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    My Top 3 Books for August
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  • Published: Aug 22nd, 2011

IN_Bed_With_A_HighlanderLooking for a book to read? Well I’ve got three top picks for August.

This weekend I not only went to a “a baseball game” but I also had the chance to visit a Scottish castle, and after all my traveling I managed to get involved in some serious political court intrigue – and I never had to leave the comfort of my own home.

My escapades were courtesy of Jaci Burton, Maya Banks and Thea Harrison. It takes a wickedly clever and talented author to transport you to a fictional world where you can live for hours. And these three authors, and their glorious way with words, grabbed hold of my imagination and put me right in the heart of the action. Do you want mystery, adventure, fantasy, sex, romance, strong dialogue, a myriad of fascinating characters and great story telling? Well these three books have all that in spades and made them my top picks for August.

HISTORICAL:
In Bed with a Highlander  by Maya Banks. I loved it.

Listen up fans of Julie Garwood and Lisa Kleypas, Maya Banks may be new to writing historical romance but In Bed With a Highlander now has a permanent place on my keeper shelf – a sacred place in my home.

This is the first book in the new MaCabe trilogy and with it we are introduced to three brothers who stole this reader’s heart. Ewan McCabe is the oldest brother and head of his clan. After the near decimation of his people and lands Ewan and his brothers have spent eight long years rebuilding. With his brothers beside him and his clan behind him he is ready to take back what is his.  But as with many great historical romances Ewan’s life is turned around when he meets the heroine, Mairin, the   illegitimate daughter of the king.

This book has deception, conspiracies, mysteries and adventure. What makes this one a stand out are the language, sensitivity and sensibility of the characters. Ms. Banks has always been a favorite of mine, both her contemporary romantic suspense, (Kelly/KGI series) and her erotic romance (Sweet Series), have always been auto buys. But I had no idea what her historical voice would be like, and once again she does not disappoint; she is constantly surprising me as an author.

The delicacy and humor with which she writes the heroine is a great counter point to the bravado and strength of the hero. And yet, she gives the heroine courage and intelligence that matches the intuitiveness and caring that the hero displays.  In Bed With a Highlander is a marriage of convenience story, a trope I particularly love, and it’s done to perfection here. But what I loved most is that Mairin and Ewan not only talk to each other, but they listen, and it was wonderful to see their romance blossom. Reading In Bed with a Highlander reminded why I fell in love with reading and why I fell in love with reading romance.

This book left me satisfied on many levels but it also has me anxiously awaiting the next book,Seduction of a Highland Lass , coming out in September.

Storm's HeartPARANORMAL:

Thea Harrison’s book Storm’s Heart , is the second book in her Elder Races series and picks up where Dragon Bound left off – and if you’ve read my previous review you know I loved Dragon Bound. Listen up fans of J.R. Ward and Nalini Singh, Thea Harrison may be the new kid on the block with her sophomore book, but that doesn’t make her writing any less fantastic.

Storm’s Heart is a paranormal romance featuring Tricks, a heroine who is a Fairy and Tiago, a hero who is a Wyr/shapeshifter.  After seeing her entire family murdered Tricks sought refuge with the Wyr. Now, two hundred years later, she’s called back to court to acknowledge her inheritance and become Queen of the Fairies. But not so fast, there are lots of villains in this book and they will do anything to prevent that from happening. It’s up to Tiago, a Wyr sentinel to protect her.

Ms. Harrison wraps her fantasy/paranormal romance inside political court intrigue, exciting action, poignant drama, fascinating characters and a unique and brilliant blend of dialogue and humor. I don’t say these words lightly. When a book makes you laugh out loud, fear for the life of your favorite character, sigh at the romance and go back to re-read certain passages, then you know it’s one destined for the keeper shelf.  Tricks and Tiago are the ‘opposites attract’ H&H; and with her humor, wit and charm and his bad- ass alpha attitude they are like oil and water that has been mixed vigorously creating a plethora of push/pull that ignites the pages. In addition, Storm’s Heart furthers the series arc, continually making this world like no other. Like the Black Dagger Brotherhood and Psy/Changeling series, this series is  one I will continue to read as long as Ms. Harrison continues to write it.

I’m looking forward to the next book in the series Serpent’s Kiss (Elder Races Series #3) coming out in November.


Changing the GameCONTEMPORARY:

Changing the Game by Jaci Burton. This is the second book in the Play-by-Play series. If you read my review of the first book, The Perfect Play , you know I don’t do sports. So the question is, why am I so damn enamored with Ms. Burton’s series? Simply put – the characters. Ms. Burton knows how to imbue her characters with qualities that make them real.

Gavin is a major league baseball player and a major ‘player’ in general. Liz is his sports agent. The premise alone is fun and allows for a lot of maneuvering between the archetypes.  What I loved is the position of power that Liz works from and the way she competes and works in a ‘man’s world’. She’s strong and gutsy. Not like Mary Tyler Moore gutsy, more like Eve Dallas gutsy.  However, her downfall is Gavin. She’s in love with him, but he’s her client and a player. Two things that are bound to make this take charge women question herself.

What makes this book a “keeper” for me is that underlying all the romance, sex, tension and baseball are two people who have spent their lives being strong and independent, but finally realizie that mistakes can be overcome, reaching out isn’t a weakness, and being honest and open can bring good things like love.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book Taking a Shot  featuring Gavin and Mick’s sister Jenna. Hockey? OK, I’m still not going to be tuning into the World Series or Stanley Cup Playoffs anytime soon, but I’ll definitely be reading the next Jaci Burton book.

(Article was originally posted at B&N’s Heart to Heart Blog)

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