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Dear Author Recommends for February

Last month, Shana Abé released the third book in the shapeshifting drákon series. At the time of the release, we had not yet read the book. During January, Janine finished Queen of Dragons (The Drakon, Book 3). She loved the characters of the strong-willed hero and heroine and though she wishes the heroine’s past trauma had been explored more, she thinks the writing is just gorgeous and the book well worth reading.

042521977101mzzzzzzz.jpgDemon Night by Meljean Brook is a Jane recommendation. Brook excels at the unusual protagonists. This entry in the Guardian series is no different. Charlie is a former opera singer whose voice was lost in a drunken motor vehicle accident. Ethan is a former outlaw, turned holy Guardian, who has spent decades atoning for his sins. Each character finds redemption with the help of the other while fighting off demons, vampires, and underworld characters.

042521932101mzzzzzzz.jpgMark of the Vampire Queen is the second in Joey Hill’s duology featuring a dominant vampire queen and her submissive servant. Hill brings a strong conclusion to the duology and explores the true meaning of dominance and submission. Jacob is as alpha as any dominant and the power play struggle between Jacob and Lyssa, the Queen, is made more poignant by the fragility of the Lyssa’s health and her grasp on her empire.

045122326801mzzzzzzz.jpgBleeding Dusk by Colleen Gleason is a recommended read by our fantasy reviewer, Jia. This third in the Gardella Chronicles displays a maturation of the titular character, Victoria Gardella, as she continues to fight vampires and attempt to sort through her feelings between Max and Sebastian. The review and the book sparked an interesting debate here at Dear Author.

159816876201mzzzzzzz.jpgJan, our occasional manga reviewer, wanted to bring attention to the Tokyopop’s release of an omnibus version of the first three volumes of Kare Kano for $12.99. While Jan don’t really like their omnibus idea because the things are cheaply made and just friggin’ huge to hold, this is a really great deal for anyone interested in checking out the series. Also vol 14 of Tramps Like Us is coming out this month, which is the last vol of that series. Jan’s enjoyed the series quite a bit.

0208-9780373305384-bigw.jpgIt’s not all paranormal all the time here. Jayne recommends two historicals. The first is An Honorable Rogue by Carol Townend, a Harlequin Historical. An Honorable Rogue features a Breton setting with a working class hero and heroine. Mix in a road romance crossed with a friends-turned-lovers and Jayne’s attention was held.

039915464701mzzzzzzz.jpgThe second historical is Ariana Franklin’s The Serpent’s Tale. Franklin’s heroine is Adelia Aguilar, a “mistress of the art of death”. She is called by King Henry II to investigate the death of Rosamund Clifford, a death that Henry lays at the feet of his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Adelia is reunited with her former lover, and the father of her child, and together they try to solve the mystery. Jayne particularly likes the strong roles the women play in this story.

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


  1. Keishon
    Feb 04, 2008 @ 12:25:20

    That’s a short list. I have about 1/4 of The Serpent’s Tale left to read (started it really late). I haven’t read the Abe book yet, nor the second one for that matter. Demon Night I plan to get despite that cover (not my favorite) and my aversion to paranormals today. Thanks ladies.

  2. AAR Rachel
    Feb 04, 2008 @ 13:28:07

    The Serpent’s Tale looks good. I just finished up City of Shadows and would definitely try this author again. I didn’t realize that she was Diana Norman (whose books I haven’t tried yet but have heard much about) until I was 3/4 of the way through. I guess I’ve been tardy to board this train.

    Janine makes the Abe book sound good too, but I’ve read Abe twice before and haven’t enjoyed her so much. I wonder if she’s gotten better with time?

  3. Jayne
    Feb 04, 2008 @ 13:37:05

    My two selections, An Honorable Rogue and The Serpent’s Tale are also available as ebooks. TST is on sale at Fictionwise for more than 1/2 off.

  4. Sarai
    Feb 04, 2008 @ 13:53:36

    I have most if not all of them on the wish list at amazon just added An Honorable Rogue by Carol Townend, thought can’t wait to check it out. I loved “mistress of the art of death” so I can’t wait to check out The Serpent’s Tale. Great list thanks!

  5. Jia
    Feb 04, 2008 @ 13:53:52

    I enjoyed The Vampire Queen’s Servant, so I’m glad to hear that Mark of the Vampire Queen lives up to it.

  6. AAR Rachel
    Feb 04, 2008 @ 13:54:39

    Sorry about that double post. It didn’t show up and I thought my computer ate it and posted again. Whoops.

  7. Janine
    Feb 04, 2008 @ 14:41:41

    I deleted the double post, Rachel. Which two Abe books have you tried?

  8. Meriam
    Feb 04, 2008 @ 16:44:49

    Oh, if I could just freeze time, I would read the first three in that list in a happy daze. And then I would fast forward to the future, freeze time again, and read all 5 in the Gardella series. What is it about February? Some great books and movies coming out. (And my birthday!)

    In the absence of a time machine, I suppose I’ll just sit in front of my laptop and whine…

  9. AAR Rachel
    Feb 04, 2008 @ 21:17:48

    Janine – After looking in my database, it turns out I’ve read three – A Kiss at Midnight, The Last Mermaid, and The Secret Swan – all at different times, at least a year apart. I graded them all about C level. I’m not sure if these are representative or not of Abe’s best books.

  10. (Jān)
    Feb 04, 2008 @ 22:50:34

    I started reading the Last Mermaid and got stuck at the end of the first historical section. It’s not bad but it is not much like her Thief books, which I loved. Her style has changed.

  11. Ann Bruce
    Feb 05, 2008 @ 01:14:41

    I started reading the Last Mermaid and got stuck at the end of the first historical section. It's not bad but it is not much like her Thief books, which I loved. Her style has changed.

    Nooo! I have this book and a couple other Abe books on order (they appear to be a special price on or the publishers have decided to go with parity pricing).

    Should I cancel the order?

  12. (Jān)
    Feb 05, 2008 @ 02:10:55

    I just read Rachel’s review of The Last Mermaid and have to say I agreed with what she said about the first novella, the only one I read. There was just no attraction for me to the characters, and the sex was waaaaaaay out of place, and frankly I’d skip this one. I’ve not read the other two books she mentioned though I own them, and other older ones. I’ve been afraid to try. :(

  13. Keishon
    Feb 05, 2008 @ 02:37:44

    Abe is an author I haven’t really enjoyed until her Thief series, either. I agree that her style has changed or I just enjoy the fantasy elements more.

  14. Janine
    Feb 05, 2008 @ 06:43:12

    Well, I’ve read Abe’s Intimate Enemies, one of her older historicals, a medieval. While there were things to like about the book, my enjoyment of it was far more mild than my enjoyment of The Smoke Thief, The Dream Thief and Queen of Dragons. I find the characterization of the heroes and heroines of the drakon books far more compelling and I think that Abe’s writing style has really grown by leaps and bounds. From a pure language craftsmanship perspective, she’s become one of the most impressive authors in the genre, and can really dazzle me with words. If you want to give her another try, Rachel, I would recommends starting this series with The Smoke Thief.

  15. AAR Rachel
    Feb 09, 2008 @ 09:15:37

    I will see if I can find a copy of The Smoke Thief at the library. It’s worth one more try to me if you think she’s gotten better – “dazzle[s] me with words” is pretty strong praise. :)

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