk on the wild side every so often is never a bad thing...

Any of these on your top ten list for 2010? Which ones have you read? Do you agree with the books on the top ten? Which ones would you read?

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Happiness is a Warm Book~~~~

The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it~~
James Bryce

Being a  Reader's Advisor, one of the questions I get asked quite a bit is: “What is the best book you’ve ever read?” That’s a tough question since there isn't just one best book. As you can guess, I do a lot of reading. Some folks like me to narrow it down to fiction or nonfiction, which means I have to remember which books were one or the other? With so many non-fiction books written to read as fiction, I have to check my notes. Giving this some thought, there are some of  the books that would be at the top of my “best books” list for now~~I'm sure with some of them I will repeat myself, so my apologies.

Favorite fiction books:
Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada Written in 1947, discovered and published in 2009, it is one of the first novels to be anti-Nazi written after WW ll and shows that there were some Germans who did resist the Nazis. While this book is fiction, it is based on a real event. We share the heartbreak of a couple whose only son had been forced to fight for the Nazis and was killed. They attempt, in their own sad way, to show others the truth about Hitler and the Nazis. There is only one way this book will end, and even though you do, you hope you’re wrong. When I finished this book, I sat and thought about it for some time.

Alienist by Caleb Carr Teddy Roosevelt is the police commissioner of New York City in 1896, Dr. Laszlo Kreizler is his “alienist,” and they are trying to solve some rather gruesome murders on the lower East Side. Told through the voice of New York Times crime reporter John Moore, who followed them as they investigated the murders, new procedures, fingerprinting and psychology, are just being used for the first time~~this is a page-turner that proved my point, you have to read the first 100 pages before you give up on the book. I had to convince several patrons to keep going and they would be happy they did. (Nice when they came back and agreed with me.)

Gunman’s Rhapsody by Robert B. Parker While Parker was known for his Spenser and mystery books, he was never afraid to step out of his genre. For me, this is one of the best westerns I have read about Wyatt Earp, maybe one of the best westerns I've read. Parker keeps his sparse dialog, but he also shows us a Wyatt Earp that fits 1879 Tombstone, AZ. The friendship between Earp and Doc Holiday, the bond between the Earp brothers, Earp’s relationship with Josie Marcus and what led to the gunfight at the O.K. Corral~~in this small, slim book, nobody has done it better.

Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman English historical fiction at it’s best. Was Richard III a monster or has he just been misjudged all these years? Did Shakespeare do him an injustice in his play? What really happened to the two little princes? I loved this kind of book, what’s not to love! Political intrigue, power struggles, complicated love relationships, mystery, death, backstabbing! This is one of the best historical novels I have read, more then once. If you enjoy this genre, here is one of the best.

Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini I blogged about it a few years ago, we also had one of our best book discussions about it. This is a book that will haunt you, especially because of what’s going on in Afghanistan today. Here is the history of that country before the invasion by the Russians and explains how the Taliban took over, and gives us an idea of why we are where we are today. Sometimes, events that occur in the past can come back to haunt you.

Hello, Darkness by Sandra Brown I love when an author steps out of their comfort genre. Brown is known for her romance novels, but with this one she has one heck of a thriller. Paris Gibson is a late night radio host who gives advice about love. When she advises one caller to break up with her boyfriend, this doesn't’t set too well with the boyfriend and Paris starts getting threatening phone calls. This is a page turner that will keep you reading until the end. Let’s just say that if this book made the hairs on the back of Stephen King’s neck stand up~~~

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen I didn’t want this book to end, so this is one I have read again. I wanted to stay with Jacob Jankowski, the circus and his lovely Marlena. Gruen does a marvelous job of taking the reader back and forth in time; from the present day back to the beginning of the Great Depression. This book had it all, friendship, humor, violence, murder and a great love story. You’ll be glad you read it, but sorry when you get to the last page.

Best fiction I read this year was Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes
While fiction. Marlantes writes what he lived in Vietnam. Some feel Vietnam should be kept in the past, Marlantes reminds us why it never will nor can be. More realtisic then most I've read, and still leaves you with the question of "why?"
Thanks to my friend, le0pard13, I am reading The 13st Valley by John M. Del Vecchio...another one than lingers long after you've put it down.

