Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Musing Mondays (August 31, 2011)

 This week’s musing is… a book meme!
What was the last book you…
• borrowed from the library?
• bought?
• cried over?
 • disliked and couldn’t finish?
• read & loved?
• got for review? (or: got in the mail?)
• gave to someone else?
• stayed up too late reading?

Here are my answers:

Borrowed from the Library - Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Bought - Kris Longknife Daring - Mike Shepherd

Cried overSarah Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (I cry and think if my Grandmother every time I read it.  She would say "after Mama and the little baby died" when she told about some things in her past.)

Disliked and couldn't finish - Love in the Time of Dragons by Katie MacAalister

Read and loved - Finders Keepers by Linnea Sinclair

Got for review - A Lady Awakened (an ARC from Amazon Vine)

Gave to someone else - Warcry by Elizabeth Vaughn  (I loaned and did not get back)

Stayed up late reading - The Famous Heroine by Mary Balogh (that was last night)

You can find each weeks question at Should Be Reading.

Other Books I Read in August of 2011


Heart Search by Robin D. Owens - A good addition to the series.


A Proper Companion and The Best Intentions by Candice Hern - Both of these were .99 ebook purchases from Barnes and Noble.  Candice has the rights to her backlist back and is self-publishing.  A good deal for her and for me.  Both are Regency Romances in the tradition of Georgette Heyer and both are very enjoyable reads.

Silent Melody by Mary Balogh - I found this at the Rogers Friends of the Library books store.   I stopped by to drop off some books and of course had to do some shopping while I was there.  All of the romances were 1/2 price.  Back copies of Mary's books are very hard to find and are very pricey so paying .25 was a real bargain.  I had not read the book before.  The story was unusual as the main female character was deaf.  

An Unlikely Countess by Jo Beverley - This is another fun read.  Prudence Youlgrave has been treated poorly by her brother and is about to marry a horrible man.  Catesby Burgoyne has just become the Earl of Malzard.  They are right for each other but are they right for the life they inherit?

Romeo, Romeo by Robin Kaye Spencer - What a man won't do for love.  I got this one free and loved it.  

Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet - I got an ARC of this book from Amazon Vine.  Click on the title to see my Amazon review.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Love and Rockets edited by Martin H Greenberg and Kerrie Hughes

Love and Rockets
Science Fiction Romance

Love and Rockets contains short stories by a variety of authors.  The book came to my attention when Gini Koch mentioned that a story she had written under another pen name was included in the book.  I am not that much of a short story reader but I purchased the book and enjoyed all the stories.  I also am developing a real appreciation for short story writers.  It takes a lot of work to get the plot, character development and world building in a story with so few words.

When I started reading I did not remember the name Gini Koch was writing under.  As I read the stories I tried to decide which one she wrote.    Some were easy to eliminate.  Two were by a team of writers; several were by men, one by Jody Lynn Nye, one of Kristine Kathryn Rusch.  That still left several possibilities.  I finally decided it must by Wanted by Anita Ensal.  When I went to Gini’s web page I found that I had chosen correctly.

There is a lot of really good writing and story telling in Love and Rockets.  While there is never enough good SFR out there Love and Rockets is full of good stories and is a great choice for SFR fans.

DAW published Love and Rockets edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Kerrie Hughes in 2010.  

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Other Countess by Eve Edwards

The Lacey Chronicles #1: The Other CountessYoung Adult Historical Romance

The Other Countess is another ARC I received from Amazon Vine.  Young adult books are not what I usually read.  However, I saw The Other Countess on the Vine list and it caught my eye.  I wondered how young adult historical romance differed from adult historical romance.   Here is what I found.

One big difference was the age of the two main characters. Ellie – Lady Eleanor Rodriguez, Countess of San Jaime is 16 and William Lacey, Earl of Dorset is 18, much younger than characters in adult historical romances today.   The amount of explicit sex is another difference.   While sex is not ignored in The Other Countess the amount is more like adult romance books 30 years ago.  There is a hint and then the characters move out of sight.  Age the characters and add some explicit sex and The Other Countess could be an adult historical romance.

I liked the story.  The historical content was good.  Eve Edwards used court life and the religious problems of the time to move the plot forward.  Both the fictional and historical characters were well drawn.  All in all I think both young adults and adults will enjoy the story. 

The Other Countess is the first book in the Lacey Chronicles. The second book,  The Queen’s Lady, will be released in 2012.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare

A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove)Historical Romance

Welcome to Spindle Cove, where the ladies with delicate constitution come for the sea air and men in their prime are …nowhere to be found.  Or are they?”

Spindle Cove is the location for A Night to Surrender; the first book in Tessa Dare’s new series.  If the next books are anything like A Night to Surrender she has a hit series on her hands. 

A Night to Surrender is another book where I was laughing so hard I could not continue reading.  The scene where they scare the sheep and Susanna meets Victor Bramwell for the first time is right up there with the “her Mother being picked to death by pigeons” scene in  Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn.  

Susanna Finch and Lt. Colonel Victor Bramwell appear to be oil and water and Spindle Cove cannot stay the same once they meet and match wits. Full of great characters and a wonderful story A Night to Surrender is a fun read and I will be looking for the next book in the series.

Avon Books will release A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare August 30, 2011.  Pre-order now.

I received an ARC of A Night to Surrender from Amazon Vine.

Friday, August 19, 2011

War Games by K S Augustin

Science Fiction Romance/Space Opera

In her recent newsletter K S Augustin offered a free copy of War Games to anyone who would post a review (either good or bad) after reading the book.  I am a K S Augustin fan and have purchased many of her stories so I asked for a copy.   That said I knew War Games was a female/female romance.  That is not my sexual preference so I wondered how I would react to that element of the story.  While I don’t understand the attraction it did not change how I reacted to the story. 

Cheloi Sie is not who she seems.  She has been deep undercover in the Empire for years.  She is near the end of her mission when her troubles double.  Her second in command is out for her job.  There is an immediate attraction between Cheloi and her new assistant, Lith Yinalna.  Lith has her own problems.  She is attracted to the woman she has been sent to kill.  The story moves at a fast pace from there.   Like all K S Augustin stories the romance does not detract but is woven in as part of the story. War Games is a good story but it is not one of my favorite K S Augustin stories.  My two favorite stories are In Enemy Hands and On Bliss.  I have a post recommending In Enemy Hands

A the preview of Quinten’s Story to be released in December of 2011 was included at the back of the book.  The story looks great and I am looking forward to adding it to my K S Augustin collection.

Sandal Press published War Games by K S Augustin in 2011.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Mitford Books Featuring Father Tim by Jan Karon

At Home in Mitford (The Mitford Years, Book 1)
Religious Fiction

My Mother died three weeks ago today after a 7 month long battle against cancer.  A battle she never had a chance of winning.  She was 91.  She was widowed and left with a 9 month old and a 6 year old daughter when she was 28.  She went to work to support us and never remarried.  She gave me a love of reading and although she never quit reading she did lose the habit of reading fiction for pleasure.  It became a real challenge to find fiction books that she would enjoy and a bigger challenge to find a series of fiction books that she would sit down and read.  The Father Tim Mitford books were one of my biggest successes.   I brought her the first one and within days she was asking if I had the next book in the series.  She read and loved every Mitford book.  This recommendation is in my Mother’s memory.

The Father Tim Mitford books have been out for quite a while.  They combine great characters, a good story, late in life romance and religion in just the right mix.  As the series opens Father Tim is an Episcopal priest in the small southern town of Mitford.  He is older and has never married.  He has a new neighbor and his life is about to change.  Jan Karon has created a small town filled with remarkable characters.  Some take their religion very seriously.  They do not preach, they show by example.  Some do not have religion at all.  The story weaves all of these people into a wonderful reading experience.

Like the characters, the books do not preach.  The story is strong enough to stand by itself and religion is shown by example.  I think anyone who loves a good story will enjoy the Mitford books.

The Mitford Series in Order are:

At Home In Mitford
A Light In the Window
These High, Green Hills
Out To Canaan
A New Song
A Common Life
In this Mountain
Shepherds Abiding
A Light From Heaven

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Give Me A Texas Outlaw by Jodi Thomas, Linda Broday, Phyliss Miranda, DeWanna Pace

Give Me a Texas OutlawWestern Romance

Give Me A Texas Outlaw is the second book of novellas by Jodi Thomas, Linda Broday, Phyliss Miranda and DeWanna Pace.  The four stories are The Outlaw, Trouble in Petticoats, Texas Flame, and Most Wanted.  I enjoyed all four but my favorite was The Outlaw by Jodi Thomas.  Check out the teaser:

The Outlaw by Jodi Thomas

Poor Cozett Camanez!  There she was waiting in church for an imaginary groom when an outlaw came in to rob her.  If he had killed her he would have been the answer to her prayer but some outlaw.  He would not kill an unarmed woman so she just had to marry him.  I would have loved to see more of some of the characters that Jodi put in The Outlaw.   The three uncles needed a full-length book to give full reign to the possibilities for their characters. 

I love anything by Jodi Thomas and have all of her books.  One of my favorites, The Widows of Wichita County, has just been reissued.   If you have never read it pick it up.

There will be another book of novellas, A Texas Christmas, by Jodi, Linda, Phyliss and DeWanna out in October.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tattered Cover Book Store

An Independent Book Store 

I used to live in Denver and I visited there recently.  When I lived there a frequent visit to the Tattered Cover was a necessity.   The main store was in Cherry Creek but after I moved they lost their lease and moved to a location on Colfax.  I visited the new store right after it opened and was very disappointed.  It just did not have the same feel.  It has been several years since that visit and when I went this time I was pleasantly surprised.  Things had changed and that cozy bookstore feel was back.  There were some changes.  The store now has new and used books.  The used books are mixed in with the new and identified by a band on the spine.  This store is smaller and there are not as many books as before.  I still found books I wanted and purchased four titles while I was there.  If you are a book lover and in Denver you need to visit the Tattered Cover.  There are three locations, the one on Colfax, on at Highlands Ranch and another downtown in Lodo.  Any one is worth a visit.  If you can't visit in person visit their web site.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Second Son of a Duke by Gwen Hayes

Second Son of a Duke

Second Son of a Duke is a 47-page novella.  I purchased the book from All Romance eBooks when it was offered at a special 99-cent price.  The opening is a real attention getter. 

Theodore Maxmillian Middleton stared at the stranger lying in his bed and knew there wasn’t enough drink in the world to make this situation bearable.  He’d kill his brother for this. Tomorrow.”

And what had his brother done?  He had planned and pulled off a wedding between Teddy and Juliette, the sister of his best friend.  An unexpected and unwanted wedding that Teddy and Juliette only found out about on the day of the nuptials.

It was not a very good beginning for a marriage.  Second Son of a Duke is a short but fun read with a big twist at the end.  The writing is good, the story moves at an enjoyable pace, and the two main characters are very likeable.   I was glad I bought it. 

Smashwords published Second Son of a Duke by Gwen Hayes in 2011.  

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Exchange by Dale Cozort

ExchangeScience Fiction Romance/Alternate History 

I have mixed feelings about Exchange.  I loved the premise as stated on the author’s website.
 “An Alternate History. Near future earth temporarily 'Exchanges' pieces of itself with an alternate reality where humans never developed and the large, fierce ice age animals stills exist.”

The story that went with the premise was a little uneven.  There is a lot of action involving the main character, Sharon Mack.  Sharon is left in Rockford, Ill when part of the city is exchanged with part of Bear Country, the name for the alternate Earth.   The exchange is temporary and people are there to make sure nothing from Bear Country is taken back when the exchange ends.  Sharon finds that her OCD daughter has been kidnapped by her out of control ex-husband and taken out into Bear Country.  A group of survivalist wants to stay in Bear Country when the exchange ends and Sharon spends her time trying to get her daughter back.  Along the way she meets Leo West, the man that put the romance in the story.  This is where my mixed feelings come in.  This is a SFR, but the romance does not ring true.  There is very little interaction between Sharon and Leo. Instead Sharon bounces from crisis to crisis. 

I would recommend the book even with its shortcomings.  I hope that there is a sequel.  The author certainly set the stage for one. 

Stairway Press published Exchange by Dale Cozort in 2010.

I received a free copy of Exchange from Net Galley.  A free copy does not guarantee a recommendation.  I only recommend a book I like. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Silk is For Seduction by Loretta Chase

Silk Is For SeductionRomance

Marcelline Noirot is the daughter of Mr. Edward Noirot and Miss Catherine DeLucey.  Both the Noirot’s and the DeLucey’s are noted for “seducing and swindling every dupe who crossed their path”.  Since Edward and Catherine carried on this tradition you would think that their children would follow the same path.  That is not what happened.  Their three daughters are making an honest living as dressmakers.  Marcelline is the oldest and determined to make her shop the one the highest echelons of the ton use.   Her plan is to lure the bride of the Duke of Clevedon into becoming a customer.  When she meets the Duke of Clevedon nothing works out as she planned.  Can a shopkeeper find happiness with a Duke?  Read and find out.

Loretta Chase is one of my favorite romance authors.  Mr. Impossible and Lord Perfect are two books I never get tired of reading.  Silk is for Seduction continues in the same line.  It was fun to see another one of the Dreadful DeLucey's .  The story was good, the characters fun, and the romance hot.  However, for me it was a little to close to the story in Lord Perfect.  It often felt like only the characters names had been changed.  Even so I enjoyed the book.

I purchased Silk is For Seduction.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Heartless, A Alexia Tarabotti Novel by Gail Carriger

Heartless (The Parasol Protectorate)Paranormal Romance/Steampunk

Heartless?  I really wondered about the title.  It did not look like a fit for Alexia or Conall but there it is on the second page.  Alexia says, “For goodness sake, I may be soulless and I am, admittedly, not precisely maternal, but I am by no means heartless.”  And the term heartless is used by and about other characters throughout the book.  So the title does fit.  I was looking at heartless in the wrong context.

Like the previous books in the series Heartless is full of fun dialog, wonderful characters and an interesting mystery.  Many of the characters from the previous books are back in Heartless.  We learn more about some of the side characters and more of the back-story is filled in.  Look for answers from the past and new problems for the future.  Alexia also accepts her friend Ivy as the first member of the Parasol Protectorate, a new top-secret organization, created on the spur of the moment.  And of course there is the infant-inconvenience who makes an in person appearance at the end of the book.  

One of my favorite characters is Lord Akeldama.   He is an over the top vampire with a wardrobe to match.  I really enjoyed all of the pet names he comes up with for Alexia.  On just the first few pages Alexia is “ my dearest petal, my little pomegranate seed, my little lilac bush, my dearest marigold, my little cream puff, sugar drop, butterball, and my little dewdrop”.   I wonder how long and hard Gail Carriger had to think to come up with all of the unusual pet names?

The Alexia Tarabotti Novels are a fun mixture of paranormal and steampunk.  Any could be read as a stand-alone but I recommend starting with the first, Soulless, and proceeding in order with Changeless, Blameless, and Heartless.  The next novel Timeless is due out in March of 2012.  

Orbit published Heartless by Gail Carriger in 2011.

I purchased Heartless.  (I own the entire series.)