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.

51 Comments

  1. May
    Jul 24, 2011 @ 18:51:04

    This month (July) was SUCH a blah reading month for the most part. I’m hoping August improves.

    I did get to read the new Cindy Gerard, and while not a fave in the series still a solid good read. Also I enjoyed reading the first 3 in the DD Barant series “the bloodhound files” a lot. Kind of female Harry Dresden-ish and as I’m really digging the strong female leads found in UF, it hit the spot.

    I have Touch Of Frost (Jennifer Estep) en-route via Amazon so I’m looking forward to that one. Also very anxious to get into Storm’s Heart (Thea Harrison) in just over a week…

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  2. Chelsea
    Jul 24, 2011 @ 19:10:14

    This summer my goal has been to broaden my reading horizons, get away from just reading paranormal and suspense romance. I’ve read so many good books, and unfortunately discarded quite a few as undesirable.

    I just started reading Gabriel’s Ghost by Linnea Sinclair. This is the first “sci-fi romance” I’ve ever attempted, and I’m pretty excited about it. So far I’m really enjoying it.

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  3. Jane
    Jul 24, 2011 @ 19:17:46

    @May: August was kind of blah for me. I really enjoyed a few category books, but the single title stories, for the most part, were a miss. My fave single title of the month was probably The Many Sins of Lord Cameron.

    I haven’t read, but want to read, Kinsey Holley’s Ready to Run; Bound and Determined by Anara Bella

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  4. DS
    Jul 24, 2011 @ 19:32:49

    Not a romance, but for those who enjoy British urban fantasy with a darkly comic edge– Ben Aaronovitch’s first Peter Grant book (Midnight Riot in the US and Rivers of London in the UK) has just caused me to pre-order the two upcoming sequels. I don’t know why people keep mentioning it in the same breath with Harry Potter because it’s not similar at all. It does involve a magic side of London that a tiny squad (2) are in charge of policing. One is Peter Grant who has just come off his period as a pobationary constable and wanted to join the murder squad of the London metropolitan police. Instead, after a ghostly encounter in Covent Garden, he ends up as the first apprentice wizard in 50 years.

    In case it matters Peter is bi-racial and the book deals with some issues of ethnic tension.

    I might compare this to the Dresden Files except I’ve never been able to finish a book in that series and this one I couldn’t put down.

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  5. Liz Mc
    Jul 24, 2011 @ 20:15:14

    @DS: I agree about Rivers of London (way better title)/Midnight Riot. I loved how URBAN an urban fantasy it was, steeped in London history and mythology.

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  6. Keishon
    Jul 24, 2011 @ 20:31:43

    I am experiencing *reader burn out* probably from reading the same genre for more than a year…so I am changing it up for a bit. I started the Maggie Price title, Prime Suspect #SIL #816 and so far it’s not sucking.

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  7. Liz Talley
    Jul 24, 2011 @ 20:36:40

    I actually didn’t read any books that came out this summer. I did pick up two of Eloisa James’ books even though I’d sworn off historicals for a while. Her writing is so good and clever that I enjoyed both of them equally, though I like When Beauty Tamed the Beast best.

    I picked up one of Linda Castillo’s books at RWA Nationals and since I’m trying my hand at adding an element of suspense in my own books, I decided to read outside my comfort zone…and it was outside my comfort zone. Sworn to Silence was definitely not a romance. I think even my dad would like it. Thought the rather gruesome murders taking place in an Amish community in Ohio made it interesting, and I liked her characters for the most part, though her police chief (Kate) was often cold and abrasive.

    I’m in the beginning of The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley now, though I’m finding it hard to climb fully into it. I’ve heard it’s good, but it’s not a fast read.

    Know I’ll pick up Darynda Jones’ Second Grave, and otherwise, I’m interested to hear what others recommend for August.

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  8. Las
    Jul 24, 2011 @ 20:53:47

    So I looked at my Nook to remind myself of what new romances I’ve read this month and it’s only two! My TBB list is ridiculous, so I have no excuse.

