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. rebeccaj
    Feb 24, 2013 @ 14:52:13

    I *finally* read Jennifer Cruise’s “Bet Me” last night….OMG, excellent book!

    Some of her lines were hilarious, like when Cal was taking Min to meet his parents and he said, “We don’t need to chill the wine at our house, the atmosphere does it for us.” And then when his mother showed up at Min’s house and Min said, “A party isn’t a party until somebody brings the ice.” I was laughing so hard.

  2. Patty
    Feb 24, 2013 @ 15:55:25

    I am looking forward to finding out a release date for Laurann Dohner’s next New Species book Moon. I recently read Sins and Needles after the recommendations from smexybooks and the deal posted here on Dear Author, it was really good and really intense. I also finished reading How Beauty Met the Beast and How Beauty Saved the Beast, both great reads. I feel like March is a blah month for me, I mean the big release is going to be J.R. Ward’s Lover at Last, but I gave up on the series about two books ago…

  3. Jennifer Estep
    Feb 24, 2013 @ 16:20:19

    I’m looking forward to The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen in March.

  4. cleo
    Feb 24, 2013 @ 16:54:45

    I’m excited for Family Man by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton to come out March 15, finally. I preordered it ages ago. Also really looking forward to City Mouse, the sequel to Country Mouse, by Amy Lane and Aleksandr Voinov. Moderately looking forward to the next Tucker Springs book, by L. A. Witt. Witt is my least favorite of the authors writing in the Tucker Springs world, but the blurb for this book is so interesting – atheist tattoo artist, who was kicked out by his conservative Christian family, falls for his new neighbor, an openly gay youth pastor. Wow.

    I’ve been on a bit of an Aleksandr Voinov glom lately. I’ve avoided his darker sounding books like Dark Soul so far, but I was blown away by Skyfall – an unusual, compelling novella about a romance between a German fighter pilot and his mechanic at the end of WWII. And I was completely caught up by Incursion, which is this kind of crazy space opera novella with a couple surprise twists at the end, one that I was expecting and one that I wasn’t. I’m still not sure what I think about it – there were a couple things that didn’t hold up on a re-read and it’s not exactly romantic, but it’s compelling and thought provoking and fun. Also read his two Market Garden novellas written with L. A. Witt – these are much more straight forward than Incursion – just hot rent boys having hot sex, but excellent for a quick, sexy read.

    @rebeccaj: Now I’ve got Bet Me quotes running through my head too – it’s such a good book.

  5. Wahoo Suze
    Feb 24, 2013 @ 18:06:33

    I just read Strength of the Pack by Kendall McKenna, twice. It’s an m/m werewolf military romance, and it just charmed the socks off me. The werewolfness wasn’t overwhelming, and it was a bit of a different take on the theme (on the surface, anyway). I don’t have a military background, but the jargon wasn’t jarring. The author correctly used “cover” instead of “hat”, which I’ve come across as a peeve for military people before. I must have got it with a discount, though, because it’s currently listed at $8.99 at ARe, and I can’t see me paying that for a new-to-me author.

  6. Nicolette
    Feb 24, 2013 @ 20:33:10

    Patricia Briggs’ newest Mercy Thompson novel comes out in March. I’ve already told my husband it can be a slightly belated birthday present. He’ll get me the hardcover. Now I have to restrain myself from getting it on my Kindle too.

  7. Kerry D.
    Feb 24, 2013 @ 22:31:46

    @Nicolette: Oh, Nicolette, do what I do and get both. :) I get the Kindle version for reading and the hardback for stroking fondly and keeping on my bookcase.

  8. Susan
    Feb 24, 2013 @ 23:35:00

    @Nicolette: I usually get these books in HB (one of the few series that I’ll do that with), but I’m thinking of switching to ebook for this one.

    Also coming soon is CE Murphy’s newest Joanne Walker book, and a Rob Thurman Cal Leandros book.

  9. kardis
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 07:32:05

    Thanks to Estara, I’m in the middle of the 3rd book in Andrea Host’s Touchstone trilogy. I know that series gets a lot of love here already, but put me down as another recommendation.

