Podcast Transcript 77: Romantic Suspense, Lizard Heroes, and Other Recommendations

Here is a text transcript of DBSA 77. Romantic Suspense, Lizard Heroes, and Other Recommendations. You can listen to the mp3 here, or you can read on! 

This podcast transcript was constructed of excellence by Garlic Knitter, who is a terrific transcriptionist. So many of you have emailed me to say thanks for the transcripts. Many thanks go to Garlic Knitter, and you are all very, very welcome.

 Here are the books we discuss:

Book Last Hour of Gann - R Lee Smith Book Impossible Things - Kate Johnson Book Elizabeth Vaughn - Warprize

Book CL Wilson  - Tairen Soul - Lord of the Fading Lands Book JC Daniels -  Blade Colbana series Book Cindy Gerard - Killing Time

Book Pamela Clare - I Team  - Striking Distance Book Kate Brady  - Where Evil Waits Book Annie Solomon - Black Out

Book Maya Banks - KGI - Forged in Steele Book A Reluctant Companion by Kit Tunstall Book Archer's Voice - Mia Sheridan

Book Forever With You - Laurelin Paige Book under locke - mariana zapata  Book staking his claim - tessa bailey

Book reaper's legacy - johanna wilde Book driven kay bromberg Book Agnes and the Hitman - Crusie/Meyer

Book Inez Kelley - The Place I Belong Book The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared Book Edith Layton - To Tempt a Bride

Book Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground -  Annie Garrett Book Between the Devil and Ian Eversea - Julie Anne Long Book Taken With You - Shannon Stacey


[music]

Sarah Wendell:  Hello!  Welcome to another DBSA podcast.  I’m Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and with me is Jane Litte from Dear Author.  Today we are answering reader mail, or listener mail, about recommendations.  We talk a little bit about what books you should read if you really like the worldbuilding in The Last Hour of Gann, or maybe you just really are into lizard dudes?  Either way, Jane’s going to hook you up!  We also have a discussion about a few other things, including romance novels, which I presume you were expecting.

This podcast is brought to you by InterMix, who would like you to know about Before You Break by Christina Lee.  Don’t miss Christina Lee’s brand-new eBook Before You Break, a beautiful and emotional New Adult romance about a bad boy on the edge and the girl who’s about to fall hard, on sale February 18.  I will have information at the end of the podcast about that book and about the music that you’re hearing, but now, on with the podcast!

[music]

Sarah:  We are starting this week with a letter from Maeve, and Maeve writes:

Dear Sarah and Jane,

I’m a long-time listener to your great, great, great podcast.  Thank you both very much for having such terrific, funny, and engaging discussions about the romance genre.  [S:  You’re totally welcome!]  I’m writing to you with a very important request!  Last year I went through a huge reading slump and didn’t read a novel for about four months, and every story I picked up I didn’t finish because I didn’t find it very engaging.  This was primarily due to me coping with the final year of my Ph.D.  I have just submitted my thesis this past month – Woohoo! – and I’m looking for some great novels to relax with.

I lean more towards Jane’s taste in books, and the last book I read and finished was The Last Hour of Gann.  I had never read anything like that before, and I was captivated by the worldbuilding and the characters, although the book did have some flaws.  So, please can you help me find some books that are engaging where the couple don’t instantly dive into bed together, where they have conversations and interact and preferably don’t have a happy ending in a week?  The Ph.D. has ruined my brain, and I find all of that sort of stuff unrealistic, but lizard people are okay.  Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your time,

from Maeve.

Sarah:  Maeve, grab your pen, ‘cause here comes Jane with recommendations.

Jane:  Well, you could read other R. Lee Smith books, but they’re not always very romantic.  I, I recently read a book called Impossible Things by Kate somebody.  I would recommend that book with some caveats.  One of the caveats is that the heroine is a real Mary Sue; like, her picture could be by the definition in the Wikipedia entry.  She is a –

Sarah:  [Laughs]

Jane: She’s a slave, and she’s discovered by a warrior from the empire, and he notices that she has markings on her body, three different ones, and those markings he recognizes as a Chosen marking, ‘cause he has two of them himself, and it means that he, that she’s a descendant of someone who was gifted and that she has gifts herself. These gifts are dormant unless they are used in conjunction with crystals. So he takes her and takes her back to the empire, where she is trained as a healer, seer, and warrior. First female warrior, also blind, and is able to essentially leap tall buildings with a single bound. But it kind of has that interesting worldbuilding. It’s a very slow burn, which I think you’d find in The Last Hour of Gann. I think The Last Hour of Gann is such a tremendous work that you’re really hard pressed to find something that’s so similar.

