Sugar and Spice by Fern Michaels, Beverly Barton, Joanne Fluke and Shirley Jump

sugar and spice.jpgChestnuts roasting on an open fire and Jack Frost nipping at your nose make the holidays, and curling up with a good book, all the better. The same goes for romances; there is always the hope that holiday themed romances will deliver a seasonal magic and the burden of disbelief will be lessen in the season of miracles. Or, at least, that’s the wish. In the case of Sugar and Spice – an anthology featuring Christmas themed romances from Fern Michaels, Beverly Barton, Joanne Fluke and Shirley Jump – that’s not entirely the case.

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Pleasure for Pleasure by Eloisa James

pleasure for pleasure.jpgEloisa James is a fine writer, a sharp crafter of words, and a good storyteller. Her latest release, the fourth and final installment of the Essex sisters’ stories, Pleasure for Pleasure, is a first-rate example of each of those points: the narrative is charming, the dialog is rapier swift, and the telling both elegant and engaging. It’s odd then to also find, amongst all that good writing, little in the way of cohesive plot. Odder still to make that claim of a four hundred page book. But, the fact is, there’s not a lot of there there in Pleasure for Pleasure. And oddest yet, the book is thoroughly enjoyable despite it.

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And The Winners Are…

Last week, I asked you to tell me what books you’ve always wanted to read, and there were some great titles in the mix. Alas, I can only choose two. Sharon B via email, who chose When We Meet Again by Victoria Alexander, and Maureen who chose Pride and Prejudice — she really needs to get reading because it’s the best book ever!
Please send your snail mail addresses to us and we’ll get your goodies out (including a few of the titles I’ve reviewed over the past several months!).
We’re going to be slow on the posting of reviews over the next week or so — even Type A personalities like us need to shop and cook (and someone’s gonna break the pact and clean, I just know it). Never fear, though, we’re gearing up for a fab 2007!

Drop Dead Gorgeous – Linda Howard

drop dead gorgeous.jpgYou know how it goes — I read a gazillion books a year. Sometimes they blur together, especially if I go on a bender. Things can get weird when that happens. Like when I (accidentally) pick up a Linda Howard book in the grocery store. Honest, I meant to get orange juice, but I went in the wrong entrance.
I digress. So, being a good citizen (I have a badge in Book Buying), I read the back cover. Okay, this was mostly because I never know who might be reporting back to my husband, and I wanted to create the impression that thought went into this purchase. And I’m reading and I’m thinking and I’m trying to remember, “Did I read this before?” Then, being of sound mind and marginally okay body, I realized the book was a sequel.
Hallelujah, purchase!

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Billionaires Prefer Blondes by Suzanne Enoch

Cover of Billionaires Prefer BlondesIt happens every now and then. You see a book, look away and then walk back and pick it up. The author’s name is familiar but you’ve never read her. You like the title, think the cover blurb sounds promising and decide…why not?
Then you get it home and realize the book is a bit different than you thought. It’s not a standalone title. It’s one in an ongoing series where the hero and heroine and their relationship date back two books. These folks already love each other. The courtship is over. You missed that part, which makes you wonder what’s left to discover about these two. Sure, J.D. Robb manages to keep the interest alive in her “In Death” series with Eve and Roarke. Your book also revolves around a wealthy, sexy hero and a tough-talking heroine and a mystery of some sort. So…maybe Suzanne Enoch can pull it off? And, for the most part, she does.

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Scoop – Kit Frazier

scoop.jpgThrough what can only be viewed as a quirk of fate, I found myself in a situation where there were only two books on my desk. Setting aside the fact that someone cleaned my personal space without my express permission – I am now unable to find anything – I was in a quandary. It was time to select my next review vict— book. Choices? A book called Viva Las Bad Boys! versus a book called Scoop.

For professional as well as personal reasons, I went with the latter book.

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Bit the Jackpot by Erin McCarthy

bit the jackpot.jpgErin McCarthy has stumbled onto a bit of obvious brilliance: If there is a perfect place for vampires in the twenty-first century, that place is Las Vegas. It’s logical that the hot, sexy, and just a-little-bit dangerous undead, would make a town that caters to the night and doesn’t blush over indulgences in avarice, lust, and gluttony their home. In the hands of the right author, Las Vegas is a backdrop rife with conflict and rich with potential for the living and not-so-alive alike. In the hands of the wrong author – an author who doesn’t seem to know the city beyond tourism commercials – well, then, you have the second installment in the Vegas Vampires series Bit the Jackpot.

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