These are some of my favorite books, or ones I really enjoyed,
even if they didn't make "Favorite" status.
I absolutely do not post negative reviews here. The purpose of this page
is to share with you books that I love!

You can click on the picture to go directly to the Amazon kindle page for that book :)

2018 Reads

Awaken the Darkness
(Immortal Guardians #8)
by Diane Duvall

Allie says: This was absolutely fabulous and OMG! I was so thrilled that Stanislav made it!! Well, I thought he would, given the clues from the earlier books but still, I wasn't sure. This was a really great story, very well done as it builds up to him regaining his memory. Susan is totally gutsy, willing to go out on a limb for him, and the care she takes of him. She's hit with shock after shock but handles it all with aplomb... not too much but just enough that it's totally reasonable. I was rooting for them all the way. I totally loved the reactions of everyone, from Alexei to Seth and David and the rest, one at a time as they realize he's alive. Totally satisfying!

You've Got Tail
(Peculiar Mysteries #1)
by Renee George

Allie says: This book was a lot of fun! Usually I only read romances (I like happy endings, so sue me) so this totally is not my usual style of book, but the cover caught my eye (and you can't beat the price) so I gave it a shot, and I was SO glad I did!! This was a great, fun read, with a fabulous mystery, shifters everywhere and some nasty types that get exactly what they deserve, which is just what I like seeing! It was really well-done plot with memorable characters that you can root for. I can't say much more without SPOILERS so I'm going to just leave it at that. Plus, I'm going to get the next book, so that tells you something right there!

 

Bitten Under Fire
(Bravo Team WOLF #2)
by Heather Long

Allie says: This story grabbed me by the throat and pulled me in from the first page! I really like the slow and natural build-up of the relationship. I also liked that their lifestyles and careers seemed mutually exclusive; the author was in no hurry to get this sorted out, and one of the things that made this a page-turner was being so hooked into the characters and eager to see how they wind up making it work. I loved the way the story played out, and the pacing was just perfect. The tension between Cage and his father was tangible, but you could tell just when the shift in their relationship occurred. Bianca's reaction to discovering wolves and that she'd been bitten was perfectly natural, and it was fabulous to see how they made everything work out. If I could give TEN stars I would!

Rebel Wolf
(Shifter Falls #1)
by Amy Green

Allie says: I absolutely LOVED this, beginning to end! It was a perfect blend of everything.... great characters, great characterization, plot, pacing, conflict, everything! One of the things I really liked was how the half brothers came together. Despite their differences and distrust and history, when the chips started to come down they saw what needed to be done and came together and got it done. I just LOVED that! Another thing I really liked (and this is a picky-point) is that the brothers all looked different. One trend I've noticed in shifter stories is that the men seem to all look the same, which is highly annoying. One thing I'd have liked to see is more world-building around Amy's shifter world; we get some, just a taste.

Midnight Wolf
(Shifters Unbound #20)
by Jennifer Ashley

Allie says: OMG. If I was a fan girl type, this would be THE BOOK of Shifters Unbound for me! It's got it ALL!! Tiger... Ben... Zander... the sentient house... and the mysterious, rose-gardening Lady Aisling. On top of that we have Angus, the growly wolf shifter whose adorable cub is crazy to have Tamsin for his mom... a traveling carnival owned by a bear shifter and his half-fae mate (my ONLY disappointment, and it was mild, was that they decided not to stay with the carnival! LOL!)... and finding out the origins and special abilities of the rare fox shifters (and why they're rare)! I mean, this book just ROCKED, I wanted to cry when it ended! I'd give it 10 stars if I could!

Renegade
(Asphalt Cowboys #1)
by Madison Sevier

Allie says: This book was lots of fun to read... quick paced and interesting. The main characters, Mason and Savannah, are very believable, and I found myself pulling for them right off the bad. It was harder believing the bad guy's 2 henchmen, on the other hand I felt a definite and strong aversion to them! So that's good! The development of the romance was very charming and had a natural progression which lots of authors seem to skip in their haste to get their H&H together. The life on the road of a trucker is VERY well done, although someone not familiar with trucker/CB terminology may struggle a bit. Bottom line, I really enjoyed this and will definitely be getting the next book in the series!

Demon Hunter
(And really all the Collegium series)
by Jenny Schwartz

Allie Says: Not only was this book completely fabulous, beginning to end... it went on for 7 more books! YAYYYY!! I swear, not only could I not put it down til the end, I wound up reading through the night until 9:30 in the morning halfway through book 4 when I couldn't keep my eyes open another minute! And the next night I stayed up til 5 am til I finished the very last one! Absolutely wonderful characterization, and repeating characters through the series. The magical world is very carefully and skillfully crafted, with clear divisions and leaderships. So smoothly done and convincing, as a reader you can almost believe it's real! As a writer, I'm thoroughly lost in admiration! I first found this on Kindle Unlimited... and when I was done, I went back and bought the entire series, because I wanted to keep them for myself to re-read over and over again. These have joined my list of rare favorites!

Tiger  Striped
(Shifters Unbound #21)
by Jennifer Ashley

Allie Says: This was a quick, easy read (well, it's a novella!) and I absolutely ADORED it!! From the first page, I wasn't able to put it down until the very end. Tiger of course, is always my favorite. The very mystery of him is magnetic, and not knowing what or who is calling to him makes this a real page turner... I couldn't wait to find out! Kudos to Carly for taking care of her mate, and Connor stowing away was great fun! As for the reason for this illicit trek.... WOW. I can't say, because... spoilers! ....but you will NOT be disappointed!!! I absolutely guarantee it!

The Selection
(The Selection book 1)
by Kiera Cass

Allie Says: Not my usual type of book, but I'm glad I took a chance! It took me a bit to get into her world, but once I did, I was firmly ensconced! Superb characterization made this a pleasure to read, I loved the Singer family. I really could relate to America's conflict, and her decision was a tough one to make. I liked how she started out with the Prince, and the gradual progression from intentional friends-only to become slowly more as they get to know each other. I wasn't thrilled with Aspen's reappearance, somehow from the beginning I felt "off" about him, and I still don't know if that's just my personal reaction or if Kiera wrote him that way intentionally! I can't wait to get to the next book to find out!

Your Irresistible Love
by Layla Hagen

Allie Says:  Fabulous character development, skilled plot crafting. First let me say.. I HATE first person present point of view. I mean, really, really hate it. But this was absolutely fabulous! Layla USES the POV to go deep in her character's POV and stay deep. We really are there with each character, seeing what they see, feeling what they feel, thinking what they think. It was quite skilled, and superb character development and a wonderful family that draws you right in! I can't wait to read the rest of these Bennett's.

 

Fire's Kiss
by Brittany Pate

Allie Says:  Absolutely fabulous! This is a real page turner! I wound up staying up all night to finish, because I couldn't put it down! The characters were very well developed, and definitely sympathetic, which I totally did not expect given the identity of the hero, absolutely superb characterization made this couple entirely believable, and I was rooting for them the whole way! The world building was also fabulous, I could see it clearly in such detail!

 

Unfinished
by Amy Snyder

 

Allie Says:  This was a great read, and as a writer with a number of unfinished books, I could REALLY relate, in a hair-raising kind of way, like "OMG please let this not happen to me..." I really loved the progression of Cody, I didn't start out liking him, then I liked him more and more, and started looking for him, and he sort in, in a way, became the lynch pin of the story. I'm probably saying this all wrong. Anyway. Loved the book, but PLEASE don't let my characters start showing up in my real life!!! I look forward to Amy's next book!

Falling For the Genie
by Dee J. Stone

Allie Says:  This was a fun, fabulous read!! Great characterization and detail, a well thought out plot. I was really pulling for things to come out right for them. The subplot with her mom was really well done, lots of feeling there, and played out well. I LOVE that she eschewed the stereotypes, too, and wrote her own magical world for the Djinn instead of using the very overdone trite stereotypes.

Sunset
by Sandra Cox

Allie Says:  Wow this was awesome! Also it was hilarious! I giggled and howled my way through, especially at the cat! hah! what a character! Really great writing, it drew me right in from the beginning and kept me turning the pages until dawn, because I couldn't put it down!.

I Dream of Dragons
"Moonlight Dragon" Book 6
by Tricia Owens

Allie Says:  This was great. I hadn't read any other of the series, I started with book 6, but she pulled me into the story any with no confusion about what had happened in the past, AND without doing the dreaded info dump! Very well handled! I must say she brought the creepy obsessive protagonist to life very well, my skin was practically crawling! I want to read more! I am definitely going back to book 1 and read forward.

