AAR Staff Top Ten Favorites – Haley’s Picks

texasdestiny When I sat down to put this list together, I thought this would really be a piece of cake. Well, I was wrong. It turns out, I had more like a top twentysomething list and narrowing it down was not all that easy. Another thing I noticed is that so many of the books represented were some of the very first I ever read. My love of the romance genre began when I was a pre-teen and started pilfering books off my mother’s bookshelf. I knew she wouldn’t be happy with me reading them because I was so young, so I hid them under my bed or in the window seat. I got caught once while reading a book I loved, but now I can’t remember the title, and was told I was forbidden to read the romances. That didn’t stop me. I only grew more and more sneaky. I made sure to only take one book at a time and to shift the other books around to hide the missing one. I wonder now if the forbidden fruit aspect fueled my love of those books. I’ve made an effort as an adult to track down the books I read then and make sure they still appeal to me. Some have help up, and others not so much.

Had I not trimmed this list down significantly, there would be many, many more Westerns represented. That is because all my mother reads are Western romances, with the occasional other historical if it is by an author who also writes Westerns,and I’ve ended up loving those Westerns, too. I also noticed that I enjoy more unusual heroes, not just the alpha male you typically see. Continue reading

Pandora’s Box: Heartstrings and Diamond Rings by Jane Graves

heartstrings And we’re back with another Pandora’s Box, this time featuring Heartstrings and Diamond Rings by Jane Graves.

Alison Carter is a jerk magnet, but she keeps convincing herself that meeting the right man is all about “modest expectations.” Seeing her latest boyfriend, Randy, in a mall jewelry store, then hearing him on the telephone talking to a Reverend McCormick, and finally finding a travel brochure on Hawaii doesn’t get her too excited, but then again nothing about him really does. However, when he tells her he has something special to ask her, she puts all the clues together. Finally she will be a bride and have a family. Except Randy’s question is not “will you marry me” but how about you, me, and Bonnie as in a threesome.

After crying on her best friend’s shoulder, Heather tells her about this wonderful matchmaker named Rochelle who found the perfect man for a co-worker. Monday morning, Alison is on the phone and is able to book a lunch hour appointment. Her dream man opens the door, and she decides that Rochelle is psychic only to find that Rochelle died two weeks ago, and her grandson Brandon Scott is taking over her business. No way is she going to pay Brandon fifteen hundred dollars for five introductions. However she doesn’t have a chance against Brandon’s guile.

Brandon’s life with his shyster father makes him an expert at reading people, so Alison is putty in his hands. She is just too nice and takes people at face value. After high school he worked construction but soon realizes that the money is in buying and flipping property. Traveling across the country buying property and then selling before the loan due date is exhilarating. However, his life as a high roller comes to abrupt end when the bottom drops out of the real estate market, leaving him broke and with bad credit. His grandmother’s will states that he can live in her house but as soon as he moves out, the house is to be turned over to her church. One of his buddies contacts him with a great investment opportunity, turning a dilapidated warehouse into loft apartments. Only he doesn’t have thirty thousand dollars for his share. Since he has six months to come up with the money he plans to earn it by taking over his grandmother’s matchmaking business. How difficult can it be?
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