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Topic: Unique Books

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Subject: Unique Books
Date Posted: 5/6/2008 9:30 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
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I had just finished Love with the Proper Husband yesterday, and was a little in the dumps.  I read a bunch of good reviews and thought it would be great - and I'm sure lots of people thought it was:P - but I only found it to be so-so.  Typical forced marriage thing w/fiesty, independent heroine, who doesn't want to marry or fall in love, finds fantastic hero, but can't quite seem to get her act together & appreciate him until the end of the book, and blah-blah-blah...  Haven't we done this a zillion times already?  Cuz it sure seems like it.  Not that this girl didn't have her reasons for being a pill, or that they weren't good ones, but most of the time they all have good reasons, or if they don't, the book usually gets bad reviews, and I'm not reading it anyway.  I had to wonder though, if I even care about the "good reasons" behind the same old recycled fluff anymore.  I'm not saying these are bad books, or that writers like Victoria Alexander are bad at what they do.  In the context of the zillions of romance novels out there, they're talented writers - not everyone can string together that many semi-interesting (much less readable) sentences:P  But I always have this blah feelng when I finish a formulaic romance, and it makes me kinda dread picking up the next one looking for something just a little bit different - and that's really what I want; a romance, but something different... 

I thought maybe it would be nice if we started posting our standout romance picks somewhere separate from the "What are we reading?" threads.  What do y'all think?

I have one that I'm reading right now that I think might just qualify as being very unique - I Do, I Do, I Do by Maggie Osborne.  This is my first Maggie Osborne book, and I'm only a quarter of the way into it right now, but I'm loving it, and I have high hopes:P  It's very original; the story is centered around three different women who all married the same man - a con artist who took them for the proverbial buggy ride and absconded with their money.  They join forces to track him down, in spite of the fact that they totally dislike each other, and they each find love on the way.  It's actually really cute.  It has this very "old movie" romantic comedy feel to it.   And you'd think it would be weird or somehow lacking in character development, because each of these women seem to be getting equal story time, but it's not at all.  I had to force myself to put it down at 2am last night and go to bed, and I'm getting ready to dive back into it right now.  I'll let everyone know how it comes out.

Anyway, I was wondering who else has recently read, or is in the process of reading something unique, and what they like about it - think is special, etc...



Last Edited on: 5/6/08 9:31 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/6/2008 10:19 AM ET
Member Since: 3/24/2008
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I just wanted to say I love Maggie Osborne..You should try Silver Lining, I have read it at least a dozen times. It is about a woman miner that saves a whole town of men from disease and they ask her what she wants in the whole world and they will give her for saving them. She decides that she wants a baby... I am not going to spoil the rest but it is very very good.

 

 

I can't really add anything to the unique list because lately I haven't read anythign to make me say wow that was different except Private Arrangements and The Raven Prince and everyone has read those it seems.

Date Posted: 5/6/2008 10:41 AM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2007
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Two come to mind for me. One is the medieval I just finished, Lady Fortune by Anne Stuart. I thought it was original to have the hero be a fool (jester) for the king. Another one I read not too long ago is Buttons and Beaus by Margaret Brownley. It takes place in the 1890s or around there in New York. The heroine runs a bicycling school and the hero is an architect who is planning to build the first 20-story building. It is cute with lots of secondary characters. While neither of these are I think completely keepers, they were both enjoyable for me, and get points for originality.

Date Posted: 5/6/2008 11:23 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
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Jessie, I'm definitely going to be reading more Maggie Osborne.  I have Silver Lining already.  I couldn't decide whether to start it or this one first, but this is the one I settled on.  It really is a great book so far.

Date Posted: 5/6/2008 11:33 AM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2007
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You should try this one, HEAVEN'S FIRE by Patricia Ryan.     I would definitely consider this a unusual romance.  This is a story about an peasant girl who's been married to an old man, becomes the mistress of the town priest because of some hardship which I wont mention here.  When he dies few years later, she then falls in love with another priest who's actually very devout, a true hero.  

I absolutely LOVED this book, every thing about it was fascinating.  You have a heroine here who's not a virgin, who's had a husband already, had a lover who was a PRIEST, then actually falls in love with another one who's "saint".... the book is filled with emotion, lots of angst, erotic under tones at times.  Although the h/h does not consummate their love until much later in the book, the scenes are extremely sexual and kinky.. I mean they go all out and you're thinking, "Woah, I need a priest"... kidding lol.  This one is a keeper, try it! 