Favorite Non-Fiction

Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy Tolan
The lemon tree is in the back yard of the home of Dalia, a Jew. The tree had been planted by the father of Bashir, a Palestine, whose family had owned the house before they were forced to move when Israel was granted its independence. These two meet when Bashir comes back to his home, after the Six-Day War, curious to see what it looks like. The two share how their lives have been since 1948, and the comparison causes struggles within both of them. This book is fascinating in the history of Palestine and Israel; how the USA, England and Soviet Union decided the fate of other countries. There was so much I didn’t know, things I never realized and this book has made me rethink some of my feelings about the Middle East. This is #1 on my list of all the non-fiction books I have read.

Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Me by Patti Boyd
Okay, I confess, the title grabbed me....and I wanted the "Me" to be me. When I heard Patti Boyd was coming out with her memoir, I early ordered it. This was the woman who had married my two favorite rockers and I wanted to know all about it. I simply loved it. Boyd had a fascinating life before she became Harrison's girlfriend and wife; but her life with both Harrison and Clapton was a roller coaster ride. Let's face it, two of the greatest love songs ever written, Something and Wonderful Tonight, were written about her. Don't expect to find any finger pointing or blame placing here, Boyd tells her story with wit, humor and love. While Boyd lived the life I dreamed of as a (very) young girl, I'm glad I didn't~~

Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story by Richard Preston This was a terrifying read. Not just because a lethal African virus, Ebola, made it into America via imported monkeys, but how far the government went to keep it secret from the American public. Preston tags along with a SWAT team as they enter the "hot zone" to try and contain this deadly virus before more people die. Mind you, the "hot zone" was right next to a pre-school and in order not to throw panic into people, life when on as normal for those that didn't know the Ebola  virus was right outside their window. Be warned, there are gruesome descriptions of the virus effect on people and the horror of how they die. This was a chilling page turner...I read it in one sitting. Coincidentally, around this time my kid asked me if we could get a pet monkey~~~
I had to keep reminding yourself that this really happened...and our government had knowledge of it and the role they played in the happenings.

Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of U.S. Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan by Doug Stanton
Great account of a band of Special Forces soldiers who secretly entered Afghanistan to fight the Taliban after 9/11. Stanton gives us a terrific insight into of how 350 American soldiers, 100 CIA officers and 15,000 Northern Alliance fighters took on 50,000 plus Taliban. Humorous and horrible at the same time, and will leave you with the question~~would things in Afghanistan been different if our government had paid more attention?

These three books make me smile when I remember reading them:

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
What happens when you move into a 200 year farmhouse in a foreign country~~of which you don’t speak the language? Spend a year with Brit Mayle, his wife, two dogs as they attempt to live a Provencal life, get to know their neighbors and learn to cook the French way. Witty, full of humor, recipes….this will make you wish you could do it.

Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck
 Delightful tale of Steinbeck and his French poodle, Charley, as they travel from Maine to California. Steinbeck shares his insight with the people he meets, even some of the bumps along the way, and his joy of seeing America. This is another one that will make you laugh out loud. While written over forty years ago, and you will get great joy out of Steinbeck’s travels and wish you were along.

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
This is still one of the funniest book I have ever read. I had tears rolling down my cheeks from laughing so hard. Bryson trek down the AP with his friend, Stephan Katz, is a wonderful reminder of how beautiful our country is. Bryson and Katz meet some amazing characters and have some hilarious adventures. A great book to read when you want a good laugh, I have read this several times when I need a boost.

The best non-fiction I read this year was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

This is a list of some of my all time favorite books. Many I have read more then once, and I own all of these, when I see them on my book shelf, they make me smile and I look forward to reading them again.

****My list is always subject to change

Happy Reading!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Females ARE Deadlier than the Male~~~~

"Book lovers never go 
 to bed alone...."

Read one of these ladies and you might not want to go to bed at all. The reaction I get when I recommend a woman thriller writer is almost comical. I have had men look at me as if I've lost my mind when I suggest one, and women will even do a little hem and haw~~~mainly because they don't believe that a woman can write a tough, noir potboiler as well (in some cases better) than a man.....or that a female can be deadlier than the male. Not only did I pick women thriller authors, but I wanted the  main character to be  a woman too. Meet some women whose ruthless streak can surprise even themselves when it appears. Here are a few of my favorite ladies that I suggest to folks and I love when they come back, tell me how much they enjoyed her and grab another book by the same author.

Chelsea Cain~~Besides being one of  the top thriller writers of the genre, Cain introduces one of most brutal serial killers you'll meet, Gretchen Lowell. Set in Portland, Oregon, the weather~~rainy, grey and damp~~gives the series that grey, norish feeling. Great characters, besides Lowell. Portland detective, Archie Sheridan, and reporter, Susan Ward. The connection between Sheridan and Lowell will give you pause, especially when you realize what brings them together. The series will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Pick up the entire series so you can keep going:   
Evil at Heart
The Night Season ( her newest one)

Vicki Hendricks~~This is one author that grabs you by page one and you hold on until the last page. Hang on for a ride that will leave you breathless. Set in Florida, in Hendricks first book, Cruel Poetry, we first meet happy hooker Renata (Rennie) and her pet python....and some men who feel the need to save her. This is trailer-trash noir at it's best..the hot sun, beach, kooky characters, sex, humor and of course~murder. Even keeping the air conditioner on while reading you will still break out in a sweat. As Ken Bruen fittingly said "...(Hendricks) you write like a demented banshee!"  ***Warning~~Hendricks books can be considered on the, um,  risque side.

Zoe Sharp~~Sharp hit the big time in 2001 with Killer Instinct. You may have heard of her co-author, Lee Child?Meet Charlotte (Charlie) Fox, Sharpe's all action, macho, tough talking "heroine," who was in the Special Forces until they kicked her out. During the early books, Charlie Fox drifts through doing odd jobs, then everything kicks into gear when she meets up with her old military instructor, Sean Meyer~~who she holds a grudge against. Charlie finds out how much her military training comes in handy when she goes to work for Meyer as a bodyguard for hire. Fox is amazed at herself when she finds out how violent and  cold blooded she can be, but most frightening of all is how far she will go to do her job. I like Fox; she's strong, compassionate and adheres to her principles. Good series that opens up the characters with    each new book.
Charlie Fox series:
Killer Instinct
Riot Act
Hard  Knocks                                                    
First Drop
Road Kill
Second Shot
Third Strike
Fourth Day
Fifth Victim (her newest one)

Lisa Unger~~ If you scrape away the layers of a family, what do you find? While Unger has a recurring character in a few of her books, Ridley Jones, most of her books are stand alone.She does keep you turning the pages with the twists, turns and surprises that are uncovered. I love Unger's development of  her characters and that once the book takes off, it is fast paced action at it's best.
Ridley Jones books:
Beautiful Lies
Sliver of Truth
**I highly recommend Fragile~~loved it!

Christa Faust~Love pulp fiction? Here is one of the best. Faust gives us tough talking, a**kicking Angel Dare, who will "gobsmack" you as soon as look at you. Angel is a former porn star, who we first meet in Money Shot, where she takes on the sex slave trade and ends up in the Witness Protection Program...of course a lot goes on in between. Angel's next book is Choke Hold, coming out in October....and I can't wait! Faust is the first women author in the history of Hard Case Crime! That alone should make you run out and pick a copy of her books. Be careful not to pick up her other genres~~not that they aren't worth reading, but they aren't thrillers (**Remember my warning about Vicki Hendricks? She's mild compared to Faust. I doubt I could put her book covers up on this blog)

Lisa Gardner~~Gardner has two series with strong women as lead characters. FBI profiler Kimberly Quincy and Police Detective D.D. Warren. Both series are terrific...and disturbing, but I love them. 
The D.D. Warren series:
The Neighbor
Live to Tell
Love you More (her latest in the series)

FBI Profiler series with Kimberly Quincy:
Killing Hour
Say Goodbye

Look at those faces? Do they look like the face of someone who can write about grisly, bloody murders? A pedophile that loves spiders so much he has eight eyes tattooed all around his head? Entire families murdered on the anniversary of a family killing from years ago? Police detectives who forge a strange bond with a serial killer? Ah yes~~and when the past comes back to bite, is anything what it once seemed? Good stuff.

There you have it, a few of my favorite women thrillers writers with great women characters. You can't go wrong with any of them. When I get to the part of the book where our leading lady is about to go head to head with the bad guy, or woman, I get an earworm of Pat Benatar singing "Hit me with your best away!"  I just start to chuckle because they have no idea what they are up against.

I'd love to know what you think of my choice of ladies....and what yours are.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Love is in the Air!

Love is in the air
In the whisper of the trees
Love is in the air
In the thunder of the seas....
John Paul Young

Ah, love. Love seems to be all around. Valentine's Day seems to bring out the romantic side in everyone, especially with a romance novel.
I asked several folks "What's your favorite romance novel?" I won't even begin to go into what the men said, let's just say romance seems not to be their reading forte.

Here are just a few of my favorite romances to cozy up with~~~

Julie and Romeo by Jeanne Ray
Laugh out loud funny. Long time family feud comes to a head when rival florists fall in love. Seems even in your sixties families try and tell you how to live your life and what you should and shouldn't do~~with hilarious results. Great reminder that love (and sex) have no age limits.

The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss
Terrific tale of war, love and conquest of England during the Dark Ages between a Saxon princess and a Normans.  warrior. This is a good one to lose yourself in, it has it all: a little history, fantasy and romance.
**Another good one by Woodiwiss, The Flame and the Flower~~Historical romance set in the early American colonies.

Nicholas Sparks seems to have become the most prolific romance writer of the last decade. It was hard to narrow it down but here are some that are recommended;

**When you read Sparks, keep tissues handy.

A Walk to Remember
It's 1958 in Beaufort, North Carolina.  When Landon, one of the most popular boys in school gets involved with Jamie,  the nicest girl in school. Everybody wonders why, including Landon. Falling in love doesn't need reasons, nor does it need an age. It happens.

Nights in Rodanthe
When you get a second chance at love, do you take it? Or do you run away from it, afraid you might get hurt? Paul and Adrienne come together in Rodanthe, North Carolina, during a hurricane, and share a lifetime in one weekend that sets in motion feelings....I always like a book that proves love can happen anytime in life. (Besides, the movie has Richard Gere in it~~)

The Notebook
This book begins in 1932, it's set in New Bern, North Carolina. Allie and Noah spend a wonderful summer together even though they come from different "caste" systems of the South. Fourteen years later, when Noah returns from WWII, they meet again. Does time heal all wounds? Being older, are they wiser?

The Princess Bride by William Goldman
I will admit to this being one of my personal favorites. Classic tale of love, rousing adventure, fantasy and full of laugh out loud humor. This was made into one of my all time favorite movies. Treat yourself to this delightful book and the movie, laugh out loud and enjoy a true romance. 

Lady of the Forest by Jennifer Roberson
It's 12th-century England, Lady Marion and Robin Hood meet, and as they say, the rest is history. The gang's all here, Friar Tuck, Alan a'Dale, Will Scarlet and Little John, along with wicked Prince John and his band of slimy men. Falling in love and sword fights just don't get any better. Roberson writes some of the best romantic historical fiction.

The Last Valentine by James Michael Pratt
Caroline Thomas husband left February 14, 1944 from Union Station, Los Angeles to head for the Pacific. He never returned, he was listed as MIA....yet Caroline returns to Union Station every year on their anniversary, until she finally gets closure..... and her last Valentine. (This was recently a TV movie starring Betty White...who was wonderful in it!)

Here are some other romance authors to check out.....

Paranormal romance?
Karen Marie Moning~~ Highlander series
Lyndsey Sands~~ Argeneau series
Christine Feehan~~Dark Prince series
 Diana Gabaldon~~Outlander series
Charlaine Harris~~Sooki Stackhouse series

Modern Day?

Jennifer Cruise
Richard Paul Evans
Jennifer Weiner
Carly Phillips
Nora Roberts
Sandra Brown
Marion Keys
Anne River Siddons
Janet Evanovich
Kathleen Eagle
                         Diane Mott Davidson

Historical Romance?

Johanna Lindsey
Eugenia Price
Rosalind Laker
Philippa Gregory
Beatrice Small
Sharon Kay Penman
I say, lose yourself in a little romance with any one of these books or authors~~I know a man in a kilt sends me.
Wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day !
Happy Reading!