LJ's Best Romance of 2010
Happy Valentine's Day! Celebrate by checking out Library Journal (LJ)'s Best Romance books of 2010:
The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne
LJ's Verdict: From a burned-out chateau in the French countryside to the treacherous, violent streets of revolutionary Paris, this superbly plotted adventure pairs up an English spy and a French aristocrat.
The Golden Season by Connie Brockway
LJ's Verdict: A peerless lady of the ton learns she is almost penniless and surreptitiously sets out to find a wealthy suitor during her last "Golden Season." This delightfully witty, deliciously sensual romance is peppered with humor and enhanced by memorable characters.
Barely a Lady by Eileen Dreyer
LJ's Verdict: A woman whose life was devastated five years earlier by deceit, betrayal, and divorce has her peace shattered once more when her ex-husband is found at Waterloo, wounded, suspected of treason, suffering from selective amnesia, and convinced that they are still happily married. An emotionally compelling, flawlessly crafted gem.
Lessons in French by Laura Kinsale
LJ's Verdict: An aristocratic, bull-breeding heroine and a charming French émigré hero reclaim their love in this funny, whimsical, clever, and thoroughly rewarding sensual romance that is Kinsale's first appearance in the market in several years.
The Battle Sylph by L. J. McDonald
LJ's Verdict: This stunningly creative and riveting debut novel of a young woman who escaped sacrificial murder to become the adored queen of her remarkable battle sylph is a mental and emotional delight for both fantasy and romance readers.
PW's Best Romance Novels of 2010
A couple of months back, Publisher Weekly magazine released its annual list of the Best Romance Novels of 2010. Here is their picks:
The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne
PW's Verdict: In mid-revolution France, a noblewoman and a spy are torn between wartime practicality and headstrong passion. The gripping espionage story and wry voiceovers from the heroine will win hearts.
The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
PW's Verdict: Brook's fabulous steampunk tale has an iron-boned war hero and a half-Asian detective inspector matching wits and wills on airships and battleships and in smoke-choked London as England recovers from 200 years of Mongol rule.
The Heir by Grace Burrowes
PW's Verdict: Burrowes pulls off an improbable Regency affair between a spoiled ducal heir and a housekeeper with a secret.
Barely a Lady by Eileen Dreyer
PW's Verdict: The wartime amnesia romance is as old as the hills, but RWA Hall of Famer Dreyer (aka Kathleen Korbel) makes this one work.
Note: Click on this link to read May's review
of this book.
Trial by Desire by Courtney Milan
PW's Verdict: Modern readers will be as intrigued by the Victorian-era political issues as they are by the central story of a man trying to reconnect with the wife he abandoned.
Celebrating Saskatchewan Library Week
The theme for this year's Saskatchewan Library Week (October 18-25, 2010) is "Libraries=Possibilities". To help celebrate our favorite week of the year, here is a select list of library-themed romance novels for you to check out:
An Angel for Emily by Jude Deveraux
Summary: When a man announces to librarian Emily Todd that he is her guardian angel and he has been sent to earth to protect her, she assumes the man is crazy. But when she discovers he can read her mind and when a bomb is planted in her car, she begins having second thoughts. On the other hand, are real angels permitted to fall in love with mortals?
Like a Charm by Candace Havens
Summary: With her high-powered job and her five-year plans for the future in ruins, Kira Smythe finds herself back in her hometown of Sweet, Texas, staying with her hippie parents and taking over as librarian for the local library, and a possible romance with the gorgeous new guy in town is threatened by her ability to communicate with the dead and by an unknown enemy who wants her dead.
Good Girls Do by Cathie Linz
Summary: Julia Wright couldn't be more content with her job at the local library, nestled in placid, picturesque Serenity Falls. Until her wacky mother, petty-thief sister, and little niece decide to crash her quiet party of one. And her troubles really stack up when a new guy roars into town on his Harley, shaking up more than just the books on her shelves.
All Jacked Up by Penny McCall
Summary: Since Jack Mitchell barged into her life, librarian Aubrey Sullivan has been abducted at gunpoint, taken on a death-defying car chase, and kissed within an inch of madness. If only she does what he says, they might just get out of this mess alive. That is, if they can keep their hands off each other long enough to think straight.
Passionate Pleasures by Bertrice Small
Summary: Some think librarians are stuffy, narrow-minded prudes-but that's not true of Kathryn St. John. She runs Egret Point's library and is very involved in her community, even down to keeping them up with the latest trends. One major trend she turned the local ladies on to is the interactive network The Channel. It's there that Kathryn extends her occupational passions into the bedroom by playing out her favorite pieces of medieval English literature. Kathryn is quite satisfied with the princes, musketeers, and highwaymen her personas seduce in The Channel. But her seductions spill out into the real world and reach Timothy Blair, new to Egret Point. He wants to satiate both of their desires, but how can he possibly compete with fantasy lovers? That is unless he can create a wicked plot twist that even Kathryn couldn't think up in her wildest dreams.
Lakeshore Christmas by Susan Wiggs
Summary: Summary: The prim librarian is finally getting her chance to direct Avalon’s annual holiday pageant, and she’s determined to make it truly spectacular. But it might just require one of those Christmas miracles she’s always read about. Because her codirector is recovering former child star Eddie Haven, a long-haired, tattooed lump of coal in Maureen’s pageant stocking. Maureen and Eddie spar over every detail of the pageant, from casting troubled kids to Eddie’s original - and distinctly untraditional - music. Is he trying to sabotage the performance to spite her? Or is she trying too hard to fit the show into her storybook-perfect notion of Christmas?
For more romance novels featuring librarians, click on this link. Enjoy!
Wanted: Cowboys Romance List - Pt. 2
Here is part 2 of Booklist magazine's list celebrating "Cowboys in Love":
Prairie Moon by Maggie Osborne
Summary: Living on a rundown farm at the edge of a small Texas town, Della Ward is haunted by the bittersweet life she once lived with an adoring husband who died too soon. Lawman James Cameron believes in settling debts and living by honor. It may have taken him ten years to arrive at Della’s door, but he’s finally here and is determined to tell her the truth about the day her husband died. But one look at the woman whose picture he has carried with him for years and he knows that the truth may destroy them both.
Relentless by Bobbi Smith
Summary: On the trail of a ruthless gang of outlaws, a Texas Ranger and a female bounty hunter clash as each tries to best the other and deny the attraction drawing them inexorably closer.
Rose by Leigh Greenwood
Summary: When the townsfolk of Abilene prepare for the trial of the century, Madison and Fern ready themselves for the knockdown, drag-out battle of the sexes that just might have two winners.
The Rustler by Linda Lael Miller
Summary: Where does an outlaw go when he's ready to turn straight? For Wyatt Yarbro, reformed rustler and train robber, Stone Creek is his place of redemption. And lovely Sarah Tamlin is the perfect angel to help him clean up his act....But Sarah keeps a dark secret behind her prim and proper facade, even as her heart is lost to charming, sexy Wyatt.
Summer Moon by Jill Marie Landis
Summary: Daughter of a dockside harlot and raised in a bleak orphanage, Kate Whittington has no prospects in the unforgiving Maine village of her birth. Correspondence from the lonely Texas widower looking for a mail-order bride sparks tempting dreams of a house, a family, and a future in a land filled with possibilities...
A Woman Called Sage by Diann Mills
Summary: She’s lost everything she loved. Now, Sage Morrow is a Colorado bounty hunter determined to track down and bring killers to justice…and it’s personal. When the tables are turned, will Sage become the one who is hunted?
Wanted: Cowboys Romance List - Pt. 1
Booklist magazine recently featured a list celebrating "Cowboys in Love". Here is part 1 of that list:
Alaska Bride on the Run by Kate Bridges
Summary: When he advertises for a bartender, Harrison Rowlan doesn't expect a woman in a torn wedding gown to apply! He couldn't save his own wife, but he's determined to protect this damsel in distress. Willa Somerset desperately needs to find safety, and the sleepy Alaskan town of Eagle's Cliff seems like the perfect refuge. Only now she's in danger of falling for her knight in cowboy boots and denim.
A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist
Summary: In 1860s Seattle, redwoods were plentiful but women scarce. Yet a man with a wife could secure himself 640 acres of timberland for free. Joe Denton doesn't have a wife, though. His died before she could follow him to Seattle and now the local judge is threatening to take away his claim. In desperation, he buys himself a Mercer bride -- eastern widows and orphans brought to the Territory by entrepreneur Asa Mercer. Anna Ivey's journey west with Asa Mercer's girls is an escape from the aftermath of the Civil War. She signed on to become a cook -- not a bride!
Diablo by Georgina Gentry
Summary: They call him 'Devil', and with good reason. The half-breed Santee Sioux bears the twisted scars that made him the fastest, deadliest gunfighter in Texas. Diablo will never forget the kind cattleman who once took him in, but it is his torturer who haunts his every thought. And when some powerful Wyoming ranchers come looking to hire ruthless men for a wicked job, Diablo seizes the opportunity to settle a score...
The Lone Texan by Jodi Thomas
Summary: Three days after arriving in Galveston, newly widowed Sage McMurray finds herself taken hostage in a robbery. She fears she may never see Whispering Mountain again when the outlaws decide to auction their pretty captive off to the highest bidder, until a tall stranger offers twice the highest bid.
Moon in the Water by Elizabeth Grayson
Summary: Ann Rossiter is no man’s idea of the perfect wife, yet she has a chance—a single chance—to insure her future. To protect her unborn child, Ann agrees to marry a common riverboat pilot. In exchange, he’ll gain command of her stepfather’s magnificent new steamer—the Andromeda. But as they ply the western rivers together, Ann is drawn to her new husband, to his quiet strength and smoldering magnetism. Still, she dares not yield her heart for fear he will discover her most terrifying secret.
Never Love a Cowboy by Lorraine Heath
Summary: "I would not make a good husband. I do, however, make an excellent lover . . . " Harrison Bainbridge, the second son of an English earl, left his home seeking a scandal-free life away from society's stuffy restraints. Then he arrives in Texas, never expecting that a sassy saloon-keeper's daughter would capture his eye. With her outspoken ways and flashing eyes, Jessye Kane is more than tempting.
Pieces of Sky by Kaki Warner
Summary: On a stagecoach traveling through New Mexico Territory, Jessica Thornton is a long way from the cool mists and lush gardens of her native England. An authoress and milliner, she carries the weight of a scandalous secret-a horrible shame that has brought her to the West on a desperate search for the only family she can trust: her brother.
No one prepared Jessica for the heat and the hardships. And no one prepared her for a man like Brady Wilkins...
More Tags in the Catalogue
The March 15th issue of Booklist came out with a list of romance novels where food is a major part of the plot. I took titles from this list, as well as a few personal favorites, and added the tag "food fiction" to their records in the catalogue. See the list here!
Celebrating Valetine's Day
With Valentine's Day fast approaching us, I thought I would share with you some of my all-time favorite romantic books and movies with you. I hope you enjoy the list!
The Bride by Julie Garwood: This book still ranks as one of my all-time favorite romantic stories. Jamie is the youngest daughter of an English baron who is forced to marry the arrogant but devilishly handsome Alec Kincaid, a Highlander laird. Tons of misunderstandings, good ol' fashion intrigue and lots of steamy romantic scenes will keep you riveted to the pages.
Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas: A beautiful but self-sacrificing heroine determined to make her way into the world and raise her sister only to be caught between two very handsome and powerful men who are both in love with her. Can we say, jealous much?
Wedding Singer: After our nice but lovable hero is dumped by his trashy fiance, he begins to spiral out of control until his sweet colleague convinces him to help her plan our ultimate wedding. Great 80s soundtrack coupled with a guest appearance by Billy Idol, what's not to love?
Matchmaker: Strong-willed and highly intelligent political aide is dispatched to Ireland to track down Irish relatives to help a candidate gain Irish votes in a Massachusetts riding. Of course, timing is everything and our intrepid heroine ends up in the middle of a matchmaking festival. Hi-jinks naturally ensue.
LJ's Best Romance Novels for 2009
Sorry this post is overdue but Library Journal came out with their list of best romance novels of 2009 last December. Here is the full list with catalog links to our new catalog system.
Note: click on the hyperlink to take you to the record. The "Request" button is located on the top navigational bar.
Star Bright by Catherine Anderson
Summary: Faking her own death to escape her murderous husband, Rainie Hall takes refuge in the rural community of Crystal Falls, where she finds work as a bookkeeper on a horse ranch run by dangerously good-looking Parker Harrigan. But as their initial attraction blossoms, Rainie fears she can never escape retribution from the man who has sworn to kill her—and that her mere presence could jeopardize everything the Harrigan family holds dear.
LJ's Rationale: Heart-wrenching, chilling, yet sweetly romantic; classic Anderson.
So Enchanting by Connie Brockway
Summary: The Scottish hamlet of Little Firkin has one important industry: the guardianship of Amelie Chase, a witchling banished by the ton for her alleged supernatural powers, and entrusted by her benefactor to Fanny Walcott. But the scheme is hitting a snag: Little Firkin is cramping Amelie’s style, anonymous notes are threatening her life, and now, two handsome travelers arrive with tantalizing links to the pasts of both women. And what’s happening in Little Firkin is so enchanting, it’s going to take a leap of faith to believe it.
LJ's Rationale:A shimmer of beautifully handled magic overlays this heartwarming, exquisitely crafted Victorian romance, which rewards readers with not one but two love stories.
To Catch a Bride by Anne Gracie
Summary: It was the perfect excuse to delay a dreaded marriage of convenience-head off on an exotic journey to track down a young lady missing in Egypt for six years. Rafe Ramsey, son of the Earl of Axebridge, is utterly besotted when he finally locates the beautiful and spirited Ayisha, who has taken a new name. But a mysterious past has made it impossible for her to return to England, and she is on the run from something far more serious than an unwanted betrothal.
LJ's Rationale: Appealing characters, a multilayered plot, class issues, and vivid, realistic descriptions of early 19th-century Cairo and England result in an uncommonly compelling tale.
Running Hot by Jayne Ann Krentz
Summary: Ex-cop Luther Malone, lifelong member of the secretive paranormal organization known as the Arcane Society, is waiting to meet Grace Renquist. Hired as an aura-reading consultant in the quest for a murder suspect, she's got zero field experience. She's from tiny Eclipse Bay, Oregon. She's a librarian, for heaven's sake. As for Grace, she's not expecting much either from Malone, who walks with a cane and isn't so good with a gun. Nice résumé for a bodyguard.
LJ's Rationale: Vicious Nightshade agents and a diva with killer high notes enrich this funny, sexy, mind-bending thriller.
What I Did for Love by Susan Phillips
Summary: How did this happen? Georgie York, once the costar of America's favorite television sitcom, has been publicly abandoned by her famous husband, her film career has tanked, her father is driving her crazy, and her public image as a spunky heroine is taking a serious beating. What should a down-on-her-luck actress do? Not go to Vegas . . . not run into her detestable former costar, dreamboat-from-hell Bramwell Shepard . . . and not get caught up in an ugly incident that leads to a calamitous elopement. Before she knows it, Georgie has a fake marriage, a fake husband, and maybe (or not) a fake sex life.
LJ's Rationale: Another funny, poignant, totally satisfying winner from an author who doesn't disappoint.
PW's 2009 Best Romance Books
Okay, so technically Publishers Weekly didn't have a section for Best Romance Novels for 2009 but they did include these three titles in their year's best list:
Captive of Sin by Anna Campbell
Summary: Returning home to Cornwall after an unspeakable tragedy, Sir Gideon Trevithick comes upon a defiant beauty in danger and vows to protect her whatever the cost. He's dismayed to discover that she's none other than Lady Charis Weston, England's wealthiest heiress--and that the only way to save her from the violent stepbrothers determined to steal her fortune is to wed her himself! Now Gideon must hide the dark secrets of his life from the bride he desires more with every heartbeat. Charis has heard all about Gideon, the dangerously handsome hero with the mysterious past. She's grateful for his help but utterly unwilling to endure a marriage of convenience--especially to a man whose touch leaves her breathless. Desperate to drive him mad with passion, she would do anything to make Gideon lose control--and fall captive to irresistible, undeniable sin.
PW's Rationale: Campbell pulls out all the stops with this heart-wrenching historical romance. A hastily wed heiress must help her husband, a war hero, recover from post-traumatic stress that leaves him unable to bear human touch.
Soulless by Gail Carriger
Summary: Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette. Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society?
PW's Rationale: Carriger combines Victorian romance, supernatural creatures, steampunk sensibilities and a healthy dose of the bizarre in her hilarious debut.
A Dark Love by Margaret Carroll
Summary: Only Caroline knows the truth about her husband, the brilliant psychoanalyst whose list of patients includes some of Washington, D.C.'s, most celebrated. Caroline has seen the darkest side of this cruel, controlling psychopath who watches her every move. With only a few precious minutes allotted to her, escape is now or never. Caroline must run for her life . . . as far and fast as she can. But even two thousand miles isn't far enough. A new identity, new town, and new love—rugged pro-footballer-turned-outdoorsman Ken Kincaid—won't protect her. Because Caroline knows Porter will never stop until he's hunted her down.
PW's Rationale: Carroll develops what could be a stock story of an abusive marriage into a pulse-pounding romantic thriller with a strong, inspiring heroine determined to save herself.
Part 2 of Amazon Editors' Best of 2009 Picks
Here is part 2 of the Amazon Editors' Top 10 list for the Best Romance Novels of 2009:
6. What Happens in London by Julia Quinn
Summary: When Olivia Bevelstoke is told that her new neighbor may have killed his fiance, she doesn't believe it for a second, but, still, how can she help spying on him, just to be sure? Sir Harry Valentine works for the boring branch of the War Office, translating documents vital to national security. He's not a spy, but he's had all the training, and when a gorgeous blonde begins to watch him from her window, he is instantly suspicious. But just when he decides that she's nothing more than an annoyingly nosy debutante, he discovers that she might be engaged to a foreign prince, who might be plotting against England. And when Harry is roped into spying on Olivia, he discovers that he might be falling for her himself...
7. Fireside: The Lakeshore Chronicles by Susan Wiggs
Summary: Baseball hopeful Bo Crutcher is about to get his shot at the majors. That is, until life throws him a curveball. When AJ, the son he's never met, lands on his doorstep, Bo's life becomes a whole new ball game. He needs help—fast. Enter Kimberly van Dorn. Hired to smooth Bo's rough exterior for the media, she expects the kind of shallow pro athlete she's used to handling. But Bo is willing to sacrifice everything for his vulnerable son. Kim can train him to hit a home run with the press, but over a breathtaking winter on frozen Willow Lake, she realizes he has far more to teach her about the game of life…and putting love first.
8. A Duke of Her Own by Eloisa James
Summary: Leopold Dautry, the notorious Duke of Villiers, must wed quickly and nobly—and his choices, alas, are few. The Duke of Montague's daughter, Eleanor, is exquisitely beautiful and fiercely intelligent. Villiers betroths himself to her without further ado. After all, no other woman really qualifies. Lisette, the outspoken daughter of the Duke of Gilner, cares nothing for clothing or decorum. She's engaged to another man, and doesn't give a fig for status or title. Half the ton believes Lisette mad—and Villiers is inclined to agree. Torn between logic and passion, between intelligence and imagination, Villiers finds himself drawn to the very edge of impropriety. But it is not until he's in a duel to the death, fighting for the reputation of the woman he loves, that Villiers finally realizes that the greatest risk may not be in the dueling field . . .
9. Immortal Outlaw by Lisa Hendrix
Summary: Like the rest of his crew, Steinarr the Proud is condemned to live out eternity as a were-creature-at night he transforms into a lion. Now only one maiden can set him free to love as a man.
10. Angel Lane by Sheila Roberts
Summary: That's exactly what three small-town shop owners hope to do when they launch their crazy-ambitious Have a Heart campaign asking neighbors to commit one random act of kindness every day. Emma, Sarah, and Jamie love their lakeside community, but the little town is growing too big too fast, and a doing a good deed never hurt anyone. Or so they thought...When Emma slashes prices at her quilt shop, practically giving away blankets to anyone who looks vaguely cold, she almost stitches her way into bankruptcy. Sarah's free cooking class boils down to a hotbed of crime when some punk kid swipes her favorite heirloom. And at Jamie's chocolate shop, things take a bittersweet turn when a local policeman starts giving her grief, stirring up feelings she's tried to forget and slowly melts away her defenses...
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