The Alpha's Mate
The Wolvers #1
by Jacqueline Rhoades

Allie Says:  This was a FABULOUS read! The world building of shifters is very well done, with some unique qualities, and superb characterization. Not only did I enjoy this... but I lost SEVERAL nights' sleep, because I just couldn't stop reading until I had read all the way to the end of the series, which is 8 books long. I can't wait til the next one!

Fire and Glass
Main Street Merchants #4
by Linda Seed

Allie Says:  The characterization was great! I could really relate to Lacy's dilemma in the situation with her fiance and her mother, feeling trapped, kind of sucked into something she didn't want and not sure how to get out. I really loved the jerkishness of Brandon, that was SO well done! I wanted to haul off and smack him! I was really rooting for Lacy and Daniel.

Dark Oasis
by Jenny Schwartz

Allie Says: This is fantastic! Lots of fun, a charming angel and devilishly charming Djinn. This  is a short story, and it's a quick, fun read, with some really fun twists and turns. Superb characterization has you really pulling for Alexa and Theron. I totally didn't expect that the Djinn... whooops! Can't say it! Spoilers! ;) My only complaint is that it wasn't long enough... I want moooooooore!!!!!

     

 

Oldies But Goodies!

 


The Winning Hand
by Nora Roberts

Allie Says:  This is one of my favorite books, EVER! Even amongst the amazing MacGregor books this one stands out. I'm not even sure why, but there was just something about Darcy that caught me right from the beginning, and kept me caught all the way through. And of course, Mac is just a dream! And we get fabulous glimpses of Serena and Blade, Alan MacGregor, and what MacGregor story wouldn't be complete without an appearance from The MacGregor. Yes, and I adoooored Darcy's immediate bonding with the MacGregor! It just doesn't get better than this! 

Playing the Odds
by Nora Roberts

Allie Says:  This is Serena and Blade's story, Mac's parents in The Winning Hand. She's a blackjack dealer on a cruise ship, he's a casino owner who, unbeknownst to Serena, has been sent on the cruise by the MacGregor, a canny old Scotsman with an eye to future generations.  

The Royal Treatment
by MaryJanice Davidson

Allie Says:  This book is an absolute treat to read! It's uproarously funny, Christine is mouthy and irreverent, while the King is just a hoot. Honestly, I kept page turning to see what the King was going to do or say next! I also loved the "alternate history" angle of Alaska becoming its own country instead of being purchased by the US. The whole book was just pure fun!

Dark Prince
"Dark" Carpathian Book 1
by Christine Feehan

Allie Says:  This is the first book in the "Dark" or "Carpathian" series. In it, we learn about the Carpathian race as Raven, a young human psychic, seeks out the peaceful Romanian countryside to escape from her mental anguish. The Prince of the Carpathians is losing hope, both for himself and for his failing people, when he discovers the young American woman in the nearby inn is his lifemate.

 

Dark Desire
"Dark" Carpathian Book 2
by Christine Feehan

Allie Says:  The second book in the "Dark" series, this is my absolute #1 favorite. Jacques was so great in Dark Prince, and then so different in this book, I could really appreciate the difference. I felt his pain, and I felt Shea's conflict, first not believing her "dreams" were real, and then realizing that they were, after all, a terrible reality. Her driving need to save Jacques, especially their confrontation with the Prince and Gregori, whom Jacques doesn't remember, is an amazingly unforgettable scene.

 

Dark Melody
"Dark" Carpathian Book  12
by Christine Feehan

Allie Says:  This is book #12 in the "Dark" series, and my next favorite after Dark Desire. Dayan, the gentlest of the Dark Troubadors, has to keep his lifemate, widowed and pregnant, alive and safe from both vampires and the society hunting them... all the while keeping her defective heart beating until the baby is born and until the healers can reach them from far across the ocean. An amazing story, and one of her best.

 

 

The Spanish Bride
by Georgette Heyer

Allie Says:  This is my #1 favorite of ALL historical romances ever written! This follows the real life romance of a Spanish noble girl to an officer of Wellington's army after the Battle of Badajoz. Juana stays with Harry through the campaigns in Portugal and Spain and to France. They are parted when Harry is sent to America. Harry returns just in time to be sent to take part in the Battle of Waterloo.

Black Sheep
by Georgette Heyer

Allie Says:  My favorite book of Georgette's... or at least, a tie with The Spanish Bride! Both are wonderful! I love the romance of Abby and her Miles, the black sheep who'd been sent to India and returned a nabob.  I thoroughly enjoyed Miles' creative efforts to expose his self-centered nephew as the scoundrel he is! oh yeah! That got an out-loud cheer!

Simon the Cold-Heart
by Georgette Heyer

Allie Says:  Set in medieval times, the story follows Simon as a boy seeking to become a page, to eventually winning a Barony from King Henry. The romance doesn't start until the second  half of the book, but I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Simon's life growing up! The romance is every bit as special, as he slowly wins over Margaret's heart.

White Lies
by Linda Howard

Allie Says:  A very special book to me... I even bought a brand new copy (separate from my reading copy) and carted it to an RWA conference, where Linda Howard very graciously autographed it for me! The story pulled me right in from the beginning, and the scenes in Luke's point of view when he is in a coma, are as incredible as they are realistic. This is top-notch writing!

MacKenzie's Mountain
by Linda Howard

Allie Says:  I LOVED this book! Especially Mary, the shy, slightly prudish schoolmarm with a backbone of steel and an unyielding sense of right and wrong (in the good way).  She goes to bat for half-breed Joe MacKenzie, standing up for Joe and his father against a backwards town determined to shut the MacKenzies out.... and takes up the cudgels when the town tries to make Wolf the fall guy when a rapist begins targeting young women.

 

Prey
by Linda Howard

Allie Says:  Okay this is so totally NOT my kind of book. Seriously. I totally avoid anything like horror or serious suspense (I have PTSD, and I have to be careful of triggers)... but this book is like Wow! And it's FABULOUS! I loved every minute, even though it scared the socks off me (I am NEVER going camping again). Even, a very few times, we had a section from the bear's point of view...  VERY scary!

At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much
by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Allie Says:  Okay so it's not a novel ... sue me! It's hilariously funny and anyone who knows anything about knitting or crocheteing is going to fall into gales of laughter.

Warning: DO NOT try to read this book at night when people are trying to sleep. Seriously. I mean it.

Hot Money
by Dick Francis

Allie Says:  This is my absolutely favorite novel by Dick Francis... and let me say straight up, I don't like mysteries. But Dick Francis is in a whole special category, and so is this book. I absolutely ADORE Malcolm, the father, with his 5 ex wives and 9 very dissatisfied children. Ian has to figure out which of the 3 living ex wives ("the witches"), 8 half-siblings and assorted spouses is trying to murder their father. All the while trying to keep his father safe as Malcolm finds a new addictive hobby as a race horse owner. They all have a reason... they all have the knowledge... and Ian quickly becomes as much a target as Malcolm.

~*~

Seriously, this IS my favorite Dick Francis book.

Don't listen to the other book. I'm the favorite.

Only until she reads me again.

The Edge
by Dick Francis

Allie Says:  This is my absolutely favorite novel by Dick Francis (don't listen to the other review, it lies). Tor's job in security for the Racing Commission requires him to be invisible... which in and of itself is intriguing. The unfolding of the plot as he's sent to Canada pretending to be a waiter pretending to be a murder mystery actor is absolutely inspired. His quarry is a particularly nasty blackmailer and murderer, and even after reading it this book like 50 times, I'm still on the edge of my chair as he tries to keep the murderer from striking again.... and the final confrontation has me cheering in my seat!

~*~

 

Lies. I'm the favorite Dick Francis.

Only when she's reading you. Then when she reads me, I'm the favorite.

 

 

 
     

Books on the Craft of Writing

There are TONS of books on writing out there, and I'm not even going to try.
I just want to list a few here that I, personally, have found helpful and
would recommend to other writers in a heartbeat.

The Complete Writers Guide
to Heroes & Heroines

by Tami Cowden, Carolyn LaFever & Sue Viders

 

The Emotional Thesaurus:
A Writer's Guide to
Character Expression

by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglist

 

Fallen Heroes:
16 Master Villain  Archetypes

by Tami Cowden

 

Master Lists for Writers
by Bryn Donovan

 

The Romance Writers'
Phrase Book

by Jean Kent & Candace Shelton

 

 
     

 

ArabianStarBar

 

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