Happy Wednesday to all! The last couple of weeks have been a bit bumpy reading-wise. As you can tell from my Monday morning rant, I read a contemporary that irritated me no end with the sundry, boring details of everyday life. I also read 2 alien romances which have thrown me for a loop. Aliens and romance seem like a weird combination. These books are truly splicing together sci fi and romance, and I'm not quite sure I'm on board for that. For some reason, more "standard" paranormals, with vampires and werewolves, work better for me. The alien stories had action and sex, but I felt like they were missing a key element: romance. (Just as an aside, I do not review every book I read. When I read a book that I adore, I write a review. When I read a book that really disappoints me, I usually get irked enough to write something about it. When I read a book that's so-so, I could care less.)
On the up side of the week, I read two awesome books by authors new to me. The first one is Shelter Mountain by Robyn Carr. (This is the second of the Virgin River Series and was recommended to me by some nice folks on the Amazon boards). Although I am not a big contemporary-lover, this book really sang for me. Carr has created some amazing characters. Preacher is a fantastic hero, right up my alley. From the very first chapter, I was totally hooked on him, and on the story itself. (He is a big, bald, sexy gentle giant of a man. Swooning!!!!) His touching, slow-simmering romance with Paige is wonderful, his loving acceptance of her little boy is heart-warming. I love how patient he is with Paige in the first chapter, coaxing this bruised and battered woman into finally telling him her name. I am seriously in love with Preacher. He is up for the Number One Hero of 2009 Award.
One minor complaint is that Carr's "secondary" characters took center stage a bit too often...I wanted more of Paige and Preacher. I also didn't love the whole my-abusive-husband-is-gonna-show-up-at-any-minute-and-wreak-some-havoc thing going on, but again, that's a minor complaint. I can't wait to read Virgin River and Whispering Rock, the others in this series.
I attended a fantastic workshop at the New Jersey RWA conference this October, which addressed the importance of conflict in romance. Madeline Hunter gave the kicky-ass lecture, and made me curious about her own novels. So, I had a nice little chat with her at the book sale, and purchased The Rules of Seduction, a historical romance. It has a no-nonsense heroine with violet eyes (like it!), a tortured, mathematically brilliant hero (love it!), several fascinating brothers promising more cool stories in the series (always a big plus for moi), a nice conflict complete with a big surprise at the end (didn't see that one coming!), and very intriguing love scenes, beautifully written and powerfully emotional. I really am digging Madeline Hunter's love scenes. I found this book very satisfying because it had the one thing the alien books were sadly lacking...romance. I definitely recommend it, and I already ordered another one in the series, The Sins of Lord Easterbrook.
Hope everyone is having a happy reading week, and is dreaming of turkeys and pumpkin pie and maybe a mug of hot cider spiked with a little bit of apple brandy...