Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Dear Author Recommends January 2009

The list is sparse guys. It’s hard to say whether we are behind in our reading or whether January was just a bad month for us. I have four recommendations for February so I am going with the latter.

From Jayne

Whistling in the Dark by Tamara Allen
book review It’s post war New York City and everything is changing. Old conventions are being abandoned for the bright new possibilities as flappers bob their hair and raise their hemlines. People can actually buy a newfangled contraption called a radio and listen to music in their homes. Sleek cars cruise the streets and wild parties take place on rooftops. Jazz fills nightclubs and people are hurrying to buy up booze before Prohibition finally goes into effect. The city that never sleeps has something for everyone. You just have to know where to look.

But for Sutton Albright, New York is a last resort. He could go home to the family empire in Topeka but after what he was expelled from college for doing, the shame would embarrass his family. So he pawns most of what he owns and gratefully takes a job in a diner. It’s here, while delivering meals across the street to an eclectic mix of people, that he finally finds a home. Review by Jayne to posted soon (this book was one of the first page features!!).

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

Marrying the Captain  by Carla Kelly

book reviewEleanor “Nana” Massie is a hardworking young woman. She really has no choice since the small inn in Plymouth owned by her Gran is her only home in the world. But it’s tucked back from the waterfront, far from foot traffic and the ships of the Royal Navy and times are hard. There’s little leisure traveling by civilians and the blockade being kept up by the warships means they’re not in port except for dire emergencies.

And it’s only such an emergency – actually an idiot fellow captain who accidentally ran his ship into the stern of HMS Tireless – that brings Captain Oliver Worthy back to port. While in London at the Admiralty House, he is asked something strange. Viscount Ratliffe, to whom Oliver reports, asks if Oliver will stay at certain inn and check on Ratliffe’s wayward, natural daughter then send him a report. Oliver’s never liked the man – there’s just something about him – but he agrees and heads towards Plymouth.

When he arrives, two things are apparent to him. One, he’s desperately ill with the throat and ear infections common to deep water sailors and two Nana Massie is the loveliest young woman he’s seen in ages. If he has to stay in port while his ship is being repaired, he couldn’t have landed at a better place. Pete, an old sailor who works there, can mix up a foul concoction that seems to be helping Oliver’s infection, Nana is a delight to be around but Gran takes the time, more than once, to warn him that she’s told Nana all about men of the Royal Navy. Read more of the  review from Jayne here.

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

Hot Mail  by Janice Maynard
book reviewJane Norman has decided that it’s time to pursue her long term attraction to a man who’s been her friend since high school. Back then, Ethan Oldham was one of the few boys who was actually taller than Jane. Now he’s also a down home guy who’s a buddy. Jane feels not only comfortable with Ethan but finds him hawt. However she’s getting tired of waiting to see if he’ll ever take their friendship any further. So on New Year’s Eve, she’s sitting down writing poetry to mail to him. Naughty poetry. Hot mail.

Ethan got burned once in love. His former fiancee turned out to be someone he couldn’t wait to get away from. Though he’s dated since then, he hasn’t put a whole lot of thought or energy into finding  The One. When his older sister challenges him to socialize and mentions how well he and Jane go together, Ethan’s first thoughts are that Jane’s a friend, a pal, but not a date. When Sherry won’t relent, Ethan vows that if he’s going to enter dating hell, he’s dragging her with him. Review by Jayne to posted soon.

This book can be purchased in mass market from  Amazon  or ebook  format from the Sony Store  and other etailers.

From Jane

Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl.
book review I liked it tremendously because of the heroine and her unabashed sexuality and the hero Police Chief who likes wine, art, and tends to blush with the heroine. Molly Jennings has decided to return to her small Colorado town, Tumble Creek, after some unpleasantness with an ex boyfriend/stalker in Denver. Her job as an erotic romance writer (epubbed if you are wondering) and the inheritance from her Aunt Gertie makes it easy for her to relocate. Molly also decides that since she is moving back home, she might as well see if Ben Lawson, star of many a late night fantasy for Molly, is available for making those fantasies a reality.

When Molly returns, Ben is the Chief of Police of Tumble Creek. He had lived down a terrible scandal involving his father as a teen and has grown up to be a man of good standing in Tumble Creek. While he seems helpless within Molly’s gravitational pull, he knows she’s hiding something and secrets are something he doesn’t do. Still, Molly’s frank appraisal and obvious invitation for fun is something he can’t turn down. Read more of Jane’s review here.

This book can be purchased at with $1.00 coupon (enter HAR1222D at the checkout) available now. The coupon is good from through January 15, 2008, and to avoid shipping costs, you can have it delivered to your local Borders for free.


From Jia

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
book review Eon: Dragoneye Reborn takes place in a fantasy setting loosely based on historical China with some influences from Japan and features a magic system inspired by feng shui and Chinese astrology.   Eon is a twelve-year-old boy who’s been training for years in the study of dragon magic. Dragon magic consists of two components: martial arts and actual magic. The hope is that Eon will be chosen as the next Dragoneye apprentice. A Dragoneye is a person who controls one of the twelve dragons that bring good fortune to the world by controlling the forces of nature. There’s only one flaw in their plan.

Eon is actually a sixteen-year-old girl named Eona. Girls are forbidden the use of dragon magic so it’s a masquerade that could lead to her death if she’s ever found out.   Read more of the review by Jia here.

This book can be purchased in hardcover from Amazon. No ebook format because kids don’t like technology.


From Janet

Stranger by Megan Hart
book review Megan Hart’s Stranger is one of those books I just couldn’t put it down. Fans of Dirty may appreciate that Sam, the male protagonist of Stranger, is Dan’s brother, and there are a couple of scenes featuring Dan and Elle. Although I was a bit surprised at how suburbanized Elle has become, it was still fun to see her and Dan. But Grace and Sam are the stars here, two people struggling under the weight of parental expectations and life choices. Grace, who runs her family funeral home, has found an unusual way to fulfill her need for emotion-free sex, while Sam works doggedly to push past Grace’s defenses, a now-familiar pattern in Hart’s books but still satisfying, especially since Sam is not the untroubled cipher that some of Hart’s male protagonists seem. Many readers will not find this book romantic, but I am more convinced than ever that Hart is writing a specific kind of erotic Romance in which the contemporary commitment phobic woman finds a path to love and commitment through sexual self-realization. A more in depth review by Janet will be posted soon.

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or ebook format from the Sony Store and other etailers.

Manga recs by Jan

Oishimbo by Tetsu Kariya from Viz.

This is a manga for foodies. It’s 100+ volumes in Japan, started in the 80s, and was responsible for making many Japanese aware of and proud of their native gourmet cuisine. Viz will be selling a few of the standalone volumes on things like sake, rice, etc. This first volume is introductory, and concerns Japanese cuisine basics like how to properly prepare powder green tea (matcha), or daishi, which is a basic broth used in many Japanese soups. I’m totally excited about this series and will definitely review it as soon as I can get my hands on it.

Check it out here.

Sand Chronicles vol 4 is coming out as well. I’ve reviewed and recommended the series before and each volume has been better than the last.

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. JaimeK
    Jan 07, 2009 @ 12:07:03

    When I read the review of Eon I immediately went to Amazon to discover nope, no Kindle version. I received my Kindle as a gift for Christmas from my hubby. I really wanted to read this book and I probably still will, but down the road.

  2. Sherry Thomas
    Jan 07, 2009 @ 13:01:30

    Doesn’t seem that sparse a list.

  3. Ann Somerville
    Jan 07, 2009 @ 13:29:46

    Oooh I can’t wait for the review of ‘Whistling in the dark’ – this is one of the wonderful novels I’ve ever read. I was gobsmacked when it was first sent to UP for review because I couldn’t believe it was self-published. Love it to bits, and it deserves all the attention you guys can give it.

  4. joanne
    Jan 07, 2009 @ 14:16:11

    No ebook format because kids don't like technology.

    *snort* ….and of course they don’t read Fantasy either. I’m afraid all the talk in the world won’t bring the publishers into this century anytime soon.

    I’m going to try Hot Mail by Janice Maynard. The last stories of hers I read didn’t connect me in any way to the characters but I thought the writing was good. That doesn’t make any sense, but I thought there was promise and that I was just missing something, so I’ll try her work once more with this one.

    I’m so glad about your thoughts on Stranger by Megan Hart, her Broken touched me, even with the ending, and I look forward to reading this book more then any other this month.

  5. Michelle
    Jan 07, 2009 @ 14:54:52

    I’ve got two must buys on my list for the month – Carla Kelly and Susan Donovan – and a few other possibles. My must buy list for February is so scary long that I may have to use my Jan. book budget (as if I keep to it well!) to help me buy all those books in February. I heard once that February is a great month for romances bc so many folks want to capitalize on Valentine’s Day.

  6. Val Kovalin
    Jan 07, 2009 @ 15:45:05

    You’ve got great taste, Jayne. Whistling in the Dark is a fabulous historical novel and a touching love story, not-to-be-missed!

  7. orannia
    Jan 07, 2009 @ 16:06:03

    OK, I’m off to see if my library has EON as it sounds really good!

  8. Keishon
    Jan 07, 2009 @ 20:00:28

    Would love to read Tamara Allen but why is it not available anywhere else? And in other formats as well? Like ePub? *g* That’s my format of choice these days. A shame, but I will keep this title in mind. Thanks ladies.

  9. Ann Somerville
    Jan 07, 2009 @ 20:08:38

    If you were prepared to review it, I think the publisher would supply it in PDF. I’ve asked him to drop by and comment.

  10. Steve Berman
    Jan 07, 2009 @ 20:21:58

    Hello. How wonderful to see Whistling in the Dark so prominently mentioned. I’m the owner of Lethe Press. We’re really excited to offer Tamara’s novel to the wide world.

    As for why the book is not available in electronic editions other than PDF, well, that’s my fault. We’re a small company and, up until November of last year, we only offered print and Kindle editions of our books. We now make available PDF versions, but none of us is savvy with the other electronic formats.

    That said, I’m more than happy to provide PDF and print edition review copies for those interested. Just drop me a line at [email protected].

    Thanks, Steve

  11. Mara
    Jan 08, 2009 @ 16:48:47

    Dear Jane and Jayne,
    Thank you for including my book in your recommended reads for January. I love your site and it feels like an exceptional honor to make that particular list.

  12. Keishon
    Jan 08, 2009 @ 19:28:24

    Thanks Ann and Steve (email sent!)

%d bloggers like this: