Monday, February 14, 2005

Wicked Women Whodunit

Happy Valentine's Day! And just in time, I have more good book news.

I wrapped up Wicked Women Whodunit over the weekend, which is Brava's first foray into mystery fiction. It is by far the most solid anthology I have ever read. Goofy, funny, and not too serious, there wasn't an outright dud in the bunch.

I'm also happy to report that I might at least marginally "get" MaryJanice Davidson now. I really actively disliked her last full-length novel, Derik's Bane, and thought perhaps I would have to add her to the list of authors that others love but I'm just not into. I have to say that her entry in this anthology, aptly titled "Ten Little Idiots", made me a believer out of her short story skills. I'm wondering if perhaps she might be one of those authors that works for me in one format but not another. I feel that way about countless authors who write in different time periods. I might enjoy their historical voice, but their contemporary style leaves me cold - or vice versa.

Also notable was the debut of Amy Garvey, who wrote the sexiest story in the bunch with "Single Dead White Guy." I can't wait to read her full-length debut when it hits the shelves this spring. As always, Jennifer Apodaca continues to amuse. I'm a big fan of her slightly wacky Samantha Shaw mystery series - and the Nancy J. Cohen entry was fun since a reality TV show was the backdrop. Of course, what's not fun about backstabbing?

The spine label on this one is aptly labelled "mystery anthology" but I'm sure countless romance readers will pick it up since it's being published under the steamy Brava banner. While I wouldn't classify any of the stories as straight romances, they still have strong romantic elements and are quite a bit of fun. The mysteries themselves are really light, but given the shorter page count that should be expected. The humor that all the authors add keep the pages turning, even if the mysteries aren't brain-benders.

I'm hoping to finish up another February Harlequin Historical title today, The Unlikely Groom by Wendy Douglas. Definately a book that has gotten better the further along I read. The heroine is a bit prissy for my tastes, which makes no sense because for most of the novel she's been screwed - and not in a good way. She and her brother travel to Alaska, only for her wastrel brother to get shot during a card game. She has no one, and the only person to come to her aid (against his better judgment) is the saloon owning hero. Our heroine is naturally a temperance gal and abhors spirits - but still she takes a housekeeping job at the saloon (because she has no other option) and continues to look down her nose at everyone in town. For a girl with limited options, who stubbornly refuses to travel back to San Francisco, she sure is uppity. But she's starting to come around now - thank goodness.

After that it's back to Harlequins. If I want to reach 100 books read this year I need to get crackin'.

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