Dark Dukes, Voracious Vamps, and Sexy SEALs

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Real life being what it is at the moment, I haven’t had much time to read for pleasure or update here. That being said, I decided to update in the form of recommended reads. Below I have my top picks of books that have been released so far this year, along with a sampling of what is in my “To Be Read” pile (the number of books in said pile being well over 200). As always, if you’re looking for a good read, I suggest any of the authors that I have links to their websites. None of them has ever written a book I haven’t liked.

Historical

Top Pick: Claiming the Courtesan by Anna Campbell

One of the books I’ve been anticipating most this year. The heroine, Verity, is London’s most infamous courtesan. When she up and leaves, her lover, the Duke of Kylemore, tracks her down, kidnaps her, and whisks her off to the highlands. I feel I should warn that this book is dark in nature at the beginning. Justin isn’t kind to Verity when the story begins. But even when he isn’t at his most likeable, I was drawn to him and I cared deeply about him (note: I love tortured heroes and Justin has a past that makes me cry).

This debut leaves no doubt that Anna Campbell is author to watch. CTC is an amazing, compelling story that is beautifully written. I’m very excited to read her next book.

Also Recommend: And Then He Kissed Her by Laura Lee Guhrke

This is my first LLG novel, and it definitely won’t be my last. A Victorian romance in which the heroine, Emmaline, a girl-bachelor who’s also an aspiring author, has it with her viscount employer when he rejects her book without so much as reading it. This was a sweet story, utterly charming and well-written.

Top TBRs: The Secret Passion of Simon Blackwell by Samantha James, The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt, If You Dare by Kresley Cole

Oh the Anticipation: Lady Be Bad by Candice Hern (8/7/07), The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn (6/26/07), Beware a Scot’s Revenge by Sabrina Jeffries (5/29/07)

Paranormal

Top Pick: Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward

Anyone who has ever met me knows I’m a die-hard J.R. Ward fan. I was jumping so much when I bought Lover Awakened last fall that I scared a bookseller. LR is the fourth in Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. It’s the story of Butch O’Neil, the first human ever allowed into the world of the vampire warriors known as the BDB, and Marissa, an aristocratic vampire who Butch fell for hard and fast the moment he met her (in Dark Lover). I can’t really say much more without giving away series spoilers. I would highly recommend reading the BDB series in order: Dark Lover, Lover Eternal, Lover Awakened, and Lover Revealed. All of the books are incredible, and Lover Awakened is one of my favorite books of all time.

Also Recommend: The Dream-Hunter by Sherrilyn Kenyon

I am equally in love with Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series, of which this is a part of (though you don’t have to have read any of the other books to follow this one). TDH has romance, action, and adventure all wrapped up in one. Dr. Megeara Kafieri is an archeologist searching for Atlantis when she finds Arik floating out at sea. What she doesn’t know is that Arik is a dream god (to oversimplify greatly) and that he has made a pact with Hades – Arik may live for two weeks as a mortal man, but he must return to Olympus with Geary’s soul. This description doesn’t do the plot or characters justice, I’m afraid. All I can say is that this book is a must-read, especially if you’re a fan of Kenyon’s books.

Top TBRs: Hunting the Hunter by Shiloh Walker, Jacob by Jacquelyn Frank, Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

Oh the Anticipation: Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward (10/2/07), Devil May Cry by Sherrilyn Kenyon (8/7/07), Tanner’s Scheme by Lora Leigh (8/7/07)

Contemporary

Top Pick: Dangerous Games by Lora Leigh

Leigh is an author I came across by chance last Thanksgiving and I’ve been buying up her backlist like there’s no tomorrow. Dangerous Games is the second story and first full-length book in her SEALs series (Reno’s Chance, Dangerous Games, For Maggie’s Sake). The book is about Clint McIntyre a Navy SEAL who’s on leave at home when he finds out his sister’s best friend, Morganna Chavez, is a DEA agent working under cover to bust up a date-rape drug ring. Clint’s determined not to let Morganna get hurt and he soon joins in the mission. Warning – this book, like all of Leigh’s work, is HOT and definitely not for the faint of heart. Can’t wait for Hidden Agendas, her next SEAL novel.

Also Recommend: A Man in a Million by Jessica Bird

I’ll fess up: Jessica Bird is J.R. Ward so it’s a guarantee I’m gonna love her books, and AMIAM does not disappoint. The book is the story of Spike Moriarty, a bad boy who fell in love with boat racing champ Madeline Maguire when he first met her in From the First. It’s a classic tale of two people from different walks of life, but told in a way that feels new and fresh. Bird could probably write a grocery list and make it compelling, but Spike and Mad are two characters you will care about and cheer for.

Top TBRs: Ice Blue by Anne Stuart, Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas, Tongue in Chic by Christina Dodd

Oh the Anticipation: The Billionaire Next Door by Jessica Bird (7/31/07), Hidden Agendas by Lora Leigh (6/26/07), Safe Harbor by Christine Feehan (6/26/07)


And for all you lovely readers out there:

What recent releases are at the top of your TBR pile?

What do you think of the books that made my TBR list (assuming I survive through finals to read them, I’d like to know where to start)?

What upcoming books are you looking forward to the most?

****Please no book-bashing****

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