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DA Recommends for September

This is a slim pickings month for Dear Author. There were quite a few of competently written entertaining books but very few that we were excited about. Maybe the readers can use this as an open thread to discuss the books that they liked and didn’t like this month.

book reviewThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Set in the future, The Hunger Games takes place long after natural disasters, war, disease, and famine destroyed society as we know it. From the ruins of North America rose the nation of Panem, which consisted of a powerful Capitol ruling over thirteen surrounding Districts. The Districts didn’t like the Capitol’s oppressive rule very much and soon rose up together in a rebellion. Katniss is one of the strongest heroines I’ve encountered in YA fiction. She’s smart and clever. Her skills in illegal hunting and foraging gives her an advantage in this year’s Games. She can hunt her own food. She knows which plants are safe to eat. She knows what she needs to do to survive.

I admit I have a fondness of half-feral girls and Katniss is definitely that. She’s not soft. She can be hard. But I don’t think her life’s allowed much for it. She does what she must to survive, so that she can return home to her sister, even if it means taking another life, even if it means pretending to be in love. I thought the romantic subplot in which Katniss pretends to love Peeta in order to gain the audience’s sympathy was very clever, even if it becomes rapidly apparent that it was never an act for Peeta. But despite it all, not once does Katniss lose her humanity. I could feel her hunger to return home. Recommended by Jia. This book is officially due out on September 14 but appears to be In Stock at Amazon now.

This book can be purchased in hardcover from Amazon or Powells. No ebook format.

book reviewHostage to Pleasure by Nalini Singh. Ashaya Aleine has been secreted in a lab formulating a secret Psy chemical that could make a radical change in the world. But Ashaya is no ordinary Psy.

All Psy’s are deemed to be emotion free and go through a rigorous brain washing scheme from the earliest age possible until all emotions are drummed out. Those who do exhibit emotions are considered to be flawed and removed to asylums. Ashaya does experience emotion but has been able to hide it because she has a secret link to her sister. Through this conduit the twins have exchanged emotional responses under the watchful eye of the Psy governing body. They are both brilliant scientists and brilliant deceivers. They’ve used their personal link to further their own plans. Ashaya’s plans are to get her son out of the Psy network to safety. The plans Amara, the twin, has are not so benevolent. While the relationship arc of Ashaya and Dorian, the Changeling, is strong, romantic and satisfying, it is all of the other parts of the story that make this series so compelling for me. Recommended by Jane.

This book can be purchased in paperback from Amazon or Powells and ebook format.

book reviewSand Chronicles 3: The Sand Chronicles is the kind of romance I love best, one that focuses on the characters and draws all the drama and comedy from their foibles and how they learn to work past them. This one follows a girl from the divorce of her parents at age 12 through adulthood and marriage. The story won an award in Japan for best girls’ series. Recommended by Jan.

This book can be purchased in paperback from Amazon.

WAIT, WAIT, There’s More (TM SB Sarah). Robin reminded me that I had raved about Goodman and yes, that is a great book, but I forgot it is a September release.

The Price of Desire by Jo Goodmanbook review There are some books that you gulp down and there are some that you savor. This work is one I like to savor, like an expensive bit of chocolate that I open carefully, making sure that I do not mar even the wrapper before tasting the delicacy the wrapper holds. It does not have alot of snappy exchanges but what it does have is characterizations that are so vibrant that I felt I was inside the book, following the characters around, watching them become vulnerable to love.

The two, Olivia and Griffin, had to grow up too fast and, as a result or due to what made them age so quickly in spirit, the two are alone. Olivia, the abandoned daughter. Griffin, the motherless boy, too soon a viscount. Olivia is alone because she has been disowned and she has forsworn her father. Griffin is alone because as the head of the household, he had to take action to save his four sisters who barely talk to him currently. Two islands in London floating about seeking anchors. Griffin recognizes that Olivia is his treasure and he seeks to keep her, disarming her with honesty. He admits that he has wanted to kiss her from the first. He tells her that his great fear is her and that he is striving to overcome it. By making himself vulnerable, he shifts power to Olivia, inviting her to trust in him.

Because Olivia and Griffin had sacrificed and been hurt and survived, their coming together, their love, and ultimately their happiness is rewarding for the reader. The best thing about this book is the leisurely way in which we watch Olivia come into her own, grappling with her demons along the way. Because it is not rushed, the reader believes in the end not only in Olivia’s personal victories but that the ever after part is authentic. Recommended by Jane.

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or Powells or ebook format on September 1, 2008.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She 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

22 Comments

  1. SusanB
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 13:30:08

    I am a Stephanie Laurens fan, and read and enjoyed The Edge of Desire, latest and second to last book in the Bastion Club series. One thing I noted mentally about this book, was that it involved a “back together” plot that was reasonable and the h/h actually reacted as you would expect real people to do. The hero had been involved in spy games on behalf of England, and while doing so, his intended bride married someone else.
    So we go in thinking that he is the one that deserves our empathy. But the truth behind her marriage allows a totally different viewpoint to be seen and understood. Well played, Ms. Laurens!
    Very good book, and left me anxious for the final installment a year from now.

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  2. rebyj
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 14:53:45

    Karen Marie Moning’s “Faefever” comes out this month.(the 16th) I read Dark Fever and liked it but Faefever is the third in the series, I think the 2nd was called Blood Fever but I have yet to get it. I will eventually read these two. These are different than her “highlander ” books but after much hesitation I finally bought Dark Fever and actually liked it better than I expected.

    Feehan’s Dark Curse is out but since it’s a 27 dollar hardback I won’t be able to get it till it comes out in paperback. I picked it up and skimmed it at the bookstore the other day and well, as much as I like the earlier Carpathian novels, I didn’t see anything while skimming it that made me sorry to put it back on the shelf and wait for the 6.99 paperback. I feel like a traitor saying that because I REALLY like the earlier books but the last few haven’t lit my fire.

    Andrea Picken’s ” The Scarlet Spy” is one I may pick up, I read one of the other “Spy” books that was reviewed here last year and liked it.I had to look it up lol..it was “The Spy Wore Silk” and it was given a “B” rating here and although I didn’t keep it, I remember I enjoyed it and agree with the rating.

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  3. Tara
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 14:57:56

    Hurrah for the Hunger Games love. That and Tana French‘s two mystery novels were the best things I’ve read all year. I cannot wait until the second novel in the Games trilogy is released (next fall). Though it’s for younger readers, Collins’s previous series beginning with Gregor the Overlander, is also quite good and shares some of the same themes of war and social injustice and wonderful strong characters.

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  4. Randi
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 15:12:31

    I just got turned on to Suzanne Brockemann’s Troubleshooter series. I read book 3 first, and have the rest of the series coming my way, via PaperbookSwap. But I was really impressed with her ability to write from the male POV (and if there are any men here who have read the series, would LOVE to hear if she got it right). I also enjoyed her plotting, which I felt was strong. I did feel that her female lead was a trifle TSTL, but it certainly didn’t detract much from my enjoyment of the rest of the book, only because it was a trifle.

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  5. BevQB
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 15:27:51

    Faefever, Faefever, Faefever.

    Egads, the booklust I have for it! Especially since I just finished the last of the KMM Highlander audio books (narrated by the eargasmic Phil Gigante) and realized that this last book, Spell of the Highlander, is really a prequel to the Fever series. I read it when it was first released, but I admit I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to all the detail about the Hallows. Little did I know how important that sub-plot would turn out to be!

    Also, Jean Johnson’s The Storm, released on the 2nd (I should have it tomorrow). Even though it’s not something I would normally read (I admit the man candy on the 1st one caught my eye) the Sons of Destiny series has become book crack for me.

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  6. Sarah
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 15:37:09

    I wish Sand Chronicles didn’t wait to release the volumes so far apart. As soon as I finished #3 I wanted #4.

    I agree with everyone else about Faefever. Granted I haven’t read it yet but it’s definitely a book I’ve been anticipating.

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  7. Jane
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 15:45:00

    I haven’t read Moning in years. Your comments here have me interested though. Can someone expand on the series. Is it a romance?

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  8. Jia
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 15:56:28

    So The Hunger Games is the first of a trilogy. I’d wondered. I look forward to the next one then!

    Regarding the Morning series, is this the one where one of the books is being serialized as a free podcast right now?

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  9. BevQB
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 16:06:18

    From Booklist about book 1, Darkfever: “”MacKayla “Mac” Lane is a small-town southern girl living a life of suntans and shopping. All that changes when her sister dies in Ireland and a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone raises disturbing questions about the nature of her sister’s death. Mac follows the lead to Dublin and the strange life her sister led, on to the darkly dangerous book-dealer Jericho Barrons, and a burgeoning war with deadly Fae that humankind doesn’t even realize has begun. Time-travel-romance maven Moning reshapes her Celtic lore for a radically different and engaging new dark fantasy series. Mac’s first-person narrative is more than point of view; it’s a true recounting of how a sheltered young girl grows to accept the role fate has dealt her. And while moments of sexual awareness hint that a relationship between Mac and Jericho could complicate matters in the future, wisely there is no full-blown romance here to distract from the complex introduction to Moning’s new world.”

    So, consider it a fast-paced, complicated blend of Urban Fantasy/Dark Fantasy. KMM’s Fae are not the sexy Fae of LKH’s Merry Gentry series, they are the stuff of nightmares. It’s definitely not a romance, though KMM has indicated that there will be some romantic elements eventually. And expect to see some familiar characters from her Highlanders series popping in.

    Jane, I consider the Fever series to be a master’s class in the use of first person. I know alot of people have problems with the popularity of books written in first person POV, but the FPPOV added to this book’s enjoyment. We, as readers, don’t know anything until/unless Mac does, so it makes the reader feel that much more involved in the story. Mac is recounting to us things that already happened. However we don’t know right now if this is Mac telling us or something she wrote down in her ever present journal and we are now reading, or someone is reading the journal to us… maybe even after her death.

    Even though I haven’t read it yet, I wouldn’t recommend jumping in with Faefever. Start with book 1, Darkfever (which I read, turned over, read again, then downloaded and listened to the audio book all within a few days– yeah, it’s that good), then book 2 Bloodfever, is a fairly quick read (the ending kind of irked me). I’m listening to the audio book (narrated by Joyce Bean) now in anticipation of Faefever’s release.

    Oh, and to answer your question Jia, yes, I think it’s book 1, Darkfever, that is available as a free podcast.

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  10. SonomaLass
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 16:27:43

    Two books I can’t wait to get (both next week!) are Nation, Terry Pratchett’s new YA novel (non-Discworld, alas), and Anathem by Neal Stephenson.

    Oh, and in a totally different vein, Julia Quinn’s Mr. Cavendish, I Presume comes out on September 30. I guess that’s really an October pleasure, but I’m guessing there will be a few people who nom-nom-nom it on the day it’s released!

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  11. BevQB
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 16:59:31

    Oops, I forgot to mention one other aspect of the Fever series that makes it unique- it’s a closed end series. KMM has said that she basically knows the complete story and has broken it up into 5 books.

    Okay, I’m shutting up now. My booklust is getting embarrassing.

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  12. rebyj
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 17:48:20

    I remember complaining about Moning when the hype about Dark Fever was going around. I’m always leery when people say an author I like is “writing differently”. Her Highlander series is one I re-read maybe 3 times a year when I’m out of new books or just want something familiar to read.

    I was pleasantly surprised, even though it’s more detailed and a bit more dark than the Highlander series , it’s still her voice and I read Dark Fever in one evening.

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  13. Leah
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 17:59:21

    I’m looking forward to Heather Graham’s new trilogy. I was bummed that the fisr book doesn’t come out until the end of the month. I love the ghost stuff in the fall!

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  14. Keishon
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 18:23:52

    I had started to buy The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I think I might try it after all.

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  15. Miki
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 19:02:50

    I just started reading C.E. Murphy’s 3rd (and apparently final) book in her “Negotiator” trilogy. I’ve enjoyed this series, even though the hero does stretch believability with her late night runs in Central Park. The book is Hands of Flame.

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  16. raine
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 19:31:16

    Books I’ve read/ look forward to reading this month.

    DARK EMBRACE by Brenda Joyce – a letdown

    I’ve just finished reading Dark Embrace, third book in the Masters of Time Series. The elements from the previous books in the series were present but somehow the writing was flat. There was just too much focus on the ‘woe is me, i’m in so much pain… a feral being spoiling for war’- lead male character and the ‘i’m here to save you even if you spurn me’- female one. This sort of characterisation, when handled correctly, can be a good story. It was just too OTT, bordering on the absurd. It’s like asking for a full pound burger meal at Maccas (Mickey D’s for the states) that when you get it, the subtleties/ textures are lost and you get sick of it (not that Maccas’ gourmet in the first place.)
    On the bright side, world building was solid and I got to see characters from the previous books. Would prolly still read the succeeding books just to see how the others get their HEA.

    SEDUCE ME AT SUNRISE by Lisa Kleyaps- CAN’T WAIT

    OMG, been waiting for this book to come out for like, like forever! (cheerleader squeal included)
    I’ve reading and re-reading all excerpts available.
    Can’t wait for this book to redeem the Hathaway series as the first one Mine till Midnight didn’t have the oomph- pierce the heartstrings emotion that Ms Kleypas’ books normally evoke.
    Based on the excerpts and buzz online, that wouldn’t be the case on this one.
    -Thank God for ebooks otherwise I’d be waiting awhile for this to come out in Melbourne.

    FAEFEVER by Karen Marie Moning

    I’m jumping on the bandwagon of booklusting. KMM’s writing’s spectamazing. Characters come alive esp Mac. You see her grow from southern belle to bad-ass sidhe seer. First POV’s so seamless you can literally see Mac’s synapses firing at a rapid pace keeping up with the changes her emotions evoke.

    It’s a dark/urban fantasy with sexual tension that KMM promises to satisfyingly resolve (previous books didn’t have sex in it). However the richness of the story pulls you in and never lets you go.

    Okay… i better stop now and get back to work.

    Raine
    Full time lurker
    Rare poster.

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  17. handyhunter
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 21:51:11

    Robin McKinley’s Chalice comes out Sept 18, and Sunshine will be reissued with a new cover some time soon. And the paperback of Dragonhaven is being released either Sept or Oct too.

    Julia Quinn's Mr. Cavendish, I Presume comes out on September 30. I guess that's really an October pleasure, but I'm guessing there will be a few people who nom-nom-nom it on the day it's released!

    Heh. I will probably one of those people.

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  18. Jane
    Sep 05, 2008 @ 12:51:23

    I’m buying Hunger Games tonight and plan to read it this weekend. As for the Moning book, it doesn’t sound like it has any romance at this point so I might wait.

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  19. MB
    Sep 05, 2008 @ 18:25:54

    Yay! New Books!

    Already ordered for me are Chalice (R McKinley), Nation (T Pratchett), and The Rogue Hunter by Lynsay Sands.

    On hold at the Library for me are:
    Liberty (Garrison Keillor)
    Dark Curse (C Feehan)
    Edge of Desire (S Laurens)
    The Graveyard Book (N Gaiman)
    Supreme Courtship (C Buckley)
    Seduce Me At Sunrise (L Kleypas)
    Mr Cavendish, I Presume (J Quinn) …although the previous one was disapointing–I’ll still give this one a try.

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  20. Wow, Suzanne Collins « The YA YA YAs
    Sep 05, 2008 @ 18:34:36

    [...] also Jia’s pick for September over at Dear Author. And I feel like I’m the only person who hasn’t read it yet. *sob* Oh well, my library [...]

  21. rlynn
    Sep 05, 2008 @ 22:27:38

    Huge thanks for turning me on to Sand Chronicles! It’s been wonderful so far.

    I wish Sand Chronicles didn't wait to release the volumes so far apart. As soon as I finished #3 I wanted #4.

    Can’t agree more!! I’m trying to force myself not to read until next year so I can have most of the series at once.

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  22. Brooke
    Sep 06, 2008 @ 11:18:13

    Suz Brockmann Troubleshoot series is in my top 5 (if not #1)..she is the BOMB!

    I just found Shannon K Butcher and started with NO REGRETS, its a series of 3, the next is NO CONTROL, then there is another due in Oct i believe. SHe is fantastic!! They are romantic suspense based on Delta Force guys. Good quick reads, lots of chemistry.

    Also found Lori Foster’s series on SBC guys (like our UFC fighters). Alpha males, good chemistry. Quick reads. Addictive.

    Oh, and Gina Showalter (sp.?)…she has a Dark series. I ended up buying the #3 book on a whim and liked it. SO i went and got the first 2 but havnt started them yet. Its paranormal/contemp.

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