Meet Pandora's Box Columnist/Reviewer Linda Hurst
About Me Personal Reading Tastes

I have always loved to read and as a child devoured as many books as I could. One of my best memories of childhood is spending an afternoon in the children's library garden reading books. It was at the children's library that I met my first author, Marion Garthwaite who wrote Tomas and the Red-Headed Angel - which was a romance of sorts as the little boy Tomas helped the daugther of the house run away with her love. In Junior High I loved Nancy Drew and other similar series books. But my favorites were from a series called Junior Modern Romances from Scholastic. These all had a similar plot that involved a young woman going to New York, making a success of a career - deciding this wasn't enough for her life and going back to the farm and farm boy. This was the 50's, after all! This series was kind of the antithesis to today's Chick Lit books. I have always loved country cottage "cozy" mysteries, especially if they had a continuing romance throughout the series and also read a lot of gothic books by people like Mary Stewart and Daphne DuMaurier. I started reading romance in earnest in 1990 and now read a combination of romance, mystery and fantasy.

My husband Roger and I moved to Dayton, NV two years ago and really love the high desert, Lake Tahoe and Reno areas. We love the mountains and recreation activities available here. I semi-retired from our sales business and am now enjoying myself sewing craft items and doing craft shows in our area. The only problem is that now my dollars are divided between my book and fabric addictions!.

My children are all grown and living in Dallas and, although we miss them, Roger and I are very happy empty-nesters who have filled all of "their" rooms with crafts, computers and books.

Favorite Romance Novels

Absolute Favorites

Ravished by Amanda Quick
Grand Passion by Jayne Ann Krentz
The Bride by Julie Garwood
Saving Grace by Julie Garwood
The Wild Baron by Catherine Coulter
Love Me Forever by Johanna Lindsey
Hidden Talents by Jayne Ann Krentz
Miss Lockharte's Letters by Barbara Metzger
Miss Treadwell's Talent by Barbara Metzger
My Lady Notorious by Jo Beverley

Favorite Short Stories

Promises to Keep (The Night Before Christmas) by Victoria Alexander
The Black Beast of Belle Terre (A Victorian Christmas) by Mary Jo Putney

Favorite Romance Series

Mercenary series by Diana Palmer
Long, Tall Texans series by Diana Palmer
Dark Angel series by Mary Balogh
Malloren series by Jo Beverley
PSW Computer Game series by Julie Kenner
Sherbrooke Series by Catherine Coulter

What I'm a sucker for in a book: Humor, well done dialogue, and heroines who disguise themselves as men. Also tomboys and hoydens, Beauty-and-the-Beast and other fairy tale themes, friends who become lovers, love at first sight, nerd heroes, and couples who come together to solve a mystery. I especially love characters who start out with humorous "sniping" at each other and gradually fall in love. I love bad boys who are such fun to reform, be they Regency rakes or Harley-riding contemporary guys.

What I don't particularly care for in a book: Couples who leap into bed with little emotional connection, overly promiscuous heroes, and scenarios in which the hero or heroine sleeps with someone else after meeting his/her mate. Also tortured heroes who take out their angst on everyone around them, Big Misunderstanding storylines, Long Separations, Old South storylines (Antebellum, Civil War, or Reconstruction) a la Gone with the Wind, and Noble Savage/captive romances.

What drives me absolutely nuts in a book: Heroes or heroines who lie to each other "for their own good," Big Misunderstandings that could be resolved in one conversation but take the whole book to do so.

Favorite Romance Authors

All-Time Favorite Romance Authors

Jayne Ann Krentz (under any name)
Julie Garwood
Jo Beverley
Mary Balogh
Julie Kenner
Diana Palmer
Gaelan Foley
Barbara Metzger

Best Discovery/Buried Treasure Authors

Teri Brisbin

My Biggest Glom

Diana Palmer's Long Tall Texans
Mary Balogh's Signet Regencies
Marion Chesney's Regencies
Barbara Metzger's Regencies

Favorites by Plot Type

Cabin or Road:

Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase

Funny:

Harmony by Stef Ann Holm
Something about Emmaline by Elizabeth Boyle
Miss Wonderful by Loretta Chase

Suspense:

Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard
All Through the Night by Jayne Ann Krentz

Sexy:

Rogue by Fabio (Eugenia Riley)
Tonight or Never by Dara Joy
The Lover by Robin Schone

Favorites by Sub-Genre Favorite Characters

Contemporary:

Grand Passion by Jayne Ann Krentz
Family Man by Jayne Ann Krentz
The Trouble with Mary by Millie Criswell

Frontier or American Historical:

Harmony by Stef Ann Holm
Breathless by Laura Lee Guhrke
Dangerous, Defiant & Desperate by Millie Criswell
The Marshall and the Heiress by Patricia Potter
A Rogue in Texas by Lorraine Heath
Angel by Johanna Lindsey

European Historical:

Lady Defiant by Suzanne Robinson
The Fifth Daughter by Candace Camp
Star Catcher by Patricia Potter
A Merry Chase by Victoria Malvey
Lord of Fire by Gaelen Foley
The Wild Baron by Catherine Coulter
The Valentine Legacy by Catherine Coulter
Something about Emmaline by Elizabeth Boyle
Impulse by Candace Camp
Ravished by Amanda Quick

Traditional Regency:

The Wedding Journey by Carla Kelly
The Plumed Bonnet by Mary Balogh
The Famous Heroine by Mary Balogh
The Angel and the Earl by Barbara Metzger
Miss Lockharte's Letter by Barbara Metzger
Marrying Miss Bumblebroth by Mary Kingsley

Medieval:

The Norman's Bride by Teri Brisbin
Lord of Midnight by Jo Beverley
Mystique by Amanda Quick
The Prize by Julie Garwood
Saving Grace by Julie Garwood
The Bride by Julie Garwood
This Is All I Ask by Lynn Kurland

Alternate Reality:

The Cat's Fancy by Julie Kenner
Time Swept Bride by Eugenia Riley
A Dance through Time by Lynn Kurland
Until Forever by Johanna Lindsey
The Star Prince by Susan Grant
Shield's Lady by Amanda Glass (Jayne Ann Krentz)

Category:

Bargain with the Devil by Jayne Castle
Lady Love by Diana Palmer
Corporate Affair by Stephanie James
The Disobedient Bride by Joan Johnston
Right Chapel, Wrong Couple by Colleen Collins
Right Chest, Wrong Name by Colleen Collins
Kids Is a 4-Letter Word by Stephanie Bond

Favorite Hero

Gideon, Viscount St. Justin, Ravished by Amanda Quick
Max Fortune, Grand Passion by Jayne Ann Krentz
Luke Gilchrist, Family Man by Jayne Ann Krentz
Gabriel McBain, Saving Grace by Julie Garwood
Duncan of Wexton, Honor's Splendor by Julie Garwood
James Mallory, Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey
Bryght, Cyn, and Rothgar Malloren, in Jo Beverley's Malloren series

Favorite Heroine

Harriet Pomeroy, Ravished by Amanda Quick
Susannah, The Wild Baron by Catherine Coulter
Lady Johanna, Saving Grace by Julie Garwood
Madeline, Honor's Splendor by Julie Garwood
Lady Chastity Ware, My Lady Notorious by Jo Beverley
Emmaline, Something about Emmaline by Elizabeth Boyle

Most Tortured Hero

Gideon, Viscount St. Justin, Ravished by Amanda Quick
Thomas Blackwood, Winter Garden by Adele Ashworth
Karn, Danegeld by Susan Squires
Jamie Fraser, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Michael de Ange, The Lover by Robin Schone
Gabriel, Gabriel's Woman by Robin Schone

Strongest Heroine

Britta, Danegeld by Susan Squires
Harriet Pomeroy, Ravished by Amanda Quick
Merrie Trelawny, Smuggler's Lady by Jane Feather

Favorite Couple

Gideon, Viscount St. Justin, and Harriet Pomeroy, Ravished by Amanda Quick
Luke Gilchrist and Katy Wade, Family Man by Jayne Ann Krentz
Gabriel McBain and Lady Johanna, Saving Grace by Julie Garwood
Benni Harper and Gabe Ortiz, Earlene Fowler's Quilting series
Lord Francis Knellor and Cora Downes, The Famous Heroine by Mary Balogh
Cyn Malloren and Chastity Ware, My Lady Notorious by Jo Beverley
Socrates, Earl of Hyatt, and Maylene Treadwell, Miss Treadwell's Talent by Barbara Metzger

Best Villain

The Lover by Robin Schone
My Lady Notorious by Jo Beverley

Favorites by Mood

Comfort Reads:

All of Julie Garwood's historicals
Any Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick romance
Diana Palmer's series romances

Most-Hanky Reads:

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Guilty Pleasure:

Diana Palmers Mercenaries and Long, Tall Texans

Least-Favorites

Most Disappointing Books

My Man Pendleton by Elizabeth Bevarly
The Trouble with Valentine's Day by Rachel Gibson
Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood
Whirlwind Wedding by Jacquie D'Allesandro

Least Favorite Books

Prisoner of My Desire by Johanna Lindsey
The Wyndham Legacy by Catherine Coulter
Rosehaven by Catherine Coulter

Worst Books

Prisoner of My Desire by Johanna Lindsey
Winterfire by Johanna Lindsey
Rosehaven by Catherine Coulter
Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers
P.S. I've Taken a Lover by Patricia White
Change of Face by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Purple Prose-iest Book

Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers

Authors I Have Given Up On

Julie Garwood (Contemporaries)
Johanna Lindsey
Elizabeth Bevarly
Catherine Coulter (Contemporaries)

Authors Others Love That I Don't

Elizabeth Bevarly
Jane Feather

Most Annoying Lead Character

Lucy Armstrong, Don't Look Down, by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer
Scarlett Jane Stein, Change of Face by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Non-Romance Favorites

Favorite Author

Rex Stout
Earlene Fowler
Monica Ferris
Agatha Christie
Charles Dickens

Favorite Book

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

Favorite Classic Novel

Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Roughing It by Mark Twain

Favorite Mystery

Sunshine and Shadow by Earlene Fowler
Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard

Favorite Fantasy

The Cat's Fancy by Julie Kenner
The Star Prince by Susan Grant

Favorite Women's Fiction

Prospect Street by Emilie Richards

Favorite YA Book

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Favorite Set of Connected Books

Mercenaries series by Diana Palmer
Long, Tall Texans series by Diana Palmer
Dark Angel series by Mary Balogh

Book Most Often Reread

The Bride by Julie Garwood
The Prize by Julie Garwood
Saving Grace by Julie Garwood
Honor's Splendor by Julie Garwood
Ravished by Amanda Quick
Rendezvous by Amanda Quick
Deception by Amanda Quick
The Wild Baron by Catherine Coulter
The Famous Heroine by Mary Balogh

Favorite Nonfiction

Agatha Christie: an Autobiography by Agatha Christie




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