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. MaryK
    Jun 22, 2014 @ 14:14:02

    Justine Davis has just released Lord of the Storm as an ebook. It’s SF Romance, light on the SF. I loved this book back in the day and still have it on my shelf. Guess it’s time to reread.

  2. Justine
    Jun 22, 2014 @ 15:13:12

    Ever since SBTB posted about Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction (“a bawdy and brazen sex comedy”), I’ve kept my eyes open for graphic novels in the romance genre. When I saw Petty Theft by Pascal Girard (“a hilarious romantic comedy about kleptomania and booklovers”), it promptly went in my TBR pile.

    Also in my TBR pile is Like No Other by Una LaMarche (July 24, 2014). Set in Brooklyn, it’s a contemporary YA romance with a Hasidic Jewish heroine and black hero. Reviews from PW and SLJ are very positive.

    As for books that I’ve read, I’m delighted that Hold On Tight by Serena Bell (June 17, 2014) is her wonkiest yet. Her previous releases were too perfectly pat for my tastes, especially when I expect epic wonk from the Wonkomance authors. The hero of Hold On Tight is a veteran and 5% of the author’s ebook earnings before 9/30/14 will be donated to Ride 2 Recovery.

  3. Jennifer Estep
    Jun 22, 2014 @ 16:26:42

    I just finished reading some Deadpool graphic novels. Next up, I want to read Hammered by Kevin Hearne and Long Shot by Hanna Martine. I’m also looking forward to Suddenly Last Summer by Sarah Morgan.

  4. Kris Bock
    Jun 22, 2014 @ 16:32:10

    My best find of the month was The Anteater of Death, by Betty Webb. It’s a cozy mystery, but there is a romantic element. The main character is a zookeeper, and I loved the insight into behind-the-scenes zoo work. The character was someone I’d enjoy knowing in person (first-person narrator), the mystery was complex and intriguing, and the writing was excellent.

  5. Kris Bock
    Jun 22, 2014 @ 16:34:19

    I almost forgot another good read – Plumb Crazy by Molly Blaisdell. This one is by Swoon Romance, though in my opinion it’s really a coming of age story. The main character is an overweight Star Trek fan girl in small-town, dirt-poor Texas. Will her summer job as a plumber’s helper rescue her and maybe even help her find love? Great voice, lots of humor.

  6. library addict
    Jun 22, 2014 @ 16:45:33

    @MaryK: Now waiting on B&N or Kobo or Google to get the ePub version so I can buy it. But the best news is she’s also planning to finally write the third book in the series!

    I enjoyed Shield of Winter and the fun discussions about it here and on Nalini’s blog.

    Christine Feehan’s Air Bound was also an enjoyable read overall, though there are still timing issues between this series and the Drake Sisters prequel series.

    I also liked No Strings Attached by Bridget Gray (a stand-alone book set in Australia with a Chinese-Australian heroine) and At Star’s End by Anna Hackett (first in The Phoenix Adventures series), but both could have longer in order to more fully develop the numerous issues/subplots which were introduced.

  7. library addict
    Jun 22, 2014 @ 17:10:40

    Spoke too soon. Lord of the Storm is available at

  8. Jayne
    Jun 22, 2014 @ 17:54:27

    @MaryK: @library addict: I loved that book when I read it. It’s funny but something brought it to mind a few weeks ago and I wondered if it had ever been re-released.

  9. msilk
    Jun 22, 2014 @ 18:07:33

    @library addict: Thanks for finding this at Kobo. When I searched for it, it was not showing up at all. Just purchased and the 40% off mult-icode PERKOPOLIS is still working so WIN! As for what I read for the month of June, I’ll be back in a bit to post…kids need to be put to bed first.

  10. msilk
    Jun 22, 2014 @ 20:31:20

    I’ve been on a science fiction binge for the last few months now and just mixing it up with a historical or PNR here and there to break it up a bit. The last days of May, beginning of June, I finished off the last Ann Agurrie book in the Sirantha Jax series and then read book 1 of her Dred chronicles. The Jax series I would recommend but I’m a little on the fence with the Dred chronicles but still willing to purchase the next book.

    A lot of duds followed after that, too many to even list.

    I decided to give The Huntress by Barbara Karmazin another try as I DNF’d it about 3 months ago and wasn’t sure if it was me or the book. I finished it this time but wasn’t impressed, the only thing that it had going for it was that the H was truly an alien in appearance not a human from another planet and that the h was Latino (I think anyways, it’s a bit blurry now being the end of the month and all). Both H/h weren’t, IMO, written in a believable manner, pretty much insta-lust from the alien and the heroine followed right on his heels. Heroine also was TSTL at many portions of the book in my opinion.

    The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers was ok, but I’m not sure about why all the hype from everyone. I would have graded it as a B- at most.

    Europa Europa by KS Augustin was recommend to me. Did not work for me at all, way to short, all the characters were more caricature and one dimensional. The ending just cut off abruptly too…H/h are swimming away from the villains and heroine says lets swim this way and lose them, hero says ok and book ends…seriously they are in the middle of a chase scene.

    Started Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach but wasn’t feeling it so put it aside to try next month. Same goes for Stellarnet Rebel by JL Hilton…it felt like all the characters where teenagers BUT I was in a crabby mood when I attempted to read this so this book is also in my pile for July or August.

    Switched to Connie Brockway’s ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT and Brockway’s writing did not disappoint. Her book MY DEAREST ENEMY is still my favorite of all the Brockway’s that I have read. ATTN would get a B+ rating. Other then the Ann Agurrie books, this was my best read of the month.

    Thanks to you lovely ladies, up next is LORD OF THE STORM by Justine Davis and then SEVEN FORGES by James A. Moore.

  11. Kaetrin
    Jun 23, 2014 @ 01:57:34

    I just finished Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon (on audio) and I am so sucked back into the Outlander vortex. I liked it very much – overall it was a much happier book and it didn’t have as much of the personal/sexual violence as in previous books (no-one got raped! yay!) and it ended on a happy note, with no-one stuck in tunnels or such.

    There were some continuity errors which niggled but I am such a tragic that they weren’t that big a deal. I think I’ll listen to some podcasts as a palate cleanser for a while because not many narrators can top Davina Porter.

  12. Marianne McA
    Jun 23, 2014 @ 03:32:37

    After Janine reviewed ‘The Curse of Chalion’ by Bujold I decided on a reread – started with The Hallowed Hunt, because it came to hand first, then The Curse of Chalion and finally The Paladin of Souls. FWIW, I thought they read well in that order – if I’d read them in the correct way, I’d have been disappoined that ‘Hallowed’ wasn’t a Chalion book, but this let me read it as a stand-alone, and I found it really gripping.
    Overall, I enjoyed all three, but was astounded how little of them I remembered (given I’ve reread them before.) ‘The Paladin of Souls’ was probably my favourite, but that mght have been because I was so thoroughly entrenched in that world by the time I got to it. What Bujold does especially well is communities – juggle casts of characters none of whom are wallpaperesque: but it can take some time to assemble so many people together. (It’s why I liked the later Sharing Knife books better, and one of the delights of the later Vorkosigan books.)

  13. Kate Hewitt
    Jun 23, 2014 @ 04:54:33

    I’ve been enjoying Gillian Bradshaw’s historical novels, many of which have been released digitally recently. I love her easy style of writing coupled with fascinating period detail. She is definitely one of my favourite authors. Her books aren’t romances, but each one has a romantic element in it. The ones I’ve read recently are:

    Island of Ghosts, about a Sarmatian barbarian who is pressed into service for the Roman Empire in the north of Britain. He struggles with being ‘Romanized’ and also there is a plot to overthrow the local government which he must uncover.

    Cleopatra’s Heir: An alternative history of Cleopatra’s son Caesarion, imagining if he survived the Roman attack and what he would have done. A bit slow at the beginning but still definitely worth reading.

    The Wolf Hunt: A retelling of a medieval French story of a man who can turn into a wolf. This is the most romantic story of hers that I’ve read, and I loved all the detail of France in the 1000s. The paranormal element is handled well, I think, and I’m someone who generally doesn’t like paranormals.

    Others books by her that I’ve read in the past and really enjoyed are Horses of Heaven, set in ancient Mongolia; Alchemy of Fire, set in the Byzantine Empire in the 600s; The Sand-Reckoner, about the mathematician Archimedes; and Render to Caesar, about a Greek’s experience in Rome. Loved them all.

  14. JPeK
    Jun 23, 2014 @ 10:51:39

    This month I finally read the first 4 books in Katharine Kerr’s Deverry Cycle series: /Daggerspell/, /Darkspell/, /The Bristling Wood/, and /The Dragon Revenant/. I had heard so many good things about them, and they certainly provided a satisfying reading experience. When one ended I could barely wait to start the next one, since the story is ongoing, but this eventually led to definite burnout where I couldn’t even get into the beginning of the next book (there’s also a major time-gap between 4 & 5, and a new focus in plot develops even if some characters continue as the leads; I had a hard time adjusting to the lack of romance between two of the MCs in this book, as well, which didn’t help either). Oh, well. Time to put down the epic fantasy for a while and move on to something new. :)

    For the first in my life, I’ve also been reading online fiction (mostly slash fiction I find through Goodreads recommendations, like the list for “Online M/M Stories that Deserve to Be Published”). While I’m personally not a fan of fanfiction in general (though I get why people like it), I have discovered some original fiction that I’ve really enjoyed. It’s been a total time-suck the past two weeks. Why did I not try this sooner?! (The good news about coming so late to this party means that most of the stories I’ve been enjoying are long since completed, so I don’t have to wait for new chapters!)

  15. Janine
    Jun 23, 2014 @ 12:49:41

    @Marianne McA: I have a review of Paladin of Souls up today and I think my experience is much like yours, at least with the first two books. It was great to start Paladin immersed in Chalion and knowing its heroine’s backstory from the beginning. The Curse of Chalion felt more fresh, and there was more to discover. With Paladin of Souls I had a stronger sense of what to expect, and I think it enhanced the experience more than it detracted from it.

    But I’m actually glad that The Hallowed Hunt has a different setting — moving on before I have a chance to tire of Chalion! It is always great to be left wanting a little more of something, I find. It’s a sign that I had a great time.

  16. cleo
    Jun 24, 2014 @ 15:51:12

    I’ve been enjoying my summer reading. I enjoyed Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh.

    I read Head over Heels by Lena Matthews – a quick, fun re-telling of Cinderella. I really enjoyed this – the h/h actually flirted with each other (yay flirting). The only sour note for me was the wicked step sisters – they seemed forced. The rest of it was fun and easy.

    I finally read Tough Love by Heidi Cullinan and I didn’t love it. The sticking point for me wasn’t the hard core kink, or the slightly odd drag queen persona stuff, or the treatment of mental illness – no, it was that I really don’t like people who (think they) know what’s best for everyone else and get in everyone else’s business. There were too many busybodies for me in this book. Ugh.

    I got to read a BFB (big fat book) while on vacation last week – The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert and I really enjoyed it. It’s not at all like Eat, Pray, Love (whether you loved it or hated it – although if you hated the India or Bali sections in EPL you may hate the Tahiti section in TSoAT). It kind of reminded me of Gabriel Garcia Marquez – it was a very chatty, meandering, immersive book. Not a romance at all, but an interesting novel about a 19th C woman naturalist / scientist and her eccentric life and family.

  17. msilk
    Jun 24, 2014 @ 17:31:16

    @MaryK: Thanks you so much for posting the deal on Lord of the Storm, I just finished it and loved it. I must say that it was a struggle in the beginning to continue reading when the heroine betrays hero. I thought that there was no way that the author could make me believe in either the MC getting over the past and the betrayal but she actually pulled it off. I immediately went to buy book two in digital but it’s not released yet!!!

  18. MaryK
    Jun 24, 2014 @ 19:11:52

    @msilk: I’m so glad you liked it! IIRC, her plans were to release both of them (and to write a 3rd in the series) so hopefully it won’t be long.

  19. Fiona McGier
    Jun 25, 2014 @ 17:55:49

    I just read “The Eyes Of Bast” by Lisabet Sarai, and I loved it! A short read, it was a toe-curling story about a woman who loves cats a lot…maybe more than people. It involves some black magic…and a very hot couple who can’t get enough of each other! I heartily recommend this as a great beach read!

  20. MaryK
    Jul 08, 2014 @ 21:28:29

    Question. An author you like self pubs a new story, you snatch it up with enthusiasm and discover it’s riddled with errors – continuity errors, POV errors – to a distracting degree. What do you do about it, besides write a sad review warning other readers away? I want to read the darn story! But I can’t because now I suspect every little thing of being an error when it could be a plot point (that happened). Can I email her and say how sad I am about the state of this book? Should I? This is an author I’ve fanmailed before, something I rarely do.


  21. Janine
    Jul 09, 2014 @ 13:01:56

    @MaryK: That sucks. How this author would respond to such an email probably depends on her personality, and isn’t something anyone else can answer. I have seen more than a few authors complain about receiving critical emails, though.

  22. Amy
    Jul 23, 2014 @ 14:43:03

    I just finished Courtney Milan’s latest — The Suffragette Scandal — and I loved it. I stayed up until 4:30 am to finish it. (It was difficult to get out of bed at 7:30 am to prepare for work.) I’ve generally enjoyed all the books in this series (staring with The Duchess War); the last one (The Countess Conspiracy) was my least favorite. The hero in the Suffragette Scandal really stands out for me — he is by far the most complicated and compelling hero in this series; his character and interactions with the heroine really made the book for me. Also, for those who care, a minor character in this novel has a f/f romance. This is the first traditional historical romance novel that I’ve read in 20+ years to cover the development of a f/f romance.

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