Oct 21, 2012

Book Recommendations, Please!

The Black HawkLast year, at about this time, I asked for book recommendations for my birthday and Christmas wishlists, and boy did I get some great suggestions!

Helen S said she'd recently read The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne and loved it.

Someone is stalking agent Justine DeCabrillac through London's gray streets. Under cover of rain, the assassin strikes--and Justine staggers to the door of the one man who can save her. The man she once loved. The man she hated. Adrian Hawkhurst.

I checked my local library - they only had Her Lord And Spymaster, so I borrowed that one. Goodness! It was *fabulous*! So I asked for (and received) HLAS plus the other 3 books in the spymaster series for Christmas, and the set has travelled to my mother and sister's houses since then. We're all now Joanna Bourne fans, so thanks, Helen S!

Another huge success from that blog post was Marybelle's recommendation of Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier

 A haunted forest. A cursed castle. A girl running from her past and a man who's more than he seems to be. A tale of love, betrayal and redemption...

Again I borrowed it from the library first, but I adored it - a beauty and the beast tale with old world magic and fantasy set in Ireland - and ordered my own copy. Thank you, Marybelle!

Then there was Kylie Griffin's suggestion of Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon

For 2,000 years, Julian of Macedon has lived a curse of being a love-slave. When he is summoned to fulfill Grace Alexander's sexual fantasies, Grace is the first woman to see him as a man with a tormented past. Taking him out into the world, Grace teaches Julian to love again, but can that alone break the curse he is under?

Fantasy Lover (Dark-Hunter Series Prequel)Kylie suggested this as an alternative to the Dark Hunter books which might be a bit, well, dark for me (I'm a complete 'fraidy cat at heart!). She said it would be funny and more light-hearted. Boy, was she right. *Such* a good read. Thanks, Ms Griffin!

Actually, as I re-read the suggestions in that year-old post just now, I realised there were some that sounded up my alley that I didn't follow through so I'll start with those, but I'd still like some more recommendations, pretty please!

So, what's the best romance you read this year? My wishlist needs your suggestions! I love category, historicals, fantasy, paranormal, contemporary, comedy, young adult, basically any romance except rom-sus and scary stuff like scary paranormals (did I mention that I'm a total 'fraidy cat?), but you can post any suspense suggestions if you have them because others reading the post might like them. 

Thanks! I'm rubbing my hands together with glee already. :)


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed HEART'S BLOOD. It is fabulous.

  2. Rachel, do you already read Sarah Morgan? If not, give 'The Doukakis Apprentice' a try. It's a Harlequin Sexy/Presents/Modern and was such a blast to read. Made me smile and sigh and I don't know anyone who didn't enjoy it. It won the RITA too.

  3. PS. I love the Joanna Bourne books i've read. Will have to try the others you posted about.

  4. Mary, are you the marybelle that recommended Heart's Blood? If so, thank you! I loved it. I'd tried one of the author's other books but it was more 'high fantasy' which I wasn't in the mood for, so I probably wouldn't have found this one on my own.

    I've looked at Juliet Marillier's booklist and tried to work out if there are others more in the style of Heart's Blood - do you have any idea?

  5. Annie, I'd meant to read that one and forgotten. Doh! People were talking about how good it was even before it won the Rita - I should have bought it then. Just checked The Book Dep and it's not available anymore, so might have to do a Kindle version. Thanks for the reminder!

    The three I posted about are all very different styles (which is what makes a good Christmas reading list!). Fantasy Lover is very light and fun, and Heart's Blood is deeper, slower and more layered. Loved them both.

  6. Yes, Annie, Sarah Morgan is great! And I'll recommend another HMB author who turned her hand to single title. Carol Marinelli's "Putting Alice Back Together" is soooo good. The kind of story where you don't want to skip a single word and flip the pages wanting to know what happens next. A scene made me cry. IMHO, a definite keeper.

  7. Robyn, I just went searching and read the blurb for Carol Marinelli's Putting Alice Back Together and it sounds great. Emotional and real. I think I'll have to track down a copy. Thanks!

  8. Mmmm, I must try these, Rachel! I remember you doing this blog and I had the intention of looking them up then... but you know how other things get in the way sometimes!

    I might have mentioned Sarah Mayberry's books way back then?? Another book that I re-found in my keeper shelf recently is Kay Hooper's Wizard of Seattle.

  9. If you want some fun reading - read Amanda Ashby's Fairy Bad Day. It's YA and paranormal, but not so scary. :)

    I've been reading A Song of Ice and Fire and that is very in-depth -there is war thus fighting - my mum is into scary stuff either but she is loving it in Greek. Never thought she would like it.

  10. Sharon, I love Sarah Mayberry's books! And you raise a good point - I haven't read all of her backlist, so that's a good place to start.

    I've just looked The Wizard of Seattle up - great blurb!

    Set in modern-day Seattle and ancient Atlantis, this magical story of timeless love and mesmerizing fantasy is the tale of a young woman with a wild talent and the handsome wizard who would risk everything to teach her a forbidden art--and taste a forbidden love.

    Adding it to my Christmas wishlist now!

  11. Eleni - I've got my very own copy of Fairy Bad Day and you're right, it was fun! In fact, maybe it's time to reread it. :) Have you read Amanda's Zombie Queen of Newberry High? It was just as fun. She's an autobuy author for me.

    Song of Fire and Ice... I wouldn't have thought it was up my alley, but if your mum is loving it, perhaps it's worth a try. Thanks!

  12. Oh, Rach, I so have to read some Joanna Bourne! I want that Carol Marinelli book too! So many books...

    Okay, to my suggestions: I'll third Sarah Morgan's Doukakis's Apprentice. I think it's been my favourite read this year. It's so much fun. Truly, you'll love it.

    After the conference I read Eloisa Jame's The Ugly Duchess and loved it. I kept sneaking away from my work to read just a little bit more (and normally I'm so disciplined).

    And my final suggestion is for a YA fantasy that the savvy Ms West passed my way -- Warped by Maurissa Guibord. It's her first novel, wonderfully inventive, and I'll be keeping my eye out for more from her.

    Happy reading!

  13. Michelle, that's a pretty big recommendation for Doukakis's Apprentice. Must find a copy.

    Adding The Ugly Duchess to my wishlist now. I adored Eloisa James's series on the Essex sisters but had trouble getting into the next series. Maybe it's time I went back. This sounds like just the book to do it!

    Oh, Warped sounds interesting. And I see the author has another book due out soon -- Revel -- that looks as interesting as Warped.

    Thanks for the suggestions!

  14. I also discovered how fantastic Joanna Bourne's Spymaster series is!

    I read pretty much anything from historical, to paranormal and contempary romances. I am recommending:

    The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred (so touching!)
    Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
    Overseas by Beatriz Williams (really adored the hero).

  15. Hi Na - your reading tastes sound like mine! :)

    I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips and have already read Kiss An Angel. It was fabulous, so that just confirms we have similar tastes. So that means I'll definitely check out The Sweet Gum Tree and Overseas.