Pimp Your Fave

imageI recently reviewed Caught Running by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux based on a simple, “I loved this book,” from a fellow reader. I passed that recommendation on, and received another recommendation back, Matthew Haldeman-Time’s self-published book Off the Record.

Book CoverJane and I frequently trade “OMG SQUEE” email messages about books we like. Because of her happy recommendation, I’m now reading Kristan Higgins’ Just One of the Guys, and I am loving it. It’s another “Dammit I stayed up too late reading” book that totally followed me out of the bag onto the treadmill. I’m loving it.

So I got to thinking – what books are you totally loving right now? Hook us up with your latest fave – and please, don’t recommend your own book. This is word-of-mouth love it “OMG SQUEE” time for someone else’s book. It doesn’t need to be a gay romance – could be anything that you just love, maybe that doesn’t get enough attention. I’ll be picking a comment at random in 24 hours to win a paper copy of Haldeman-Time’s book (which I haven’t read yet but have been told it’s just majestically good like holy damn hell). So, what’s your pleasure romance read of late?

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General Bitching...

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  1. 1

    I’ve been delighted by some of the m/m sent to UP for review lately (links to my reviews because all the purchase info etc is there) – these are books which remind me again why I love the m/m genre. Good, realistic guys, good plots, strong writing.

    L.A. Heat by P. A Brown
    Maloney’s Law by Anne Brooke (warning – not so much a romance as a love story)
    Hart and Soul by Nica Berry
    Secrets (and the rest of the ‘Psycop’ series) by Jordan Castillo Price
    Bad Case of Loving You by Laney Cairo
    If you like big lush, over the top sex, romance, cock and hurt/comfort, you just can’t go past P.L. Nunn. She was my gateway drug into m/m writing :) I pimp her every chance I get because she’s the total package – great plot, compelling characters, hot hot sex, fabulous romance. Can’t spell worth a dickens, but I fixed most of the mistakes I hope when I edited her stuff to be self-published.

    I am not a fan in the least of Haldemann-Time’s writing, so I don’t know what you’ll make of her stuff. But then I really hated the excerpt of ‘Caught Running’ so maybe my tastes won’t gel with yours.

  2. 2
    Peaches says:

    The Sharing Knife.  I’m on a Bujold rampage right now.

  3. 3
    Damaris says:

    Jasmine Haynes. My favorite contemporary author at the moment. I would also love some recs of contemp romance author – for some reason they’re really hard to find.

  4. 4
    rooruu says:

    It’s a gentle romance, as suits its epistolary form and time period (1940s), but awfully fun to read, engaging and charming and sometimes laugh aloud funny too: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer. 

    I blogged more about it here: http://rooruu.blogspot.com/2008/08/current-reading-guernsey-literary-and.html

    and am looking forward to listening to the audiobook.

    (probably46 – chuckle, the book’s set in 1946!)

  5. 5

    Twist, by Colby Hodge. OMGMAJORSQUEE like merde and like mon dieu. Her heroine has a kanata and isn’t afraid to use it. Dude, splatters left, right and sideways. Plus there’s a hunky vamp doctor, that’s always a bonus.

    As Mrs Giggles once said: Show me the Shomi!

    My security word is zipper72. Now why does that make me chuckle?

  6. 6
    JaniceG says:

    Just finished If His Kiss Is Wicked by Jo Goodman, one of the most non-formulaic Regencies I’ve read in a while: mysterious attacks, heroine who doesn’t want to get married, intriguing hero, you name it. I really enjoyed it and am recommending it right and left.

    On the lighter side, finally tracked down the last book in Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series: clever writing and ironic asides in these Regencies made them fun commute reading.

  7. 7

    Shades of Dark by Linnea Sinclair.  Warning- imho you should probably read Gabriel’s Ghost first, and reread it if you read it back when it came out- I started SOD (unfortunate acronym, that) and went back to reread GG before continuing, not because the author didn’t introduce the concepts well enough for me to move forward, but because I remembered GG well enough to know that I was missing subtleties in the larger plot because the details weren’t fresh. 

    These are solidly plotted space operas, and damn fine books (GG won the RITA in ‘05, and Sinclair was nominated this year for Games of Command- chick can write).  Sully and Chaz are an incredibly well matched couple- they kick ass, take names, have great sex, shoot stuff, make and break alliances, try to save the universe whether it wants to be saved or not, and deal with the very real, concrete issues separating them.  At times, particularly in the first half of SOD, they channel Eve and Roarke for me- they’ve got that same level of profound love and respect for one another (and did I mention the great sex?), while still being individuals who quite often fundamentally disagree, and occasionally kick each others’ asses.

    However, while a damn fine book like its predecessor, SOD is also. . . moving, disturbing, and challenging in a way GG was not.  I finished SOD yesterday and am still processing it.  Where GG left me warm, fuzzy and happy, SOD left me thinking Deep Thoughts.

    Sinclair addresses something I’ve often wondered about at the end of a great romance with a yummy alpha hero… okay, you’ve got him.  Now, how the hell do you live with him?  More, what if his alpha traits get, not just a little stronger, but significantly stronger?  What if the thing you feared in him actually *is* as bad as you thought it could be?  What if it’s significantly worse?  What if, in the end, you really *are* better off without him, even though you love the hell out of him?  [Yes, there’s a HEA, but it’s unexpected and bittersweet.]

    SOD made me cringe in places.  It made me utter Bad Words.  It yanked out emotions that I’m not totally comfortable with.  It made me wish there was another twenty pages at the end that assured me Chaz and Sully were okay, and to a degree it helped me understand why V’s book pissed so many people off (which I hadn’t seen coming). 

    Was it puppies and kittens?  No.  But I could.  Not.  Put.  It.  Down.  And I’m still thinking about it this morning, and probably will be for a couple of days yet.

    Well played, Ms. Sinclair.  Well played.

  8. 8
    Joanne says:

    Death Angel by Linda Howard.

    Based on the cover blurb (not to mention the stupid-not-relevant cover) I was going to pass on this book but then readers on other message boards where saying go for it and I’m so glad I did.

    (the blurb is so far off that it should be cut off the dustjacket—- just sayin’)
    Great writing. And the heroine goes from Trashy Bitch to Cool Bitch in one book. I loved it.

  9. 9
    Lizzie (greeneyed fem) says:

    I just finished Marjorie M. Liu’s The Red Heart of Jade and I am SO excited that there are many more Dirk & Steele books waiting for me to read!

    I picked it up at a library book sale last week because of a vaguely-remembered discussion on this site about books in foreign settings that don’t cast foreign peoples as stereotypes, and I’m so glad I did. Her dialogue is yummy-yummy-wonderful, and the plot pacing is edge-of-your-seat. I’m usually a Regency girl, and I don’t find myself drawn to paranormals, but I want to line up all her books, even the non-Dirk&Steele;, and devour them one by one.

  10. 10
    Malin says:

    Farthing by Jo Walton. It’s not a romance, it’s alternate reality 1949 (where England made peace with the Third Reich and is pretty much the only country in Europe not a part of the Reich… but is slipping and sliding – or being shoved – into fascism) but when I read the last page and sat back to breathe my reaction was “DAMN! MORE!” Now I’m trying to wait until next summer to get Ha’Penny and Half a Crown so HaC will be out in paperback and I’ll be able to read all three in one sweep.
    (And I have to point out that I usually hate (hate! HATE!) reading about WWII/Third Reich etc! It’s just somehow too close, too ugly, too *real* somehow for me to want to deal with so it says a lot that I’m recommending a book where fascism exists. Ps. Yeah, I don’t mind fascism in SF/F because it’s ‘distanced’ and I know that eventually, somewhere there will be a happy ending but in real life there were/are just too many unhappy/miserable stories/endings. And sorry this got totally OT!)

    I just got hooked on Lois McMaster Bujold. (Thanks SB & DA!) I read Mountains of Mourning from Baen Free Library and sampled Shards of Honor on line (it’s CRUEL that they only have ten chapters up!) and have ordered Cordelia’s Honor, Young Miles and Miles, Mischief and Mayhem to read ASAP.

    I’m also enjoying my way down the list of SB Sarah’s summer reading recommendations (with lots of “damn! more!“s) but as they are known to most (all?) already I won’t mention them here.

  11. 11
    Joanna says:

    Anything by Katie MacAlister. She’s funny, witty, and clever with realistic men and sassy ladies. She writes historical, comtemporary, and paranormal romantic comedies. My favourite so far is ‘The Trouble with Harry’. Very thrilling. HOT sex scenes as well ;)

  12. 12

    I’ll recommend a couple of my favorite YA authors that I think are FABULOUS and take more risks than many adult books.

    Megan Whalen Turner’s series THE THIEF, THE QUEEN OF ATTOLIA, and THE KING OF ATTOLIA are set in an alternate universe in roughly Byzantine times.  The first book is all about the pov, baby, and is deceptively simple.  The second book is one emotional slamdunk after another.  The third book also has some awesome pov stuff going on, which is even more fun because if you’re reading these in order, and you should, you can bounce and squeal with what you know and the pov character doesn’t.

    Elizabeth Wein has a whole series of middle-grade books beginning with THE WINTER PRINCE that begin as Arthurian but shift radically; after the first book, she takes her characters out of the British Isles and travel to Aksum, an Ethiopian kingdom.  I’d recommend beginning with THE SUNBIRD, a harrowing undercover spy story starring a pre-pubescent boy.  Just read them, okay?  You can thank me later.

  13. 13
    robinb says:

    Post law school (and bar exam) , I’m trying to play catchup!  I’m LOVING Brockmann’s Seals/Troubleshooters series.  On Flashpoint right now. 

    I actually wish there was more that I loved, so I’m looking forward to the rest of these comments!

  14. 14
    Lisa G. says:

    Okay, I’ve got several, but I’ll limit it to two. Just recently finished “The Critic” by Dyanne Davis—-absolutely loved it! I also really, really, (REALLY) love “Try a Little Tenderness” by Roslyn Hardy Holcomb.

    Both of these books are contemporary and neither can really be considered traditional romances, especially “The Critic.” The two characters will have you holding your stomach from laughing. And “Try a Little Tenderness” has so much adventure and fun in it, you won’t be able to think of it as traditional!

    In the words of Mikey’s brother: “Try it (uh…them); you’ll like it.  (S)He likes it, hey Mikey!”

  15. 15

    Money Shot by Christa Faust.  Talk about a guilty pleasure!  This is one of the new noir novels published under the Hard Case imprint.  The heroine is a retired porn star and it starts with her riddled with bullets and locked in the trunk of a car.  After that it gets exciting.[g]

    Most definitely not a romance, but I couldn’t put it down.

  16. 16
    Nora Roberts says:

    I recently read SILENT IN THE GRAVE. What an amazing new talent. I immediately got a copy of the follow-up, SILENT IN THE SANCTUARY. Gorgeous writing, fascinating characters and a strong, talented voice.

  17. 17
    hollygee says:

    Do you mean one of those books that is so satisfying that when you finish you sit back to bask in its wonderfulness and you just can’t quite get into any other book because they can’t compare?

    Sweet Love by Sarah Strohmeyer

  18. 18
    Cat Marsters says:

    Based on the cover blurb (not to mention the stupid-not-relevant cover) I was going to pass on this book

    Which is what exactly what I thought about My Lord and Spymaster by Joanna Bourne.  If I hadn’t read The Spymaster’s Lady (on a SB recommendation, so thank you) and found it so brilliant, I’d never have looked at her second book.  Here’s a plea to publishers (this one is Avon): stop cheapening wonderful books with terrible, old-fashioned, bodice-ripping, demeaning, and inaccurate covers!  The blurb’s nearly as bad.  A daring beauty risking everything for love, etc etc.  Pass the cliché bucket, I’m going to vomit these into it.  Not even accurate (she’s risking everything, including love, to save her father).  Does the book a great disservice—a lot of people will probably miss out on something wonderful because if the dire packaging.

    Rant over.  Loved My Lord and Spymaster.  Beautifully written, terribly evocative and intricately set out.  Wonderful characters, including the supporting cast (a couple of whom are familiar from spymaster’s Lady).  Grey characters, very little black and white.  Another engaging, smart and witty heroine who’s knows there are some things worth being afraid of, some times she should keep her mouth shut—and other times to be fearless, and say what the hell she wants.  A hero who is not just smart, strong and kind (Regency England must have been bursting with them) but complex, flawed in the same complicated ways as the heroine, exasperating and exasperated.  And whoa-damn sexy.

  19. 19
    Gail says:

    Eva Ibbotson. A Countess Below Stairs left me a warm fuzzy feeling, and a new spot on my comfort reads list.

  20. 20
    shadowedge says:

    I recently finished Hollie Gillespie’s “Confessions of a Recovering Slut: And Other Love Stories.” It made me jump up and down with joy.

  21. 21
    RStewie says:

    Sunshine by Robin McKinley.  After reading Janine’s article at Dear Author I pulled it out of the moving box it was STILL in, and started it.  Should be done tonight…  Wonderful book, I SWEAR I wish McKinley was able to whip out a series like all these other paranormals do.

    Also, I’m hunting down the third of Julia Spencer-Fleming’s series.

  22. 22
    Rachel R. says:

    The Bard Academy novels, by Cara Lockwood: Wuthering High, The Scarlet Letterman, and Moby Clique.  They’re YA novels, and similar in concept to Jasper Fforde’s Tuesday Next series: because of some bad behavior (mostly due to difficulties with her father and her new stepmother), a young woman gets sent to a reform school off the coast of Maine.  It turns out the teachers are all ghosts of famous authors (they’re in a sort of purgatory), and when students start disappearing, the heroine begins to investigate…

    Oh, and the tall, dark, and brooding hero is Heathcliff, who’s found a way out of Wuthering Heights and has developed a crush on the heroine, as she looks just like his beloved Cathy…

    They’re funny, literate, and very well-written (I’d picked up the first book on a whim, and it hooked me in the first page; the series is now one of my auto-buys).

  23. 23
    Elizabeth Wadsworth says:

    These really belong in the urban fantasy category, but I’ve been devouring the Cal Leandros series by Rob Thurman lately.  The protagonist is half human, half demonic creature from another dimension; his older brother and protector is a martial arts expert/Zen master/health food nut.  Oh, and Robin Goodfellow (yes, THAT Robin Goodfellow) is a Brooklyn used car salesman!  And there is a sweet romance between the older brother and a lovely vampire with a string of uber-rich, elderly ex husbands who all died mysteriously on their honeymoon…  And trolls.  And nasty things that come out of mirrors.  Violent, gory, funny and fast-paced, with a lovely lyricism to the writing.

    For those who like medieval mystery laced with romance and a bit of alt/history, I can’t recommend the Fools’ Guild mysteries by Alan Gordon enough.  The first, Thirteenth Night, is a straight-up sequel to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, in which Malvolio returns to be “reveng’d on the whole pack of you” and Feste the jester must stop him.  Later books in the series continue the adventures of Feste and Viola as they travel around 13th century Europe, solving crimes and unravelling complex political machinations.

    And my absolute favorite book I’ve read this year is Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.  Dense, funny, horrific, sweet, suspenseful, and utterly fascinating.

    spirit65 — I could really get into the spirit of this and recommend 65 books, but I’ll let someone else have a turn.

  24. 24
    AbbyT says:

    Three Cups of Tea has turned me into a frothing, squeeing fan girl of Greg Mortenson and his work to build schools in northern Pakistan and Afghanistan.  His story, as told in Three Cups of Tea is so brilliant, touching, politically-charged and hopeful.  The only thing that drives me nuts is how grossly miss-marketed I feel the book is.  The publishers (and yes, this is the company I used to work for,) went after a very specific, female-oriented bookclub audience.  Which is all well and good since that is the largest market demographic for book buyers.  HOWEVER, this is also a great “guy” book – fast-paced, current, political and full of near-death experiences. 

    I realize I am making sweeping generalization about reading and gender, but that is what most major marketing decisions are based on.  I just feel bad that this wonderful book won’t reach more people because of the title and the cover design.  There aren’t many men in my circle of friends that will willingly pick up a book called Three Cups of Tea, and it’s a crying shame because I love this book.  Simply. Honestly.  Love.  It.

  25. 25
    Alex says:

    I’d honestly have to recommend a non-romance right now.

    The Wee Free Men, by Terry Pratchett. It’s a YA book, but there’s plenty that adults can enjoy.

    Love this book.

    Basic Summary: A 9-year-old girl who lives on a sheepfarm in a big range of hills called the Chalk, she wants to be a witch. And it turns out that being a witch is all about being…well, a smart bitch. She’s convinced her grandmother was one, and when she does meet an actual witch (who’s disguised herself as a traveling teacher), she get this piece of advice, (which I might be misquoting because I can’t find the damn paperback for reference)…

    “If you believe in yourself…”
    “Yes?”
    “…And follow your dream…”
    “Yes?”
    “..And trust in your heart…”
    “Yes?”
    “…You’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy. Good day.”

    Oh, and her younger brother gets stolen by the Queen of the Fairies, in true olde-time fairytale fashion, and she’s the one who has to get them back.

  26. 26
    Randi says:

    I’ve been on a Jennifer Crusie binge. I came across Welcome to Temptation (for $1) about two weeks back and read it in HOURS. Then, I remembered I had Bet Me already in my bookcase, but couldn’t remember it. Read that in a night. I then went out and bought (here’s a good example of how those $1 used book store buys turn into actual sales for authors) everything else she’s written. Am currently glomming on the ones she did with Bob…whosis. The dual-written ones, I’m finding, aren’t AS delightful as Crusies solo written stories, but I’m still enjoying them.

    Note: I am also reading Hidden Riches by La Nora during my lunch breaks. It’s set in Philly which is where I am so thoroughly enjoying that. But Nora, there is NO summary on the book! The only reason I bought it was because YOU wrote it. But if I didn’t know who from Eve, I would not have picked it up. It’s just your picture on the back, one page of “i love this book” quotes on the first page, then 2 pages listing all of your books. Where’s the summary!!!!  Oh, I do not recommend reading a Crusie and a Nora at the same time. It ruins the pacing of both books.

  27. 27
    Laura says:

    Add my name to those on a Lois McMaster Bujold spree this summer. I read A Civil Campaign for the 2nd time (first time was last summer), and I think it’s going on my “all-time most favorite books” list. I also read Diplomatic Immunity, Cetaganda, Memory (loved this one!), and Borders of Infinity, and flailed mightily over the synopsis of the excerpt LMB read at Denvention.

    Another source of intense readerly delight this summer was Julia Spencer-Fleming’s I Shall Not Want. I rarely ever buy hardcover, but after plowing through her backlist I couldn’t stand not knowing what came next. I’ve had the book about a month and have already read it twice. I have a feeling it (and ACC) is going to be one of my comfort reads/distractions as I confront the daunting task of writing my thesis this winter.

  28. 28
    Joanna says:

    LOVE The Wee Free Men
    There’s two sequels for it too!
    Hat full of Sky and Wintersmith
    there’s another possibly coming out at some point in the future called I shall wear Midnight

  29. 29

    I’ve read a lot of good books this summer, but I have a special fondness for Christie Ridgway’s How to Knit a Wild Bikini.

    Sherry Thomas’ Delicious and Private Arrangements were both excellent.

    And I’m re-reading the Troubleshooters series because Brockmann rocks.

    You don’t have to enter me in the contest.  Just sharin my faves.

  30. 30
    Lizzie (greeneyed fem) says:

    Alex, I LOVELOVELOVElovelovelvoe The Wee Free Men! I want to BE Tiffany Aching when I grow up! Or Granny Weatherwax. It’s one of those books that I wished I had when I was in middle school, because I would have reread it once a week. But I’ll settle for having it now. (The two sequels are also wonderful, but not quite as kick-ass as the first.)

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