OK, OK - I'm not lean. And I don't like to consider myself mean. But I'm a listmaking machine. I have two more for your reading enjoyment
Top 10 reads from previous years
My previous top 10 list was books published in 2005. This list is those that I read in 2005 that were published before 2005 – in some cases 20 years ago. This months ATBF column at AAR is asking about pre 2004 best reads. I posted there already so I’m going to repeat myself here with four of the books that really stood out for me
Sunshine and Shadows by Tom and Sharon Curtis (published 1996). Although it was written in 1986, I didn't read it until 2005. What a beautiful story it is!! It seems a bit dated, having been written almost 20 years ago now - I smiled when Alan put on a phonograph, but still it has a timelessness about it that raises it way above your average book.
Bliss by Judy Cuevas (published 1995) is another one I read for the first time this year thanks to Robin who read my sad yearnings when it was being discussed once again, took pity on me and sent me a copy. While I was reading it that song kept running through my head "they don't write 'em like that anymore". Now I can understand why this book is so raved about.
Bad Karma by Theresa Weir (published 1999). What an unusual heroine this one had. I loved this book. I remember Ms. Weir posting sometime this year that she had queried her editor or agent about some of her older books being re-released and the answer didn't sound encouraging. What a terrible, terrible shame that is because her old books are wonderful and I really think today's readers would love them too. I have a few of them already but my mission this year – and I’ve decided to accept it, is to get hold of her entire back list.
Bed of Spices by Barbara Samuels (published 1993). This is a medieval story with a Jewish hero who is a healer during the Plague. I don't know if such a book would be published in today’s generic climate but I am so glad I had the chance to read this beautiful story.
Shades of Honor by Wendy Lindstrom (published in 2002) This is the first book in the Grayson brothers series. After reading Lips That Touch Mine, I simply HAD to track down her back list. It took some time and a lot of help but I did get my hands on her older books and this one was wonderful, simply wonderful
Across A Moonlit Sea by Marsha Canham (published in 1996) I don’t know how I missed this one when it came out. Maybe I hadn’t discovered Ms. Canham yet – I don’t know. But after reading The Iron Rose the previous year, I knew I wanted to read this one. One of my few Amazon purchases, it was well worth the money. It was a most excellent rollicking Pirate adventure with a very strong kick-ass heroine. I had a real run of them this year and it was right up there.
Once A Pirate by Susan Grant (published in 2000) Now this one is a pirate adventure with a twist! It’s a time travel pirate adventure!!! Combine the two and when they are done well, although completely unbelievable, you have one heck of good yarn. This one was hard to come by but well worth the effort. Amazing that this is her first book!
The Pirate Prince by Gaelen Foley (published 1998) I can hear the laughter! Yes 2005 truly was The Year of the Pirate for this happy reader. Now you know why I was bummed when I was a day late for Talk Like a Pirate Day. I read 3 old (new to me) ones this year and they all made to my best of list! Although I’ve read Foley for years, I didn’t discover her until her second book The Princess, thus missing this one when it first came out. Another hard to find book, this one too, was well worth the effort.
I Got You Babe by Jane Graves (published 2001) Moving (reluctantly) away from Pirates, this is another book I read for the first time this year and really enjoyed. For some reason you rarely hear about Jane Graves books but she is a real buried treasure for me whether writing series as Jane Sullivan or single titles as Jane Graves. This is the first book in her DeMarco family series and I’d been wanting it for quite some time. I’m so glad I found it! She is an author I highly recommend – well except for one book which I loathed with every fibre of my being (and that would be Wild at Heart) whose name I would love to see get more recognition.
Lightning That Lingers by Tom & Sharon Curtis (published 1991) This couple has got to be the greatest loss to the romance book industry bar none. This book by all rights should not have worked. The hero was a stripper (these days he would be referred to as an exotic dancer – but since the book was written in 91 he was still called a stripper). The heroine was a shy retiring virgin. It is corny, it is dated and it is an absolutely beautiful, moving and rich love story. I adored it. That’s the sign of excellent writers, when they take a book that shouldn’t work; that is full of clichés, and turn out a truly remarkable story.
My Top Ten Turkey’s of 2005
I am very bad for not finishing books I’m not enjoying so I wasn’t sure if I would have enough to do this list. But as I was checking my spreadsheet lo and behold, there are at least 10 that fall into this category. So here they are – in no particular order – the top 10 books I either could not finish or if I did, I did not enjoy. Keep in mind, these are all my personal dislikes and just cause I didn’t like them, it didn’t make them a bad book.
He Loves Lucy by Susan Donovan. I made it over ¾ of the way through this one before I gave up. I like Susan Donovan’s books and I will continue to read them, but I just did not like this one. I was turned off this one at the very beginning when Lucy chocked on the candy. It was supposed to be a funny scene but I found it very sad and upsetting and not the least bit funny. Still, because I like her writing I continued on. But in the end even the good writing couldn’t save this one for me
The Trouble with Valentine’s Day by Rachel Gibson. I have a love/hate relationship with her books. When she is good as she is with See Jane Score, she is very very good, but when she is bad as I found this one, Lola Carlyle Reveals All and Daisy’s Back in Town, she is awful – at least to me. I will also continue to read her books because she can hit them out of the ballpark, and continue to hope she is very good.
The Perfect Desire by Leslie LaFoy. I can’t put my finger really on why this one didn’t work. I think it might be because she is an auto-by author and up till this book every one was a keeper. Maybe it’s disappointment that she seems to be stuck in merry old England when many of her other books were such different and unique settings. I checked her website and while it seems she has been writing series and women’s fiction for Harlequin she does have a historical coming up – not in Regency England. But sigh in Victorian England. Come back Ms LaFoy to America where you belong – I beg of you!!! Come back!
Heart Choice by Robin Owens. This was a DNF for one reason and one reason only. The stupid damn Fam or cat. Now I know the author loves cats. I love cats. They are my favourite animal. I want a cat. I’m presently working on my husband on getting us another cat. If we do I can scan pictures and show everyone just like Nicole and Gambit. I will probably be a dotty old lady with a house full of cats when I’m old.
But by the time I was on the fourth chapter of this book I wanted to yell – “ENOUGH WITH THE FRIGGIN’ CATS ALREADY!!! Is this book a romance or an ode to an obnoxious cat?”
Leaving Normal by Stef Ann Holm. I blogged about this one. Nuff said since I know many people liked this one. To much of a women’s fiction for my taste.
Too Perfect by Julie Ortolon. I blogged about this one too. I don’t want to say anymore because Tara (who's been playing around with her blog I see) bought it and she might like it and then we would disagree. Then I would feel bad and then she would too. The ending was good though. I liked the ending.
The Stone Prince by Gena Showalter I couldn’t finish this one even though I quite liked another Showalter book I read this year and one of Alyssa’s faves, Heart of the Dragon. The heroine is a real twit in this one though. This is the death knell for any book. If the heroine is a twit – that’s it. Adios! Can’t believe I wasted my time, they killed a tree for this? And so on, and so on. I should have know it was really going nowhere when the 30 something virgin heroine kissed a stone statue. Twit!
What do you say to a Naked Elf by Cheryl Sterling. Well maybe not to the naked elf but to the author what I would say is what the heck kind of medication are you on Ms Sterling? Honestly, this was the most – well – for lack of a better word – frantic book I’ve tried to read. It was like the books took place at double speed or something. Zing, zing, zing, I felt like I was a spectator in the middle of a hardball game. This one was faster than I could keep up with. I got about half way through and was too tired to continue.
Lord of Sin by Madeline Hunter - I read and didn’t care for her books since she left medieval times behind. I managed to finish the others, but I got part way through this one and just couldn’t get any further knowing how wonderful her medievals were and how few good ones there are anymore. The books she’s writing now are a dime a dozen and I just don’t want to invest any more dimes in Madeline Hunter. Unless of course she goes back to Medievals. Then I’ll invest a lot more that 10 cents.
My Surrender by Connie Brockway I so wanted to like this book, I really did! I gave it more chances than most books and tried four different times but just could not get into it. Ms. Brockway is an incredible writer and darn it all I should have put her on my top ten authors list. But then of course there was this book. Sigh She is switching to contemporaries and I think this may have been her last historical. I’ll follow her but what a sad way to end a brilliant run of historical books.
Qustion of the Day
Why did they move the office hottie kiddie corner from me. Now we have high walls so we can't see each other but hearing is very good. I love a can of caffine free diet coke in the afternoons. You should have seen the contortions I made trying not to ummmmmmmm