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. vi
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 18:24:24

    I’ve had a streak of reading awesome books:
    1) The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
    2) Scoundrel by Zoë Archer
    3) Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin
    4) Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn
    5) Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis
    6) Liberating Lacey by Anne Calhoun (this was released last year but I just discovered it via Smart Bitches and here) 

  2. JB Hunt
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 18:48:07

    Really looking forward to Courtney Milan’s latest, Trial by Desire. I’m ready for Ned and Kate’s story!

    The first in Jill Shalvis’ Lucky Harbor series, Simply Irresistible, comes out in October. I loved her Instant series and hope this one is as much fun.

  3. Jennifer Estep
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 18:55:50

    I read the YA anthology Kiss Me Deadly. An interesting mix of stories by folks like Michelle Rowen, Diana Peterfreund, Rachel Vincent, and others.

    I also finished Frostbite by Richelle Mead and liked it a lot. I need to finish the rest of the series.

    Looking forward to reading some Jack Reacher books this month. I’m in the mood for an action-thriller. And I desperately, desperately want to get my hands on Lisa Kleypas’ new contemporary. I hope it’s as good as her Travis books.

  4. Janine
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 18:58:02

    The next week or so is an embarrassment of riches in terms of the number of books coming out that I’m either interested in reading or else have read and enjoyed. On my list:

    Trial by Desire by Courtney Milan

    Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

    Masques by Patricia Briggs

    Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin

    Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn

    The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook

    Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March

    Scoundrel by Zoe Archer

  5. tehawesomersace
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 19:03:23

    The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook, hands down. I won the galley through one of the drawings here earlier in the month, and the book is amazing. It seriously has all of the ingredients for a solid story AND a person of color as the main character that doesn’t feel like an afterthought.

    I just can’t stop talking about this book. :)

  6. Tweets that mention Open Thread for Readers for October | Dear Author --
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 19:14:28

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Andrea deSherbinin, dearauthor. dearauthor said: NewPost: Open Thread for Readers for October […]

  7. Sarah
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 19:32:05

    Jill Shalvis’s Simply Irresistible was fabulous. While the heroine sometimes bugged me, overall I really enjoyed the story.

  8. Missy
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 19:52:29

    Gotta chime in for Meljean’s The Iron Duke. This is a must read for October.

    I was disappointed in Archer’s Warrior – I has a sad. But not so bad that I won’t give the second book a shot.

    Picked up Cara’s Willing Victim. About scorched my finger on it.

    Gemma Files A Book of Tongues is amazing. It’s horror & I could not put it down. Hated every single character. lol

    And I read Steamside Chronicles by Ciar Cullen. It was fun. If it was a film, I’d call it a popcorn movie.

  9. Tehani
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 20:25:33

    I finally got a chance to read Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate books (Soulless, Changeless, Blameless) and have completely fallen in love with them! Love the world, love the romance, love the stories, and love love love Alexia and the rest of the characters! I reviewed them over here:

  10. JenM
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 20:39:29

    I read a couple of great debuts from Carina Press this month – The Sergeant’s Lady by Susanna Fraser, a Regency, and Dark & Disorderly by Bernita Harris, an Urban Fantasy. Every book I’ve read from them has been good to great. I’m impressed and I hope they can keep up the quality.

    I’m really looking forward to Tuesday and the release of Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews, and Venom by Jennifer Estep. The only question is which to read first.

  11. Las
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 20:42:02

    I’m in the middle of a Julie Anne Long glom after discovering her last month with I Kissed an Earl. I’ve now read the other three books of that series (awesome, all of them), reread IKAE, and I’m now in the middle of Runaway Duke. I should have read about it beforehand, because the hero and heroine have known each other since she was 12 and he was in his 20s,which is a major turnoff for me. It’s otherwise an enjoyable read, but that detail is a distraction so it’s been slow going.

    I’ve also read a few Harlequin Presents based on DA’s recs. Michelle Reid’s The Bellini Bride was a very nice change from the standard HP. Sarah Morgan’s One Night…Nine Month Scandal was pretty good. The heroine started bugging the hell out of me in the last third–she kept acting like a twit. I also read Morgan’s Million Dollar Love-Child, which was a classic HP hot mess.

