Whatcha Reading? June Edition

Open book of field and trees against a sky backgroundAnd now, the most expensive and tempting thread, wherein I ask what you're reading, and you all share and then we all buy more books because everything sounds awesome. 

You ready? Credit cards in the freezer? Yeah? OK, let's do this! 

Currently I'm reading Zoe Archer's last Nemesis book, Wicked Temptation ( A | BN | K | ARe )which I'm enjoying immensely, though I'm still in the first third of the story. It took me a few tries with different books before I figured out that what my brain and imagination really wanted was historicals. So now I have five or six lined up to feast – it's FINALLY OMG THANK YOU the end of the school year here in our WTF school district, and I'm ready to sit and read and then read some more. 

What about you? What are you reading currently? Would you recommend it? Share, share, please!

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  1. 1
    Elyse says:

    I’m currently reading Against the Dark by Carolyn Crane. Heroine is a former safe cracker/thief

  2. 2
    Francesca says:

    I recently finished Three Weeks with Lady X. I enjoyed it, but not with the passion of many here.

    On the other hand, I absolutely adored Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. I just wanted to put my arms around Cath and hug her (and not tell her things will get better because that drove me crazy when I was a teenager back in the dark ages).

    I glommed To Wed a Stranger by Edith Layton in one day. The slow growth of love in a marriage of convenience was beautifully done. The hero was, maybe, a tiny bit too good to be true, but it’s a wonderful break from all of those oh-so-manly-alphas.

    Right now, I’m reading Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen. His weird and raunchy south Florida stories and characters who redefine the word colourful aren’t to everyone’s tastes, but I laugh out loud reading his stuff.

  3. 3
    Crystal F says:

    I’m currently reading A SEAL’s Fantasy by Tawney Weber and it’s great.  I’m listening to Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris and next up on the mammoth TBR is Dare to Surrender by Carly Phillips.

  4. 4

    I like Zoe Archer’s Nemesis series a lot too.

    I just finished reading several Deadpool graphic novels. So many books still waiting in the TBR pile, but I’m hoping to read Hammered by Kevin Hearne and Long Shot by Hanna Martine.

  5. 5
    Shannon says:

    This has been a month of “meh” to it was mildly diverting for the most part.  I am ready for a book to just take my breathe away and go “go girl, write me another now!”

    I will put Zoe Archer on my TBR list.

    Of the books that I can recommend is Laird of the Wind, book 4, of Susan King’s Celtic Nights series.  This book stands out from the previous three.  I loved the whole sub-theme of taming a wild goshawk.  Many will find that slow and repetitive but for me it was a wonderful way of two characters working to the same goal.  I think this is a re-release of an older series.  There are a couple of typos where I think the translation program gulped letters.

    I have not been a fan of Grace Burrowes Lonely Lords series, liking some and frustrated with others.  But Worth is a Burrowes at her best.  Worth was a lonely man because he places duty and helping others first rather than meeting his own needs.  Jacaranda is on the verge of putting her family first after five years of neglect.  There’s no great villain just old fashioned conflicts that life and work and family present.

    I also read the Pirates Secret Baby based on this blog’s recommendation.  Sexual tension throughout is just lovely.  An the plot moppet is actually pretty well crafted.

    If you need to get your steam-punk fix Cindy Spenser Pape is decent with her Gaslight Chronicles.  There’s not a lot of steam world building and the punk aspect of social justice is just barely there.  The first book is the best.  The others are shorter with less time to develop characters.  I’m not a novella fan.  I like big books.  Oh, and this is a series you have to read in order.  The later short novels are not really stand alones.

  6. 6
    Lostshadows says:

    Currently reading Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. I’m enjoying it, but it doesn’t seem to have any romance elements. The main character doesn’t view herself as human, despite being in a human body, so I don’t see that changing. (The book uses “her” to refer to everyone, regardless of gender.)

  7. 7
    LG says:

    I have been incredibly bad at picking books for myself lately, so I feel like I’ve been slogging through the same stuff for ages. I just finished Snakecharm by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. The first book wasn’t fabulous, but I liked it well enough even on a re-read. Snakecharm, on the other hand, was crushingly boring.

    In e-format, I’m currently reading A Lot Like a Lady by Kay Springsteen and Kim Bowman. It’s a Regency romance and is the sort of thing I would consider “bland, but okay,” if it weren’t for a couple things. The heroine, Juliet, is a lady’s maid who is pretending to be her lady so that the spoiled little monster can get out of having to visit her step-brother for the first time in years. The hero, Grey, quickly becomes suspicious because Juliet is terrible at the charade, and he even tells her at one point that he doesn’t believe she’s his step-sister. He sends someone to find his real step-sister and gets confirmation of what’s going on, but no details – nothing about Juliet’s real identity, why she’s doing this, what her motives are. For all he knows, she’s a con artist who’s out to rob him blind. And yet he does nothing, gives her his mother’s pearl necklace as a gift, and keeps noticing how lovely she is. Juliet’s not much smarter. She still thinks Grey believes she’s the woman she’s pretending to be and is sad at the idea that he’s falling in love with a lie.

    I’m not reading any print books at the moment, but I need to start Spice & Wolf Vol. 2 soon – it’s a library book and will be due in a couple weeks. I enjoyed the first book more than I expected to, although I preferred the anime, so I figure this one will be good too. The series stars a merchant and a wolf goddess, has quite a bit of economics info (which is more exciting than it sounds), and features a bit of slow-developing romance.

  8. 8
    Miranda says:

    Recently finished:

    Written in my Own Heart’s Blood by Gabaldon. Excellent addition to the Outlander series.

    Top-Secret TwentyOne by Janet Evanovich. Mildly fun…these are relaxing reads for me.

    The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson. The second book in the Shades of London series. I wasn’t as thrilled with it as I was with the first one (Name of the Star), but it was still really good. I can’t wait for Shadow Cabinet in January.

  9. 9
    Vasha says:

    Well, I’ve been reading tons over the last few weeks so I’ll just mention what I particularly enjoyed. Currently chortling over Yoruba Trickster Tales by Oyekan Owomoyela—he’s a great storyteller and gives a lively collection of the antiheroic adventures of Ajapa the tortoise.

    Been making my way through a list of recommended historical romances and disappointed by almost all of them, except Lord of Scoundrels which is indeed something special though I’ve had a hard time figuring out why—wrote some ramblings about it here.

    Also enjoyed The Conjure Woman by Charles W. Chesnutt (1899, by a Black author), a highly ambiguous and subversive book which provides lots of grist if you (like me) enjoy pondering the relationship between a story and its readers. Also a fascinatingly idiosyncratic little book called The Dechronization of Sam Magruder.

  10. 10
    sheila says:

    just started “Having Her” by Jackie Ashenden. it’s an erotic romance about a 25yo goth/punk girl meets up with protective alpha male, so far so good. Likesbooks.com gave it an A/Hot review.

  11. 11
    Heather S says:

    I’m reading “The Immortal Collection (A Saga of the Ancient Family)” by Eva Garcia Saenz. It was a KDD yesterday. Tell me you can read this synopsis and resist buying it:

    “When Adriana, a brilliant young archaeologist, accepts a position at the Museum of Archaeology in her hometown of Santander, Spain, she never imagines that her new boss has lived through the history she can only study.

    Iago, the charismatic technical director of the museum, is more than ten thousand years old but appears to be only thirty-five. Iago and his family are longevos—people who never seem to age after reaching adulthood. The ancient family is divided: Iago’s brother and sister seek the source of their longevity in hopes of creating more like themselves, while Iago and his father fear the repercussions of the true Fountain of Youth.

    A dangerous game of power and knowledge that has played out over eons becomes even more complicated when Adriana attracts both brothers’ attention—and learns their secret.

    Filled with science, history, and passion, The Immortal Collection transports the reader through time and space, from the days of cavemen, through the Roaring Twenties, to the charming plazas of contemporary Spain. Ancient history meets cutting-edge research in this modern love story and sweeping historical saga.”

    I’m also going to start on “Vixen in Velvet”, Loretta Chase’s newest, since I picked up a copy (a week early) at work the other day. :)

    I’m also finishing up “The Sandalwood Princess” and plan to get started on “Shades of Milk and Honey” by Mary Robinette Kowal. Yep, my reading weekend is planned.

  12. 12
    Elinor Aspen says:

    I’m reading Goddess with a Blade by Lauren Dane. It’s the first paranormal I’ve read (unless you count the Buffy Season 8 graphic novels). I was drawn by the Las Vegas setting (and was delighted to learn it was inspired by one of my favorite production shows ever, now sadly closed). I’m about halfway through and enjoying it so far.

