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Friday Top Ten: Keishon, Avid Book Reader

Keishon is my go to resource when I want a great mystery read.   She turned me on to PJ Tracy, Julia Spencer Fleming, and Karin Slaughter, to name a few.

When you ask for a top ten list, these titles come to mind quickly. It’s a shame that I can only name ten titles as there are a lot of other great, wonderful, romance books out there but without further ado, here is a glimpse at my keeper shelf, starting with the first ten or so titles. As you can see, I am a huge fan of historical romances.

  1. Heart of the West by Penelope Williamson. This book is out of print but can be purchased used.
  2. Years by LaVyrle Spencer. No digital version.
  3. Flowers From the Storm by Laura Kinsale. Kindle link.
  4. Bliss & Dance by Judith Ivory [they go together]. These are expensive and out of print. Looking at the pub date (1996), the rights may have reverted back to Ivory. Maybe someday she’ll allow them to be sold digitally.
  5. Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer. The link is to a trade reprint but there are very affordable used copies. The Kindle version is also expensive.
  6. Fortune’s Bride by Roberta Gellis. Gellis resold the print and digital rights to Ellora’s Cave for publication under the Cerridwen Press imprint. Ellora’s Cave charges twice as much for their print and digital books at retail locations other than the jasmine-jade website.
  7. Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart. This is a trade reprint. There are affordable used versions but no digital version.
  8. Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught. No digital version.
  9. The Shadow & the Star by Laura Kinsale. Kindle link.
  10. My Dearest Enemy by Connie Brockway. No digital versioin.


Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


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  2. Michelle
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 11:13:19

    This was a fun list with lots of great memories. I’ve read (and loved) all but F and G. I even have a copy of G but have never read it.

  3. Angie
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 11:21:03

    Oh, man. NINE COACHES WAITING. Possibly my very favorite Mary Stewart book. And that is saying something!

  4. Mireya
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 11:34:08

    I LOVE “My Dearest Enemy”. Now I feel like re-reading it yet again. I am looking into the other ones to add to my wishlist. :D

  5. Verona St. James
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 12:12:45

    I LOVE Nine Coaches Waiting. I love Mary Stewart in general, in fact. :)

  6. Karenmc
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 12:17:06

    Oh, I also love “My Dearest Enemy” and “Flowers from the Storm”. I’ve never tried Spencer, but it looks like I’ll be going to the USB on Saturday.

  7. Jennifer Estep
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 12:36:01

    I read LaVyrle Spencer’s books when I was younger and enjoyed them. Bittersweet was one of my favs. There was also another one by Spencer about a woman who takes in an injured man who may or may not be a train robber, but I can’t remember the name of that one. And she’s not on your list, but I also remember loving several of Rebecca Brandewyne’s books …

  8. Lori
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 13:40:18

    Jennifer: the Spenser book was Hummingbird. the first I read of hers and made me a lifetime fan girl.

  9. SRS
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 13:45:49

    Nine Coaches Waiting is one of my all time favourite comfort reads. I have read it more times than I can count and it never fails as a pick me up. Man, I love that book.

    The only other book I’ve read from that list is Fortunes Bride. I did like it, but prefer Gellis’ medievals.

  10. lazaraspaste
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 13:47:42

    I’ve read half of these. The other half are going on my gigantic and back-breaking list of books to try.

  11. Jennifer Estep
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 14:18:05

    @Lori: Thanks! It was bugging me that I couldn’t remember the name of that one.

  12. Bev Stephans
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 16:40:23

    Jane, you turned me on to “Morning Glory”. After I read that, I gobbled up Lavyrle Spencer’s back list. I have the “Shadow and the Star”, but haven’t read it yet. Darn TBR pile!

  13. Janine
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 17:52:11

    What a fabulous list. I remember adoring the Kinsale and Ivory books, and Spencer’s Years was so unusual. My Dearest Enemy is my favorite Brockway.

    I have Heart of the West TBR. Many of my friends love it to bits, but I have a hard time getting started because the book is so long.

  14. Keishon
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 18:13:11

    Just got in the door…

    @Michelle: Roberta Gellis is a wonderful writer and Fortune’s Bride is a marriage of convenience story so if you enjoy those types of romances and don’t mind that the author is a bit heavy handed with the history, you’re in for a treat. It’s an excellent read that unfolds slowly.

    @Angie: Hi. Alongside NINE COACHES WAITING would be AIRS ABOVE THE GROUND. I also enjoy Victoria Holt as well.

    @Mireya: Hi. Try one title and let us know how you like it (or not). I think these titles still read well today but you never know.

    @Verona St. James: If you’ve read Mary Stewart, I can almost say with certainty that you’ve probably read Victoria Holt. Am I right?

    @Jennifer Estep: @Lori: My first Spencer was Separate Beds. Still love it to this day.

    @SRS: If you are referring to the Rosalyde Chronicles? I haven’t read those yet and would like to one day. I love her medieval mysteries, starting with A MORTAL BANE.

    @lazaraspaste: I hope you find another keeper. There’s nothing better than discovering a new romance that blows you away. No guarantee that the ones I listed will do that for you though but I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

    @Bev Stephans: Such a shame that a good read STILL sits in your TBR pile, Bev. Read it right now. You’ll thank me later.

    @Janine: This saddens me, Janine. The big book syndrome strikes again. If you have a week to spare (kidding, shouldn’t be that long). It’s a good book but it does have a love triangle in it that I thought worked well. The chemistry is smoking hot, the sex is hot as well. There’s plenty of angst and other things going on as well. No lie though, it will take you a good four or five chapters to really get into the book but keep it, don’t trade it. That book is hard to find around here.

  15. Zoe Archer
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 18:56:50

    Bliss is my favorite Ivory/Cuevas novel, and that’s saying quite a lot, since many of her books are on my now pared-down-to-only-the-essentials keeper shelf. It would go in my theoretical conversion kit. Good recommendation!

  16. Janine
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 19:46:34


    If you have a week to spare (kidding, shouldn't be that long).

    LOL, it often takes me a week to finish a 350 page book (the reason you don’t see that many reviews from me here). Heart of the West is twice that long and the print is small, so I would be surprised if I could finish it in less than two. But yeah, I don’t plan on trading it in. I have Once in a Blue Moon and The Outsider on my TBR shelf too. For someday, when I have more time.

  17. SRS
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 20:43:34

    Keishon, I’ve read the first 3 of the Roselynde Chronicles, but as they are out of print it was just luck that I found them at a used book store and I have yet to find any of the others. She has another medieval series that you can by online from Cerridwen Press. I think it is called the Royal Dynasty series? Something like that anyway. My favourites are Winter Song and Fire Song, the second and third books in the series.

    I got into Gellis from the Magdalene la Bâtarde series and immediately hunted down everything of hers I could get my hands on. I heard she’s working on the 5th Magdaline book and can’t wait.

  18. Stacy Boyd
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 22:05:03


    I have a feeling I would love to borrow books from your keeper shelf! Bliss, Dance and Flowers from the Storm are definitely on *my* top-ten romances. And I liked My Dearest Enemy and Shadow and the Star, too–guess this means I need to try the others you mentioned. Adding to my TBR list right now…

  19. EC Sheedy
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 23:44:48

    Everytime I read one of these top ten lists, I sigh, moan and long for a one week reading holiday. (Without guilt!)

    Just me, the right lighting, a big comfy chair, and a doable stack of books. Coffee in the morning. Tea at night. Maybe some soft music (maybe not). And at least six of these titles to fall into, then not come up until the last page was turned. (Just mention LaVyrle Spencer and I’m a goner. Absolutely love that woman’s writing. Love it!)

  20. John
    Jun 12, 2010 @ 00:30:02

    @Keishon: While I’ve never read any Victoria Holt, I’ve read a Jean Plaidy – who is actually the same author. She was apparently a prolific writer who went by three/four pennames to publish multiple books. Her historical novels as Jean Plaidy are very good and well written – if more historical than the gothic romance of Victoria Holt.

  21. Keishon
    Jun 12, 2010 @ 07:09:00

    @Janine: that’s right. You’re a slow reader like me where it takes the right book and the right mood to make the pages fly faster. But anyway, when you read Heart of the West, I want to be the the first to know what you think of it. Or the second or third.

    @Zoe Archer: I love Judy Cuevas. Where is she? Someone, anyone? Tell her we need her back ASAP. Thanks Mr. Archer.

    @SRS: Oh good deal, I have both Winter Song and Fire Song; in e and wait, you said you heard she’s writing another book after Chains of Folly? I had NO IDEA! Thank you for sharing that bit of information. I hope she has a publisher for it.

    @Stacy Boyd: If you find them and read them, I hope you enjoy them. Her Judith Ivory books weren’t bad but they are not as well written as her Cuevas books but I still loved Sleeping Beauty, Beast and The Proposition.

    @EC Sheedy: Hey that sounds like reading bliss to me. I wish Spencer was still writing. When she retired, there really wasn’t no one to replace her. She did an excellent job with writing about regular people finding love.

    @John: Hey John, well you got me there dude. I’ve never read her as Jean Plaidy. I’ve read almost all of her Holt titles and her Philippa Carr titles, another pen name she used as well. I think you would like My Enemy The Queen under the Holt pen name especially since you liked her Jean Plaidy titles. My Enemy the Queen was very, very good.

    Did some minor edits.

  22. SarahT
    Jun 12, 2010 @ 08:00:28

    @Keishon Great list. There are several books on it that I love, and a couple I haven’t read yet.

    @John While I like the Victoria Holt books, I prefer her writing as Jean Plaidy. If you like Jean Plaidy, you might enjoy Elizabeth Chadwick’s Medieval historicals.

  23. GrowlyCub
    Jun 12, 2010 @ 12:18:00


    Have you read Chadwick’s re-writes of The Wild Hunt, The Running Vixen and The Leopard Unleashed?

    She told me the re-writes were mandated by Little Brown to get the books re-issued. I always feel funny when authors re-write my favorites, but I’m curious, too!

  24. SarahT
    Jun 12, 2010 @ 12:36:16

    @GrowlyCub: I read the original trilogy when I was a teenager, and I got the new versions of ‘The Wild Hunt’ and ‘The Running Vixen’ a few days ago. I haven’t read them yet, but I’ll let you know what I think. ‘The Leopard Unleashed’ won’t be out until the end of the year.

  25. GrowlyCub
    Jun 12, 2010 @ 13:46:46


    Where did you get them from? When I checked Amazon UK and BookDepository they said WH was OOP.

    I look forward to your comments.

  26. Keishon
    Jun 12, 2010 @ 13:49:08

    @GrowlyCub: @SarahT: I had no idea that the digitized versions were rewritten! I will make sure to read the originals. As far as I know they’ve never reprinted her earlier books and almost all of them are OOP. At least last I checked they were OOP. Wonder what was changed? or the publisher felt had to be taken out of them? Sad to hear it.

  27. SarahT
    Jun 12, 2010 @ 14:43:18

    @GrowlyCub: I’m seeing ‘The Wild Hunt’ in stock at both The Book and sites. I bought mine from BooksonBoard’s UK site have a few of her books in e, but not ‘The Wild Hunt’. Her entire backlist is being reprinted by her British publisher and the covers are gorgeous.

    @Keishon: As far as I know, it’s just her first three books – The Ravenstow Trilogy – which have had changes made to them. This applies to the print versions as well as the digital. If you do want to buy any of her work as ebooks, avoid the Westerns written by a different author who is also named Elizabeth Chadwick.

  28. GrowlyCub
    Jun 12, 2010 @ 14:58:35


    Are there digital versions of the new WH, RV and LU?

    My impression was they were print only.

    ETA: Obviously I need to read better, lol. But are those ebooks the new versions or the originals?

  29. SarahT
    Jun 12, 2010 @ 15:09:08

    @GrowlyCub: Of the Ravenstow trilogy, only the second book, ‘The Running Vixen’, is available in e. No clue why publishers do that. As the ebook has the same cover as the print reissue, I’m assuming it’s the new version.

    BooksOnBoard UK have nine of Elizabeth Chadwick’s books, but I don’t know if they are geographically restricted.

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