Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.


  1. Sahara Hoshi
    Jul 25, 2010 @ 18:00:21

    Kresley Cole has a release: Demon from the Dark which I am anxiously looking forward to.
    Robin D. Owens releases Heart Journey
    Larissa Ione releases Sin Undone the same day that the Kresley Coel release comes out

  2. May
    Jul 25, 2010 @ 18:04:19

    Where do I even start? July was an over the top AWESOME read month for me. *blissful romance filled sigh*

    1. I gave into Nalini Singh, and I’ll never be the same! #1 & 3 of her psy/changeling series were AWESOME (was ‘so what’ about #2)

    2. All I ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins was EVERYTHING I want from a contemp. romance. I laughed and cried and repeated… it rocked.

    3. Christie Craig’s Shut up and Kiss me was a surprising delight. I liked the Native American characters and I so want to re-visit that town of Precious again for more stories – she said she would be trying for it!

    Those have been my most notable reads this month, lots to look forward to in August with a strong regency release Tues 27th (Hoyt, Dare, Chase, etc) and lots in my ‘to buy’ for August… can’t wait to see what everyone else has been reading!!

  3. Carin
    Jul 25, 2010 @ 18:37:48

    I got an early copy of Hot Finish by Erin McCarthy and really enjoyed it. I laughed a LOT, as well as enjoying the main storyline. I recommend the book!

  4. firepages
    Jul 25, 2010 @ 20:31:18

    I agree with Carin. I am completely loving Hot Finish right now.

  5. Chez
    Jul 25, 2010 @ 20:41:56

    Don’t know how I missed the whispers about Ilona Andrews “Kate Daniels” series, but I’m certainly glad to have found them now. The big plus being that there were four books to glom.

  6. helen
    Jul 25, 2010 @ 20:48:05

    Loved Liu’s most recent Kiss novel. Excellent as always. She has a way with prose that just makes you want to weep.
    Somehow my local BN had a copy of S.L. Viehl’s latest and last Stardoc series “A dream Called Time”. Excellent as well.

  7. jennifer
    Jul 25, 2010 @ 21:53:11

    I (happily) fell into the marketing trap set by Amazon, in which they offered a free kindle version of Karen Marie Moning’s Darkfever. I ended up reading the rest of the Fever series this week, and thoroughly enjoyed it…the only problem was the books all end on cliffhangers…and now, I have to wait for the upcoming novel.

  8. Edith
    Jul 25, 2010 @ 21:56:44

    I don’t get the love for Ilona Andrews. Her heroines are not just tough, they’re unpleasant. Kate Daniels insults people for no good reason. I got halfway through the first book where they decide Crest is a bad guy for no reason and gave up. Then I tried the first Edge book. Cardboard hero. I quit.

    Maybe I’m just sick of super-tough obnoxious kickass heroines. I want a book with a tough but normal heroine. One who can sass when it’s *appropriate* without being unnecessarily insulting. I want more Martha-Wells type heroines.

    Speaking of Martha, she’s just sold two books! I can hardly wait.

  9. Diana
    Jul 25, 2010 @ 22:21:31

    Finished Kristan Higgins’s All I Ever Wanted yesterday. Loved it!

  10. Verona St. James
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 01:55:51

    I won a copy of Charlotte Stein’s new paranormal novella “Tigerlily,” from Total E-Bound and I enjoyed it so much. She has a great voice, and I thought the story had some really good world-building even though it was less than 50 pages.

    Of course, the main reason I love her stuff is she’s hilarious. Like this bit:

    All the possible reasons that someone could be running, naked and terrified, went through her head: escape from a forced nudist colony. Being hunted by a Terminator from the future. Sex game that went horribly, horribly wrong. Or right, depending on your kink.

    And this:

    “Stop saying human! You're human, okay?”
    …Why wasn't he sure? Human men should definitely be sure. It was practically a rule, written in, like, the Bible. And ye, men shall verily know that you're not donkeys or goats. You're definitely human. Okay? Love, God.

