Now that I don't have to worry about where I'm going to put a book on an actual physical shelf in my already over-run (by books) house, I buy more books. I take a chance on authors I haven't read. I don't always read them right away. But there usually comes a time when I prowl through my earlier purchases to see what "sounds good" and start reading. Sometimes I go back and re-read my 'virtual' keepers -- just as if I were pulling them off a real shelf.
I have quite a few I haven't read yet, but in case anyone's resolution is to read some good books this year, here's a half dozen I've enjoyed:
Elizabeth the First Wife, by Liane Dolan, charmed me. Elizabeth, a college professor in Pasadena, made me laugh at the same time I nodded my head at the foibles of her family, her dreamy self-absorbed ex-husband, the potential new man in her life, and her summer at the Shakespeare festival in Oregon where it all came together in a perfect storm of enjoyment (for me. Not so much for Elizabeth). I liked Dolan's Helen of Pasadena, too. I hope she writes more. Soon.
A Bad Boy for Christmas, by Kelly Hunter. I have pretty much never met a Kelly Hunter book I didn't like, so I was really looking forward to Cutter Jackson's story. It didn't disappoint. Kelly has a way with words, with characters, with family dynamics that always keeps me reading. And Cutter, who was trying to hold things together for everyone in his family without a lot of help from anyone, in the face of a new, unexpected potential threat to his family's well-being, while at the same time falling for the woman accompanying that threat - who was, let's face it, the last woman he wanted to fall for, completely drew me in. She also set me up for Nash's book which she had better hurry up and write.
The Short Drop, by Matthew Fitzsimmons. This was not an immediate grab for me. I like thrillers, but I knew nothing about this book save a few good reviews. I could have got it for free, but I didn't. I bought it. I would buy it again in a minute. Gibson Vaughn was a man with a past that seemed out to get him. He'd weathered bad times, and confronting more, he was a reluctant hero at best. The book grabbed me from the beginning and pulled me right into his world as after ten years, he tried again to find a childhood friend gone missing. Things were never quite what they seemed, and the deeper he -- and I -- got into the mystery, the messier things got. There's a new Gibson Vaughn book in the works. I can hardly wait.
Necessary Restorations, by Kate Canterbary. This is the third book in her series about the Walshes, set in Boston about a family of siblings in business together. I started with it rather than book #1 and I'm glad I did. I enjoyed all of the books, but Sam was a hero unlike any other I've met in romantic fiction. Sam had Issues, with a capital I, so many I wondered how she would ever manage to make me fall for him. He was his own worst enemy on top of all the other things that plagued him. I simultaneously wanted to slap him upside the head (a pretty much common reaction in his family, too) and cheer for him as he overcame his demons -- or at least found a way to live with them that didn't destroy him. Reading Sam's story took me into all the other Walsh books which I have enjoyed. But none as much as Sam's.
Peak by Roland Smith. I raised a mountaineering son so Peak was a natural for me. Peak (that's his name) was the fourteen year old offspring of a self-obsessed climber currently leading an expedition up Everest and a woman who had once climbed, too. When Peak ran afoul of the law for a little climbing foray in New York City, he went to stay with the father he barely knew, a father who saw him more as a publicity opportunity than as a son. It's up to Peak to navigate not just the slopes of Everest, but the very human foibles which he faces as he learns what it means to become a responsible adult. Smith followed Peak with The Edge, another story about Peak's mountaineering adventures, just as good as the first.
The Spring Bride by Anne Gracie. I had the pleasure of reading, oh, a dozen or so beginnings of this book when Anne was writing it. I heard about it. But then she went off with it and wrote the whole thing, and I never got to read the rest until it came out as a book. I wondered -- I always wonder -- how she's going to do the things she says she's going to do in a book. I think, "I couldn't do that," and it's true. I couldn't. But Anne does. Every time. Jane and Zach are wonderful together. They don't have it easy -- the getting together part. They both have plenty to overcome before the happily ever after. But that's the joy of well-written, witty romance novels, isn't it? Watching the dance in progress, not the end. I always eagerly await an Anne Gracie novel, even if I've had a chance to read a bit here or there in the process. It's always better. It's always more satisfying. It's always moving and enlightening and, at the same time, great fun. Jane and Zach were all of that and more. This coming year I'm counting on Daisy to be a terrific Summer Bride!
So, what do you recommend for our reading pleasure? Share some of your favorites of the past year in the comments or tell us about the ones you've got planned for reading this coming year.