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. Roxy Queen
    Jul 27, 2014 @ 13:17:41

    Buried treasure I discovered last week. Odin’s Murder by Angel Lawson & Kira Gold
    Norse Mythology, witty and fast paced. Definitely different.

  2. Roxy Queen
    Jul 27, 2014 @ 13:20:47

    Discovered this buried treasure last week. Odin’s Murder by Kira Gold and Angel Lawson.
    Norse mythology, witty dialogue and fast paced.

  3. Amanda
    Jul 27, 2014 @ 15:09:11

    I finally started the JD Robb’s In Death series this month. I am on book 5 right now and have so far to go to get finished with this series.

  4. Jennifer Estep
    Jul 27, 2014 @ 15:29:00

    I’m reading Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen. It’s a fantasy YA, and it almost has a sort of Beauty and the Beast vibe to it, but with trolls.

  5. Sherri H
    Jul 27, 2014 @ 16:04:10

    A great little short story I picked up this past week was Master May I by Salice Rodgers. Enjoyed it immensely.

  6. Lindsay
    Jul 27, 2014 @ 17:12:08

    I had my first “crack” read, the entire Cherise Sinclair’s Shadowlands series in like 7 days. I don’t even know what to think about them. I enjoyed them a lot and would like to find more BDSM books that are like, for-reals, but it was just REALLY WEIRD how they went from “BSDM 101” to “psychic FBI agents foiling human trafficking with the help of SuperSubmissives!”. I honestly don’t know how I feel, there were some good elements and some REALLY PROBLEMATIC ones, but if she writes more I will probably read them.

  7. Darlynne
    Jul 27, 2014 @ 17:13:39

    I just finished CHINESE COOKING FOR DIAMOND THIEVES by Dave Lowry, a crime novel with romantic elements. It was great, so very clever and the characters were immensely likable. Tucker is a laowai–a foreign devil–who speaks Mandarin and works as a chef, cooking authentic regional food in Chinese restaurants. He decides to leave college during his last semester and, at a New Hampshire rest stop, meets Corinne Chang, a young woman running from gangsters who think she’s stolen their diamonds. The dialog is crisp, funny and, for a change, in Tucker we have a brave, capable hero who admits his legs are shaking too much to hold him up after he and his friends are shot at. I loved every word. If only there had been recipes, because the food and behind-the-scenes of restaurants are equal characters in the story.

    Next is Rainbow Rowell’s LANDLINE. Can’t wait.

  8. library addict
    Jul 27, 2014 @ 18:04:27

    A good reading month for me. Some of my favorites were:

    Though I liked some more than others, overall I enjoyed the Spring River Valley series of novellas by Clarice Wynter. (Fixed Up in February and Matched Up in May were my favorites).

    I really enjoyed All I Have, the first of Nicole Helm’s Farmer’s Market series. Right now it is only available in the “Harlequin E Contemporary Romance Box Set Volume 2” but will be on sale as an individual title in September.

    Liked It Had to Be You, Always on My Mind, and Dream a Little Dream, books 7, 8, and 8.5 in Jill Shalvis’ Lucky Harbor series. One more to go and I will be caught up in time for the release of the last (?) trilogy in the series.

    Liked No Turning Back, the first in HelenKay Dimon’s Hanover Brothers series. Sadly, Baby, It’s Cold Outside, the first in her Men at Work series did not work as well for me. I resented the way everything was always about the hero and his feelings as it made the heroine into somewhat a doormat. I thought I was prepared from Sunita’s review back in February, but the explanations just didn’t smooth things over for me, though the author did try.

    My favorite reads of the month (so far) have been Sweet Revenge and Blind Faith, books 2 and 3 in Rebecca Zanetti’s Sin Brothers series. The premise of the series is similar to Christine Feehan’s GhostWalkers. The villains are all very one-dimensional and the plots over the top. But I love the relationship between the brothers and the romances. The last book will release in March.

    Looking forward to the last of Shannon Stacey’s Kowalski books, Falling for Max, on Tuesday. Her latest Devlin Group book, No Place to Be Hide also releases in August. Also, Kate Willoughby’s Across the Line, Lisa Marie Rice’s Midnight Vengeance, and HelenKay Dimon’s Long Way Home (all part on various series) are on tob of my want list for August releases.

    And Nora Roberts Night Moves finally releases in digital on August 4th. It’s the last of her category romances to be released in digital (and from Harlequin/Silhouette so should be couponable at Kobo).

  9. cleo
    Jul 27, 2014 @ 18:38:25

    @Lindsay – omg, I hear you on the Shadowlands series. It is book crack and there’s a lot of wtf in it. I seem to have successfully broken my addiction – I haven’t read Sally’s book and I don’t know that I’m going to. I agree about her abrupt shift into sex trafficking – that wasn’t what I thought I was signing up for. And yet I kept reading them.

