Now that fall is really  here, I thought it would be fun to share with everyone the books I read this summer that I loved the most. I had an awesome summer by the way, very relaxing and it did my body and soul good. I swam, shopped, walked, hung out with friends, read and crocheted and just savoured the me time. Sometimes you need to recharge and I have done that and feel so much better for it. But I digress. This post is about what books I read this summer that were the absolute best.

I will say that I read a lot of books that I really enjoyed. I've learned how to pick reads that will not disappoint me. Well, for the most part anyway. Guess I just know my reading tastes really well now. But the books I loved best (in no particular order) are:

Daughters of the Bride by Susan Mallery.

I was delighted by this book and surprised by how much I enjoyed this story. It was on the lighter side, but with just enough real life to make you smile and to keep you totally invested in the story. I doubt you'd be disappointed by this novel. Smart and sassy in parts and just fun, it made for great reading.

Chill Factor by Sandra Brown.

If you've frequented the blog this summer, you know I've been devouring Sandra Brown novels, but this one is by the far the best I've read so far. Never saw the killer coming. Was gripped from beginning to end. I just loved this suspenseful read. I was on pins and needles throughout the whole novel. And the writing--well, Sandra Brown is one methodical author but her style is crisp and easy to read.

Vintage Dreams by Jannie Lund

This novel brought a smile to my face. Easy to read, it's a sweet romance and so organically developed that you just fall into the story and I was a bit swept away by the heroine's spice and humor and the hero's good nature and level headedness. I wasn't sure what to expect when  I picked this up, but was very happy that I did.

The Vistior by Amanda Stevens

No one writes a novel quite like Amanda Stevens. Her style is lyrical, her stories are eerie and supernatural. You are drawn into the setting, you believe in the ghosts and ghouls and demons and I was afraid to sleep at times after reading this for a couple of hours. My highest praise and admiration goes to this author and this series. It's wonderfully horrifying and mesmerizing and I simply cannot get enough.

A Long Time Gone by Karen White

This novel will stay with me for a long time. What a wonderful story about family and healing. It was beautifully written and I empathized deeply with the characters. It was definitely hard to put down because everything that happened had meaning, deepened the story and just hooked you that much more into the characters and their lives. I'd love to get my hands on another book that made me feel the way I did when I read A Long Time Gone.

And those are the best books I read this summer. I read a ton of other great books, but these ones stand out from the rest and therefore get to grace this post. I hope you have a chance one day to read of these wonderful novels.

Happy Reading,
I stumbled across this series and finding the cover and premise interesting, I just had to read it. And I'm so glad I had the chance to read this because this fantasy world set in Regency England is very interesting indeed. Not to mention, exciting.

Series: Extraordinaries, #1
My Rating: ❀'s
Genre: Fantasy/Historical Romance

I loved how strong the heroine, Elinor is and how she fights throughout this novel. Elinor has never been of any significance in her family, until, at a late age she suddenly manifests a talent and an extraordinary one that. This suddenly makes her special, and valuable. Elinor's father is determined to control her future for his own benefit and vanity, but Elinor takes her life back into her own hands and joins the Navy.

That's when this story really picks up, as Elinor embarks on a journey that is anything but what a respectable woman should embark on. She is assigned to Captain Ramsay's vessel to help fight pirates and protect shipping routes and I was riveted by the life aboard ship and the many obstacles Elinor faces as a woman on a ship and as a solider of sorts, the politics and prejudices being one of those obstacles. I was also invested in her relationship with Ramsey, which wasn't very romantic but was still one that intrigued me until it blossomed into a romance at the very end. One which was natural and made me smile.

What most impressed me is how hard Elinor fights to prove herself, to stay alive, to assert some power over her own life and how she never gives up. She's smart and has a will of steel, and I liked seeing how hard she and with what cunning she fought some of these battles. And when it was time to fight with fire, well, Elinor's talent certainly made for heart pounding reading.

The prose was polished, the world a blend of historical fact and fantasy and a very refreshing setting. I have no idea what the future novels will be like, but I'm eager to find out and can honestly say, Burning Bright was everything I had hoped it would be, and more.

I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Happy Reading,
I have been listening to Sandra Brown novels on audio and really loving them. And I just finished up Low Pressure which I was very excited to read and although I did enjoy it, I was certainly thrown for a loop in this one.

My Rating: ❀'s
Genre: Romantic Suspense
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The loop that I was thrown was that I didn't enjoy this as much as I expected to. From the premise, I expected to be gripped from beginning to end. And although the story lacks none of the author's usual control and careful plotting, I just wasn't as engaged I thought I would be. It's possible I was so excited by the premise that I worked up an expectation in my mind that simply wasn't what the book held. But I will share with you why I was so thrown by this novel.

First off, I found the romance extremely slow moving. I would have liked a little more heat from the main characters, and while the hero was certainly very interested in romancing, the heroine was always hot and cold. She had her reasons, but to me they were lukewarm at best. It took way too long for these two to come together as they should have considering how attracted they were to one another and the events that threw them together almost constantly.

I was also thrown by the crime in this novel. I knew who Susan's killer wasn't, but it was hard to pin down who it was. I was gripped by the who done it, but although I had some ideas here and there, they were always shot down until I was totally stumped. Which is good! You want the twist to take you by surprise, shock and maybe even horrify you. But when that twist came, I was left with an anticlimactic feeling. I couldn't believe who the killer turned out to be and instead of being shocked I was just left with a WTF feeling. As though it shouldn't have been who it was or something like that. Others might experience the exact opposite effect because believe me, I never once considered the individual in the novel who is the killer, to be the killer.

You win some, you lose some. I walked away from this book feeling a tad deflated and there's no real particular reason why. Maybe it was too much of a twist for me to swallow. I'm not sure. But Sandra Brown writes such well written tales that I do say you ought read this for yourself to decide how you feel. Because I'm sure it will elicit a reaction and any reaction elicited by fiction points to a well crafted novel, and novels by Sandra Brown are always a hit when it comes to crafting, and that's a winner in my books.

Happy Listening,
I just polished off the second book in a Nora Roberts series and I really enjoyed it. This trilogy was one I was aware of for a while, but just hadn't gotten around to reading. Which is too true of too many wonderful novels. But I am glad I have had a chance to read these books because they are so beautifully written.

Series: Circle Trilogy, #2 
My Rating: ❀'s
Genre: Paranormal Romance
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This novel continued the saga for the battle to protect the worlds (including our own) from the vampires under Lilith's control. The warriors continue their training and find ways to overcome obstacles--such as how to transport Cian, a vampire himself, to Gaell where the battle is supposed to take place. But this novel also developed the romance between Blair and Larkin. I liked Larkin immediately in the first novel; he was easy going and charming and I loved him even more in this novel. He's an upstanding, down to earth guy and I thought he was a perfect fit for Blair. She's been too long alone and unloved and had come to believe that it was her lot in life, that love and championship were not in her stars. Larkin proves to her otherwise. And he is so uber sweet and real about it that I doubt any woman would resist, but it was quite something that Blair herself gave up resisting.

I thought the first half of the novel moved a bit slowly, but then it really picked up once they made it to Gaell and I'm excited to see what the final novel in the trilogy will bring. I have some ideas about how the next romance will play out as well, so I'm curious to see if I'm right

A great book and one I was delighted to read because the romance was slow and made for le sigh reading. And the writing was a joy to read. I can't wait to read the final novel which I'm sure will be the strongest novel of the series.

Happy Reading,
I've been reading a Nora Roberts series, and her writing is lovely. I have a ball reading it, her style is so smooth and easy to read and elegantly simple and yet, elegant. And in the second novel of her Circle Trilogy, I found some yummy quotes I just had to share with you. I have to say, this series just works for me. The storytelling, the characters, it all carries you away and is a pleasure to read. I know this series will not disappoint even though it is not your traditional paranormal romance. But, I digress. Here are the quotes I just had to share today because they made me pause and shiver or smile or both.

"...I said I like the charming the ladies, and I do. I enjoy a flirt here and there, and a tumble when I can get one. But I don't hurt women, not with my hands, not with my words. I don't lie. So when I tell you how I see you, it's the simple truth of it. I think you're magnificent."

Her mood only improved. What could better than watching a half-naked, great-looking guy beat hot steel into a sword?

She talked of war, she thought. And he gave her a flower. Maybe it was foolish--maybe both of them were--but she slid its stem into one of the buttonholes of her coat. And she breathed in its sweet scent as they walked toward the battleground.

"I said you're my breath, and my pulse, my heart, my voice. I said, I'll love you even when all of them stop. I'll love you, and only you, until all the worlds are ended...."

That's a little taste of the style of these novels, and I hope you got a shiver or two yourself reading these great quotes. Stay tuned for my review!

Happy Reading,