Monday, October 24, 2011

The Power of an Awesome Read

Tori and I are back on the island for a 3 day fall getaway. It’s getting chilly back home, but I love the fall, the comfortable temperatures, the beautiful colors. We have a huge maple on our front lawn and I actually look forward to raking the leaves each year when they fall. I can’t believe how quickly 2011 has passed. Its nearly November and while flying over on the DIK jet (Tori quite likes its luxury BTW) I got to thinking about some of my favorite reads so far this year, took a peek at my Goodreads favorites list and thought I’d talk about some new-to-me authors that have rocketed to the top of my 2011 Awesome category.

First is Sarah Grimm’s contemporary romance After Midnight, an emotional love story about Isabeau Montgomery, a piano virtuoso who has had a tragic life and Noah Clark, a famous rock musician. I wasn’t expecting much from this book but quickly became captivated by Ms. Grimm’s vivid descriptive prose and exemplary characterization. Noah's persistence while wooing Isabeau along with his compassion and tenderness toward her is extremely touching. I found reading about their journey toward eventual happiness to be unique and memorable.

Thirteen years—that's how long Isabeau Montgomery has been living a lie. After an automobile accident took her mother's life, Izzy hid herself away, surviving the only way she knew how. Now she is happy in her carefully reconstructed life. That is until he walks through the door of her bar...

Black Phoenix singer/front man Noah Clark came to Long Island City with a goal--one that doesn't include an instant, electric attraction to the dark-haired beauty behind the bar. Coaxing her into his bed won't be easy, but he can't get her pale, haunted eyes nor her skill on the piano out of his head.

Can Noah help Isabeau overcome the past? Or will her need to protect her secret force her back into hiding and destroy their chance at happiness?

Next has to be Nadia Lee’s, contemporary romance Carnal Secrets, another emotional story which details the relationship between Natalie Hall and billionaire Alex Damon, who reminded me of Edward Lewis from the movie Pretty Woman. Alex, however is far more appealing, innately seductive and confident. Their tempestuous romance and Natalie’s issues tugged at my heartstrings. Once I started this one, I couldn’t put it down.

After a rapid change in management, Natalie Hall is surprised to find that she's being promoted so quickly. But when it becomes obvious that the new CEO is interested in her on a more personal level, she pushes him away -- she doesn't want to repeat her past mistake of giving her heart to the wrong man.

A self-made billionaire, Alex Damon has his own reasons for pursuing Natalie. Her adoptive father, a powerful U.S. senator, is using his political clout to protect his friends the Rodales, who Alex intends to destroy for ripping his own family apart when he was a child. Furthermore, he suspects that Natalie is spying for the Rodales.

What he hasn't planned on is her unflinching sense of loyalty and integrity, the sizzling attraction between them that threatens to turn into something much more, and the dark secrets that can destroy them both.

Then there is the romantic suspense, Jamie Alden’s, Beg for Mercy, which sat in my TBR pile for a while before I picked it up and by the end of the first chapter I was completely entranced. A multilayered story, Beg for Mercy details heroine Megan Flynn's stalwart refusal to give up on her brother Sean who has been wrongly convicted of the heinous murder of a woman and has been sentenced to death. Ms. Alden crafts a gripping subplot involving a sociopathic serial killer who literally made my hair stand on end. The kicker is, the man Megan loves is Detective Cole Williams, who saw to it Sean was brought to trial and convicted. Can anyone say conflict? I thought this one was brilliantly crafted and am panting for the next book in the series Hide from Evil, which is Sean Flynn’s story and releases tomorrow. :-)

He lurks in the shadows, waiting and watching . . . And once he has you, all you can do is. . .

Megan Flynn thought she was falling in love. Cole Williams wasn't just handsome and passionate, he was one of the good guys. Or so she thought, until he arrested her brother-the only family she has left-for a murder she knows he couldn't have possibly committed. Now, with her heart broken and her brother's life hanging in the balance, Megan will risk everything to prove his innocence. Even if that means throwing herself into the path of a sadistic killer with a hauntingly familiar MO.

