Dear Author Recommends for August
Sea 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.
Cry 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.
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.
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.
The 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.
Violet 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
Just 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.