  13. 13
    Jody says:

    I just finished Elissa Altman’s Poor Man’s Feast, and loved it!  It’s a foodie memoir, but so much more, and yes, it’s a romance.  It’s also on sale at Amazon for $1.99.  Win all around.

  14. 14
    Nita says:

    For book club, I recently finished:
    Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, by Meg Medina, and Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn. Both YA award winners, both excellent in different ways. C & S explores messed-up family issues (abuse trigger warnings here) and Yaqui follows a girl whose life is in transition (new school, best friend moves away) and gets harder when she is targeted by a bully. I recommend them both!

    For light fun, I’ve gobbled up Saga, Vols. 1 and 2 (SO AWESOME), and am currently reading Amanda Quick’s Otherwise Engaged. Busy month. And that doesn’t even include binge watching Daria episodes on Hulu.

  15. 15
    Heather S says:

    Oh, I picked up “Sandman Slim”, too. I read the sample and was like “Yeah, I need this.” It’s on sale for $1.99 right now, and I picked it up because I remembered you guys discussing it on a thread quite a while back.

  16. 16
    Karin says:

    Based on a recommendation from an author at another romance blog, I read “Red Adam’s Lady”, a 1970’s medieval romance by Grace Ingram and it was great. Totally out of print but luckily my library had it. And I read my second book by Paula Marshall, “An Improper Duenna” which started out like a traditional Regency, but there was a twist! I recommend it, along with “Hester Waring’s Marriage”.  I hear she’s written some duds too, but I haven’t come across them yet.
    “Ripe for Seduction” by Isobel Carr was great, better than I expected based on the premise in the blurb.
    Also, “Valour and Vanity” by Mary Robinette Kowal, was very good, but not always fun, there were some sad parts which lingered in my mind even after the HEA, And “In Defense of the Queen”, the latest in Michelle Diener’s Tudor series, which everybody should be totally reading. It’s got romance and swashbuckling. The latest Sebastian St. Cyr book by C.S. Harris “Why Kings Confess” was excellent. The latest MJ Putney, “Not Quite A Wife” was meh, a disappointment, although I usually love her books. And then I switched it up with “Fledging” by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, a free sci-fi download from Baen Books. I’m planning to read “The Rebel Pirate” by Donna Thorland, because her first book, “The Turncoat” was so good. They’re set during the American Revolution.
    Can you tell by this the length of this list that I’m unemployed?

  17. 17
    LauraL says:

    I started reading The Best Medicine by Tracy Brogan last night and am enjoying it so far. I totally understood Evie’s feelings about her work birthday party. It’s a little different from last weekend’s reading, The Pirate’s Secret Baby by Darlene Marshall, which I loved!

    Next up will be just-purchased Look Again, a novella by Marliss Melton. I admit it is full of catnip for me with an injured warrior and second chances, and there are dogs, service dogs. According to the author, proceeds from the sale of the eBook will benefit Hero Dogs.

    Yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I DNF’d a book - The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank. Luckily, I borrowed from the library as the book was pricey for Kindle. I loved Dottie Frank’s previous Low-Country books but this one read like the dialogue was written by a Yankee. I wanted to feel like I had my toes in the sand and to start craving some fresh shrimp, dammit!

  18. 18
    DonnaMarie says:

    @Heather S. CATNIP!! How did I miss this? I’m going to have a little chat with my Kindle. Maybe she’s feeling neglected as I haven’t picked her up since I got back from Arizona.

    Finished The Collector la Nora’s latest right before my trip. Finally read Unraveled and The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan. My girl crush is officially sealed in carbonite. Actually read The Governess Affair on the flight out and the flight back. 

    Currently reading One Hundred Years of Solitude for a group read. If you think old skool romance novels have convoluted story lines, you need to read this. Just the repetitive names alone make my head hurt. And finally, I finally started Shadowdance by Kristen Callihan this morning. I’ve had it since the day it came out and have been putting book after book ahead of it. It’s that weird, I’m only going to have one first read so I keep putting it off, because what if it’s so good, everything after suffers by comparison? thing. Hence Nalini Singh’s latest Guild Hunter also languishing on the tbr pile, even though I practically drooled on it when I opened the box. Oh, the cover molesting. I am ashamed.

     

     

  19. 19
    kkw says:

    I just started Caitlyn Moran’s How to Build A Girl, despite one of the worst titles I have ever come across. I then discovered she had written something called How to Be a Woman, which is so distasteful to me (as a title, I know nothing about the book) I almost stopped reading this one, only it’s pretty good so far.