    Any recs for books that show how the H/H fall in like with each other? It wasn’t until reading Long’s series that I realized how rarely I see that in romances. Falling in love, yes, but to see characters get to know each other and genuinely like each other was wonderful, and I want more.

  12. MaryK
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 20:52:23

    HQN/Mills & Boon has a bunch of new free ebooks posted. Several of the authors have recently been mentioned in the Medical reviews at DA. Now I can try them for free. :D

  13. May
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 20:53:42

    Well I read Janet Evanovich’s “Wicked Appetites” and it was a stink bomb. A monkey flipping people off repeatedly + no romance + no real mystery + no plot = garbage. *sigh*

    On the opposite side of things: Zoë Archer. I read Warrior (A+ LOVED!) and am currently reading the next in the series Scoundrel. I LOVE that this series is going to be released one after another (just about 4 weeks between each), and the whole action/adventure/steamy historical romance centered around magic that is believable and an author who gives us richly described places without slowing the plot down… HUGE win.

    I’m waiting on 9/28 and getting my hands on the next Jennifer Estep novel. *LOVE* her Elemental Assassin series!

    YAHOO for good Fall reading!!

  14. Janine
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 20:56:53

    @Las: Speaking as another Julie Anne Long fan, my favorites among her books are Beauty and the Spy, The Secret to Seduction and I Kissed an Earl.

  15. joanne
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 21:59:10

    I had a chance to do an early read of J.R. Ward’s Oct 5th release, CRAVE. It’s okay story if you’re a fan although there’s nothing new that she hasn’t already done better in her other books.. but there’s a chance of a romance for Jim that will make me buy the next book. It’s crack.

    Also in October Lora Leigh’s next Breed book STYX’S STORM. It may be my last since they’ve been more of the same and I’ve already given up on her formulatic SEALs series.

    **And can I take issue with using ‘ever’ as a stand-alone statement? Ever. It was cute the the first 10 times I saw writers use it. The next 100 were eye-rollers. Now it’s just damn annoying. Please don’t use Ever again. Ever. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrgh.

  16. Jill Sorenson
    Sep 26, 2010 @ 22:08:08

    I’m also looking forward to The Iron Duke! I just ordered the Burning Up anthology to get ready.

    I really liked Carolyn Crane’s Double Cross, the sequel to Mind Games. Very strong second book, more romantic than the first IMO.

    Eden Bradley’s The Lovers won’t be out until November, but it’s a very sexy, very unique book. Review coming soon!

    I also enjoyed Nancy Madore’s Enchanted (rec by Jill Myles?). Erotic fairy tales written with explicit descriptions but no graphic language. I thought it was very clever and mature.

    Per Jane’s rec, I read Into the Crossfire by Lisa Marie Rice and it was totally cracky. The h/h have one dinner date together and I was sold. On the relationship, the sex, characters, everything.

    Stephanie Tyler’s Hard to Hold was excellent also. Fantastic characters, intense love story. Very Brockmann-like.

  17. Leslee
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 05:26:41

    I totally agree with Vi. Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn was awesome! AWESOME! If you want a series where you see a couple fall in love, get to know each other over the course of books then the Lady Julia series is my recommendation.
    Also read Blameless by Carriger! Serious fan girl here! Long live the Parasol Protectorate!!!!!!!!!!
    Reading Chosen by Jeanne Stein now. Anna Strong is one of the least talked about heroines in Urban Fantasy and I want everyone to read this series. If you love a kick butt heroine, vamps, and other supernatural creatures, I highly suggest Anna Strong.
    Then I will be moving on to Grave Witch by Price which I have heard is good! Can’t wait!

  18. GrowlyCub
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 07:16:42

    I read an eARC of Miranda Neville’s The Dangerous Viscount and really enjoyed it (I bought the first book in the series, my first book by her, and it didn’t gel for me, so I was really glad I got a chance at a 2nd book and to fall in love). I also read Lord Lightning, a debut book by Jenny Brown, which was excellent. Lazaraspaste should check it and its sequel out re Scorpio heroes! :)

    I’m really depressed that I have to wait ’til 2011 to read the next books by these authors!

    Two great books in a row, so I guess it shouldn’t have been a surprise that the 3rd was a flop. Boyle’s Mad about the Duke. I’m not even talking about the fact that the heroine decides to marry a duke because clearly only a duke can be influential enough to help her against her stepfather – no I’m talking about the servants who throw their master’s letters into the fire, disobey pretty much all his orders, actively obstruct his courtship, tell other people ‘he’s gone around the bend’ and are *not* dismissed or disciplined, but thanked, when it all comes out. Disbelief, I haz it!

    I’m debating the new Hunter. The first one in the this series was okay, once I got over the totally unbelievable setup, the second I DNF’d after the first chapter or so and never picked back up…

    And I’m still crying over Carlyle going woowoo.

    Janine’s mention of Ashley March’s Seducing the Duchess kinda got me intrigued, but not sure whether enough to buy… :)

    On the excited side, I’m really looking forward to Tiffany Clare’s Surrender of a Lady and Courtney Milan’s Trial by Desire.

  19. Darlene Marshall
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 08:02:34

    So many books on my TBR list this month! I too have to chime in that I’m anxiously awaiting The Iron Duke. I gave a shout-out to Meljean’s steampunk work when I was on a romance/fantasy panel at the World SF Convention in Australia last month, and I predict she’s going to get a lot of crossover love from SF fans in the near future.

  20. Edie
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 09:12:38

    Hope you had a good time down under Darlene.

    Anyways I am desperate for Iron Duke.. DESPERATE! But also worried it not going to live up to my expectations. I do this with every Meljean book and I’m never disappointed, but it seems to be a dance I go through each time.
    Does anyone else do this?

    I also need some new blood, anyone got any new para/UF authors to recommend?

  21. Joanna
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 10:47:27

    @Edie: If you’re looking for a new paranormal/UF author try Dianne Sylvan, her Queen of Shadows was reviewed here I believe, and when I read the excerpt on the author’s website I was hooked – ran out and bought it and it’s next up on my TBR.

  22. Elyssa Papa
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 11:19:16

    Janine, have you read Julie Anne Long’s To Love a Thief? That is one of my favorites of her. Also, I don’t think I’ve read Beauty and the Spy and just bought it.

    I’m really excited about Tiffany Clare’s The Surrender of a Lady and Courtney Milan’s Trial by Desire releasing tomorrow! In full disclosure, I’m one of Tiffany’s critique partners, and I was very lucky to read Courtney’s, too. Loved both! I also really loved Jeanine Lin’s Butterfly Swords, which was just fabulous.

    I cannot wait for Meljean Brook’s The Iron Duke to release. I am a complete fangirl since finishing her novella in Burning Up. I’ve been tempted to try her Demon books. And I’m always up for a new contemporary and look forward to Jill Shalvis’s new series.

    Growlycub, you have me intrigued about the Jenny Brown book. I’m going to have to check that out.

  23. Mireya
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 11:39:52

    My list for the fall is longish:

    The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
    One Touch of Scandal by Liz Carlyle
    Rules of an Engagement by Suzanne Enoch
    Mad About the Duke by Elizabeth Boyle
    Sinful in Satin by Madeline Hunter
    Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean
    The Accidental Wedding by Anne Gracie

    and I am sure I am missing quite a few more *sigh* So much to read, so little time… I haven’t even finished reading the releases I got in August and September. :P

  24. Danielle C.
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 11:51:59

    This month I read and can recommend Michelle Willingham’s emotional mediaeval historical, Surrender To An Irish Warrior, which made me hope she moves to writing single titles one day.

