Tasty Book Tour: Between the Devil and Ian Eversea by Julie Anne Long

Between-The-Devil-And-Ian-Eversea-Julie-Anne-Long2

I broke one of my cardinal rules to read this book: I started at the end of a series. At nine books, the Pennyroyal Green series is approaching the status of an institution, and my (otherwise dormant) internal sense of right and order insists on starting those kinds of things at the beginning, with Book 1, as God and author intended. But there’s the problem – at 9 books, it can suddenly seem too much of a commitment. And yet, everyone says they’re so good. so when the opportunity came to review this one, I had to ignore that niggling voice that said I was doing it wrong, and just try it.

The good news? It didn’t matter. Clearly some of the secondary characters had a deeper backstory than I was getting, and I’ll catch up with them later, and that’s fine, really.  No really, it is.

In the meantime, this book’s heroine, Miss Tatiana Danforth, has a special charm. An American import, her innocent beauty hides a calculating bent reminiscent of Scarlett O’Hara, for all that she’s a New Yorker. Her stated goal may be the best match available to a well-fortuned beauty, but she craves male attention like flowers need sunlight and in the meantime, she’ll be flirting at the center of the room.

She might look like an angel…

The moment orphaned American heiress Titania “Tansy” Danforth arrives on English shores she cuts a swath through Sussex, enslaving hearts and stealing beaux. She knows she’s destined for a spectacular titled marriage—but the only man who fascinates her couldn’t be more infamous…or less interested.

…but it takes a devil to know one…

A hardened veteran of war, inveterate rogue Ian Eversea keeps women enthralled, his heart guarded and his options open: why should he succumb to the shackles of marriage when devastating good looks and Eversea charm make seduction so easy?

…and Heaven has never been hotter.

When Ian is forced to call her on her game, he never dreams the unmasked Tansy—vulnerable, brave, achingly sensual—will tempt him beyond endurance. And fight as he will, this notorious bachelor who stood down enemies on a battlefield might finally surrender his heart…and be brought to his knees by love.

It takes a strong hero to see through her tricks, and their war of words was the best part of the story.  Ian also has the disadvantage of his brother-in-law’s disapproval, and that brother-in-law, the Duke of Falconbridge,  unfortunately holds the determination of Tansy’s future.

I’ll be catching up on the Duke’s story in – let’s see – book 5.What I Did For a Duke.

Avon is giving away book 8 for the tour here, so you can start there, or see the rest of the tour here, or just jump in and start with Tansy, who is quite charming.

I have 8 more books to buy, myself.

 

Author Info
The author of five popular novels from Warner and eight from Avon, Julie Anne Long lives in California with a fat orange cat (little known fact: they issue you a cat the moment you become a romance novelist).
JulieAnneLong
Author Links
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20987.Julie_Anne_Long
Website: http://www.julieannelong.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JulieAnneLong
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJulieAnneLong

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.  

Stay With Me by Elyssa Patrick

I am convinced that me from the past was kind of an idiot, but I can’t deny that being 20 was lots of fun. Everything at 20 is intense and hopeful and can change at any time.

Unfortunately, the opinions of my 20 year old self, untempered by any real life experience or hardship, were not nearly as interesting or important as I thought they were at the time.

The beauty of fiction is that it can condense down to the actual interesting parts and filter out any drama-inducing analysis of 30 second conversations. I’m enjoying the New Adult genre – romance centered on college-age protagonists – with a tinge of nostalgia. And a few hours of college nostalgia is just about perfect.

Haley, the heroine of Stay with Me, has had a bit more life experience than your average college freshman. A former child pop/movie star, she has turned her back on her career and her pushy stage mom (I pictured Mama Lohan) and decided to attend a small, rural college in Vermont. There’s a lot to like about Haley: she’s aware of her advantages, eager to leave all the detritus of being famous behind (except for maybe the designer clothes), cautious but open. When a professor accuses her expecting her fame to cover over shoddy work, she finds a tutor, not a free pass.

And she meets Caleb, a small town, local guy with a big circle of friends. Caleb is smart, handsome, and understanding. Caleb is … generically awesome. He also has a sister who becomes Haley’s best friend.

The tension in the story hinges on Haley’s last secret, which she expects her mother to spill at any minute in order to try to bring Haley back to the world she abandoned. It was mentioned so often that I expected the reveal to be anticlimactic, but it was as much as a shocker as promised, but (this being a romance) didn’t bring about the end of the world Haley predicted.

As much as the story is a romance, though, it’s really about Haley finding her place in the rest of the world. I spent the whole first half wishing that Lindsay/Amanda/Miley/etc. had decided to go to college in small, rural Vermont towns, and the last half just rooting for Haley.

Despite the fact that Caleb (and his friends and family) are all a little too perfect, this was a pleasure to read. It was like a mid-nineties era rom-com, and I consider that a compliment.

And the final thing I love about New Adult: the story doesn’t have to end with a big wedding or promises of forever and ever. Just because your first big love isn’t destined to be your last doesn’t mean it isn’t special.

The best bit: it’s currently $1.99 through at least Saturday. So you should buy it right now.

Friday Bookshelf: November 1, 2013

Important book sale bit: I don’t know why or for how long these books will be $1.40 for Kindle editions, but it’s a great selection.  I bought these two young adult by Rainbow Rowell because they have had crazy good recommendations:

(If that’s not enough YA for you, The Book Thief and The Fault in Our Stars are $3.99 each for Kindle, as well.)

And I bought Silver Linings Playbook because I never got around to seeing the movie and the book sounds even better:

And in the triumph of hope over experience, I bought the sequel to Wolf Hall even though I haven’t actually read Wolf Hall yet.

I have also already read Firefly Lane, which I found to be a nice take on the heroine-is-secretly-a-witch idea, and Shantaram, which has a compelling story set in Bombay, if somewhat purplish prose:

But on to my other obsessions.  You guys know I love Jane Austen (I won’t call myself her biggest fan until I dress up in regency clothing), but I don’t know that I want a regency RPG.  It sounds sort of sordid.

I’m also sad to say that, as much as I loved the Lizzie Bennet diaries, I am not loving their adaptation of Emma. Emma is now a caricature: manipulative, materialistic, self-absorbed. I’m currently hate-watching it, though.

I like the Booker awards because they have so far excellently corresponded to books that I both enjoy and would likely not have chosen to read otherwise.  I was extra fascinated by this article on how the award affects sales.   It’s the sort of trend I’m happy to be included in.

NaNoWriMo starts today.  I am not holding myself out to writing a novel, but I am going to at least outline the one that’s knocking around in my head.

I’m in a bit of a reading slump, so please send mojo.

 

Friday Bookshelf: October 25, 2013

Just to get the disagreeable bit out of the way first, the internet was quite feisty this week because the 3rd book in the Divergent series, Allegiant, came out and the fans were … upset … about the ending. Only it’s a young adult novel with a young adult audience, so the upset was cranked up to 11 and the author caught everything up to and including death threats. By all accounts, author Veronica Roth handled it all with restraint. Here is a link to the details, but the article has spoilers for the book so be warned.

I haven’t planned on reading the series, but I found the turn of the discussion concerning appropriate denouement for young adult fiction very interesting.  The readers expected a happy ending; various authors noted that authors don’t owe their readers anything, and especially not climactic unicorns and rainbows.  If I want a guaranteed happy ending – and sometimes I do – I can read romance, where it is in fact an established rule.  I don’t think that young adult has to guarantee what in romance is called HEA (happy ever after); the thing I appreciate most about current young adult lit is that it doesn’t talk down to its readers.  In my preteen years I read a lot of Stephen King, so clearly HEA was not a requirement.

But, I also don’t think that HEA endings are stupider, or less literary or thoughtful, than dramatic ones.  I have never understood why only Serious Movies get Oscar consideration.  A good plot develops and finds the right ending on whichever end of the spectrum works.

Blah, enough of that.  Correcting another one of my least favorite attitudes, Sarah Maclean, who writes really excellent romances, wrote a letter to the New York Times on their article  on writing sex scenes which inexplicably left out the experts on the subject in the romance field.  As it did not insult their intelligence, I suspect it was the 2nd or 3rd draft.

The World Book Night book list came out this week.  Even though I’ve never signed up to participate – I’m not quite sure where I would locate non-readers who wouldn’t think I was insane for trying to give them a book – I pick the ones I think I’d be good at pitching.  And this year – wow, this is a challenging list to pitch to non-readers. The Weird Sisters I enjoyed, but I can’t imagine selling a non-reader on a book about a collection of first-world-problem sisters with a Shakespearean quoting professor for a father.  I’ve recommended the Dog Stars to several people who have hated it, plus it has odd diction that makes it hard to stick with. I’m under no illusions that everyone likes Jane Austen as much as I do, so I can’t imagine telling a non-reader that a book based on a 200 year old book is just the thing for them, yet Miss Darcy Falls in Love is on the list so someone thinks it’s a good idea. I thought Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was wonderful but it is very, very odd; odd seems to be in style so I might give that one a go. But the sure bet is the Agatha Christie Poirot mystery After the Funeral; Christie novels are short and funny and the plot setup has been stolen for years of TV shows. Kitchen Confidential would probably find a pretty wide appeal, as well.