    I have been having a hard time settling in to a book recently, everything annoys me for some, usually petty, reason and then I get annoyed with myself for being so irritable.

    My Suzanne Brockmann obsession continues unabated. I was disappointed by The Goldfinch,  mind you, but not the end to the Troubleshooters. Maybe it’s expectations? Everyone loves The Goldfinch but I was warned the Brockmann serious (supposedly) got worse? Except I started off loving The Goldfinch and my Brockmann expectations are unrealisticly high and yet never let down.

    I also enjoyed An Affair Before Christmas, not realizing I had read it previously – and the first time I’d been irritated that the story didn’t focus sufficiently on the main characters, but this time I just thought it was great to get more Villiers. I can’t decide if this is good news because I’m not entirely cranky and unreasonable, or it’s bad news because it turns out this isn’t necessarily as new a phase as I’m choosing to believe.

  20. 20
    StarOpal says:

    Only reading one book at the moment, I finally started the Iron Duke, by Meljean Brooks.

    I know, I know I’m coming late to the party. But I’ve been both saving it/dreading it. Saving for when I needed a sure thing awesome book based on everyone’s feedback. Dreading just in case it was one of those “I don’t get what everyone else sees, I feel so left out” disappointments.

    Oh, reading addict fears!

    Happily, I’ve been absolutely hooked since about page 35 and so far am totally absorbed. No idea what I’m going to move onto afterwards.

  21. 21
    Brynhild says:

    I recently finished Three Weeks With Lady X, which I bought during a shopping trip in which I didn’t yet realize I was spiking a fever. By the end of the night, my temp had hit 102, but I still tried to make myself read because I was bored out of my mind and it kept tempting me.

    I ended up finishing it a couple days later while still in the throes of a fever. I’m not sure if that had anything to do with it, but I steadily became less enamoured of the main characters and was mostly interested in Lala, who I felt was much more compelling than the odd ‘ice queen with a temper problem’. I also felt that Xenobia and Thorn committed an awful betrayal, and I didn’t buy into the ‘not-yet-engaged’ justifications, which soured the hotter parts of the book for me.

    I have just started The Travelling Tea Shop by Belinda Jones, which is about a couple ladies who go on a tour of New England (in a double-decker London bus, no less, which has somehow skipped Across the Pond), collecting recipes for baked goods. It’s a little chick-lit-y for me, but having read a fair glom of historicals and erotica lately, I had a hankering for something a little lighter.

  22. 22
    DonnaMarie says:

    @StarOpal, so glad it’s not just me. And you’re going to move on to Heart of Steel because, why wouldn’t you?

  23. 23
    jcp says:

    I am currently reading A Paper Marriage by Jessica Steele.  I have been a bad girl shopping online at http://www.thriftbooks.com Double Deal sale ($1 instead on .50 on each used book from the same location through Sunday midnight P.D.T.)  I need to reorganize my book area and actually just read the books and stay off Goodreads.

  24. 24
    laj says:

    I’ve been re-reading stuff to get ready for Magic Breaks, Vixen in Velvet and The Book of Souls.

    I also downloaded Nora Roberts’ McKade Brothers bundle from the library. Yesterday I finished Lauren Willig’s That Summer and it was so good.  And….over at Love in the Margins Ridley reviewed Joan Wolf’s The American Duchess, so I’ve got that for today.

    Has everyone read Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh? I was very disappointed, but I’m going to read it again to see how I feel the second time around.

  25. 25
    Darlynne says:

    @Lostshadows: No, it’s not a romance, but keep going with ANCILLARY JUSTICE. There is so much that is wonderful and groundbreaking about that book. Just the whole notion of “she” intrigued me. I hope it works for you.

    So the saga of me and SAGA. I bought the first volume when Amazon had it as a Kindle book for $1.99. But then I couldn’t download it because none of my devices support the format. Someone here suggested a comic reader, which would have been a great solution, except there’s no file to open when the Kindle for PC program won’t let you download it in the first place. I ended up reading it in the cloud, much less satisfactory, but this morning, my library found their physical copy and it is in my hands for the next 21 days. The entire series comes out in a special edition in December, so that’s now my long-term plan. I loved volume one.

    I just finished Paul Cornell’s SEVERED STREETS, book two in his London paranormal series that started with LONDON FALLING. The books are dark and disturbing, but the thing that appeals the most is how this group of police officers has to learn to work together when they are thrown together and given The Sight. They don’t know what to do with it initially, have no idea how to harness the power it represents, and are getting their collective ass kicked as often as they’re making strides forward. Historical London is as much a participant in the story as anyone else and book two introduces a real life character into the mix. I won’t say who, but it makes perfect, and very creepy, unexpected sense.

    Just starting Wilton Barnhardt’s LOOK AWAY, LOOK AWAY, about a wealthy Southern family and the travails they face in a world filled with débutantes, Internet dating, scandal and family secrets. I read GOSPEL years ago, which was Barnhardt’s exuberant treasure hunt for the lost gospel of Mathias, the disciple who took the place of Judas. That book was brilliant, although completely different, so my hopes are high for this new one.

  26. 26
    Crystal says:

    Sixth Grave On the Edge by Darynda Jones.  I enjoy the Charley Davidson series so much.  It has it’s light, fluffy, funny moments, and then someone passes through her and she describes their memories, and boom, crying.  I’m an easy crier though.  It might just be that I’m a big wimp.

  27. 27
    denise says:

    accidental duchess, gimme some sugar, A long time gone—not romance, and this crumbling pageant—again, not a romance

  28. 28
    LisaJo885 says:

    I’ve been re-reading through my collection to decide what gets kept when I move in a couple of months. Finished “The Iron Duke” last night, and don’t know how I feel about it this time around. I don’t like Rhys’ attitude and his whole losing-control thing on the airship. Definitely soured the experience for me.

    Just started “The Virgin Queen” by Phillipa Gregory, which I know from past experience will send me down the Wiki-rabbit-hole to keep track of who is related to whom, and what actually happened. Poor Amy Dudley!

    Since I’m on a plane to Kona tomorrow, I’ll be taking “Unfamiliar Fishes” by Sarah Vowell with me, which I read every time I fly over there. I find something I missed each time I re-read, and since I’m moving to the Big Island, I feel it’s important for me to learn the history of the Hawaiian Islands, even if I do feel guilty about being a haole afterwards.

  29. 29
    roserita says:

      On the nonfiction front I just read Bob Briers’ Egyptomania, a book about all the times a craze for all things ancient Egyptian swept the Western world.  It’s a good, light read.  I found out how to move an obelisk and why Camels cigarette packages have the pyramids in the background, although I don’t know how he wrote an entire book about European/ancient Egyptian interaction without mentioning Aida.  Anyway, while I think about it, I was also reading Mercedes Lackey’s Home from the sea, part of her Elemental Masters series, and there was a brief homage to Elizabeth Peters’ immortal Amelia Peabody.  Just a lovely little moment.
      Now I’m reading I know you’re out there: private longings, public humiliations and other tales from the Personals by Michael Beaumier, a sort-of-memoir by a guy who spent seven years running the Personal ads in a Chicago newspaper.  Parts of it are touching, but a lot of it is really hilarious war stories from the looking-for-love department.
      I was binge reading-and re-reading-Karen Chance, found some novellas on her website and glommed those.  But the next book in the series doesn’t come out until November, so, bummer!  Then I found Clean sweep by Ilona Andrews.  It was written and posted on their website (demo.ilona-andrews.com).  They wrote it, solicited comments, then wrote some more.  No editing, no changing your mind about plot—totally working without a net.  Anyway it has two of my favorite tropes: the heroine has a seven-pound shih tzu named Beast, who can morph into something with long claws and four rows of fangs (which is totally how my shih tzus always saw themselves), and can tree a werewolf.  It also has a sentient house, which the heroine can mentally rearrange to, say, put a 500 sq. ft. pantry in a closet.  I would love to be able to have my living room rearrange itself into, oh, perhaps, Professor Higgins’ library from My fair lady, and while I’m at it, I would like my bedroom to look like Honore Lachaille’s from Gigi.  (I haven’t decided about the kitchen.)  You can also read the beginning of the sequel, Sweep in peace, IF you can stand to read it as it’s written (I know some people would have to wait for the entire book).

  30. 30
    Tam says:

    I liked ‘Clean Sweep’ too, although it did leave me feeling vaguely as if I wanted more. Glad to hear there’s going to be a second one!

    I just finished re-reading Sophia McDougall’s ‘Mars Evacuees’, which is lovely and bleak and funny all at once. It’s actually aimed at the 10-12 age group, but I think that anybody who liked Meg Rosoff’s ‘The Way We Live Now’ or oh, Diana Wynne Jones would probably hugely enjoy it.

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