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. JoanneL
    Apr 29, 2012 @ 15:07:31

    The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan was an enjoyable 99 cent romance novella that features two not-aristocratic characters (Yay!). It is a complete and stand-alone story and the lead-in for her upcoming new series.

    Also Kindle has Cast of Characters which is a collection of twenty-eight short fiction stories by Victoria Alexander, Jo Beverley, Katie MacAlister and more great writers. Not all of the stories are romances but I thought it was well worth the six-ish dollar cost to sample some authors that I haven’t read.

  2. Karenmc
    Apr 29, 2012 @ 16:05:49

    Sherry Thomas kicks off her new trilogy with Beguiling the Beauty.

  3. Keziah Hill
    Apr 29, 2012 @ 16:13:11

    Not romance but if you’re in the mood for a great psychological thriller Tana French, an Irish crime writer is my latest obsession. In the Woods is her first. Couldn’t put it down.

  4. Darlynne
    Apr 29, 2012 @ 17:00:13

    @JoanneL: Is Cast of Characters all historical? And why do I have such resistance to historical fiction in my advancing years? I love Deanna Raybourn, C. S. Harris and others and yet, when asked, I will say I don’t read historical fiction in general. Clearly I am not firing on all cylinders or maybe I’m just tired of Dukes and Earls.

    @Keziah Hill: I’ve enjoyed all of her books, usually in audio format. The newest is due any time, if it isn’t out already, and I’m eager to see where she takes us. That a character from the previous book becomes the focus of the next is always interesting and makes each story unique.

    Just finished Beth Revis’s A Million Suns, the sequel to Across the Universe and thought it was very good. Suzanne Brockmann’s Born to Darkness was a little convoluted, but original. Sun Storm by Asa Larsson was also good, although I almost gave up and am glad I didn’t.

    Honestly, the best thing I’ve been reading is Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness because my Zen could really use some help. I think it’s working.

  5. Avery Flynn
    Apr 29, 2012 @ 17:32:08

    I’m reading a really cool fantasy book, Enchanted by Alethea Kontis. It’s the first in a series with the idea being that all of the Grimm fairy tales are true and happened to the one family. Enchanted is the retelling of The Frog Prince.

    The blurb explains it much better than I do:
    “It isn’t easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

    When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

    The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past—and hers?”

  6. Avery Flynn
    Apr 29, 2012 @ 17:34:28

    @Keziah Hill: I love her books. The third one (Faithful Place) is my favorite. She has a new one coming out in July and I can’t wait.

  7. Jill Sorenson
    Apr 29, 2012 @ 17:39:36

    I’ve had good reading luck lately! I loved loved loved Ruthie Knox’s debut, Ride With Me. Best romance I’ve read in ages and quite a steal at 2.99.

    I also just finished Santa Olivia by Jaqueline Carey. She writes the Kushiel series, which I haven’t read. Anyway, I borrowed this book from the library, lost it for a few hours and went CRAZY looking for it. It’s that good. I think anyone who likes UF, SF or dystopian would enjoy. It features a freakishly strong, genetic mutant heroine born in a cordoned border town/military zone. The world, culture, characterization, romance all well done.

    Two new to me authors, very impressed with both!!

  8. Janine
    Apr 29, 2012 @ 17:58:22

    I recently finished up a review of Silent Surrender, a Spice Brief by Barbara J. Hancock that I liked mildly, but not anywhere near as much as her post-apocalyptic Samhain novella, Ghost in the Machine.

    Before that I read Gaijin, a very well written rape-filled novella by Remittance Girl. This one is definitely not a romance and I don’t think it romanticizes rape. I don’t want to say more about it because I’m saving my thoughts for a review.

    Other than that, I’m in the middle of three books right now, and keenly anticipating Veronica Roth’s Insurgent which comes out May 1st.

  9. loonigrrl
    Apr 29, 2012 @ 18:37:08

    Just read Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. I’ll admit- I got sucked in by all the positive reviews on amazon. It’s a YA book about a girl saved from a life of brutality by and trained to be an assassin for Mortain, the God of Death. I really wanted to love it, but… the book didn’t become truly interesting until at least 50% into it. Oh, and the romance between the heroine and her love interest was a big fail for me.

  10. Jody W.
    Apr 29, 2012 @ 19:34:21

    I recently glommed Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series. While sometimes the heroine seems to drop threads of her investigation or life that I, as a reader, think is unwise, those things do tend to come back to haunt her, and I get to say, I told you so. Except, I didn’t tell her, since she’s a fictional character and she probably wouldn’t listen to me anyway. EITHER WAY. I like the series.

  11. Loosheesh
    Apr 29, 2012 @ 19:39:15

    Based on the recommendations from the “If You Like FSoG” post, I started Cherise Sinclair’s Masters of the Shadowlands series; I’m liking that so far (though I’m half-way through the 3rd book and disenchantment is starting to creep in, lol). There’s stuff in there I’m not comfortable with (I definitely expected that!) but it’s interesting, well written and I like the characters for the most part.

    I’m now hooked on Sarah Mayberry (blame it on Jane!) and I’m looking forward to her self-pubbed book, “Her Best Worst Mistake”, coming out in the first week of May, according to the author. And speaking of Ms Mayberry, any recommendations on which of her Blaze books are really good? I haven’t had a good experience with the Blaze line but I’d like to read more SM.

  12. Patty
    Apr 29, 2012 @ 19:40:38

    I am looking forward to Veronica Roth’s Insurgent which releases this Tuesday as well as Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Born of Silence, also releasing Tuesday. Larissa Ione’s Lethal Rider releases May 26 (I think) so that counts as more of a June read, but still. I am really looking forward to the indie reads releasing this month with When Water Burns Laini Wendt Young, the follow up to her book, Telesa, which takes place in Samoa. I am also looking forward to Kate Copeseeely’s Aeris, the follow-up to Compis.

  13. cleo
    Apr 29, 2012 @ 20:02:21

    My reading has ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous this week. On the sublime side, I read Hard Fall by James Buchanan and really enjoyed it, even though I normally don’t care for a lot of dialect.

    On the ridiculously awful side, I read The Battlelord’s Lady, a freebie I got from ARe during their earth day promo. And it was really, really bad. So bad I considered writing a book rant ala kkw/Kelly, but when I finished it, I realized I couldn’t face even flipping through it again to write about it. I already ranted briefly at SBTB and that was so satisfying I’m mini-ranting here too. It’s a post-apocalyptic old skool noble savage captive story, plus mutants and zombies, with a healthy side of WTF. Some of it was so bad it was good, but most of it was just bad.

  14. Ros
    Apr 29, 2012 @ 20:20:08

    I have been wallowing in escapism and taking advantage of new digital editions of Betty Neels’ books. *happy sigh*

  15. ms bookjunkie
    Apr 29, 2012 @ 21:13:11

    @Loosheesh: I would’ve said I didn’t particularly care for Blazes… However, Sarah Mayberry’s ANYTHING FOR YOU knocked my socks off and BELOW THE BELT worked for me too, despite being about boxing. Both were very emotionally satisfying for me, and I’ve got several more SM Blazes waiting to be read.

  16. Julia
    Apr 29, 2012 @ 21:56:29

    @JoanneL: Your comment that The Governess Affair was about non-nobles solidified my resolve to buy it. I have been seeing it pop up all weekend. And for .99? No brainer!

    @Darlynne: I really like the Across the Universe trilogy thus far! I’m excited for the conclusion.

    As of recent I have been catching up with Julie Anne Long’s Pennyroyal Green series. I just finished the 3rd one (which I didn’t like as much as the 2nd). Since my nook was dead yesterday, I grabbed The Iron Duke off my TBR pile and am loving it so far.

