Thursday, March 10, 2011

What are you reading Thursday?

Kate Hardy talks about her current reading pile.

I think I've confessed before that I don't have a TBR pile, I have a whole bookshelf, and a bad habit of adding to it (well, hey, what are birthday book tokens for?). I could rave on about how brilliant Susannah Kearsley's ’Season of Storms' is (and 'The Shadowy Horses'), and how much I enjoyed the YA books that editor Kim Young recommended (Rachel Vincent's 'Soul Stealers' series and Suzanne Collins' 'Hunger Games' trilogy - am waiting for the third in the series to arrive on my doorstep). But I'm going to limit myself to three.

Barbara O'Neal, How to Bake a Perfect Life. Last year, Liz Fielding recommended The Recipe for Lost Happiness to me, saying that it involved cooking and dogs and I'd love it. She was absolutely right, and what also grabbed me was the sheer depth of emotion in the book. The characters were flawed and certainly not easy, but they were so well drawn that you could really empathise with them. That's also true of How to Bake a Perfect Life. It had me smiling for the right reasons, crying in places (not to mention furious on behalf of a couple of the characters because of the way their families treated them), and I was fascinated by the sourdough. And it definitely drove me into the kitchen for a baking session with my daughter. Thoroughly recommended. (I also liked her book 'In the Midnight Rain', written as Ruth Wind - I can't remember now which of the Aussie Harlequin authors recommended it to me, but she was spot on.)

Second Chance by Kate Jackson. I enjoy reading debut novels, and I was particularly pleased to get a copy of this one as Kate is a friend of mine and I'm thrilled to read her first novel. Her short stories have so much warmth, so I knew this was going to be enjoyable. There's a great structure, with the past echoing the present, and more than one generation gets their second chance - not just at love, either. I loved the setting (Orkney - it made me want to visit) and the sense of community as well as the romance. A lovely debut.

The Benefits of Passion by Catherine Fox. I have to admit that this is a re-read of an old favourite. It's the second in her series set around a theological college in Northumbria; it sounds an incredibly unlikely setting for a romance, but trust me on this - the books are great. The characterisation is wonderful (I particularly liked the secondary character of Ted Watts and his family who play endless word games - the sort that will appeal to people who love playing with words), it's warm and witty and clever, and there are quite a few bits I wish I'd written (Libby-doo the dog, for example - no, not a fictional dog - and the proposal scene, which is really something else). You might want to strangle the hero (a GP who's a real foodie) at first, but then you find out the reasons for his behaviour and understand him, and it really works. Just fabulous.

Kate has two medical romances coming out soon – The Doctor’s Royal Love Child (in the first Penhally series) is out in the US in April (featuring a royal wedding… just what we’re about to get in real life in April!), and The Fireman and Nurse Loveday (in the first St Piran’s series) is available on the Mills & Boon website now and in UK shops in April.

You can find out more about these books, and Kate, on her website ( and her blog (


  1. I'm right into Dorothy Koomson at the moment and can't recommend her enough!
    Thanks for your recommendations... like you I have a bookshelf though so it's probably dangerous to read posts like this :)

  2. I've been reading Super Romance novels by various authors ~Sarah Mayberry, Mary Brady, Margaret Watson and others.
    Loved the idea of dogs and recipes in a book so looked Barbara O'Neal up in our library listing and put her first book on hold. I loved books by Ruth Wind so will give this one a try.

  3. Rachael - thanks, I'll look out for hers. As you say, dangerous posts!!! :o)

    Kaelee - Sarah's writing for Super now? I loved her Blaze books, so I will go on the hunt for these :o)

    Two more I'd recomemend on dogs/recipes are Kandy Shephard and Kristan Higgins. (You will need tissues for Catch of the Day, though!)

  4. Kate, I just finished Kate Walker's The Proud Wife. I love all of Kate's books but the intensity.......I think it's one of her best.

    Today, begin reading a 2 and 1 Cherish....Honeymoon with the Rancher, Donna Alward's. Loved it. It takes place on a working ranch in Argentina. A heroine who not only found herself but found love in the process.