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. Juliana Stone
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 13:23:11

    I love this thread and don’t usually post but I have to share my love of The Bronze Horseman. I’ve had this book on my kindle forever and never touched it, but after seeing some chatter on twitter about it, Smexy I think and maybe Kaiebabs, I decided to give it a go. OH. MY. GOD. I can’t even explain my love for these characters and thought about them long after I finished reading the book. I immediately downloaded the second and third book of this trilogy and read them all in a week. The books aren’t without flaws and sometimes I was skimming, but Paullina Simons ability to create characters that stayed with me long after I was done reading, has never happened to me before. Sigh. Epic love story and I highly recommend. As an aside, the books revolves around WW2 and centers around a young Soviet girl and a soldier in the Red Army. Not something I would ever think to pick up but it’s fun to read outside the box and I’m happy I paid attention to the chatter.

  2. Patti
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 14:14:52

    I just finished Imprudent Lady by Joan Smith and loved it. Thank you, Jayne, for bringing this author to my attention.

  3. Ducky
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 14:27:16

    I read “The Duke’s Wager” by Edith Layton. The book isn’t at all what I expected from the synopsis. I expected two alpha upper class asses making a play for a spunky virgin and romantic hijinks ensue. I also didn’t expect much because the title has the word “Duke” in it. I am so sick of dukes. I am glad I read this because I ended up loving it. It’s not a typical romance in that it is both very frank about the sexual mores of regency male aristocrats but at the same time not sexually explicit at all. Two men take a fancy to the heroine and decide to get her into bed. They both behave very badly. One is deceitful in his seduction, the other ruthless but straightforward about it. As the story went on I liked only one of the men and it wasn’t the one I expected to like in the beginning. I guess that shows me that when it comes to bastards I will always prefer the honest ones to the hypocrites.

  4. Darlynne
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 14:28:38

    Must be the day for dusting off the books that have been in the TBR for a long, long time. In my case, it was Cuthbert Soup’s A Whole Nother Story. Ostensibly for younger readers, the story could be described as a mash-up of Lemony Snicket and Hilary McKay’s Casson family, complete with an in-the-works time travel machine, bad guys in hot pursuit, a hairless guard dog called Pinky and a sock puppet named Steve. Honestly, I had no idea what I’d gotten myself into, but it was charming, very funny and highly inventive. My favorite part was the way the Cheeseman family members treated each other with equal parts great affection, exasperation and respect. The digital edition is always on sale for .99, as far as I can tell, and the cliffhanger story continues in a second book.

    Also just started Jo Walton’s Farthing, another long-time resident in my TBR pile. It’s brilliant.

  5. Lori
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 14:49:04

    I’m on a total glom of chick lit and Kristen Ashley books and currently I’m reading Sweet Dreams and loving it. Is there a book with Wood getting a girl? Cause I’m loving him and want to read his story.

  6. Anne V
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 15:05:05

    @Lori: There’s supposed to be a Wood and Maggie reunion book at some point. No timeline as of now.

  7. jo
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 15:09:51

    @Lori: Lori- KA posted on her web site that the book about Wood and Maggie will (if it gets written) be the final book in the Colorado Mountains series.

  8. Jennifer Estep
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 15:20:17

    I’m looking forward to Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter in February. It’s the third book in her Heist Society series, which follows a group of teenage thieves. A very fun YA series, especially if you like crime capers.

  9. Dana S
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 15:23:46

    I just realized looking at a list of books I’ve read on calibre, that the majority of what I’ve been reading the past few months have been fanfic. I know people have mixed feelings about it, but I’ve found some fantastic authors and just glommed everything I could read, cause I’ve had the worst luck with recently pubbed books. I just keep picking books that are incredibly boring.

    So does anyone have any recommendations? Either really excellent recently published Historical Romances (which there seems to be a dearth of) or Urban Fantasy/Paranormal/Sci-fi Romances with no love triangle (or if there has to be a love triangle, one that is quickly resolved). I don’t care if it’s m/m, m/f, or menage, as long as it’s good.

  10. ruth
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 15:31:17

    I read “Seeing Red” by Ann K. Shepherd a self-pub YA mystery. Book one on a series based on the 7 deadly sins. What a great book! It totally blew me away!! It was extremely well written, no holes in the plot or TSTL (too stupid to live) lead characters. Brenna and Van have great chemistry together. The book starts out as a very nice but feisty story of a girl’s last year in high school. Brenna is very put together and an old soul with all her plans made. Van is her fun side kick who seems a little out there with a crush on the 80’s. Then all of a sudden things take a turn and the reader is given an amazingly deep mystery. Brenna has her head on straight and she is facing the challenges head on. I love that the lead high school girl is smart and with-it. I think the spin on the 7 seven deadly sins is amazing! I don’t know any other book like that. I know you can get it at amazon, and perhaps B&N. If you are looking for new and different, check it out.

  11. JenM
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 16:24:14

    Yesterday’s daily deals post, which included King of Darkness by Elizabeth Staab, reminded me that I should post it in the open thread. Not so much about King of Darkness, but about the next book in the series, Prince of Power. Two words – virgin hero. And, not just that he’s a virgin, but the heroine is a strong, half-vamp warrior who is physically stronger than the hero, and he totally admires her strength and gets turned on by her take charge attitude (he’s not a pushover or submissive or anything, but he’s definitely a beta type hero). My caveat is that you do have to read King of Darkness first, otherwise I think you’d be lost. Also, the world building is pretty vague and derivative of the BDB. Still, I enjoyed both books. The first book also features a hero that isn’t the normal run of the mill alpha, and it’s on sale for $1.99, so it’s worth giving it a try.

  12. cleo
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 16:24:17

    Just finished Dirty Laundry by Heidi Cullinan and omg was it good. It’s officially released tomorrow but I got it at BN today and then I read the whole thing in one setting and omfg did I mention that it’s good? I was wondering who I was going to squee to about it. Thank goodness for the DA open thread.

  13. Kris Bock
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 17:37:40

    I was sick for a week earlier this month, so I had extra time to read. Silver lining! I also had a really good run of books. I have a bunch of books on my Kindle, most of which I picked up for free, so I tried some.

    Love, Laughter and a Little Murder – three novels by Christie Craig. These were fun, light romantic suspense. Not too much violence, likable characters, good “beach reads” or in my case, sick reads. I liked the first two better than the third, and I wouldn’t recommend reading them back-to-back, as some aspects started to feel repetitive. (A few typos per chapter, probably scanning errors.)

    My Steadfast Heart, by Jo Goodman – I picked up this historical romance after it was recommended here, and loved it so much I immediately bought the second, My Restless Heart. I sometimes find historical romances slow in the middle, like they’d be better off if they were 100 pages shorter, but these books never flagged. It wasn’t so much that they were action-packed, but they had enough going on and interesting, likable characters.

    Married in Haste, by Cathy Maxwell – another historical romance, which I gave four stars. Interesting characters, an easy-going but enjoyable pace, and some fun twists.

    Still Life with Murder (Nell Sweeney Mystery Series book 1), by P.B. Ryan – the heroine is a governess in 19th-century Boston. Not much romance, but an unusual and interesting heroine and a good mystery, plus details of the historical period. And beautiful writing! There’s a suggestion that a romance may grow over the series. I would’ve gotten the second, but at $5 per e-book, the others in the series are more than I want to spend, especially because there are already at least six books in the series. I may hit the library for the later ones, though.

    My one fail was Exclusively Yours, even though I know it’s been popular here. I couldn’t get into it, because I didn’t feel like I knew enough about the main characters to like or care about them. (E.g., her career is everything to her – why? She wants to move to editorial – why? And what does that even mean? At the magazines where I worked, a reporter would be part of editorial already.) I only read 15% and then skipped to the end. Maybe it would have gotten better if I’d stuck it out. I did like the way things were resolved.

    I’ve also started reading The Curse of Senmut, by Jackson and Britton, a modern mystery featuring an Egyptologist. The editor in me would like to make a few suggestions on the writing style, but the characters and premise are interesting so far.

  14. cleo
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 17:47:48

    @Kris Bock: I’m not a big Exclusively Yours fan either – I liked the supporting characters way more than the MCs and I didn’t really care if they got together. I’ve loved several Shannon Stacey novellas, but so far, none of the Kowalski books I’ve tried have really worked for me.

  15. Jia
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 17:58:55

    @Jennifer Estep: I’m so excited for the new Heist Society book. I like that series more than the Gallagher Girl series. I downloaded the crossover novella featuring Hale and Macey but haven’t had a chance to read it yet.

  16. jo
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 18:26:16

    @Kris Bock:Try getting the Nell Sweeney books at your worth reading the entire series!!! I got paper backs on line for 10 cents each. The relationship btw the H/h gets more romantic as the series progresses. One of the best series I have ever read.

  17. Tina
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 19:16:13

    @Kris Bock:

    Seconding the rec for the PB Ryan series. A total of Six books, the romance amps up in each book. Last book ties up the series (there are some threads that dangle through the whole series) in a nice bow. I think it satisfied me both a a mystery reader and a romance reader equally.

    My year started off super slow. But I just read Easy by Tamara Webber and loved it! Now am reading the Riyria Revelations fantasy series by Michael Sullivan. I adore the two main characters, Royce and Hadrian, two thieves who are drawn into palace intrigue and a massive conspiracy to overthrow the various kings and create an Imperium. I like thief anti heroes especially when done well and these two are great. I also enjoy fantasy where the author has a nice light touch with humor.

  18. Anne
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 19:19:44

    This week I discovered Defying the Odds by Kele Moon. I loved it and moved right on to the next in the series, Star Crossed. These books are contemporaries about UFC fighters. They were sweet love stories with a touch of violent humor that reminded me of Shelly Laurenston, without the shifting. Defying the odds is about Clay, current UFC heavyweight champion and Melody, the down on her luck waitress he meets. Star Crossed is about Romeo, Clay’s rival from Defying the Odds and Juliet, the strong confident woman he meets and falls for, who also happens to be a best friend and near-sister to Clay. I liked their story even more than the first one. I highly recommend these for a good, straightforward contemporary read. Defying the Odds was ~155 pages on my reader and Star Crossed was ~255. I wish there were more in the series. It looks like a third book is coming sometime.

  19. Jennifer Estep
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 19:29:41

    @Jia: I didn’t know there was a crossover story. Thanks for the tip. I’ll have to check that one out too.

  20. John
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 20:44:52

    I just finished a really great collection of literary fiction short stories called NEWS FROM HEAVEN by Jennifer Haigh. I wanted more happy-endings involved with some of the romances, but I went in expecting none since it was marketed as literary. As a lifetime resident of Pennsylvania, Haigh gets the state’s history and people in a way that I have yet to see from other authors – from the Polish immigrants, the coal miners, the smallest, miniscule things that you hear from your parents and grandparents that are obviously great fodder for stories…it really impressed me.

    I’m also starting THE CROWN OF EMBERS, the second in Rae Carson’s Girl of Fire and Thorns series, and it promises to be wonderful. Otherwise, I did read a very great classic Presents novel from the 80’s, PASSION’S DAUGHTER by Sara Wood, which featured a gypsy heroine and an artistic CEO hero. It was actually not offensive and surprisingly romantic. The hero rarely traversed into douche territory, too. There were a lot of aspects of it that seemed out of the norm for the Presents line in any capacity, so I’ll be trying to find more of Wood’s books in the future.

  21. Jayne
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 03:01:07

    @Patti: “Imprudent Lady” is one of my Joan Smith favorites and I’m glad you enjoyed it. I want to get back to reading and reviewing more of her books.

  22. Jayne
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 03:03:43

    @Ducky: Years ago a friend rec’d “The Duke’s Wager” and a bunch of friends and I read it. I knew it was dark going in but was blown away by it too. I’ve been warned, though, that the sequel – about the loser of the wager – completely changes his character, which many readers found problematic.

  23. Helena Fairfax
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 06:01:04

    I’ve just started reading Ruthie Knox’s About Last Night. The hero is a City of London banker called Neville Chamberlain. That made me laugh out loud. It’s a great read :)

  24. Estara
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 07:01:40

    @Dana S: Excellent Urban Fantasy (with romantic subthread) – Have you read the three available Seressia Glass books about the Shadowchasers – heroine is poc, as is the eventual love interest? No love triangle, and awesome non-European mythology. While she lost her contract for the fourth book, the series is not left at a cliffhanger and can be enjoyed as is.

  25. LeeF
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 09:29:01

    @Helena Fairfax:

    I read it over the weekend and am SO glad I followed a recommendation to try Ruthie Knox. Also read Ride with Me. I didn’t expect to like it as much About Last Night but I love the way she writes characters. I look forward to her next book.

  26. Ducky
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 10:10:15

    Warning – Spoilers!

    Nods, I read the sequel over the weekend, hoping for another glimpse of Jason and Regina and curious how Layton could possibly make me care for the Marquis. I was very disappointed: She white-washed the Marquis – I hardly recognized him, plus, he makes the same mistake again with his heroine! And the story was very inferior to Torquay’s story.

  27. Jody W.
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 12:07:12

    My January has been mostly RITA books, which clearly I can’t mention, but when I haven’t been reading those, I’ve been loving The Emporer’s Edge series by Lindsay Buroker. I’m making myself read slow and enjoy it. It’s fantasy, a little steampunk, a little romance, a lot of adventure:

  28. Sylvie
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 12:09:39

    At the recommendation from Brie at Romance around the corner (posted on this blog a couple of weeks ago, I think), I read Fallen from Grace by Laura Leone. I loved this book. The best I’ve read in a long time. If someone knows of something in that vein, I’d love the recommendation. I think the severely flawed hero was the appeal.

  29. hapax
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 12:33:59

    Late to the party, but I was sick in bed all weekend, which gave me the perfect opportunity to pull the long-recommended YA romances by Stephanie Perkins off the TBR pile.

    For some reason, I read the second one — LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR — first, and adored it. It was a sweet friends-to-enemies-to-lovers romance with a messed up heroine and an adorable geeky hero, and I wound up reading it twice; mostly for the cameo glimpses of Etienne St. Clair, who appears along with his girlfriend Anna, the heroine of the first book.

    So then I read ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, and omigosh, I wanted to cuddle this book and have babies with it. It’s about friendship and loneliness and second / third / fourth chances and PARIS!!! and Etienne is the most irresistible charismatic short dude with an angsty backstory since Miles Vorkisigan. So three times through for this one.

    And darnit, I just found out TODAY that it was on a one-day sale YESTERDAY.


  30. DS
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 14:17:23

    I want to throw this out for people who might like historical fantasy set in 1929– Lost Things by Melissa Scott and Jo Graham. It’s the first in a proposed series but it’s quite complete in itself. It’s not a romance although there is a plot thread about love.

    I have enjoyed Melissa Scott’s books since they first started showing up in bookstores. She has written both historical fantasy and hard sf– if sf with piloting through space based on alchemical imagery can be considered hard. I was delighted to see the first of her Silence Leigh books show up on Audible then grabbed Lost Things when it appeared on Audible.

    There’s archaeology, ritual magic, early aviation, and demonic possession all combined in an adventure story that takes the reader from Colorado to Hollywood and then to Chicago and on east.

    One of the things I always liked about Melissa Scott was that she would write gay, bisexual, transgendered characters without a lot of fuss or drama. When a lot of people were writing what was essentially coming out stories Scott made her characters secure in their sexuality, whatever it might be.

  31. Susan
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 22:37:36

    @Jayne: I own Imprudent Lady but haven’t read it yet. Guess I need to get moving. I’ve mentioned before how much I like the old trad Regencies. For me, they’re quick comfort reads. But I also think their merits are overlooked by a lot of romance readers who assume they’re outdated or too treacly. I really appreciate that you/DA include reviews of them. (I only wish more of them were available as ebooks, but I hope it’s just a matter of time.)

    This makes my rambling brain take me to another point: there are so many books/authors (MM Kaye, for example) that I’m dying to see make it to ebooks. When I’m on Amazon, I click that little button but I doubt it does any good. I would think publishers and authors (or authors’ estates) of older, possibly OOP, books would be rushing to get on the ebook bandwagon.

  32. Merrian
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 23:41:55


    I love Melissa Scott’s writing, the Silence Leigh books and the Point of Dreams books especially. I remember details years later – in ‘Mighty Good Road’ the description of how you had to walk and move differently on a space habitat than on a planet and how that was one way of seeing who was other.

  33. Jayne
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 03:02:04

    @Susan: I’m up there in the choir, singing along with you. I would love to know who owns the rights to some of these deceased authors’ works. But then in some cases – like Diana Norman/Ariana Franklin – her newer books were released as ebooks but her older ones – the ones that will cost you out the wazoo – still have not been, and I know she has family who are “in the know” about publishing since her husband is an author and her daughter is supposed to be completing her mother’s last, unfinished book.

  34. Estara
    Feb 04, 2013 @ 12:58:08

    A heads up to say that Andrea Höst offers And All the Stars, the ebook version, for 99 cents on sale at Smashwords, Amazon, Kobo and B&N (if they’ve updated) for ALL of February, if you wanted a cheap way to dip your toes into her oeuvre.

  35. Mandy
    Feb 24, 2013 @ 03:36:55

    Hi, I noticed that you have reviews of Georgette Heyer books here (she is my all time favourite author) and also that Jane Godman has posted about her new release The Rebel’s Promise in the author thread.
    The Rebel’s Promise was recommended to me by a fellow GH lover and I have to say, it didn’t disappoint. In fact, I read it in one sitting. I found it very ‘heyeresque’.
    There are obvious differences – it’s Georgian rather than Regency, for a start. But the dialogue, characters and setting were in GH’s style and I enjoyed the story. I hope there will be a sequel, as all of the characters were worthy of their own story.
    I’d recommend it as a sweet, enjoyable read.

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