Friday, April 2, 2021

On the Shelf: March 2021


My March was packed with books that will probably make my Best Of list for 2021—like Farah Heron's sophomore novel Accidentally Engaged. A genuine rom-com in a time when the label has come to stand for anything with a cartoon cover, Accidentally Engaged pairs Reena and her hot new neighbor Nadim in a roller-coaster Muslim Millennial romance. I loved this book so much—and it made me so hungry! Then there's An Unexpected Peril, which might just be Deanna Raybourn's funniest entry in her Veronica Speedwell mystery series. But the nonstop razor-sharp wit doesn't steal thunder from a compelling plot that makes Veronica and Stoker question their relationship. It's a perfect balance of laughter and seriousness.  



This past month also saw the close of the late Rachel Caine's Stillhouse Lake series, and this last visit with Gwen Proctor and her family is a testament to her talent and her work. Our industry has lost a true light, and I miss her as a reader as much as I miss her as a colleague. On the flip side of the book spectrum—a beginning rather than an ending—is a debut author with a gorgeous voice, Tracy Deonn with Legendborn. Her page-turner of a contemporary YA fantasy puts a fresh spin on Arthurian legend, and I can't wait to see what comes next!    


The Reading Rundown:
Heartbreak Bay by Rachel Caine (thriller, suspense, mystery)
The Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting by KJ Charles (historical m/m romance)
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn (young adult fantasy, Arthurian legend retelling)
Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron (contemporary romance)
An Unexpected Peril by Deanna Raybourn (historical mystery)
A Lesson in Thorns by Sierra Simone (erotic romance)
Cards of Love: The Moon by Sierra Simone (erotic romance, novella, Arthurian legend retelling)
Quiet in Her Bones by Nalini Singh (thriller, suspense, mystery)
The Last One Home by Victoria Helen Stone


Backlist adventures: City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong.

Currently reading:  It Takes a Thief by Sloane Steele.

On the TBR/wish list: 
The Girl With the Stars in Her Eyes by Xio Axelrod
Well Matched by Jen DeLuca
Illusionary by Zoraida Córdova
Pretty Little Wife by Darby Kane
First Comes Like by Alisha Rai
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

Monday, March 1, 2021

On the Shelf: January/February 2021

You know the first two months of 2021 have been rocky when I can't even muster up the energy to write an intro paragraph. So here you go! I'm cutting straight to the chase (but not the Loretta Chase)!   


The Reading Rundown
"Apassionata" by Emma Barry, from He's Come Undone (contemporary romance, anthology, novella)
Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev (out 7/6, contemporary romance, Jane Austen retelling)
Learned Reactions by Jayce Ellis (out 3/9, m/m contemporary romance)
The Three Mrs. Greys by Shelly Ellis (out 3/30, mainstream fiction, romantic suspense)
Worship by Jack Harbon (contemporary romance, erotic romance, novella)
Looking for Trouble by Misha Horne (m/m historical romance, erotic romance)
Wild Rain by Beverly Jenkins (historical romance)
Tale of the Drunken Sword by Jeannie Lin (historical romance, novella)

Backlist adventures: For My Lady's Heart by Laura Kinsale. A reread of Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas. The Unwanted Wife by Natasha Anders. Tiger Eye by Marjorie M. Liu.   

Currently reading: The Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting by KJ Charles and Black and British: a Forgotten History by David Olusoga.


On the TBR/wish list:
The Girl With the Stars in Her Eyes by Xio Axelrod
Knit, Purl, a Baby, and a Girl by Hettie Bell
Well Matched by Jen DeLuca
Illusionary by Zoraida Córdova
Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron
Pretty Little Wife by Darby Kane
First Comes Like by Alisha Rai
An Unexpected Peril by Deanna Raybourn
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
Anne of Manhattan by Brina Starler
The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

Friday, January 1, 2021

On the Shelf: December 2020

In December, with the first draft of Pretty Little Lion turned in to my editor, I finally got to relax and tackle some things in my TBR pile...but I didn't make enough of a dent to suit my competitive streak! 2020 being what it was, I didn't really expect to top last year's reading tally of 135 books. But when my total ended up being 95—even with one last book just hours before midnight on December 31—I was pretty disappointed in myself. Ouch. I didn't even crack 100! Oh, well. Now there's 12 months ahead for me to get my peepers on more pages! 

The pages I peeped in December included some incredible historical romances, like Courtney Milan's The Duke Who Didn't, Eva Leigh's hysterical Waiting for a Scot Like You and EE Ottoman's soft and gentle The Longest Night. I also had a Zoraida Córdova lovefest. I've probably said this before, but I would read Zoraida's grocery lists. I'm such a fan. She makes every genre she steps into her own. I also really enjoyed Rosie Danan's The Intimacy Experiment, a thoughtful exploration of faith and intimacy—and sex—as a rabbi and a former adult film star fall in love.  


The Reading Rundown:

Vampires Never Get Old by Zoraida Córdova, Natalie C. Parker, Samira Ahmed, et al (anthology, young adult horror)
Wayward Witch by Zoraida Córdova (young adult fantasy)
The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan (out 4/6/21, contemporary romance)
When She Was Naughty by Tessa Dare (historical romance, novella)
Red Hands by Christopher Golden (horror, thriller/suspense)
Waiting for a Scot Like You by Eva Leigh (out 2/23/21, historical romance)
The Duke Who Didn't by Courtney Milan (historical romance)
The Longest Night by EE Ottoman (historical LGBT+ romance, novella)
The Road to Rose Bend by Naima Simone (out 4/27/21, contemporary romance)
Running Away With the Bride by Sophia Singh Sasson (out 1/1/21, contemporary category-length romance)

Currently reading: The Empire Strikes Back: From a Certain Point of View by S.A. Chakraborty, Zoraida Córdova, et al.

On the TBR/wishlist:
Knit, Purl, a Baby, and a Girl by Hettie Bell
Well Matched by Jen DeLuca
Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev
Illusionary by Zoraida Córdova
The Three Mrs. Greys by Shelly Ellis
Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron
Pretty Little Wife by Darby Kane
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri