On My Radar, September 15 to October 14, 2012!!

August 27, 2012 

Suzanne Enoch

Rules to Catch a Devilish Duke
Scandalous Brides series
Release date, September 25, 2012

Gaelen Foley

My Scandalous Viscount
Inferno Club series
Release date, September 25, 2012 

Karen Hawkins

How to Capture a Countess
Duchess Diaries series
Release date, September 18, 2012

Leigh Michaels

The Birthday Scandal
Release date, September 25, 2012

Sherry Thomas

Tempting the Bride
Fitzhugh series
Release date, October 2, 2012

The title caught my eye:
Heather McElhatton

Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Married
Sequel to Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Single
Release date, October 9, 2012

For a more complete list of upcoming releases see Hey Delia!

Stolen Love by Carolyn Jewel

August 27, 2012

Have I got a deal for you, maybe.
As I've mentioned before, the publishing world is a very interesting place at this time. All the self-publishing and out-of-print author backlists can open up all kinds of offerings for readers. So, recently, while visiting one of my favorite author websites, Carolyn Jewel, I found that she had released one of her older that I had never read...and it was only 99 cents. Stolen Love was originally published in 1991 and, sad to say, this novel not only shows its age but also has some things that, for me, just shout, "I need a friend with a red pencil!" This book reminded me a lot of a beginner's manuscript, and one that was in need of some editing and rewrites. Although, I can see a future Carolyn Jewel in some of the story.

First of all the copy editing. I'm not sure if the original manuscript was turned in this way or if it is the fault of electronic formatting. But on page 307 is this sentence: "Carolyn Jewel "No doubt he was." Now, I'm sure that Ms. Jewel did not mean for her name to appear in the body of the story, but there it is. There were also a number of times where the scenes changed abruptly, without benefit of any kind of spacing: page 574: 
"Mr. Johns was quite anxious to talk with you, Elizabeth," Mrs. Willard put in.
"Was he?"
"Yes, so you mustn't be surprised if he is one of the first to call on you."
"Enough about Mr. Johns and this thief nonsense." Havoc stood up.
"What is that, Uncle Havoc?"
"Come with me, and I'll show you."
Nicholas stood up when he heard Mr. Baker walking down the hall to the. .."

Now, somewhere between Uncle Havoc and Nicolas there should have been a break/warning/space because these are two different scenes.  And, that wasn't the only time that happened in the book.  So, those editing problems were a little irritating but they could be a formatting problem.

Now, on to the general editing, and this is where the friend with the red pencil comes in.  This was so in need of someone going over this story and asking questions. Why was he a thief? What are his thoughts? What are her thoughts? What are any of these people thinking? What is Uncle Havoc giving Elizabeth?  What's up with the secondary character Jane? Who does Ripton really love?

This book had a lot of conversation between the characters, a lot of Jane Austen-like posturing, but no really in-depth POV. There was not a real spark between the hero (Nicholas) and the heroine (Elizabeth.) Even the eventual consummation, while it had the required grunts and sweat, was all same ol, same ol.

So, for 99 cents why am I griping? Because, having come to love the writing of Carolyn Jewel, I was expecting one of her first novels to be as good as the ones that followed. Stolen Love needed some rewriting. It had the beginnings of a good novel, but the finished product didn't have the polish of a finished Jewel novel.  If you want to read a good Carolyn Jewel, I suggest Indiscreet or Scandal.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Yawn Hot


Coming!!!!! Midnight Scandals

Courtney Milan
What Happened at Midnight

Sherry Thomas
A Dance at Midnight

Carolyn Jewel

Midnight Scandals out August 28, 2012.

The Duke's Tattoo by Miranda Davis

August 22, 2012

A self-published gem!
This book was recommended to me and I immediately shivered with dread.  I'm always leery of other people's recommendations.  There's always that little nagging voice that asks, what if I don't like it?  Then the person doing the recommending will hate my liver - and never speak to me again.  So, there is a great quandary when I read books that someone else "just loved."  In the case of The Duke's Tattoo, I'm glad I picked it up, because I really enjoyed it.

The Duke's Tattoo is Miranda Davis' debut novel and it appears to be in electronic format only.  Incidentally, I couldn't seem to find a website for Ms. Davis; however, she seems to have a place to hang out at Goodreads.

As I stated earlier in my meanderings, this is a self-published book, which could be good...could be bad.  I'm finding the whole publishing world to be pretty interesting at this point.  All the changes that are happening and what was once considered a "no one else will publish me" venue, is now becoming more accepted as a means for authors to share their voices.  And in this particular case Ms. Davis' voice is one which should be heard.

I did not see any typos, but to be perfectly honest, I wasn't really looking for any.  Do you know why?  Well, because I was enjoying reading this story so much, I just didn't have the time to check.  Besides that, I've found typos in books printed by publishers who have a gazillion editors roaming their hallways.  I'm not saying there weren't any, I'm just saying I didn't look, nor did I care.

I hear another question drifting my way.  You know, some of us have been in Romanceland w-a-y too long and we have become historically accurate elitist, shall I say, snobs. I often hear, "well the author should have done some research."  In fact, I bet those words have even dropped from my mouth.  But, I have to ask, how much research is one supposed to do?  How many language, fashion, history books must one read?  And are all of those research books accurate?  If a fashion in a book doesn't exactly match what was supposed to be worn in that time period is that due to the author's lack of knowledge...or is it actually possible that a woman could be ten years behind the time in her clothing?  Could a woman actually still be wearing something from ten years ago?  OMG, the shame.  In real life we are not all fashionistas who are able to keep up with the latest frou-frou.  This is a romance book for Pete's sake not a master's thesis on history.  And, I have digressed.

Back to The Duke's Tattoo.  I was impressed with Ms. Davis' debut novel.  Anyone that can write humor and write it so it's actually funny shows some real talent.  I loved the way the story was organized and how it moved through time.  This is also one of the few times I didn't skip over those little annoying chapter headings.  These little one liners were very clever and gave me a forewarning of what was to come in each chapter.  Loved them.

The banter between the hero (Jem) and the heroine (Prudence) was intelligent and witty.  The plotline may have been a tad bit silly, but I didn't mind.  The front of the book may have moved faster than the last section, but that's just a minor quibble.  And, while revenge isn't one of my favorite things, in this case I found the kerfuffled revenge tattoo to be highly amusing.   Bottom line - this book is fun.

Now, I do have a couple of quibbles.  Authors, tie your loose ends - if you have creepy characters, make sure they all get their comeuppance.

Now for a lesson in anatomy.  When we have a Hilary Hymen, she will always be an external character.  There will be no "inching" in by any Timothy Toad, no matter how small or large he may be.  And, as we all know the Mr. Toads on our heroes in romance books are always humongous, but even so, there is no dark tunnel to travel down in Hilary Hymen's world.  If you are interested in reading more articles on The HMS: Hymen Mislocation Syndrome check out Smart Bitches Trashy Books blog.  They have a number of articles on the Hymen mystery.

After all that - I hardily recommend this book and am definitely looking forward to the sequels.  We have another author to keep our eyes on.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Hot

How to Romance a Rake by Manda Collins

August 15, 2012

Three's a Crowd
With her second book, How to Romance a Rake, author Manda Collins has stepped up her game and created a very special heroine.  This book has a polish about it that wasn't present in her debut novel and she has created some memorable characters - even the stinkers!

Let's take a look at the main reason this book is so good - the heroine, Juliet.  Juliet has a couple of problems to overcome: her absent, inattentive father; her cruel, detestable mother.  And, by the way this mother should get the 2012 Mommie Dearest award. What a horrible woman.  Juliet is shy, hides herself away from society.  But you see she has a very good reason for doing so, for the biggest of all of her problems is her physical disability.  Now, this disability isn't your standard Romanceland scar across the eyebrow - no siree.  Due to an accident, a portion of her leg was amputated, so this lends itself to all kinds of struggles, both physical and mental.

Juliet was an interesting character to watch. She appears to be weak, but she's not.  She is a very strong woman, unsure of herself one moment, blossoming the next.  The only thing I would have liked to have seen was her punching her mother in the face.

Then we have Deveril, who seems to be a Beta hero and I'm not sure why the title infers that he is a rake.  He didn't seem to have those qualities in this book.  He was sweet, kind and supportive of Juliet.  His easy acceptance of her disability was wonderful.  The one quibble I have with his character was his guilt over his mother's death.  So many heroes in romance novels seem to have this enormous guilt over something that happened when they were children.  I'm finding the "I killed my brother/mother/father/sister/cousin/friend blame game and I was only 3" a little tiresome.

There is a mystery in this story and it pretty well written.  In fact, I didn't see the villain coming.  Well done!

I have one more quibble.  As much as I love continuing/sequels/prequels/whatevers, I need a break from the "group rescue" scenes.  Yes, I know we want to see the characters from the last novel and we must be introduced to the personalities from future books, but all those people barging into a room to save someone is a tad bit silly.

Overall, this was a wonderful addition to the Ugly Duckling series and as to date my favorite.  I knew Manda Collins had a strong voice and How to Romance a Rake proves it.  I'm really looking forward to the third story.  Good job, Ms. Collins!

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Hot


Touch of a Scoundrel by Mia Marlowe...#2

August 13, 2012

Quick get me my umbrella!
Spoilers ahead.  I'm not sure what I think of this book.  There were portions that I found very entertaining and then there were parts that were eye-rolling moments. I didn't have any problems with the cover, loved it!  Even though the cover has headless people, the color is so wonderful and I loved the scroll work around the text.  Very eye catching!

Now, on to Touch of a Scoundrel.  Touch, in this case refers to the heroes (Devon) ability to "see" the future when he touches things.  Although, in true Romanceland "see/touch" fashion this ability wasn't always consistent.  However, that didn't really bother me.  Of course our heroine, Emma drops a pencil and we are presented with a very scorcher of a scene as Devon "sees" into the future.  Devon, tries to resist what he sees.  Silly boy, he obviously doesn't know the instant lust routine in romance books.  Even when the heroine is the almost-fiancee of his brother.  Even when he must fight his manly urges so he can have just a little bit of honor.  But, honor in this book seems to be an awfully pale shadow, because in the end, he does succumb to his cravings.

While we are talking about dim honor, let's talk about Emma.  Emma, along with her non-father are con artists.  And, they are out to flim-flam Teddy (Devon's brother) out of some money.  Now, they have a good reason, however, I'm not going to tell what that reason is, but I bought it. 

Let's talk about one of my problems with Touch of a ScoundrelEmma's soggy.  This woman really needs to see a doctor about her leaking woman-parts.  They cry you see.  They are dewy, wet, weepy, sometimes even torrential flood waters.  Every time this woman thought about Devon things got moist. I thought I might need a boat just to maneuver through the pages of scorching sex.  We almost had a tropical jungle thing going on in this book and, after awhile some eye-rolling on my part.  Often, I feared for our hero's life with all the drenching that was taking place.  Maybe heroes should be equipped with snorkels.

And, now on to the other thing that bothered me: the villain.  I'm not sure we really needed one.  The story was just fine without his continual dropping in.  To say nothing of the over the top kidnap/drug scene, which didn't work for me and created some really big eyebrow moments.

So, if you can get past the outrageous villain and the wet heroine, this book is pretty good.  I do recommend it, just be prepared for a little dew.
Time/Place: Late Victorian England
Sensuality: Scorching
Grade: B+


Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch

August 6, 2012
What happened?  Where's Masterpiece Theater when you need 'em?
After all of these years watching Masterpiece Theater-Mystery, BBC productions, movies made by and starring British actors, afters years and years of Inspectors Lewis, Frost and Foyle, the Black Adder, Sharpe, Dr. Who, Patsy and Eddy, you would think I'd be somewhat familiar with the language of Great Britain.  You would think!  Well, soo-prise, soo-prise (use Gomer Pyle voice).  Along came Midnight Riot published in the United Kingdom under the name of Rivers of London.  I'm not sure why marketing felt the change in titles was necessary - I like the title Rivers of London better and it's more on point with the story.

However, la-di-da, la-di-da, da-da, we have the title Midnight Riot.  This book is the first in a series by Ben Aaronovitch, Moon Over Soho and Whispers Underground follow.  And, we are introduced to constable Peter Grant, who also happens to be a struggling apprentice wizard - this part of the story comes as a bit of a surprise to Peter.  Now, don't think just because Peter is a wizard that we are entering the world of Harry Potter, because we are not.  First of all Peter is a grown man with a west African culture, which I found totally absorbing.  Secondly, even though there is gore galore, this story just isn't as dark in texture as Harry's.  I believe that is mainly due to Peter's wonderfully wry wit.  It doesn't matter whose face is falling off in this book, Peter is always there with some kind of funny remark or witty thought.

This is the first Urban Fantasy I believe I've read, although the lines between detective-thriller-paranormal-urban are somewhat blurred. 

Anyway, I enjoyed Midnight Riot.  I was fascinated by the mystical world that Mr. Aaronovitch was/is creating.  Even though I was sometimes lost in the Englishness of the story, I was glad that the book had not been Americanized.

If I had any quibbles with the story it was that the plot line wasn't anything new and was easily resolved.  I also could have done without the history lesson on Bow Street Runners.  And, occasionally I had a problem with Peter being on his own a lot, in his police work and his wizardly learning.

However, I loved the look at all the Gods and Goddesses, and enchanted creatures.  And, I think this is a series I'm going to continue reading because I want to see what is in the future for Peter and his magical world.

Time/Place: Current London
Sensuality: Warm/Cute
Violence: Graphic