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

June Recommended Reads

From Janine:

book review It’s really a mid May release, but I would recommend Love the One You’re With by Emily Giffin, a suspenseful story of a newlywed who is torn between her new husband and the ex-boyfriend she never resolved her feelings for. As in Something Borrowed, Giffin writes a heroine we can understand even as she considers crossing moral lines we hope we would never cross. New York City photographer Ellen Graham is an insightful narrator who acknowledges her own flaws, and the two men she is drawn to have both good points and bad points. There are no bad guys here, just real, imperfect human beings. B+.

This book can be purchased in hardcover from Amazon or Powells or ebook format.

I would also recommend Megan Hart’s Spice Brief Reason Enough. I just read and enjoyed it. It continues the story of Dan and Elle from Dirty, and my main caveat is that I’m not sure if readers who haven’t read Dirty would be as moved as I was. I definitely recommend reading Dirty first, but this was an emotional long epilogue to their story. B.

This book can be purchased in ebook format only.

From Jayne:

book reviewMoonstruck by Susan Grant (Otherworldly Men Book 4). One thing I’ve always enjoyed about your books is the fact that you make such use of you own experiences in the military, as an officer and as a pilot. It adds just that bit extra to ground the characters you write and the worlds you build. Brit Bandar and Finn Rorkken do a roll switch. Brit is the strong, silent type who keeps her past pain bottled up while she spends her career becoming a legend in the Coalition. Finn is astounded to find himself where he is. He’s had to scramble his whole life to survive and advance and has the brains to appreciate the cush job he’s landed in the post-war era. But he’s also determined to rise even further and knows that to do so, he and his crew, to whom he stays loyal, need to blend in and work together in the new Alliance. Read more here.

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

book review Sweet Love by Sarah Strohmeyer. When I opened a box of books Jane sent me, I clapped my hands when I saw your newest title, “Sweet Love.” From the book blurb, I thought this would be skewed a little more towards Chick Lit. A feeling that was confirmed as I read: first person heroine POV, works slightly drudge job and is under appreciated by her bosses, has family “issues,” loves hero but is unsure of his feelings. And yet, Julie is far more than a ditzy CL heroine, the family concerns are realistic, she does get satisfaction from doing her job well and is rewarded by peer recognition and the hero, Michael, is in the book far more than is usual for this subgenre. Plus the humor, which I loved, is more wry, gentle sarcasm rather than falling-on-her-ass slapstick. Read more soon (link coming tomorrow).

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or Powells. No ebook format.

book review
A Rake’s Guide to Seduction
by Caroline Linden. I’m coming, more and more, to enjoy a sweet, more gentle character study Regency. Don’t cloud the issue with spies or former spies or endless speculation about dancing at Almacks. Just give me two people who are trying to work out that age old question of "Do you love me?" If you’re going to set it in a certain era, make the details believable and specific for that time frame -‘ or why bother to set it then -‘ then let it happen. Read more here. Jane would also recommend this book.

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or Powells. No ebook format.

From Jane:

book review Trust Me by Brenda Novak. This is my first Novak book and I am happy to say it won’t be my last. I’ve been fortunate to read some good romantic suspense released this month and yours was right up there with the best of them. .. [T]he chemistry between Skye and David was obvious. I liked that Skye longed to be with David but was strong enough to tell him that he didn’t have enough to give her, that she deserved more than a man who was caught between his old life and maybe the one that he wanted in the future. As time progressed and the danger to Skye’s life became more pronounced, David and Skye were pushed together time and again forcing the attraction to come to a head. To be clear, I liked David and Skye as a couple and wanted them to be together. Read more here.

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

book review Pitch Black by Susan Crandall. This was another new to me author who has penned a good suspense with a well wove romance thread. My criteria for recommending a suspense is that it has to have a good romance and good suspense because it is hard to find both done well. Pitch Black actually weaves the romantic conflict into the suspense making the resolution of both inseparable. Madison Wade, a big city journalist, took in a foster boy Ethan at the age of 13. She decided that continuing to live in Philadelphia would endanger Ethan so they moved to a small southern town of Buckeye. Sheriff Gabe Wyatt has been slowly but steadily pursuing Madison since her arrival. She’s been reluctant to do anything about the simmering low level attraction because of being a new single mom with a teenage boy to parent.

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

From Janet/Robin:

book review Dark Desires After Dusk by Kresley Cole. As soon as I finished Dark Desires After Dusk, I went back to track rage demon Cadeon Woede’s character in Wicked Deeds on a Winter Night and Dark Needs at Night’s Edge (am I the only one who’s starting to feel these titles are blending into one long tongue twister?), curious to see if I would regard him differently now that I’ve read his whole story. Happily, the answer is no: Cade is still the swaggering, demon brew-swilling rage demon who loves his big old truck and his pay per view porn almost as much as he regrets the youthful decision that lost his brother crown and kingdom. Cade is no suave intellectual, no ethically upstanding Lore citizen. He is a blunt instrument, and one sexy demon, with, as Nix likes to point out, seriously "lickable horns." Read more here. Jane would also recommend this book.

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

From Jane, Jayne, Janine, Janet, and Jia:

Your Scandalous Ways by Loretta Chase. I feel like if you have to read only one novel this year, it would be Your Scandalous Ways. We here at Dear Author who have read it (only Jan has not) have graded at at least a B+ or higher. It’s a keeper that I will enjoy reading again and again.

Janet aka Robin and I did a conversational review of the book here and Jayne did one that will be posted this afternoon.

This book can be purchased in mass market at the end of May from Amazon or Powells or ebook format.

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. HelenKay Dimon
    Jun 03, 2008 @ 13:05:38

    Look at all the contemporaries! I’m in heaven. Thanks for the recommendations, ladies!

  2. Mimi
    Jun 03, 2008 @ 13:37:55

    I read LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH for work (Universal was looking at it as a possible film adaptation) and I can’t say I thought it was particularly remarkable beyond the one trick pony germinal premise – with the possible exception of the cute ending (no spoilers, no worries). One that’s coming up in June to look for is THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING MARRIED by Gemma Townley and Ballantine Books. A workaholic woman has to undergo a radical makeover transformation to attract her handsome boss enough to get him to propose in order to inherit a lot of money under false pretenses. I had some problems with it, but it goes in some fun directions.

  3. Janine
    Jun 03, 2008 @ 13:55:45

    I read LOVE THE ONE YOU'RE WITH for work (Universal was looking at it as a possible film adaptation) and I can't say I thought it was particularly remarkable beyond the one trick pony germinal premise – with the possible exception of the cute ending (no spoilers, no worries).

    I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t work as well for you. I liked it a lot, not quite as much as Giffin’s Something Borrowed and Something Blue, but much more than Baby Proof. I am working on a review now where I expound on the reasons I enjoy it, so I won’t say too much more about it now, but I think it has to do with the insightfulness and self-awareness of Giffin’s narrator in her own POV thoughts (something that might not translate so well to film) and with the way class issues tug on the relationships. I thought it was a very intelligently written book, and I found it difficult to put down, though it wasn’t quite a keeper.

  4. Jennifer Estep
    Jun 03, 2008 @ 14:14:47

    I really enjoyed Baby Proof by Giffin. Her voice/style is very personable and easy to read. I’ll have to add her other titles to my TBR pile.

  5. Mimi
    Jun 03, 2008 @ 14:30:08

    (WARNING: POSSIBLE, VERY MILD SPOILERS AHEAD) It’s okay, books are certainly subjective subjects, one size doesn’t fit all. eh? I can understand why some would like this, but I didn’t really get the class issue conflict you mention – I didn’t get the sense it was really a barrier to love or anything else here. I was more disappointed that the relationship between the heroine and her ex never really jelled, either in past or the present (they barely have any contact once they meet again, she mostly just thinks a lot about how nuts she was/maybe still is for him but we never quite know why – he’s an enigma). And we never get to know enough about her and her current husband’s relationship to provide the romantic meat and potatoes there, either. I agree, the story’s narrator makes this very much an interior journey, but so was BRIDGET JONES, which translated wonderfully to screen (with the right screenwriter). But I didn’t find LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH’s heroine’s head an interesting place to dwell for very long. Just my opinion, of course! Looking forward to your more in-depth take on it. I’m always open to the possibility I just didn’t “get” it. Watch it turn into a blockbuster rom-com for someone other than my bosses, lol ;-) Thanks!

  6. Sarah
    Jun 03, 2008 @ 14:51:23

    I couldn’t agree more about Sarah Strohmeyer’s Sweet Love. I loved the humor and really appreciated the nuances in all the characters. The family stuff felt incredibly real to me also.

    I have Love the One You’re With on my TBR pile. I’m glad to hear it’s a good one.

  7. Gail Dayton
    Jun 03, 2008 @ 15:34:26

    I’ve already read the Loretta Chase, and agree utterly with everyone here. A fabulous, wonderful book.

    I am finally, at last reading the first Kresley Cole I HUNGER FOR YOU, and loving it (I thought it was more vampire-y than it is, and I’m not a big vampire fan, though I can be persuaded), and I have this one on my TBR shelf, so it will probably get read soon.

    Now I need to pick up the Susan Grant book, and the Caroline Linden. I’ve read most of Grant’s (I even judged one of her first books as a ms. before she sold it, and like to flatter myself that she took my advice and it helped her sell, even if that’s my own ego talking) and have enjoyed them, so, given your review, I’m sure I’ll like this one too. And I’ve enjoyed other Lindens and do like the “kinder, gentler” Regency, so this is one I’ll have to look for.

    I just finished Edith Layton’s new book–a good read, but one that felt fast and light to me. I also read J. Quinn’s LOST DUKE OF WYNDHAM and haven’t quite yet figured out what I think about it…Same with Madeline Hunter’s SECRETS OF SURRENDER. I liked them, but not with the overwhelming reaction of Chase’s SCANDALOUS WAYS.

    I’ll probably keep my eyes open for the Strohmeyer (tho if it’s trade size, probably won’t buy it, but maybe the library will have it), and maybe for the Giffin. I might pick up PITCH BLACK, but won’t be buying the Novak, much as I like and admire her. She writes books that are just too scary for me. (Yeah, I know, I write fantasy with demons and stuff, but still…) (I have a Colleen Thompson book I want to finish, but am having to work up my courage for it too…) Just how scary is PB???

  8. Janine
    Jun 03, 2008 @ 15:41:03

    Jennifer — I also like the readable, conversational style of Giffin’s narration. I think Baby Proof dealt with a very hard to resolve conflict (a husband who wanted children and a wife who did not, separating over that issue). I felt that Giffin didn’t delve into the issue as deeply as I would have liked her to — that it wasn’t treated with the seriousness that such a weighty question deserved. I still read the book very quickly and it kept me turning the pages, but it wasn’t as satifying to me as some of Giffin’s other works.

    Mimi —

    didn't really get the class issue conflict you mention – I didn't get the sense it was really a barrier to love or anything else here.


    SPOILERS for Love the One You’re With

    I don’t know if I’d say it was a barrier to love but I think it was a big part of the reason Ellen was torn between Andy and Leo. She had sort of reinvented herself after her mother’s death by going away to college, and tried to get away from her lower-middle-class Pittsburgh roots.

    First with her friend Margot and later with Margot’s brother Andy, she was able to create new relationships for herself that were attempts to make up for the loss of her mother, and in a way, I felt that she had married Andy partly because she wanted his healthy, happy family to replace her own wounded family.

    I felt that Ellen’s sister, Suzanne, understood this instinctually and it was a big part of why Suzanne was always critical of Margot and her husband — that Suzanne wanted Ellen back in her own sphere, and for Suzanne, she had lost Ellen to some degree when Ellen went off to college and then New York with Margot and then Atlanta with Andy.

    By the same token, Suzanne had always liked Leo and I think it was because she felt more comfortable with him. Leo wasn’t rich like Andy and Margot, his background was much more similar to Ellen’s and Suzanne’s original background.

    As I was reading, I wondered how much of Ellen’s longing for Leo was based on those things that they had in common, like a less privileged background and a love of New York City (not to mention their compatible professions of photographer and journalist). I wondered if maybe Ellen hadn’t cheated herself by leaving her father and sister far behind to the degree that she had, and if her longing for Leo wasn’t also a kind of longing for home, for the class and background that she had come from.

    While none of this was overt in Ellen’s thoughts I thought it was there in the subtext, and it made for a very rich exploration of issues that we don’t often see explored in the romance or chick lit genres. I was really fascinated by all of this and by the dynamics between the various characters in the book. Suzanne’s ultimate actions at the end of the book (I don’t want to give them away) were both surprising and satisfying to me.

    Unlike you, I had a strong sense of Leo and Andy’s appeal to Ellen. With Leo, I think it has a lot to do with the things I said about — all that they had in common. And with Andy, I think it was that he came with a loving family (it was a big bonus that Margot was a part of it) offered security and stability which Leo never did, and was also a kind of anti-Leo — someone who would never give Ellen a moment’s heartache unless she herself hurt him first.

    I did feel that I would have liked to see more of Ellen and Andy’s courtship the way Ellen and Leo’s courtship was shown. That was the big thing the book lacked for me, more of a sense of romance in Andy and Ellen’s marriage. That was the reason I gave it a B+ and not a keeper grade but I still felt it was a very intelligently written, interesting, and compulsively readable book.

  9. Jane
    Jun 03, 2008 @ 15:41:59

    Gail – I might be a bad barometer for scary because I didn’t think Novak’s book was all that scary. PB doesn’t seem scary to me either. Suspenseful, yes, but I was never scared.

  10. Vivian
    Jun 03, 2008 @ 18:57:10

    I’ve been a lurker for a month or so now, but I find all your reviews to be so insightful that I think I have to start chiming in now and then :)

    I was really excited when I saw Emily Giffin coming out with a new book with such an interesting premise. Even though I didn’t much like Baby Proof for the same reason as Janine mentioned above, I still applaud the effort, and I’m willing to give Giffin another try, simply because I loved Something Borrowed and Something Blue. Something Borrowed in particular touched me and was just so inspiring (not to steal my best friend’s fiancee though haha). I cannot express how much I love that book in a few sentences, I’ll just go on and on, so I’ll just stop there. So thank you for recommending Love the One You’re With this month – looking forward to your review, Janine – and I hope to read it soon!

  11. Janine
    Jun 03, 2008 @ 22:52:34

    Welcome Vivian! Please chime in whenever you want to. My review of Love the One You’re With will probably appear within a week or so. I also enjoyed Something Borrowed and Something Blue immensely. Something Blue is probably my favorite, since I thought it was the most romantic of Giffin’s books and since I love a good heroine redemption story. Go Darcy! But Something Borrowed was very good as well. Both those books are keepers for me.

  12. LeaF
    Jun 07, 2008 @ 09:11:12

    Thank you for the recommendations. I haven’t read Kresley Cole’s latest yet, have ordered it and am looking forward to the read even more now. I’ve been reading more contemporay romance (along with other titles) lately and will pick up a couple of the other books you suggested.

    Great website all around for avid readers to get a good perspective on what is good on the shelves out there.

  13. Books on Board 25% off June Titles | Dear Author: Romance Book Reviews, Author Interviews, and Commentary
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 21:16:48

    […] June titles at Books on Board are 25% off. Here’s some titles you might have missed from our June recommends. Tagged as: book-pimp,, Ebooks, […]

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