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December Recommendations


  • Once Upon a Winter’s Eve by Tessa Dare, recommended by Lazaraspaste  | A | BN  Sony | Kobo
  • Coming Home for Christmas (anthology) by Carla Kelly, recommended by Jayne | A | BN  Sony | Kobo |HQN
  • Her Rebel Heart by Shannon Farrington, recommended by Jayne  | A | BN  Sony | Kobo
  • Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer, recommended by Sunita | A | BN  Sony | Kobo

Paranormal / UF

  • Demon’s Lover by Juliet Dark (first in a duology and straight ghost/spirit fantasy), recommended by Lazaraspaste | A | BN  Sony | Kobo
  • Fate’s Edge by Ilona Andrews, recommended by Jane, Janine and Josephine (our new DA reviewer) | A | BN  Sony | Kobo


  • White Hot Christmas by Serenity Woods, recommended by Jane | A | BN  Sony | Kobo
  • Lessons in Seduction by Sandra Hyatt | A | BN  Sony | Kobo | HQN
  • Nikki and the Lone Wolfe by Marion Lennox, recommended by Sunita | A | BN  Sony | Kobo | HQN
  • Craving the Forbidden by India Grey, recommended by Jane | A | BN  Sony | Kobo | HQN
  • Holiday Kisses by Jaci Burton, Alison Kent, HelenKay Dimon, and Shannon Stacey | A | BN  Sony | Kobo |HQN


  • Bad Boyfriend by KA Mitchell, recommended by Sarah F | A | BN  Sony | Kobo
  • Men Under the Mistletoe, recommended by Sarah F and Sunita | A | BN  Sony | Kobo |HQN


  • Saving June by Hannah Harrington, recommended by Jennie | A | BN  Sony | Kobo

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. SFT
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 10:18:18

    Uh, not much at this time of year!

    I might look into the anthology with Jaci Burton. It can’t be worse than her anthology contribution last year where the heroine blamed herself for the hero cheating!

    Everyone should know the Tessa Dare one is currently 79 cents!

  2. Jan
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 10:33:38

    Awww, no review for A Lady Awakened? I was so looking forward to that.

    Edit: Ah, just realize that there might still be a review, just not a DA recommendation. Never mind me!

  3. Jane
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 10:40:17

    @Jan: That is a January release and we’ll probably have more than one review. Plus I’ll be giving away copies. I want as many people as possible to discover this book.

  4. Jan
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 10:45:03

    Oh I thought it released December 27th? I already won a copy with the podcast, and like you I’m utterly in love with this book and wanting to spread the love. It’s why I’m looking forward to your review :)

  5. Jane
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 10:47:53

    @Jan: Yes, I consider anything released in the last month to be the next month’s release, primarily because when we post the recommendations, I want people to be able to buy them.

    It was always frustrating for me as a reader to not be able to buy a book that someone was recommending.

  6. Janice
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 11:18:42

    Hi all!! Thank you Jane for the recommendations. Some I’ve already read but others I’ll have to pick up. One of the reads I can’t wait to get is tomorrow’s release of Agony/Ecstasy. I’ve already pre-ordered it based upon the teasers DA has featured along with other reviews. Can’t wait!!

  7. Janine
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 11:45:28

    @Jan: I’m doing an interview with Ms. Grant as well. And although A Lady Awakened is considered a 2012 book here, and therefore won’t be on my list of favorite 2011 releases, I managed to sneak it into a guest post I’m doing for the Book Smugglers, about my favorite books published in other years but read in 2011.

  8. Darlynne
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 11:57:28

    @Jane: That’s quite a recommendation.

  9. Jane
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 12:01:08

    @Darlynne: Cecilia Grant’s book was amazing to me. When I finished reading it, I sent an email to the editor who had shared the book with them that I don’t recall ever meeting these people in romance before. Even if the Grant book doesn’t move readers like it moved me, I think that on an objective level, one can’t deny the quality of the writing.

    It’s a book that I want to get a lot of exposure and I’m going to spend my money doing what I can to make sure readers discover her. I’ll be funding a giveaway here and Sarah and I are giving away copies either the day of Christmas or the day after on Twitter for ebook readers.

  10. CourtneyLee
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 12:52:31

    Definitely picking up Bad Boyfriend tomorrow. I love KA Mitchell anyway and I enjoyed Bad Company. I’ll have to reread it before reading the second book.

  11. Author on Vacation
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 13:03:06

    Sprig Muslin is on my TBR list. : )

  12. joanne
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 13:13:35

    A Lady Awakened has a release date at the end of December and there are over 25 reviews up on Amazon? Random House must have given away a truck load of copies.

    I’ve already been stung by two not-great Christmas anthos so maybe I’ll take the recommendation by Lazaraspaste for Demon’s Lover and forget about Holiday romances this year.

  13. Jane
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 13:14:18

    @joanne: It was part of the VINE program. Also gave away copies at Goodreads.

  14. Barb in Maryland
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 13:39:05

    Have already read the Carla Kelly and it is just lovely. It is set of three related short stories and not a one of them set in England. Very, very good and I am glad to see it recommended.

  15. cyclops8
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 14:27:30

    I’ve got my copy of Tessa’s novella, but I haven’t read it yet.

  16. Emily
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 14:37:51

    I looooove Sprig Muslin! I bought it last year for Christmas present given to myself. I adore this book so much! I am happy to see it recommended and second the recommendation.
    I haven’t read it yet but am glad to see Carla Kelly’s anthology which I plan to purchase in the future.

  17. srs
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 15:17:08

    @Jane: Well, you’ve certainly sold me on giving it a try. I’ve been in a romance slump lately (or maybe just a general reading slump) so am excited to have such a universally recommended book to look forward to.

    Now if I can just find a couple of books to take w/me to the in-laws over Christmas, I’ll be all set. I’ve been saving Fate’s Edge, but am having trouble finding anything else that really piques my interest.

  18. Janine
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 15:45:57

    @srs: Do you like Mary Balogh’s earlier books, her trad regencies? The Famous Heroine and The Plumed Bonnet were recently reissued and I enjoyed both. I have a review of The Plumed Bonnet posting this afternoon later this week.

  19. srs
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 16:19:18

    @Janine: Thanks for the recs. I do like Balogh’s trad regencies, and will check those out, but I’m not sure they will quite do the trick. I think the problem is that I’ve been feeling rather edgy lately and have started a bunch of trad historicals, including some tried and true favourites, in an attempt to sooth my nerves. I’ve been unable to get into any of them, however, and feel like I should probably stretch a little and try something outside my usual comfort zone (which is pretty exclusively trad historicals. I do love me some heaving bosoms).

  20. Janine
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 16:59:44

    @srs: What direction are you looking to stretch in? A change of genre, setting, or tone? If you can describe your tastes and of what you are in the mood to try, I or someone else here might have a rec or two.

  21. Janine
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 17:01:31

    @srs: I forgot to clarify before, the two Balogh trads were reissued together in one volume.

  22. library addict
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 18:48:03

    I enjoyed Shannon Stacey’s Mistletoe and Margueritas a lot. I won Jaci Burton’s new novella, but I need to read last year’s first which I just bought since they are connected.

  23. MaryK
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 23:03:18

    Does the Carla Kelly anthology have new stories or reprints?

  24. sarah mayberry
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 23:14:50

    @Jane: Now you done went and got me all excited about this book. I just read the outline and a couple of reviews over at Amazon and it looks great. Adding it to my TBR list as we speak and looking forward to your review. It’s been a while between awesome reads for me so fingers cross this does the trick.

  25. srs
    Dec 06, 2011 @ 09:21:39

    Thanks Janine! You guys rock!

    I mostly read historicals, which I love for their escapism and implausibility. I like a reformed rake, am not a fan of too much angst or graphic violence, and am a total sucker for the marriage of convenience trope. I always say that I discriminate based on quality, not genre, with the exception of almost never reading contemporaries. Mostly, I like to read about lives and worlds that are very different from mine and find that I get incredibly nit-picky and critical of the heroines in many contemporaries.

    I think that I’m looking for something darker than my usual, but not graphically violent or rapey. I love Ilona Andrews, Loretta Chase, old skool Joan Wolf from before she became so aggressively Christian and, of course, Georgette Heyer. The only book I’ve been able to finish in the past month was a re-read of an old Anne McCaffrey (RIP Anne) where SPOILER ALERT half of Pern dies from a plague and the heroine dies at the end after basically saving the world. Needless to say, it was not a romance.

    I’m planning on looking through the DA review archives before we head out for the holidays, but deeply appreciate any specific recommendations y’all have. Books available in e-pubs are best since, as of December 23rd, my plan is to load up the Kobo, collapse on my in-laws’ couch and eat butter tarts for five days straight.

  26. MaryK
    Dec 06, 2011 @ 23:49:32

    @srs: I have a couple of ideas. It looks like we share quite a few likes. Drawing from those, have you read Jo Beverley, Mary Jo Putney, Edith Layton, and Lisa Kleypas? You might also like Jennifer Blake. I particularly like her Fierce Eden and Southern Rapture. For something completely different and awesome, try Howl’s Moving Castle and Charmed Life.

    I’m not sure about the epub aspect but did check that they’re in e.

  27. Janine
    Dec 07, 2011 @ 00:55:26

    @srs: I’ve read that Anne McCaffrey. And heh, that makes me think of Shana Abe’s drakon series — fantasy/paranormal historical romances that bear some resemblance to the Pern books but are firmly in the romance genre — and dark, but not graphic or rapey. Have you read them? If not, I would recommend starting with The Smoke Thief which is the first in the series. The others are The Dream Thief, Queen of Dragons, The Treasure Keeper and The Time Weaver. I can’t recommend this series highly enough. Book 4 was a B for me and the others all in between B+ and A-.

    Trying to think of darker historicals I’ve enjoyed in recent years — have you read Carolyn Jewel’s Scandal? It’s on the hot side but very romantic.

    Megan Whalen Turner’s YA fantasy series which has a historical flavor and a dark romance might also work for you. I recommend starting with The Queen of Attolia even though it’s the second book. The first doesn’t have romance and is written for a younger audience but the later books are more complex and sophisticated.

    A few older historical romances that come to mind today as a result of Jane’s column on older romances are Kinsale’s For My Lady’s Heart, Gaffney’s Wild at Heart (her books can be rapey but this one is not– don’t know if it’s available in e though) and possibly something of Judith Ivory’s — Beast perhaps? I think of it as her darkest.

    Also — I don’t know if heroines who are rape survivors are an issue for you, but if you’re willing to read about them provided there is no rape of any kind in the romantic relationship, I would recommend Patricia Briggs’ Charles and Anna series, beginning with the novella “Alpha and Omega.” Between your fondness for McCaffrey and your fondness for Andrews, I think you might enjoy them, and they are darker in tone.

  28. Jayne
    Dec 07, 2011 @ 04:05:56

    @MaryK: It’s all new stories in this anthology.

  29. srs
    Dec 07, 2011 @ 11:51:35

    @Janine: @MaryK: Thanks for all the recs! I will definitely give The Smoke Thief a try and will check out the other titles and authors mentioned.

  30. Janine
    Dec 07, 2011 @ 22:46:47

    @srs: I hope something works out!

  31. MaryK
    Dec 07, 2011 @ 23:16:01

    @srs: Also check out Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan.

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