* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.
Cover of Night, by Linda Howard (R) ***** Yeah, so I started the year with a reread...but it's one of my favorite books, so it's a fun way to open the reading year for me :) I love the romance (Cal is swoon-worthy -- I love how shy he gets around Kate) and the action and the strong and kind characters of all of the 'good' guys.
The story: Kate moved to Idaho to run a B&B after the sudden death of her husband -- and although the town is remote, she enjoys the peace and the protection of the small community as she works to raise her twin sons. Too bad an accountant for the mob decides to use her B&B as part of his plan to avoid his boss -- and soon Kate and the entire town have been surrounded by hit men determined to catch this man (who's long gone, of course). Luckily for Kate, Cal Harris (the town's handyman) can do more than fix her kitchen sink ;) (Adult romantic suspense, released 2007, Publisher: Random House)
Heart of Fire, by Linda Howard **** When I get in a Linda Howard mood, I always look for things I haven't read before. This is more along the lines of a 'typical' romance (well, kind of), so I didn't love it -- but I did enjoy it. I doubt I'll read it again, but it was fun for a one-time read.
The story: Jillian is determined to clear her dead father's name (he was considered a crazy man in archeology) and travels to Brazil and up the Rio Negro to find a civilization her father insisted exists. Her half brother hires a couple of thugs, but he also stumbles upon a true guide, an American, who does his best to keep Jillian safe -- and along the way, the two discover love, as well. (Adult Romance, released 1993, Publisher: Pocket Books)
Five Flavors of Dumb, by Antony John ****+ This is a great book! The only thing which keeps it from being a five-star read (for me) is that I really didn't like Piper for at least half the book. She's very prickly, and although I can understand why, it didn't make her any more likable. However, as she grew and we start to learn more about the other members of the band, the story pulled me in more and more. By the end, I definitely liked Piper and felt like we'd gotten beyond her barriers -- plus, I found Ed a lovely person :)
The story: Piper (who's deaf) kind of falls into the position of manager for a school band called Dumb. Before long, she recruits her friend Ed (a drummer) to help the three members of the band learn to keep rhythm...and then pretty girl Kallie is pulled in, as well, even though she can't actually play an instrument. Piper promised she'd get the band paying gigs, but their internal struggles -- along with Piper's own challenges with her family -- keep interfering. (YA contemporary, released 11/10, publisher: Dial Books)