The other book that I’d probably recommend is Warlord by Elizabeth Vaughan. I think that those, it kind of melds the two cultures together, as Smith did in Gann. Gann is a really epic book, and if you read, I think there was about two or three books that are loosely threaded together for the Warlord series by Elizabeth Vaughan, so you might kind of get that same sort of epic feel from that, those three books, although you only really need to read the first one, Warlord. The other two just aren’t as strong.

The other books that maybe fit would be C. L. Wilson’s fantasy series, but that, while the couple doesn’t fall in bed together right away, it, it is premised on this mate bond, this instant recognition between the hero and the heroine that there’s something that draws them together. While they don’t fall in bed together right away, there is a kind of supernatural bond for the two of them.

So, those are kind of the recommendations that I would have. There isn’t any one book that I think is the perfect If You Like… for The Last Hour of Gann, but these are my best approximations.

Sarah: One of the things that you talked about with The Last Hour of Gann was the worldbuilding and how it was a very long and slow development, but you fully believed that you were in a world with lizard dudes. Is the worldbuilding the thing that you think transfixes books, transfixes readers mostly about that book, or is it the combination of factors?

Jane: Oh, it, it’s, it’s the characters. For me, it’s the characters. I mean, the worldbuilding is really tremendous, but part of the worldbuilding is, is the, are the characters themselves.

Sarah: Right.

Jane: The biped lizard as the superior being in the book. I mean, I felt like Smith was so clever in how she presented the characters’ phenotypical characteristics. When the, when Meoraq thinks about Amber, he thinks about how ugly she is. How soft her skin is, how she has hair all over it, how she’s unprotected, and none of these things are appealing to him because he’s a lizard.

Sarah: [Laughs]

Jane: When we’re in Amber’s point of view and she looks at Meoraq, she’s intrigued by him, and she’s not put off by his physical appearance at all. So the lizard people are actually presented as the superior-looking beings in this world, which I thought was a really clever way of, of making those people palatable. There’s this great scene really late in the book where Amber’s brought to a lizard lady, and the lizard lady is this high-ranking woman. She looks at Amber, and she’s, like, trying to find some way to compliment her, and so she’s like –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Jane: – Oh, Amber, what a beautiful name you have!

Sarah: [Laughs]

Jane: So, I mean, she carries that consistently throughout the, the book, so the worldbuilding isn’t the trees or the landscape, it’s the political structure, it’s how the characters interact with each other. You know, Meoraq is this warrior-priest, and how he speaks and thinks all throughout the entire book, like, he, when he comes upon Amber’s group, he, at first he thinks that they’re, like, bugs, and –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Jane: – and then he realizes they can speak, and he thinks to himself, well, when a dumaq, a woman gives birth, they don’t speak right away, and so they learn to speak, so maybe this is a new species that God has just created, and He has put them in my path, and I’m to learn something from Him, them. And so everything that he does as he goes along is, is based upon something of, based on his religion, his belief in this god Sheul and how Sheul always directs his path, and at one point, Amber gets really sick, and he goes out to find a drug, a plant-based drug, and he comes across it, and he thinks, well, even though this is a, of Gann, kind of like of a demonic sort, Sheul must have put it in my path. So it’s just how, she’s so consistent in how she created these people, these lizard people, that submerses you in the story, so it’s not, the worldbuilding is, is wrapped up in the characterization of the individuals.

Sarah: Do you think that’s also true of Nalini Singh’s world, that the characters are a major part of the worldbuilding?

Jane: Oh, yeah. I mean, if worldbuilding, if all you’re thinking about is the political structure and the landscape and, and the different species, that –

Sarah: That doesn’t go very far.

Jane: It’s, right! It’s very flat, it’s uninteresting. It’s like, it’s like a terrain might be interesting to look at, but it’s not going to be something you remember.

Sarah: Right. I have to confess, every time you talk about The Last Hour of Gann, I picture Jar-Jar Binks for the hero. [Laughs] It’s really not working!

Okay, this next message is from Bobbie, who writes:

I have been following both of your blogs for a number of years now. It is so great to have a community of people who don’t think that your IQ drops 20 points when they find out you adore romance novels. So frustrating! I mean, really, what is so terrible about a happy ending? [S: Girl, I hear you.]

Anywho, I love many genres, but romantic suspense is my favorite. However, it is often a difficult genre to find good books, due to a few factors. The first is the Too Stupid To Live heroine. Romantic suspense is overloaded with them. Also, either the romance or the suspense suffers, depending on the author/novel. I also really, really don’t like the specials ops books, spy drama, or terrorist stuff; that’s just really not my cuppa. I’m a social worker and work with veterans with disabilities and am ever so grateful for their service, but I’m getting kind of tired of the Navy Seal overload in romance. I’m just looking for good run-of-the-mill serial killer, slightly lesser criminal running around committing murder and mayhem (yes, I know I have issues). Authors that I love include Laura Griffin, Karen Rose, Brenda Novak, Shiloh Walker, and Debra Webb’s Faces of Evil series.

I know Sarah probably can’t help me much in this area, given her aversion to violence, but Jane seems bloodthirsty enough that I’m hoping she and your fellow readers might be able to recommend a few new authors to me.

Thanks so much for the podcasts! They are a wonderful addition to the blogs and one of the rare podcasts I listen to as soon as it is available.

Also, a recommendation of my own. Anyone who loves urban fantasy should really give J. C. Daniels’ Blade Colbana Files series a try. I enjoy her books under the Shiloh Walker name but absolutely adore the J. C. Daniels books.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this email, and keep the blog posts and podcasts coming!

From Bobbie

Sarah: So, okay, bloodthirsty, what have you got?

Jane: Well, I would have recommended Laura Griffin too, but since she’s already identified her, I would, I would say Cindy Gerard, although those are more of a military type. She also might like Pamela Clare’s I-Team series, although a couple of her heroines are journalists, and one of them, I thought, was Too Stupid To Live. Like, she would go into the dark park by herself, no weapon, to meet a tipster, and bad things would happen to her, and then she would have to be saved, so –

Sarah: What are you talking about? I do that all the time!

Jane: Right. So, I, so that irritated me, but I feel like her series gets stronger and stronger as times goes on, but again, I feel like the I-Team series has a slightly more militaristic tone.

Sarah: Was it Karen Slaughter who wrote the series that made you break your digital, your Compaq, or your Hewlett-Packard handheld?

Jane: I have a long diatribe about the book on my blog. Let’s see, actually the recent Laura Griffin one was really hard for me to get into. I’m going to have to try it again. Oh! Kate Brady is with Grand Central, and I really like her work, and Annie Solomon, [though] I don’t think she writes anymore, but her older works were really good, so I’d recommend those two authors.

Kate Brady just has a new release out. Let me tell you what is!

Sarah: Oh, I like this plan.

Jane: Where Evil Waits. It’s coming out February 25th.

Sarah: Where Evil Waits. Cool! What do you think about Maya Banks’s romantic suspense, which are really very much sexual and less suspense. Am I remembering that right? The KGI series?

Jane: She, she has romantic suspense books?

Sarah: Well, isn’t KGI, I mean, there’s a guy in a tight shirt with a gun. I mean, I just presumed that when he’s not having sex, he’s fighting crime. [Laughs] He’s got a gun and a shirt; he’s got to fight crime! It’s the rules!

Jane: I think, I see those books as very relationship, family oriented. They’re books about these Kelly brothers, and so much of the book is about their family connection, much more so than the romantic suspense.

Sarah: So they’re shirtless or tight-shirt guys with guns hanging out with their brothers.

Jane: Right.

Sarah: [Laughs]

Jane: And saving people.

[music]

Sarah: So, what are you reading right now?

Jane: I tried to read this science fiction book, or I guess it’s kind of post-apocalyptic, called A Reluctant Companion by Kit Tunstall, but it’s pretty bad, so I wouldn’t recommend that. [Laughs] I’m always reading books I don’t want to recommend to anybody.

Sarah: [Laughs] Well, I’m reading this thing, but I don’t think anyone else should, so, no, don’t do that.

Jane: [Laughs] Oh, you know what book I did read that I enjoyed? Mia Sheridan’s Archer’s Voice. The hero is a mute virgin, and he doesn’t magically speak at the end. I was really worried about that, but he doesn’t. He’s, he’s, has a throat wound, and it’s not, doesn’t heal. And it’s really a sweet romance, and I would recommend it to people. It’s still very spicy, but the romance itself, the character development, is real sweet and tender.

Oh, Impossible Things is by Kate Johnson.

I read Laurelin Paige’s Forever with You, which is the third book in this trilogy, and the first book was kind of interesting because the heroine was a stalker; she had these over-obsessive tendencies. I thought that was kind of interesting, ‘cause I’d never read about a heroine like that before. She was actually arrested and had to have a restraining order against her because she was stalking her ex-boyfriend. The third book is just non-stop juvenile behavior, and I was really disappointed where that went.

I read Under Locke by Mariana Zapata, and it’s a motorcycle club book, which I liked, but it’s super long. I want to say it’s like 140,000 words, and that girl, the heroine, could hold, she was like a champion, a Sochi Olympic champion grudge holder.

Sarah: [Laughs] She gets the gold medal in longstanding grudges?

Jane: Yeah! Jeez, the guy kept apologizing and apologizing, and it was –

Sarah: I’m still mad! Look, you see where we are, and you see where the end of the book is, dude? I’m holding this grudge for a couple more pages, ‘cause we are not near the point where I can drop it, ‘cause there’s no other conflict here, so suck it up! [Laughs]

Jane: Couple pages? It was like –

Sarah: Twelve percent in? [Laughs]

Jane: No! I want to say, like 40%.

Sarah: [Laughs]

Jane: And that only covers, like, three days or something like that.

Sarah: [Laughs] Oh, no.

Jane: But I mean, I did enjoy it. It had some editing issues.

I read Staking His Claim by Tessa Bailey, and God, that book was so short, I felt like I read it in two minutes.

Sarah: Really!

Jane: Yeah. It was okay; it’s not my favorite. My first one, the first one she wrote is my favorite. I felt like this, I feel like she tries to make her books more interesting with interesting plots, but because the book is so short, then the plot gets really truncated –

Sarah: Right.

Jane: – and doesn’t, the issues that she brings up don’t, doesn’t really get, don’t really get addressed.

I didn’t read this recently, but it just came out, Reaper’s Legacy by Joanna Wylde. I really like that book. I think Joanna Wylde does an interesting thing with the motorcycle club, and I also feel like other people are starting to copy her, which always is a sign of success.

Sarah: The motorcycle club elements?

Jane: No, just, not just the motorcycle club elements, although one thing I’ll say about Joanna Wylde, she was a former journalist, maybe she does still does describe herself as a journalist, but she has interviewed a lot of these one percenters, and she has personal relationships with them, and so what she writes comes from a place of real knowledge, and I think you can kind of see that authenticity in her stories that you don’t always get in others. I also appreciate that she’s really addressing that issue of, you know, how does a woman fit in, into this world that’s largely misogynistic. I mean, they’re constantly questioning where their place is, and in both books that I’ve read of hers, the heroine really saves herself in the end, and, and her partner, and that’s not always something that you see. You know, you read a lot of romantic suspenses, and it’s often the tight-shirted, gun-wielding man that saves the day.

I tried to read Driven by K. Bromberg, which is this indie success, and I can, I think I said this last time, I’m, like, stuck forever at like 25%.

Sarah: [Laughs]

Jane: But that’s about it.

Sarah: I have, I tried last night and again this morning and then again after I ate lunch to read the second in the Inez Kelley West Virginia series, The Place I Belong. I really like that the series is set in West Virginia, and I really like that it’s set with heroes who are in forestry and logging, because it’s an interesting perspective of what they’re doing to the land, given that West Virginia and how people do things to the land there is in the news right now. But there’s two problems I’m having: One, the heroine, when you were talking about how the heroine holds a grudge? The heroine in this book is, I believe she’s either a forest ranger or she’s in charge of a state park; I don’t know her exact title. She’s really mad at the hero, like super pissed off that his company has bought the land surrounding her park and has brought in these really obnoxious protesting groups to try to interfere with his ability and his company’s ability to use any of the land that they now own for logging and forestry. Whereas I just read the first book, so I know that that company’s goal is actually to leave as much of the trees standing and take out the ones that are too close or too old or in places where it’s not actually beneficial for there to be that many trees, so that what’s left is a thinned, slightly thinned out, but still viable and useful forest for more and more people. What I’m not, what I’m having a hard time with is (A) that the heroine is so angry, and in the first and second chapters, she just goes off on him, and she’s so sure that she’s right, and from my perspective, I know not only that she’s wrong, but she’s really not well informed, and it’s making me think less of her because you’d think that she lives in a forest, she would know these kinds of things. And there’s not a lot she can do about it because they own the land, but rather than explaining her problems and explaining her concerns about the place, she is reacting with absolute outrage and anger, and she’s being as much of a pain in the ass in the hero’s life as she can. He starts out by, in the first scene, dealing with the protesters and then finding her and then using his car, she pulls out of a parking lot in a Jeep, and he knows it’s her, so he follows her down a road and then blocks the road so she can’t get through, and already I’m thinking, that’s creepy. So, the book opens, they’re already pissed at each other. He’s behaving in an angry, creepy way, she’s behaving in an angry, like, ferocious way, and I think both of these people are really kind of strange, because I don’t have any reason for them to be that angry at each other. It starts off at, like, a pissed-off level of, like, 9 out of 11. Then, the next chapter is Forced Proximity, because she’s supposed to go away for a weekend in a cabin with no wires and electricity and running water, and he decides that he’s going to come with her, and they’re going to live in the cabin together, and they’re going to work this out! And I’m not buying the forced proximity either, because I still think it’s kind of creepy because they don’t know each other well enough personally, but they’re angry at each other professionally. By all means, they should go and be in cabins together. Just, the forced proximity seems completely unrealistic to me. She is so angry and telling him things, even when he tries to explain to her what it is that he wants to do, she just doesn’t even let him finish. Like, you’re wrong! I know you’re wrong! You’re going to destroy the forest! And at one point, she talks about how he’s going to rip the top off of the mountain, and I’m like, he’s not fracking! He’s a forestry guy; he’s not mining for crap. But her, her, her lack of information is not making me think that she’s brave, it, it’s making me think that she’s foolish, and she’s already so angry and so foolish that I find her really irritating. But I really want to try to read it ‘cause I like the setting. This one just is not working for me as much.

I did re-read Agnes and the Hitman at the end of last month because I was really burnt out and wanted a comfort read, and I thought I was going to enjoy it the second time, and surprisingly, I didn’t like it as much as the first time. I don’t know if that’s me outgrowing Jennifer Crusie heroines or if it’s the type of story that was – I wanted more of the characters and not the, the, the crazy plot – but with the exception of maybe three women, every other female in that book is either an assassin or a horrible, horrible person, and a lot of the relationships were under-explained in a way that made me enjoy it less, but I still love all the food. I was talking about this on Twitter with someone, that you remember books by the food that’s cooked in them, and I totally remember this as the pancakes with pecans book.

What I’m trying to decide is whether or not to read an Edith Layton book next that I got for 99 cents or if I want to read The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, which is not a romance but something I’d been really wanting to read. I’m trying to mix up my romance with not-romance reading a little bit so that I can approach each book a little bit more, a little bit more clear, because I feel like I go from one to the other, and then if I read too many romances in a row, my brain starts to blend the plot details together. There was this one time on All About Romance that I wrote in on one of the message boards that I was looking for a book about a country music star who had a one-night stand with a girl and then something else happens and something else happens, and, like, all these people were making these suggestions, and I’m like, no, that’s not it, no, that’s not it, no, that’s not it, and I realized what I had done was blended the plot of a book called Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground with the story of a Garth Brooks song, which is really not good memory of me. So, if my, if my brain starts to blend things, I need to start breaking up what I’m reading.

I do have a bunch of books I’m looking forward to, but I’m not letting myself read them because they come out quite a while from now, and by the time I get to talking about them, I want them to not be, you know, not be part of my distant past memory, but I’m really looking forward to Between the Devil and Ian Eversea by Julie Ann Long, which comes out on March 25th, which is, like, a good solid two months away, and then Shannon Stacey’s Taken With You comes out on the 27th, and that’s Hailey the librarian, I could not be more excited about this, oh, my God. So excited! Even, even though the last few Shannon Stacey books have made me, like, go, oh, I wish that this had just been a little bit more of that right there, it would have been awesome, being, being a little disappointed by each one does not in any way diminish the fact that I’m really excited to read this. Ooh, I’m so excited!

[music]

Sarah: Before we go, out last couple of podcasts generated a lot of reader mail, and I wanted to share some of it with you because it seems like a lot of you had similar reactions. This first message is from Karen, who says:

Ladies, what is this uglycry thing you speak of? I rarely cry, no matter what the situation, and crying while reading is actually something I’ve never done. Never. Don’t think it’s possible. Now, I can become angst filled and torn up about the fate of a character (I’m looking at you, Laura Kinsale), but I don’t cry. Perhaps my genetic code is overloaded with stoicism? I don’t know. It might be cathartic to sob over a book, but I don’t think I’ll be finding out.

As for the DNF books, the older I get, the more I’ve become reconciled to not finishing every book I start. I’m nearing the early side of Social Security eligibility. Upside: when I retire, I can read, read, read! Downside: I started doing the math. How many books times number of years of quality reading left. I needed to start culling books out of the TBR mountain, and the best way to do that, aside from never opening some of them, is to stop reading if a book is too flawed or doesn’t work for me, and this goes against all of my early training about completing my schoolwork, and I fought it for a while. Now I just get to pat myself on the back when I step over that line and set the book aside. My frickin’ grade isn’t going to be lowered if I don’t finish a book. I’m starting to feel proud when I have a DNF.

Please keep the podcast coming.

Yours in reading books worth finishing,

Karen

Sarah: Karen, that is so totally true. And it is really hard to set aside a book, especially if it’s something that you feel like you ought to finish or there’s a reason why you want to – you just feel like you ought to do it. But really, life is too short to spend a lot of time reading books that you’re not enjoying, and it’s not like we’re occurring with any kind of shortage with the number of romances being published, so feel free to DNF to your heart’s content. And you know, there are just some people who don’t cry over books. I don’t know what that’s like, ‘cause I cry over commercials, print advertisements, random fliers in the mail. I’m a bit of a crier, but hey, not everyone’s like that, and that’s okay.

And if you are looking for an uglycry book, Jessie is here to help, and she writes:

I did the uglycry for A Taylor-Made Life, a sweet New Adult (I think) romance between leukemia patients. Oh, my goodness, cried like an inconsolable baby!

Sarah: So if you’re looking for crying catharsis, A Taylor-Made Life apparently is going to make you weep and sob and cry and all kinds of wonderful snuffly things.

And finally, I have one more email requesting recommendations, and this is from Darth Clavie – I think I got that right.

Dear Sarah and Jane,

I want to tell you how much I love the podcast. It has kept me sane during the last few months. I work at a school, and due to various crazy things, I have two days a week wherein I get in at 7 a.m. and don’t get out ‘til 5, [S: Oy!] and that’s when your podcast sustains, because I reward myself with listening on the way home. It makes me laugh, and it makes people look at me funny on the bus, and I don’t even care.

I’m also looking for some recommendations on what to read, because I seem to be going through a bit of a slump where I feel like re-reading a lot – like I re-read the entire Hathaway series last December, just for kicks – and feel very reluctant about picking a new book. I enjoy historical romances in the vein of Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn, and the like, lighthearted and fluffy, but with some substance, and my only current contemporary auto-buy is Sarah Mayberry, though I do read Jill Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor and the Kowalskis, though I haven’t loved the last installments. More than anything, I like good guy heroes, guys who aren’t jerks but can still be pretty manly and awesome. I don’t think we get enough of those.

Thanks so much for doing the podcast and keeping me sane, even as my students threaten to drive me absolutely insane.

Sarah: I think that re-reading is a very good thing when your brain is really, really tired, and if your brain wants to re-read, give it what it wants! Nothing wrong with that! That’s why good books exist; you can re-read them.

However, if you’re looking for new books with really nice guy heroes and some lighthearted and sort of friendly, happy historicals, first you should try Kate Noble, which I talk about on the podcast a lot, but you would probably really, really like The Summer of You. It is kind of exactly the historical that you’re looking for. It’s a little bit different; it takes place out of London. It’s got some really interesting character conflict, and then from there, you can read the rest of the books that she’s written about that sort of extended group of friends and family, but The Summer of You is where I would start first of all.

Another historical author you might like is Theresa Romain, who also writes a good number of good guy heroes. She had three books that, each one released in October, so there’s October 2011, 2012, and 2013, and they’re all the Season for Something, but I always get them mixed up. There’s one that’s the Season for Temptation, and then there’s one that’s the Season for Scandal, and then there’s one of, I don’t know, the Season for Febreze? I, I’m really bad at titles, but Theresa Romain would probably make you very happy, because she’s also funny and light, but each piece of the story is deliberate, and the characters are nice and interesting.

But above all, for nice guy heroes, Elyse recently wrote on Smart Bitches about how Edith Layton’s books are her comfort reads, in particular because she writes nice guys, and three Edith Laytons right now are 99 cents. It could be even four at this point, but I will put a link in the entry to this podcast so that you can go find that entry where Elyse talked about all of the different books that she loves from Edith Layton’s backlist. That might be the most perfect thing for you to read right now when your brain is so exhausted, and I hope your schedule improves very soon and that those are suggestions that are helpful.

And that’s about it! If you have ideas for suggestions for any of the people who wrote in looking for books to read, please email us at sbjpodcast@gmail.com, or you can leave us a voicemail at 1-201-371-DBSA. Either way, we like to know what you think, and if you have suggestions or recommendations of books that we ought to be reading or books that the people who wrote in want to read, please share, because we do these weekly and we love when you participate. It’s really fun!

The music that you are hearing, yes, of course, that’s totally Peatbog! This is the Peatbog Faeries. This song is called “Dub Beag” – I think I’ve got that right. I understand that my pronunciation of the last Irish title was not completely horrible, so I hope I’m two for two there. This is from Peatbog Faeries’ album Dust, and I will have information about where you can purchase this song of the whole album, ‘cause it’s awesome and you should totally own it! It is all the best ringtones, I’m telling you! Just nonstop ringtones of excellence, and really good loudness, too. You will hear these songs, if they start coming out of your phone and your phone’s in the bottom of your bog, and so will everyone else in the waiting room. It’s great when that happens, right? (No, it’s actually totally not.)

This podcast is also brought to you by InterMix, and they want you to know about Christina Lee’s brand-new eBook Before You Break, a beautiful and emotional New Adult romance about a bad boy on the edge and the girl who’s about to fall hard. This book comes out on February 18, and it will be available wherever eBooks are sold. And thank you to Penguin, InterMix, New American Library, and Berkley for sponsoring the podcast, ‘cause it’s really awesome that you do so. So thank you very much for doing that!

I have received many suggestions of authors that we should try to interview at RT, and I’m going to try to make this happen, but in particular, if there’s someone who you’d love for us to find and interview, please email us or leave comment on the entry or even find us on Twitter. Just let us know who you would like us to interview and what you’d like us to ask them about. If you’ve got questions, we will find you some authors, and we will get you some answers, because, well, it’s RT, and we all just sort of wander around bumping into each other for four days. It’s really awesome. And if you’re listening and you’re going to RT and it’s your first RT and you don’t know anyone, please reach out to us, because we would love to meet you! It would be very fun. I’m aiming to do as many interviews as I could possibly carry, which is a lot, ‘cause it’s digital and they don’t weigh anything, kind of like eBooks, but if you have ideas of who or what I should be asking, please let us know!

And wherever you are, whatever you’re doing – and I hope wherever you are it is warm and there is not snow and ice like there is here – Jane and I wish you the very best of reading, and thank you for listening.

[awesome music]

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General Bitching...

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  1. 1
    Ashlee Stalling says:

    You have some really great recs here. I love romantic suspense, it’s my current favorite. I currently am in love with Vadim Babenko, vadimbabenko.com. I have read A Simple Soul which is very much rom/sus and it was really a great read. Now I am readin Semmant by him which is not all the way Sci-Fi but very contemporary. It’s great as well. Just a suggestion, but they are both very good. I can see by the ones you talked about that I can spend months reading some great books! Great post and thanks for the ideas!

  2. 2
    Cordy says:

    Hah, uglycrying and Laura Kinsale: I just read Seize the Fire, and in every moment where I wasn’t agog at the insane over the top adventure-romance (pirates, penguins, slave caravans, assassins! boobytrapped houses!) I was sobbing over people having terrible PTSD. Then I read a couple of Carla Kelly books (a new-to-me author) and did more uglycrying. It’s a good thing I read late a night so nobody can tell!

    Re: Last Hour of Gann, this is an offbeat, not-a-romance suggestion (I personally felt like the romance was not the main thing about that book, though, so ymmv): have you ever read The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell? Gann’s worldbuilding reminded me a lot of that book – the very complex alien society that is presented as being totally on par with human culture, and the two cultures colliding in various kinda-religious ways. It’s a great book that does have SOME romance, but it’s, you know, literary romance.

  3. 3
    Emily says:

    Karen, I don’t normally cry with books, but “The Fault in Our Stars” had me in full ugly cry.

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