  10. srs
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 08:23:20

    Not sure if its my mood or the books I’ve been reading, but I’ve gone off Romance a bit lately. For March, I’m looking forward to the 2nd in the Ascendance trilogy – The Runaway King, as well as CS Harris’s latest Sebastian St. Cyr mystery. And thanks @Nicolette: for reminding me about the new Mercy Thompson book. I need to set a reminder for myself to reserve it from the library.

  11. Jane
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 09:42:00

    I received this in my inbox. Can anyone help?

    My name is Claire and I hope you can help me. I read a book back in the early 90’s and I cannot find it since. I don’t remember the name but I have a vivid memory of the cover picture. I have been searching for it for years and no luck. I came across your site and thought you might be able to help or direct me to someone or somewhere that could.

    The picture is mostly orange/gold in color, with Indian style buildings in the background and on the foreground is a field. There is a side profile of a woman walking from left to right and a man walking behind her. I think she may be holding a hat in her hands and there may be a turban on the man’s head. She’s wearing either a dress with short sleeves or a blouse and skirt.

    I have a vague memory of the story. She is English and there with her husband or fiancé and falls for the Indian man. It probably describes most Indian set novels but I really hope you can help. I know it was a great read so I would like to experience it again.

  12. Sunita
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 10:00:09

    @Jane: I don’t know which book it is (as she says, the description fits a lot of historical novels set in India), but I found this list of Indian novels at Amazon. It’s a start, anyway.

  13. JenM
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 11:17:25

    When River Marked by Patricia Briggs came out, I refused to buy it at the higher price, and then kind of forgot about it while waiting another year for the paperback. Since Frost Burned is coming out next month, I finally read River Marked and it reminded me of just how good this series is compared to most of the UF out there. I’m psyched for Frost Burned, and I’m going to pay $12.99 for the ebook version – there are very few authors or books that I will do that for.

    Aside from that, I think Painted Faces by LH Cosway was the best book I read this month – it’s so rare to see an author take real chances with the hero of a romance. I honestly didn’t think she could pull off a cross-dressing hero, but she did it in spades.

  14. Janine
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 11:23:34

    @srs: The title of The Runaway King bums me out. I’d much rather Sage/Jaron stayed put as king and didn’t run away. I was on the fence about reading book 2 after The False Prince and I’m still on the fence. But if you like these, you might enjoy Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series.

  15. LauraB
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 11:24:13


    You can download a “Gratuitous Epilogue” for free from Host’s website. It’s about 150 pages long.

  16. LauraB
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 11:26:00


    The Far Pavilions by MM Kaye?

    Maybe it should get posted over at SmartBitches as a HABO?

  17. srs
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 11:42:56

    @Janine: I read the first book because it was recommended for fans of the Queen’s Thief series. I’m re-reading The False Prince now in preparation for the new release and, while I don’t think it is as good as Turner’s series, it does fulfill my current craving for adventure stories.

  18. srs
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 11:43:14

    Sorry, accidental double post.

  19. cead
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 11:55:41

    Random remarkably-stupid question here: in the name of the Harlequin Presents line, is “Presents” the noun (something that could be paraphrased “Harlequin Moderns”) or the verb (“Harlequin presents… this book)? The latter sort of makes more sense maybe sort of, except that the names of the other lines don’t have verbs? I feel very silly asking this, but I’ve only ever seen it written.

    Random somewhat-less-stupid question: I don’t read time-travel romances, but I have the impression that the usual set-up involves either a woman going back in time or a man coming forward, and very rarely a man going back in time or a woman coming forward. Is this a misperception because I’m not familiar with the sub-genre, or is this actually a thing?

  20. kardis
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 12:42:19


    Thanks for the info, I already have it and another book of hers featured on a daily deal page. I should just give her my whole book budget for the month.

  21. Sunita
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 12:59:30

    @LauraB: Agree on the HABO suggestion, but I very much doubt it’s The Far Pavilions. That features a romance between a mixed-raceBritish hero and an Indian heroine.

  22. leslie
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 13:08:42

    Could the India book be Olivia and Jai by Rebecca Ryman? I was also reminded of some late 1980s Victoria Holt.

  23. Meri
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 13:10:08

    I am frustrated with reading in general at the moment. I can’t find anything I want to read, I have no TBR pile and there’s pretty much nothing in my wish lists, and no review has really captured my interest recently. I feel like I need a book intervention.

  24. Estara
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 13:12:08

    @kardis: Thanks for the shoutout! I don’t believe there can be too much love available – mostly because Andrea is self-published, so all the work and the expense for editors and art (or at least stockphotos – I know she designed the current Touchstone cover and And All the Stars herself, whereas her fantasy books usually use specially comissioned art – for example multiple Chesney award winner Julie Dillon) are her own layout.

    On Goodreads she recently had a giveaway for 10.000 books sold overall – I didn’t ask if that excluded all the times that she sets the first Touchstone book at free price, or like this whole February, has And All the Stars in ebook at $1 ! At all the retailers.

    She also bothers offering POD print if people really want it, and not many self-published and therefore little known authors go to the bother of troubling with having their manuscripts ready for typesetting and formatting there.

    Well… you see I am totally biased. I gifted And All the Stars to about ten people this month, just because I want more people to try her (I’ve gotten more obvious about it since I can point to the fact that Sherwood Smith enjoys her, too).

    Next month sees sf author and editor Julie Czerneda release her first fantasy novel. I’ve enjoyed all the books by Czerneda that I’ve read, she really manages to mix character development and science stuff without being boring, and there are always strong women and men involved (and some cool aliens) – so I hope I’ll enjoy A Turn of Light as much.

    And the newest Andrea Höst, Hunting (which is actually one of her older manuscripts non-released and now being worked over with her current skill-set), should show up some time in March, too. It’s a fantasy one-off with a great Julie Dillon cover.

    And of course new Patricia Briggs = auto-buy.

  25. Sunita
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 13:16:30

    @cead: I’m 99% sure that Presents is used as a verb. When the line was introduced it was more expensive than the regular line. I think it publishing in it was considered prestigious for the authors, and I would guess they were paid above the regular line. Laura Vivanco would probably know for sure, though.

    I can’t think of a TT book that has your alternate scenarios, but maybe someone else can. The man-going-forward, woman-going-back seems much more common though.

  26. Estara
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 13:23:20

    @Jane: Jane, could it be the Jewel in the Crown, Number 1 of the Raj Quartet, by Paul Scott? That has the story and this paperback edition seems to have a cover that matches the description:

    ETA: Hmm, guess it can’t be if she remembers it as a romance, not according to that description…

  27. cead
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 13:44:29

    @Sunita: Thank you!

  28. Estara
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 13:47:06

    @LauraB: And from Smashwords, and from Kobo ^^

    @kardis: Good value for money, I say ^^

  29. Estara
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 13:51:19

    @cead: I think you’re right about time-travel romance in general, but I was thinking about it and at least Lynn Kurland has the other way round happening in her time-travel romance series, too. I quite like that series, but I haven’t reread them in a while, so you might want to brows the Goodreads descriptions to see in which volume which gender does the travelling ^^.

  30. Sunita
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 13:57:09

    @Estara: The Jewel in the Crown is definitely not genre romance, and the romance at the core of the first book is doomed.

    There are a number of books by an author named Katharine Gordon in the list I linked to earlier, and they have covers that might fit.

  31. CleoC
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 15:33:51

    @cead: Susan Sizemore wrote a number of time travel romances back in the 90’s before she moved into the paranormal; one of the books, In My Dreams, is about a California biker dude being transported back to Ireland in the year 805 A.D., complete with his motorcycle. Also, Lynn Kurland writes an interwoven series of time travel romances that feature both male and female characters going backwards and forwards in time.

  32. LauraJ
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 16:58:24

    I’m looking forward to Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs, but I’d like to catch up on the Alpha & Omega books before starting it, so I bought Hunting Ground and Fair Game in paperback. Hopefully I’ll read them before Frost Burned arrives.

