Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Reading List for Jane, Ending October 4, 2011

I’ve been reading a lot of ARCs so most of my reading list are for titles not published until November, December and January. I hope that is okay with the readers.


Holiday Kisses, an anthology by Shannon Stacey, HelenKay Dimon, Jaci Burton, and Alison Kent. I liked all the stories in this contemporary Christmas anthology although Burton’s was my least favorite. Burton’s story was about the ex husband of the heroine’s sister and I felt that the short story format didn’t allow for nuance (ie. perhaps the sister and the hero were just two different people rather than the sister being the evol one). I probably liked Stacey’s story the best although Dimon and Kent’s were also heartwarming. It’s a good follow up to last year’s Christmas anthology. Maybe next year, we’ll have some non Christian holiday celebrants in the collection.  Full review to come in December.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Behind the Scenes by Natalie J. Damschroeder. This is a romantic suspense. The heroine is a security expert and she is asked to provide security for movie that is being directed by a friend of hers. She falls for the main lead. I believed in their love story. The hero was really attracted to the heroine and her passionate belief in the services that she provided. I wasn’t necessarily sold on this hero as an actor. He lacks a certain gravitas and hubris that I associate with celebrities. Full review to come in November after the October 31 release date.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Fatal Heat by Lisa Marie Rice. I recommend this for LMR fans only. It’s short on  substance and long on total unbelievability. At least it was only $.99.  Hero is SEAL who was wounded and sent to his CO’s condo to heal. He is not returning to the teams.  Heroine is CO’s niece and researcher. One look at the heroine and the hero gains a new lease on life. Heroine’s life is endangered. Hero does really amazing physical things to save her. HEA.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Mouth to Mouth by Erin McCarthy. This was a reread after the post by Maili regarding deaf characters. I really like the story and I thought that McCarthy did a good job of showing some of the challenges of a deaf person. There are a lot of things that McCarthy got wrong as pointed out by Maili. I didn’t recognize those so they didn’t affect the reading experience for me but I can see how it would be a challenge for someone who was hearing-impaired to be fully satisfied with the rendering.  Full review here.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Whispers in the Dark by Maya Banks.  I liked it but didn’t love it.  Features a heroine who has a psychic connection to the hero.  I felt like there was too much telephathic talking and way too much PDA.  Fans of the series will probably enjoy the series. At least the heroine isn’t from outer space.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo


Mad About the Earl by Christina Brooke. I haven’t read Brooke before and I found the “Ministry of Marriage” concept to be kind of ridiculous and the cast of characters is huge. I actually stopped reading to go to the author’s site to see if I could find a character guide or something. The author doesn’t have much of anything on her site but it was enough to provide a basis by which I could return the book. Essentially there are six Westruther cousins that were all wards of one man. He apparently does not have an heir and I suspect that there will be a story for him at a later date. Problematically, is that there are several titled individuals who have the same name (deVere or Westruther) and it was a real challenge to keep everyone apart.  Having said that, I did enjoy the book once I got a handle on the cast. Full review to come in January 2012.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo


The Man Every him Woman Wants by Miranda Lee. This is a December Harlequin Presents. The hero is a former soccer great who now represents other athletes. The heroine is an attorney who reviews his contracts. She asks him to pose as her boyfriend and he agrees. It’s a sweet story and they were both cute characters–No alpha asshole–but the endless exposition toward the end was a little much.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

A Christmas Night to Remember by Helen Brooks. Another December Harlequin Presents. Heroine, a dancer, is hideously scarred as a result of an accident and wants to leave her husband, a famous director. She can’t compete with the glitterati and thinks she is bound to lose him because of her scarred body. He pursues her relentlessly and won’t let her push him away. It was okay.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Craving the Forbidden and In Bed with a Stranger by India Grey. This is a December and January HP release, respectively. There is an HEA in both but the second book does feature the same characters. The first one, the heroine poses as the girlfriend of her gay bestfriend and falls for said best friend’s brother. I like them both and would recommend them. Full reviews to come.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Sweet Betrayal by Helen Brooks. This is a Harlequin Treasury book. As I said in the podcast with Sarah this is all about a heroine who jumps to awful conclusions and says awful things as a result of those awful conclusions and I just could not stand her.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Heart of the Desert by Carol Marinelli. I liked the tone but not the storyline which portrayed the heroine Georgie as an irresponsible chit when she didn’t want to tie herself down to the rules imposed by the desert kingdom in which her sister lived. I did like that her sister and her didn’t have a hearts and roses relationship given that the sister was a former HP heroine (ha, that sounds funny). I did like the mysticism that the desert held for the people, though.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Missing Mother-to-Be by Elle Kennedy. I wanted to give this a negative grade I disliked it so much. No worries. We will have a full review full of quotes and everything.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

The Most Coveted Prize by Penny Jordan. Hero is gross. Sets out to seduce a virgin and discard her so he can win a contract from her half brother.  Not because he needs revenge or any ridiculous HP ideal but because he wants this final contract to cement his place as a financial power.  She’s 19.  He’s in his 30s.  The power dynamic, not to mention the very skeevy way in which the hero set out to seduce the heroine, was quite disturbing.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

The Ice Prince by Sandra Marton. The hero delights in being a sexist jerk. Isn’t reformed into a non sexist jerk, just a sexist jerk who loves the heroine. Essentially, this is an opposites attract story where the hero owns some land in Sicily and the ownership of the land is challenged by a mob boss in the U.S. Mob boss sends his daughter, a lawyer, to Italy to negotiate a deal. Hero and heroine strike sparks off one another, first in anger then in passion. He grovels heavily to her brothers and then goes to her and proposes marriage. Whilst he was groveling to her brothers, I kept wondering why he wasn’t abasing himself before her.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo


Ilona Andrews was looking for reviewers of Silver Shark and I volunteered. Silver Shark is a short story set in a futuristic world. I thought Andrews did a great job of imparting little details like vegetation to provide authenticity for world. I thought, though, the heroine embraced her lust for the hero too quickly, particularly since she was supposed to be shut down emotionally.  I do need to do a review of this and will next week.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Fate’s Edge by Ilona Andrews. This is an ARC of a December release (late November). Heroine is a magically gifted Edger who is trying to make it in the Broken as a private investigator. She thinks she loves the normalcy of it. Unfortunately her con artist father gets her to participate in one last heist which leads her to be the target of the very evil group called the Hand, a kind of special police of a magically gifted faction in the fae land called the Weird. She gets some help from an agent of the Mirror and the brothers of Rose, the heroine in On the Edge. The agent of the Mirror is the cousin of Cerise Mar from Bayou Moon. Enjoyed this quite a bit and would recommended. Full review to come in December.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Of course, this led to a re-read of Bayou Moon and On The Edge by Ilona Andrews.

Envy by JR Ward. This book just showed up on my doorstep. I opened it up and I start reading and the next thing I knew, I was hooked. I actually stopped reading Ward after the ghost story and lost interest in the BDB series. I thought the Fallen Angel series was much more urban fantasy than romantic but I found Envy to be very romantic.  Thomas DelVecchio Jr. is the son of an infamous serial killer.  He blacks out and when he comes to a suspected killer is savaged and Veck thinks he might have done it.  IA officer (not detective?) Sophia Reilly is called in to investigate. She clears him pretty quickly as the savaging was done by a wild animal (or so everyone thinks) but there is a battle over Veck’s soul.  The battle is the overarcing series plot pertaining to a contest between good and evil.

I then went and bought the previous 2 books and I tried to read Crave and could not get past the 1st chapter again so that was a waste of $7.95. Tried Covet and again that book did not work for me in any fashion so I just did a search and find so I could read the parts about Jim and his new love that is kind of referenced in Envy. And I chalk that up to a $16 mistake. (I’m sure at one time the publisher had sent me Covet and Crave in paper but I’m also sure that I don’t have those anywhere in my house).

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

I also re read some of Nalini Singh’s Archangel series. Not very productive behavior.

Erotic Romance

Double Shot by Christine D’Abo. I can barely remember what this book is about. Sadie is part owner in a catering coffee shop. Her family business is asked to cater a party at a sex club. This is all an effort for Sadie and sex club board member to get in each other’s pants. I felt the hero was too emo and the primary sex scene in this novella featured a “Sadie, may I” game which got old after the second “Sadie, may I” but you have to endure it for at least a half a dozen times. That was five times too many for me.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Sapphire by Jeffe Kennedy.  BDSM books with the male as a dom who knows everything have always bothered me and this is no different.  The hero came off as very smug and superior who felt like it was his duty to show the heroine what a true “sub” she was.  A very “father knows best” sort of tone.  And it wasn’t as if the hero sensed this *just* about the heroine.

This is a guy who has mechanical controls in his library and bedroom including hooks and rings that come out of the floor and lower from the ceiling. Did he just troll the streets looking for those secret subs?  And when he was whipping her with his belt, it was because he said she wanted it and needed it to free her of her own inhibitions.  I hated his know-it-all smugness and how I felt he took advantage of the heroine’s competitive nature. She did not want to give in to him and say the safe word.  There is a slight turn around in the end, but by that time, I just despised the hero.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Mandi
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 10:20:29

    I can’t wait for Fate’s Edge..glad to hear it is good!

    And I was all into the over the top Fatal Heat story until the dog at the end.

  2. MarieC
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 10:27:32

    Hi Jane. By chance, have you read the story, “Silent Blade” by Ilona Andrews? “Silver Shark” isn’t quite a sequel, but it is set in the ‘verse and revisits the protagonists from “Silent Blade”.

  3. Jane
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 10:28:50

    @MarieC I have not. I’ll have to go and pick it up.

  4. Jane
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 10:29:05

    @Mandi It was superdog, like the hero who was superman.

  5. Ros
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 12:20:51

    *jealous* I’ve read the first of the India Grey duo and am now waiting, VERY impatiently, for the second.

  6. Julie
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 12:42:24

    I love India Grey and her new duet looks delicious. I can’t wait to read it!

  7. Hannah
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 14:31:18

    I’ve really enjoyed India Grey’s HPs as well. I’m also glad for any reviews of the Harlequin Treasury books. I think there was a post with recs a while back on DA. For some reason I’m really wary of these books.

  8. cyclops8
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 14:47:36

    I must admit I’m a huge LMR fan and will definitely check out her new novella.

  9. Cara Ellison
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 16:55:01

    It’s funny – every review I’ve read of LMR books always point out that the book is cray-cray. I think it is great she’s able to be crazy and still have a big, ravenous fan base.

    I enjoyed Into The Crossfire – the only book of hers I read – so I’ll pick up Fatal Heat.

  10. Rosie
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 17:56:28

    I can’t wait to read Fate’s Edge! Glad you liked it.

  11. SHZ
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 19:20:08

    I’m so mad I paid $3.99 for the Lisa Marie Rice book because I preordered it – they made it free on release day!

    You’re right – it was exactly the same book I’ve read a dozen times before. Some passages were copied word for word from her other books. It is definitely only for diehard fans.

    I haven’t read a Sandra Marton book since I caught her giving herself five star reviews on Amazon. SO dodgy I don’t want to help her income!

  12. Kaetrin
    Oct 06, 2011 @ 02:09:37

    I just went to buy the LMR book, thinking “what the heck, it’s only 99c” but it was actually free which was even better! :)

  13. Jane
    Oct 06, 2011 @ 09:19:58

    @Kaetrin Sniff. I paid .99. Next time I will have to wait.

  14. Janet P.
    Oct 06, 2011 @ 10:32:40

    Well now I just clicked on the LMR book and it is $1.99.

  15. Darlynne
    Oct 06, 2011 @ 12:47:12

    Jane, I like the idea of ARC reviews because then I have some idea of what’s coming as opposed to what’s already out. I have no idea why that appeals to me, but maybe anticipation is half the fun.

    As for Envy, I didn’t bother to get it because the first two didn’t speak to me at all; I may have to give it a try.

  16. MaryK
    Oct 06, 2011 @ 13:18:14

    Crap, you almost made me break my only-with-a-gift-card Amazon rule for the LMR but I resisted at the last minute. I’m between cards at the moment.

    Can you elaborate on the December HP by Brooks – what didn’t you love about it?

  17. Jane
    Oct 06, 2011 @ 13:24:51

    @Darlynne: I don’t want to irritate readers with books they can’t have but as long as the DA folks think it is more interesting than irritating, I’ll keep posting.

    @MaryK: I got tired of the heroine pushing the hero away. I think it would have worked far better as a novella rather than a full length HP because *that* was the only conflict and it takes place over the course of two days. I wished they had separated. She had come to grips with her injuries and then gotten back together. But the dragging out of the conflict over 200 pages and the course of two days made me impatient.

  18. MaryK
    Oct 06, 2011 @ 14:20:53

    I sampled a Treasury book by one of the older authors I usually like (can’t recall which one) and was put off by the age difference. It had a strong “naive girl and sophisticated man” vibe, and I can’t do those any more.

    @Jane: Thanks. I think I’ll give it a try since it’s not a problem like you had with the other Brooks. I sometimes like the marriage in trouble theme.

  19. What Sarah was Reading in September - Dear Author
    Oct 11, 2011 @ 11:00:58

    […] Like Jane, I’ve been reading a lot of ARCs for November and December, and wow, you’re all in for some real treats. […]

%d bloggers like this: