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DA Recommends for July 2013

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  • Lick by Kylie Scott ( A | BN | K | S | G ), reviewed by Jane and recommended by her and Kati D
  • Hotter Than Ever by Elle Kennedy ( A | BN | K | S | G ), reviewed by Jane
  • The Winning Season by Alison Packard ( A | BN | K | S | G ), reviewed and recommended by Jane
  • The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers ( A | BN | K | S | G ), reviewed by Dabney and Jayne and recommended by them, and Willaful
  • Making it Last by Ruthie Knox ( A | BN | K | S | G ), reviewed and recommended by Willaful
  • Make Me by Charlotte Stein ( A | BN | K | S | G ), reviewed and recommended by Kaetrin
  • The Chocolate Touch by Laura Florand ( A | BN | K | S | G ), reviewed and recommended by Willaful


  • Provoked by Joanna Chambers ( A | BN | K | S | G ), reviewed by Sirius and Willaful and recommended by Willaful

Paranormal / UF

  • Cold Steel by Kate Elliott ( A | BN | K | S | G ), reviewed and recommended by Jia
  • Ink by Amanda Sun ( A | BN | K | S | G ), reviewed and recommended by Jayne


  • The Elephant Girl by Henriette Gyland ( A | BN | K | S | G ), reviewed and recommended by Jayne


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. LeeF
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 11:04:28

    I suspect this has been discussed elsewhere but what is this novella/99 cents trend? I had to try the Story Guy but can’t convince myself to keep buying Ruthie Knox or Charlotte Stein novellas when there are so many other full books out there.

  2. Aarati
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 11:15:33

    I can’t wait for The Chocolate Touch. I love Laura Florand. :D

    On an unrelated note, has anyone in DA read Guardian Demon by Meljean Brook or Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews yet? If so, did you enjoy it? They’re two of my most anticipated releases of the year and I’m nervous they won’t live up to my expectations.

  3. Willaful
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 11:39:58

    @LeeF: Huh, I love it. When they’re good, anyway, which lately they often are. Such a small investment to try a new author. Or are you comparing them to the $.99 novels available?

  4. LeeF
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 11:54:48

    @willaful- maybe a bit of both. I have tried several novellas but I am usually left thinking “I want to know more about these characters!” Plus when I look up 3 of the 7 recommended titles and they are novellas, I wish I had already read the reviews and knew in advance they weren’t full books. It is a trend I will need to get used to, I suspect, even if I don’t yet fully embrace the novella.

  5. Jane
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 12:06:28

    @LeeF: I’m not a fan of the novella either. I hardly ever feel satisfied by a novella length story and even the reviews for The Story Guy don’t intrigue me (not to mention the use of a disabled person as an emotional prop seems challenging to address in such a short space).

  6. cleo
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 13:10:17

    @LeeF @Willaful – Put me in the plus column for novellas. I really think that a lot of authors have a length that they’re best at writing and I’m beginning to think that some readers also have a length they’re best at reading. It’s so interesting to hear these different opinions on novellas.

    I personally love novellas – I like seeing what a skillful author can do in a compressed amount of space. I get impatient with a lot of longer novels, especially the epics. I just stop caring. Or remembering why I’m supposed to care about something that happened hundreds of pages ago. Maybe it’s my short attention span (which keeps getting shorter as I get older). Maybe it’s because I mostly read on my commute. Maybe it’s because I’m a novella / category length reader at heart.

  7. Willaful
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 13:30:11

    @cleo: Excellent way to put it! I also have a shorter attention span as I get older, and particularly when I’m under stress (which is pretty regularly.). Although I also enjoy category romances, they have their own set of limitations and would starve me as a regular reading diet. The sort of thoughtful, complex, well written novellas we’re getting today — very different from the traditional stuff of popular author anthologies — are perfect for me as a reader.

  8. LeeF
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 13:36:58

    You have given me lots of novella food for thought. You are right that some of the writing is quite good, much like some short stories. I am going to keep an open mind as I try more of them. I am enjoying the language and description so far in The Story Guy. And Courtney Milan’s The Governess Affair and A Kiss for Midwinter are classics.

  9. cleo
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 13:47:49

    @Willaful:Yes, my attention span gets shorter as my stress level rises too. I have no idea how I managed to read all of those epic SF/F in my youth.

    Good point about categories – I agree about their limitations. I tend to read a lot more novellas and short stories for that very reason, but sometimes, there’s nothing like a good category to take me away on a mini vacation after a crappy day/week/year.

  10. Julia Gabriel
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 13:49:21

    Put me in the novella/short story camp. The length often works well for romances, I think, because it forces the focus to be on the romance and not on myriad subplots that have nothing to do with the romance (and don’t get me started on series that go on and on and on). I enjoy them because the good ones provide a really intense experience of story and language. I’m reading The Story Guy now (thanks for the rec, Dear Author!) and just finished Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye.

  11. Willaful
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 13:55:16

    @cleo: Exactly what I was thinking when I recently read Games of Command. I used to read everything but now when I open an SF book, my mind goes instantly blank. I did manage to get into it and enjoy it, but I had to read the first few paragraphs about five times while I adjusted.

  12. Allison
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 15:42:16

    Jeezy-weezy, I was STOKED to see Charlotte Stein on the list assuming that she had a new, new one, but I’d already read it. The agony!!! I’d rather have a full length novel from her but will GLADLY read a novella. Her characters are just SO perfect

  13. MaryK
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 15:51:47

    I can’t wait for The Chocolate Touch! The excerpts sucked me in and I preordered it.

    I guess I do kind of prefer a shorter format just because I like to finish a story in one sitting. I used to be able to stay up until all hours to finish a novel, but I can’t do that any more, sadly. And, unfortunately, once I put a book down I don’t always pick it up again because I’m off to the next shiny thing. I have weird reading habits; I think I need some kind of reader therapy!

    Can someone explain book lengths? Is a novella a shorter book and a short story is really short like a story in a magazine?

  14. Jane
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 15:53:38

    @MaryK: I consider anything less than 25,000 words a short story. A novella, to me, is between 25K and 45K. Categories are around 50K. Regular novels are between (on the very low end 70K to 120K)

    I don’t see categories as the same as novellas because there is a pretty large word gap between say 25K and 50K.

  15. Jane
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 15:55:21

    @Aarati: I’ve read the both. I thought Meljean’s book was tremendous and while I liked a lot of what Ilona did in the book, I was disappointed with the romance between her and Curran. Amy has a B+ recommended review of the book though.

  16. Jane
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 15:57:18

    Crud, I did not realize the Chocolate Touch wasn’t out until the end of July. That should be an Aug rec read. Sorry folks.

  17. Jacqueline
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 18:24:26

    Lick was great and I loved The Story Guy too. I thought Rivers was really skillful in how she handled the disabled sister angle in such a short space. I usually shy away from really heavy topics/tones and fraught relationships in novellas due to the length limitations, preferring to read sexy and/or lighthearted stories in this format. Lately, however, I’ve read quite a few lately that were just as satisfying as a full length novel

  18. Susan
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 20:50:45

    @Jane: “[A]nd while I liked a lot of what Ilona did in the book, I was disappointed with the romance between her and Curran.” Oh, noes!

  19. Patricia Briggs
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 22:40:09


    For me Magic Rises (Love, love sharing an editor with Ilona Andrews ’cause I get them early!) was a bat it out of the park. I didn’t mind the Curran & Kate thing — though I can see how others might have issues. I thought it was in character for both & loved how it ended. Especially loved the boat. I don’t know why, maybe because I know the song, but the boat just did it for me

  20. Kaetrin
    Jul 11, 2013 @ 01:23:28

    @Allison. I believe Charlotte Stein does have a new book out about now but I haven’t read it yet. I definitely plan to though. :)

  21. Kaetrin
    Jul 11, 2013 @ 01:29:06

    I like novellas as well as longer books. Sometimes, especially when I’m having trouble deciding what to read next, a novella is perfect because the time commitment is lower and it feels easier to choose.

    Now I’m worried that Kate and Curran split up! But then I recall a post from Ilona Andrews which said she guarantees an HEA so I should trust her. And I do. Well, mostly. (But I’m still a little worried.)

  22. Nancy
    Jul 11, 2013 @ 01:41:38

    I’m not a novella person and, while I understand other people’s enjoyment of them, this new trend of novellas is a bummer for me. I keep trying to read novellas, and I’ll probably try a few more before I officially give up on them, but even when I can recognize the craft, I am not emotionally connected to the story. My main problem with novellas for romance is that I can’t believe in the love story. For romance to work, the reader has to believe the characters love each other in the end. With novellas, the two protags meet, have some minor dialogue, some great sex, and suddenly they’re in love. I always feel like I have to overcome my skepticism that people could be committed to each other in such a short time span to accept the truncated story the author is selling me. I think a novella about a couple meeting and deciding to date or a novella about a troubled, established couple trying to spice up their love life might work for me better than novellas about two people falling in love.

    But, I’m also not much of a category length person, either. In fact, I often wish 350 page romances were longer and I really enjoy the classic 500+ pagers, so I’m never going to be the target audience for novellas.

  23. Jane
    Jul 11, 2013 @ 06:00:47

    @kaetrin – no splitting up! Sorry. The romance tension felt a little forced to me. I think Andrews writes great UF and the story there is superb. The romance just felt lackluster to me.

  24. Kaetrin
    Jul 11, 2013 @ 06:48:35

    @Jane: That’s a relief! Thx :) I have pre-ordered it so I’m looking forward to reading it when it arrives in my letterbox (it’s a series I have in print).

  25. Aarati
    Jul 11, 2013 @ 09:15:10

    @Jane and @Patricia Briggs

    Thanks for the response! I am generally forgiving of romantic elements in UF so hopefully I should enjoy this one. I also can’t wait for Guardian Demon now. :D

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