Buried Treasures 2008

“Oh my goodness, I can’t BELIEVE that you don’t know this book!” How many times have you heard this – or said it to someone after raving about your latest find? Every reader I know seems to stumble upon a few truly wonderful reads that just don’t seem to generate the buzz we think they deserve. Each year, all of us here at AAR like to gather up a few of our buried treasures and share them with you.

This year’s Buried Treasures come from a variety of subgenres. There are series books, contemporaries, historicals, paranormal/futuristic – they cover a wide range. We have differing reasons for choosing our books as well. Lee Brewer chose two that usually get classified as women’s fiction or mystery in most bookstores, but which have a definite romantic element to them that she thinks readers will appreciate. The Last Time I was Me by Cathy Lamb tells the story of a woman starting her life over again, and A Rather Curious Engagement by C.A. Belmond (sequel to A Rather Lovely Inheritance) features the same characters from Belmond’s first book as they, in Lee’s words, “travel around Europe trying to solve a mystery while visiting exquisite locations.”

Ellen Micheletti chose another suspenseful book as a Buried Treasure. This one, Pitch Black by Susan Crandall, is set in a small town, and Ellen states enthusiastically that, “I think Susan Crandall is one of the best at writing about small towns since she neither romanticizes nor demonizes them.” Ellen also greatly enjoyed her other Buried Treasure, Janice Kay Johnson’s The Man Behind the Cop and believes that, “Johnson has got to be THE most reliable series romance author out there.”

For two of our Senior Reviewers, Medallion Press, a small publisher, provided them each with a Buried Treasure for the year. Of Broken Wing by Judith James, Senior Reviewer Lisa Gardineer states that, “All I can say is WOW!” This unusual historical has received a DIK review here on AAR and from what I am seeing online, it has started to appear on more and more “to buy” lists for readers.

Senior Reviewer Rike Horstmann also gave Buried Treasure status to a Medallion Press novel. She chose The Legacy by TJ Bennett, saying that this novel set in Reformation Germany, “features the best relationship between hero and heroine I have read in a long time. The air sizzles, but it’s not just sexually(plenty of that too, though).” Rike also selected Mary Blayney’s jointly published novels Traitor’s Kiss/Lover’s Kiss as Buried Treasures because she really enjoys that Blayney “has a remarkable, unique voice and pacing that you find from no other author.”

Our other pick from a smaller press came from Sourcebooks Casablanca. Senior Reviewer Jane Granville selected Romeo Romeo by Robin Kaye as her Buried Treasure for the year.

Two of us here at AAR also really enjoyed books that we read from the Shomi imprint. Netherwood is discussed in more detail below, and Reviewer/Pollster LinnieGayl Kimmel chose Twist by Colby Hodge as her buried treasure of the year. She based her choice primarily on the heroine, Abbey, whom she describes as “one of the best I’ve seen in a long time.”

For some, a Buried Treasure may be a book by a more established author that just has not generated as much buzz as it deserves. Senior Reviewer Heather Brooks selected Warror by Angela Knight as a Buried Treasure, and Senior Reviewer Andi Davis chose Lynn Viehl’s Evermore for just that reason. Andi indicated that while readers talk about Viehl’s novels, she didn’t hear nearly as much buzz on this particular book.

Though historicals tend to show up with some frequency in our Annual Poll as well as in Staff Picks, we also had several historicals identified as Buried Treasures. Our Advertising Manager and Senior Reviewer Lea Hensley chose Passion and Pleasure in London by Melody Thomas as her Buried Treasure. She reports that “Thomas consistently delivers delicious historical romances with memorable leads and yes – alpha men.” Hensley also worried that Thomas may not be getting enough attention and she wonders whether “Thomas woud be more widely read if her publisher didn’t weigh her down with ridiculous titles as well as inane blurbs that don’t reflect her gifted writing.”

Publisher Blythe Barnhill also named historicals as her Buried Treasures. Of What a Pirate Desires by Michelle Beattie, she states that it is “A really fun book that I swear no one has read but me, with a complicated hero.” Blythe also enjoyed Three Nights of Sin by Anne Mallory though she expresses concern that Mallory is “an Avon author who I think is getting lost in the shuffle.”

While she did not choose a straight historical romance, Publisher Sandy Coleman did choose a Buried Treasure with a historical setting. With what she describes as “a terrifically realized Victorian setting”, Sandy found Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn to be worthy of a wider readership. In describing the book, she indicates that, “The author expertly mixes the story of Julia’s evolution from widow to confident and assured woman with her own place in the world, with mystery and romance.”

For her Buried Treasures, Publisher Rachel Potter goes back into the modern-day world, selecting series title Shaken and Stirred by Kathleen O’Reilly and Julia Spencer-Fleming’s mystery, I Shall Not Want. Rachel describes Shaken and Stirred as “hot, sweet, and sometimes even funny.” Rachel has also become a fan of Julia Spencer-Fleming’s books, and recently interviewed the author.

For my own Buried Treasures, I found one futuristic romance that I wish had seen a wider audience. I really enjoyed the world Michele Lang created in Netherwood, and I am definitely curious to see more of her work. I also enjoyed Selena Montgomery’s romantic suspense novel, Reckless. The romance in that novel is self-contained, but I’ll need to follow the trilogy to solve the mystery. I really like her characters, so I’m looking forward to it!

So, what are your Buried Treasures for the year? What should we all be adding to our TBR piles that we may have missed the first time around?

-Lynn Spencer

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26 Responses to “Buried Treasures 2008”

  1. Judi Fennell says:

    Romeo, Romeo is a true GEM of a book!

  2. SarahT says:

    I also enjoyed ‘Romeo, Romeo’. I’m surprised it hasn’t gotten more buzz.

  3. bungluna says:

    Make that three. I’ve been raving about this book all over. Can’t wait for the author’s next one.

  4. TJ Bennett says:

    Thanks for the pick of THE LEGACY, AAR! Those of us from smaller presses truly appreciate the recognition. I so enjoyed Judith’s Broken Wing as well–a very memorable hero.

    TJ Bennett
    THE LEGACY (available now)
    When secrets destroy, can love live on?
    THE PROMISE (May 2009) (Eye on Romance Top Pick)
    In a dangerous world, sometimes the greatest risk is love….

  5. Thanks Blythe, for the review. This book was supposed to be a stand alone book but Berkley made it into a series! Each book will have its own hero/heroine but you will see familiar faces in each book. Please watch for Romancing The Pirate in September and thanks again!

  6. Anna Lee Huber says:

    Deanna Raybourn is a tremendous author. And Nicholas Brisbane is one of the most delicious heroes I’ve encountered in a long time. I greatly enjoyed the first two books in her “Silent” series, and am anticipating the release of SILENT ON THE MOOR at the end of this month. I’m glad she’s finally being noticed here, even though she’s not strictly a romance author.

  7. Leigh says:

    I love these type of articles. Because as long time romance reader, I tend to get caught up in a rut. So this gives me a chance to look at some new to me authors.

    The most new to me author has to be Kristin Higgins, but I am not sure that she is still classified as buried treasure since I have seen others talk about her books.

    I am off to Amazon, to check out these authors.

    Thanks again.

  8. LinnieGayl says:

    There are a number of these books that I’m definitely going to have to check out. In particular, I’m very interested in the Deanna Raybourn books.

    My buried treasure for 2008 would have to be Twist by Colby Hodge.
    This is a fantastic time-travel/futuristic novel. Abbey — the heroine
    – is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. I read it nearly one
    year ago, and it has stuck with me all that time. In fact, I
    periodically check out the author’s website in the hopes that I’ll
    discover she has another book coming out featuring Abbey and Shane.

  9. Karen W. says:

    I just wanted to let Blythe know she’s *not* alone. I read WHAT A PIRATE DESIRES and liked it too. :)

  10. Ciara Gold says:

    Congrats to all those selected and TJ, big time congrats for you. And well deserved.

  11. ldb says:

    The new covers for the Silent series are seducing me, so to speak, and this only pushed me along.

    For me Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins and Silent Ocean Away by DeVa Gantt were two for me this year, both historical fiction and both really good, but I don;t hear any talk about them.

  12. Danielle D says:

    My Buried Treasures were:

    Romeo Romeo by Robin Kaye
    Trial By Fire by Jo Davis
    Broken Wing – Judith James

  13. Kathleen O'Reilly says:

    Thank you, Rachel! Tis a great honor and I now have a lot more titles to check out myself!

  14. [...] is the follow-on to THE LEGACY, which was recently named one of 2008’s Buried Treasures by All About Romance. A Night Owl Romance TOP PICK, The Promise features Günter Behaim, brother of Wolf Behaim from The [...]

  15. Robin Kaye says:

    Thanks so much for picking Romeo, Romeo, AAR! And thanks too to everyone who agreed with you! It means so much.

    Robin :)

  16. [...] receive a copy of TJ Bennett’s The Legacy, recently named one of 2008’s Buried Treasures by All About Romance. Described as “one overpowering, extraordinary tale” (Coffeetime Romance) and “a [...]

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