    The story had some really spicy bits and a sweet romance. I think Charlotte Stein is an author to watch. :)

  11. cate
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 03:31:12

    I’ve just finished Nalini Singh’s Bonds Of Justice, – what can I say – fab ! The psy/changeling series just keeps getting better & better. I do wish other writers of long running series would take note.
    I’ve also read Christie Dickason’s The Kings Daughter (historical). She was a new writer to me, & this is a first person narrative, which I normally loathe, but this was a wonderful novel. I can’t recommend it enough.Particularly if anyone is a fan of Tudor/Stuart history.
    I liked her writing so much, I’ve ordered her back catalogue !

  12. dee.swift
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 04:06:23

    Just read “A Mile of River” by Judith Allnatt – a great atmospheric pageturner and coming of age story, set on a 1970’s farm. I am looking forward to the release in 2 weeks time of “His Last Duchess” by Gabrielle Kimm, based on the famous poem by Robert Browning “His Last Duchess”. It’s a great premise for a story. Historical fiction fans might want to check it out.

  13. Jennifer Estep
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 06:12:05

    I read White Cat by Holly Black and liked it a lot. I love books about conmen/thieves, and there’s some really interesting/different magic/world building in that one.

    I also read Something About You by Julie James, which I thought was a lot of fun. Some good/funny dialogue in that one, especially between the cops.

    I also finished up Linda Lael Miller’s McKettricks of Texas: Austin. I didn’t think it was quite as good as the first two books in the trilogy, but it was another warm, comfort read.

    I’m looking forward to Kresley Cole and Jeaniene Frost’s latest books and the Kiss Me Deadly YA anthology. And I’m going to read Catching Fire and Mockingjay when the last one is released. Lots of good stuff to look forward to!

  14. Vi
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 06:50:07

    1) I lucked upon the anthology Burning Up with Angela Knight, Nalini Singh, Virginia Kantra and Meljean Brook (has the start to her new steampunk series). It was worth for the Singh and Brook stories.
    2) Eloisa has a contest with 2 chances to win a Nook:

  15. Rosie
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 07:55:55

    I’ve been in the mood for American-set historicals lately. I’m making my way through Maggie Osborne’s books that are available on Kindle. So far I’ve read Silver Lining and I’m halfway through The Wives of Bowie Stone. Both are wonderful. I love finding a new-to-me author to glom!

    So far, Erin McCarthy’s Hot Finish is the only August release I’m planning to buy. I’m still on the fence when it comes to the new historicals. Hoping to hear some positive buzz.

  16. Eugene
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 08:47:27

    A Man of Few Words by Katherine Woodbury is a lighthearted look at the critical events in Jane Austen’s most famous work from the perspective of Fitzwilliam Darcy. Later accounts have too often transformed Darcy into the stereotypical alpha male of Regency romances. Within the pages of this novella, he endeavors to correct this popular misunderstanding.

  17. Las
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 08:59:37

    Nalini Singh’s latest was fantastic. I enjoyed the romance a lot more than I thought I would. The feelings between the characters got too intense too early out of nowhere, but once the story progressed it was all good. The plot, though. Wow! Just amazing. I really get the sense that Nalini actually has a master plan and there’s a reason for every single thing that happens, rather than just making stuff up as she goes along (fans of Lost know what I’m talking about).

    I can’t wait for the next book! I squealed when I read the end of the excerpt and saw who Indigo gets paired up with.

    Finally read Karen Ranney’s Sold to a Laird. It was a solid B read for me, but the ending was just a huge “WTF?”

    I’m finishing up Jennifer Ashley’s Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage and just like I though, much, MUCH better than The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. I really love this book. But the many glimpses of Beth and Ian just confirm my original opinion that that relationship is creepy as hell. Love the characters, but their relationship weirds me out and makes me sad, so their presence made the latest book a bit of a downer for me.

  18. Dana
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 09:33:59

    Just finished Into the Crossfire by Lisa Marie Rice and so far, it’s my most disappointing read this year. LMR has been my guilty pleasure since reading her erotic romances from EC. But this one was so boring.

    It’s marketed as erotic romance, but the book had barely 3 sex scenes. The pacing was horrendous. The beginning is glacier slow, there’s 1 sex scene in the first 200 pages. And just when you think the plot’s going to pick up about 2/3s into the book, it stutters and stops again.

    At this point I probably would have tossed the book aside, but it’s LMR so I keep reading hoping the ending will make up for it, but no. The story just never picks up, and all of a sudden it’s over. There was no suspense or tension, even at the end when Nicole and her father was in jeopardy, I was so bored that I couldn’t care.

    There was also so much repetitious telling. Of how beautiful and classy the heroine is,and how broke she is (which is why I don’t understand why she rented such an expensive office space). And how tough and hot the hero is and his tough childhood. This is usually present in LMR’s books, but I can overlook them because the rest of the book makes up for some of the author’s bad habits, but not in this one.

    Into the Fire fails at being a Romantic Suspense book and at being an Erotic Romance book. I really hope Shadows at Midnight will be a better book, but I think I’m going to wait for a review before buying it.

  19. Tweets that mention Open Thread for Readers for August 2010 | Dear Author --
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 09:56:05

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Charlotte Stein, dearauthor. dearauthor said: New post: Open Thread for Readers for August 2010 […]

  20. Janet P.
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 10:37:51

    I read Bonds of Justice and I’m sorry to say didn’t enjoy it as much as most. I think I read all the books too close together and I’m just weary of the “Psy on the brink of Rehabilitation” drama. My favorites of the series remain those that do not involve the Psy as love interests – Mercy’s book especially and I adored the Annie/Zach short story. I think I’ve read that 3 or 4 times now. I’d love to seem them again in a future book. So boy oh boy am I looking forward to the next one :)

    Started Allyson James Stormwalker over the weekend and it appears promising. I’d really like to read Kasey MacKenzie’s Red Hot Fury but it doesn’t seem to be published in eBook. It makes me feel sorry for her because she’s a new author and I bet she’s missing out on many readers by not having an eBook.

  21. Heather
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 11:04:42

    I won Hot Finish from Dear Author and had time to read it this weekend. I enjoyed it alot and plan to keep an eye out for the others. Thanks, Jane and all!

  22. Emma
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 11:15:42

    I have been devouring the old 1980’s traditional Regency books from Signet. Most of my books have been coming from used books stores. I discovered that BN has many titles in their ebook collection for $1.75. . . .!!!
    I thought I died and went to heaven. I had been paying $2-3 for each book, but no royalties to the authors. Now I can buy guilt-free!

  23. MaryK
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 12:37:22

    @Vi: What! I’ve been really looking forward to Burning Up; I even pre-ordered it, and it’s just floating around out there? Where’s mine!

  24. Ann
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 12:53:00

    I found Theresa Weir’s Amazon Lily and Cool Shade at Smashwords (for 3.99 each, they’re a bargain!). I had read about her at AAR years ago, but her books have apparently been out of print and she has not written romance in a while. I guess the rights of these books have now reverted back to her and she has decided to publish them herself. I loved those two books and wish more people would know about her. And I’m also hoping she’ll publish the rest of her backlist at Smashwords as well.

  25. Angelia Sparrow
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 12:57:32

    I’m on an Anita Blake kick. But I’m starting to lose my temper with her. Can’t she see her morals and principles are actually damaging the people around her? This is the exact opposite of what morals and principles are supposed to do. She needs to quit angsting, adjust her mind and morality and BE the leopard queen/lupa/necromancer/human servant badass we know and love.

    In other words, I’d rather have 300 pages of PLOT and 100 of angst instead of the other way around.

  26. CathyKJ
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 14:34:22

    Recently finished Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage, which I enjoyed though not as much as The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie. Isabella felt a bit overwritten at points, and I felt like I was being hit over the head by the reconcilliation at the end. You’re sorry, you’re reformed, I get it, let’s move on. That said, I am still looking forward to future books about the MacKenzie brothers.

    Looking forward to Kresley Cole and Erin McCarthy’s new books in August. Also looking forward to the end of Agency pricing….

  27. Susan/DC
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 14:50:40

    I am looking forward to the release in 2 weeks time of “His Last Duchess” by Gabrielle Kimm, based on the famous poem by Robert Browning. It's a great premise for a story. Historical fiction fans might want to check it out.

    @Dee Swift: Do you have any more information about this book (print or ebook? publisher?) In my very long ago youth two of my favorite poems were Browning’s “My Last Duchess” and Hunt’s “Jenny Kissed Me”. Totally agree that the Browning would be a great premise for a book, though the story within the poem most definitely doesn’t contain the HEA required for a Romance. I assume Kimm will somehow manage it so that things work out better. I’m excited at the possibilities.

    And for any authors out there, even the Hunt poem could work beautifully, as the man regretting his lost youth need not be old — a hero in his 30s could work (Carla Kelly’s most recent hero has a sorta/kinda version of this early in the book before he meets the heroine). Jenny could be the girl who got away but is now back. Just hinting . . .

  28. JB Hunt
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 19:32:59

    Loretta Chase — Last Night’s Scandal

    Suzanne Brockmann — Infamous

    Jenny Crusie — Maybe This Time

    Eloisa James — A Kiss at Midnight

    Kresley Cole — Demon from the Dark

  29. Ann Bruce
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 21:21:36

    @Angelia Sparrow:

    Can't she see her morals and principles are actually damaging the people around her?

    Ah, remember that old saying: Be careful what you wish for? After Obsidian Butterfly, you’re going to eat those words.

  30. Melissa
    Jul 27, 2010 @ 06:57:09

    My interesting reads this month:
    – I finally read the last two Night Huntress books by Jeaniene Frost. They were good but Bones and Cat fought way too much, I hope the next book doesn’t have this much fighting. I enjoyed Firt Drop of Crimson, I like third person so much better than first
    – I finished the fourth Kate Daniels book, I enjoyed it
    – I glommed through all of the Tales of the Shareem by Allyson James, they are short hot romantica stories that were fun to read.
    – Pride Mates by Jennifer Ashley – very interesting and different take on shifters
    – Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh – loved it more than I thought I would but I still like the shifter leads best. I love her writing!

    Books I can’t wait for:
    – Into the Crossfire by LMR
    – Eternal Kiss of Darkness by Jeaniene Frost
    – Hot Finish by Erin McCarthy
    – Dark Peril by Christine Feehan
    – Demon From the Dark by Kresley Cole
    – Sin Undone by Larissa Ione

    Ann – I recently read Amazon Lily by Theresa Weir, it was interesting but not quite as good as I had hoped for. I did really enjoy River of Eden by Glenna McReynolds which is another jungle romance.

  31. Diane V
    Jul 27, 2010 @ 08:49:06

    Love the “Moonlight” series by Nancy Gideon – the third book “Captured by Moonlight” was exceptional. Max is a wonderful dark and tortured hero who’s love of CeeCee reminds me of Robb’s Roarke. I hope this series will continue.

    On the fence about Stacia Kane’s “Ghost” series. I loved the 1st book, but the 2nd book made the heroine totally unlikeable — immature and selfish to the max. I’m hoping the 3rd book will redeem the series otherwise it will be a big FAIL for me — similar to Rachel Vincent’s “Were” series where Faythe is so immature and unlikeable that I’m almost hoping the last book has her die.

    I loved Cynthia Eden’s “Deadly Fear” — the 1st book in a new series about a FBI serial killer/rapist division. Dark and hot — the story moved fast and was very gripping. Looking forward to the next book — unfortunately not out until February 2011.

  32. LJ
    Jul 27, 2010 @ 09:04:23

    In August I’m looking forward to Rachel Caine’s final Weather Warden’s novel, Total Eclipse (8/3) and Jane Porter’s She’s Gone Country (8/23). Jane Porter writes romance novels for Harlequin, but also writes contemporary women’s fiction fro 5 Spot. She’s Gone Country is the latter.

    Also looking forward to Killbox by Ann Aguirre (8/31). That’s the next book in the Sirantha Jax series.

    I’ve never read anything by CE Murphy, so I’m thinking about starting with her new series. The first book is Truth Seeker and it’s out August 31.

    Oh, and I’ve already preordered Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.

  33. Jen
    Jul 27, 2010 @ 09:26:28

    I read ALL I EVER WANTED as well. I like everything that Kristan has written, but this one is in my top two with JUST ONE OF THE GUYS. I love books that make me laugh until a wheeze and then nearly cry from the sweetness.

  34. Kelly L.
    Jul 27, 2010 @ 10:01:21

    @Edith: Kate actually develops a lot over the subsequent books. She stays snarky but becomes a lot more likable.

    The “Crest is a bad guy” moment was a big WTF–in fact, I warn people about it ahead of time when I’m trying to get them to start the series! I’ve always suspected that the authors changed the direction of the plot and forgot to delete something that belonged to the first version.

    But that’s really the last plot hole (barring a few passage-of-time glitches), and the later books are awesome.

    I liked On the Edge too, and there turns out to be a reason the hero comes off as such a PITA.

  35. Jane
    Jul 27, 2010 @ 10:26:14

    I have a review of the Higgins book going up today. It’s one of my favorite Higgins’ books too. I really adored the secondary characters and while sad, appreciated the poignancy brought to the book by some of the things that happened. (don’t want to say more and spoil it).

  36. Angelia Sparrow
    Jul 27, 2010 @ 12:03:28

    @Ann Bruce

    It was Narcissus in Chains (post-Obsidian Butterfly) that SPARKED those words.

    400 hardback pages. And about 50 dealt with the real problem at hand. The rest was Anita angsting and having not-sex.

    It sparked some interesting discussion on the purpose of morality, on ethics and principles. (they aren’t the same thing at all) Why do we have them, and what should we do when they are having the opposite of the intended effect?

  37. Ann Bruce
    Jul 27, 2010 @ 22:49:53

    @Angelia Sparrow: For me, the series went downhill fast after OB. The discussions become trite and repetitive. Anita starts banging everything that walks; all men want her, even gay men; and all women hate her because she’s just so awesome she makes them all inadequate in comparison.

    I hung onto the series until Danse Macabre, hoping Anita would hunt down a vampire and kill him like in the good, ol’ days, but she usually ended up screwing him…and his friend…and his enemy…and maybe a bystander or two (okay, that last bit is an exaggeration…I think). After DM, I donated all my LKH hardcovers to a friend and told her to read beyond OB at her own peril.

    ETA: Probably only me, but I really wanted all the men in Anitaverse to get a haircut. I was starting to feel like I was trapped in an eighties heavy metal concert.

  38. Estara
    Jul 28, 2010 @ 09:41:18

    I’m looking forward to the newest Kylie Chan coming out in August – her fifth novel in the series (second in the second trilogy), of which I can already read 84 pages online. The Brits will get this eventually, unfortunately Angry Robot didn’t take her along when they changed publishers… – so I guess you USians won’t be able to, unless it’s finally released as ebook. I’m not Australian myself, I import the books, but they are really expensive, true. Smart Bitch Sarah saw the good crack in the first in the series (it’s sort of as if an Anne Bishop Black Jewels novel was set in Hong Kong, without the sex but with loads of martial arts).

    Addendum: Right, Angela James (who also enjoys these) mentioned in the SB thread that the first three are available as ebooks at Amazon – maybe the new series books are, too?

    Also a new Celta book by Robin D. Owens, yay!! Heart Journey (I really liked the excerpt in the previous one, which by the way was one of my favourites in the series).

  39. JenM
    Jul 28, 2010 @ 20:28:46

    I picked up Secondhand Spirits by Juliet Blackwell because the premise sounded intriguing. The heroine is a witch who owns a vintage clothing store on San Francisco’s Haight St. I live in the Bay Area, so I couldn’t resist it. I really liked it. In general, I’m not a mystery fan, so I appreciated that the paranormal elements, the general plotline, and the mystery were pretty well-balanced. Just a hint of a romance, but I really didn’t miss it. The second book, A Cast-Off Coven, was just released last month and I liked it just as much as the first.

    The August release I want the most is The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa. Just like mysteries, I don’t read much YA, but I loved, loved, loved The Iron King and I can’t wait to read this.

  40. Nicole
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 13:54:06

    @Edith: I agree about Kate Daniels. She is irredeemably rude. I read the first two or three books in that series, and didn’t love them, but didn’t remember much about them. I recently decided to reread them, though, because I absolutely loved On the Edge. I thought that I’d go back to the older Ilona Andrews books and gain a new appreciation of them, but that wasn’t the case. I’m struggling with Magic Bites, and I doubt that I’ll make it to the rest of the series. I’m disappointed. I’m totally on board for the next Edge novel, though.

    I’ve read some of Sophia Nash’s and Roslyn Hardy Holcomb’s books lately, and I’ve enjoyed them immensely. I recently finished Mr. Fix-It by Crystal Hubbard, and thought it was pretty interesting.

  41. Jenny Schwartz
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 18:50:47

    I just wanted to thank everyone who, in Robin’s review of Elizabeth Peters, recommended Lois McMaster Bujold. You rock! I’ve read the first two books in the series (combined in Cordelia’s Honor) and can now start Miles’s stories. Very happy.

    Also read Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels short story in Dark and Stormy Knights. Pretty good. I forgave Kate being a smartmouth stereotype in book one when she said something like “it’s safer being a stereotype”. Ah, the potential for character growth and hidden complexity. And I think the later books deliver. Or maybe I’m a pushover for the world building?

  42. Estara
    Jul 31, 2010 @ 09:29:23

    @Jenny Schwartz: Personally I think they deliver, too. The more we are shown what goes on behind the scenes and the more the storyline approaches the climax the clearer it is that Kate needs to be a bad-ass extraordinaire to have any chance of surviving, never mind winning.


    I thought the most recent book, where her aunt showed up (basically a Kate with no morals and huge experience), made that very clear.

  43. MaryK
    Jul 31, 2010 @ 19:23:28

    In the Midnight Rain is now an ebook at Smashwords and the Kindle store.

    I was looking her up to see if she’s the Barbara O’Neal who just won a Rita (she is).

    She says that Midnight Rain “is more of a romance than some of my women's fiction, but not much more than A Piece of Heaven or The Secret of Everything.”

    Can anybody give an opinion on that? I rarely read women’s fiction, but I might try Heaven and Everything if that’s the case.

  44. Myne Whitman
    Aug 16, 2010 @ 14:50:03

    Now available on Amazon, A Heart to Mend narrates a love story and a journey of self-discovery. Gladys Eborah moves to Lagos from a deprived single-parent home in Enugu, to seek a job. She lives with a formerly estranged aunt who wants to be forgiven and so has the uneasy role of the bridge between both families. A new job and good friends gradually transition Gladys into an independent young woman and then she meets and begins to fall for handsome Edward Bestman.

    Edward is very wealthy, and believes money can buy everything. Though physically attracted to Gladys, he is not ready to give his heart. To make matters worse, Gladys is implicated in a plot to take over his company. Readers have to find out who these people are that want to betray him and destroy their happiness. And will Edward trust Gladys enough to give love a chance?

    The novel details how we can be affected by events from our past and how it may limit our opportunities in the present, especially in the area of love and relationships. Gladys obsesses over the divide between her and Edward, while he had barricaded his heart and was not letting anyone in, man or woman. The message is that none of us is perfect but we should be able to keep our heart open for that (sometimes one) person who has enough masking tape to cover our imperfections.

%d bloggers like this: