Adjunct to January 16 At the Back Fence...Reader Buried Treasures for 2005
|| A true buried treasure, to me, is a great book that no one talks about - so Passion by Valdez doesn't qualify (imo) nor do the Lydia Joyce books. I nominate Nobody's Saint by Paula Reed. There were some wierd bits with the saints but the hero was to die for yummy and the heroine was interesting and unusual. And her writing was so vivid and rich! I think it's a terrible shame this book didn't get more attention. (Nobody's Saint earned a B- at AAR)
||My 2005 buried treasure has to be PASSION by Lisa Valdez. Her books are now auto-buys for me. (Passion earned a B from AAR)
I really feel like I should have this massive list of buried treasure because it has been a very good reading year but when I look back at my records I realised that I have read very good books written by non-big-name authors, and many books published in 2005, and many that are romances but very few that satisfy all three criteria. So ...
- Spell of the Highlander - Karen Marie Moning: Cian (pronounced Kee-on) is a 10th century Scottish Druid who has been trapped in a mirror for a millenium until doctoral student Jessica calls him forth in an attempt to preserve her life. I really loved both principals and the man-in-the-mirror theme was really well done. There is just something about Moning's style that makes her highly implausible paranormal plots so very enjoyable to read. This is the 7th of Moning's Tuathe De books, but given I have been reading them in a very higgedly piggedly fashion without any problems please don't let it deter you from giving her a try. (Spell of the Highlander earned a C+ at AAR)
- The Protector - Gennita Low: Although this plot is scarcely more plausible, with its superspy agency, I really enjoyed this romantic suspense, largely for the characters. I also liked the setting and I found the subplots intriguing. (The Protector earned a C+ at AAR)
- Warprize - Elizabeth Vaughn: Although this isn't technically a romance because its the first of a series, I second what other people have said about it. The characters are good, the culture clash is one of my favourite conflicts, and for a debut it is quite impressive. I look forward to the next one! (Warprize earned DIK status at AAR)
His Secondhand Wife by Cheryl St. John as a buried treasure. And I would add another one by CSJ: Prairie Wife. I gave this one an A-. This is a marriage in trouble story that had me sobbing. As the book begins the h/h have lost their baby son. As the story develops, we see how they each handled this type of loss differently. This is a very emotional and gripping story about the healing power of love. (His Secondhand Wife earned a B+ at AAR)
Another book I don't see much buzz about was RIDE THE FIRE by Pamela Clare. Set in pre-Revolutionary War America, RTF tells the story of two physically and emotionally scarred people. Another wonderful story about the healing power of love. KristieJ recommended this book and I'm so glad I read it. (His Secondhand Wife earned a B at AAR)
I recently finished TWILIGHT by Stephenie Meyer that I haven't heard much about here. This is a YA vampire book told in first person by Bella who moves to a rainy dreary town in Washington where she meets Edward, a teenage vampire. Meyer is a new author. This book seems to be getting lots of buzz in the YA world, but I recommend it to all vampire romance lovers. It's that good. (His Secondhand Wife earned a B at AAR)
||There are three books that really stand out for me. Ride the Fire *grin* - so glad you liked it. I thought it was a standout! Lips That Touch Mine by Wendy Lindstrom is another book that I thought was just fabulous. I've read this one 3 times now and I'm about to start my fourth. It was reviewed here but I enjoyed it much better that the reviewer. The third book that comes to mind is The Cobra and the Concubine by Bonnie Vanak. I read this one and was really impressed at how different it was from your usual historical. While Mr. Impossible got all kinds of praise for the setting - Egypt, this one also took place in Egypt and slipped by totally unnoticed. I found it refreshingly different while reading it. I read it before it was reviewed her and was quite frankly astounded at the grade it received. I graded it an A. The opposite holds true with What do you say to a Naked Elf. That is a big F book for me, whereas it received an A here. These 2 examples really proved to me (as if I didn't already know) how two people can read the same book and have such opposite reactions. (Lips that Touch Mine earned a C+ at AAR, Mr. Impossible earned DIK status, as did What Do You Say To a Naked Elf?)
Linnea Sinclair - Finders Keepers. As avid Star Wars and Star Trek Fan I loved this action packed romantic science fiction, the powerful lead couple, the verbal sparring, the wonderful kick-ass heroine and the fascinating galaxy.
|Author Lydia Joyce
||I did so much nonfiction reading this year that I only read about 12 romances, all but 1 already on my TBR stack. Of those, my faves were Julie Ann Long's RUNAWAY DUKE and Loretta Chase's MR. IMPOSSIBLE. I'm not sure how "buried" those authors are, though!
||The Chase by Cheryl Sawyer - I thought this was an excellent, action packed story about (yes!) spies in the Regency.
Bachelor Boys by Kate Saunders - A wonderful, sweet story about a little girl who grows up next to a family with two young boys and how the kids stay friends and more into their adulthood.
Her Perfect Earl by Bethany Brooks - A young woman becomes governess to five young children. Shades of The Sound of Music without the songs, but an excellent, traditional Regency. (Her Perfect Earl earned a B from AAR)
Every Boy's Got One by Meg Cabot -- This features Ms. Cabot's trademark humor but to me the setting was the real draw. If you can't afford a trip to Italy, and want to have a few laughs, read this book. (Every Boy's Got One earned a B from AAR)
The Go-To Girl by Louise Bagshawe - A funny UK chick lit romance about an ugly duckling scr1pt-reader whose co-workers try to steal her ideas.
Another paranormal by an author new to me this year was A Taste of Crimson by Marjorie K. Liu. I thought it was excellent (by far the strongest of the Crimson titles - all by different authors.) Because I enjoyed it so much, I read Tiger Eye by Liu, also published in 2005. The first half was great, but the rest didn't work for me. Nevertheless, I will definitely be looking for future books by Liu. (A Taste of Crimson earned a B from AAR)
An overlooked author of western historicals is Jenna Kernan. She had two excellent titles in 2005 - The Trapper and Turner's Woman.
||THE MYSTERIOUS MISS M by Diane Gaston - I decided to investigate this one after reading the posts and review here at AAR. I LOVED this book and the characters Ms Gaston brought to life. Of course Devlin was just adorable along with little Linette. And I found I was able to both admire and sympathize with Maddy. And I was really rooting for Serena and Ned to make that emotional connection!
(The Mysterious Miss M earned DIK status at AAR)
THE MUSIC OF THE NIGHT by Lydia Joyce - I enjoyed this second effort more than her first and I loved the atmosphere she created. I also liked the dark, almost ominous sexual relationship between Sebastian and Sarah. (The Music of the Night earned DIK status at AAR)
DARK DESIRES by Eve Silver - I loved the sort of Jack the Ripper-esque spin she put on the story and she brought the East End alive for the reader. The mystery was engaging and the romance steamy and Damien was just plain dreamy! (Dark Desires earned a B- at AAR)
DEDICATION by Janet Mullaney - just a really different take on the Regency. Mature leads with past issues to resolve before they can see if they can start again. Some flaws but on the whole a read that I really enjoyed. Refreshing. (Dedication earned a B at AAR)
MY DEMON'S KISS by Lucy Blue - I just really liked the images that this book evoked, both violent and fanciful. I'm a sucker for a reluctant vampire and Simon is determined to hold onto his humanity and his faith no matter what. Isabel is a wonderfully likable heroine and the villain is scarily evil. (My Demon's Kiss earned a C+ at AAR)
THE NAKED TRUTH by Amy J Fetzer - Can't list it in my top reads of the year because it was rife with spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors and improper word usage but as a action/suspense adventure I found no equal this year. It's a non-stop roller coaster ride complete with globe-trotting, steamy romance and a game of who-can-you-trust.
SHE'S GOT THE LOOK by Leslie Kelly - I found myself really enjoying this contemporary romance and I guess it's because I really liked the leads. Nick and Melody were great characters and ultimately made a great couple.
BORN OF THE SHADOWS by Cyndi Friberg - I've raved about this book many times on these boards and I can't seem to stop. Originally out in ebook form in 2004, it was released in paperback this past September. I just find this story to be original and unusual and very steamy and romantic. It's the ultimate redemption story when Gideon, an angel on the outs with God must decide whether to be redeemed or to Fall with his friend Lucifer. The wonderful Naomi is a key factor in his choice. Loved it.
||Fetzer has long been a favorite of mine, and I'm glad she has broken out of category novels and into single title. I guess she is still doing some Silhouette books. She published one in 2005 which is a short little jewel of a book --- Out of Uniform. It's well written, touching, with an endearing hero and heroine. You'll be pulling for them both by the time you've read 20 or so pages. I consider her one of my buried treasures, along with Terese Ramin and Fiona Brand.
||Loved In The Cold by Jeanie London; espionage story with a great romance. This was an impulse purchase that turned-out to be a Keeper; hope it starts a series.
||All of these are among the top 2005 romances with humor for me. I don’t recall much, if any discussion of these books, even though the Alexander series has been going for quite a while.
- Completely Yours by Smythe, Sheridon: sequel to Mr. Complete. Shenanigans involving male escort services.
- Without a Clue by Jensen, Trish: a short (Flipside) book about a very quirky mystery weekend.
- Phi Beta Bimbo by Jensen, Trish: sequel to Against His Will. Disguise. (Phi Beta Bimbo earned a B- from AAR)
- When We Meet Again by Alexander, Victoria: this is the 10th book in the Effington/Shelton series, but I don’t recall ever seeing much discussion of this series. (When We Meet Again earned a C+ from AAR)
- The Perfect Rake by Gracie, Anne: a wonderful hero seeing the heroine as beautiful story. (The Perfect Rake earned a B- from AAR)
- Dear Penelope by Ihle, Sharon: advice columns in the American West. (Dear Penelope earned a C+ from AAR)
- It Happened In South Beach by Klassel, Jennie: the heroine really should rethink her plans to be a “sex detective”, but the story is fun. I really liked the author’s previous mythical island medieval books. (It Happened in South Beach earned a B from AAR)
"The Lily Brand" by Sandra Schwab (The Lily Brand earned a B from AAR)
"With Child" by Janice Kay Johnson (With Child earned a DIK status from AAR)
"If Andy Warhol Had a Girlfriend" by Alison Pace (If Andy Warhol Had a Girlfriend earned a B from AAR)
||A buried treasure I read this year was EX AND THE SINGLE GIRL by Lani Diane Rich. A chick lit novel that actually worked for me. Emotional, funny, charming and only this author's 3rd book.
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(AAR uses BYRON for its romance reference needs)
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