September reading roundup

Recently I’ve hit a purple patch in my choice of reading. Lots of wonderful books have fallen my way or caught my fancy on my e-reader. I love it when that happens, or maybe I was just in the mood for a lot of reading. Either way, here are some of the books I’ve enjoyed over the past month or so:

One Hundred Proposals by Holly Martin

onehundredpropsalsInitially I’d heard good things about Martin’s first book The Guestbook, but after reading the preview, I didn’t think that was for me (the entire story is told through the entries of a guestbook at a holiday cottage), so I picked up her latest book, One Hundred Proposals.

This was such a fun, sweet, funny British romance. Best friends Suzie and Harry run a business creating unique, romantic proposals. They’re secretly in love with each other but of course can’t seem to get those important words out. I was surprised to find myself tearing up at a certain moment in the book, which had nothing to do with the romance.

The Hidden Blade by Sherry Thomas

thehiddenbladeIn imperial China, Ying-ying is the illegitimate half-English daughter of a concubine. She lives a sheltered life until her mother dies and she’s forced to live with her mother’s former protector. Her amah, who turns out to be a martial arts warrior and member of a secret society, decides to make Ying-ying her disciple. Meanwhile, across the world in England, Leighton leads an idyllic life until his family is torn apart and he becomes a virtual prisoner to an evil relative.

The book follows Ying-ying and Leighton as they struggle for survival in an unfriendly world. I have to admit I found Leighton’s story more compelling, perhaps because he is the more proactive character and I could pretty much guess what was going to happen to Ying-ying.

This book is a prequel to Thomas’s My Beautiful Enemy, but it’s still a full-length book. I spent the entire first half waiting for Ying-ying and Leighton to meet, but by three-quarters I knew that wasn’t going to happen. There’s plenty of action and tears in the final quarter, and also a preview of the first chapter of the next book, but for me I wanted to know what happened in the intervening four years (because that’s really where Ying-ying’ story becomes interesting after she’s forced to leave Peking). Still, a great historical adventure story and a great setup to the next book.

For One Night Only by Phillipa Fioretti

foronenightonlyI’m a big fan of Mary Stewart’s romantic suspense stories, and this book strongly reminded me of Stewart’s writing. In For One Night Only, Ornella, an Australian actress of Sicilian background, is holidaying in Sicily when she meets Hugh, a British archaeologist working on the excavation of an ancient mosaic. There’s instant attraction between these two, but just as the romance is heating up, Hugh vanishes, and Ornella’s idyllic holiday quickly turns into a nightmare.

I really enjoyed this book. Fast-paced action, beautiful scenery, great hero, and a spunky heroine who never gives up.

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