Recommended Reads: What I read & enjoyed in October

In October, I read some absolutely amazing books and discovered an author new to me (Mary Balogh) who will be on my go-to list of favorite authors. I’d fallen behind on my Goodreads challenge to read 100 books this year, but while on a week’s vacation I finished three books in one day. I got excited–I thought I’d be able to catch up and meet my challenge this year.

But then I started reading Once Upon a Christmas Wedding, A Holiday Romance Collection. The stories are wonderful; it’s one of the best anthologies I’ve ever read, BUT the book is long. As I write this, I’ve been reading this book for a week and a half and I’m still only 30% through it. There are 27 stories in the anthology, and it is 3,000+ pages long (I’m not kidding). Honestly, if I’d known it was that long, I never would have started it. But the stories are so good, I don’t want to give it up. But because of this book, I probably will not achieve my Goodreads challenge this year.

But, without further ado, let’s get into the books I did finish…

Six stars! The storytelling, plotting and writing of The Woman in the Window are absolutely masterful.

Following a horrific accident that leaves her physically and emotionally traumatized, child psychologist Anna Fox becomes agoraphobic. Terrified of leaving her house, she spends her days playing online chess, hanging out in chat rooms counseling other agoraphobics (do as I say, not as I do), and spying on her neighbors from her window. Then one day she witnesses a murder in the house across the street. Since Anna is on strong psychotropic drugs and further self-medicates with multiple bottles of merlot, her account is disbelieved. In fact, the reader even wonders, did a murder occur? Who actually was the victim? Who was the perpetrator?

Unreliable-narrator-witnesses-a-murder is not a new concept but the execution of The Woman in the Window is flawless and keeps the reader guessing from the beginning until the surprise ending.

I couldn’t sleep until I finished this book, and then I couldn’t sleep because I kept thinking about it. There were no superfluous details in this story. Every single detail means something and connects to the climax.

As an author, I confess that when I read another writer’s book, I think one of two things: “I can do that” or “Damn, I wish I could do that.”

The Woman in the Window is a “Damn, I wish I could do that.” Bravo!


After Nadia’s violent mobster ex-husband goes to prison, she enters the Witness Protection Program, but she doesn’t trust the government to protect her. She signs up to become a mail order bride to a Vaxxlian, to move out of reach of her vengeful ex. But when Rozar arrives to claim her, she’s hesitant to leave right away, wondering if he’ll turn out to be like her ex.

Rozar is a nice addition to the Intergalactic Dating Agency series about human women meeting their alien mates on Earth. You have a strong, protective, doting alien hero, a younger, sweet heroine in need of protection, a villain who threatens their romance, and then an HEA.


I LOVED this book so much! It is one of the most romantic Regency romances I’ve ever read.

Diana Ingram, a young widow, goes to visit her in-laws, whom she is very close to. Her mother-in-law, an incurable matchmaker, has decided that Diana and the Marquess of Kenwood, would be the perfect couple and proceeds to push them together at every turn. Except the very charming Marquess is a notorious rake who has accepted a wager to seduce Diana, and she is determined not to become one of his conquests.

I loved watching the characters change and fall in love with each other. The dialogue was witty; I highlighted favorite lines throughout this book. The ending was so romantic, I cried.

An excellent, excellent ROMANCE. This author was new to me, and I’ll definitely be checking out her other books.


Following a terrible war, the Tritonyri lost most of their population, and their waterworld was poisoned. They have a hope of saving it, if they can get compatible mates. Maelstrom and a small crew travel to Earth to collect the mate their commander was promised by the Intergalactic Dating Agency (IDA). But all is not what it seems…

Ridley washed out of Navy SEAL training after developing a sudden fear of water. With her hydrophobia getting worse, she’s called to an estate in Montana with others who’ve developed strange water-related maladies. The InterGeneticData Agency (IDA) offers hope for a cure, beginning with genetic testing of those afflicted. But all is not what it seems…

When Maelstrom & Ridley team up to find the answers they seek, they uncover a conspiracy they never expected.

While most sci-fi & sci-fi romances look to the stars, this one delves into underwater worlds. The characters are unique to the story. Mael could be called a “merman,” but he doesn’t have a fish tail. Plotting is detailed, and the writing descriptive. If you’re looking for action-oriented sci-fi romance that is out of norm, MAELSTROM is good pick.


Clementine is a woman in love with love. She wants a man to be crazy about her and wants to be married. But since it’s not working out for her on Earth, she signs up with the Intergalactic Dating Agency to marry an alien. It’s a marriage of convenience; Ares needs a green card to remain on Earth. However, Clementine is optimistic love will come and her handsome alien will turn into the man of her dreams.

Except Ares isn’t at all interested in romance.

This was a quick, entertaining read. I loved the heroine’s snarkiness.


When Humphrey Wescott, Earl of Riverdale, the owner of a vast fortune, dies, it comes to light that he had an illegitimate daughter, Anna Snow. Wescott’s widow instructs the solicitor to pay her off to secure her silence so that none of the family will ever be bothered by scandal. But unwittingly her attempt to conceal the indiscretion unleashes an epic scandal and completely alters her family’s circumstances.

This is a rags-to-riches Regency romance. It was challenging at the start to keep track of all the characters, but it was worth the effort. About 15% into the book, the truth is revealed and what a zinger!!! Jaw-dropping.

Loved, loved the characters and the story.


Celebrity photographer and former grifter Katie is abducted by aliens to become alien warrior’s tribute bride. She decides to play along so that she can escape and tell her story to the tabloids. Zayn, a scarred warrior who was captured and tortured, doesn’t want a tribute bride. Suffering from survivor’s guilt, he doesn’t think Katie is good enough for him. There’s plenty of distrust to go around. But just as their love blossoms, strange things, seemingly linked to Zayn, start going wrong on the space station. Exposed was a well-written creative, alien abduction romance. Nothing too heavy, just a fun story.


Have you read any of these books? What did you read and enjoy in October?

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6 Responses to Recommended Reads: What I read & enjoyed in October

  1. Tasha Black says:

    The Woman in the Window was AWESOME! If you liked it you should try Thirteen by Steve Cavanaugh! Great list! 🙂

    • Cara Bristol says:

      I looked at the blurb for Thirteen. Wow! That looks so good. I’m going to download the sample. Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. ML says:

    Ah, to discover Balogh for the first time! You’re in for sone real treats with her books.

  3. Gill Kerry says:

    had a good month in October and its not over yet. Lol. I also enjoyed Maelstrom. It was certainly different. Other standouts were
    Deosil by Jordan L Hawk. Whyborne and Griffin #11. And so it ends. A fabulous series, and what a journey and ending but I will miss Widdershins. Widdershins does indeed know its own
    Gilded Cage by KJ Charles. Everything she writes is brilliant. 6 out of 5 stars
    Several from Pets in Space 4.
    Dark Guard by Anna Hackett.
    Star Cruise:Idol’s Curse by Veronica Scott
    Cyborg’s Revenge by Pauline Baird Jone
    His to Defend by Rhenna Morgan. Needed a fan during this book
    A Chimera’s Revenge by Eve Langlais. Chimera Secrets #4. Another great installment
    Kord by Cara Bristol
    I’m currently reading the Toni Anderson latest, Colder than Sin, and it is fantastic.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Great list. Nice to see Kord on it! 😉

      Chimera’s Secrets is definitely on my list. I’m looking forward to it, but I want to read the Lionman one first. Loved the first two.

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