Whatcha Reading? April Edition

Open book with tree and road going through the pages with sky in the background

We just talked about book budgeting, so now, let's talk about what we're reading and tempt everyone around us with more book purchases! Makes total sense, right? 

Book Big Sky Country Right now, I'm reading Big Sky Country by Linda Lael Miller, thanks to the sale last weekend and the continued sale this week (eek!). I don't know why I haven't read Miller before, but so far, I'm enjoying it, particularly because she sets up the conflicts and the characters very quickly, and doesn't spend a lot of time convincing me that Parable, Montana, is the best small town that ever was small and also a town in the history of small or smallish towns and townships. The place is sort of established through the characters – and there are five so far: a hero and heroine for this book, plus a future hero and heroine for the next book, and a heroine for the third book.

I really like character-driven contemporary, especially characters who have very, very low bullshit thresholds, and this book, so far, is working for me. 

I also read a memoir recently, Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod, which was also a Kindle Daily Deal. This is a blog-to-book memoir about a woman who realizes she hates her life and her job in LA, and asks herself, How much does it cost to quit your job? After downsizing and saving, she quit the job that made her miserable, and set off for two years through Europe. While in Paris, she met a hot Polish butcher who didn't speak English, and after a bit more travel, returned to Paris, and from there figured out what she wanted in life.

I thought it was really charming and lovely: it combines a semi-insider's look at Paris with all the accompanying culture shock and confusion of not being a native Parisian. Sometimes it seemed solutions to problems came far too easily, but it was a pleasure to travel through this book. And it wasn't until the end that I realized that MacLeod and I shared the same editor at Sourcebooks. Shana Drehs has great taste (and I say that with no intentions to compliment myself because Drehs inherited my manuscript, poor thing, from another editor). Paris Letters has gotten me back on a travel memoir craving, so I'm searching out more of them. 

What about you? What are you reading? Looking for a recommendation? Any books you think readers here would love? Come share with us: Whatcha Reading?

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Random Musings

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  1. 1
    Bibliophile says:

    I’m reading Wicked Women of the Raj by Coraline Younger. It’s non-fiction about European women during the Raj era who broke societal conventions by marrying Indian princes.

    I’m about to reach the halfway point and the stories are getting repetitive: Prince sees (usually very young) woman, wants her but can’t have her as a mistress, offers marriage (or buys her outright), she is not publicly accepted as his wife and the British overlords forbid her from attending official functions with him, but never mind: she is his favourite for several years. Then he loses interest and they divorce or she dies.

    I’m hoping there will be at least one “reasonably happy ever after” story before the book ends, but that hope is fading. I do think this book could be the starting point for a romance author who wants to set a romance during the Raj [hint, hint].

  2. 2
    Miranda says:

    I’m reading Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart, which is really good and has surprised me a couple of times. No romance, though.

  3. 3
    StarOpal says:

    I finished Redshirts by John Scalzi! I’ve actually started – read – and finished a book before another Whatcha Reading post. I loved the start and middle. I’m conflicted about the multiple endings, like I didn’t hate them, but I didn’t actually like them.

    Right now I’ve been away from home and have been rereading old digital books I didn’t get around to finishing (totally not the books’ faults, I just like the way hard copies read). So I’ve started backover Servant to the Wolf by Sue Wentz. And I’m like ‘I’m loving this, this should’ve finished ages ago!’ It’s okay ‘cause I’m loving it all over again.

    Also Sue Wilson’s Greenwood, which I had pieced together and saved in several places during the What Ever Happened To post for her:
    http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/blog/what-ever-happened-to

    And I’m loving it all over again! Totally hits several of my pet tropes. Sucks that it’s so out of print *frownie face*

    Physically I’m on the second volume graphic novel for the Story of Saiunkoku manga.

  4. 4
    Francesca says:

    Rereading The Children of Men by P.D. James and Class by Jilly Cooper. No romance at the moment; I’ve just come off a Kathleen Gilles Seidel binge and no one else seems to measure up for a spell.

  5. 5

    I just finished Slayground, a graphic novel by Darwyn Cooke and Richard Stark. I’m hoping to read Going Rogue by Robin Benway this weekend or maybe Hell on Wheels by Julie Ann Walker or Rush Me by Allison Parr.

  6. 6
    Kelly Maher says:

    I’ve been having a crap reading life lately for many reasons, but:

    1. I’m currently re-listening to Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie,
    2. I read the first installment of Meljean Brook’s The Kraken King and am looking forward to the remainder of the series,
    3. I got sucked into Flash Boys by Michael Lewis at work yesterday. Sucked. Into a book about Wall Street. Wall. Street.
    4. I’ve got library copies of The Yard by Alex Grecian and The Mysterious Woman by Amanda Quick on my nightstand for my “books from last year or so that I missed and really want to read/check out” reading.

  7. 7
    Evaine says:

    Right now I’m reading The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham – a fantasy novel, but prior to this, I read two fabulous books, The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook a terrific steampunk romance!  And for those of you that might be iffy about the “steampunk”, DO give it a try – it’s a great romance read first of all.  :)  And the other I just finished is Tough Love by Heidi Cullinan – m/m BDSM romance.  AMAZING!  3rd of the Special Delivery series, but be warned, not for everyone, it’s intense.

  8. 8
    Evaine says:

    And obviously I should have triple checked my HTML in that last post.  That’ll teach me to be all clever and cute.  *facepalm*  Sorry!

  9. 9
    Jess says:

    I have been off from work all week long so I have had plenty of reading time.  My favorite from earlier in the week was Tessa Dare’s Romancing a Duke.  It was a really wonderful read.  I can’t wait for more in the series!  Yesterday, a friend came to visit so we went to the local coffee shop and read Pregnesia together. Reading crazy sauce in public with a friend was a great deal of fun.

    I am currently reading A Mermaid’s Kiss by Joey W. Hill. I originally picked it up out of curiosity (how do sexy times work between an angel and a mermaid??) but I have stayed for the story.  It is pretty great so far and I’m looking forward to the next one in the series about a half mermaid/half Dark One heroine who has two octopus tentacles instead of a mermaid tail.

  10. 10
    Nicci says:

    I’m reading Three Weeks With Lady X by Eloisa James and Radiance by Grace Draven.  Since Radiance is a free serial being posted on the author’s website, I can feel virtuous about my budget, too.

  11. 11
    Carolanne says:

    I just finished JR Ward’s The King. Now I’m reading some old JAK/ Stephanie James stuff off of my TBR pile.

  12. 12
    Jennifer says:

    I have just finished Trenton by Grace Burrowes and have started Woman Entangled by Cecelia Grant.

  13. 13
    SB Sarah says:

    @Carolanne: How did you like The King?

  14. 14
    Phyllis says:

    supposed to be reading unbroken for book group, but got too depressed by sadistic prison guards, so have been reading everything else, especially Nalini Singh. Did you know that when you Swype Nalini, it comes up as Malibu?

  15. 15
    LindaPinPerth says:

    Street of the Five Moons, by Elizabeth Peters (also writes as Barbara Michaels) who is probably best known for her Amelia Peabody series. Classy writing, very witty, strong heroine. I forgot how much I love her writing.

  16. 16
    Suzette Palmer says:

    Just finished Amore and Pinot Grigio – a Guido la Vespa Christmas Tale by Veronica Bell, and I absolutely adored it!! Don’t let the title fool you; it’s not a Christmas story, but a passionately romantic story set in exotic Italy. Bell provides everything you could ask for in a romance: interesting characters, witty dialogue, humour and, of course, lots of steamy scenes!! I couldn’t put it down. And now that I’ve finished, I impatiently await a sequel!

  17. 17
    Vicki says:

    Just finished The Informationist by Taylor Stevens. It had been in my TBR pile for a while, not sure why because I loved it. As an ex-missionary kid who used to fantasize about leaving the family and going native and having an exciting life, this was certainly up my street. I will add a trigger warning. The violence, including against the heroine as a teen, while not explicit, is pretty clear. On the other hand, the story, searching for a missing heiress in equatorial Africa, drags you along, lots of action (some suspension of disbelief but not huge) and lots of mystery plus some hot guys (though not much romance).

    I liked this book so much that I actually paid full ebook price for The Innocent, the second in the series. I am almost done with that, too. The Innocent has our heroine rescuing a 13 year old girl from a cult at the request of the child’s mother. Since the author grew up in Children of God, I am wondering if some of the details are not quite accurate, especially based on my previous research into that group. Also some trigger warning, though not huge. Again, well written, grabs you and carries you into South America and the heart of a cult.

    I also read Where’d You Go, Bernadette? I think that was recommended here. I loved that book to pieces, too. Made me wonder if weddings should include a memorial service for the young woman who is about to vanish into the marriage.

  18. 18
    LML says:

    Finally broke my extended Betty Neels marathon with Castaway Dreams, advertised here with a zing of humor.  It was a delightful and satisfying night of reading. 

    SBSarah, I think you are quite impish to have us all contemplating budgets and the very next day dangle book jewels in front of us.

  19. 19
    Magpie says:

    Just finished reading Captive Prince, which was pretty awesome. Taking a break now from romance/drama and reading Roughing It by Mark Twain. He just charms the pants off me.

  20. 20
    roserita says:

    I’m still trying to come down from a Shelly Laurenston book high, specifically her newest book, Bite me.  I love love love her books, but she spoils me for other authors for at least a month.  Let’s see, I can either re-read the whole Pride series—again—or flip over and re-read G.A. Aiken’s Dragons series.  And this when I’m going to need lots of reading material to take on vacation next week.  Suggestions!  I need suggestions!

  21. 21
    Heather S says:

    I’m reading “Standing Alone in Mecca” by Asra Nomani. It’s making me really want to go on hajj. LOL

    I also have “A Wizard of Earthsea” by Ursula LeGuin, “The Ideal Muslimah”, and “The Sandalwood Princess” by Loretta Chase in progress. I’m finding the characterization of the Indian native (especially the male servant) in the latter to be rather off-putting. Anybody else have this problem when they read this one?

  22. 22
    Carolanne says:

    @SBSarah I liked it better than the last few. No Lesser battles, more plot. She appears to be setting up at least three more books. The Shadows are supposed to be next.

  23. 23
    laj says:

    I’m reading “The Tropic of Serpents” by Marie Brennan. I loved the first book of Lady Trent’s Memoirs, but this one is not as captivating….so far.

    I’ve been on a binge of listening to J.D. Robb…..it’s sometimes exhausting to rehash Eve’s traumatic childhood over and over and her “hostile naivete” regarding “feminine pursuits”, but the crime solving is compelling.  The narrator Susan Ericksen is a pro.

    I read Meredith Duran’s “Fool Me Twice”. MEH, but I liked it better than the last one. Robyn Carr’s “Four Friends” was a bore and boy does she have a bug up her butt about marijuana…..it’s evils are in every one of her books. Loved the latest C.S. Harris, “Why Kings Confess”, a terrific story and I and happy to see St. Cyr less tormented and settling in with Hero.

  24. 24
    Kate Person says:

    I just started another historical romance set in the Regency. A Duchess to Remember by Christina Brooke. I believe she is a newer author, this being her third book published in 2012. I’ve read the first two already and I’m hooked.

    Her first three books are all part of her Ministry of Marriage series. I have been impressed with her writing and the page-turning she elicits. Her pacing is good and the stories are woven well.

  25. 25
    Marja says:

    I just binched on The Rosie project, which was so wonderful, incredible, heart warming, funny and romantic in it’s quirky, lovely way. Also read straight through the first five Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson “grim reaper” books, which are funny, hot, hot and funny. Now reading the first Ms. Peabody book by Elizabeth Peters, which is fun, but sometimes makes me gringe a bit because of it’s political incorrectness. I know it was written in the 70’s, but still…

  26. 26
    Kelly C says:

    I just finished reading two different books: Sommersgate House by Kristen Ashley, and The Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale. I enjoyed both books, although the paranormal aspect of the Ashley book I thought was extremely corny and not well handled, so that diminished my enjoyment of what otherwise would have been a good KA novel. Book of a Thousand Days, however, I loved. I loved everything about it, except that it ended. I could have kept reading about Dashti’s life for at least 100 more pages. It is such an enjoyable book, and a quick read for me—I read it in about six hours. That’s probably because I didn’t want to put the book down—I had to see what happened next in Dashti’s life. Her journey, both literal and emotional, but also her journey through social restrictions and expectations, was engrossing. I loved watching as she slowly became more aware that she, even as a mucker girl, was worth just as much as the gentry woman, Lady Saren, she accompanies. It was nice to see Lady Saren’s very slow progress, as well, though often extraordinarily frustrating and exhausting. I think I’m still too fresh from reading it to give an organized recommendation, but it is definitely going on the “Re-readable” shelf, and I’ll certainly read it again.

  27. 27
    Crystal says:

    I’m reading The Collector by Nora Roberts.  I did not care very much for the last ID book or Shadow Spell.  I had some hopes to like this more than I did those books, but I just finished Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor yesterday, and every damn thing is going to suffer in comparison.

  28. 28
    Algae says:

    I’m reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that can’t stop Talking. I’m also binge reading some Nora Roberts’ Stanislaski books and I’ll probably start some Georgette Heyers I found at the Used Book store.

    I got Dangerous Women from the library, too.  It’s a collection of short stories (including George R R Martin and Sharon Kay Penman!). but the book is huge and I’m having trouble starting it, even knowing it’s just a bunch of short stories.

  29. 29
    CelineB says:

    I just finished The Wild Child by Mary Jo Putney which I ended up really enjoying. I automatically put it on hold when I saw my library had added it to their e-book collection even though I didn’t know much about it. I was worried about how the heroine’s ‘wildness’ would be handled but I thought it was done very well.

    I’m also in the middle of the audiobook version of Written in Red by Anne Bishop which I’m liking so far. The world building in it is great.

    Other highlights of my reading this month include Dark Lover by J. R. Ward, I seem to be one the few people who didn’t love this book; Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, I loved this book and I’m pretty sure Rowell stalked me through my first year of college without my knowledge as research for this book, and Waiting on You by Kristan Higgins, my least favorite Higgins book I couldn’t relate to the characters and felt like they never mastered communicating with each other.

  30. 30
    Lostshadows says:

    I’m reading The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley, which was one of the second purchases for my kindle.

    Right after the book budget thread, I blew mine by ordering a bunch of used books. Only $6.93 for the books… and $23.94 for shipping. :P

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