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Dear Author Recommends for March

Madhouse by Rob Thurman is recommended by Jia. (Thurman is a woman if that matters to you and I have to admit I have a pro-female author bias so I thought I would throw that out there). Madhouse is a continuation of a series about two brothers which started with Nightlife and its sequel, Moonshine. Caliban Leandros, half monster, and his fully human brother Niko run a preternatural detective agency in New York City but their real mission is to put down the AUphe. The Auphe, a group of sadistic monsters from hell, bred Cal as their key to transforming the world into their own personal playground. Jia loves this series because there is great plotting, a fully realized paranormal world and, well, because the Leandros brothers are hot. They wield guns, serrated daggers, swords, and axes. I think if you love the Winchester boys of Supernatural, there’s a good chance you will love the Leandros brothers of Thurman’s books.

Mystic Horseman by Kathleen Eagle is from Jayne. Long time Eagle fans will recognize hero Dillon Black from “Ride a Painted Pony. He’s a struggling single parent who loves his kids and is trying to make a go breeding Indian ponies. His effort is helped when Ella Champion and her transformation reality show comes to town. Ella’s show is like Extreme Home Makeover except it focuses on fixing something that will benefit the community. In this case, it is Dillon’s horse camp which brings horses and the Lakota youth, descendants themselves of one of the Great Plains horse tribes, back together. If you are looking for a romance which provides a tribute to Lakota, you can’t get much better that this one.

Shaken and Stirred by Kathleen O’Reilly is another recommendation from Jayne. O’Reilly writes some of the smartest straight contemporary books on the market and while she’s had some misses, Shaken and Stirred is a bonafide hit. Gabe owns and runs a bar in New York called Prime. It’s been in his family for generations. Four years ago, Gabe gave Tessa a job and saved her life. Since that time, she’s been working toward gaining her independence which is symbolized by Tessa having her own apartment, maybe even owning. Tessa and Gabe know that there is something between them but Tessa is obsessed with the future and Gabe is all about today. As Jayne says, the story is “about Tess finding herself and gaining confidence to stand on her own and of Gabe deciding that love is worth making changes and waiting if you’re sure she’s The One.” edited to add, it is currently 1:09 am on the 3d of March and having just finished the book, I just wanted to say I think this book is awesome. Jane.

As for me, I had a tough month in March. I try to include only high Bs and A books for the recommended read posts because this post is all about encouraging people to spend money and I try to be very careful about that. Having given that caveat, I will include Maya Banks’ Sweet Surrender which I will review later on today. I struggled between giving this book a B or B- but as I tried to read four erotic romances this weekend, I leaned toward the B. Sweet Surrender is a trade paperback but it is a solid erotic romance full of the very hot scenes that you might expect from a Berkley Heat but a decent amount of character development. It was the best of the books I read released in March and therefore, probably qualifies as a recommended read, no?

Please let us know what you think of our picks and give us your own suggestions. There are new readers everyday to DA and I just want you all to know that you can feel free to disagree with our picks. It won’t offend us at all!

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. Jia
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 06:31:50

    I normally don’t read straight contemporaries, but I read the excerpt of Shaken and Stirred and it sounds good!

  2. Danielle
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 06:54:53

    I still need to pick up Maya Bank’s – Sweet Surrender. I finished reading Beyond His Control (Harlequin Blaze) by Stephanie Tyler. Loved, Loved, Loved this book.

  3. James
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 07:46:28

    I would definitely put Sweet Surrender as a B or B+.

    I quite enjoyed it and would recommend it.

    Madhouse sounds interesting. I’ll pick that up after I finish my current stack of smut :)

  4. Kerry
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 09:05:23

    Jia, thank you for the Rob Thurman review. I’ve read all three books in one week, and was happy to shell out cash for the new one (I was already #4 on the library list and I could not wait. It is a great series, and I am really enjoying it.

  5. DS
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 11:03:08

    I am soooo embarrassed. I passed up buying Rob Thurman’s book and chose Grimspace instead because of the sex of the author. I should bang my head against my keyboard in penance, and remind myself not to be a sexist jerk.

