Book Hangover and The Book That Gave It To Me

Photo by Nanny Snowflake (flickr cc)So you know that feeling when you get caught up in a book and you can't put it down so you shirk all other responsibilities and consume the thing like it's the last box of chocolate before the apocalypse?

Yeah, then you finish it and you look up, blinking to take in your surroundings, vaguely remembering where you are. And the rest of the day you're kind of still half in the book and half in real life? It's disorienting. It's awesome. it's the sign of a fantastic book. (Or a serious illness.)

That's what I call book hangover. And I had it this weekend with More Like Her by Liza Palmer. I don't usually read women's fiction/chick lit (if we're still calling it that). I don't have anything against the genre. I just tend to gravitate toward more straight up romance. Plus, the women's fiction I've read in the past has always left me hanging with those darn fade to black love scenes, lol. Yes, personal preference, but when a story builds up all that sexual tension, I want to see the payoff. Just sayin'. But anyway, I digress. This book did have a fade to black, but the scene was so sweetly sexy and poignant in the lead up that I didn't feel short-changed.

So I'm so glad I gave the book a try. And if you're wondering how I ended up picking the book up at all since it's not my preferred genre (because I'm always curious about how readers find a book), here's how it went: Sierra Godfrey, who I met through blogging, mentioned how much she liked Liza Palmer's blog and her writing. So I went to the blog and really enjoyed her voice (and her 80s references) and thought "Hmm, if her blog is this funny, maybe I'd like her books." This was a passing thought. Not a purchasing decision.

Then I went to RWA and she was at one of the free signings. So even though I had my stack of books with shirtless mancandy covers already (score), I thought, "Hey, look. I thought I might like her books. Maybe I'll give this one a try." (Yes, I still go to the free signings at RWA. I know this is probably considered tacky by some once you're published and all, but yanno, me + books + free = an inevitable conclusion. My will is not iron. Sue me--or don't, I've already had enough of that this year. ;) )

So that's how I found my way to this book. And now I will pay for future books because I'm a fan and know that I'll probably like her others since I enjoyed this one so much.

So anyway, the book is fantastic. Read it. Laugh. Cry. Picture Sam naked.

More Like Her  by Liza Palmer

Genre: Women's Fiction/Chick Lit

Summary (from Amazon):

What really goes on behind those perfect white picket fences?

In Frances’s mind, beautiful, successful, ecstatically married Emma Dunham is the height of female perfection. Frances, recently dumped with spectacular drama by her boyfriend, aspires to be just like Emma. So do her close friends and fellow teachers, Lisa and Jill. But Lisa’s too career-focused to find time for a family. And Jill’s recent unexpected pregnancy could have devastating consequences for her less-than-perfect marriage.

Yet sometimes the golden dream you fervently wish for turns out to be not at all what it seems—like Emma’s enviable suburban postcard life, which is about to be brutally cut short by a perfect husband turned killer. And in the shocking aftermath, three devastated friends are going to have to come to terms with their own secrets . . . and somehow learn to move forward after their dream is exposed as a lie.



And I've been on a bit of a reading binge in between my writing binges lately, so here are two others I've read and loved recently:



Genre: Erotic Contemporary
Summary (from Amazon):

When struggling waitress Melody Dylan gives a handsome, lonely stranger a simple gift she has no clue her life is about to take a drastic turn.

The stranger ends up being Clay Powers, a famous UFC heavyweight fighter. Clay’s large build and dangerous fists have always intimidated. People in his hometown keep their distance and Clay is fine with that. Everything changes when a new waitress at the local diner buys him a piece of pie on Thanksgiving. Touched by the gesture when it’s obvious she can barely afford to survive, her warm smile and lush body churn up powerful feelings that leave Clay wanting more from her than pie.

Melody is running from her past and the small, country town of Garnet is the perfect hiding place. With an ex-husband after her and scars from her abusive marriage etched deep, the last thing she expects is to fall for a man who makes a living with his fists, but she can’t resist Clay or the tender connection they share.

Finding love in the most unlikely of places, the passion is undeniable, but Clay and Melody know their haunted pasts and unpredictable futures leave the odds stacked against them.

My take: Sexy and sweet. I devoured this one in a day. I haven't read anything by Kele Moon that I haven't liked.

Wife for Hire  by Christine Bell
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Summary (from Amazon):
He needs a wife for three weeks…

Owen Phipps is out for revenge. His mission? To expose the man who stole his sister’s money and dignity. All he needs is a “wife” who can play along. Too bad his last best hope is an actress who tries to mace him with perfume when he offers her the role of a lifetime.

Lindy Knight is a real sap. She loves too hard, feels too deep, and often finds herself saying yes when she should be saying “Let me think about it.” She can’t believe her good fortune when Owen offers her more than enough money to hold off foreclosure until she can find a job. Three weeks at a resort, money she desperately needs, and she gets to help bring a criminal to justice? Score.

It seems easy enough until a couples bonding game turns intimate, and they realize how dangerous their mutual attraction could be. Can they keep their hands to themselves long enough to find the evidence Owen needs? Or are the close quarters more temptation than they can handle?

My take: Funny and sweet and just an all around enjoyable romp. Full disclosure, I know Christine. But I don't pimp books I don't love. Truly. You'll never hear me singing some book's praises just to be nice to someone. (If I don't like it, I just say nothing at all, lol.)

So anyone else get book hangover? What great books have you read lately? And what gets you to pick up a book that's outside your normal genre preferences?