Seattle Detective Cole Williams had given up on making Megan see reason where her brother is concerned. But when she insinuates herself into the most shockingly brutal case Cole has ever worked, he can't stand idly by. Plunged into a secret world where the city's elite indulge their darkest desires, Cole will do whatever it takes to bring down a madman who has made Megan his most coveted prey.

Deacon’s Touch, erotic author Callie Croix’s debut novel about a former Pararescueman who due to a significant injury was forced to give up the career he loved. He has returned home to the Texas dude ranch he and his brothers own to try to get himself sorted out. Deke meets Jessie, a hard working, up-tight stock broker when she comes to the ranch to attend a Bachelorette party. Deke is a sexual dominant and Jessie is a repressed submissive. This is a hot sexually explicit erotic romance, and all I can say is the love scenes crafted for this hero and heroine equate with an emotional maelstrom. Callie Croix is better known as romantic suspense author Kaylea Cross and I can tell you she has a new fan. :)

After her own engagement goes to hell, workaholic Jessica Talbot dreads her friend’s bachelorette party at a dude ranch in Nowheresville, Texas. But the outlook for the weekend brightens when Deacon Dumen picks her up at the airport. The sexy cowboy awakens every dormant sexual fantasy with nothing more than a friendly smile and a handshake.

Ex-Air Force Pararescueman Deke Dumen doesn’t know what to make of the sexy yet reserved brunette who breaks through the walls he built after an injury ended his career and a divorce soured him on relationships. As a guest at his family’s ranch Jessie is off limits, but the Dom in him rebels at the restriction, even as he realizes his penchant for control in the bedroom would likely scare the holy hell out of her.

When Jessie shocks Deke by asking for exactly what he’s been craving, he’s ready to break the rules and introduce her to his own brand of dominance. Her willing surrender rocks them both to the core. But once the weekend’s over, they must decide if it was just a wild fling or the start of something more.

I've enjoyed a great year for reading so far but these among a number of others share a few things in common:

  • The books are keepers.
  • The plot and some of the scenes that are particularly moving stay vivid in my memory.
  • I return to these books again and again to re-read coveted passages or in some cases the entire story.
  • I've reviewed all of them.
  • I'm looking forward to reading more work from each of these authors.
  • If someone asks me about a book I've enjoyed this year that falls in the genres mentioned above I suggest one of these novels or novellas (or others that have fallen into my Awesome category).
  • Lastly, when a book such as the ones I've mentioned above impact me so powerfully, I have difficulty picking up another read for days after.

What about you? Any special, memorable stories that have stood out for you this year and qualify as "favorites"? Any new-to-you author's whose books you are going to watch for?

Tori and I will be back on the Island tomorrow talking about Genre confusion....and it doesn't take much to confuse me. lol Have a wonderful day everyone!


Sarah Grimm said...

Wow, Lea, I'm going to have to give these a try. They sound wonderful! Thanks!

And thanks again for your kind words about After Midnight. Thrilled to have made your list!

Nadia Lee said...

Hi Lea,

Thank you so much for the mention! I'll have to try other books on your list! :D

Chris said...

*waves at Lea and Tori*

I've read some good ones this year, such as With a Kiss (Kim Dare), The Usual Apocalypse (Christine Price), Knight Errant (KD Sarge), and GhosTV (Jordan Castillo Price), just to name a few.

Lea said...

Hey Sarah!

Thanks for your comment, and you are most welcome re AM. Great read.. ;) If you do try any of the books I mentioned I hope you enjoy too. ;)


Lea said...

Hi Nadia!

You are most welcome, you know how much I enjoyed Carnal Secrets! Thanks for your note. :D


Lea said...

*waving back and Chris, Chaos and May*

Once again I'm apologizing for being so blog neglectful. I just can't seem to keep it together these days.

I see Jordan Price has made your list again. I still have to find time to read her Psy Cop books but I will. Gosh the end of the year is creeping up on me and I'm still no further ahead!

Thank you so much for your comment, it means more than you can know. :D


UK said...

Loved this book. It had pretty much everything with the right amount of spice. This story kept me very involved from the first. The trials that Deacon and Jessica are facing, trying to overcome their pasts and let go.

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