    After watching a trailer for the movie Two Mothers (about best friends who fall in love with each other’s sons), I’m in the mood to read a novel about an older woman and younger man. But I don’t want anything historical or self-published. And I definitely don’t want to read anything that ends tragically (since I don’t think it’s a sin to date a younger man!). I’ve read Younger by Pamela Satran and remember being vaguely unsatisfied, but I don’t remember why. I’ve also read Jennifer Crusie’s Anyone But You, but I didn’t like it. Thanks.

  33. Janine
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 17:08:36

    @srs: Gotcha. I almost never say I wish authors would right faster, because it often falls under the heading of “Be careful what you wish for” but I do so wish Turner could write her fabulous books just a little bit faster.

  34. Jill Sorenson
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 17:29:06

    @cead: Beth Kery has a man going back time travel romance, Daring Time.

    @LauraJ: I’m sure you’ve heard of Liberating Lacey by Anne Calhoun. The hero is only a few years younger. I just picked up On the Island by Tracy Jarvis Graves?, with a much younger hero. Haven’t read it yet.

  35. Janine
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 17:29:34

    @Meri: That sucks. If you list the genres and types of books you prefer, maybe the crowd here will be able to help?

  36. Janine
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 17:33:28

    @LauraJ: An oldie I remember fondly is Family Blessings by LaVyrle Spencer. It’s a contemporary romance with a 45 year old heroine and a 30 year old hero. I liked it much better than I liked its title.

  37. Laura Florand
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 17:48:40

    @LauraJ: I really loved Thea Harrison’s Natural Evil. It’s a novella. I loved the heroine and the younger guy’s reaction to her.

    Also, this isn’t a romance, but one of my favorite books with an older woman/younger man is Martha Wells’ Wheel of the Infinite. I think I reviewed it here as a guest years ago.

  38. Brie
    Feb 25, 2013 @ 20:15:12

    This month I read an adorable contemporary YA called The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding. It’s about a girl who’s never met her mother and is somewhat obsessed with finding all she can about her. She tragically gets her wish when her father dies and she has to move to L.A. to live with her mother. So the whole story is about how they get to know each other and adapt to their new circumstances. There’s also a bit of a romance, but it’s very sweet, more about first kisses and holding hands than anything else. And the mom has her very own swoon-worthy hero as well.

    I highly recommend it to fans of YA.

    Next month I’m looking forward to reading Jeaniene Frost’s next Vlad book. I lost interest in Cat and Bones halfway through their series, but the spin-off books I find very entertaining! The first Vlad book was lots of fun, so hopefully this one will deliver.

  39. Lada
    Feb 26, 2013 @ 14:24:27

    I’ve been trying to read Laura Florand’s The Chocolate Thief because it sounded like it had so many elements I love in romance: smart, capable heroine; strong but vulnerable hero; fabulous setting and hello? Chocolate.

    I’m now frustrated because while we’re told repeatedly that the heroine is a smart business woman, I’ve seen none of that. Even though she’s grown up in a chocolate factory that would no doubt have state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, she comes across as a novice. Even worse, she repeatedly attempts to lure the boutique chocolatiers she is interested in partnering with with nothing more than an open checkbook. After she’s repeatedly (and often rudely) turned down she never changes her strategy. She never tries approaching them with how the partnership would benefit them besides in dollars. She never defends her family company (which basically represents Hershey) that they denigrate at every turn.

    While I think the book is well written and I would probably otherwise enjoy the conflict between the hero and heroine, it feels like there’s a power imbalance created by a naive and idealistic heroine. I’m only about 1/3 of the way through and so bummed out that this book isn’t delivering what I hoped it would.

    Maybe like Jane and books featuring lawyers, I need to avoid books featuring women in business but it makes me sad.

  40. LauraJ
    Feb 27, 2013 @ 13:07:27

    Thanks for the recommendations. I’ve only heard of Graves’ On the Island and I decided to pass on it. I’ve read great reviews, but I still wasn’t sold on the stranded-on-an-island-with-an illness story.

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