Whatcha Reading? August Edition

Open book with tree and field against the skyIt's time for the most excellent and fun and terrifically expensive thread of the month, wherein I ask what you're reading and you tell me and then we all buy books. 

Sounds good, right?

So here's what we're up to: 

Sarah: I flew many many hours last weekend (MANY) so I'm catching up on the books I read and want to review, but I'm not reading anything at the moment. Wow, that's boring. (I'm still craving historicals, though, so I'm curious if you have any to recommend that you've enjoyed. Marriage of convenience and/or friends to lovers most welcome!)

RedHeadedGirl: I'm re-reading Outlander for the millioneth time for reasons (mostly for guessing where the episode breaks are going to be). 

Just finished Elizabeth Hoyt's Darling Beast, which Elyse and I will be jointly reviewing. Also reading The Wandering Harlot.

Carrie: I'm reading 12 Tribes of Hattie.  Next up: Dangerous Science.

Elyse: I'm reading The Scandal in Kissing an Heir by Sophie Barnes and Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt. I'm listening to Lick by Kylie Scott.

Amanda: Switching between The Siren by Tiffany Reisz and Enemies on Tap by Avery Flynn.


So, what about you? I love this discussion, and have been looking forward to it. So, whatcha reading?


General Bitching...

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Francesca says:

    Something about The Sweet Spot by Laura Drake caught my attention, so I finally clicked. It’s a great story about recovery, growing and second chances.

    I also read Penny Vincenzi’s A Perfect Heritage, which was a lot of old-skool style sex and shopping fun.

    Other recent reads include Think of England by KJ Charles (m/m Edwardian house party mystery) and Courtney Milan’s The Governess Affair, which was my first Milan. It won’t be my last, since I don’t think it’s fair to make a judgement based on one novella, but, so far, I don’t quite get all the love thrown her way here. Any recs that would get me aboard the Milan train (bearing in mind that I hate reading series out of order) would be appreciated.

    I am currently reading Robert Rodi’s Bitch in a Bonnet: Reclaiming Jane Austen from the Stiffs, the Snobs, the Simps and the Saps, Volume 1. If you can get past his general antipathy to romances and cracks about Georgette Heyer, it’s a lot of bitchy, snarky fun.

  2. 2
    Karin says:

    I was falling behind on Julie Ann Long’s Pennyroyal Green series, so I read “A Notorious Countess Confesses” and it was SO AWESOME, with a hero who’s a vicar, that I went on straight on to the next one, “It Happened One Midnight”, which was EVEN BETTER.  It reminded me a bit of Courtney Milan, because of the social consciousness(in this case, the issue of child labor). The hero’s father is holding the purse strings and wants him to marry a proper lady, rather than the heroine who comes from a sketchy background, but together they outfox him, plus do some good in the world. Sorry for shouting, but these are such excellent books.

  3. 3
    Crystal says:

    Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone.  I like it so far, though the more esoteric parts are throwing me for a loop.  So far, I have the impression there’s an AU type of deal with some urban fantasy mixed up.  Plus legal stuff.

  4. 4

    I’m hoping to dig into my TBR pile and read It Happened One Wedding by Julie James or maybe Midnight Rescue by Elle Kennedy.

  5. 5
    Heather S says:

    I am rereading “A Knight in Shining Armor”. I so relate to Dougless at the beginning of the book – how she feels her life has been nothing but a series of wrong choices since puberty. It is making for a wonderful comfort read. After that, I have to get started on Candide and Frankenstein for my fiction class, as I am returning to college after nearly a decade-long hiatus.

  6. 6
    Cate M. says:

    I’m working my way through a stack of romance novellas from Sapphire Press in South Africa. The books are each about 30,000 words long, and the two I’ve finished so far have been so good. It’s partly getting a glimpse into everyday life in Johannesburg and Cape Town, but also they were both really well-constructed, real-world romances, nicely grounded in everyday concerns like work and family.

    The two I’ve finished so far are “Can He Be the One?” (Lauri Kubuitsile) and “Beauty and the Broker” (Cheryl Ntumy).  Next up is Nani Khabako’s “Her Forever After.”

  7. 7
    StarOpal says:

    After finishing a book that was a complete “meh” C grade for me at the beginning of the month I wasn’t really sure what to read next. But the podcasts totally inspired me and I finally reread a book from my childhood that I’d been avoiding for fear of ruining my lovely memories of same. There’s a bit of story behind this book, please indulge me…

    While I’ve been blessed with more good teachers than bad, when I was living in Florida in second grade I had Mrs. Radish, who was an amazing teacher and a talent at getting kids wanting to read (I already loved books, but she just had a way of getting you excited about it y’know). We covered a lot of Roald Dahl and the Wrinkle In Time series. But as a special treat sometimes she’d pick one book to read to the whole class. Well one such book was an out of print copy of Robb White’s The Lion’s Paw. It took place in the Everglades (Where I lived!) and was about two orphans who find a third sorta orphan and they sail away on a boat to find a seashell that’ll bring back the third’s father from WWII. It makes sense in the context of the book. When I was a kid it totally captured my adventurous imagination, and, still mostly holds up.

    Then I was inspired by the Susanna Kearsley post and started Mariana. I’m only halfway through because I had to take a week off due to zero free time. Loving it so far!

    Just got a bunch of new books for my birthday so I’ll either do one of those next or the second Iron Seas novel.

  8. 8
    Anne says:

    Currently reading The Fleet Street Murders (book 3 in Charles Lennox mysteries set in 1870s London) and With this Ring by Celeste Bradley.  Really enjoying the mystery series but trying to savor it (so that I don’t gobble down the entire series and then have to wait impatiently for the next installment).  And yes, that is the mistake that I made with C.S. Harris and the Sebastian St. Cyr series of books, which I devoured earlier this year.

    With This Ring is a nice light historical (although probably not historically accurate). I enjoy the humor in this series, because the characters are admittedly eccentric and engage in lots of ridiculous behavior that they justify (with those very proper British accents) and it is set in a different period from the mystery series. 

    I am also (like RHG) doing an Outlander read-along to see whether the episode breaks are as I projected them to be, after the 16 episode series was announced and how the adaptation was done (what was eliminated, what is changed and what scenes got moved).  And no, not a super fan—just have a touch of OCD—and it has been several years since I read Outlander, so it is an opportunity to enjoy and savor an old favorite.

    Finished Still Life with Strings by L.H. Cosway and Beyond Addiction by Kit Rocha earlier this week.  This was my first book by Cosway, bought on sale because of a rec—maybe here or at Dear Author.  I enjoyed it very much.

    Rocha has become an autobuy for me—I like the world building and characters.  This was not my favorite installment (Bren & Six are still my favorite couple), but I liked it and it advanced the storyline.  Now of course, I will wait impatiently for the next installment.

  9. 9

    Waiting on You by Kristan Higgins. I think this might be my favourite of the series. But I’m only 1/3 of the way through. The last book I read was Apples Should Be Red by Penny Watson, which was a lot of fun. After this, I think I might go back to reading historicals. I’ve read a lot of contemporaries lately, and many of them didn’t quite work for me. One of the other ones I liked though was One Reckless Summer (Toni Blake), which I bought after it was mentioned in the podcast.

  10. 10
    Amy says:

    I read two books this week. The first was Falling In, pt 1 of the Surrender Trilogy. This was about a homeless younger heroine who at her hotel job gets noticed by the rich hotel owner who sets her up in his place. He finds out bit by bit about her dire situation, her junkie mom, and that she can’t read. This was a really good book. I would call it hot. Even though there is talk from him about her being submissive to him it really didn’t go there too much and I liked that it didn’t.
    The second book was by Lisa Marie Rice called Woman on the Run. I’ve read and loved a lot of LMR books and while I liked this one it seemed like it was an earlier book re written. I couldn’t find an earlier publish date on it though. This one the heroine was under witness protection in a small town and a cowboy-ish, ex SEAL hero. For a LMR book, it had a lot more plot than usual and less sex, although that was still very LMR when it was on the page so fans would be happy. It’s only .99 at amazon right now so u can’t go wrong with this one. I read both of these pretty quickly so maybe I’m getting out of my reading slump or they were just that good, not sure.

  11. 11
    jimthered says:

    I’m back to reading BOINK: THE CURIOUS COUPLING OF SCIENCE AND SEX by Mary Roach.  (I had started this a while back but got distracted—and more than a little put off on the chapter with the scientist who did lots of vein-pulling from men’s sexual organs.)  I’m also reading the tpb ASTRO CITY: THROUGH OPEN DOORS and the rules for the color edition of the roleplaying game KOBOLDS ATE MY BABY!  It’s a varied list at the moment…

  12. 12
    cap says:

    Just read the first two books of Katharine Ashe’s Prince Catcher series. I’ve been meaning to try her for a while. She’s a great writer, and I enjoyed the books, but I can’t say I loved them. The internal conflict seemed a little stretched. I didn’t really understand why the heroines resisted so intensely. That being said, I will read the next one, because 1) I love nerds and bluestockings and 2) they were comfy reads after finishing Sherry Thomas’ new angst fest. Speaking of, read My Beautiful Enemy and its prequel last week. She’s my favorite author and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release. It did not disappoint! It wasn’t as steamy as I prefer, but since you spend a lot of time with them as kids, that is probably a good choice. I thought doing a young adultish prequel was really innovative. And no one puts out the feels like Thomas. Listened to The Magician King on audio. I really struggled with this one, the second of the Magicians series by Lev Grossman, as well as the first. I basically pushed through because all the people that recommend great books are crazy about these books, and have promised it gets better. The main character is just so unpleasant to spend time with, even for a reader who typically has no problem with unlikable protagonists. But here’s the thing. The last 20 minutes of this book made the entire two books worth reading.  Truly blew me away. It was the personal growth that you desperately wished for since the first chapter of the first book. I will be starting the third, which I’m told is amazing, as soon as I finish the young adult audio book I’ve checked out from the library. That is the first book of the Maze Runner series.  I’m feeling pretty meh about it so far, but I’m only about 1/5 of the way, so I’ll withhold judgement for now. And last, I was so excited to get email from the Kit Rocha team this week announcing that next Beyond book has been released early. I’ve been eagerly awaiting that as well. Great surprise.  Bracing myself for the flaming cheeks now!

  13. 13
    kkw says:

    The book I’ve most enjoyed recently was Victoria Dahl’s Looking for Trouble.  I also read Fanning the Flames, a related novella, which was far less exciting to me because novellas just are. So @Francesca, don’t worry if The Governess Affair didn’t really grab you, I wasn’t precisely shattered by it either. I figure anyone who can write a novella I’m willing to bother with is enormously talented, and indeed I can’t recommend a single Milan book because I love them all so much.
    @Heather S congratulations! You’ve inspired me to go reread Candide, I adore Voltaire and it’s been too long. (Also the Bernstein operetta is worth checking out.)

  14. 14
    Kelly S says:

    I’m reading “100 Things Every Presenter Needs to Know About People” by Susan Weinschenk and am listening to “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg and Neil Scovall.  Non-fiction, both.  interesting but not likely to keep me up into the wee hours to finish either.

  15. 15
    Shannon says:

    I’m reading a lot to avoid thinking about my bad and worse choices about my future at work.  I don’t know whether I’m going to comfort reads or continue with new to me historicals.

    For those Courtney Milan fans who are looking at her backlist, I completed Unvieled, Unclaimed, Unlocked, and Unraveled as a series in order.  The best of the lot is Unclaimed, which has a virgin hero who has written about the value of chastity in an era where men often gained status as rakes, drinking, wenching, and gambling.  I have another of her series on my Kindle waiting.  BTW, Milan is re-releasing her backlist with enhanced content, some of which is audio.  Kindle Paperwhite doesn’t support the audio, but it’s available on her website, but it’s not easy to find unless you type in the link from the book.  My experience with the enhanced content is that it totally dropped me out of the story, making me think more about writing, tropes, themes, and symbols.  I’m all for the story, the romance.  I didn’t click on it during the second book, only reading it at the end.  Much more satisfying.

    My absolute favorite of this month is Grace Burrowes The Traitor.  Gushing follows: The first part of the book is typical Burrowes slow attraction of hero to the heroine with the angst of the hero Traitor.  I figured this was going to be a bad guy redeemed by love.  But it’s not.  It’s a man who takes on those who hate and despise him for good reason in the last quarter of the book.  The apex scene is wonderful, awe inspiring.  And then it’s followed by another scene with a secondary character that’s almost as moving.  The bad news, you won’t enjoy this as much if you haven’t read The Captive the first in the series.

    Another premise I liked was a prohibitionist heroine who also runs The Rake Patrol to protect women who answer personal advertisements.  Yes, anachoronistic.  So the heroine goes up to Scotland with a friend who answers the ad.  She carries her message of the evils of drink and the huge cost to women and families.  But she discovers that whisky (spelled as it would have been at the time) provides jobs for an impoverished clan, and the families of workers don’t see drink as harmful.  Her dilemma is a woman competitor and a desire to win a prize as well as her attraction the The Whisky Laird of the story.  Not swoon-worthy, but just a fast, fun read.

    And I also glommed on to Anita Mills Fire Series (five books).  She’s retired, and an indy publisher is reissuing the books.  I loved her gritty, violent medieval tales.  But I also know that the old skool abuse of women may be trigger-y for a lot of readers.  The other thing is the publisher apparently has proofreaders who are incompetent, drunk, or faster readers like me who miss these things.

  16. 16
    cleo says:

    I’m reading more non fiction right now. I’m currently reading Quiet and enjoying it a lot.

    I read Julia’s Cats: Julia Child’s Life in the Company of Cats by Patricia Barey and Theresa Burson (full disclosure – I know one of the authors). My husband brought it home – I was skeptical because while I’m a cat person and a book person, I am not a cat book person. But I read this in one sitting. It’s the story of Julia Child’s home life and it’s very sweet, although the writing is a bit distant. Julia got her first cat in France, and fell in love with both cats and French cooking around the same time.

    I also read Return on Investment, by Aleksandr Voinov. It’s not a romance – more of a coming of age story / financial thriller with an understated love story. It starts out dark (check out the trigger warnings in the Amazon reviews) but I enjoyed it.

  17. 17
    Darlynne says:

    Currently reading Ben H. Winter’s WORLD OF TROUBLE, book three in his Last Policeman series. Outstanding as always.

    Also reading EDWARD ADRIFT by Craig Lancaster. What a great character Edward is. So far, there’s a possible romantic element that I am eager and hopeful to see play out. Fans of THE ROSIE PROJECT would, I think, enjoy 600 HOURS OF EDWARD, although this book is not a romance.

    Listening to THE COMPLAINTS by Ian Rankin, a Scottish police procedural involving Professional Standards (the cops who police the cops).

    I really enjoyed LANDLINE by Rainbow Rowell. She does something different each time and this book hit all the right notes, for me. I appreciate a story where someone other than the male lead changes and grows.

    BITTER SPIRITS by Jenn Bennett was a welcome surprise, roaring twenties spirit medium in San Francisco.

    But the best thing I’ve read so far is CHINESE COOKING FOR DIAMOND THIEVES by Dave Lowry. It’s a caper, a cooking class, a romance, a crime novel and laugh-out-loud funny. I loved every word.

  18. 18
    Amy Raby says:

    Taking a break from romance right now and reading the latest Ruth Downie, TABULA RASA, part of her mystery series set in ancient Rome. I get a kick out of her hero, Ruso, a Roman doctor who tries to do the right thing, and it usually blows up in his face.

    Recently finished GUYLAND, about the culture of young men ages 16-25. Not as rigorous or well-written a book as I’d like, but very interesting nonetheless. Deals with issues like hook-ups, pornography, video games, sports, the “culture of silence,” etc. Useful for writers and for parents of teenage boys.

    I also loved LANDLINE by Rainbow Rowell. I think it’s my favorite by her, and that’s saying a lot.

  19. 19
    Cate says:

    I’ve just finished The Teashop on the Corner by Molly Johnson… Wow,a contemporary chick lit that I loved. MJ uses an ensemble approach, with the various threads all leading to a satisfactory ending.This is the first book in years that’s made me sob like a baby, but it still left a soppy grin on my face as I finished it. So, I’ve just shelled out on a few more of her books, and I can honesty say that Here Come The Girls(in the Kindle Summer sale..yay!),is just as enjoyable as TTOTC. Now, I’m just going to check my temperature, as I can’t believe I’m reading chick lit & loving it !

  20. 20
    Cate says:

    @Amy Raby .If you like Downie, you should enjoy Lindsay Davis, if you haven’t read any of her Falco books you’re in for a treat. And following hard on the heels of Falco, is his adopted daughter, Flavia Albia, keeping the family business going strong after Falco’s retirement & under Domitian’s tyrannical rule.The Ides of April is the first book in her series.

  21. 21
    Karenmc says:

    Sherry Thomas is currently ripping little chunks of my heart out with The Hidden Blade, the prequel to My Beloved Enemy.

  22. 22

    I just finished The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, by Leslye Walton. Quite beautiful, and it was a nice change of pace to read some magic realism—which is NOT the same thing as urban fantasy, and it was nice to deal with a different set of tropes. Bonus for it being set in Seattle in the ‘50’s!

    Also working on Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series, for fun with mysteries set in Quebec.

  23. 23
    ReneeG says:

    Just finished the two latest books in some favorite series:  Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels) by Ilona Andrews and Dark Skye (Immortals After Dark) by Kresley Cole.  I’ve started Celtic Fire by Joy Nash as my bus book, A Grave Matter by Anna Lee Huber (third in her Lady Darby series, the first two books I read in July) and Walk Your Butt Off by Prevention team for my upstairs books and Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal (read the first two books of the series in July also).  I’m hoping to start the Hidden Blade by Thomas when I get back from my work trip.  I have so many recommendations from everyone on SBTB that my Kindle and Library TBR is Way Too High!

  24. 24
    Lizabeth S. Tucker says:

    I’m trying to lower the number of books on my eReader, so I’m working my way through some of the freebies I’ve accumulated.  Surprisingly enough, the latest is quite interesting although I’ve only just started it.  TREASON by Don Brown is the first in his Navy Justice series.  Terrorism, rape, military justice.  And, possibly, romance.  Haven’t gotten far enough into the book to tell.

  25. 25
    Susan says:

    Just finished SWEET ADDICTION by J Daniels. Such a cute idea, but too many mistakes—the male race, his taunt stomach, eligible handwriting. And too often I was laughing in what were supposed to be the hot scenes. Let’s just say that she should have checked with her grandma about how garter belts work.

    I don’t usually read historicals, but heard Sarah MacLean speak recently.  So I’ve just started A ROGUE BY ANY OTHER NAME, and I’m really enjoying it.

  26. 26
    Jessi Gage says:

    I’m reading MQ Barber’s Healing the Wounds. I adore this author’s ménage writing. It’s truly erotic romance. There is character growth for everyone. MQ’s Neighborly Affection series is such a tender, funny, well-written series. Can’t recommend it highly enough.

  27. 27
    roserita says:

    Let’s see…
      Something old:  I started to re-read I Capture the Castle, which I remember reading maybe 40 years ago.  At the time my reaction was “meh,” but I think that was because I read it at the same time as We Have Always Lived In the Castle by Shirley Jackson.  Striking demonstration of how two books can be similar, but oh so different!  Anyway, I still couldn’t get into it, so I re-read Daddy Long-Legs.
      Something new:  I’m still reading The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness.  Part of the way in I realized that I needed to go back and re-read the first two books, because of all the people and plots to keep track of.
      Something borrowed: the latest in Kate Carlisle’s Bibliophile mystery series, The Book Stops Here, featuring a limited edition of The Secret Garden with hand-painted illustrations.
      Something blue:  Bill Bryson’s Made in America: an Informal History of the English Language in the United States.  It’s catnip for trivia buffs, the kind of book that makes you follow people around saying, “hey, did you know…that Oreos are the largest selling cookie in the world, that they make more than six billion of them a year, and that every year 10 cents of every dollar spent on cookies in America goes to Oreos? (Excuse me while I go have an Oreo or three…)

  28. 28
    LauraL says:

    I’m now reading The Hawk, second in Monica McCarty’s Highland Guard novels, thanks to Elyse’s review of The Chief this past week. I probably will skip back to the present and chick lit next with The Sea Garden by Marcia Willett because it is a library loan. I’m guessing it will be more Highland Guards next as I figured out my local library has them all, although this thread has a way of changing my TBR files.

    Last weekend, I went back to Sanctuary, West Virginia, for The Place I Belong by Nancy Herkness. (I had reviewed Country Roads for the RITA challenge.) This third book in the series is just as good, yet the story is so different. The hero, a chef and recovering alcoholic, has some darkness to get over and a new-to-him son to get to know, but he loves to feed his people! The whisper horse in this book is a sickly pony. The kid, the pony, and a dog help bring the hero and the veterinarian heroine together. Of course, and I loved it.

    I ended a long string of contemporary ranch/horsey books there and went back to the Regency for The Wicked Bargain by Gina Danna. The hero is a male courtesan who runs a brothel, and a young lady straight from the country is there to straighten him out and yowza there are lots of sexy times. Lord and Lady Spy by Shana Galen followed and the witty dialogue had Mr. L asking me what the hell I was reading. Thought I would be reading a few more Regencies from my Regency TBR folder, including The Traitor from Grace Burrowes, until I was distracted by those SEALS in kilts….

  29. 29

    August has been devoted to digging into my backlog of historicals. I started by rereading a slew of Kleypas’s books, including her Wallflower and Hathaway series, which I love. Then I began some unread titles: Mary Wine’s Sutherland series. Finished the first book, The Highlander’s Prize, and am now halfway through the second, The Trouble With Highlanders. There’s one more, I think. After that, I have Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series, Sabrina Jeffries’ The Duke’s Men, and the second half of Julie Ann Long’s Pennyroyal Green series (but I might reread from the start since it’s been awhile). I might even get through titles by Tessa Dare and Sarah MacLean before I return to other subgenres. I’m happily ensconced in earlier times, at least into September.

  30. 30
    Vicki says:

    Is this the most expensive post of the month? Maybe.

    Just finishing Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. Excellent YA about dealing with trauma (aren’t they all) and enemies to in love. Nice girl has scars she can’t remember getting and has withdrawn. Previously nice boy loses family, ends up in foster care, becomes social outcast. They are thrown together by their high school counsellor and sparks, good and bad, fly. They come to terms with their traumas, work on forgiveness of the adults on their lives, drive into the sunset together (literally) at the end. I was even a little weepy at one point.

    Just finished A Duke of Her Own by Eloisa James (thanks for the rec). Liked the way the characters grow though there were a few places I was all wtf. Still, hard to put down which was not good as I was again on the road – found myself wanting to read at stoplights but resisted.

    The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy. Modern reporter girl with relationship issues gets to know older (baker) who lived through WWII in Germany. Life lessons learned, tears shed by both characters and myself. Worth reading. Though the chapters alternate from present to past and some may find that a little distracting.

    Coyote Wind by Peter Bowen. Mystery set in very rural Montana, the hero is an older Metis who is raising two daughters by himself but has a very close community. It took a chapter or two to get into due to the fact that most of it is stream of consciousness in his patois. I did end up enjoying the heck out of it and plan to look for the next several books in the series.

    Sherry Thomas’s My Beautiful Enemy – wow, amazing. Thanks for the rec. Definitely on the keeper shelf.

    Flying in Place by Susan Palwick. Probably YA though maybe not. Anyhow, teen deals with her hugely dysfunctional family/abuse issues. Nicely done. Very nicely done. Good showing of how the abuse experience colors perceptions of daily events.

    Now, off to check on all the above mentioned books and, likely, buy too many of them.

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