    Have you tried Delphine Dryden yet? Her bdsm books feel a lot more grounded in reality. I particularly liked When in Rio and The Seduction Hypothosis (it’s second in a series and is mostly stand alone).

  10. Jayne
    Jul 27, 2014 @ 19:15:06

    @Darlynne: I’ll be interested to hear what you think of “Landline.” I haven’t bought it yet due to some mixed reviews I’ve been reading.

  11. Divya
    Jul 27, 2014 @ 21:41:23

    This month I finally read Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. Sooo good and I’m going to start reading Attachments by Rowell.

    I also reread the entire Kate Daniels series in anticipation of the new book coming out on Tuesday. I’ve already set my alarm for 3 am eastern time.

    In nonfiction, I read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking when SBTB featured it as a daily deal. It was such an eye opener, especially since I consider myself to be an introvert.

  12. Laura Jardine
    Jul 27, 2014 @ 22:05:39

    I have thought about reading “Landline” since I really enjoyed “Attachments,” even though the premise sounds ridiculous. But it’s so expensive… Anyway, maybe when my TBR list isn’t quite so long.

    I’ve read a bunch of small town romances lately. Most didn’t quite work for me, though I liked Toni Blake’s “One Reckless Summer.” The best book I read in the past month is definitely “It Happened One Wedding.”

    Am now reading “Love and Lists” by Tara Sivec, which is just a little too crazy for me. This sort of over-the-top humour works better for me on TV than it does in books. I feel like the characters are just there to be as nutty as possible and cannot connect with them. But I can imagine that this book would work very well for the right person.

  13. Lindsay
    Jul 27, 2014 @ 22:39:23

    @cleo: I am so glad I’m not alone! I read Sally’s story and it definitely wasn’t my favourite of them, even though she was my favourite character (until that book). I have a couple of Delphine Dryden’s books I bought on sale ages ago, I shall definitely dig them out of my TBR, thank you! I did read The Dom Project and some of Heidi Cullinan’s books have BDSM in them (actually they’re the first books I’ve seen people safeword out of stuff and loved that to be honest) so maybe I have read more than I realize. Still, I wouldn’t mind more what-is-this-I-can’t-stop-reading-it books as well.

  14. Rosa
    Jul 28, 2014 @ 00:33:59

    @Divya: I LOVE Eleanor & Park. I picked it up because of a nasty little thing locally where parents got in a snit about it and got Rowell disinvited from a speaking gig, and I’m so glad I did.

    That said, Attachments felt really dated to me, which was disappointing, and I can’t figure out of it’s because I had a newspaper job at the same time and the actual memory drowns out the book when I read it, or if it was a weakness in the story that made me think while I was reading about how much technology & the job market have changed. But I loved loved loved Fangirl even though I don’t think I’d usually read a college romance.

  15. cleo
    Jul 28, 2014 @ 07:16:11

    @Lindsay – I think Joey Hill’s bdsm books have some of that what-is-this-I-can’t-stop-reading-it quality. She also writes a much wider range than Cherise Sinclair – mm, mf, femdom, etc.

  16. Ruth (CO)
    Jul 28, 2014 @ 07:49:55

    Sabrina Chase has a sequel to The Last Mage Guardian called the Dragonhunters (Guardian’s Compact). I enjoyed reading her story. it is a fantasy with behind closed door romance. Strong female characters in a world where the female roles should be diminished per society.

  17. Interrobanged
    Jul 28, 2014 @ 08:44:53

    I’m very excited for Kresley Cole’s new addition to the Immortals After Dark series, which is set to release on August 5 (I am VERY excited if I know the release date…). I have been in a real romance hole lately with nothing new by Cecilia Grant and the latest Milan offering was definitely a disappointment. So I’m really anticipating this one, and hope it lives up to my internal hype!

  18. cleo
    Jul 28, 2014 @ 09:35:33

    I’ve had a slow reading month. I read a few books that I didn’t like as much as others seemed to – which may be because of me, but I tend to blame the books.

    I will vent a bit about one here – I read The Men of Smithfield: Mark and Tony by LB Gregg (I think I got their names right – it’s the first in the series). Gah. I really hated the tstl narrator / hero. I should have known better – I read the sample and it opens with him assaulting his cheating boyfriend. It was played for laughs, but I have a pretty low tolerance for domestic violence. And it didn’t get better for me. This is a beloved mm series, so I seem to be in the minority, but it didn’t work for me.

    One that did work for me was The Jade Temptress by Jeannie Lin. I finally got around to reading it and I liked it – it’s one of my favorites in her Tang Dynasty books, at least so far. I liked that the ending was both believable/ realistic and optimistic.

    I also finished The Best of Mary Schmich, which is a compilation of her columns from the Chicago Tribune. She won a Pulitzer a few years ago for her column, but I don’t know how well known she is outside of Chicago. I really enjoyed it. It’s a little uneven and it’s definitely not something you can read in one sitting – it’s a good commuting book. She provides an interesting window into 20 years of life in Chicago.

  19. Lada
    Jul 28, 2014 @ 09:56:49

    @cleo: I’m not a big erotica reader but just finished Hill’s Unrestrained which is contemporary Mdom BDSM and really well written. This is probably the third book of Hill’s I’ve read and they’ve all been fantastic.

    This week will be all about Ilona Andrews’ Magic Breaks since they’ll be in town on Friday and I plan on going to my first book signing in years. Readers…have any questions you’d like to ask them if they aren’t coming by you?

  20. mel burns
    Jul 28, 2014 @ 10:32:29

    I am looking forward to Magic Breaks and have been re-reading the last three in the Kate Daniels’ series.
    The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness bored me to tears….what a disappointment. I had pre-ordered the print, e-book and audio, two of which I promptly returned.
    Zoe Archer’s Sweet Revenge was so different than most of the historicals I read, but I really enjoyed it.

  21. Amy R
    Jul 28, 2014 @ 10:43:15

    In the past month I read the Charley Davidson series (book 1-6) by Darynda Jones and I’m now anxiously awaiting book 7. Hard Time by Cara McKenna was a great read but I wish there had been an epilogue. I started a Kristen Ashley glom and have read her Dream Man series, Chaos series and started Rock Chick.

  22. JPeK
    Jul 28, 2014 @ 10:58:09

    @Lindsay: Funny you should comment on these books. I finally bought the 1st one a few days ago and downloaded the samples of the others onto my Kindle. I intend on trying ’em out soon. It’s good to know that I can expect some crazy-sauce as I dive in. :)

    On a somewhat similar note, I had to stop reading Catherine Coulter’s FBI series when she suddenly started incorporating more and more and MORE psychic-woo-woo stuff into them. I don’t mind the psychic/paranormal stuff when I know that’s what I’m getting into (and when it’s written well), but I struggle with it when it feels like it’s coming out of left-field into a well-established series.

  23. JPeK
    Jul 28, 2014 @ 11:24:43

    Compared to last month, I really haven’t read many books, certainly few worth noting. Both of the books I’ll mention here are part of ongoing series:

    /The Art of Breathing/ by TJ Klune, the third book set in Klune’s “Bear, Otter, and the Kid Chronicles, was great. We get “the Kid” (aka Tyson) as the primary narrator and character-of-interest in this book (the first two books feature more of his older brother + partner). I enjoyed the book a lot, but then I really loved the first two and this one has a very similar tone to it. I don’t think readers would get the same experience if they skipped the first two and started with this one, but since the first two were good, you might as well start there anyway! :) For me, the books balance angst and snark rather well, and the brotherly relationships and the friendships with side characters are as important as the romantic relationships, which I also like.

    /In Despair/ by Megan Derr, the third in her “Princes of the Blood” series, was a bit of a letdown (considering the price), but she’s always been kind of hit-or-miss for me. The Derr books I love, I really, really love–she has a gift for creative world-building, IMO, so I tend to prefer her fantasy works over her contemporary m/m romances. While I really enjoyed the first two books in this world, and was looking forward to this one because we get the backstory of two important characters from those two stories, I ultimately found this one to be a less engrossing read. Don’t get me wrong; it was still good. But 3-star good rather than 4- or 5-star good. At $6.99 though, I wouldn’t recommend it to everybody, though I would recommend checking out some of Derr’s other work if you like m/m romantic fantasy. She offers many free or very cheap short works on Amazon (and perhaps elsewhere) so it’s easy to sample her writing without investing a lot of time or money.

  24. Lindsay
    Jul 28, 2014 @ 15:11:29

    @cleo: Oh perfect, thank you! I absolutely wanted more, and femdommes are a big plus. I think one of her books was featured in a bundle recently so I have a bunch of stuff to try now, thank you!

  25. cleo
    Jul 28, 2014 @ 15:24:22

    @Lindsay – yay – I hope you like Joey Hill. When I did my initial bdsm romance glom a couple years ago, I found the DA reviews really helpful, especially the older ones by SarahF. Here’s the link –

  26. Michelle [Helen Geek]
    Jul 28, 2014 @ 18:26:08

    Two books I really liked this month are Ginger Scott’s How We Deal with Gravity and J. M. Darhower’s Monster in His Eye’s. Both very good — but as different as night and day :)

  27. Nancy
    Jul 29, 2014 @ 02:53:49

    With Courtney Milan’s enhanced e-books on sale this month, I was inspired to pull out Proof by Seduction, which I had bought months ago. It didn’t wow me, but I liked her voice and her characters enough to pick up the enhanced ebook versions of Unveiled and Unlocked. So I have those to look forward to.

    I also read The Chocolate Touch by Laura Florand after buying it at the RWA signing in San Antonio. I’d only read The Chocolate Thief in the Amour et Chocolat series before this. I absolutely loved Thief when I read it last year and haven’t picked up anymore in the series because I’ve been worried none of the others could live up to it. Somehow the other Amour books kept being pushed further down on my tbr list. Well, I was silly to wait so long. I loved Touch. It’s much darker than Thief, but still has Florand’s beautiful prose, enchanting characters, and delicious food scenes. Touch automatically made it to my best reads of the year list and I feel much more excited to pick up the rest of the Amour books.

    I’m currently reading The Book of Life, which I’m liking more than I expected. I enjoyed the crack qualities of the first in the series but found the second to be mostly boring and overly long. This one is in between those two. There’s more action and lovely character moments than the second, but it still needs a much more critical content editor.

  28. MaryK
    Jul 29, 2014 @ 13:57:29

    I need a nonfiction book on staying organized at work and keeping up with multiple projects without things falling through the cracks. Anybody read one they found useful?

  29. Lindsay
    Jul 29, 2014 @ 17:24:41

    @cleo: Oh my goodness, thank you. I started one last night and was up WAY past my bedtime and had to force myself to put it down! And thank you for the link, I am rolling in catnip right now.

  30. Estara Swanberg
    Jul 30, 2014 @ 11:40:06

    Stuff I’m looking forward to:
    Stuff that is out today: Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews (which has already been reviewed here, heh)

    Stuff that will be out by August 1st (although if I hadn’t preordered mine it seems as if Kobo would have sold me the book today… well I’m not paying twice *sigh*): Michelle Sagara’s newest Elantra book – Cast in Flame: come see whether Kaylin finally gets her own flat again and what those friends of Teela’s will be up to bring chaos to the imperial city ^^

    Andrea Höst has a new tiny freebie short story available at Smashwords. I look forward to meeting her at Loncon 3, which is this month and takes up all my energy and imagination.

    Michelle Sagara West is also listed as attending – whenever else will a German be able to meet an Australian and a Canadian favourite author so easily *fingers crossed*

  31. pooks
    Jul 30, 2014 @ 12:07:46

    MaryK, the best organizational book I’ve ever read for my purposes was Getting Things Done by David Allen.

  32. pooks
    Jul 30, 2014 @ 12:09:40

    Thanks for the rec, Estara. I’ve never read Andrea Höst so was happy to snag the free story for a sample.

  33. Estara Swanberg
    Jul 30, 2014 @ 16:16:11

    @pooks: Glad to enable you dipping a toe in the water ^^ – Blue is another short she has free on Smashwords ^^ – and then there’s the free Gratuitous Epilogue for the Touchstone Trilogy, but that really only makes sense after reading said trilogy.

  34. Estara Swanberg
    Jul 30, 2014 @ 16:18:00

    *facepalm* And of course I forgot to mention that she put the first book of the Touchstone Trilogy permanently free, I believe, both on Smashwords and Here’s the link to Stray at Smashwords.

  35. Karla
    Aug 02, 2014 @ 19:20:40

    The best books that I read this month were Eloisa James’ book Three Weeks with Lady X. This author doesn’t always work for me but this one got a B+. I liked the Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling). This is second in a mystery series and the attractions for me are the setting of London and the two leads who are well-developed characters. Jessica Clare’s Once Upon a Billionaire, I would categorize as a guilty pleasure. The stories lack depth but they are so much fun!

    The biggest surprised for me was Transcendence by Shay Savage. This was the oddest romance but I loved it. It’s about a caveman who is living alone on the steppe, when a 21st century woman appears out of nowhere. Because he has lost all of his family he’s delighted to find this new “mate”. They stay together and fall in love. I really loved the book, even though I had to ignore the little voice in my head reminding my of mortality rates and other dangers in prehistory . I’m in awe that the author made this story work because the caveman is incapable of speech, so there is no dialogue and the entire book is from the man’s POV! Anyone else read this one?

  36. Amanda
    Aug 05, 2014 @ 17:53:35

    I had been in sort of a book slump for a while, I have books to read but I am not in the mood to read them. Suddenly now I have so many books I really want to read (Magic Breaks, Cast in Flame, Lead: A Stage Dive Novel,
    No Good Duke Goes Unpunished, and the in Death books) and not enough time to read them. When it rains it pours !

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