I’ve been reading for review, trying out new authors and trying to find more self-published work. I seem to be partway through an awful lot of books. It’s a mixed bag in terms of content and quality.
Reckless Runaway At the Racecourse, by Ros Clarke. Ros and I follow each other on Twitter and she offered this, her first self-published book, for free on Smashwords for a short time. I’ve had it in the TBR for a while. So far it’s a sweet story, very much in the Harlequin/Mills and Boon tradition. The hero and heroine meet cute at the races when she runs out onto the track while a horse race is in progress in order to rescue her expensive shoe and escape her predatory boss (the hero is more worried about the horses than the heroine, which I appreciated). It looks like an opposites-attract story. The writing is solid (nice, snappy dialogue) and the production values are good so far. I’ll finish and report back.
Something Different by S. A. Reid. The author offered this book for review, and Joan/SarahF reviewed it and liked it very much. I was intrigued and frustrated in equal parts by the opening chapters. The protagonist is an unhappily married man with a stereotypically horrible wife who denies him sex (authors, can we have a moratorium on this kind of character? Please?). He is miserable but lacks the courage to change his situation. He goes out looking for a prostitute in a park and finds a young, handsome man rather than the woman he was initially seeking. They are attracted to each other and begin a relationship. The author makes a number of missteps in depicting the setting, including the use of American English and odd contextual information (the setting is suburban London), and the protagonist comes across as pathetic rather than sympathetic. But the writing style is good and I’m curious to see if the author can redeem this guy.
Bear, Otter, and the Kid by T. J. Klune. This debut m/m romance came out earlier this year and generated unbelievable buzz. I didn’t think it was my kind of book but I was curious, so I downloaded a sample and discovered that the excerpt alone was
9000+ 900+ Kindle locations. It is in dire need of editing and has one of those narrators who talks all the time and tells you everything in his head, if you know what I mean. And yet his voice is oddly compelling. The ridiculous names are explained fairly quickly. The Kid is revoltingly precocious. But the story is engaging, and last week it was discounted to $2.99 at Amazon, so I decided to buy it and see how far I could get. The basic storyline: the narrator, his younger brother, his best friend, and his girlfriend/other best friend form a family-like unit after the irresponsible mother takes off. The (male) best friend’s brother reappears after being essentially gone for three years and upsets the equilibrium. Cue romance and drama.
Among the Living (PsyCop #1) by Jordan Castillo Price. For some reason I totally managed to miss reading any of Jordan Castillo Price’s m/m paranormal mysteries, even though she was the subject of an If You Like column here at Dear Author. I’d heard wonderful things about her books for years, and I have enjoyed the Petit Morts series. I finally rectified this omission by downloading the first of the PsyCop books. Price makes it easy by offering half the book for free on her website. It’s well worth buying the other half. The protagonist is a psychic detective who sees and talks to dead people. He’s part of a Chicago police force in which psychics of various abilities are partnered with non-psychics (stiffs). The narrator is funny and endearing, the writing is smooth, the romantic storyline is appealing, and the mystery is pretty good. Full review to come.
The Silent City (Rifter #8) by Ginn Hale. I read it in one sitting and loved it, but you probably knew that. We jump back in time in this installment, to when John was coming to grips with being The Rifter. Much of the story here revolves around his attempts to manage the vast powers he has on Basawar. Kyle/Ravishan is present as well. We learn more about the Fai’daum, and we find out how John became Jath’ibaye (in more ways than one). The story is dark, violent, and almost claustrophic. It is also romantic and even sweet at times. I have no idea how this epic, epic fantasy can be wrapped up in just two more installments. Luckily, I’m pretty sure Ms. Hale does. Full review to come, but not right away.
A Baby for Eve by Maggie Kingsley. When I did my post on the Harlequin Medical Romance line last year, a commenter suggested this book. Not only does the heroine have an abortion, she goes on with her life and eventually gets to have an HEA. I tracked it down and discovered it was part of Penhally Bay, Mills & Boon’s Centennial series in the Medical line. The entire series finally started being issued in the US market this year, and this month the Kingsley was published (in print form; the ebook releases next month). I read it and liked it last year, but I decided to reread it and see if it was really good, or I just thought so because I was so happy to find a book with this setup. Review to come.
The Private World of Georgette Heyer by Jane Aiken Hodge. This book, which was first published in 1984, has been reissued in paperback by Sourcebooks. I read it soon after it came out and I’ve dipped into it frequently since then. As biographies go, it’s a bit workmanlike: Hodge, herself a well-known author, employes a straightforward chronology that intertwines events in Heyer’s life with the research and writing of her novels. But it’s invaluable for Heyer enthusiasts. I decided to do a full reread before I embark on the new biography of Heyer by Jennifer Kloester (which is already available in the UK but won’t be published in the US until 2012). If readers are interested I’ll do a full review.