I just have to go “SQUEEE” about the terrific list of romance novels released today. Here are the ones I have read and enjoyed, thanks to advance copies from the authors or publishers:
These three authors are all auto-buy for me; they write wonderful historical romances. They all know how to handle the novella length, too; these three stories are just right, not feeling rushed or crammed into the shorter form. The stories are loosely linked, which gives the collection a nice unified feeling, but without the awkwardness that I sometimes find when an author is trying to write about characters that another author has created.
I’m planning a longer review of this book soon, a mother-daughter review, but I had to put it on today’s list as well. As much as we sometimes bemoan “sequel bait” in romance novels, where it’s obvious that certain secondary characters are going to be the central characters of later books, there are times when that’s exactly what I want — a secondary character has intrigued me through the earlier books, and I really want to see that character find romance. That’s what I got with this book, where the orphan music teacher Kate is at last front and center. Interestingly, it turns out that the backstory that really matters here isn’t what happened in the previous two books of the Spindle Cover series, but the intertwined history of Kate and Thorne, and their families. As usual, there are some very funny scenes in this book, juxtaposed with scenes of great passion.
The second book by Katie Porter was just as good as the first one, which I reviewed last month. Again, the sex is very hot, but this is definitely erotic romance rather than straight erotica — the focus is on the relationship between the characters. I thought the dynamic between Heather and Jon was written very well; their experiments with risky, kinky sex juxtaposed with their fears about taking the bigger risk of romantic commitment really got me caught up in the story.
I’m always eager to read a new Victoria Dahl book; there’s always something surprising, different or risky (or all three). Plus, you know, hot sex. The sexual chemistry in Dahl’s books is always powerful, because it’s always unique to the particular couple. Some of Dahl’s heroines have been called “unlikeable” (or worse), and Grace definitely falls into that category. I didn’t like her at first, but I found her interesting, and I could see that it would take a lot to get her into a believable long-term romance. I was less intrigued by Cole, her hot cowboy neighbor, but it didn’t take long to see that he was just what she needed, so I liked him for that. I’m not sure I really liked Grace even by the end of the book, but I admired her for coming out swinging at life and for eventually being able to trust and care about people, recognizing that there really are family, friends and lovers in the world who won’t stab you in the back or sacrifice your well-being for their own. And I just loved how that realization was all of a piece, that learning to trust someone else wasn’t confined to her relationship with Cole — instead, it was acceptance and friendship among women that helped her build the self-confidence to trust in romantic love.
Last, but oh-so-far from least, today is the release of the final book about Sirantha Jax, jump-pilot, space adventurer, diplomat, undercover agent, and so much more. I haven’t read this one yet, nor was I provided with an early copy. I have to make the time to go back and re-read the five previous books before I am prepared to say good-bye to one of my favorite science fiction heroines ever. I’m sad to see her go, but I’m also glad that the author had the good sense and integrity to bring the series to an end when she thought it was time, and I enthusiastically recommend it — especially to people who don’t like open-ended series and want to wait to make sure the last book really gets written. Here it is.