Whatcha Reading? February Edition

Open book with tree and road going through the pages with sky in the backgroundI don't always do nosy question threads, but when I do, they are HOLY CRAP EXPENSIVE because you all read all the interesting books and then tell me about them. 

I'm reading a few books concurrently – I call this “buffeting” my books, like I'm at the biggest all you can eat buffet and I can't just pick one thing. It's usually a sign that I'm stressed and easily distracted, but for now, it's working for me.

I'm reading a nonfiction book about inflammation and dietary response (WOO FUN) and Edith Layton's Tempting the Bride. Those two things are not the same at all. But Elyse is totally right about her books being wonderfully welcoming comfort reads.

So, whatcha reading? Any books that you'd recommend to others? What books are making your brain happy right now?


General Bitching...

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  1. 1
    Linda says:

    The Iron Duke (Meljean Brook) has been on my TBR list forever, and I finally picked it up.  Loving every second of it!!  I can already tell MB is going to be one of my favorite authors.

  2. 2
    Bibliophile says:

    I overdosed on romances in January (22 of them) and am now enjoying three non-romances at once. One, The Chinese Girl by John Baker, seems to be heading into romantic territory, but I think I can count on there being none in The Road to McCarthy by Pete McCarthy (funny, if predictable, travelogue) and if there is some in Sleeping at the Starlite Motel by Bailey White, it will be short because the book is a collection of short narratives. I would recommend all three, based on what I’ve read so far.

    I read the Call the Midwife trilogy by Jennifer Worth in January and want to recommend it. There’s not much romance in it, but a lot of love.

  3. 3
    Miranda says:

    I’m reading the Wolfsbane and Mistletoe anthology to lighten up after re-reading Austen’s Mansfield Park. I made it through MP this time without wanting a meteor to fall on Fanny and Edmund, so I feel I’ve grown as a person. It’s still my least favorite Austen.

    Anyhow, for recommendation, I’ll go with Ben Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant series. Young British Police Constable finds out he can do magic. I call it a cross between Midsomer Murders and the Dresden files.

    Any romance is very, very minor, but the books are hilarious and very well done. Aaronovitch used to write for Dr. Who. The last one makes me sad that I have to wait a whole year for the next.

  4. 4
    Abby says:

    I do the same “buffet” style of reading when I’m stressed too. Or if I’ve just finished a really awesome book and am having a hard time finding another one that I can get into as easily.
    Currently I’ve been reading some of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s New Adult books. I’ve almost finished “Wait For Me.” It has been overall pretty entertaining, but not exactly hitting the spot.
    I am hoping to get some more suggestions from here for something that will give me more squee and less of the mehs.

  5. 5
    Tam says:

    Has anyone ever written a decent Austen spin-off about naughty Maria? I always found her the most interesting character in ‘Mansfield Park’, and I wonder about her life in ‘another country’ after her antics.

  6. 6
    cleo says:

    I read the last two books in Brigid Kemmerer’s Elemental series, thanks to a comment on a recent podcast. I’m glad I read them out of order, so I wasn’t as devastated by the non hea ending in #4 Spirit. And I loved Secret – well, I loved Nick’s romance, I think she did a good job with it – not every author seems to be able to do both mf and mm. The external plot seemed tacked on and the body count for the series is high.

    I also read Point of Hopes by Melissa Scott and Lisa A Barnett, and the other two books in the series. High fantasy with a mystery and extremely understated romance bw the two male protagonists. It’s set in a matriarchal, non homophobic version of medieval Europe and the world building is great.

  7. 7
    Lisa J says:

    I just finished a reread of the Psy/Changeling series by Nalini Singh.  The books are as great on the 50th time through as they are the first time.  I can’t wait for Vasic.

    Now, I’m reading Prince of Shadows by Tes Hilaire.  It is the third book in her Paladin series.  I liked the first two books in the series and this one is measuring up to them.  I would recommend it.

  8. 8
    cleo says:

    Forgot to mention Case of Possesion by KJ Charles – the sequel to The Magpie Lord. And it was so good.  Both are mm pnr set in alt Victorian England with magic (I’ve been on a bit of a mm sff/pnr binge).

  9. 9

    I’m reading Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder. After that, I hope to start Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge.

  10. 10
    Jess says:

    I just finished the last book in the Blood Vine trilogy by Amber Belldene. I’m not usually one for vampires but I really enjoyed these books. The world of the vampire is built quickly but effectively. I never felt like any of the world building or the action plot took away from the romance. Really good all around. These books were the kind of books that I couldn’t stop bringing up in conversation while I was reading them. My friends, colleagues, and husband all heard about these books last week.

    Today I’ll be starting Rushing Amy by Julie Brannagh. My mom gifted it to me which automatically takes it to the top of the TBR list.

  11. 11
    Tabs says:

    I’m supposed to be reading from my unread bookshelves but that’s totally not happening.

    Right now, I’m reading Jessica Scott’s military romance “All For You.” And I’ve got Sarah Addison Allen’s latest on deck.  Man, I’m so glad Allen is feeling better and is up to writing again.

  12. 12
    Andrea D. says:

    I picked up one of the Daily Deals a few days ago, Jeannie Lin’s The Lotus Palace, and I love it.  Fantastic characters and a compelling romance.  I’m now eagerly waiting for the sequel, which releases in a few weeks.

  13. 13
    Vicki says:

    Just finished A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness which is written for kids but is excellent and made me cry. Also, Bohemian Heart by James Dalessandro, a noir set in SF, reminiscent of Hammett or Chandler. And it does have some romance, of course. I enjoyed it. Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl, autobiographical and interesting.  Heaven Should Fall by Rebecca Coleman.  A young couple get pregnant, move in with his folks on a New Hampshire farm at the same time his brother returns from Afghanistan. Watch things fall apart but nicely done. The Rosie Project which I had to buy for all my friends, too. Re-read Rae Carson’s Girl of Fire and Thorns series which may be turning into comfort reading for me. Several more but those are the highlights. And, yes, this is one of your more expensive posts.

  14. 14
    E. Jamie says:

    Just finished a Harlequin Presents (fave line of theirs next to Blaze!) Sale Or Return Bride by Sarah Morgan which was frakking awesome with a crazysauce plot that her kick ass writing just made work! Only weakness was the ‘miracle baby’ Meh. But put it on my keeper shelf anyway. Now I’m reading the Jasmine Haynes erotic anthology Mine Until Morning. Three novellas each featuring a courtesan (second features a male courtesan. squee! First one is a contemporary called The Only Way Out and features a widowed heroine who’s just lost her husband to cancer and can’t afford medical bills so turns to selling herself to make ends meet. Hero is brother in law who has promised dying brother he would look out for her…angst-o-meter off the charts here.

  15. 15
    kkw says:

    I just read The Countess Conspiracy, which must have been recommended here a zillion times, for good reason. It is not the best Milan, but of course that still means run out and read it if you haven’t. I am reading a non-fiction about sex in Georgian England called Lascivious Bodies and it is great. Next up is a Kearsley book I expect to love but for some reason can’t get excited to open, so I may skip to comfort re-reads of old detective stories. Robert Parker, highly enjoyable, possibly even if you didn’t grow up in Boston.
    In general comfort reads for me are the books I grew up with, classics, the more depressing the better. Because you can’t feel bad about your own life compared to anyone in Russian literature. Aside from the ones everyone knows and no one reads (but should) check out Karolina Pavlova’s utterly ground-breaking, heart-breaking A Double Life. The heroine’s daily life is in prose and her internal, dream life is in poetry and it’s beyond cool and it will make you feel brilliant for not having been born a woman in nineteenth century Russia, truly a great choice. Can’t recommend it enough – the choice and the book both.
    Or the single most depressing book I have ever found, after extensive research: The Golovlyov Family, by Saltykov-Shchedrin. Turns out, you and all your crazy-making family are actually comparatively absolutely fantastic, loving, wonderful human beings with nothing to worry about ever.
    If you want something that is unspeakably depressing and will make you wildly grateful for all your privilege but can’t take those bleak pointlessness of life endings, Independent Folk by Haldor Laxness will lay waste to your soul, but hang in there for the most incredible redemptive power of love ending imaginable.
    This isn’t what most people find comforting? Fine.
    Heyer and Wodehouse. Escape to a world where everything is awesome. Except, you know,  the racism. Which…yeah. So nothing’s perfect. They’re still amazingly close.

  16. 16
    Chris Z says:

    I just finished Sarah MacLean’s “Love by Numbers” and “Rules of Scoundrels” series. I loved them (again). 
    Not sure what I’m going to start reading today.  These posts have already sent me to amazon to do some shopping this morning!

  17. 17
    jimthered says:

    I just finished GEEK LUST (review at http://thearmchaircritic.blogspot.com/2014/01/geek-lust-by-alex-langley.html ), I finished and need to reread the rules for the CHAMPIONS COMPLETE superhero roleplaying game, and I’m waiting for the mail for my copy of WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE by Shirley Jackson.

  18. 18
    Germaine says:

    I’m re-reading Jessica Scott’s books.  I just finished All For You and think it’s the best so far.  Can’t wait for the next one.  I kind of wish the titles weren’t all so similar; I get them confused.  If they ever change the covers I’ll be lost.  I’m also going to make a diagram to figure out where the characters were and when.

    I just finished Elle Kennedy’s As Hot as it Gets.  It was a series of sex scenes in search of a plot but cute and funny nonetheless.

  19. 19
    jcp says:

    I love this thread.  Just finished Fighting for You by Sydney Landon and Weekends Required by Sydney Landon.

    To help everyone’s book budget,www.thriftbooks.com is having a Double Discount sale (instead of .50 each additional book from the same location it’s $1) this week-end until Sunday midnight PST The coupon code is LOVE

  20. 20
    Lindsay says:

    I do the same thing with book buffets when I’m stressed, until I can find something that really grabs me. Right now it’s my non-fiction, Class Acts: Service and Inequality in Luxury Hotels (I’ve been watching too much Hotel Babylon on Netflix) and The Mountain (new K2 documentary on Netflix reminded me Ed Viesturs had a new book out). I just can’t read non-fiction at night because it wakes my brain up way too much.

    Oh, I also finally saw Austenland and that reminded me Shannon Hale had a new book out, Royal Airs, and that was pretty great. Although I’d have zero clue what was going on if I hadn’t read Troubled Waters recently.

    I overdosed on historical romance recently so I’ve been trying to find something else, and SF/R is working out really well for me. Jenna Starborn, Clean Sweep, Silver Shark, and On The Edge (okay so that’s more… PNR?) and I think I’m ready to jump into Ancillary Justice because I’ve heard such good things about it. Not romance, just good SF.

  21. 21
    MissB2U says:

    I’m reading Edith Layton’s “C” series; just started “To Tempt a Bride”.  I think I might need to put it down for a break and read something contemporary or paranormal then go back and try again.  I really liked all the other Layton books so I think it’s just Regency Fatigue setting in.  I know I can count on the Bitchery to offer a multitude of tempting choices so I’ll check back here for sure…

  22. 22
    DonnaMarie says:

    @E.Jaime, I thought I was the only on reading Jasmine Haynes! Fangirl squee! I love her mix of eroticism and real life conflict. Haven’ t come across ‘Mine Until Morning’ so I’ll have to keep an eye out for it.

    Finsished Lauren Dane’s “Cake” this morning so my “buffeting” is down to Donna Tartt’s ‘The Secret History”, Sarah MacLean’s “No Good Duke Goes Unpunished” and Anne Bronte’s “Agnes Grey” with Joshilyn Jackson’s “Some Else’s Love Story” waiting in the wings.

  23. 23
    Sarah Morgan says:

    I’m reading Buried in the Sky, an account of a climbing expedition to K2 that went badly wrong. I’ve read numerous accounts of Everest climbs etc but this book is unusual because it focuses on the role played by the sherpas. It’s really well researched and fascinating, including insight into Sherpa culture. I’m loving it.

  24. 24
    Lostshadows says:

    I’m almost finished with Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin. 

    Not sure what’s next. Probably A Dance with Dragons by GRRM, but I’ve found having a kindle makes it harder to choose. Too many choices right there.

  25. 25
    Malin says:

    I’m reading The Sharks by Jens Bjørneboe, which is homework, and the book is due back at the library on Monday.

    Once I’m done with that, I’m going to re-read Kim Harrison’s Pale Demon and Ever After in anticipation of The Undead Pool being released at the end of the month.

    I have a whole week off work (yay for mid-winter break in Norway) and will be catching up on my reading. I may try some Susan Elizabeth Philips for the first time. I always like trying out new authors.

  26. 26
    Cordy says:

    I have a bad “multiple books at once” habit at times, myself. I’m reading:

    *Tempting the Bride, Edith Layton (I too was swayed by Elyse). I am finding it… slightly odd. The writing is excellent, but I am befuddled by the percentage of pages still left to go vs. how much plot there seems to be. Unless it suddenly turns into an adventure plot…?

    *First to Burn, Anna Richland. Which I found via the comments here, in fact! It’s military-paranormal romance, the first in a series about immortal Vikings (I don’t the whole series will be military, some of the books seem like they’ll be about immortal venture capitalists and so forth). The writing is excellent, and the first half was like the military romance of my dreams (no SEALs bragging about boning their wives, thank you), so I am enjoying it so far.

    *Devil in Winter, Lisa Kleypas. I’m rereading it for like the fifth time. Much of this book really charms me: the marriage of convenience between a rake and a wallflower is such a worn trope, but for some reason it works splendidly in this book. I’m always delighted when Sebastian gets very outraged and offended by the idea that he might have to keep it in his pants for as much as a couple of days at a time.

    *The 9th Orb by Kaitlyn O’Connor. This is futuristic SF romance (or romance/erotica, maybe?) and I just finished the last page, but I’m including it because it’s so odd. It’s about a group of 200 all-female colonists (cheaper to ship, you only have to send frozen sperm to have a genetically-healthy population) who arrive on a new world they intend to settle, only to discover that right across the river from their proposed colony site, hundreds of hunky alien dudes have set up their own colony. As the two groups interact, the humans realize that the aliens are from a culture that’s sort of insectoid in its organization: they have very few females, so their women live with a large male harem that raises the many babies she’s supposed to have, and males are so abundant they don’t have any value. Parts of this were kind of interesting (the idea of intelligent, matriarchal aliens organized like a hive, the all-female human colony) but then the sexing starts and I was like “???? Wait, what is happening?” Also, the “9th orb” NEVER COMES UP. I couldn’t believe it. There’s never an orb, let alone a ninth one. I would not necessarily recommend unless you’re like “I have always longed to read about tough space women having six or seven husbands each.”

    Which, as a married person, does not sound that great, I have to be honest. I think this is part of why I never really understand menage stories. I recently tried to read a Maya Banks book about three brothers who woo a cute homeless lady and they all have sex with her in front of each other, and I couldn’t finish it, because I just kept thinking “Oh god, that’s two extra people who will be very needy and moody and want things from her, she hasn’t thought this through AT ALL.”

  27. 27
    Octoberwoman says:

    I’m reading Big Brother by Lionel Shriver. I wasn’t sure what to expect from her as the only other book of hers I’ve read is We Need To Talk About Kevin. I’m really liking it. Big Brother touches on serious subject matter (obesity) but isn’t nearly as harrowing a read as Kevin was.

  28. 28
    Cate says:

    I’m re reading The Tourist Auction by Mark D Green, because it makes me happy,& it’s just so bloody funny! Who knew that the two best contemporary romances of last year(for me ) would’ve been written by men ? ( The Rosie Project is the other book).
    I’m also reading – because who doesn’t have two books on the go ?- JD Robb’s Celebrity in Death. After a looong time away I picked up an In Death, ..and what can I say ? La Nora’s sucked me right back in( so consistently good) …and now I’m buying the back list of In Death’s & moaning that they’re never on Kindle offer in the UK…but I buy them anyway !

  29. 29
    Jaime says:

    I just read Kate Quinn’s The Serpent and the Pearl, which I think I picked up from a daily deal here or on DA, and its sequel, The Lion and the Rose. I’m a sucker for novels featuring historical characters, and the Borgia family is always a great pick for lots of melodrama!

    Also read the first two in J.T. Ellison’s Samantha Owens series, also picked up from daily deals. Thriller/romantic suspense, not long on the logic or realistic police work, but the characters were compelling enough that I could look past that.

  30. 30
    DonnaMarie says:

    “Oh god, that’s two extra people who will be very needy and moody and want things from her, she hasn’t thought this through AT ALL.”

    Bwaaahahahahhahaha! Thank you, Cordy.

    Although, brothers? Yech.

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