Upcoming books

In case any of you are wondering. The Hey Delia list of upcoming books is arranged by category, and then alphabetically by the authors first name. The historical books are always first!! Of Course!!


Ravishing in Red by Madeline Hunter
I bought this in February, read the first few pages then put it back in my TBR pile. So, then March came along and I bought Provocative in Pearls and put that in my TBR pile and stared at Ravishing in Red.

Girding my loins, I started reading Red, after the first 60 pages I became immersed in the story. The further along I read the more I didn't want this book to end. And, there is some really amazing writing in this book, I was especially interested in the way everything fell together so naturally. I'd be interested to know how Ms. Hunter plotted her story.

I loved the heroine Audrianna, she's a very naive woman without being silly. She's also a very honest woman and one of the great things about this book is that she and the hero Sebastian talk to each other. And, when I finished this story there was no doubt in my mind that these two were going to have a long relationship. Sebastian is a very complex hero, and the scenes between he and his brother Morgan are wonderful. (Note to Ms. Hunter - please give Morgan a story.) The secondary characters are well-written, and, I suspect that all of the hero and heroines from the series have been introduced. Ms. Hunter has sucked me into wanting to read the entire series. Even though the mystery plot is a minor backdrop to the characters, there were some things I didn't see coming.

Spoiler of sorts: Watch for a most amusing scene when Audrienna promises to be faithful to Sebastian.

So, this book is well-worth reading. I am looking forward to the rest in the Rarest Blooms series: Sinful in Satin, fall of 2010 and Dangerous in Diamonds, spring of 2011.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensualigy Rating: Hot

Memories Schmemories Part III, Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

Published in 1994
All I have to say is two words: Derek Craven!!!

If you have never read a Lisa Kleypas book, you're in for a treat with Dreaming of You. In my humble opinion, this one is her best. This is a sequel to Then Came You and the characters from that book make an appearance in this one. However, Dreaming of You is most definitely a stand alone book.

This book has a delightful, well-bred heroine, Sara Felding, who in the process of doing some research for a book that she is writing, stumbles across a violent assault in the making. Well, it's Sara to the rescue and with the handy-dandy little gun she carries around she accidentally kills one of the perpetrators and scares away the other. And who has she saved? You guessed it - Derek Craven.

Ah, Derek Craven. If I had a list of favorite romantic heroes, Mr. Craven would be there amongst the top ten. Now, Derek isn't your typical hero, no siree. He's had some pretty hard knocks in his life. He's a bastard who was raised by prostitutes (and by the way, at the end of the story he doesn't magically find out that he is the missing heir to a dukedom). He is a man who grew up in the underworld of London, doing all kinds of nasty, unsavory things just to survive... from chimney sweeping, body snatching and some things he just doesn't talk about. And, never once does he apologize for any of this. He does feel unworthy of the love that Sara brings to him, which is why he pushes her away. There is a short separation in this book, but don't worry.

There is plenty of sexual tension, and some very touching moments as these two remarkable characters struggle to find their HEA. Sara and Derek make a wonderful earthy couple and Dreaming of You is a must-read for people who love romance books.

So, get yourself a cup of hot chocolate, put your feet up and indulge in a tremendous, absorbing book. I promise you, you won't be disappointed.

Lisa Kleypas has been published since 1987, and most of her books are in a series. She just recently expanded into the contemporary romance field, but hasn't stopped writing historicals. I've included a list of some of her other books that you might enjoy: Devil in Winter, Worth Any Price, Lady Sophia's Lover, Then Came You, It Happened One Autumn, Where Dreams Begin, Seduce me at Sunset. It is also my understanding that the contemporary books Sugar Daddy and Blue Eyed Stranger are good, but I've never read them so I really don't know.

Time/Place Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Hot


A Moment to Ponder

I'd like to take a moment to reflect on the art of eye-rolling. This is all because of Cathy Maxwell and her hero that touched the ceiling and made me think of Andre the Giant.

I remember another eye-rolling moment, which actually turned into a raised eyebrow moment. It was either a Susan Johnson book or a Virginia Henley. The hero is aroused (and with those two, could he be anything else?) He was approaching the heroine; she looked down and observed that his manly equipage was touching his belly button. Yipes!!!

Since I am in possession of an inquiring mind, I immediately retrieved my handy dandy ruler... and on me, the measurement came to 10 inches or 25.4 centimeters. And I'm not built like a man, so it still turns out to be a yipes.

So, I must ask; why is it necessary to make everything bigger, stronger, smarter, or the best they've ever had? Why can't there be a normal, regular guy hero? And, I really think I must work on an eye-roller list.

The Elusive Bride by Stephanie Laurens
We're off on the road to ...India...Egypt...France...England.

Stephanie, Stephanie, Stephanie... I was one of your early fans, I even wrote you a fan letter when I read Captain Jack all those years ago. What happened?

When I first started reading The Elusive Bride I thought, Oh good, the hero is not the standard Laurens cave man, "you Jane, me Tarzan" kind of hero. In fact, the heroine, Emily Ensworth, seemed to be the aggressive one. Dare I say it, Emily even seems to have an amazing amount of stalker qualities as she follows the hero across continents. You see after the first meeting she knows he is the "one." How do we know Gareth is the "one?" Because it is told to us on every other page of the book as Emily writes in her diary! At first I was amused with her diary entries, and then I became irritated.

And then, we have the hero, heroine and their posse as they trek across the continents, trying to outrun the EEVVIILL black cobra cultists. You know they are the evil ones because they wear black things around their heads, and not only are they evil, but they are stupid because they never think about disguising themselves. Which is probably why they lose e-v-e-r-y single encounter they have with Emily and her posse. Not only do they lose, they die and then their bodies just mysteriously evaporate. And during all of the melees, not a single person in Emily's posse is hurt. Well, I take that back. In the last attack that I read, Dorcas the maid was injured. Of course she wouldn't have been injured if Emily hadn't decided that she was the only person who could go to market and replenish their supplies... Even though assassins in black are looking for her, she still goes to the market!!! She goes to the market a lot in this book and they are attacked a lot in this book and the cultists die in this book and then all the blood is cleaned up and then Emily goes to the market or rides a camel or walks on a boat and they are attacked and the bodies are disposed of and the blood is cleaned up and then Emily goes to the market... you get my drift. And, the hero... we don't know too much about him because he is little more than a cliche and he has hardly any POV.

I made it to page 147 before giving up on The Elusive Bride aka Stalker Bride.

Sorry Ms. Laurens, this was a DNF for me.

Time/Place: 1822 All over
Sensuality: Didn't get that far


The Marriage Ring by Cathy Maxwell
Cathy Maxwell is a one of my auto buy authors who also happens to be a hit and miss authors. I wasn't really too fond of her last book The Earl Claims His Wife, however, with The Marriage Ring, Ms. Maxwell redeemed herself and this book turned out to be on the hit list. This is the third book in her Scandals and Seduction series and I think it might be the best one in that series.

This has some of my favorite story elements in it, it has a priggish, uptight, hero, Richard. Richard is also described a number of times as big, almost touching the ceilings. When that happened my inner mind wondered just how freakish he was, but he was the hero so he couldn't be too bizarre looking...could he? He had a rough childhood and over the years he has grown into a very somber fellow. He's rather a gloomy Gus and he's even celibate! On the other hand, we have the feisty stubborn heroine, Grace. However, she isn't the type of feisty that a lot of romance readers hate, she's a well-written feisty. She is also blackmailing Richards father and uncle in a misguided attempt to clear her father's name.

This story is also a road trip story and in more than one way. Grace and Richard team up and journey from London to Inverness and have an adventure along the way. But we also get to see the internal journey they both make as they fall in love. And I have to say there are some really touching moments as they both suffer disappointment, especially with the people that they are trying to earn respect from.

If I had any quibble with this one it would be that I felt the ending was just a little rushed, as did some of the loose end tying. I would have liked to have seen a little bit more of Grace and Richard after the HEA.

So, all you people with soft hearts this one is for you.

Time Place: Regency England and Scotland
Sensuality Rating: Warm


Memories, Schmemories Part II...The Houseparty by Anne Stuart
Oh, how I miss Fawcett books, and here is one of the reasons why. The Houseparty by Anne Stuart, published in 1985, has been one of my favorites ever since reading it when it first came out. But, we all know how my memory is, so I was a tad bit nervous when I opened this book. One of my concerns was my big mouth and that I had been telling people what a great book this was. Well, I'm happy to report that it has withstood the test of time! This book is one of the reasons I love the romance genre and if you can get your hands on it, you should take the time to read it.

This story has all of the elements that normally I'm groaning about, but in Ms. Stuart's capable hands they turn into a very delightful story. It has a spy hero, Michael, and a spirited aka feisty heroine, Lizzie. Lizzie was constantly getting in trouble, snooping, going where she was warned not to go, and Michael was always turning up unexpectedly. But it was all great fun. There is also a great scene of Lizzie hiding and people going in and out of bedrooms... very funny.

The story takes place in the span of three days and is filled with tons of memorable characters; any one of them could be the bad guy. This book is a fast, charming read. You may not get any belly laughs out of this, but I believe this story will make you smile. Even though we don't really get to see the hero's POV, he's still a very sexy guy. And that is what makes great writing - a writer who can create this very interesting man without us seeing inside his head.

I'm glad to say that I am still very fond of this book. And by the way... Anne Stuart is a very talented writer. She writes gothics, thrillers, historicals, contemporaries... with a lot of dark male characters. If you haven't read any of her books, you should really give one a try. If you can get your hands on The Demon Count (1980) and Lord Satan's Bride (1981), both from the old Dell Candlelight Intrigue books, you'll will be in for a treat. Some other recommendations: Black Ice, The Devil's Waltz, To Love a Dark Lord, Ice Storm, Ice Blue, A Rose of Midnight, Nightfall, Lord of Danger. And again, a little word of warning - Anne Stuart is known for her very strong, dark, brooding men. She did get her start writing gothic novels, after all.

According to her website, she is working on a historical trilogy about the decadent Rohan family. The first book is scheduled to come out the latter part of 2010.

P.S. - My daughter also recommends the contemporary romance Special Gifts, starring a psychic and a cop.

Time/Place Regency England
Sensuality: Very Warm


In Bed with the Duke by Christina Dodd

To all of the peasantry, it's time for the pitchforks and torches!!
OMG! Where to begin? After a four year hiatus into Contemporaryland and Paranormalville, I was so looking forward to In Bed with the Duke by Christina Dodd. So, I lovingly opened the book. The time period was 1849, not my favorite, but I can deal with it... I started to read and what do you think I see right there on the first page, line nine (yes, I counted)?

Well, peasants let me tell you. The hero Michael is bored bored bored because he's attending a ball that is an "exact clone" of all the others. Exact Clone!!! Exact Clone!!! Clone!!! Clone in 1849? Well, now wait a minute, let's not fly off the handle.

Don't become one of those irritating historically accurate people. Maybe that term is being used legitimately. So, after about a half hour of research, I came across an article from the Medical History journal written by a Professor Ursula Mittwoch. And, do you know what that article was about? "Clone: The History of a Euphonious Scientific Term." Who'd have thunk it? Who writes articles on one word? Well, evidently Ursula did. So, here is the shortened version of what I found: Clone was borrowed from the Greek word Cron in 1899 by a Herbert Webber (it means twig.) In 1905 the "e" was added. And, in 1968 the definition of Clone was expanded to include "A group of genetically identical individuals." Close enough to a ball. (By the way, interesting article.)

So, I started ranting to my better half about being thrown out of a story in the very first page. He suggested I give the book a chance, that maybe it was just a fluke. Although he did question the necessity of using "exact" and "clone" together.

So, I plunged in... Oh dear... another pet peeve: the mythical kingdom. Every time I read a book with a made up kingdom, I always think of that old Bob Hope movie "Where There's Life," which is about a country called Barovia, has a secret society called the Mordia and is populated with Grubitch, Zavitch, Krovoc and Grimovitch. However, the movie didn't take itself seriously, unlike this book.

I can overlook many things, I can even overlook some of my pet peeves. However, what I cannot overlook is a romance that isn't a romance. Please, someone tell me how can the heroine fall in love or lust with a guy who wears a mask, is covered in white powder, wears some kind of a sheet thing, she can't see his eyes and he never... ever... says a word. I mean, really, what is there to love or even find attractive? He might as well be a coat rack... same thing. I just didn't get it.

Then it got worse. We have forced seduction, angry sex and rape or whatever you want to call it. And this was from the good guy... the hero. Which is why I suspect the villain was such a nasty piece of work - he had to be made to appear even crueler than the hero. This book was filled with some extremely brutal things. I was transported back to the bodice ripper days and it wasn't a happy trip.

Needless to say, I was very disappointed in this book and probably won't buy the sequel. So, if you want to read a Christina Dodd book, read one of her early ones, the ones where she seemed to care about what went into the making of a good romance story.

Time/Place Early Victorian England
Sensuality Rating: Hot if you think forced is hot


Secrets of a Scandalous Bride by Sophia Nash
Secrets of a Scandalous Bride brings to a satisfactory close the Widow Club series. There seemed to be only one book in the series that stumbled and that was Love with the Perfect Scoundrel. Secrets of a Scandalous Bride is a solid read; I only have a few minor quibbles.

Evidently the hero in this book, Rowland, was a villain in a previous book. However, I don't remember him. In fact, it wasn't until I read the names of Ata and Mr. Brown that I remembered which series I was reading. That's one of the problems with books in a series - I really have a problem remembering which one I'm reading. Is this the one with the four brothers who are spies and have animal names or is this the one with the sisters who run a school for wayward waifs who want to be either educated servants or enter society and marry a Duke? I do love a good series though.

Anyway, this book doesn't need the other ones in the series; it is able to stand alone. Both the heroine, Elizabeth, and the hero, Rowland, are well-rounded characters. This is a standard plot of a pretend widow hiding out at the stronghold of the wicked man, but the two main characters are really so well written that this didn't bother me.

Elizabeth is one of those heroines who always has a plan on how to extricate herself, though I don't think any of her plans ever worked. Rowland was the stronger of the two characters, and I really liked him. He is really really a tormented soul hiding behind a gruff exterior (and I do mean gruff), but Elizabeth doesn't allow him to bully her. They actually make quite a wonderful couple. Neither one of them are truthful with one other, but for some reason that doesn't matter and they both know the other person isn't being truthful. And, even though neither one of them were honest with each other, there really isn't any big misunderstanding. I know that doesn't make any sense, but if you read the book you'll understand.

Now for the quibbles. It seemed to me that parts of the book were rushed and all of the loose ends were tied rather quickly, especially the last widow, Sarah. When her particular end got tied I felt my eyebrows go up, and said to myself "Oh, Puleese!"

But all in all, I'd say this is a satisfying ending to a series that, for the most part, I have enjoyed.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Hot


Lisa Valdez

Well, I just added Patience to by TBR list. Release date is scheduled for April 6, 2010. Will I order it? Will the date be moved? After all of this time, will I even like it? It's either going to be "after all of this time THIS is what we waited for?" or "after all of this time THIS is what we waited for!" That was my Rashomon moment.