Friday, August 29, 2014

Aloha to Ten Books with Staying Power (part 1)


I was recently tagged on Facebook by Cathy Maxwell (link) and LimeCello (link) to list 10 books that have stayed with me. I quickly scanned my reviews on Goodreads and selected the books below.  Not surprising, the books have romantic elements ...

1. Cathy Maxwell's THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT.  This is the first romance book I read ... and one that initiated my love affair of Alba - Scotland.   It is a story of a Anne Burnett, an English bride "contracted" to marry Aiden Black, the Earl of Tiebauld.  His sister initiated the contract because he is consider eccentric; Anne signed it because she was desperate for a future, even one in the wilds of Scotland.   Yet Anne falls in love with Kelwin Castle, its clan members, and ultimately Aiden.  Together, Adien and Anne help clan members emmigrate to Canada following the Highland "clearances".   Maxwell offers an afterward with the couple's descendents returning to Alba for the opening of the Scottish Parliament after the real life referrendum in which the Scots voted to govern themselves.  This is a timely book with the success of OUTLANDER on Starz and the Scots voting again this September for Independence. 


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2.  Jenny Colgan's THE LOVELIEST CHOCOLATE SHOP IN PARIS (link).   Anna Trent is injured on the job at an English mass production chocolate factory.   During her recovery in hospital, she realizes another patient is her high school French teacher, Claire.   Claire remembers Anna was a bright student who did not fully embrace her potential.  In fact, Claire helps Anna find a temporary job in Paris, working at a hand made chocolate shop for the summer.  As Anna learns the fine art of chocolate making, she takes a chance on herself.  Along the way, she embraces Paris, falls in love, and understands Claire's connection to the City of Light.   This book touched my heart.  

I also recommend Jenny Colgan's MEET ME AT THE CUPCAKE CAFE (link).


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3.  Laura Levine's DEATH OF A NEIGHBORHOOD WITCH (link).  Jaine Austen is a freelance writer living in LA with her cat Prozac.  Her best customer is Toiletmasters, "In a rush to flush?  Call Toiletmasters!".   The highlight of Jaine's day is the gossip her neighbor, Lance, brings home from his job in Nordstrom's shoe department.   Yet she finds herself entangled in a mystery every time she seeks a new writing gig.  The series includes 12 books that follow a predictable, but entertaining, plot.   

DEATH OF A NEIGHBORHOOD WITCH was particularly funny with Jaine coming to terms with her elastic waist paints and chocolate obsession in the weeks leading to Halloween.   I would expect no less from Laura Levine, a sitcom writer who also created Count Chocula and Frankenberry cereals for General Mills.  Laura reminds me with the Jaine Austen series that laughter is the best medicine.

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4.  Pamela Clare's BREAKING POINT (link).  I met Pamela Clare at RomCon 2010 in Denver - I was enchanted by all that she accomplished as a reporter.  The following year, Pamela asked me to review BREAKING POINT, Book 5 in her acclaimed I-Team series.   I could not refuse even though I shy away from romantic suspense.  Yet this story of a Navy SEAL-turned-DEA Agent kept my attention from page one.   I spent hours on my five star review, perhaps the first review I published online, so it would be perfect:

The deputized team encounters its own twists and turns in protecting Natalie, especially during the climactic loop. In fact, Ms. Clare takes the reader through a series of poignant scenes:
- the gravity defying appearance of a team member
- an unexpected opportunity for one alpha to comfort another
- Zach resolves a long standing issue on the canyon ridge.


Run, don't walk, to your nearest bookstore (or library) to read this book.

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5. Susanna Kearsley's THE SHADOWY HORSES (link).  Canadian author Susanna Kearsley blends mystery, romance, and time travel for her own brand of "paranormal" novels.   I asked to review THE SHADOWY HORSES from her US publisher, Sourcebooks - I was intrigued by the heroine, an English archaeologist hired to work on dig near the Scottish border in search of the "lost legion" from the Roman occupation.   I've always been intrigued by digging up the past ... plus hubby and I have explored Hadrian's Wall.  THE SHADOWY HORSES took me back to that beloved trip as I followed the plot with characters who are not quite who they seem.   Susanna delivered a memorizing "paranormal" story that quenched my thirst for the history.

