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Dear Author Recommends for August

Dear Author Recommends for August

book reviewSea Fever by Virginia Kantra. This is the second in the Children of the Sea series. Regina has returned to World’s End with her son after attempting to make a life for herself away from her home town. She serves as the chef of a local restaurant and constantly runs into issues with her mother who questions Regina’s decisions at nearly every turn. Regina is tired. She’s lost her dream of being a chef at a top restaurant. Her son is missing a father figure. The one man on World’s End she thought she could love just married someone else. Depressed and a little drunk, she allows herself to be seduced by Dylan Hunt into a one night stand.

Dylan Hunt is a selkie who has come to the wedding of his brother and another selkie. He has a night of pleasure with Regina and then leaves. Humans are nothing more than vessels of pleasure for selkies. But Dylan is compelled to return to World’s End to watch for demons at his prince’s command. As he spends more time with Regina, his brother and his sister, Dylan’s indifference to humans and human emotions begins to waver. Dylan is a loner by nature and he believes that he needs nor wants any companionship yet his life is empty. Regina wants to spend with her life with someone but not at the same emotional cost as she suffered before. Both of them actually yearn to be with another only Regina acknowledges it and Dylan suppresses it. Both, though, have to come to grips with what being with another person really means. Recommended by Jane. Review to come.

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

book reviewCry Wolf by Patricia Briggs. Once in a while there comes a book that sweeps you off your feet, a book you fall in love with so completely that it is hard to do justice to that love in a review. Alpha and Omega and Cry Wolf made me feel that way. Charles and Anna both experience powerful internal conflicts; Anna as she’s torn between the part of her that feels safe with Charles and the part that fears him, and Charles when his usual control over his emotions slips and possessive and protective instincts toward Anna threaten to get in the way of his ability to find out what is going wrong in Chicago. His position as Bran’s second requires him to establish the guilt or innocence of Anna’s pack members before executing guilty parties, rather than give in to his wolf’s need to strike back at them for hurting her.

Charles and Anna’s falling in love is a joy to behold because it brings them both out of their shells — Anna gradually finds more and more courage, while Charles, who has always held most werewolves at arm’s length for fear that he might someday be required to kill them, starts to allow himself to get close to another person. Read more here. Recommended by Janine and Jane.

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

book review Delicious by Sherry Thomas. The story begins with this irresistible line:

In retrospect people said it was a Cinderella story.

…that line and my experience with your earlier book were enough to signal that I was in for one subversive fairy tale. And who doesn’t love a subversive fairy tale? In 1892, Bertie Somerset unexpectedly drops dead at his Yorkshire estate. The death comes as a shock to everyone; Bertie was only 38 years old and not known to be in bad health. Among the surprised mourners are Bertie’s notorious cook and erstwhile lover, Verity Durant, and his estranged half-brother, barrister and rising politician Stuart Somerset. Bertie’s tangled and fraught relationships with both Stuart and Verity, and Stuart and Verity’s with each other, form the heart of the plot of Delicious. Read more here and here. Universally recommended by Dear Author reviewers.

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or Powells or ebook format on July 29, 2008.

book review Never Romance a Rake by Liz Carlyle. Camille sees in her father’s drunken offer to gamble her marriage to one of the rakes currently at his house in the wee hours of the morning a way to get away from him, take control of her destiny and that she doesn’t hesitate when the chips are down. I like that she keeps her heart whole and knows that this is a marriage of convenience – at least until she finally admits to herself that she’s fallen in love. Camille is practical and Kiernan is “a wretched old reprobate and habituated in sin.” The author really give this man a reason to drink and smoke himself to death as he frequents hellholes and places of ill repute. What he did and what he, rightly or wrongly, blames himself for are hard sins to live with. Read more here. Recommended by Jayne and Jane.

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or Powells or ebook format.

book reviewThe Chef’s Choice by Kristin Hardy. I may not be a foodie but I love food as unfortunately my butt shows. I don’t have the greenest thumb yet I can manage to keep plants alive. Usually. Well, at least for a while. So anyway, watching chef Damon Hurst and landscaper Cady McBain clash and spark was as much fun as reading about their chosen careers.

