Books I read in 2011

In 2011 I wasn’t as prolific of a reader as I’ve been in the past due to a family emergency that took me away from my books. But I did manage to get some books read and I’m pretty impressed that I managed what I did. As always, some spoke to me more than others and some I couldn’t finish at all. Good or bad, here’s my list:

Favorite newly-discovered-by-me author: Laura Griffin. I have finally found a romantic suspense author who “gets” police officers. I can so tell she’s done her homework. I didn’t have to throw one book against the wall because she put a safety on a Glock or had her characters say “perp” (a term police officers don’t use). Come to think of it, I think she did use that term once or twice, but I forgave her for it because all of her other research was spot on. If you like romantic suspense, definitely pick up a Laura Griffin.

Favorite non-romance: The Help. ‘Nuff said.

Favorite historical romance: Lord and Lady Spy by Shana Galen. Loved the interaction between the two main characters and loved how strong, yet how vulnerable they both were.

Favorite contemporary romance: Cover Me by Catherine Mann. Another good story with two strong characters.

Favorite non-fiction: In an Instant by Lee Woodruff. The story of Bob and Lee Woodruff and how as a couple they overcame Bob’s traumatic brain injury. It was a story I needed to read since I was going through the same ordeal with my husband. Very inspiring book that made me realize I wasn’t alone on this long journey.

What book spoke to you in 2011? What book didn’t? What favorite author did you discover? Inquiring minds want to know.

City of Thieves David Benioff
The Final Detail Harlan Coben
The Girl Who Played with Fire Stieg Larrson
A Knight’s Enchantment Lindsey Townsend
Rebellious Desire Julie Garwood
Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage Jennifer Ashley
The Countess Lynsay Sands
The Secret Duke Jo Beverley
Bending the Rules Susan Andersen
Outrageous Christina Dodd
In Bed with the Duke Christina Dodd
Mad About the Duke Elizabeth Boyle
Memoirs of a Scandalous Red Dress Elizabeth Boyle
 A Knight to Remember Christina Dodd
Sinful in Satin Madeline Hunter
My Fair Temptress Christina Dodd
The Making of a Duchess Shana Galen
The Making of a Gentleman Shana Galen
Captive of Sin Anna Campbell
Blackthorne’s Bride Shana Galen
Untouched Anna Campbell
The Serpent Prince Elizabeth Hoyt
The Seducer Madeline Hunter
In An Instant Lee Woodruff
Sizzling Sixteen Janet Evanovich
The Soldier’s Wife Margaret Leroy
The Help Katheryn Stockett
Iron Lace Emilie Richards
Letters From Home Kristina McMorris
Heart of a Knight Barbara Samuel
Lord and Lady Spy Shana Galen
When You Dare Lori Foster
Cover Me Catherine Mann
Thread of Fear Laura Griffin
Unforgivable Laura Griffin
Untraceable Laura Griffin
Snapped Laura Griffin
Once Upon a Winter’s Eve Tessa Dare
Unlocked Courtney Milan
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Review – Unforgivable by Laura Griffin

I first discovered Laura Griffin a few weeks ago when her novella, Surrender at Dawn, was offered as a free download for Nook. I’m all about free (just ask my kids) and I love romantic suspense so I downloaded it and read it in a day. What impressed me about Ms. Griffin was that she understood a Glock does not have a safety. Ooooh, that’s one of the things that drives me nuts about suspense authors–when they don’t know their weapons. The second thing that drew me in was her dialogue. I’m a sucker for snappy, realistic, dialogue. Note the emphasis on realistic. And the third thing that drew me in was her fast pace and tight writing.

As soon as I finished Surrender at Dawn, I immediately acquired Unforgivable. Wow! I couldn’t put the book down. Again, her dialogue was realistic and her writing tight. Not to mention that she really knows her stuff when it comes to police detectives and DNA (although the term dick, when used to refer to a detective did throw me off. I don’t know one detective who would refer to themselves, or each other, as a dick. At least not in the sense of detective work 🙂 ).

The heroine, Mia, was strong and good at what she does, but she also has a softer side and a vulnerability when it comes to a certain detective who happens to get her case. What I liked about the hero, Ric, was that he was tight-lipped and didn’t reveal his emotions a whole lot (which very much describes a lot of police officers) but I always knew what he was thinking through body language and such. Mia wants more from Ric. Ric needs to hold back. Sparks fly until the final argument that is stunningly written. I won’t reveal it here but that scene was my favorite–when Ric loses control enough to reveal his feelings for Mia. Sigh.

And there’s a wonderful subplot between Ric’s partner, Jonah, and Mia’s friend, Sophie. I was so excited to learn that Jonah and Sophie get their own story (Snapped). Definitely picking up that book too.

If you like fast-paced suspense and a well-balanced romance then Unforgivable is definitely the book for you.

A+

Blurb for Unforgivable:

TRACING KILLERS IS MIA VOSS’S BUSINESS.
AND HER WORK JUST GOT PERSONAL.

At first, Mia Voss thinks it’s just bad luck when her already lousy day ends with a carjacking. But what seems like a random incident is followed by another sinister episode. A DNA expert, Mia has made it her mission to put away vicious criminals. Suddenly, she’s become the target of one. And the only way to protect the people she loves most is to deliberately destroy her reputation and risk letting a killer walk free.

Once, Mia trusted Detective Ric Santos. That was before Ric let his turbulent past ruin his chances with Mia, the sexiest, most intriguing woman he’s ever met. But he can tell when she’s lying—and when she’s scared. The key to catching a sadistic madman lies within a long-buried cold case that has haunted Mia for years. Only she can uncover the truth, but first, Ric will have to get her to entrust him with her secrets . . . and her life.

Review – When You Dare by Lori Foster

I used to be a big fan of Lori Foster but I sort of got away from her books for awhile. Looking back, I’m not sure why. I came across When You Dare and what intrigued me and ultimately made me pick the book up and read it was the premise of a bodyguard protecting the heroine. I’m a sucker for such stories.

And as always, Ms. Foster delivered the goods on this one. I absolutely loved Dare. He’s strong, smart and yet I absolutely loved the softer part of him.

Molly, the heroine, was also strong and smart. A good counter-balance to Dare. In no way did she cower from him or let him walk all over her. I’d read a few reviews of this book where the reviewer wasn’t all that enamored of Molly and I can see why they thought that. Molly is a big-time author and whenever she talked about her books and career, I always pictured Ms. Foster instead of Molly. But in the end it all worked for me.

If you love hot, hunky guys and plenty of suspense and action, this is the story for you. I’m definitely going to pick up Trace’s book, Trace of Fever, and Alani’s story (who appears in When You Dare), Savor the Danger.

Blurb for When You Dare:

Professional mercenary Dare Macintosh lives by one hard and fast rule: business should never be personal. If a cause appeals to him and the price is right, he’ll take the mission he’s offered. But then the lovely Molly Alexander asks him to help her track down the men who’d had her kidnapped—and for the first time, Dare’s tempted to combine work with pleasure.

Fiercely independent, Molly vows to trust no one until she’s uncovered the truth. Could the enemy be her powerful, estranged father? The ex-fiancé who still holds a grudge? Or the not-so-shy fan of her bestselling novels? As the danger heats up around them, the only anchor Molly has is Dare himself. But what she feels for him just might be the most frightening thing of all…