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. Edie
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 04:08:39

    I am in the middle of a reading slump.. boo! Found a fun choose your own adventure romance, but it was kind of cut off a bit short and there is no current plans to put out more. Boo to red sage.

    Does anyone have any funny romances to recommend?

  2. Tweets that mention Open Thread for Readers for April 2010 | Dear Author: Romance Novel Reviews, Industry News, and Commentary --
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 06:45:21

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by dearauthor. dearauthor said: New post: Open Thread for Readers for April 2010 […]

  3. Lurker
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 07:14:03

    I am in the middle of Christine Warren’s newest “Others” book “Born to be Wild”. I liked the other books in the series more, but it is an OK read. Sadly, neither the suspense nor the romance is really gripping me.

    Before that I enjoyed Faith Hunter’s “Rouge Mage” series, which is all kinds of awesome. A post apocalyptic world (apocalypse as in the bible) with God’s seraphs (or are they aliens?), a strong heroine (but not a Mary Sue), interesting secondary characters, great world building, …

  4. Joanne
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 07:21:30

    @Edie: She may not be your cuppa but Shelly Laurenston/G.A. Aiken writes some hysterically (IMO) funny books. If you can find Miss Congeniality it would be the best place to start. They’re all paranormal/shifter novels.

    I’m a dismayed by the page count for Linda Howard’s next hard cover. Amazon has it priced at $17 and, oh well, I collect her book so that’s my problem if I want to pay the price, but it has 256 pages. WTF? Her last hardcover was Ice and it had fewer pages and was no different then any Harlequin/Silhouette release but with the hardcover price.

    JAK/Quick has a new hardcover coming out @ $14 with 352 pages and J.R.Ward has a hardcover @ $14 with 528 pages.

    Apples and Oranges I know but they all fly under the Romance Book Banner and I wonder if it’s the publisher deciding that a short story should be priced and put into a hardcover or what? /rant

  5. cate
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 07:28:27

    Well, I can recommend any of Lauren Willig’s romances.Starting with the Secret History of the Pink Carnation.
    They’re a wonderful mix of contemporay & alternate history (the Scarlet Pimpernel existed in this world)regency romance.
    She has a wonderfully dry sense of humour, & a wit to match. Personally, I’m desparate for Turnip Fitzhugh’s story.

  6. may
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 08:06:10

    I just finished Spider’s Bite (Jennifer Estep) and I love it. It’s gritty and dark (and not much in romance dept) but it really worked for me. I look forward to more books about this heroine!

    I have an insanely long TBR list because I’ve been busy at work, but I am looking forward to the Carrie Diaries (Candace Bushnell), Wicked becomes you (Meredith Duran), Savor the Moment (Nora Roberts), and the re-released Evanovich romance coming out over the next month.

  7. Terri
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 08:19:43

    Just started Laura Kinsale’s Lessons in French. Captivated so far. Love her three-dimensional, flawed characters. Although there’s quite a lot of backstory in the beginning pages, it’s told through the quirky, self-effacing point of view of the heroine and adds immediate depth to her. We see her kindness and the skewed way she views herself and instantly sympathize and root for her. Also serves to set a pace that lets us know we’re in for a nice, leisurely read– not a helter-skelter ride. Not very far in, but hooked already.

  8. Michelle
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 08:26:03

    I am eagerly awaiting UPS to deliver my copy of Megan Whalen Turner’s latest edition to her Thief series-A Conspiracy of Kings. It is YA fantasy-imagine an Ancient Greek like setting with lots of political intrigue and intricate world building. But running through it is one of the most romantic story lines. Can’t wait. Lots of sly humor also. I have addicted many to this series. They do have to be read in order.

  9. Jane
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 08:33:23

    @Michelle Janine is a big fan of Turner. Keishon, from, turned us on to the series.

  10. Jane
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 08:34:14

    @may Savor the Moment? Is that the next wedding series book? The name doesn’t sound familiar to me.

  11. Jane
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 08:36:25

    @cate I never realized how romance-y Willig’s books are. I want to read them but like @may, my TBR list is insanely long!

  12. Jane
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 08:36:57

    @Lurker She has the most gorgeous covers. Didn’t she write some angel series?

  13. Lurker
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 08:42:29

    @Jane: Yes, Jane, that’s the “Rouge Mage” series: seraphim = high ranking angels.

  14. Jennifer Estep
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 08:57:39

    @Edie: You’ve probably already tried these folks, but Katie MacAllister and Lynsay Sands write some funny paranormals, and I like Kristan Higgins’ funny contemporaries.

    @may: Cool. Glad you enjoyed the book.

    @Michelle: How have I never heard of that series before? That sounds awesome!

    I read Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins, which I thought was cute and fun (although I would have liked just a little bit more of the hero’s POV/thoughts.) I also finished Hard to Hold by Stephanie Tyler and McKettricks of Texas: Tate by Linda Lael Miller. Miller’s westerns are like comfort food reads to me — nice, warm, and filling. I’m looking forward to the other two books in the series.

    Next up, I think I’ll read Frostbite by Richelle Mead, the second in her Vampire Academy series. I also have some epic fantasies I want to get to before too much longer, like Burn Me Deadly by Alex Bledsoe and Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch …

  15. Jayne
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 09:07:45

    @Jane: The Willig books are actually fairly fast reads despite their length. Plus I think if you try one, the reaction you get to it will pretty much determine whether or not you’ll want to continue with the series.

  16. Barb
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 09:09:18

    Yes, this is the third book–Laurel McBain’s story. She is the cake maker, hence the foodie themed title.

  17. Jane
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 09:13:09

    @Barb I think I received that book for review but shipped it off somewhere. I haven’t really loved the wedding series as much as I want to.

  18. Bernie
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 09:13:20

    Just read The Reluctant Dom by Tymber Dalton. Got it on my Amazon Kindle. I don’t read this style of romance BSDM much. But that is such a small part of this book. Its a true sweet and get your hankies out love story.Its quite long so you really get into the relationship they have. I can’t put into words how this book moved me. Posted a review on Amazon for the first time.

  19. Michelle
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 09:17:06

    Excuse my fangirl squee but @Jennifer this is one awesome series. The Thief is the first. Kind of light hearted, some funny scenes, lots of adventure, don’t peak at the ending because there is a really great twist.

    The second is the Queen of Attolia- a lot darker. A lot of political twists and turns. The best part is how she makes a barbaric act which you would think would be unforgivable almost understandable.

    The third King of Attolia is almost pure romp, my favorite. Imagine almost A Scarlet Pimpernel where everyone thinks he is an idiot when he is really brilliant. Also the best sword fight scene EVAH.

    Ok now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

  20. DS
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 09:19:41

    I bought Mansfield Park and Mummies on a recommendation last month and I haven’t regretted it. Mansfield Park is my least favorite Austen so I’ve been enjoying the mash up in a casual, fun way.

    I’ve been beyond insanely busy for the past few weeks so it’s been good to have something undemanding on my iphone for restaurant and “take a number” reading.

  21. DS
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 09:32:30

    @Michelle: I really hope the Turner book gets picked up by I just placed an order for the hardcover. I believe I’ll order the entire series for a friend of mine’s granddaughter. Ever since I found out her favorite books were the Twilight series I have been loading her up with all the good YA books I can think of, hoping to counteract any ill effects.

    Also the Willig books– I never got past chapter one in the first one. I originally picked it up because it sounded like something that would be right down my alley, but somehow it just never clicked.

  22. Lori
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 09:35:57

    I just finished Butterfly Tattoo by Deirdre Knight and oh wow, what a wonderful story. It really deserved every glowing review it got.

    Also read The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen but it left me flat. Preferred her earlier books.

    Jane, I would like to send you Garden Spells because it’s one of my favorite books ever and I just would love you experience it.

  23. Mireya
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 09:48:55

    Some fun/lighthearted authors I’ve enjoyed:

    1. Julia Quinn (not comedies, but she uses some light comedy elements, particularly in her dialogues). She writes historical romance though.

    2. Sandra Hill is over the top, farfetched funny romance. She writes contemps, historical and time travel romances.

    3. Nina Bangs (except for her latest series titled The Gods of Night) writes lighthearted paranormal romance.

    4. Shelly Laurenston/G.A. Aiken is very funny.

    5. Katie MacAllistaire.

    6. MaryJanice Davidson writes fun paranormal and contemporary romance.

    7. Lynsay Sands writes lighthearted paranormals.

    8. Sahara Kelly has quite a number of lighthearted erotic romances.

    Those are the ones I can remember off the top of my head.

    I read Sabrina Jeffreys “The Truth about Lord Stoneville”. This is her first book in her new series Hellions of Halstead Hall. I liked it so much, that it will be interesting to see how the rest of the series fare in my keep-my-interest meter. Definitely on the keeper category.

    I also finished “Master of Fire” by Angela Knight, her latest in her Mageverse series. It was quite enjoyable, though not one of my favorites in the series.

    re: Laura Kinsale’s “Lessons in French” I am very glad I decided to give it a try. I was familiar with her name, but I had never read any of her books. I am now catching up on her booklist, that’s how much I liked “Lessons in French”.

    I’ve also been re-reading Gayle Callen’s Sisters of Willow Pond series and Samantha James “A Perfect Groom”.

    I think the only book due out in April that I have been waiting for is J.R. Ward’s “Lover Mine”. I admit I am keeping low expectations about this one as it is one I have been anticipating since the series started and I don’t want to end up disappointed.

  24. Jennifer Estep
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 09:58:25

    @Michelle: You had me at Scarlet Pimpernel. ;-)

    That’s one of my all-time favorite stories. Going off to Amazon to check out the books now …

  25. Cecilia Grant
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 10:13:57

    Just finished Rose Lerner’s debut Regency, In for a Penny, and loved it beyond all reason. Feckless but good-hearted aristocrat hero, wealthy & self-conscious merchant-class heroine; lots of historical detail that gives the book texture without calling attention to itself. Just a delight from start to finish.

    And… 65 days until the release of Joanna Bourne’s The Forbidden Rose. Yes, I am keeping count.

  26. may
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 10:24:33

    @Jane: yes – that’ the next Wedding series (#3 of 4) from Nora.

  27. Carin
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 10:25:15

    I just finished The Cinderella Deal by Jennifer Crusie and really enjoyed it. I’m also reading J.D. Robb’s In Death series and TOTALLY addicted.

    I recently read The Butterfly Tattoo and loved it. Her Secret Fling – a Harlequin Blaze by Sarah Mayberry was a winner for me, too. I’m excited that she (Sarah Mayberry) has another book just out now – I’m looking forward to reading that one.

    Though I normally read straight romance, I read Spider’s Bite and LOVED it – can’t wait for the next book this summer. I also enjoyed Gentlemen Prefer Succubi, which was listed as paranormal romance, but read as more UF to me.

    I’m also looking forward to the next JR Ward, but nervous that it won’t live up to my expectations.

    Finally, having read other comments, I also recommend Laurenston/Aiken’s books. I LOVE her sense of humor!

  28. Darlynne
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 11:00:49

    I’m waiting impatiently for Gail Carriger’s Changeless, the sequel to Soulless. The publication date is supposed to be 3/30, but there’s no sign of it yet in non-Kindle e-format. And Lover Mine, for which I have high hopes and expectations, is the book on which my laser sights are turned.

  29. Ellie
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 11:41:53

    I am DYING to get Nina Bruhns latest, A Kiss to Kill. I can’t figure out how she’s going to redeem Gregg in Gina’s eyes. Can she really have a hero who is a traitor? Of course not, but that’s the fun. I’m really hoping B & N ships it early to me so I don’t have to watch the mail like a crazy person.

  30. Janine
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 11:54:43

    Re. the Megan Whalen Turner series, I am reading A Consipracy of Kings now and enjoying it. The focus so far isn’t on the characters from the last two books, though, but on Sophos.

    Other April books:

    British author Alexandra Potter was recently recommended to me. My friend said she writes more serious chick lit, and her upcoming book, The Two Lives of Miss Charlotte Merryweather, has an interesting twist. The heroine meets a younger version of herself. I am thinking I might check this book out.

    Later in the month, my friend and crit partner Meredith Duran’s Wicked Becomes You is coming out and I can’t wait to get a paper copy. I had so much fun reading it.

    Linda Howard is collaborating with Linda Jones (who has also written as Linda Winstead Jones, I believe) on a paranormal called Blood Born that I might check out.

    Lastly, I am surprised no one has mentioned Patience by Lisa Valdez, which comes out in a week or so. I’m kind of curious about it, myself.

  31. Joanna V
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 12:18:45

    I had resisted reading J.R. Ward’s “Lover Avenged” until recently as I had found myself skimming over a lot of Phury’s story, but then decided to read it last week and got sucked back in again – I really didn’t think she could make Rehvenge a sympathetic character but she did. So darn it, now I can’t wait for “Lover Mine” – I am especially wondering about how she will write love scenes where one character is mute.

    I also have Pamela Clare’s new I-team book “Naked Edge” that I am looking forward to. And I just found out you can get an older story of hers with characters from the same series that was originally published in an anthology I missed, it’s called “Heaven Can’t Wait” and is now available as a single story for the Kindle!

    And I just started reading “Mansfield Park”, an Austen I had never read – I thought if I want to read “Mansfield Park and Mummies” I want to read the original first.

  32. John J.
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 12:49:36

    Okay, I love YA romances (I’m a young adult, so obvious, right?) and I’ve wanted to get reading some more adult ones for a long time, but I have no idea where to start. I’ve tried a few Harlequins that have been hit or miss for me, but I just can’t find anything singularly that I would risk picking up. As a guy I have to be very picky about what I get (decent cover, no obvious eye brow raising). Where should I go? I like paranormals, but also enjoy humorous stories and historicals. :)

  33. KristieJ
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 13:00:23

    I’ve been a reading machine lately and the series that I can’t get enough of – even though now I’ve read them all so far is the post apocalyptic series that Joss Ware has out. I really enjoyed all three of the books so far and I’m longing for more.

  34. Kim
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 13:22:50

    I've read quite a few good books in the last few months. If you want to try a debut author, Sinful Surrender by Beverley Kendall was a very good read. Sometimes a new author is hit or miss, but this author constructed a strong. It's the first in a trilogy.

    Julie James's third book, Something About You, was just as good as her first two. She is a very talented author. Finally, I am currently reading The Dead Travel Fast by Deannna Raybourn. If you like gothic novels written in the first person, so far it's a good read.

  35. Janine
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 13:42:39

    @John J.: How old are you? It is hard to tailor recommendations without knowing your age.

  36. Lisa W
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 13:48:10

    I’m enjoying Jennifer Ashley’s The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie right now, a first for me by this author and spurred by the DABWAHA brackets. I just finished Larissa Ione’s Ecstasy Unveiled, Cole’s Passions of a Dark Prince and Hunter’s Ravishing in Red. For me, this is quite a reading marathon :) And lucky for me, I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read so far this last month! I’m looking forward to the 2nd Hunter in the same series, and may be hunting up Ashley’s backlist this month. So many other books in the TBR are bleating plaintively at me!

  37. MaryK
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 13:53:21

    Any opinions on Changeless?

  38. Jane
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 14:17:06

    @MaryK I enjoyed Changeless. It was slow in the beginning and has a big cliffhanger ending but I did enjoy it. Ordinarily I hate cliffhanger endings too.

  39. Mireya
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 14:30:26

    @Joanna: re. J.R. Ward, that was exactly my reaction to “Lover Avenged”. Phury’s book was a DNF for me, so I picked “Lover Avenged” pretty much expecting to hate it, but ended up reading it in one sitting.

  40. Anion
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 14:52:09

    I’m quite looking forward to THE MAGE IN BLACK, the second book in Jaye Wells’s Sabina Kane series.

    I grabbed the first one (RED-HEADED STEPCHILD) last year with some trepidation, because rebellious UF first-person vampires were (and are) a bit worn-out for me, but I was traveling and needed something to read and I’d seen Jaye Wells around online and enjoyed what she had to say, so I figured why not.

    And I was very pleasantly surprised. It was a cool story and a pretty unique world, but the writing really stood out; I thought it was excellent, and that’s getting harder and harder to find, IMO.

  41. ms bookjunkie
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 15:16:32

    @John J.: Here are a few quality authors, books and series from the romance genre that I heartily recommend (oops, pun not intended):

    – Nora Roberts NORTHERN LIGHTS to start the NR experience with (book is from hero’s point of view)

    – JD Robb NAKED IN DEATH (futuristic cop series, book 1)

    – Kresley Cole Immortals After Dark series (paranormal, covers can be embarrassing)

    – Nalini Singh Psy-Changeling series (paranormal)

    – Alyssa Day Atlantis series (actually Warriors of Poseidon series, paranormal, covers can be embarrassing -or not?)

    – Pamela Clare NAKED EDGE (romantic suspense, book 4 of I-team)

    – Leslie Parrish FADE TO BLACK, PITCH BLACK, BLACK AT HEART (romantic suspense)

    – Ann Aguirre GRIMSPACE (romantic science fiction, Sirantha Jax book 1)

    – Ilona Andrews ON THE EDGE (fantasy/fairy tale, The Edge book 1)

    – Jennifer Crusie BET ME (contemporary romance)

    – Julia Quinn (both humorous and historical)

    – Sabrina Jeffries THE PIRATE LORD (historical)

    I’m pretty sure something on this list should grab your interest. These are all books that I’ve enjoyed. YMMV. Happy reading!

  42. scribblingirl
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 16:11:17

    Rhyannon Byrd, The Primal Instinct series, I have the first four books and am champing at the bit for the next one…

  43. Silvia
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 16:15:38

    I just read The Quiet Gentlemen by Georgette Heyer last week, and was astonished at the fact that I’ve never heard of anyone recommending this one before. I picked it up used on a whim, though it’s not a Heyer novel I’d heard of before… And I totally fell in love with the heroine! She was just so completely refreshing, in the land of Regency Romancelandia.
    [warning: slight spoilers below]

    Too often in romances it seems like we don’t get any real reasons these two people like each other- we’re just told that they do, that they feel a ~connection~ or they’re just crazy hot for each other and they’re both really physically attractive. What I liked about this story was that (a) it had a good suspense plot, as our hero the unwelcome heir is either being surrounded by ominous coincidences or someone has more it in for him, (b) the hero has a quiet confidence but doesn’t have to “prove” he’s an alpha male by sleeping with everyone or being a jerk towards the heroine, and (c) the h/h have actual complementary personalities and the hero likes the heroine for herself, and not because of shallow attractions.

    I love that the hero totally dismisses her at first as a dull, very plain girl. He’s more intrigued by the local beauty, who’s a sweet but sheltered girl (I like that she’s not demonized – there’s nothing wrong with her, to make the hero’s tastes shift). And then as the story proceeds and events begin to turn wrong, he begins to appreciate the heroine more and more — as we the readers also fall in love with how steady, capable, and just plain sensible she is. Our hero himself is the most level-headed and patient of the men, never jumping to conclusions, so it feels like an excellent match.

  44. becca
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 16:48:20

    Let me second Sarah Addison Allen if you haven’t read her: lyrical writing, gentle romances. Garden Spells, her first, was the best, I think, and then Sugar Queen. The Girl Who Chased The Moon didn’t have the magic of the first two, but was still sweet – still, the ending left me in tears, and I don’t like books that make me cry.

  45. readerdiane
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 19:03:06

    Well I am looking forward to “Changeless” that comes out April 1st.
    “Silver Borne” by Patricia Briggs will be out the same day. I love both of these series so I can’t wait for this weekend. I know they aren’t truly romances but I love each series. ;)

  46. Lindsay
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 19:22:47

    I’m having a hard time finding Lessons in French in the bookstore, which seems odd to me, since Laura Kinsale is popular, and they have more of her backlist than they do for many other authors. How long ago was it released?

    I’ve hit a bit of a reading slump at the moment – I have some older books on order, but nothing in the bookstore makes me want to take it home. I could use some recommendations for historicals (especially regencies), in which the hero is not a rake, a spy, “dangerous”, arrogant, etc. Does anyone know of any recent historicals where the hero is a decent guy who doesn’t sleep around?

  47. John J.
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 19:39:50

    @ ms bookworm 28

    Thanks for the advice! I got my mother to move away from sole harlequin books to Nora Roberts and other ones, so I have two In Death’s lying around and High Noon. Not the exact suggestions but close enough. Singh, I have heard, is amazing as is Kresley Cole. I’ll probably save Cole for ebook purchases (I use a Cool-ER, so the availability will be debatable) where the covers are easily hidden. Overall the suggestions sound really good, and I will keep an eye out for them.

    @ Lindsay

    ‘Lessons in French’ is a fairly recent release…Smart Bitches, Trashy Books just had a giveaway involving the book not that long ago. If they don’t restock, try Amazon. Even a Wal-mart/Kmart would probably have it. Luckily romance novels are some of the broadest in terms of sales places. :) And do you read YA? If you do, try Aurelia and Unclaimed Heart, both are historicals. Unclaimed Heart was pretty good, and being YA the hero was a decent guy. :P If not, then I have nothing.

    As a general question to anyone – Westerns. Suggestions? I read my first today – Diana Palmer’s Rogue Stallion reissue from Harlequin – and loved it, even though the premise was a lot better than the plotting/writing. So, give me some good categories and singles that work for Westerns! :) So far all the other suggestions seem to be great ones!

  48. John J.
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 19:44:14

    Oops, missed one.

    @ Janine – I’m 15, though I like to think I’m beyond my years in some ways. I can read pretty much anything aside from non-fiction, and I have no objections to steamy scenes, or chaste ones. What I read is really a mix, so nothing really phases me any more.

  49. Jill Sorenson
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 19:49:08

    I’ve read some great books lately! I loved Beth Kery’s Paradise Rules, although both hero and heroine are hard to like in the first few chapters.

    I also really enjoyed Kirsten Saell’s Bound by Steel (Samhain), a f/f/m menage romance and sequel to Crossing Swords.

    Carolyn Crane’s Mind Games was AMAZING. Highly recommended.

    Can’t wait to read Pamela Clare’s Naked Edge! Bought that and a Joss Ware (?) book over the weekend.

  50. Janine
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 20:11:35

    Having gotten further in A Conspiracy of Kings, I see that my earlier comment was inaccurate. I have edited it to fix that. More thoughts to come when I review the book.

  51. Janine
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 20:29:24

    @John J.: I was reading the steamy stuff when I was fifteen too, but back then, those scenes were a bit less detailed than they are today.

    Let’s see, for humor and historicals, I highly recommend Loretta Chase. Most people love Lord of Scoundrels most, but I prefer the Carsington series. The books are Miss Wonderful, Mr. Impossible, Lord Perfect and Not Quite a Lady.

    Another author of humorous historicals I have enjoyed a lot is Julie Anne Long. I think the best starting place might be the series starting with Beauty and the Spy, although the series starting with The Perils of Pleasure is also good.

    If you don’t mind trying more serious historicals, I also recommend Laura Kinsale, specifically The Shadow and the Star and For My Lady’s Heart.

    As far as paranormals go, I love Shana Abe’s historical paranormal series beginning with The Smoke Thief.

    An excellent series of contemporary werewolf stories is Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series. It begins with the novella “Alpha and Omega” which appears in an anthology called On the Prowl and continues with the novels Cry Wolf and On the Prowl.

    Nalini Singh’s paranormal Psy/Chageling series, mentioned above, is very entertaining. They are set in an alternate future. The first book is Slave to Sensation though I wasn’t fully hooked until I got to the third book.

    I also second the recommendation of Ilona Andrews On the Edge. It is tremendous fun.

    Okay that is probably enough to start with so I will stop here. You can also find our archive of A reviews here and our list of our Top 100 romances here.

    Hope this helps!

  52. Mireya
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 20:55:13

    @Lyndsay: “Lessons in French” came out last month.
    I really liked it.

    Historicals that I’ve read recently in which the hero was not a complete rake/cad type “The Other Mr. Darcy” by Monica Fairview. This one was a very pleasant surprise for me, as I tend not to like sequels based on Jane Austen’s work.

    You may also like Julia Justiss’ “From Waif to Gentleman’s Wife”.

  53. Dana
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 21:10:54

    I just finished Conspiracy of Kings. I liked it, not as much as The King of Attolia (which I loved), but I thought it was a solid edition to the series. The middle kinda sagged for me, I liked being back in Attolia and can see why all the politics were necessary, but I thought it brought the plot to a halt. I’d give it a B+.
    I was surprised that most of it was about Sophos, and wasn’t really sure if I was going to like him, but I ended up adoring him. He was such a change from Eugenides, who I adore for completely different reasons. My favorite exchange between them was at the end of the book, where Sophos total faith in Eugenides terrifies Gen.
    I do wish that there was a map of Sounis/Eddis/Attolia, cause I suck at geography and trying to figure out what was happening where confused me a bit. I also wish we had a clearer idea about their ages. I hope the next book comes out soon.
    Also, is Julia Spencer-Fleming’s One Was a Soldier coming out next month? I have it pre-ordered for April 2010, but someone told me it’s not coming out until 2011, but the author’s website still has it for fall ’09/winter ’10.

  54. MaryK
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 21:11:22

    @John J.: Jo Goodman wrote a Western recently, Never Love a Lawman. It has an A review here at DA.

  55. Jennifer Leeland
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 21:26:14

    I got my hot little hands on Kate Pearce’s “Simply Insatiable”, the fourth the “House of Pleasure” series.
    Oh. My. God.
    This book is awesome. It comes out April 27th.
    I talked specifically about it here.

  56. rebyj
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 21:40:32

    Harlequin NASCAR series fans like me might be interested to know that one of the April releases reveal the identity of Patsy’s missing daughter which all the other books have been alluding to.
    April’s titles are:
    Crossing the Line by Jean Brashear
    Raising the Stakes by Wendy Etherington

    I think this is the end of this NASCAR series and another is starting? Not sure of the details about that. Maybe someone can fill us in on those details.

    Other than that for April, I’m not sure that there is anything else I’m really looking forward to.

    I’ve been bad lately and bought 6 of Lorelei James Rough Rider Series on my Ipod Touch Kindle app. It’s so easy to click and oooo instant new book!!
    Funny Western romps that is full of lines that you poke your man and say “Hey honey, listen to this!” And that’s usually when he scowls in horror, covers his butt with his hands and says “Give me the credit card and stay away from Amazon” LOL

  57. SonomaLass
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 22:35:34

    Darlynne: Changeless has been spotted in bookstores for about a week now, although so far not in Northern California (poop). I’m eager to read it, even though there’s a cliffhanger to make me crazy for the next one.

    If you like the Lauren Willig spy books, I’d recommend Kate Noble’s 2009 release Revealed. It’s a RITA finalist, too. It doesn’t have the chick-lit framing device of the Willig books, but the historical romance elements are similar (and slightly better, IMO). The sequel, The Summer of You comes out April 6.

    Speaking of RITA finalists, anyone who loves historicals and hasn’t read Carolyn Jewel’s Scandal should give it a try. It was the best romance I read last year.

    Another vote for Never Love a Lawman by Jo Goodman, too.

  58. Janine
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 23:59:14

    @Dana: I’m going to save any further comments for my review, but I was thinking earlier that it would be great to have a map, and not just of Sounis/Eddis/Attolia but also of the peninsula, the continent, the islands and the Mede Empire. The geographic references do get confusing at times.

  59. ruth
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 00:24:14

    @John J.: I don’t know about the covers, but if you like funny lite-ish romances MaryJanice Davidson is great. My hands down fav writer is Shelly Laurenston/G.A. Aiken. I think she writes men really well, so I would think you would like her. She is also always laugh out funny and her happy endings make sense. I always get why the 2 people ended up together, which is not always the case in most books. :0) ruth

  60. Jessa Slade
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 00:42:06

    I attended the Public Library Assocation con in Portland OR last week and talked to a lot of librarians. I heard from several that they are often overwhelmed by the number of romances they’re supposed to choose from. If you have favorite authors, think about telling your local librarian to stock up. Recommendations help the librarian, help the author and help your fellow readers too.

    For my TBR pile… Kim Lenox’s third Shadow Guard book is out in April. She does a wonderfully creepy Victorian London. And I’m looking forward to Elisabeth Naughton’s new paranormal series based on Argonauts. (She was a RITA double finalist with her adventure romance.) I have crazy fantasies about the stop-motion animation from the 1960s movie :)

  61. BlueRose
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 01:50:53

    @Darlynne: Soulless was BRILLIANT and I am waiting for Changeless to come out so I can order it :)

    I am also waiting for Bound in Blood – PC Hodgells latest to come back into stock so I can order it too!

    And anyone who is a Lorna Freeman fan might like to know that her third book in the trilogy has mysteriously been published and is now available as well!

  62. Ciara
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 02:11:49

    I’m waiting very impatiently for Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews. Not released until May and I’ve been counting down the months since last June.

    Love the cover of Meredith Duran’s Wicked Becomes You. Really looking forward to this release.

    Just finished rereading Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas. I’d forgotten how much I loved it. So sweet.

  63. LJ
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 08:09:41

    I’m looking forward to Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs (March 30) and a chick lit novel called Just Like Me, Only Better by Carol Snow (April 6 though my local Borders says they’ll have it tomorrow). I’ve read one Carol Snow book and liked it. Not enough romance for my taste, but this new one received a nice review from PW so I think I’ll check it out.

    I’m also looking forward to the story collection Tales of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong (April 13). I haven’t read the story of how Clay and Elena met in years so I can’t wait to reread that when it comes out.

    The YA I’m most looking forward to in April is Mistwood by Leah Cypess (April 27). I really can’t wait to get my hands on this one.

    I guess I’m also looking forward to Lisa Shearin’s 4th book, Bewitched and Betrayed (April 27). I just finished the 2nd book in the series and liked it a lot more than the first book – the characters are growing on me. But I want to feel more passionately about them than I do. They have all of the traits I usually love in characters but I’m just not into them as much as I want to be.

    I bought Changeless, A Conspiracy of Kings and Mind Games last week. I’m looking forward to reading all of them. Especially A Conspiracy of Kings. I love Eugenides.

  64. Melissa
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 12:57:55

    I am looking forward to Lion’s Heat by Lora Leigh, which I will hopefully get today since Barnes and Noble is shipping it early (they are also shipping Patience by Lisa Valdez now). I can’t wait for Silver Bourne by Patricia Briggs (new Mercy Thompson book). Of course I am also very excited for Lover Mine by Ward.

    Last month, I enjoyed Something About You by Julie James, my first by this author. I also enjoyed Master of the Mountain by Cherise Sinclair, a BDSM romantica.

    I am currently reading and enjoying Naked Edge by Pamela Clare (romantic suspense) and Devil of the Highlands by Lynsey Sands (Scottish historical).

  65. Dana
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 13:24:25

    @Janine: Cool. I’m looking forward to your review. My friends are a bit divided by the book. Some loved it, others were annoyed by the focus on Sophos.

    And to answer my own question, Julia Spencer-Fleming’s One Was A Soldier is not coming out this year. There’s a letter on her Goodreads page (but not on her website, which is annoying) that states that it’s coming out in 2011. Making it a three year wait from the last book. I think I’m spoiled from reading romance, I totally expect at least one book a year. And spoiled from reading so many epubbed books, where the author announces she’s turned in the manuscript and a few months later, it’s on sale.

    And on a completely different note, I just finished one of the best anthologies I’ve ever read. I picked up The Dragon Book: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy because it had a short story by Naomi Novik that took place in the Temeraire universe. The Novik story was fantastic, I thought it was brilliantly funny and violent. But the other stories were great as well, with only a couple of exceptions. I don’t usually like short stories, so I was happily surprised by how much I liked this anthology.

  66. Tabby
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 14:58:29

    Has anyone else noticed that Maya Bank’s Colters’ Women has been edited and a short story tacked on and is being re-published next week by Samhain?

    “This book has been re-edited and revised. Includes an expanded ending and a new, never-before published short story sequel.”

    The “old” Colters’ Women is still for sale and since I bought that version I can’t help but feel a little jipped here. I’m not going to pay full price for a short story length update and can’t help but feel disappointed in Samhain (my absolute favorite e-pub for quality and value) and with Maya Banks. Even though I’ve been disappointed a time or two with a Maya Banks book she’s still been an auto buy author for me up until now.

    Samhain’s decision to sell a re-tread of an old book and still sell the old book to boot doesn’t seem right. It feels kinda shady/slimy to offer both versions for sale at the same time (or even back to back if they take the old one down next week) without the normal time lapse where no version would be available like it is with printed books. I know with digital publishing there’s no reason for books to ever go out of “print” but I hope this isn’t a pre-cursor of things to come.

  67. Jennifer M
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 16:15:49

    Just got through rereading all of the Mercy Thompson books in anticipation of the release of Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs. I’ve got it pre-ordered and I’ll be turning my Kindle on to get it downloaded first thing tomorrow. Rereading reminded me of just how great this series is.

    Also reread Soulless because I plan to read Changeless by Gail Carriger as soon as it comes out on April 1.

    Finally, I also wanted to mention Rose Lerner’s Regency debut “In For a Penny” which came out in March. I loved this book. I especially like Regencies where there is a class difference between the two leads. The hero and heroine were just plain nice and very well-matched. The plot moved along pretty quickly with lots of action and I didn’t want to put the book down.

  68. GrowlyCub
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 19:02:33


    Good luck, and if you find any, let me know; I’m so damn tired of suspense plots in historicals; whatever happened to character development… sigh

  69. John J.
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 20:00:57

    @Janine Thanks for the advice, I’ll bookmark the forum so I can come back and look at the list again. I’m glad I’m not the only one who reads these things this young – No one admits it…but you know these people are out there. :) I don’t mind serious books at all – I welcome them in fact. A serious romance is just as good as a humorous one, maybe even better. :P

    @Others I’ll look into them as well…My Cool-ER is getting some major action this summer, as is my debit card. ^^ Those free harlequin ebooks are so not going to cut it anymore. :3

    I just discovered the WORST romance author ever for YA. Lurlene McDaniel. I got one of her books from a scholastic competition prize (long story) and needless to say, I was amazed at the sick romance/ cheese factor of it. Has anyone else hated/loved her books? I’m willing to try her one or two more times, but I want to know if she ever improved beyond cliched dialogue and scenes that make no sense (I’m still marveling at her idea of making a balloon float with oxygen but no helium).

  70. Annmarie
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 20:36:26

    I just bought a billion million books. Thanks for the recs!

  71. may
    Mar 29, 2010 @ 21:14:50

    Just finished Black Jack (Lora Leigh) and all I can say is BOO HISS. Also: gah, bah humbug, and grrrr.

    Totally frustrated because while her writing can be interesting and scorching hot, this book missed big for me. I’m not a huge fan of “chapter 1: we already are totally in love with each other and have had sex but can’t be together because ___” but I still gave this a chance.

    I’d rather just have 1-2 steamy scenes and better story and character development than hump-tastic-nasty-ness at every turn and a lackluster story and unsatisfying quickie ending that had me chucking the book into the donate pile.

    *end rant*

  72. Bronte
    Mar 30, 2010 @ 01:10:30

    Just read “The Piper’s Son” by Melina Marchetta. Absolutely loved it. Cried my eyes out and used up what seemed like a box of kleenex but it was awesome.

    I’m looking forward to Lisa Valdez’s Patience and Patricia Briggs Silverbourne.

  73. Edie
    Mar 30, 2010 @ 05:16:49

    I just wanted to say a big thank-you to those who helped me out! I have a couple of new authors to try.

    * And am glad that so many others enjoy the brilliant Shelly Laurenston!!

  74. LJ
    Mar 30, 2010 @ 06:06:07

    Bronte, Is The Piper’s Son a sequel to one of Marchetta’s earlier books, Saving Francesca? (Or Looking for Alibrandi?) I haven’t read either, but would like to.

  75. Bronte
    Mar 30, 2010 @ 06:09:48

    @LJ: Its not directly a sequel to saving francesca but the main character in pipers son was a secondary character in saving francesca, and you do see a lot of francesca in this book. I would strongly recommend reading saving francesca first.

    Read allibrandi and francesca! They’re both fantastic

  76. Jennifer Estep
    Mar 30, 2010 @ 06:17:31

    @Carin: Cool. Glad you enjoyed the book.

  77. Lada
    Mar 30, 2010 @ 16:04:21

    @Lindsey and @GrowlyCub: Mary Balogh can be hit or miss for me but I highly recommend her recent novella A Matter of Class. You may think it’s a typical regency that offers nothing new but there is a delightful twist that makes it memorable!

    (Not sure I’d pay the hardcover price for 190pgs but it is definitely worth borrowing.)

  78. Dana
    Mar 30, 2010 @ 17:15:31

    @Lada: I liked A Matter of Class too. And I agree that it was way overpriced for a 33,000 word novella. I bought the ebook version, but I’m guessing the publishers used a huge font to get the book to 190 pages. I’d also recommend borrowing the book instead of buying it.

  79. MaryK
    Mar 31, 2010 @ 22:19:35

    How far in advance do you pre-order books? I just found out, via Twitter, the pub dates for Patricia Briggs’ two Masques books in September and November. I know I’m going to buy them but can’t bring myself to pre-order so far in advance.

  80. Estara
    Apr 01, 2010 @ 14:35:07


    I feel relieved you enjoyed it ^^.

    @Silvia: Reading what you liked most about The Quiet Gentleman by Heyer, I hope you have read or are planning to read The Unknown Ajax, which has a hero with similar qualities, although the heroine may be sensible but is also pretty.

  81. ms bookjunkie
    Apr 03, 2010 @ 03:13:26

    @MaryK: I think the earliest pre-order I’ve done has been about 4-5 months in advance of pub date, but that was because the price was incredible. Generally, I think I’m somewhere in the 1-3 months in advance bracket. The wait is less harrowing.

  82. MaryK
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 00:32:35

    Venting about ebooks:

    I just completely failed to buy that Charlotte Stein book from Total E-Bound. I’ve been meaning to buy it and thought of it again today (shocking considering my memory, but it got paired in my mind with another book I really like). I spent a bit of time backtracking through Google Reader to where I’d marked Jane’s comments, and then their website refused to cooperate! I wonder if they lose many sales because of website funkiness.

    Oh, and their search engine? Didn’t know anybody named Charlotte Stein.

    This is why I’d rather buy at Fictionwise.

  83. Jane
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 06:57:11

    @MaryK The night that I read it and recommended, other readers had the same problem. Good lord. Can you get it at All Romance eBooks?

  84. MaryK
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 10:55:52

    @Jane: I just checked. Neither her name nor the publisher’s name comes up in a search. I couldn’t find a listing of authors to scroll through.

  85. Estara
    Apr 15, 2010 @ 12:09:48

    I really am enjoying Ann Somerville’s newest out this month from Samhain Somatesthesia.

    It’s a near-future scifi suspense romance that satisfies beautifully. As always with her characters there’s one damaged hero – Connor Hutchens – who has to overcome personal crises (in this case physical augmentations that make him a sort of übermensch-prototype – no Nazis in this book – implemented by his adoptive genius father, but probably not just to help the fact that he’s blind, they don’t stop at the blindness). His father being more of the mad scientist type has never bothered learning to fit into society, and hasn’t taught his adoptive sons how to do so either. He keeps fine-tuning and messing with their equipment.

    As a prototype the United States now have his kind of people as agents to solve the most difficult crimes (not sure how good the US atmosphere is as the author is Australian and I’m European) with a trained, normal newbie agent in the field who needed a change from crime having to do with children.

    Devlin Grace, the newbie to the field comes from a loving family run by his mother on a farm collective (oil is practically gone by this time), but his father was a criminal, too, which makes him have certain hang-ups.

    If it isn’t clear yet, this is a m&m romance (both of them are out) written not for the erotica titillation but in a truly romantic fashion (with some occasional hot scenes included) and a happy ever after. The outside dangers (going after a serial kidnapper and occasional killer) do help to propel the story along so the heros have to deal with each other, even when they would prefer to back off, but the main story resides firmly with the characters themselves and their mistakes and need to deal with their families and with the agency (which prohibits fraternisation of teamed-up agents) to grow up into men that can offer each other a believable love, free from guilt, and a future together.
    Oh and Devlin is POC, by the way.

    As always, excellent if you are open to that field. The book will be available on April 24th.

    Read An Excerpt Online
    “Somatesthesia” by Ann Somerville

  86. Molly
    Apr 16, 2010 @ 09:28:14

    I’ve loved reading all the comments and recommendations in this thread! I’m a first time viewer on this blog and ‘wow! what a ton of info!

    OK, I just have to add my 2 cents in here. I highly recommend the non-fiction, romantic memoir Dear Bob, Dear Betty by Elizabeth Catherine Wright. It chronicles, in letters, the courtship of Robert Llewellyn Wright (Frank Lloyd Wright’s son) and Elizabeth Kehler. The beautiful twist to this is, it was compiled by their daughter after she discovered the letters when her mother went into a nursing home. There is an extensive back history on the two families included, and photographs of the people and the original letters really make this memoir come alive. Quite a lovely look at a Depression Era romance in bloom.

    Happy reading everyone!

%d bloggers like this: