September and October were bare for recommended reads from the crew here at Dear Author so hopefully you saved up your money for this month because we’ve got
7 8! recommendations.
Demon Bound by Meljean Brook. This will not be my favorite Brook book, but her writing is consistently strong with excellent visuals and a compelling conflict. She’s the best author people are not reading, in my opinion. Jake is a younger (comparatively speaking for the eternal), optimistic Guardian whose teleporting gift is always going awry. He lives for the moment and generally takes joy in most things. Alice, dubbed the Black Widow, greets each day with resignation for she has made the worst possible bargains. Either kill the leader of the Guardians or lose herself to eternal torture in hell. She’s both repelled and attracted to Jake and his youthful and vibrant sexuality. Brook excels at creating unique characters who serve as foils as their exploration of their relationship moves with the plot. Recommended by Jane. Review to come.
Flat Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy. I love McCarthy’s contemporaries because of their lighthearted look at romace without relying on slapstick or tired innuendos. Tamara Briggs is a thirty-two year old widow with two small kids. Her deceased husband of a famous stock car driver who died in a crash. She’s still, reluctantly part of the racing scene, because her in-laws but if she remarries, it will be to a "man with a regular nine-to-five job, who came home for dinner, and who cut the grass on the weekend. A man who didn’t drive around the track at one hundred and eighty-five miles an hour every weekend, tempting fate.” Of course, who would rev up her engine but young driver, Elec Monroe. It was great fun to watch the older Tamara run like hell after their one night stand and have to bluster about it not being a one night stand when called on it by Elec. In a nice role reversal, Tamara really does want to just have sex with Elec only he doesn’t want that and once he gets an inkling that is all she’s interested in, he takes the opportunity to set her straight. More on the review here. (the giveaway has expired). Recommended by Jane.
Mermaid’s Kiss by Joey Hill. This is a lighter book than I am used to with Ms. Hill but not in a bad way. Mermaid’s Kiss is a retelling of the fairy tale popularized by Disney’s Little Mermaid. Disney, though, this book is not. Anna is the daughter in a long line of women cursed when their foremother fell in love with a human. All Ariel’s daughters die before the age of 21. When Jonah, an angel, falls from the sky, she undertakes one last journey to save his soul before hers is lost. I thought the retelling aspect was done marvelously incorporating some very familiar images with some new details. Mina, the sea witch, is Anna’s best friend, and while hideously deformed (familiar image), she is out to protect Anna (new detail). Jonah is weary at heart but relearns his purpose with the help of Ariel. There is definitely a fairy tale quality to this story. It’s an erotic romance, though, and some of the sex scenes are non traditional. Recommended by Jane. Review to come.
The Bride Price by Anne Mallory. The book starts off with the question of what a true gentleman is because Sebastien, by the circumstances of his birth, is not considered to be one. The competition is set up with the idea that you can win your way to status. But the competition is really a debasement. It pits individuals, who are already considered less than by society, against each other and holds them up for scorn and mockery. The men who compete in this "game" are not deemed to be individuals but rather pawns. The heroine, Caroline Martin, a genteel woman with a mysterious past is the only person that could push Sebastien off his path toward vindication and revenge. Recommended by Jane. Review here.
Like No Other Lover by Julie Ann Long. The plot of Like No Other Lover is quite simple. There are no spies running around or secrets to uncover – just a house party with various characters interacting with each other. This is both the strength and the weakness of the book. I appreciated the focus on the characters and the simplicity of the story. Miles is an appealing, if somewhat familiar, hero – the bespectacled scientific type (though he apparently does all right with women; Miles is not quite a Nerd Hero). Cynthia is rather more unique – here is a heroine who is fairly unrepentantly mercenary in her pursuit of a husband. She has made some mistakes that lead to her fall from grace in London. I really liked the way that Cynthia’s situation was handled – she is not depicted as a martyr. Recommended by Jennie and Janet (Robin). Review here.
The Edge of Impropriety by Pam Rosenthal. I think the title is an intriguing one, in light of Rosenthal’s fiction, because it seems to me that she is a writer who tries to find the edge of genre conventions. To me, all of her books that I’ve read are interested in questions of conventions and their boundaries. How far can the characters go, given their place in society? And how far can the book go, given its publication in the genre? Where is that dangerous edge that is going too far, and what is more exciting (for the characters and perhaps even for the author) than pushing up against it? Recommended by Jennie and Janine. Conversational review to come.
Redeeming Gabriel by Elizabeth White. The conflict between these two isn’t a silly misunderstanding. It’s not something that a 5 minute talk will clear up. [The hero] is trying to sabotage something in which her father has invested all the family money and which Jamie is going to pilot. Camilla, even though she’s an abolitionist and has worked for the Underground Railroad for four years, is a Southerner and wants the South to win the war. She has some growing up to do as far as the reality of blockade running and universal emancipation of the slaves is concerned. She wears glasses and sometimes they’re rose colored but she does face up to reality and make her hard choices. Recommended by Jayne. Review to come.
To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt. The plot is mainly a character study of Jasper and Melisande. The continuing arc of who betrayed the 28th Regiment is there but it mainly throws light on these two as Jasper continues his dogged search for the traitor. As Munroe tells Jasper, Melisande has courage. She has the guts to take her only chance and go for the man she’s loved from afar, she decides to go for the kind of physical relationship she decides will take the place of romantic love and she confronts someone she suspects her husband fears blames him for the events at Spinner’s Falls. Melisande faces Jasper’s darkest fears and holds his hand while he walks through them. She sees the way he deals with the nightmares that still haunt him and makes no comments – only joins him in the rituals he needs to live through the dark night. I guess these two will be sleeping on a pallet bed with a loaf of bread and canteen of water until they’re eighty or so. Recommended by Jayne. Review to come.