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Naked in Death by J.D. Robb, aka Nora Roberts
Description: Mystery. Romance.  Its 2057 and Eve Dallas, a NY homicide detective, works to discover who is killing prostitutes while fighting her own attraction to one of her suspects.

Karen bought one, then two, then the whole Death series (this is the first book). My god, they are more addictive than chocolate. 

The mystery is solid, which Dallas solves through steady legwork and a good deal of tenacity. There is a medium amount of violence, well it is a murder mystery. Hint. People die.

The futuristic setting is interesting. Just mild changes based on current social trends. Smoking is illegal. Prostitution is legal, licensed and they pay lots of taxes. People, however, remain largely the same. 

Dallas is a great main character. Tough, yet well itís hard to call her feminine. Tough, yet sarcastic works better. She defines herself as a cop and sheís a good cop. Outside of being a cop, her social skills are a little blunt, straight from the hip, donít bother me with girl stuff, okay.

Which brings us to her love interest, Roarke. Mysterious, sexy and very, very rich, which has a certain vicarious pleasure to it. As described, I imagine Remington Steele, only with a lot more money. Heís smooth and he know what he wants. And he wants Eve. A little matter of a murder investigation isnít going to stop him.

It would be an understatement to say that sparks fly. Whatís nice about their (big old spoiler here) relationship is that it grows over the course of the books. Eve doesnít trust easily and lets face it Roarke has a lot of gray areas in his background. But it works. 

If you have plenty of time to get totally sucked into a series, check it out.

Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
Description: Tall, awkward, and shy New York girl finds out she's actually the princess of a small European country. You see all her thoughts, trials, and tribulations through her journal. Sweet and hilarious.

This book is too cute for words, but I'll throw a few out there anyway. I read the book a few months before the movie came out. I couldn't resist the quirky, feisty heroine, Mia Thermopolus. For someone in such a fairy tale situation, she's very real. She thinks and acts like a normal 14 year old girl.

Mia's dad comes to town unexpectedly and drops the big bombshell. Mia is illegitimate, but now that her father can no longer have children, she's stuck with being his heir. She's less than thrilled and it only gets worse when her chain-smoking, dog dressing, and imperious grandmother shows up to give her princess lessons. The results are unusual and side-splitting to say the least.

This is a kid's book though, so if you don't still have a scrawny, insecure 14 year old somewhere inside you, you probably won't like it. (Personally, I hated books for kids when I was a kid, but I think this is one I would have enjoyed.) It's also pretty damn girlie. There's a makeover for goodness sakes. But there's also a lot of substance, learning about liking yourself for who you are and doing the same for others. The book nicely treads a middle ground between treacle and angst. I'd highly recommend it (and the sequels - one out now in hardback, one due next spring) to those looking for a light-hearted, girl power romp.

Requiem for the Devil by Jerri Smith Ready
Description: Fantasy, Romance, Philosophical Mind bender. Set in Modern Day Washington D.C. Lucifer falls in love for the first time and must learn to deal with the transformative qualities of love.

Its really difficult to adequately explain this book. I mean, okay, the devil falls in love huh, but no really, it was an incredible book. A continuation of Miltonís Paradise Lost and yet the emotion is straight Dante. 

At its core is a concept that I happen to believe. Love transforms. It stretches us. Makes us willing to do the other thing. Little loves are practice for the big loves. Big loves enable us to admit to the little loves. All love is a reflection of the primal love that binds the universe.

HmmmÖthat probably wonít sell anyone will it. Well, the characters are incredibly well developed, believable, funny, poignant.

I mean okay, it reads like a joke, so Beelzebub, Mephistopheles, and Lucifer go into a barÖAnd then it happens. He hears her sing. Looses himself. Finds himself.

Lucifer is as he should be. The rebel questioning. In love with knowledge and the human mind. Has a problem with his relationship with God. Canít even say dadís name. Pretends it doesnít bother him. Spends his time being evil because what else is there for him to do. Heís the devil.

Gianna, his beloved, is very cool, questioning Catholic, kind, generous, a punk rocker and a political advocate. He asks her where she wants to go, she chooses the Grand Canyon. Decks him when he crosses the line. Banters beautifully.

The author avoids stereotypes, tropes, and any particular religious line to deliver the kind of book you can read over and over again.

Karen bought the e-version of the book and we ended up having to buy the hard copy. It is that good.

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