  25. Author On Vacation
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 12:17:02

    I read Debra Glass’s “Rebel Rose” over the weekend and I liked it enough to recommend it. Good Civil War fiction is hard to find these days. Glass imbued this short novel with emotions and attitudes I consider very honest. Conflict and tension run very deep, all the more flamboyant because the main characters share excellent chemistry. I would have liked a tad more plot development and more even pacing in the ending, but overall I really enjoyed Rose and Eric’s journey. (Personal Rating: “B”)

    I finished reading Alison Paige’s “Little Red and the Wolf” after slogging through it for over two months. I have very mixed feelings about this novel. It took forever to get off the ground, but once I perceived it “going somewhere,” I liked it. It took over two months for me to get through the first half of the book; the second half read in two days. (Personal Rating: C-minus)

    I am reading “The Great Gatsby” right now. Although I appreciate Fitzgerald’s sublime style and voice, I just cannot get into his subject matter. Did the man ever live a single happy day? (Personal Rating: B-plus)

  26. Janine
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 12:33:11

    @Elyssa Papa:

    Janine, have you read Julie Anne Long's To Love a Thief? That is one of my favorites of her. Also, I don't think I've read Beauty and the Spy and just bought it.

    Cool. No, I have not read To Love a Thief, though I have the book. I also haven’t read The Runaway Duke, and I’m not sure whether I will. I’ve heard the hero calls the heroine “wee Becca” in that one, and that’s a turn off for me. But I have read all her other books and I do plan to read To Love a Thief.

    @Author On Vacation: Ah, The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books in creation. I don’t think there’s an author with better prose than Fitzgerald, and love the way he portrays the decadence of his time and place with such sensitivity.

  27. Author On Vacation
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 13:12:10


    @Author On Vacation: Ah, The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books in creation. I don't think there's an author with better prose than Fitzgerald, and love the way he portrays the decadence of his time and place with such sensitivity.

    Janine, hi.

    I agree, the quality of prose is excellent. Everything is so tight, precise, well-paced and well-timed. I just find the characters — all of them — both too much and too little at the same time. I believe Fitzgerald deliberately distances the reader from his characters — they are more symbols and allegories than personalities. He is much more interested in communicating theme.

    Not shabby work, by any means. Just not to my personal taste.

  28. Melissa
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 14:40:27

    My best reads from last month:

    Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles (YA romance that was amazing, bad boy Latino gang member hero and the blonde popular girl heroine whose life isn’t as perfect as it seems)
    Demon From the Dark by Kresley Cole
    Branded As Trouble, All Jacked Up, Raising Kane, Strong Silent Type by Lorelei James (love her hot emotional stories)

    My most anticipated reads for October:
    Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah Maclean (I loved Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake)
    Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews
    Styxx’s Storm by Lora Leigh
    Crave by J.R. ward
    Taken by Midnight by Lara Adrian (this series is hit and miss for me)

  29. Janine
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 15:58:38

    @Author On Vacation: IMO the way Nick holds himself aloof from the other characters and most of them from one another is due to an ennui that they project which they mistake for an aura of sophistication. In Nick’s case I also think it is a kind of defense mechanism.

    IMO the opening line, “In my younger and more vulnerable years,” is meant to show that Nick is an unreliable narrator. He is vulnerable, but won’t admit to it.

    He says he “wanted no more riotous glimpses into the human heart,” and that Gatsby alone was exempt from this, and yet Gatsby is also someone that he had scorned.

    I think the book is about Nick’s journey from holding everything at a distance to being unable to do so as completely as he once did. His ambivalence and duality vis a vis the world he comes from and his “friends” give the book a lot of its depth. I think he is someone who does his best to cover up his sensitivity but cannot quite succeed.

    The other characters, I agree, are more distant from the reader (because of Nick’s distance from them, I think), and yet I can’t see them as just symbols and allegories.

    But, to each her own. We can agree to disagree, as I understand why it’s not a book that appeals to everyone.

    This book has always made me wish there were more romances set in the roaring twenties, though.

  30. Avid Reader
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 16:44:34

    Cherrie Lynn’s Sweet Disgrace in October, and Phoebe Conn’s Defy the World Tomatoes in November, at Samhain Publishing. And I guess I have to pick up that Iron Duke story, since everyone seems so juiced about it!

  31. Lynn S.
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 20:13:55

    Dear Fellow Readers,

    Just a little cover art rant fanned by Jane’s September 23, 2010, Cover Fail post and the cover art on Tiffany Clare’s Surrender of a Lady. Can anyone explain to me the reason behind the plethora of covers featuring heroines facing away with their dresses falling away?

    Lackadaisical maids perhaps? Come now women, your profession has provided you with your own life-size doll to play with, the least you could do is properly button her up and tie her in.

    Perhaps the Great Seamstress Strike of 1820? If I’m writing it here it must have actually happened.

    A particularly deft-fingered man at work? I’ve heard that romance heroes have the deftest fingers out there.

    Someone in the all-knowing publishing industry thought Baby Got Back referred to women’s backs? Sadly this theory holds the most real world merit.

    I must know! I must have an answer to this burning question. Let the supposition, conspiracy theories, wicked lies, flame throwing, and general silliness begin.

    P.S. Why is Vienna from As The World Turns on so many covers lately? Did she get the cancellation news early?

  32. Lara K.
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 20:14:27

    “anyone got any new para/UF authors to recommend?”

    Edie ~

    Have you read Patricia Briggs? I recently discovered her Mercy Thompson series – it’s more urban fantasy, but there is an underlying romantic element to the books.

  33. Sahara Hoshi
    Sep 27, 2010 @ 22:24:11

    Ok, so I tend to spout the same authors but I am really gearing up for Gena Showalter’s Ecstasy in Darkness which is part of her alien huntress series. I am also excited for Ann Agurrie’s Razorland which is a YA title with some bite! I may revisit the fun campy humor of Kerrelyn Sparks via Eat Prey Love courtesy of my local library. For some reason with the weather getting colder, I also get the urge to read books set in desert settings case in point revisiting Jennifer Roberson’s Sword Dancer.

  34. Edie
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 08:02:53

    Thanks @Joanna: and @Lara K.:
    Will have to look those two up. (Have some Briggs, just need to get the others in series, so I can read in order. But I had forgotten.)

  35. Michelle
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 10:28:06

    I am looking forward to Mercedes Lackeys Intrigues-Book 2 of the Collegium Chronicles. Mercedes Lackey is my crack. Also have Crave preordered.

  36. MaIrene
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 22:35:53

    I just read three books back to back from my TBR pile- Kasey MacKenzie’s _Red Hot Fury_, Devon Monk’s _Magic in the Blood_, and Laura Anne Gilman’s _Hard Magic_. They all are in world where there is a divide between arcane and mundane and all three female characters are investigating the criminal use of magic. These were my first books by the authors, but I’m ready to look for more!

  37. Lindsay
    Sep 29, 2010 @ 15:03:44

    I’ve had a couple of good reads this month.

    Jenna Kernan’s His Dakota Captive was very good, despite a title I found off-putting. I liked that there were no easy answers, and I liked the cultural ambiguity of the hero and heroine.

    I also read an enjoyed Sara Craven’s His Convenient Marriage. I was a bit concerned going in, because I know she’s written rape books, but I had nothing to worry about with this one. The hero was a really decent guy, and I liked him. His real reason for proposing a marriage of convenience was a bit silly, but solid reasons for a marriage of convenience in a contemporary are few and far between, and I’m not going to quibble, since it’s my favourite trope and I’ll take it however I can get it. This was my first foray into Presents, and if there are more like this, then I’m in.

  38. MaryK
    Oct 01, 2010 @ 12:11:28

    The Kindle store has Outlander as a free ebook.

    There are also some self-pubbed books from Smashwords. BOTK has developed a pretty nifty Kindle store search.

  39. Lynn S.
    Oct 01, 2010 @ 13:20:37

    Outlander is also available as a free ebook at in epub and in numerous formats. Happy Friday.

  40. Estara
    Oct 15, 2010 @ 14:42:32

    Can I just mention a great space opera (with a bit of a romance) just re-released in ebook by Katherine Eliska Kimbriel – Fires of Nuala.

    This originally came out in 1988 and has loads of strong women and a female protagonist.

    Quote from my GoodReads review

    It’s a gripping story centered around two protagonists, one the clever outsider female planning the ultimate heist (for Robin Hood-like purposes furthermore, although Darame certainly wants her own share of the proceeds), and one the very competent, healer-gifted scion of a royal family-equivalent who never expected to be thrust into a role of prominence when a major intrigue is set off, killing most of the available contenders for the throne.

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