I also recommend Susanna Kearsley's THE SPLENDOUR FALLS (link).

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I'll continue my list tomorrow ... can you share a romance that has stayed with you?   One randomly selected commenter wins a book choice from my convention stash.   Comments are open through Saturday, September 6, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, September 7.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


44 comments:

  1. Julie Garwood's 'The Bride" was the first romance I read and it's stayed with me.

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  2. Oh, there are so many. Kathleen Woodiwiss - The Flame and the Flower and The Wolf and the Dove.

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    1. Kathleen blazed the trail for historical romance!

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  3. I would have to say Dark Prince by Christine Feehan. it was the first book in a series that I ever started reading.

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    1. Christine is a classic in paranormal romance.

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  4. YOURS UNTIL DAWN by Teresa Medeiros. I rarely reread books, but I've read this one several times.

    Marcy Shuler

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    1. Love this book! Like you, I don't reread books too often but I do have one shelf devoted to keepers ... YOURS UNTIL DAWN is on it!

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  5. All of Jill shalvis books
    Thanks
    Kimh

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    1. I wasn't a big fan of contemporary romance 'til I read Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor series.

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  6. I would have to say Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn remains one of my favorite books of all time and the first thing that usually comes to mind when asked this. It was one of the first romances I'd ever read and it really got me into enjoying series over standalone books.

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  7. That's a great list. WUTHERING HEIGHTS comes to mind.

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    1. I'm a late blooming reader because of historical romance. I did not read the classics, like WUTHERING HEIGHTS, in high school or college. I should correct that.

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  8. Anne McCaffrey's Pern series

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    1. I am not a science fiction fan but I've heard that Anne's books are fabulous. FYI, her non-sci-fi will be on my list of books set in Delaware next Wednesday on USA Today's HEA Blog for State of Romance.

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  9. The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne. one of the best books I have ever read.

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    1. So many great authors to read, so little time!

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  10. I would have to say my very first romance novel, Saving Grace by Julie Garwood. Besides the absolutely epic romance, I loved reading about such a strong heroine and how she was able to survive and adapt and win the love of her warrior.

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  11. "Mine Till Midnight" by Lisa Kleypas. After reading this, I devoured every book of her's that I could find.

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    1. Aren't you excited that Lisa returned to Avon to write more historical romance?!?!

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    2. Yes Kim, I am. I also have a soft spot for "Seduce Me At Sunrise", with Kev and Winn.

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  12. The Pregnancy Test by Erin McCarthy - it was a hoot.

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    1. Oh, I love a book that is a hoot! Thanks for the recommendation!

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  13. The top three romances that have stayed with me are: Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind, Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels, and Laura Kinsale's Flowers From the Storm.

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  14. I loved Lynn Kurland's Stardust of Yesterday, it's one of the very few books I've read more than once.

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  15. I enjoyed Lynn's time travel romances, including A GARDEN IN THE RAIN.

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  16. I like Ransom by Julie Garwood.

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  17. Great list, Kim! Thank you for sharing some of yours.
    A book that has stayed with me is The Last Hour by Charles Sheehan-Miles. It is a difficult book to read (heart-wrenching) and caused me to "ugly cry" but well worth it in my opinion. It is a beautiful, tragic story.
    A book that got me reading romance is Sherrilyn Kenyon's Fantasy Lover! :D

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  18. Replies
    1. The book, and the TV series, are the baseline by which to judge all romance books.

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  19. I book I have read 3 times & will read again is Sophie Kinsella's I've Got Your Number. It starts out with a really funny scene & has lots of humor throughout, and there are some very romantic scenes besides. I connected to the characters & was routing for them.

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  20. Away by B. A. Wolfe is a great ugly cry book!

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  21. The Bride by Julie Garwood :) this was my romance gateway book so it's near and dear to my now romance loving heart.

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  22. I love When Harry Met Molly by Kieran Kramer :)

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  23. A favorite of mine is Dream Man by Linda Howard.

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  24. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen will always stay with me.

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