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.
Whistling in the Dark by Tamara Allen
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!!).
Marrying the Captain by Carla Kelly
Eleanor “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.
Hot Mail by Janice Maynard
Jane 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.
Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl.
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 Borders.com 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.
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
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.
Stranger by Megan Hart
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.
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.
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.