Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Travels with my Books!
by Anna Campbell
As all our regulars know, I've been travelling for the last month. I went to Denver for RomCon (had a wonderful time) and to New York and Washington D.C. and then Orlando for RWA Nationals. Home again to a horrible dose of jetlag! Off next week for the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Sydney. Then, thank goodness, I get to stay home for a couple of weeks until the Brisbane Writers Festival at the start of September.
So I hear you saying - she's going to blog about her travels!
I did a surprising amount of reading in that month of extreme busy-ness. Partly because I was stuck at airports/train stations and a book is a great companion at such times. Partly because I had a run of really great books to keep me entertained!
So I thought I'd share the highlights of a month of reading with you.
As you know, there have been a spate of Bandita releases lately. I picked up Kate's new book, THE MILLIONAIRE MEETS HIS MATCH, and Susan's debut MONEY, HONEY at the RWA literacy signing. Both corkers and worthy of the 'written by a Bandita' banner! LOL!
Susan's is a wonderful romp about a former jewel thief and the FBI agent who caught him. Very 1940s screwball comedy with some wonderful dialogue and hot sexual tension. Patrick is gorgeous!
Kate's is a luscious classic category romance where the heroine enters the hero's employment to seek revenge and of course finds herself helplessly caught in a web of unwilling attraction. YUM!
But of course, you all know how great both those books are!
I also had a couple of lovely discoveries in my reading.
The first is the first adult novel from Sarah Maclean. NINE RULES TO BREAK WHEN ROMANCING A RAKE is a delicious souffle of a book. I love stories about good girls who discover their inner vixen and this is a classic. Lady Calpurnia (Callie) is firmly on the shelf at 28 and even worse, everyone around her considers her a cardboard cutout of virtue, about as exciting as a mug of lukewarm milk.
She sets out to live a little, with the help of her dream man, the Marquess of Ralston. The Marquess is immediately intrigued by Callie's mixture of wildness and innocence. He isn't sure whether he mean to protect or seduce Callie - and whatever he does only seems to cause mayhem. Great fun!
This book sat on the New York Times list for five weeks when it came out and it got a lot of buzz on the net. Having read it, I'm not surprised. It's a wonderfully entertaining read, as sparkling as a diamond!
Another author who I have known personally for years but strangely had never read is Elizabeth Boyle. I was lucky enough to get an ARC of her next book MAD ABOUT THE DUKE which is out at the end of September.
This is another sparkling comedy about a widowed countess who mistakes the Duke of Parkerton for an impoverished solicitor and employs him to find her a duke to marry. She has pressing reasons for marrying a duke and James finds himself so enchanted to be seen as an ordinary man, he can't bring himself to tell Elinor the truth.
As you can imagine, with a setup like that, the plot soon spirals into the funniest of farces, brimming with mistaken identities and pranks and mischief and chaos. I found myself laughing out loud at this story. I brought back HOW I MET MY COUNTESS from RomCon - I'll be digging into that very soon.
Now for two books I knew would be good and which didn't disappoint.
Kristan Higgins was a very popular RITA winner this year for TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. THE NEXT BEST THING was one of the giveaways at RomCon and I snatched it up - like many of Kristan's books, it's a warm, family-based comedy with a deeply emotional core. In this case, Lucy Lang is a young widow who is crippled by grief years after her husband's sudden death in a car accident. Her husband's brother, Ethan, has been a constant source of comfort and strength, but their relationship profoundly alters when she decides it's time she starts dating again.
As in all Kristan's books, wildly funny, eccentric characters surroundthe hero and heroine, but it's the central love story that will have you sniffing into your pillow late at night when you finish this.
Last but not least, I read and thoroughly enjoyed Miranda Neville's second historical romance for Avon, THE WILD MARQUIS. Miranda has guested a few times on the Bandits and she's always a fascinating and entertaining visitor. As many of you would remember, she used to work for Sotheby's in their manuscripts and books section. THE WILD MARQUIS uses the Regency book trade as a fascinating background for the love story of family black sheep Chase and impecunious bookseller's widow Juliana Merton.
These characters were so alive, they leapt off the page, and this book kept me awake into the night at conference to finish it. As many of you know, conference leaves a person very short of sleep so that's an indication of how I devoured this story. I really look forward to the next book in the Burgundy Club series THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT, out at the end of September.
So what have you guys been reading in my absence? Any recommendations? I mean, it's not like I have a big TBR pile - it's not big, it's GARGANTUAN!!!