I loved watching Damon come to life in front of a stove as he creates and perfects some fantastic sounding food. And we see all the mundane stuff that’s behind the mouth watering things that get dished up and served to us when we go out to eat. We see Damon testing new ideas, hunting though the farmer’s market, coming up against the short growing season in Maine as he works to bring local, regional and national interest to the small country inn where he’s found refuge after crashing and burning his famous career.

Cady counts on plants to behave predictably and offer her a way out of dealing with the guests (and I totally agree. What is with the weird way people act when they’re on vacation?) who come to stay at her family’s generations owned harbor inn. She thinks she’s got Damon’s number but is honest enough to admit that her accusations that he’d throw temper tantrums was off base. I love how Damon uses her green thumb to finagle time together with her to explore the attraction he knows they both feel and how he slowly corrects the misapprehensions she waves righteously at him. Review coming soon. Recommended by Jayne.

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or Powells or ebook format.

book reviewViolet in Private by Melissa Walker.
For readers new to the series, the Violet books are a young adult series about Violet Greenfield, a teenage wallflower who’s scouted to be an international runway model. What sets these books apart from other young adult “makeover” novels (in which the plain jane heroine is transformed into a hottie) is that Violet is portrayed as that insecure girl next door and never becomes anything less than real and sympathetic. She’s a conflicted heroine, torn between basking in the spotlight (a definite boost to the ego of a high school outcast) and realizing that maybe this isn’t the world for her.

Violet in Private picks up where Violet by Design left off, with Violet trying to leave the modeling world and start a normal life as a college girl by attending Vassar. But as she learned in the previous novel, saying she’s going to leave is much easier than doing it. Not only does she have an internship at a fashion magazine, she continues to deal with the fallout from being the headliner of a modeling campaign emphasizing healthy, natural beauty while embodying everything that’s wrong with the modelling industry. Violet had hoped to enjoy relative obscurity at Vassar but it turns out she’s not safe even there: she meets one of her biggest fans, and the hypocrisy inherent in her modeling campaign becomes the focus of debate in one of her classes. On top of that, she still struggles with her relationship with Roger, her childhood friend and the guy she’s grown to love. Review to come. Recommended by Jia

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

book reviewJust One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins. Chastity is a tall, broad shouldered woman. Teamster-esque is one description. She is surrounded by alpha males in the form of her father, the captain of the fire department, and her four firefighter/rescue brothers. She’s a journalist and single because no man in Eaton Falls feels like that O’Neill girl could be approached. Chastity has been a great aunt, a perfect daughter, a wonderful sister and friend, but she wants a family of her own. The man of her heart is her best friend, Trevor, who has been part of the O’Neill family since his sister died and his parents divorced and his world fell apart. Yet Trevor is not for her, either because he’s afraid to take a chance on losing the O’Neill family or because he just doesn’t care for Chastity that way. So Chastity tries to find another someone and must face the decision of whether to marry someone who’s perfect, but not perfect for her, or to just be alone if she can’t have the man of her heart. This book is two parts funny and one part heartwrenchingly romantic. Recommended by Jane. Review coming. As an aside, fortunately for the readers here at Dear Author, Higgins only has one other book in ebook format so there will be no horrible overexposure for Higgins here as there was for Mallery. I promise.

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

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. Janine
    Aug 06, 2008 @ 15:57:19

    I loved the two of these that I read, Cry Wolf and Delicious. Truly two of the best books I read this year, which makes August a banner month. I look forward to trying more of these. The Kantra series looks good — I have always loved the selkie myth. And a friend of mine has recommended a Kristan Higgins book to me. I believe it was Catch of the Day, which won the RITA.

  2. Keishon
    Aug 06, 2008 @ 17:28:08

    I have yet to read a Sherry Thomas book but I own both. Oy. I’m into mysteries right now. No romantic suspense made the cut this month, huh.

  3. Shanna
    Aug 06, 2008 @ 18:24:33

    As a bonus, Just One of the Guys is only $4.99 which makes this great book a total bargain.

  4. Sarah
    Aug 06, 2008 @ 18:26:26

    I’m so glad you liked Just One of the Guys! I found Chastity to be such a wonderful character. She seemed like someone I would actually want as a friend. Higgins second book, Catch of the Day, is also wonderful, and it just won the contemporary RITA.

  5. Shanna
    Aug 06, 2008 @ 18:33:38

    I liked that Chastity was athletic and strong and not ashamed to be a bit nerdy. I also *loved* Catch of the Day. I think it’s probably one of my favorite books. I think it’s awesome that she could make a surly fisherman sexy.

  6. Jane
    Aug 06, 2008 @ 18:46:18

    I’ve bought Catch of the Day and am planning on reading it tonight. Sarah and Shanna, I hope you come back in a couple of weeks. I plan to talk about the straight contemp and what readers can do to save it.

  7. Janine
    Aug 06, 2008 @ 18:52:27

    Keishon, I would love to hear your thoughts on the Sherry Thomas books when you get around to them. I have a sneaking suspicion that they’ll appeal to you, but I’ve been wrong before.

  8. Jessica
    Aug 06, 2008 @ 19:29:20

    I loved Delicious, and have just read and enjoyed “Alpha and Omega” thanks to your review. I’m now adding the Carlyle and Hardy to my shopping cart!

  9. Sarah
    Aug 06, 2008 @ 19:32:09

    I think it's probably one of my favorite books. I think it's awesome that she could make a surly fisherman sexy.

    Couldn’t agree more Shanna! I absolutely fell in love with Malone. Thankfully Maggie turned out to be a very realistic, vulnerable, but also humorous woman.

    Looking forward to the straight contemp post you have coming Jane. Straight contemporary romances are still my personal favorite but in the last few years, they seem to be a dying subgenre.

  10. Diana
    Aug 07, 2008 @ 01:06:58

    Just discovered this blog recently (around RWA conference time). So glad that you’ve recommended Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins. I’m currently reading it and am enjoying it immensely. Loved her two previous books, especially Catch of the Day.

  11. Taja
    Aug 07, 2008 @ 01:14:15

    I discovered Kristin Hardy last year. So far, I liked all the novels I read by her, and I’m waiting for my copy of The Chef’s Choice to arrive. I’m glad to see it recommended.

  12. Christine
    Aug 07, 2008 @ 01:31:56

    I’ve already read Cry Wolf and thought it was great.

    I just bought Delicious today–it was my impulse buy. I’m so glad to see it on the August list.

    I’m also pleased to see Jia’s recommendation of Violet In Private on the list. My daughter loves this series and we just had to go to the bookstore to buy the latest Violet book today. On release day. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Anyway, I’m looking forward to Jia’s review as I’ve listened to several rather vehement discussions of Violet’s life while giving rides to my daughter and her friends!

  13. SonomaLass
    Aug 07, 2008 @ 02:17:12

    I had to really work to find Delicious. Our local Borders was out both times that I went looking for it, and I didn’t want to wait for Amazon. Our local independent bookstores, while great places for other stuff, don’t have romance sections or stock many books in the genre. Le sigh.

    Fortunately my daughter made me look at Target (WTF?) and they had it — discounted! I read it all in one night (greedy, greedy), and I enjoyed it even more than Private Arrangements, which was also terrific. This is a keeper for me. I love books where somewhat older characters find love, especially when that means rediscovering love from their youth. Because that’s my own experience, and so these books resonate powerfully for me.

  14. Jaci Burton
    Aug 07, 2008 @ 07:40:16

    I fell madly in love with Kristan Higgins’ books when I read her first —Fools Rush in, and after that, Catch of the Day. I was thrilled she won the RITA last week for that. She’s a fantastic contemporary author. Her books are funny and heartwarming and I love them to death. Reading Just One Of The Guys right now. She’s an author I put on my autobuy list after her debut book.

  15. Take my money, please! | Moriah Jovan
    Aug 07, 2008 @ 09:30:51

    […] a Harlequin in years. Dunno why, just didn’t get around to it, I guess. But I was reading the recommends on Dear Author and saw Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins and said, “Must. Have.” So I scoot […]

  16. Barbara B.
    Aug 07, 2008 @ 10:38:00

    “Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins. Chastity is a tall, broad shouldered woman. Teamster-esque is one description.”

    A tall, broad shouldered romance heroine? I never thought someone would/could write a romance heroine built like me. Although I describe my build as stevedorish rather than teamster-esque. Higgins is really breaking those sacred romance guideline rules! I gotta read this one even though I generally detest funny romances.

  17. Jane
    Aug 07, 2008 @ 10:51:50

    It’s not really slapsticky funny. I found Higgins to be humorous. Does that make sense? I give you an example of a scene that made me laugh out loud:

    “Um, well, I just finished my profile about five minutes ago.” I take some Doritos, too. “When did you do yours?”

    “Good! I finished mine a half hour ago.”

    “Great. And do you have any hits?” I ask.

    “Well…um, yes, I do.”

    I can tell by her tone, which has become suspiciously gentle and kind, that she's hiding something. “How many?” I growl.

    “Well…more than one. Don't take it personally, Chastity. I'm sure you'll have twenty-three pretty soon, too.”

    “You have twenty-three hits, Mom?” Buttercup growls in her sleep.

    “Holy shit!” Elaina exclaims. “Let me have the phone! Mamí, are you kidding me? Oh, my God, you know? That is so great! Any keepers?”

    While they're talking, I look at my message, blandly entitled “hi.” What the hell. I click on it.

    Dear GirlNextDoor,

    I really liked your profile. It seems like we have a lot of interests that are the same. Check out my profile, and if you're interested, drop me a line.


    Well, the name is promising, anyway.

    “You're joking!” Elaina squeals. “Chastity, your mother has four dates lined up already! Can you believe it?”

    “I can't believe it,” I mumble. I click on husbandmaterial's profile as instructed, glancing impatiently through the list of attributes. Attractiveness-‘he's given himself a six-point-five out of ten…I wonder what that will translate to. Gollum? Freddy Kruger? Jason of the Freckled Legs? Well, moving on…Loves outdoor activities. Great. Enjoys good food. (Honestly, is there anyone alive who doesn't?-‘I enjoy bad meals and the intestinal distress that follows…). I forgive him and move on. Athletic, great. Family-oriented, cool. He sounds pretty good, actually.

    Elaina hands the phone back to me. “Oh, look, here's another one!” my mother crows in my ear. “’Dear Olderand-Wiser, I'd love to meet for coffee. I live in Thurman and would be happy to come into Eaton Falls and see if you can possibly be as great as you sound!' Oh, Chastity, isn't this fun?”

    “Oh, yes,” I lie.

    “I got another one! I can't believe I waited this long to dump your father. How many have you got now?” she demands.

    I check my listing. “Um, still just the one.”

    “Well, honey, don't worry. All it takes is one, right?”

    My phone bleats in my ear. “Mom, I have another call. I'll call you back, okay?” I push the button for the next call. “Hell-‘”

    “It's your father. Did you know your mother registered on some crazy Web site? She's going to get herself killed! I mean it, Chastity. You are not to encourage her. Oh, gotta go. We just got a call. Bye.”

    Sighing, I hang up. “I'm hungry,” I tell Elaina. “Shall we make something for dinner?”

    “By we, do you mean me?” she asks, preening.

    “Yes, Elaina. Would you care to whip up something fabulous from the meager offerings of my kitchen? Please? Pretty please?”

    “Sure, baby. I'd love to.” She ruffles my hair, does a neat leap over Buttercup and sashays into the kitchen. She does love to cook…incomprehensible, but convenient for me.

    I glance back at husbandmaterial and decide to e-mail him back. Right now. What the heck, right?

    Dear husbandmaterial,

    You sound really nice. Tell me more about yourself. What do you do for work? Does your family live around here? What kind of sports do you like? You're not a Mets fan, are you?

    I hit Send, pleased. I'll let him reveal more about himself before I do. I'm a little wary over the six-point-five, but this is just a trial run. Besides, men have no idea how to rank themselves. Jason, after all, considered himself too attractive for me. I ranked myself a seven, which I felt was quite honest. Once I get my hair cut, I may upgrade to seven-point-five.

    The phone rings again. Glancing at the caller ID, I see that it's the Eaton Falls Fire Department. Must be Dad again.

    “Hi, Daddy,” I say.

    “Hi, Porkchop.” There's a smile in the voice, and the voice is not Dad's.

    “Trevor?” I press a hand against my suddenly hot cheek. In the kitchen, Elaina is singing.

    “Hi. Sorry. Yes, it's Trevor. How are you?”

    “I'm fine.” Is it possible that I, who hold a master's from Columbia University, can think of a wittier response? “Great, I mean. And you?” I close my eyes. “I thought you guys went out on a call.”

    “Oh, just the engine went. I'm tails on the ladder this week.”

    “Oh.” Another captivating response.

    He pauses. “I've been instructed by my captain to find out if Mom is really going on a date,” he says in a low voice. Trev's called my mother “Mom” since he was about sixteen years old. And his captain is my father, of course.

    “Yeah. I guess she is,” I answer. My shoulders drop a little. I should have known he wouldn't call for purely social reasons.

    “It's hard to believe she's really looking for a boyfriend,” Trevor says.


    “Well. Okay, Chas. I better run. See you around.”

    “Okay. Thanks for calling. Bye. Take care.” I sound like a jerk.

    Luckily, my computer dings softly. You have one new message, GirlNextDoor. Hooray! Husbandmaterial is back!

    Dear GND (We're on nicknames already-‘fantastic),

    I'm a Yankees fan, not to worry. I have a big family. As far as sports and hobbies, I like to hike, mountain bike, kayak a little. What about you? Hobbies? Pets? What makes you the girl next door?

    “Dinner in ten, sweetie!” Elaina calls, rattling some pans. “Chicken quesadillas!”

    “Angels bless you, Elaina! Be right there. Just answering an e-mail.”

    Husbandmaterial sounds…well, great. Friendly, kind of sweet. I immediately write back. I also have a big family. I like hiking and rowing (single scull). Have lots of nieces and nephews. Love animals. I have a big dog who slobbers, and I worship the Yanks. I hit Send and wait.

    Thirty seconds later, bing! You have one new message, GirlNextDoor. Yippee! I click immediately.


    Oh, my God! Husbandmaterial knows me! Shit! Or is it good? Yes? I type back.

    It's Matt.

    Clapping my hand over the shriek of laughter (or is it horror?) that bursts forth, I snatch up the phone, dial Matt's cell. “Hello?” he chokes. I can barely wheeze back. “You're disgusting,” he says. “Checking out your own brother. Gross.”

    “You wrote first, pervert.” I wipe my eyes and try to control myself, but it's no use. We laugh in mutual horror for a good two minutes. “You are to tell no one about this, Matthew.”

    “Right back at you, Chastity,” he says, still laughing.

  18. Barbara B.
    Aug 07, 2008 @ 11:50:42

    Jane said-
    “It's not really slapsticky funny. I found Higgins to be humorous. Does that make sense? I give you an example of a scene that made me laugh out loud:”

    Thanks, Jane. I have a horror of slapstick romances. The humor is so forced and frantic that I find it incredibly unfunny and tedious. That example you gave was great; it made me smile and it didn’t feel like the author was trying too hard.

  19. K. Z. Snow
    Aug 07, 2008 @ 12:44:01

    Just had to pop in and say, Saw your pic, Jane, among the SB’s RWA photos. Good lord, you’re WAY too bee-oo-tee-ful to be a lawyer (or a blogger, for that matter!) Color me envy-hued green.

  20. MaryK
    Aug 09, 2008 @ 01:49:42

    I also *loved* Catch of the Day. I think it's probably one of my favorite books. I think it's awesome that she could make a surly fisherman sexy.

    Higgins’ books sound really interesting, and I actually have one around here somewhere so I’ll give her a try. I saw a comment on another post, though, that said Catch of the Day was more like women’s fiction w/ a romantic subplot. Any opinions on that? I’m not a fan of women’s fiction; when I read contemporary, I want the focus to be on the couple.

  21. Brooke
    Aug 09, 2008 @ 10:34:11

    Kantra’s Children of the Sea series is really good (at least to start). Suzanne Brockmann is really supporting it. If you can get a copy of Shifter, it has the first (short) story that leads into the background of the children of the sea.

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