    First was Sarah Morgan’s A Night of Scandal. I thought it was good…for an HP. Actually, I would have really loved it but it lost me very early with the whole martyr virgin heroine bit.I think I have to give up on reading HP’s that get recommended and stick with the cheap thrill of stereotypical HP’s like secret babies and blackmail marriages. The ones that are decent are just so frustrating, because they only need a little tweeking to be really good, whereas the usual fare are so over-the-top that they’re more easily enjoyed as guilty pleasures.

    Next I read Chase’s Silk is for Seduction. Loved it. Chase is really good at writing characters that are unapologetically ambitious and even amoral. It reminded me a lot of Your Scandalous Ways, which I also loved and is the reason I didn’t forever write-off Chase after Lord of Scoundrels.

    Next up is Meredith Duran’s latest and I believe Victoria Dahl’s It’s Always Been You is coming out soon. I adored A Little Bit Wild so I’m really looking forward to that one.

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  9. ShellBell
    Jul 24, 2011 @ 21:13:59

    I’d like to give a huge thanks to Jane at Dear Author for providing the Lost Book Sales website. It has certainly opened my eyes to the number of eBooks that I haven’t been able to purchase due to geographical restrictions – 136 entries at last count. Because of this site I have realised just how much time I was wasting in my attempts to purchase the books I wanted to read in the format that I wanted to read them in. This is frustrating and stressful so it is time I said ‘goodbye’ to several authors – some of them authors that I never thought I would ever stop reading, while some of them would have been new-to-me authors. To save myself a great deal of stress and frustration I will no longer look for their new releases and have crossed them off my ‘buy’ and ‘wish’ lists. I don’t plan on commenting on any of their reviews and I have removed bookmarks to their websites and forums. As always, one of the most frustrating things is that if I wanted to purchase these authors in print format then I would have absolutely no problem buying their books but because my choice is the eBook format I can’t buy them. New favourites have now replaced them. So, goodbye to the following authors:

    Lora Leigh
    Maya Banks
    Alexis Morgan
    Lara Adrian
    Larissa Ione
    Elizabeth Vaughan
    Cindy Gerard
    Carolyn Jewel
    Ilona Andrews
    Joss Ware (new-to-me)
    Shana Abe
    Anna Campbell
    Molly Harper (new-to-me)
    Tiffany Clare (new-to-me)
    Alexandra Hawkins (new-to-me)
    Alyssa Day
    Marcella Burnard (new-to-me)
    Christina Dodd
    Thea Harrison (new-to-me)
    Marliss Melton

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  10. Tina
    Jul 24, 2011 @ 21:32:45

    A few of books I read this month that I loved:

    Waking up With the Duke by Lorraine Heath. Romantic and sexy.

    Lessons from a Scarlett Lady By Emma Wildes. Cute & light.

    How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf. Funny as heck.

    ELantris By Brandon Sanderson. Epic and wonderful. Love his voice. A new fantasy favorite for me.

    A few books I read this month that didn’t work so well:

    Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. Part the book was really good. The other part was obnoxious as hell.

    Almost Perfect by Susan Mallery. Hated the hero. He was an asshat.

    @DS – Thanks so much for the reminder about Ben Aaronovitch. I’ve have this book in the bowels of my Kindle somewhere. Been meaning to dig it up but keep getting distracted. I’ve hear a lot of wonderful things about it.

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  11. Ammarylis
    Jul 24, 2011 @ 21:48:28

    July’s reads have ranged from mediocre to downright horrific for me. I never thought Kleypas would let me down-until I read “Stranger in my Arms”. I never thought I’d hate a Lorelei James book-until “Long Hard Ride” eye-raped me repeatedly. Not to say it was ALL bad. There were some gems (Dahl’s “Crazy for Love”) & I finally got my hands on “Shadowfever”! Here’s hoping August is much better.

    Anticipated Reads for August

    * In Bed with a Highlander-Maya Banks
    * Where Demons Fear to Tread-Stephanie Chong
    * Dark Taste of Rapture-Gena Showalter
    * Lord of the Vampires-Gena Showalter
    * Sweetly-Jackson Pearce

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  12. Owen Kennedy
    Jul 24, 2011 @ 21:51:35

    @Tina…thanks. I was wondering if I should read Waking Up with a Duke. I think I’m off the fence and will check it out!

    Diana Palmer’s Merciless is coming out this week. I’m looking forward to reading it.

    If you like highland historicals I can’t say enough about Mary Wine. She has a book coming out this week and I’m really excited about it!

    Evangeline Anderson has a futuristic series called The Kindred w 3 books out. Crazy good world building. Fascinating. Also, for some humor I bought 99 cent Pride and Prejudice and Zombies from Amazon. Hilarious.

    I’m kind of in the mood to read contemporary again. Anyone have some suggestions they have read lately?

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  13. SHZ
    Jul 24, 2011 @ 22:48:01

    The new Cindy Gerard – just as great as all her others. Still my favourite romantic suspense writer.

    I’ve been travelling, so have been surviving on category romances.

    Just finished As Good as His Word by Susan Gable. Wow. The hero hates the heroine at the start of the book – he actually tells her that. But he’s her son’s uncle, and so has no choice but to be in her life. Such a big, dramatic story.
    It’s a Superromance – they’re always either deathly boring or fantastic. This one – fantastic.

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  14. Janine
    Jul 24, 2011 @ 23:12:46

    I have in a review in the works for Meg Maguire’s The Reluctant Nude which was just so-so. It had some great strengths but also some great weaknesses.

    I really enjoyed Miranda Neville’s The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton, which is coming out next Tuesday.

    Reread Megan Whalen Turner’s The King of Attolia and realized once again what a stellar book it is. Just awesome.

    This week I’m reading Ginn Hale’s serial. So far I’m on the second installment, and I’m really liking it.

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  15. Ros
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 02:34:21

    @Jane: August?!

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  16. Selene
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 03:08:14

    Anyone have any tips on how to encourage authors with out-of-print novels to have them e-pubbed, especially when it seems they don’t want to be contacted?

    I’m specifically thinking of Patricia Gaffney here. I love her romance novels, but they’re hard to find–in fact I haven’t even read them all–and I would specifically love to get To Have and To Hold on my kindle. (One of my all-time favorite novles.) However, there doesn’t seem to be any way to contact her on her webside that I could find. I thought maybe I could give her agent a nudge instead, but I couldn’t find any e-mail on the agent webside either!

    Why do authors with out-of-print novels not get their novels out there? They’d earn money for almost no effort! *Sigh*

    Selene

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  17. Kerry Allen
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 04:21:12

    I’ve been craving dark and gritty lately, but everything that’s supposed to be dark and gritty ended up wimping out in a sad attempt to make the protagonist more “likable.”

    So instead, I devoured Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles (Hounded, Hexed, and Hammered), which are pure freakin’ fun.

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  18. Merrian
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 06:58:41

    @DS:
    So sad I wanted to try this book after your recommend and it is $18.87 on Kobo for Australians – moving on to another story… there is a lost sale

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  19. Jane
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 07:06:49

    @Selene Some people recommend visiting the print book page on Amazon and hitting the “I’d like to read this book on Kindle” link.

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  20. Mandi
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 07:07:49

    I think my favorite July read was Heartbreak Creek by Kaki Warner – first in a new western series by her. Really well done.

    The Many Sins of Lord Cameron Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashely coming out soon is a nice addition to that series – I still say whenever Ian is in a scene, he totally steals it :)

    I also liked The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton by Miranda Neville which comes out tomorrow. The first half especially made me laugh – a lot.

    This weekend I read Wolf Town and Push Pull – two pnr m/m novellas by Joely Skye. They were just okay. I think the suspense and conflict could have been better.

    Kerry Allen – I really want to try Kevin Hearne’s series!

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  21. Jane
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 07:08:31

    @Janine I am glad you are reviewing Maguire’s book. I find her “meg maguire” persona to be curiously suppressed compared to the Cara McKenna voice. I found her Blaze to be similarly disappointing.

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  22. Jane
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 07:09:59

    @ShellBell Shell, I am sorry that the Lost Book Sales has had to be a help to you. It’s quite unfair that you cannot read and purchase legitimately books by your favorite authors. That makes no sense!

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  23. sula
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 08:48:16

    The availability of Jeaniene Frost’s Vampire Huntress stories as audiobooks at my library this week has sent me into a Cat and Bones glomfest. I’m in the process of rereading the entire series, checking out the print books where the audio is not available. For whatever reason, they’re really working for me even better the second time around. Even though I want to strangle Cat at times, Bones is just delish.

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  24. Janice
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 10:30:17

    Hi, just finished reading Miranda Neville’s The Wild Marquis. I can’t wait to start reading her follow-up The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton. Thanks Mandi for the heads-up.

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  25. Janine
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 11:59:02

    @Selene: What I wouldn’t give for a digital copy of Gaffney’s To Have and to Hold. Wild at Heart was briefly available at the Sony store, and I bought it then, but it isn’t there anymore. I wonder if there was a legal issue that led to its removal.

    I recently read this post by agent Kristin Nelson and though I don’t fully understand how it works, from what she says it sounds like agency agreements can be a factor in authors’ decisions about whether to self-publish.

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  26. Lindsey
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 12:03:32

    July has been a pretty dry month for me, reading-wise. Just one of my autobuy authors released a book in June (and that was at the beginning of the month), and none of them released books in July, so I’ve been reading the cheap and free reads that have accumulated on my Kindle, which has led to quite a lot of DNFs for me (I’m one of those people who, if the book can’t capture and hold my in the first 25%, is done, because the author hasn’t done their job, IMO).

    I’m looking forward to Storm’s Heart, but again, it’s one of the two books releasing in August that I plan to buy, the other one being One Grave at a Time, on the 30th.

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  27. Janine
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 12:04:55

    @Jane: I’ve only read the one Cara McKenna and the one Meg Maguire, but I liked the McKenna better. I’ve seen readers raving about The Reluctant Nude and I haven’t seen anyone else post about the problems I had with it so it’s possible my reaction is unusual.

    One thing I do love about McKenna/Maguire’s writing in both the works I read is that the characters felt very specific and I could easily believe they were real people. But yeah, the McKenna was stronger. Have you read The Reluctant Nude?

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  28. Abigail Strom
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 12:10:04

    @Janine: Megan Whalen Turner is one of my favorite YA authors. I love her more with every re-read.

    I seem to be on a YA kick–all the books I’m really looking forward to in the next two months are YA or MG, except for Thea Harrison’s Storm’s Heart and Sarah Mayberry’s One Good Reason. I’m looking forward to The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab and Ward Against Death by Melanie Card, due in August, and Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu and Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, due in September.

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  29. Janine
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 12:43:43

    @Abigail Strom: Yes, Megan Whalen Turner’s books are so, so good. When I was at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, I attended a panel that she was on (I posted about it here).

    One of the things she said on that panel was that she is a big rereader and so she deliberately constructs her books in such a way that hopefully the second time readers read them, they’ll have a new understanding of the characters and the events that they lacked the first time, which will make the rereading experience richer.

    I find that’s true for me. Even though I’ve come to anticipate the twists at the end of her books the first time I read, I find it’s still true that the rereading experience is richer than with many books.

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  30. Janine
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 12:46:23

    Angela James is asking readers what digital books should be priced on the Carina blog today. This is your opportunity to let her know!

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  31. Darlynne
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 13:10:21

    @DS: I’m eager to read these as well after getting a sample on my Nook.

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  32. Abigail Strom
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 13:11:21

    @Janine: That is so cool. I love the idea of working intentionally to make books “rereadable”. I also sort of love the fact that she takes so long to write–four years per book, on average. To me that speaks to her determination to create work on her own terms, and her refusal to be rushed. At a time in publishing when so much feels rushed, this appeals to me.

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  33. Darlynne
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 13:11:28

    @DS: And I’ve never finished a Dresden Files book either.

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  34. Janine
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 13:43:35

    @DS: Ben Aaronovitch’s books have been recommended to me by another friend so it’s good to hear that you like them too.

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  35. Darlynne
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 13:46:50

    Divergent by Veronica Roth is the book I can’t stop thinking about. Although it’s another dystopian YA book, the fact that the author made me care about a protagonist I could not stand initially was a huge accomplishment. In the same vein, yet completely different, I had the identical reaction to Moira Young’s Blood Red Road. Really loved both books.

    And I’ve added three books to the Lost Sale site, which is only a small percentage of all the books I’ve refused to buy in the last month. All I want is a discount coupon for an ebook, you know, the one I can use for print editions of the same title. As I wrote in one of the comment sections, for want of a discount coupon, this sale was lost.

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  36. Jane
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 14:21:15

    @Janine I have read The Reluctant Nude and found it to be very average in tone. I actually had to push myself to finish it.

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  37. Janine
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 14:26:27

    @Jane: Then I’m not as alone in my opinion as I thought I was. I had to push through in the beginning but once the characters’ romantic feelings kicked in I got very caught up in the story. But I still ended up having reservations about the book even so.

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  38. Quynh
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 14:34:58

    I just finished reading Penelople Williamson’s Outsider. This book should be put in the classics section, it’s that good. Wish she would write more romance novels because I’m hard to please, and there are only 4 current authors that can touch the hem of her gown- Sherry Thomas, Meredith Duran, Loretta Chase, and Julie Ann Long.

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  39. Angela
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 15:42:53

    I’ve been sort of wandering trying to figure out what to read, but I had a few standout’s recently:

    C.L. Wilson’s Tarien Soul series (which I just found) and was FABULOUS! I loved the series, and could not put them down.

    Unlikely Protector by Nicole Sheldon – new author, fantastic short story romance, set in a post-apocalyptic world. Great character, interesting world. Looking forward to more by her.

    Also, I finally read Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison. Which I was underwhelmed by, to say the least.

    I’m looking for a light/fluff read but am not sure where to start because I usually don’t go this way.

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  40. Joy
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 16:03:46

    I’ve been reading Lorelei James all month, it seems. While I can’t say that *all* her books are good, most of them are good-enough and mind-candy enough to read through some really stressful times I’ve had (particularly a child undergoing significant cardiac surgery this month). Some of her books actually are very good (_Branded as Trouble_, _Chasin’ 8_). And now I think I need to go to a rodeo even though I live in the east coast megalopolis.

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  41. Jennifer Estep
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 16:06:39

    I read and enjoyed Dark Jenny by Alex Bledsoe. If you like epic fantasy mixed with a world-weary, noir detective voice/character, you should definitely check out his books.

    I think I’m going to check out the Cindy Gerard books, since I’ve seen so many positive reviews about the series. I also have A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal by Meredith Duran to read. I haven’t read her before, but I’ve heard such good things about her books that I’m looking forward to that one.

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  42. Janine
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 16:12:37

    @Quynh: Wow, we must have alike tastes because although my list of historical authors whose books I love is also short, I love all four of the current authors you named (and two of them are my crit partners). I have that Williamson TBR and will have to dig it out. Have you tried Carolyn Jewel’s recent historicals, Scandal and Indiscreet? She’s on my short list of current favorites. Also if you like historical fantasy romance, I recommend Shana Abe’s drakon series.

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  43. RStewie
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 16:58:46

    I found Connie Brockways “All Through the Night” and re-read it twice in a row. Also really liked Meredith Duran’s “A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal”…although didn’t re-read it. This was a dry month, otherwise.

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  44. Jo O
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 17:04:33

    @DS
    Thanks for the recommendation of Rivers of London. I read the preview on Amazon UK and a few more pages on Amazon.com and bought it. About a third of the way through and really enjoying it so far.

    June/July has been slow for me too – I’ve been doing a lot of rereading old favourites and trying books that I put down for one reason or another. I have just finished Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. I liked it but it does end abruptly on a cliffhanger and the next in the series is still being written!

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  45. jayhjay
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 17:25:11

    @Jane:My fave single title of the month was probably The Many Sins of Lord Cameron.

    I am excited about this one. I love this series!

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  46. RKB
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 22:47:14

    Recently finished Jennifer Estep’s _Tangled Threads_ (Elemental Assassin, Book 4.) It was a good read and I look forward to book 5. I’m really glad she isn’t doing a love triangle for Gin by bringing dingleberry police detective back. He seems to be gone gone gone and to replace him Gin grabbed a real nice guy!

    I read the latest C.E. Murphy Urban Shaman book _Spirit Dances_ and while I enjoyed, my reaction to the ending went like this for me:

    !!! Holy cow, she is really going there? FOR REAL?!!! THEY ARE FINALLY GOING TO GET IT ON, WOO HOO! That only took five books. Wait…no? Crap! YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!!

    I look forward to the next book, even if this book had a let down ending and a cliffhanger. :-)

    And finally, a non-romance urban fantasy series that I could rave about all day. Harry Connelly has a very underrated series, Twenty Palaces. His first book is selling for 99 cents as an e-book, _Child of Fire_. It’s 99 cents on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and a few other places I believe. http://tinyurl.com/3t22ckl is the Amazon link. Please buy the book, it’s one of my top 5 urban fantasy series.

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  47. Selene
    Jul 26, 2011 @ 07:04:17

    @Janine: That’s an interesting post! Although, if I understood her correctly, she’s basically saying that if you have a perpetuity clause in your agency agreement, you need to pay the agency their 15% even if you self-publish after the rights have reverted. That still leaves plenty of room for the author to make a goodly profit though. :-)

    Selene

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  48. Janine
    Jul 26, 2011 @ 20:39:22

    @Selene: I don’t know enough to say whether or not that’s correct, although it sounded that way to me too.

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  49. LauraJ
    Aug 02, 2011 @ 09:04:15

    @Darlynne: I thought Divergent was wonderful. I’d been reading all of the comparisons to The Hunger Games, so I started Divergent with low expectations, and while the comparisons are fair, Divergent stands on its own.

    For August, I’m looking forward to Aftermath by Ann Aguirre.

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  50. Carin
    Aug 07, 2011 @ 16:11:41

    I just found the Cat & Bones series by Jeaniene Frost and have been reading as much as I possibly can to get through it. It’s the first vampire series I’ve enjoyed in a long time!

    I also went back and re-read Here There Be Monsters, Meljean Brook’s short story in the anthology Burning Up. Still good on re-read and was a nice prep for her short story in the Wild & Steamy anthology. That one was really good, too! And Wild & Steamy is self pubbed – so it’s 3 short stories (I’ve read 2 so far and really liked them) for a $2.99 digital book. That’s a win for me, even if I don’t like the 3rd story. Both the short stories take place before The Iron Duke, which I adored. I’m looking forward to the next full length book in the series, too, later this fall, I think.

    I’m looking forward to Jaci Burton’s Changing the Game once I finish up with Cat & Bones.

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  51. Laura P
    Aug 18, 2011 @ 08:07:57

    Just read “Island of Secrets” by Tammie Clarke Gibbs.
    Good time travel gothic romance with a lot of mystery thrown in. It was a little confusing at times because the supporting characters in both time periods were so similar; but overall, it was a good read.

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