  6. DS
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 11:04:29

    Whoops, should mention that I am enjoying Grimspace so it wasn’t a bad choice.

  7. Meriam
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 11:33:51

    What strikes me is that Grimspace has been likened to Serenity/ Firefly (for fairly obvious reasons) and now Madhouse is compared to Supernatural. What’s going on? Is this a normal fantasy/ sci-fi promotional technique, or is there a lot of TV influence in these genres? Is it a two way relationship? Do they feed off each other? Am I reading too much into it? Questions!

  8. Jia
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 11:36:24

    It never even occurred to me to specify Thurman’s gender. I guess I thought the “Ms” was enough but people probably assumed I’d made a typo. Something I should remember for future reference.

    Meriam: In my experience, SF/F novels and media (TV shows, movies, etc) tend to feed off each other. Some media draws inspiration from fiction, both novels and short stories, and some novels and short stories draw inspiration from media. Speaking for myself, I have a tendency to compare books to pre-existing media — whether those things be other books or TV shows. It’s shorthand, or maybe a sign of laziness on my part, to provide a snapshot of the book in question in as concise terms as possible. Maybe that’s why other people do it too.

  9. Keishon
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 11:54:15

    Reading Grimspace, one can’t help but be reminded of Firefly/Serenity. I agree with Jia. There’s inspiration to be found everywhere.

    The only book from your list I bought is the Eagle because she is an excellent contemporary writer. I’m restraining my spending for awhile to read books I already own. [g] But, as with everything, I’ll keep those titles in mind. Thanks ladies.

  10. Karen W.
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 12:04:02

    I love the Rob Thurman books and try to recommend them whenever I can (I feel this series is a “buried treasure”), so I’m glad to see them get some attention.

    I enjoyed GRIMPSACE very much too! I’m a “Firefly” fan and definitely saw the influence.

  11. Meriam
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 12:18:52

    In think the downside to making the comparisons is that the reader is left either with a set of expectations that won’t necessarily be met, or with so many parallels it becomes distracting. I don’t like it!

    But then again, when two brothers are fighting evil monsters, I guess the comparison is inevitable. Similarly, ragtag crew in space fighting inter-galactic hegemony? Firefly.

    Eek. I’m not sure how I feel about this.

  12. vanessa jaye
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 12:58:46

    Grimspace is sitting in my tbr pile. The Firefly comparison would be the obvious choice, but I read a review that Anne did somewhere online and she said her influence was more Futurma. lol. Which also makes perfect sense in terms of rag-tag crew in space.

  13. Ann Bruce
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 17:46:42

    I haven’t picked up a Blaze in a while, so it’s probably time to rectify that.

    Thurman is a woman if that matters to you and I have to admit I have a pro-female author bias so I thought I would throw that out there.

    This would make an interesting blog topic. Personally, I have the same bias, but with a little twist. I only read romance by female authors (99% of the time I can tell if a man is using a female pseudonym and will stop reading the book). I’m a little weirded out reading intimate scenes written by a man (a psychiatrist would have a field day with me!). I suppose I have it wired in my head that someone with an X-chromosone cannot accurately portray a woman’s view–or MY view–of romance and intimacy. And this is strange because from my limited romance reading, I find beta heroes more popular with male writers, whereas female writers prefer alpha heroes. (Or maybe the numbers are skewed because romance writers are usually female.)

    But when it comes to mysteries, thrillers, comics, and SF, I prefer mainly male writers–and if there’s romance or intimacy in these books, I’ll skip over those passages. Go figure. (BTW, I don’t remember who recommended Donald Westlake, but I’m lovin’ his Dortmunder mysteries.) And I don’t mind men writing from a female POV–in fact, I find the heroines refreshing–(e.g. JA Konrath)…as long as they don’t focus on the romance.

  14. trisha
    Mar 03, 2008 @ 17:58:50

    Oh, good. I ordered Shaken and Stirred a few days ago. Glad to know others have enjoyed it.

    I recommend Primavera by Mary Jane Beaufrand. It’s a fantastic YA historical fiction, set during the Italian Renaissance, and it’s got it all. Great writing, political machinations, romance, deceit, blood, and everything else you could hope to find in a book.

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