Posts tagged ‘Loretta Chase’

21 Author discoveries in 2009 (well, at least they’re new to me)

One of the ways I was able to limit myself to choosing only 5 for my Top Reads of 2009, was that I told myself I would acknowledge some really great new and new-to-me authors that I read last year. (This list is in no particular order.)

Here they are:

  1. JR Ward-Black Dagger Brotherhood

  2. Lover AvengedWell, duh. Honestly, I was sort of put off by the random h’s, “bro-talk” and ubiquitous brand-name-dropping that I had read was so prominent in this series. But, at the same time, so many people whose reading tastes I shared (and whose opinion I heeded) loved this series. They were so right. I call it my “Pringles” series. Totally fun to devour and completely irresistible. I’m waiting for Lover Avenged to come in from the library. I have found the controversial switch from a pnr style to more of a uf style hasn’t affected my enjoyment of this series.

  3. Suzanne Brockmann-Troubleshooters series

  4. Dark of NightDuh, again. Spec Ops/Military themed romances aren’t my first choice. But, this is another reason to read outside my comfort zone. Lori (among others) convinced me to give this series a try. And I have come to love not only the action-romance combo, but also the way the characters and their relationships grow over the course of the series. This is one of those series where, when I think I’ve chosen my favorite hero or couple, I keep remembering others, and have such a hard choosing just one. This is just such a consistently great series, and Suzanne Brockmann is a masterful writer.

  5. Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Her site.)

  6. Yeah, again, I’m sometimes late to the party. I won What I Did for Love over at Book Binge. It was celebrity romance, another theme I don’t really read. But, SEP writes both incredible characters and some of the best dialog around. Natural Born Charmer has become one of my Top 5 Contemporary Romances, as well as a “comfort listen”. I’m still working my way through her very lengthy backlist, and have only had 1 so-so read.. BTW, if you haven’t listened to SEP’s books in audio format, they are SO worth checking out.

  7. Jordan Castillo Price-PsyCop series, Hemovore

  8. Camp HellI’m SO digging Vic Bayne and the PsyCop universe. Tracy first turned me on to JCP’s Hemovore which was an awesome m/m parnormal romantic suspense. I’d heard great things about her PsyCop series, but just never got around to reading it (I think I melded it in my mind with RoboCop. 😛 ) But, after enjoying Hemovore so much, I had to read it. Right now, Vic is one of my favorite misfit heroes: edgy, a loner, and still trying to figure out what Jacob is doing with a guy like him. The supernatural mysteries are tightly plotted and really absorbing. And, the chemistry between Vic and Jake is smoking. I’ve also got to say, the PsyCop book covers are among my favorite in the m/m genre.

  9. Loretta Chase (Her site.)

  10. Lord of ScoundrelsSO GLAD I listened to Carolyn, who told me I HAD to read Lord of Scoundrels. This is now one of my Top 5 Historical Romances. The dialogue is great, and I love how Loretta Chase can take a romantic convention and completely stand it on its head. In LoS, Jessica doesn’t treat Dain like the jaded rake that he projects, but nurtures  (sometimes with VERY tough love) the wounded child she sees inside of him. LC’s heroine’s are smart, and she always has a surprise for the  romance reader. So far, I haven’t been disappointed in a Loretta Chase book.

  11. Meredith Duran (Her site.)

  12. Bound by Your Touch was such a beautifully written book! I just wish the covers weren’t so cheesy. To me, they distract from the wonderful story inside. The story of Lydia’s and Sanburne’s romance was an exciting read. Also, there was a love scene in BbYT which was the best I’d read all year. It brought together the emotions and sex that really revealed so much about these two characters (and was incredibly hot.) I also enjoyed Written on Your Skin immensely, which involved characters introduced in BbYT. I’m not currently reading historicals, but when I’m back in the mood, I’ll definitely be picking up MD’s debut novel, Duke of Shadows. ETA: I forgot that I won this over at Ciara Stewart’s! And then, the lovely Rosie brought me a signed copy from RWA!! THANK YOU, ladies!

  13. Lauren Dane-Federation series

  14. Relentless by Lauren DaneRelentless (Book 2 in the Federation series) was such a surprise for me. I had seen it, and book 1, Undercover, around, but the plots hadn’t really caught my attention. Then, I went to a So Cal Bloggers get together, and it came home in my bag after one of our book swaps. Then, it blew me away. I was worried that starting with the 2nd book in the series would leave me confused, but Lauren Dane seamlessly weaves in the essential information from book 1 without ever seeming to info dump. I loved Relentless so much that I immediately went out and bought Undercover. I’ve also started LD’s shifter series, Cascadia Wolves, and have been told that her Chase Brothers series is also excellent.

  15. Ginn Hale-Wicked Gentlemen

  16. Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn HaleAuthor of one of my Top 5 books. I’d been hearing some buzz about this book, and then read a post by JenB  at the Den of Iniquity (her former blog) that made me HAVE to get this book. I’ve written ad nauseum about how much I love this spec fic m/m novel. But, really, it comes down to Ginn Hale’s wonderful story telling skills. Even in her short online story Shy Hunter, and her story in the Hell Cop anthology, it is clear that she has a way with characterization and plot. I’m eagerly looking forward to her Wicked Gentlemen sequel, as well as anything else written by her.

  17. Scott Westerfeld-Uglies series, Leviathan series

  18. Uglies by Scott WesterfeldScott Westerfeld has been around writing YA fantasy for ages, but I finally listened to his Uglies series this year, and was blown away. This series set in a futuristic society where everyone receives plastic surgery on their 16th birthday to make them “pretty” was not only an exciting read, but also much food for thought about accepted standards of beauty and the need/desire to conform to society’s norms. SW’s current release, Leviathan, is a steampunk adventure that takes place on the eve of WWI.

  19. Maggie Stiefvater-The Wolves of Mercy Falls (Shiver) series

  20. Shiver by Maggie StiefvaterI’ve had Maggie Stiefvater’s Lament on my tbb list for ages, but it was her new shifter book, Shiver that finally got me to read her books. Shiver really demonstrates what a multi-talented author she is. The prose is beautiful, the atmosphere is vivid and the characters were ones I really cared about. Maggie Stiefvater writes in a beautiful, lyrical style, and she is also very musically talented. (She wrote the music for as well as animated Shiver‘s book trailer-scroll down to bottom of linked page to view trailer.)

  21. LB Gregg-Men of Smithfield series

  22. Happy Ending by LB GreggI was nervous about reading a book by a person I knew (virtually) and then I was relieved to read the fun, sexy and fast-paced first installment in the MoS series, Gobsmacked. I love how LB has developed her stories around the rural NE town of Smithfield, and her men are guys I’d want to go out for drinks with. I’m also enjoying the  elements of suspense in this series, and I can’t wait for 2010 to bring MoS 4 and LB’s new series, Romano & Albright.

  23. Jill Sorenson (Her site.)

  24. I’m not a big romantic suspense reader, but Jill Sorenson’s debut novel, Crash Into Me was a great departure from my regular reading. I love the San Diego area setting of her 2 books, and the characters are original and compelling. One of my other favorite things about both Crash and Set the Dark on Fire are the strong secondary storylines featuring YA characters. The suspense plots kept me guessing, and even after I knew “who did it”, finding out the “why” kept me reading. I’m really looking forward to finding out what 2010 will have in store for Jill!

  25. Jill Shalvis-Wilder Adventures series

  26. Instant Attraction by Jill ShalvisJill Shalvis really knows the mountain setting (again, a part of California not often written about) she writes about, and her characters in the Wilder Brothers Adventures are interesting and sexy. I was worried that I’d be disappointed with Instant Attraction (book 1) after hearing so many raves for it. Luckily, it was as good as I heard, and Instant Gratification (book 2) was even better. Jill Shalvis takes characters that are sometimes a little hard to warm up to, like Emma in IG, and over the course of the book makes the reader understand why she is the way she is, and enjoy reading about her growth.

  27. Julie James (Her site.)

  28. Practice Makes PerfectHollywood and law firms are 2 settings I usually don’t enjoy in romance. Yet, Julie James proves that great writing will trump reading biases every time.  Great dialogue and character growth are my 2 favorite things about JJ’s books. Especially in Practice Makes Perfect, I LOVE how smug, arrogant lawyer JD Jameson is slowly revealed to be the great hero he is. There’s a scene toward the end of the book revealing a secret about JD that got to me so much I had to re-read the scene a couple of times to take it in. Can’t wait for Something About You, out in March.

  29. Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett (Their site.)

  30. Shadow MagicHavemercy reminded me a lot of Sarah Monette’s Doctrine of Labyrinths when I first picked it up (dark fantasy magical world told in alternating 1st person povs), but by the end of the novel, I felt like Jones and Bennett had set their own path. Then, with Shadow Magic, they took Havemercy’s world and made it even better. Their story-telling  is exciting and still is able to touch on themes like the act of storytelling, legend and myth, and the intersection of an individual’s story with the story of a culture. I love it when a writer’s books get progressively better, and I am really psyched to see what happens with this series in the upcoming Dragon Soul.

  31. Jane Seville-Zero at the Bone

  32. Zero at the BoneI meant to get around to reading Zero at the Bone for months, after seeing a review of it at Lesley’s. When I finally picked it up, I couldn’t believe I had waited so long. I loved the intense relationship between D and Dr Jack, and the action kept me riveted to my reader. As soon as I finished ZatB, I went to Jane Seville’s site, and read all the Jack and D short stories she has there. Now, I’m waiting like a kid with my nose pushed up against the pet store window looking at puppies, hoping for a new book by Jane Seville.

  33. Carolyn Jewel (Her site.)

  34. My Forbidden DesireI’ve come to love both her historicals and paranormal romances. Her beautiful prose style really smacked me upside the head when I read Scandal, and then when I read her pnr My series, Carolyn Jewel became one of my favorite all time authors. In fact, Scandal is on my Top 5 historical and 2009 Top 5 reads, and My Forbidden Desire is on my Top 5 pnr reads. (See sidebar on right for Top 5 links.) I think that what Carolyn Jewel does so well in these very different types of books is that she really gets inside the characters and lets the reader not just see, but also feel what they are feeling, be they a 19th century widow or a 21st century fiend.

  35. Gail Carriger-Alexia Tarabotti series (Soulless)

  36. Soulless By Gail Carriger

    I love checking out the Orbit release schedules to see what one of my favorite fantasy publishers has coming out. I’ve found more than one new author on their schedule that I’ve come to enjoy. This year, the cover for Soulless caught my attention, and the description of this steampunk paranormal made it at the top of my to be bought list when it was released. Gail Carriger’s smart and witty writing style made this book so much fun to read.

  37. Seanan McGuire-October Daye series (Rosemary and Rue)

  38. Rosemary and RueThis is on of my favorite new uf series that debuted this year. (Ilona Andrews’ The Edge series and Ann Aguirre’s Corine Solomon series would be my others.) Though, this is the only one by a debut novelist. I first saw this at Kmont’s, in a New Author Spotlight post. The story was dark and starts out quite melancholy (given what happens to Toby, it’s understandable) yet the action never bogs down in mopiness or self-conscious angsting. The world is very complex, but doesn’t info dump and Seanan McGuire allows it to be revealed naturally, through the action of the plot. I can’t wait for the rest of the series, starting with A Local Habitation, coming out in March.

  39. Jennifer Ashley-Highland Pleasures series (The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie)

  40. The Madness of Lord Ian by Jennifer AshleyThis was another book that had so much buzz, I was afraid to read it for fear of being disappointed. Luckily, for me, The Madness of Lord Ian was a wonderful historical romance. This wasn’t just because Lord Ian was such an unusual character (which he was) but also because I found Beth to be equally interesting. Now, in 2010 not only will Jennifer Ashley be releasing the next book in this series, Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage, but also the first book in her new pnr series, Pride Mates, which due to its shifter-y goodness, I’ll be really looking forward to as well.

  41. Samantha Kane (Her site.)

  42. Though Sam Kane’s m/m/f Brother’s in Arms series is better known, I first read her m/m romance, Islands. The romance and emotions blew me away. She is so great at showing how the characters feel about each other, whether it’s through a love scene, a conversation, or simple looks or touches between characters. Of course, after loving Islands so much, I did go back and read The Courage to Love (BIA 1). I’ve been meaning to get back to finish reading the  series, because I know that there are some great love stories to be told there.

PHEW! I feel so lucky that I found so many great new authors last year. They are now all on my upcoming books list as I look forward to their new releases, or on my to be bought booklist as I continue to read their backlist. A couple of things I noticed while compiling this LONG list:
Many of these were books I wouldn’t have picked up on my own. The were stories that were either outside of my comfort zone or had story lines that I don’t usually like.
The other thing was that I DID pick up these books because of other bloggers’ recommendations. So, a big THANK YOU to everyone who led me to these great authors.

Did you have any author discoveries in 2009 that you want to share?

January 5, 2010 at 4:00 am 14 comments

Book Release Love

Despite the groaning tbr — especially after this past weekend’s outing — I will be at my local Barnes and Noble first thing tomorrow to pick up these 3 beauties:

Instant Gratification (Wilder series, book 2) by Jill Shalvis

Instant Gratification by Jill Shalvis
  • Jill Shalvis’ site.
  • Excerpt on author’s site. (Scroll down.)

Don’t Tempt Me by Loretta Chase

Dont Tempt Me by Loretta Chase


What Happens in London by Julia Quinn

What Happens in London
  • Julia Quinn’s site.
  • Excerpt on author’s site. (Scroll down.)

And using my Amazon credit (thanks Barbara!) for this pretty:

The Women of Nell Gwynne’s (Novella) by Kage Baker.

Women of Nell Gwynnes
  • Kage Baker’s site.
  • Scroll down linked page for excerpt.

Anything coming out on Tuesday’s release day that you’re looking forward to?

June 29, 2009 at 1:36 pm 12 comments

My Top 5 (umm, 6) . . . historical romances

I’m really selective about the historical romances on my keeper shelf. I don’t have much shelf space, and am pretty ruthless about giving away and selling books that are not my absolute favorites. I also read a lot of historicals from the library, since they are so readily available. Right now I’m actually tracking down some of my favorites that I definitely want on my keeper shelf. Here are a few that already have prime placement on my shelf, or are on the top of my list to track down at the used book store.

ETA: This list is in no particular order.

To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth HoytTo Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt

Beautiful prose and quiet revelatory moments make this book a stand out for me.

I love Melisande’s quiet strength and determination when she proposes to Jasper in the opening scene in the book.

Jasper is a man who has lived through torture, and still suffers the emotional scars. He’s such a great combination of urbane gentleman and tortured hero.

I love that Jasper comes to love Melisande and doesn’t try to change her. He accepts her quiet, plain style as part of her. She accepts his quirks and doesn’t try to fix him.

My favorite scene(s) are where they visit each other’s empty rooms, trying to connect with the other, and reveal their true feelings (all without a word of dialogue.)

Here’s my review for To Seduce a Sinner.


Dreaming of You by Lisa KleypasDreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

It’s funny, cause looking back at old posts, this book didn’t make my “Best Reads” of the month, yet was a Best of the Year. Partly, that was due to the fact that during October (the month I read Dreaming of You) I had also read Devil’s Bride, Tin Star, Sugar Daddy, and Seduce Me at Sunrise — all, truly excellent reads!

However, I also think it’s due to the fact that Derek Craven, DoY‘s hero, is the kind of character that really stayed with (and apparently, grew on) a me. His tough guy exterior belied an intense romantic, who loved the bookish Sara utterly and passionately.

My favorite scene, wasn’t a scene, exactly. It’s how Derek finds a pair of Sara’s spectacles, and carries them in his pocket. It reveals so much about his need for connection with her, his yearning. Oh man, I love it!

Here’s what I had to say in my Best of the Year post.


Scandal by Carolyn JewelScandal by Carolyn Jewel

I really like it when a hero and heroine have lived a little prior to a book’s opening. This is truly the case with Scandal, where Sophie and Banalit have both personal history, and history with each other.

This book develops such a sense of restrained passion that just seethes under the surface. It creates a tension that at any moment may erupt. And boy, when Sophie and Banalit finally do come together it is explosive.

But I get ahead of myself.

Sophie is a heroine who has been buffeted about by events in her life, and does what she can to mitigate the historically helpless position impoverished women were in during this time period. However, as I’m sure was often the case, even her somewhat successful attempts aren’t always enough, and it’s this vulnerability that indelibly marks her character. It also impacts her behavior toward Banalit, making for some screaming plot tension.

Banalit begins the story in love with Sophie, so unlike most romance heroes, his journey is not one of falling in love with the heroine, but one of accepting her journey to receiving his love.

Beautiful, beautiful book.

Here’s my review for Scandal.


The Devil in Winter by Lisa KleypasThe Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

Lisa Kleypas writes the best heroes, and St Vincent is one of her best (next to Derek Craven, of course!)

Now, while the main action between St Vincent and Evie takes place in TDiW, so much of their history and character is set up in the previous Wallflowers books (Secrets of a Summer Night and It Happened One Autumn) that the story starts with a bang when Evie proposes to St Vincent. (Hmm . . . I just realized 2 of the books on my list start with a marriage proposal from the woman. I guess I like the set up!)

I also really like Evie. While she is shy and has been dominated in the past by her abusive relatives, she really takes control of her life when she shows up on St Vincent’s doorstep. She also doesn’t let St Vincent’s sophistication and self-confidence cow her. When she sets ground rules to their marriage, it’s St Vincent who has to grow and adapt.

St Vincent is the best example of the “reformed rake” hero-type that I can think of. He really starts with a big hole to dig himself out of, in terms of gaining the reader’s (and Evie’s) trust and liking by the time TDiW starts. And, he does redeem himself, making himself one of my favorite heroes in historical romance.

Here’s a review of The Devil in Winter in my November’s Best Reads post. (Scroll down.)


Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta ChaseLord of Soundrels by Loretta Chase

I love how Loretta Chase will take romance reader expectations, and totally stand them on their head. It’s this “unexpectedness” in her writing that makes Lord of Scoundrels really stand out for me.

For example, Dain is that alpha hero who is autocratic and demanding. He assumes (and demands) that things go his way. Yet, Jessica doesn’t let it intimidate her. She simply smiles and coos at him, giving him lots of sympathy for his being so “high-strung.” The part that just makes me want to laugh out loud is that after Dain’s initial surprise at her reaction to him, he accepts — and comes to enjoy — this attention from her.

The other thing I love about LoS is Jessica’s determination that Dain accept responsibility for his illegitimate son, and then sets out to make it happen. She doesn’t waste time in the usual angsting and drama of betrayal over something that happened will before they met. She rolls up her sleeves and takes control of the situation.

You know, I don’t think I have a favorite scene, so much as the fact that this books overall intelligence, in the characters and in its overall writing make it a special read.

Here’s my review for Lord of Scoundrels.


Devil's Bride by Stephanie LaurensDevil’s Bride (The Cynster series, book 1) by Stephanie Laurens

It’s definitely the hero and heroine that make this book one of my favorites. Honoria is no shrinking miss. She is confident, opinionated, and not shy about letting her opinion be known. When she encounters Devil, she is nonplussed by this commanding man who takes charge and refusal to be intimidated by Honoria’s bossy ways.

Devil is the oldest of the Cynster cousins, and very much the leader of a group of alpha men.

I love how the family dynamics are so interwoven into this romance and into Devil’s personality. Also, I love a mystery to go along with my romance, and Devil’s Bride has both.

This is such a wonderful book, and I just wish the entire series was more consistently a good as this first installment.

Here’s a review of Devil’s Bride in my October’s Best Reads post.


It was really fun to look back on my favorites are remember why I love them so much. It definitely makes me want to go back and reread them.

I told myself that this would be a “top 5” but I just couldn’t leave any of these out as my absolute favorites. Of course, these aren’t the only ones on my keeper shelf, just the ones at the top of the list.

What are your top 5 (or 6)?

June 16, 2009 at 5:00 am 25 comments

June 2009 New Releases

Here we are at the mid-year point. Can you believe it? There are so many cool books coming out this month.

Here are the June releases I’m looking forward to:


June 2, 2009: Street Magic (Black London series, book 1) by Caitlin Kittredge

Here is a book description from the author’s site:

Her name is Pete Caldecott. She was just sixteen when she met Jack Winter, a gorgeous, larger-than-life mage who thrilled her with his witchcraft. Then a spirit Jack summoned killed him before Pete’s eyes — or so she thought. Now a detective, Pete is investigating the case of a young girl kidnapped from the streets of London. A tipster’s chilling prediction has led police directly to the child . . . but when Pete meets the informant, she’s shocked to learn he is none other than Jack. Strung out on heroin, a shadow of his former self, but he’s able to tell Pete exactly where Bridget’s kidnappers are hiding: in the supernatural shadow-world of the fey.  Even though she’s spent years disavowing the supernatural, Pete follows Jack into the invisible fey underworld, where she hopes to discover the truth about what happened to Bridget — and what happened to Jack on that dark day so long ago . . .
Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge
  • Caitlin Kittredge’s site.
  • Excerpt on author’s site.

June 2, 2009: Silent Blade (Short story, 42 pp) by Ilona Andrews (Samhain, publisher)

Here is a book description from the publisher’s site:

Old hatreds die hard. Old love dies harder.On Meli Galdes’ home planet, the struggle for power is a bloody, full-contact sport—in business and on the battlefield. For years her lethal skills have been a valuable asset in advancing her family’s interests. She’s more than earned her right to retire, but her kinsmen have one last favor to ask.

Kill the man who ruined her life.

Celino Carvanna’s razor-sharp business acumen—and skills with a blade—won him the freedom to do as he pleases. There’s only one thing he can’t seem to control—his reaction to the mysterious woman who tantalizes his senses. Her eyes alone set his blood simmering, stirring ridiculous adolescent fantasies about breasts and honey. With a few words she dissects his soul. Who is she? And how does she slide so easily under his well-guarded skin?

It’s almost too easy to draw Celino within the kill zone. Meli plans to revel in him. Drink him in. Wring every drop of pleasure out of every moment.

And when she’s sure he belongs to her, she will finally repay a decade’s worth of pain—in a single, brutal dose of reality.

Silent Blade by Ilona Andrews
  • Ilona Andrews’ site.


June 2, 2009: Skin Trade (Anita Bake series, book 17) by Laurell Hamilton

Here is the description from the author’s site:

When a vampire serial killer sends Anita Blake a grisly souvenir from Las Vegas, she has to warn Sin City’s local authorities what they’re dealing with. Only it’s worse than she thought. Ten officers and one executioner have been slain – paranormal style. Anita heads to Vegas, where’s she’s joined by three other federal marshals, including the ruthless Edward. It’s a good thing he always has her back, because when she gets close to the bodies, Anita senses ‘tiger’ too strongly to ignore it. The weretigers are very powerful in Las Vegas, which means the odds of her rubbing someone important the wrong way just got a lot higher. Skin Trade by Laurell Hamilton
  • Laurell Hamilton’s site.
  • Chapter 1 on author’s site. (PDF file.)


June 2, 2009: Carpe Corpus (Morganville Vampires series, book 6) by Rachel Caine

Here is the description from the publisher’s site:

In the small college town of Morganville, vampires and humans lived in (relative) peace — until all the rules got rewritten when the evil vampire Bishop arrived, looking for the lost book of vampire secrets. He’s kept a death grip on the town ever since. Now an underground resistance is brewing, and in order to contain it, Bishop must go to even greater lengths. He vows to obliterate the town and all its inhabitants — the living and the undead. Claire Danvers and her friends are the only ones who stand in his way. But even if they defeat Bishop, will the vampires ever be content to go back to the old rules, after having such a taste of power? Carpe Corpus by Rachel Caine


June 2, 2009: The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff

Here is a book description from the author’s site:

Alysha Gale is a member of a family capable of changing the world with the charms they cast. Then she receives word that she’s inherited her grandmother’s junk shop in Calgary, only to discover upon arriving that she’ll be serving the fey community. And when Alysha learns just how much trouble is brewing in Calgary, even calling in the family to help may not be enough to save the day. The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff
  • Tanya Huff’s blog.


June 2, 2009: Black and White (Book 1 of the Icarus Project) by Jackie Kessler & Caitlin Kittredge

Here is a book description from the author’s site:

Once best friends at an elite superhero training academy, Callie Bradford — code name Iridium — and Joannie Greene — code name Jet — are now mortal enemies. Jet is a by-the-book hero, using her Shadow power to protect the citizens of New Chicago. Iridium, with her mastery of Light, runs the city’s underworld. For years the two have played a dangerous game of cat and mouse.

But now playtime’s over. A looming evil threatens both them and the world they share. As Jet works with a “normal” man who has an extraordinary ability to make her weak in the knees, Iridium teams with a mysterious vigilante called Taser. Both Jet and Iridium are convinced that the other woman is the key to a catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions.

And one of them is right.

Black and White
  • Jackie Kessler’s site.
  • Caitlin Kittredge’s site.
  • Icarus Project site.


June 9, 2009: Green by Jay Lake

Here is a book description from the author’s site:

She was born in poverty, in a dusty village under the equatorial sun. She does not remember her mother, she does not remember her own name — her earliest clear memory is of the day her father sold her to the tall pale man. In the Court of the Pomegranate Tree, where she was taught the ways of a courtesan . . . and the skills of an assassin . . . she was named Emerald, the precious jewel of the Undying Duke’s collection of beauties.She calls herself Green.

The world she inhabits is one of political power and magic, where Gods meddle in the affairs of mortals. At the center of it is the immortal Duke’s city of Copper Downs, which controls all the trade on the Storm Sea. Green has made many enemies, and some secret friends, and she has become a very dangerous woman indeed.

Green by Jay Lake
  • Jay Lake’s site.

June 16, 2009: Somebody Killed His Editor (Holmes & Moriarty series, book 1) by Josh Lanyon

Here is a book description from the author’s site:

For sixteen years Christopher (Kit) Holmes has enjoyed a successful career as a mystery writer, thanks to the popularity of elderly spinster sleuth, Miss Butterwith and her ingenious cat, Mr. Pinkerton.  But sales are down in everything but chick lit and Christopher’s new editor doesn’t like geriatric gumshoes.  It’s a pink, pink world for Kit.

Reluctantly the reclusive Christopher agrees to attend a mystery writer’s conference at a remote Northern California winery.  But no sooner does he arrive then the bridge to the outside world washes out. On his trek to the Blue Heron Lodge, Christopher discovers the body of a woman in the woods.  If nearly two decades of mystery-writing are anything to go by, the woman doesn’t appear to have died a natural death.

Thanks to the ongoing storm and washed-out bridge, local law enforcement is not able to come to the rescue. Déjà vu!  It’s practically like all those classic murder mysteries in isolated country manors that Christopher has been penning for sixteen years!  If only Miss Butterwith was on hand. Or even Mr. Pinkerton . . .

Somebody Killed His Editor by Josh Lanyon

June 23, 2009: Finger Lickin’ Fifteen (Stephanie Plum series, book 15) by Janet Evanovich

Here is a book description from the author’s site:

Recipe for disaster: Celebrity chef Stanley Chipotle comes to Trenton to participate in a barbecue cook-off and loses his head –literally.

Throw in some spice: Bail bonds office worker Lula is witness to the crime, and the only one she’ll talk to is Trenton cop, Joe Morelli.

Pump up the heat: Chipotle’s sponsor is offering a million dollar reward to anyone who can provide information leading to the capture of the killers.

Stir the pot: Lula recruits bounty hunter Stephanie Plum to help her find the killers and collect the moolah.

Add a secret ingredient: Stephanie Plum’s Grandma Mazur.  Enough said.

Bring to a boil: Stephanie Plum is working overtime tracking felons for the bonds office at night and snooping for security expert Carlos Manoso, A.K.A. Ranger, during the day.  Can Stephanie hunt down two killers, a traitor, five skips, keep her grandmother out of the sauce, solve Ranger’s problems and not jump his bones?

Warning: Habanero hot.  So good you’ll want seconds.

Finger Lickin Fifteen
  • Janet Evanovich’s site.
  • Excerpt on author’s site.

June 30, 2009: Instant Gratification (Wilder series, book 2) by Jill Shalvis

Here is a book description from the author’s site:

Wishful, California, is 3000 miles from Dr. Emma Sinclair’s last job in a New York City ER. It may as well be another galaxy. Here, running her father’s clinic for a summer, Emma treats bee stings, stomach flu, and the occasional pet cat. Plus, she has to contend with patients like Stone Wilder: gorgeous, laid-back, and irritating beyond belief. The man laughs at her. A lot. And Emma loathes him. All except that tiny part of her that wants to throw him on her examining table and break every doctor-patient rule in the book . . .

When Stone tries to help Emma learn to loosen up a bit, he pictures white-water rafting or scenic mountain hikes. Not a mind-blowing affair that shakes them both to the core. Emma’s sure she has no place in a town like Wishful, but Stone knows different. Emma belongs here, in this town, in his
life. And convincing this strong-minded, stubborn, sexy woman of that fact will be a challenge no Wilder man could resist . . .

Instant Gratification by Jill Shalvis
  • Jill Shalvis’ site.
  • Excerpt on author’s site. (Scroll down.)

June 30, 2009: Don’t Tempt Me by Loretta Chase

Here is a book description from the author’s site:

Spunky English girl overcomes impossible odds and outsmarts heathen villains.
That’s the headline when Zoe Lexham returns to England.  After twelve years in the exotic east, she’s shockingly adept in the sensual arts. She knows everything a young lady shouldn’t and nothing she ought to know.  She’s a walking scandal, with no hope of a future . . . unless someone can civilize her.

Lucien de Grey, the Duke of Marchmont, is no knight in shining armor.  He’s sarcastic, cynical, easily bored, and dangerous to women.  He charms, seduces, and leaves them–with parting gifts of expensive jewelry to dry their tears.  But good looks and charm, combined with money and rank, make him welcome everywhere. The most popular bachelor in the Beau Monde can easily save Zoe’s risqué reputation . . . if the wayward beauty doesn’t lead him into temptation, and a passion that could ruin them both.

Dont Tempt Me by Loretta Chase

June 30, 2009: The Women of Nell Gwynne’s (Novella) by Kage Baker.

Here is a book description from the author’s site:

Lady Beatrice was the proper British daughter of a proper British soldier, until tragedy struck and sent her home to walk the streets of early-Victorian London. But Lady Beatrice is no ordinary whore, and is soon recruited to join an underground establishment known as Nell Gwynne’s. Nell Gwynne’s is far more than simply the finest and most exclusive brothel in Whitehall; it is in fact the sister organization to the Gentlemen’s Speculative Society, that 19th-century predecessor to a certain Company . . . and when a member of the Society goes missing on a peculiar assignment, it’s up to Lady Beatrice and her sister harlots to investigate. Women of Nell Gwynnes
  • Kage Baker’s site.
  • Scroll down linked page for excerpt.

June 30, 2009: What Happens in London (sequel to Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever) by Julia Quinn

Here is a book description from the author’s site:

When Olivia Bevelstoke is told that her new neighbor may have killed his fiancée, she doesn’t believe it for a second, but still, how can she help spying on him, just to be sure?  So she stakes out a spot near her bedroom window, cleverly concealed by curtains, watches, and waits… and discovers a most intriguing man, who is definitely up to something.

Sir Harry Valentine works for the boring branch of the War Office, translating documents vital to national security.  He’s not a spy, but he’s had all the training, and when a gorgeous blonde begins to watch him from her window, he is instantly suspicious.  But just when he decides that she’s nothing more than a nosy debutante, he discovers that she might be engaged to a foreign prince, who might be plotting against England. And when Harry is roped into spying on Olivia, he discovers that he might be falling for her himself . . .

What Happens in London
  • Julia Quinn’s site.
  • Excerpt on author’s site. (Scroll down.)

Oh man, that’s a lot of books! There’s something for just about everybody.

For information on other future releases, check out my Upcoming Releases page. For information about other books that were released in January thru April 2009, check out my Released in 2009 page.

Did I miss any books coming out this month that you’re looking forward to?

June 2, 2009 at 6:00 am 8 comments

Best Reads: February 2009

It was a busy reading month for me, with 18 books I read or audiobooks listened to. Here are some of my best ones for February:


Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta ChaseLord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase              

I was worried I had read/heard so much hype about this one, that I’d be disappointed. I wasn’t.

I loved Jess. She was such an original character: confident, unconventional, and funny. And, as I’ve said before, I love a tortured hero, and Dain is surely that. While at times I wanted to shake him out of his pity party, his growth and journey to accepting himself and Jess’ love made for a great read.

Read more on Lord of Scoundrels on my post.

  • Loretta Chase’s site.
  • Lord of Scoundrels excerpt.


Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn HaleWicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale                 

Ginn Hale’s beautiful prose made this book so captivating, despite the gritty, harsh world she’s built. Wicked Gentlemen is two novellas that revolve around Belimai Sykes a Prodigal (a descendant of demons) and William Harper, and Inquisitor (a police officer/priest).

I loved this small book (216 pp) for the wonderful stories, the beautiful cover, and even the quality of paper on which the book was printed. It’s a gem of a book.

Read more about Wicked Gentlemen on my post.

  • Ginn Hale’s site.
  • Wicked Gentlemen excerpt at Blind Eye books. (PDF download.)


Mexican Heat by Josh Lanyon Mexican Heat (Crimes and Cocktails series, book 1) by Josh Lanyon & Laura Baumbach M/M EBOOK 

Won over at Reviews by Jessewave.            

This was a great read! The connection between undercover cop Gabriel and Antonio, a lieutenant for a drug lord,was scorching. The opening in the nightclub sizzled on the pages. But, what made this book a stand-out was that it also was an absorbing crime novel. The twists and turns surrounding Gabriel’s undercover work were suspenseful and compelling. The latter part of the book, which had a very different action, more focused on the relationship development and the characters, was equally compelling.

I can’t wait for Tequila Sunrise, book 2 in the Crimes and Cocktails series. 

  • Josh Lanyon’s site.
  • Laura Baumbach’s site.
  • Excerpt for Mexican Heat.


Instant Attraction by Jill ShalvisInstant Attraction by Jill Shalvis

I’d heard so much buzz about this book, that I was worried that I’d be disappointed. However, I really enjoyed this contemporary romance. I think what I liked best about this book is that the way Cam and Katie related to each other felt real. Sometimes, she would tell him something, and it really felt authentic and straight-forward. I could imagine hearing (or saying) that in a real conversation. There wasn’t a lot of “will they/won’t they”, the drama focused more on Cam’s and Katie’s individual issues, which was really interesting and made for a great read!

To read more about Instant Attraction, check out my post.

  • Jill Shalvis’ site.
  • Excerpt for Instant Attraction (scroll down page.)


Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson series, book 4) by Patricia Briggs

This was my most highly anticipated releases of the year. I was not disappointed. Patricia Briggs continues to take Mercy to places I don’t expect, and is developing the series characters wonderfully.

Mercy’s learning how to not be the “lone wolf” coyote, and depend on those around her. This seems to be her biggest challenge in Bonecrossed.

I continue to love Adam, and how he is capably allowing Mercy her independence (despite his alpha tendencies) and yet let her know that she can rely on him (and the pack.) Stephan was a big surprise of the book. I really enjoyed seeing more of him and his developing connection to Mercy.

  • Patricia Briggs’ site.
  • Excerpt for Bone Crossed.


Made to be Broken by Kelley ArmstrongMade to be Broken (Nadia Stafford series, book 2) by Kelley Armstrong

I think of this series as Kelley Armstrong’s sleeper series. Her other excellent series’ make it easy to overlook this suspense series about hit woman, Nadia Stafford. Kelley Armstrong is such an accomplished writer and makes me empathize with Nadia (and dig Jack —even while his pronoun-less speech drives me a little batty) despite her morally questionable secret life. She wrestles with her own moral issues and examines what lines she’s willing to cross. Nadia’s investigation of her missing teenage employee is interesting, as well as the exploration of survivor-guilt around her cousin’s murder.
To read more about Made to be Broken, check out  my post..


Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia QuinnThe Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn

I love Julia Quinn’s facility with dialogue. I was reading this at work yesterday (I have an occasional job where I can read while working) and I kept catching myself smiling like an idiot (at least probably to the people who saw me) while reading.

Angsty heroes really get to me — I love em— but I wasn’t in the mood for heavy reading this weekend. TLDoW was a good balance of depth (Jack was a little angsty, without being morose and Grace was cheerful without being flighty) and froth. The word I keep thinking of to describe my reading experience of this book is “satisfying”.

To read more about The Lost Duke of Wyndham, check out my post.

  • Julia Quinn’s site.
  • Excerpt for The Lost Duke of Wyndham.


A Companion to Wolves by Elizabeth Bear & Sarah MonetteA Companion to Wolves by Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear

Re-read Challenge book for February

The re-read of this book did not disappoint. Isolfr’s world is so vivid and detailed, I was able to see and think about things that didn’t hit me during the first reading. I know I will visit his world again, both with more re-reads and with 2 more upcoming books in the ACtW world.

To read more about A Companion to Wolves, check out my post.

  • Publisher’s site.
  • Sarah Monette’s site.
  • Elizabeth Bear’s site.
  • Excerpt for A Companion to Wolves.

Were there any great reads for you in February?

March 3, 2009 at 8:00 pm 16 comments

Just finished reading . . . Lord of Scoundrels

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta ChaseLord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

I was worried I had read/heard so much hype about this one, that I’d be disappointed.

I wasn’t.

Here is the back cover description:

They call him many names but Angelic isn’t one of them…

Sebastian Ballister, the notorious Marquess of Dain, is big, bad, and dangerous to know.  No respectable woman would have anything to do with the “Bane and Blight of the Ballisters” — and he wants nothing to do with respectable women.  He’s determined to continue doing what he does best — sin and sin again — and all that’s going swimmingly, thank you…until the day a shop door opens and she walks in.

She’s too intelligent to fall for the worst man in the world…

Jessica Trent is a determined young woman, and she’s going to drag her imbecile brother off the road to ruin, no matter what it takes.  If saving him — and with him, her family and future— means taking on the devil himself, she won’t back down.  The trouble is, the devil in question is so shockingly irresistible, and the person who needs the most saving is — herself!

I loved Jess. She was such an original character: confident, unconventional, and funny.

As I’ve said before, I love a tortured hero, and Dain is surely that. While at times I wanted to shake him out of his pity party, his growth and journey to accepting himself and Jess’ love made for a great read.

Loretta Chase writes great dialog, and the scenes with Jess’ grandmother Genevieve, crackled.

Awesome quote #1:

The Challenge is to pry Bertie loose from Dain and his circle of oafish dengenerates,” Jessica said severely.

“It would be far more profitable to pry Dain loose for yourself,” said her grandmother. “He is very wealthy, his lineage is excellent, he is young, strong, and healthy, and you feel a powerful attraction.”

“He isn’t husband material.”

“What I have described is perfect husband material.” said her grandmother.

“I don’t want a husband.”

“Jessica, no woman does who can regard men objectively. And you have always been magnificently objective.” 

I think that what makes this scene so great, is that it sets up the readers expectations that it’s going in a certain direction (in this case that “All women want a husband.“) and then stands it on its head.

And then, a little later in the same scene—

Awesome quote #2:

. . . I tell you Dain is a splendid catch. I advise you to set your hooks and reel him in.”

Jessica took a long swallow of her cognac. “This is not a trout, Genevieve. This is a great, hungry shark.”

“Then use a harpoon.”

In the end, though, it really goes back to the characters. I love seeing how Dain’s and Jess’ relationship changes over the course of the book. Once Jessica understands Dain, she has such a great way of addressing his insecurities and self-loathing.

In a shift that takes this story from good to great, Jessica doesn’t just coddle and humor Dain. She makes him take that next step and trust himself and trust in her love.   **SPOILER**  She can’t do it for him. She gives him the push for him to do it himself, and, eventually, for his son. **END SPOILER**

This is the first book I’ve read by Loretta Chase, but it definitely won’t be the last! Are there any in particular I should read next?

February 4, 2009 at 7:00 am 20 comments

Vintage pin-up girl reading
Urban Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Mystery, M/M, Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, audiobooks, it just goes on and on...
A little bit more about me.

Renee's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

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September 20, 2011:
Tempted by His Target
Tempted by His Target by Jill Sorenson

October 4, 2011:
Angels of Darkness
Angels of Darkness with stories by Meljean Brook, Ilona Andrews, Nalini Singh, and Sharon Shinn


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