  17. cecilia
    Apr 29, 2012 @ 22:16:55

    The Governess Affair and No Mark Upon Her (a mystery featuring a recently-married detective couple by Deborah Crombie) are two recent highlights – both intelligent and satisfying.

  18. Tin Ong
    Apr 29, 2012 @ 23:50:45

    I just finished reading an ARC of Alyssa Everett’s Ruined by Rumor and really enjoyed it.

    I have Courtney Milan’s The Governess Affairs and Beverley Kendall’s An Heir of Deception on my reader and will be reading those next. Am glad to read all the favorable reviews of Milan’s e-novella. (I really loved her Turner Brothers series.)

  19. BR
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 01:12:33

    The eARC of DragonShip – latest in the Liaden books is out and I have a copy on my Kindle waiting for me. On Baens website.

    From a review here I have recently read Lisa Kleypas Christmas in Friday Harbour and Rainshadow Road. Lovely feel good romance with a touch of magic, nice on a sunday afternoon on the sofa. I will certainly try more of hers.

    And its been out a couple of months now but I still cannot rave enough about Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire – I won an ARC from the author and its likely to be my favourite book of the year I think :)

  20. Meanne
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 04:12:12

    I absolutely loved Master of Crows by Grace Draven. Thank you so much DA for the review and recommendation. Otherwise I would have missed out on a new wonderful author and a fabulous story!

  21. Rosario
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 04:56:20

    I read Milan’s The Governess Affair as well, and also really liked it. I’m now really looking forward to the series it sets up.

    I’ve also just finished Tessa Dare’s latest, A Week To Be Wicked. I read Dare’s first couple of books and really liked them, but then none until this one (funny how that sometimes happens, I’ve no idea why I didn’t read the others). Anyway, I loved it. It’s a road romance, funny and superficially light, but it’s got plenty of meat underneath. Her characters did seem to constantly do things that I’m not sure read as particularly realistic for the time, but I didn’t care, because I was enjoying myself so much.

    I tend to like a change of pace, so after the Dare, I’ve just started the third in PJ Tracy’s Monkeewrench series. I love these books, will be forever grateful to Jane for bringing them to my attention.

  22. JAH
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 05:42:13

    I just read a really good romantic suspense/contemporary western. It’s called The Edge of Courage by Elaine Levine. It’s the first in her Red Team series. Highly recommended and a steal at $0.99. Her historical westerns are great too.

  23. Carin
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 07:51:21

    @Loosheesh – She’s Got it Bad is a Sarah Mayberry Blaze, and the first SM book I read. I really liked it and it started my reading of her backlist. Also, I highly recommend Home for the Holidays, which is a SuperRomance, not a Blaze, but be sure you don’t miss that one!

    I read Love is a Battlefield by Tamara Morgan for Smart Bitch Sarah’s book club. I loved the sense of humor, even though I’m not a fan of the big misunderstanding trope in the story. I was lucky enough to win an ARC of the sequel, The World is a Stage, and I’ve loving it! I’m smiling ear to ear while I read.

  24. Jennifer Estep
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 09:54:28

    @JAH: That sounds interesting. I’ll have to check that one out. I’m always on the lookout for new romantic suspense and western authors to try.

    I’m looking forward to reading some contemporaries, including Melt Into You by Lisa Plumley; Woodrose Mountain by RaeAnne Thayne; About That Night by Julie James; and Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas.

  25. Loosheesh
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 10:38:22

    @ms bookjunkie: “emotionally satisfying” – this phrase is exactly what I use when I try to explain why Blaze books have not worked for me! The few I’ve tried have mostly been plenty heat but unconvincing on the emotional end. I’ll definitely check out the two you recommended, thanks :-)

    @Carin: Thanks for the rec; I’ll check this one out also. Home for the Holidays was actually my first SM read (all the way back in January!) and I was hooked from then. I (think) I’ve gone through all her Super-romances, which is why I’m now considering her Blazes.

  26. Lada
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 10:38:24

    I got sucked into revisiting some oldies when La Lindsey’s ebooks went on sale. Once a Princess held up okay as did a couple of the Mallory books but I got tired of them quickly. Then I ended up trying Amanda Quick’s Scandal which I used to love and I still do! It was the same quick, fun treat it ws before.

    Now I need some good contemporary to mix it up. Love Sarah Mayberry but looks like it’s her SuperRomance line I tend to enjoy. Looking forward to the new one.

  27. Hanna Martine
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 11:11:07

    @Jill Sorenson: I’m giving you an “amen” for Ruthie Knox’s RIDE WITH ME. One of the freshest, most satisfying, and original romances I’ve read in a loooong time. You’ve just moved SANTA OLIVIA up in my TBR pile, too.

  28. Cathy Yardley
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 11:29:14

    @BR I was wondering about Discount Armageddon — the cover looks so different from the October Daye series, and I wasn’t really sure about it. Looks like I’m going to have to hunt it down, though!

  29. Carrie
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 12:27:11

    @Jill Sorenson- I agree about Ride With Me! Great book!
    @Carin- Sarah Mayberry is a favorite of mine! Best Laid Plans is wonderful, and Hot Island Nights has surprising depth.

    If anyone has science fiction romance or steampunk romance suggestions, I’d love to hear them. I’ve read Linnea Sinclair, am reading Pauline Baird Jones, love Meljean Brooks. What else is out there with solid storytelling and a satisfying romance?

  30. Rosie
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 12:52:49

    I had no idea Sarah Mayberry was going to self publish. I always look forward to her new releases.

  31. Carin
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 12:55:02

    @Carrie – have you read Ilona Andrews’ Magic Series? It’s UF, but if you commit to reading the first 5 books, you’ve got a satisfying romance. They are fast reads and well written, so reading all 5 was NOT a problem for me.

    I haven’t read anything steampunk that can compare to Meljean Brooks, though.

  32. Carrie
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 13:07:42

    @Carin: Yes! I love Ilona Andrews. They do have an ebook novella series that starts with Silent Blade that’s a little more SFR. Thank you though!

  33. Carrie
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 13:11:12

    @Rosie: The books she’s epubing is Her Best Worse Mistake and is a spin off of minor characters from Hot Island Nights, which I thought was a great book. I’m looking forward to the new one. She’ll still be doing traditional publishing for most of her books, from what I understand.

  34. Patrice
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 15:05:45

    I have Rainshadow Road on my TBR file so need to find it next. I am reading Hunt the Moon by Karen Chance, the most recent in her Cassie Palmer series. I got an ebook bundle of the first 4 books, which I saw here on one of the “deals” posts, and zoomed through once I started! I’m really enjoying it and now will follow this series. As others mentioned I also love Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels series, as well as Devon Monk’s Magic series, which has a recent book out that I need to catch up on! Oh and I loved By a Thread, from the Gin Blanko “Spider” series by Jennifer Estep. I see she’s reading some good stuff, too! ;-)

  35. Elyssa
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 15:08:51

    I’ve completely glommed Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels’ series. Love love love.

    @Jennifer Estep, thanks for reminding me about Lisa Plumley’s new book. Her contemps tend to be fun and sexy.

    I’m very much looking forward to Sherry Thomas’s new series . . . she’s like my personal book crack.

  36. MaryK
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 16:57:24

    @Carrie: There was a SFR in last year’s DABWAHA tournament. I’m completely blanking on the title and author. (Something about “Scarabous”(sp), “Song of” maybe) I’ve seen Joss Ware recommended but haven’t read any of hers.

  37. Carrie
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 18:06:38

    @MaryK: Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy! wonderful book. Which reminds me, I have the next one on my to-read shelf! I haven’t read Joss Ware. Thanks for the idea.

  38. BR
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 18:57:08

    @Cathy Yardley: Discount Armageddon is very different from the Toby Daye books, its an urban fantasy romp with added ballroom dancing. Its very funny and quite different to anything else out there, and best of all she announced a couple of weeks ago another 4 books in the series have been purchased by her publisher!!!

    Im hoping the DA ladies will review it soon…….

  39. BR
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 19:04:49

    @Carrie: SF Steampunk or Romance, Im your girl :)

    I have just finished the Doomsday Vault by Stephen Harper and recently read Phoenix Rising :Ministry of Peculiar Occurences by Ballantine and Morris – both first books in a Steampunk series – groundwork is laid for the romance in both but promises to be worth the read and the steampunkery is excellent

    Steamed by Katie McAlister is very steamy as well as punkery and quite cute

    The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger is very very quirky and funny and good romance

    More SF – you cant go past the Liaden series by Miller and Lee – been around for a while but still going. Almost Heyer in space.

    Lois McMaster Bujolds Vorkosigan series culminates in a couple of big romances (and the last book is likely to be one due out Nov this year I think)

  40. pamelia
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 19:37:18

    On the contemporary side of things I read “Ride with Me” by Ruthie Knox and loved it. Also really liked “Gateway to Heaven” by Beth Kery and I loved loved loved “Knight” by Kristen Ashley (the hero may be my new favorite — so edgy and raw! YUM)
    As far as paranormals go “Firelight” by Kristen Callahan was very entertaining and I have just glommed onto the Dark Protectors books by Rebecca Zanetti which are in my opinion the best of the brotherhood of warriors bunch.
    Plus I had to reread Kresley Cole’s “Lothaire” just because I lurves him so!

  41. Janine
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 19:38:15

    @Carrie: I really recommend Barbara J. Hancock’s science fiction romance novella, Ghost in the Machine. Very fresh and different. I reviewed it here.

  42. dri
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 20:14:03

    I’m reading/devouring/losing time and my mind to Power Play by Charlotte Stein. Which is so fabulously fantastic and unrelentingly hot that I’m totally intending to submit a guest review cos more people need to read it.

  43. Jennifer Estep
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 20:21:28

    @Patrice: Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the book.

    @Elyssa: I’m reading Plumley’s book right now. It is a fun read so far.

  44. Carrie
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 20:31:24

    @BR– I am in the middle of reading the Vokosigan series (on audio–great narrator) and have heard great things about the Laiden books. I’ve also read Souless and liked it, but didn’t love it. I understand the series is very good on audio, so I may go that way. I’m making a note of all the other suggestions. Thank you.

    @Janine- Thank you for linking your review of Ghost in the Machine. It looks like something both my husband and I would enjoy.

  45. MaryK
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 21:16:39

    @Janine: This is one of several DABWAHA books I bought and then promptly forgot. (Thanks for the info about her Spice Brief, BTW.)

    Anybody have tips on how not to “lose” books in your e-library? I think it’s easier for me to forget about ebooks since I haven’t handled them.

  46. cecilia
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 21:44:53

    @MaryK: I have a collection in my Sony reader of “new” books – I only keep unread books in there. I also have a designation in Goodreads separate from “To read” which I call “to read already own.” This has helped me keep track.

  47. Janine
    May 01, 2012 @ 13:07:52

    @Carrie: You’re welcome! I hope you guys enjoy it.

    @MaryK: Ah, I know how that goes! I hope you enjoy it when you get around it.

    Somewhat like Cecilia, I have an “Unread” collection on my Kindle, as well as an “Already Read” and a “Currently Reading.” Since the first and last have tendency to balloon, it doesn’t totally solve the problem, but it helps.

  48. cleo
    May 01, 2012 @ 13:21:04

    @Carrie: Have you tried Zoe Archer? She has two space opera novellas for Carina Press – the first one is Collision Course. I also liked her new steampunk novella – Skies of Fire, which reminded me of Meljean Brook, but with less complicated world building. And of course, her Blades of the Rose series. I think some of her plots get a little thin, but the action and the romance are always fun.

