In times of stress and difficulty, there's nothing quite like a good escapist book, especially when you're spending hours upon hours on airplanes. So it's not surprising I've read three such books since the beginning of the year. (I've also re-read almost all of Northanger Abbey, which is its own kind of escapism. It's not even close to my favorite Austen book, but Henry Tilney is probably the Austen hero I'd marry myself if I could.)
The Unlacing of Miss Leigh (Diane Gaston, 2009) is a Harlequn Undone--i.e. a historical romance novella published solely in electronic form. Though I'm normally all about long fiction (sagas preferred!), I'm finding I really enjoy romance novellas. With longer romances, I often find myself getting impatient with the couple and wondering if they really belong together if they have so many misunderstandings and so much difficulty in solving them. (Not always, just often.)
I thought this was an especially good story for the novella form, since Gaston set it up so that the couple had a childhood history and had also exchanged letters before meeting in person, thus making it seem logical that the couple could know each other well enough to commit after 15,000 words or less. (That being the equal and opposite problem facing romantic shorts. With a bad full-length romance, I think, "Get on with it already!" With a bad short one, I think, "You're crazy if you're committing to him already. For all you know he's an axe murderer.) Anyway, here a literally battle-scarred hero and a down-on-her-luck heroine find mutual comfort and passion, and it's a sweet and sexy quick read.
Though I'm really tired of the whole sin/wicked/naughty trend in romance titles--it's become way overdone, IMHO--I picked up Wicked All Day (Liz Carlyle, 2009) in a bookstore because the cover caught my eye, read the prologue and liked it, and decided to order a Kindle edition. (Yes, I sometimes buy books for my Kindle while shopping in a bricks-and-mortar store. I just don't see the point of cluttering my house with a physical book when it's available for the Kindle unless the book has illustrations or otherwise doesn't work well in e-format.) It was the perfect read for a long flight, and I mean that entirely as a compliment. There was a large, appealing cast of characters, the hero and heroine were believably flawed but still likable, and the romance was romantic.
Heat Wave (2009) is purportedly by Richard Castle, whom fans of Nathan Fillion will recognize as the mystery author he plays on the ABC mystery series Castle. I have no idea how well the book works on its own as a thriller, because I don't read the genre. I read it through the lens of the TV series and characters and enjoyed it on that level.