Date Posted: 5/6/2008 12:55 PM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2008
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I recently read Nerd in Shining Armor by Vicki Lewis Thompson and thought it was really cute. It involved a computer-geek hero and a Tennessee backwoods-raised heroine who crash land a plane on a island and have to await rescue. It was cute and funny and lacking the angst and typical relationship troubles authors like to throw into their stories for conflict. There were some parts that annoyed me, like the author had the heroine saying too many stupid redneck-phrases, but it was a fun and light departure from the romances I usually read. Plus, I like nerdy guys (my husband is a computer-geek too)!

 

I'm gonna have to check out Heaven's Fire, sounds interesting. I've always wondered what it would be like to corrupt a sexy preist :)



Last Edited on: 5/6/08 12:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/6/2008 12:58 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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As for Maggie Osborne -- she fits the unique bill.  Her book "A Stranger's Wife" is about a woman taken out of prison to pose as the missing wife of the candidate for the first Governor of Colorado.  Amazing how she pulls it off.  And then "Bride of Willow Creek"  is about a woman whose husband deserted her and she goes off to find him and he's married to someone else.  Again, very unique story line.

Another unique story I've enjoyed is "Twice Loved" by LaVyrle Spencer about a woman whose husband is presumed dead and comes back 5 years later and she's married to someone else.  Although it sounds like it, it's not in the least formulaic.

Date Posted: 5/6/2008 1:56 PM ET
Member Since: 12/8/2006
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One that's on my keeper shelf is Deep Purple by Parris Afton Bonds. It is actually a 3 part book, 3 generations of women and the trials and loves they go through. The first story is heartbreaking, but after reading the 2nd story, you see why it's that way. The book also covers a lot of history... Mexican revolution (although it's been a while since I read it, I may be wrong on that count), Wyatt Earp, Opium addiction, and WWI (or was it II?)...

Another favorite of mine, but I didn't keep it was To Rescue A Rogue by Jo Beverley, although it was part of a series and someone who hasn't read them, may want to go back an read a few of them before reading this one. I really enjoyed it and it didn't seem to follow a formula too much.

I know there are a few more I've come across, but can't seem to remember them right now:)

Date Posted: 5/6/2008 3:58 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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I know just what you mean, I can't believe how these SAME-OLD SAME-OLD books keep getting so much attention! I mean sure, I'll read them, because I read a LOT and not every book can be fabulous. Sometimes I even want a book that I know will be kind of comfortably familiar and not stretch my mind a lot. But I don't then write reviews about how amazing it was!

You've probably already read all the books that I would list as being unique. Hmmm. Have you tried The Perfect Rake by Anne Gracie? It's not Judith Ivory, but it has one of my top ten favorite heroes.

Date Posted: 5/6/2008 5:28 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2007
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I'm currently reading Untie My Heart by Judith Ivory (I don't know if she's written other books---I hope so), and I'd classify it as a different storyline.

A viscount's coach kills a lamb that happens to belong to Emma Hotchkiss--the widow of the local vicar (who just happened to be a con man along with Emma in London years before). Emma doesn't take kindly to having her lamb killed and goes after the viscount to get her money. Emma is definitely a con woman--but she's also determined and wants justice. Stuart the hero has other issues. I won't say more because I don't want to spoil the story for anyone. I am really enjoying this book.

Date Posted: 5/6/2008 10:24 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I adore Judith Ivory, and Untie My Heart is one of my top 10 all time favorites.  And she has several others - good ones for the most part, all of them unique. 

Willa, I'm going to check Anne Gracie out too.  In fact, I'm definitely making a list from this thread, so thanks to everyone:)

And I finished the Maggie Osborne book just a little while ago and really liked it.  The last couple of chapters are a little contrived, but I appreciate the feel she was going for with the way she ended the book - sort of a line up for your HEA thing, everyone in order and in an orderly fashion:P  Like I said earlier, very much like an old romantic comedy.  it's like Where the Boys Are (if anyone actually remembers that old mothball film), set in the 1890's.  Cute.  Not perfect, but what it lacks in polish & perfection in the plotting, it more than makes up for in creativity.  Beats the heck out of formulaic perfection, IMO.  And two of the major love scenes are positively hysterical, btw.  It would be worth reading just for those alone.  One of the heroines practically has an orgasm watching her fella set the table for dinner, and one of the others & her hero literally knock his house off the foundation having sex:P  I did a lot of laughing reading this book.

 



Last Edited on: 5/6/08 10:29 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/7/2008 6:13 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2007
Posts: 662
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The arguments caused by that sheep had me rolling lol.  I agree, it was a good book. 

Subject: UNIQUE STORIES
Date Posted: 5/8/2008 12:53 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 808
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Oh, I am sooo ready for this topic! It's the unique stories that 'haunt' me and earn my personal 5-star rating.

THE SWEETEST TABOO - Alison Kent (Contemporary)

Heroine is wimpy/wussy/whiny, but the hero... the hero is over-the-top! The ways in which Kent describes his character. His name is something he probably remembered seeing on a wine bottle in the gutter; he doesn't know how old he is, but estimated from memories of a mother who begged a cupcake from a baker and which he adjusted when he started needing to shave; he's a writer with a cat named 'redrum' and he's the ultimate loner: he lives alone, works alone, eats alone, sleeps alone, and he has sex alone.

TAKE ME - Cherry Adair (Contemporary)

He married her to secure control of his uncle's company, then left her on the courthouse steps. Seven years later, she wants a baby by her husband and becomes his mistress to get pregnant. He falls in love and searches for his wife so he can get a divorce and marry his mistress... until he finds out she's pregnant and the child could not be his.

LAZARUS RISING - Anne Stuart (Romantic Suspense)

She mourned his death for ten years following a weekend affair and when she meets a man who looks just like him... well, he's gonna have to kill her.

SWEET CAROLINE'S KEEPER - Beverly Barton (Romantic Suspense)

He assassinated her stepfather and stared into the young girl's eyes. He became her secret guardian and provided for her. Now, someone is trying to kill her and she needs a bodyguard...

FORGIVENESS - Jean Brashear (Contemporary)

She was always the 'black sheep' of the family, rebellious and incorrigible. And she was driving the night her brother was killed in an accident. She ran away to L.A. where she lived on the streets, had a child, and befriended a young man who died of AIDS. Now she had nowhere to go but home for her child's sake.

HER SECRET GUARDIAN - Sally Tyler Hayes (Romantic Suspense)

Orphaned by a terrorist bomb, she traveled to war-torn countries and natural disasters as part of a medical team. He always arrived in time to warn her when it was too dangerous for her to stay. But following her kidnapping by rebel forces in a South American country, he had to rescue her. Then she had to face the reality of why he'd always been there for her...

SUDDENLY YOU - Lisa Kleypas (Regency)

She was an independent, avant-garde writer seeking the services of a male prostitute. But the madame didn't send just anybody... she sent a man who wanted to publish her early works and he was prepared to pay any price...

TRUTH OR DARE - Jo Leigh (Contemporary)

Wearing a leg brace years after an auto accident maimed her and killed her mother, she wanted to be 'normal.' She had a friend put her leg in a cast and then went to a ski lodge for her vacation where she met a very athletic Mr. Right. But he thought her disability was temporary... A wonderful story in which he has to face his own shallow reaction and the depth of real emotions.

REGAN'S PRIDE - Diana Palmer (Contemporary)

She was his cousin's widow and believed to be responsible for the young man's death. In truth, she was a battered wife but she had nowhere to live except the hero's ranch where she was subjected to verbal abuse and seduction from the man who hated and loved her. Distraught and depressed, she ran away, pregnant with his child... Requires no less than a full box of tissues.

 

Date Posted: 5/8/2008 1:06 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Well, I started into Silver Lining by Maggie Osborne earlier tonight.  My current mood with it sort of back & forth.  It's a very interesting and original story.  And I like it that she isn't sugar coating anyone or anything in this book.  Right now I'm irked with the hero and want to give him a swift kick in the pants.  I sense he's a deeply honorable, wonderful man, but he's got his head up his hiney at the moment.  I have to say I'm deeply intrigued with it & can't wait to see how she's going to resolve this tangle she's created.  We have a hero who married a heroine because she saved his life - and it's actually more complicated than that really - and a heroine who didn't want to marry at all, she just wanted a baby.  But it's not the sort of book you'd think from all of that.  The heroine is nothing like anything I've read before, and as different as she is, she's easy to identify with and like.  The forced marriage thing here is a very complicated, tangled situation, and everyone concerned is feeling the burn from it so far - and where I am right now, it just continues to get more tangled.  I'm dying to know how the author is going to write her way out of this particular pickle, so I guess she must be doing her job:P  And on the upside, it's a fairly fast paced book.  I got halfway, even with spending most of my day tissue wrapping book requests like they were my grandmother's best china, and photoshopping & printing bookmarks.  I figure she should have this situation well in hand by lunchtime tomorrow:P



Last Edited on: 5/8/08 1:09 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/8/2008 6:44 PM ET
Member Since: 12/6/2006
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Glad to hear you're busy working on your shipments, Kim -- we're all waiting.   Please tell more as you get into the book.  I'm half wanting to read it.

Dang, Colleen, you just handed me a list of books I'm going to have to read.  I'm an Anne Stuart fanatic, and I've not read the one you described.  I'll be driving myself insane finding it!