  49. Estara
    May 02, 2012 @ 13:00:26

    Late to the party as usual, heh.

    Michelle Sagara has a new release, Silence, which is a YA ghost contemporary trilogy, so new ground for her.
    BAEN has released the unproofed e-ARC of the newest Liaden Universe novel Dragon Ship at their ebook site (it’s another Theo Waitley novel, this time she finally deals with the AI ship Bechimo for once and all).
    Judith Tarr has rereleased the first book of her Hound and Falcon medieval fantasy series at BVC – The Isle of Glass.

  50. April
    May 02, 2012 @ 21:17:10

    I just finished Magic Mansion by Jordan Castillo Price. It’s a M/M Romance that was originally published as serialized novel and is now available as an e-book that clocks in a little under 800 pages.

    Here’s the summary: “Professor Topaz is tired of fending off advice that he should retire in Vegas where magicians his age have an easier time finding work.

    Ricardo Hart’s career has sunk so low, he’s resorted to shaking his moneymaker at bachelorette parties.

    But there’s a casting call for a new reality show called Magic Mansion that could change everything for these two gay stage magicians, one recovering from the loss of his partner, the other awe-struck by the presence of his idol. Each is poised for a critical second chance: at fame, and at love.

    Who will win? Step into the Mansion, and find out….”

    I’m still working on coming up with a review that doesn’t just consist of mainly of happy flailing. And I’m desperate to find more M/M Romances that are just as well-written.

  51. Lily Harlem
    May 03, 2012 @ 10:18:37

    Thanks DA!

    Due for release on 9th of May is Stockholm Surrender my full length, contemporary erotic romance novel to accompany free short read at Ellora’s Cave, Stockholm Seduction.


    My soul was in turmoil. Ty Winters had not only kidnapped me in Oz, my heartstoppingly gorgeous surfer had also stoked my darkest desires, bringing all my fantasies to the surface. So Oxford wasn’t going well. Until, that is, he creeped from the shadows—desperate, sexy, dangerous and wanting a piece of me, literally!

    He teased me with a taste of his carnal skills, leaving me burning with frustration then forced to stand by as he fought for his beliefs using my lust-addled body as his most powerful weapon.

    Oh, my kidnapper knew just how to get what he wanted, giving me just what I needed, while hiding our relationship from the British foreign minister and police. Because sometimes two people are meant to be, even in the most unconventional circumstances and twisted situations. We could fight the world, but we couldn’t fight our passion.

    Reader Advisory: This book contains a steamy scene where Ty shares Penny with his best mate—lucky girl!

    Buy Link for Stockholm Surrender –

    Free download link for Stockholm Seduction –

    Lily Harlem
    Winner of 2009 Love Honey Award for Erotic Fiction

  52. Estara Swanberg
    May 03, 2012 @ 15:22:54

    @April: April have you read Tamara Allen’s historical m/ms? Mostly set during the 20s and 30s, although she has one time travel story, too.

  53. April
    May 03, 2012 @ 15:43:51

    @Estara Swanberg: I’ve heard of them but no I haven’t. I’ll have to check them out. Thanks so much for the recs! :)

  54. Phoebe Conn
    May 09, 2012 @ 16:39:26

    FIERCE LOVE will be a May 22, 2012 release from Samhain.
    The story was inspired by a dear family friend who married
    a matador’s daughter. It was too beautiful an idea to resist.

    Magdalena Aragon answers her father’s
    summons to Barcelona to tell the world-famous, many-times
    married matador exactly what she thinks of him.
    Rafael Mondragon, her father’s protégé, is a rising
    star in a sport she hates, yet he sets her passions
    on fire. He’s the last man she’d ever love, but
    the real challenge comes when
    she’s the one stalked by death rather than her handsome

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