9. A Hellion in Her Bed by Sabrina Jeffries: When it comes to historical romance, I very much prefer American. Well, to be honest, I mostly prefer anything non-English. They're by far the most popular in the romance world, but I find most of them really, really boring and repetitive. Sabrina Jeffries is my exception to that. I find her characters far more interesting than most in her genre, because her heroines tend to be unusual. This is the second in her Hellions of Halstead Hall series, and I enjoyed it as much as the first one. Basically, the series is about a group of five siblings who have been ordered by the grandmother to be married by the end of the year or get disinherited. None of them want to do it. This is the story of the second son, a gambler by trade, who gets conned into running the family brewery for the year. He gets approached about a business deal by a woman whose family owns a much smaller brewery outside of London, and it just takes off from there. The characters are fun, the dialogue often humorous, and the chemistry high. It's a little light on actual conflict, but hey, I ended it with a smile which is all I really ask from romances. -B+
10. Maya's Notebook by Isabel Allende: I have loved Isabel Allende since I read House of the Spirits years and years ago. I love how diverse her characters always are and how she can make settings come to life, and this really was no exception to those. It's not her typical fare. It jumps back and forth in the life of Maya Vidal, starting with her arrival on an island off the coast of Chile to hide away from the Mafia, and gradually filling in the details of how she ended up in that place, all the while painting pictures of her family, the sometimes ugly and vicious life she chooses, and her Chilean haven. I was so wrapped up in most of this book, I was reading when I was supposed to be working in San Antonio. My one complaint is that the last 15% of the book kind of let the rest of the story down. It ended up being rather anti-climactic after everything, as Allende insisted on visiting some Chilean history that honestly did nothing to help the story. -B+
I'm almost done with Trash, and I've added Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen to the current reads.