 

 

Date Posted: 5/8/2008 6:59 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
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........spending most of my day tissue wrapping book requests like they were my grandmother's best china,

Kim -  You're hysterical.  As for Silver Lining, I wish I liked the heroine just a wee bit more than I did.  Plus, I hate to disappoint, but the sex was pretty limited, imo and would liked to have seen them together a little more often.  The story will be much more complicated by lunch time tomorrow.

Date Posted: 5/8/2008 11:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Well I just finished it.  I totally loved it, Monica.  I know I can be weird sometimes in the little things that get to me in books, and that can be positive or negative, but I thought this story was so good.  My only quibble with it was that the antagonist - Max's original intended (Philadelphia) - was a total monster.  And I mean monster with a capital M - all teeth & claws, concentrated evil, She Devil to the core.  And as much as I enjoy a good villainess hating, the writing is more of an accomplishment when the bad guys have more character dimension - and as whacked as they may be, real reasons & motivations for doing the things they do.  This seems like such a small quibble in this case though.  And she did add dimension to the story, and to be perfectly honest, had she been a decent person under the resentment, the storyline wouldn't have worked.  I didn't notice that the sex seemed limited.  They seem to have plenty of it, and it's not highly descriptive, but I think those passages are evocative.  And I really liked Louise a lot.  To me, she was a tough cookie in a way that makes a lot of competent writers' versions of a tough, stubborn heroine look like parody.  Louise drinks and swears, and busts her butt and does what needs to be done without complaint.  She doesn't know the meaning of the word quit.  And she's just so real and so totally human.  I loved the lecture Max's mom gives him about Louise's character.  And I loved it that his mom understood her so well.  The interaction between Max's family and Louise gave them so much added depth as secondary characters.  They, as a family, were a part of the story and not just window dressing, and you see who they are reflected in the way they come to feel about and treat Louise. Anyway,  I'm giving this one highly recommended status.  It's a keeper for me. 

Oh - and to anybody who is thinking of reading it, do not put it down unfinished.  It's like a Judith Ivory in that you need to see the total picture unfold to truly appreciate it.



Last Edited on: 5/8/08 11:41 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/9/2008 2:58 AM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2008
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Kim...I'd be a monster too if my parents saddled me with the name Philadelphia.

Date Posted: 5/9/2008 5:54 AM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2007
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I loved Silver Lining- especially the heroine. No histronics, no melodrama. Like you said Kim, she just got down to it and did what needed to be done. Another great one by that author IMO is 'The Wives of Bowie Stone'.

Date Posted: 5/9/2008 6:27 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
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I just got that one yesterday:)

Date Posted: 5/9/2008 7:31 AM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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Yeah, where did she come up with the name Philadelphia?

Kim -- I think you will love The Best Man which is about sisters who have to herd 2000 cattle before they can get their inheritance.  And the Brides of Prairie Gold is another great one.  Very, very unique.  Oh, and her older books are incredible, too.  Emerald Rain was one of my favorites and I just bought Alexa....so we'll see how that goes.

Date Posted: 5/9/2008 9:01 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Aside from the two I've read, so far I have:

The Best Man

Lady Reluctant

The Wives of Bowie Stone

The Promise of Jenny Jones

A Stranger's Wife

Rage to Love

Chase the Heart

and  Foxfire Bride

I also have Prairie Moon and Brides of Prairie Gold requested, and everything else she has published is on my WL.  Obviously I'm liking Maggie Osborne:P  I kinda thought I would, which makes it seem all the more silly that I've waited so long to start reading the books I did have.  What it was, I had this feeling I was going to like her and want to read everything, like I did with Marsha Canham, and after all of the time & hassle I went through to track down and get all of her books, I've been really anal about finding an author I like, and then having to wait forever to get my hands on everything they've written:P  I'm certifiable.  I know.

It backfires on me sometimes.  I collected everything by Sabrina Jeffries before I started reading her books, and when I read The Pirate Lord, and it was only just pretty good - not write home fantastic - I lost a little of my enthusiasm, and they've been sitting in my TBR mountain ever since.  I'm sure there are some great books in there too, I just keep passing over them looking for something really unique.






Last Edited on: 5/9/08 9:03 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/9/2008 9:11 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
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Oops, I missed Shotgun Wedding and The Bride of Willow Creek.  Requested those this morning.

Date Posted: 5/13/2008 2:59 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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Kim, I can't remember if you've read Layton, but I was thinking that To Wed a Stranger belongs on the unique book pile. Definitely not your standard Regency.

Date Posted: 5/13/2008 3:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Ooh!  I think I have that on my TBR pile!  Cool:)

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