If I needed more T-shirts (I’m about to move again so really, I don’t) I’d buy one from this site just because it’s called Insatiable Booksluts.

I also don’t need any more books to move, but I acquired two Alice Munro short story collections because she won a Noble prize and it seemed like a good time for it.  Here’s a free short story of hers from the New Yorker site.

And finally, Nicholas Sparks denied he writes icky romances (women write those, ew) by naming his genre “love tragedy.”  I’d like to thank him for defining the genre so I can better avoid it in the future.

Friday Bookshelf: October 4, 2013

My theory on why I like Pride and Prejudice sequels and adaptions is that I love the characters so much that I want to spend extra time with them. This makes it extra important that, in the sequels, Lizzie and Darcy are happily in love. That cannot be screwed with. So you can imagine how I felt when I found out that [spoiler but it's all over twitter and facebook so I'm sure you noticed] Helen Fielding KILLED OFF MARK DARCY for the new Bridget Jones novel. This is so not okay, and I will not be reading this book. I will probably read a synopsis on the internet, though. Sigh. Anyway, here’s someone who disagrees with me. You’ll note that, as she mentions in the first paragraph that she’s not keen on Austen, she can’t possibly be trusted.

To get you through the anxiety of dealing with this travesty, here’s a hedgehog eating a carrot.

But on to authors doing GOOD things. Nora Roberts, who in my head has a room in her bed and breakfast where she just rolls around in cash like Scrooge McDuck, has donated a lot of money to a college to encourage them to academically study romance. I think this is awesome. Also, I have somehow never read a Nora Roberts book. I think I picked up one in the library sale, though, so if the urge comes up, I’m ready.

I’ve decided I’d like one of these miniature book pendants, but how would you decide which book to get?

If you have any interest in Sci Fi or Fantasy, Tor.com often has free short stories. Here’s a great option from Mary Robinette Kowal.

I’ve been reading some nice books that I don’t really want to review. Some books – new ones, mostly – are for reviews, but lately I’ve been tired and I’ve just read for fun.

Charity Girl is not Georgette Heyer’s best work. It does, however, illustrate all the strengths and flaws of her novels. Her characters are just excessively likeable and there’s just enough plot and everything works out well in the end for everyone. They speak in the oddest slang, though, so the dialogue sometimes has to be figured out from the context, which is just ridiculous. Her books are like cupcakes, and this one could’ve used better quality icing.

The Camelot Caper is the odd Elizabeth Peters book that isn’t part of a series and is more like one of her Barbara Michaels thrillers, but not quite as gothic. It’s a road trip through England plot as the plucky American heroine meets an author with a nose of Cyranoic (Bergeracian?) proportions and they try to figure out why low quality criminals are menacing them. It was also a delightful romp of a read, but dated, as the heroine kept roving the English countryside in pastel skirt suits. I can’t imagine any flavor of American tourist doing that now.

A Hidden Fire is along the lines of A Discovery of Witches, in that a heroine with an unusual skill set – she’s getting a degree in Library Science – assists and falls for a vampire. I might quibble a bit with the style, especially in the first few chapters, but the story is solid, and kept me entertained even though I’m officially over the vampire thing. I also liked that the heroine was not in the least bit a frumpy librarian, and that it was set in Houston and all my favorite academic places make an appearance. Seriously, the rare books section of the UH library is magic. They let me touch a first edition of Rasselas.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that A Hidden Fire is the first in a series and is free for Kindle.

Finally, there’s been a lot of mention lately of comfort reads, and I have to give a shout out to mine:

Mercedes Lackey is deservedly best known for her Valdemar series, but this is great fun – a fairly unique magic system with interesting limitations, my favorite kind of plucky, bookish heroine, set in early 20th century San Francisco, and a bittersweet but practical ending.

Friday Bookshelf: September 27, 2013

Guys, I just don’t know about Goodreads. For those of you not keeping up, there is a group of authors who said rather icky things either in their published work or otherwise and then some readers mentioned the ickiness in their book reviews and THEN the authors responded to said reviews in various inappropriate ways (up to and including figuring out and publishing the reviewers’s personal information online). Some readers started putting the books on personal Goodreads “shelves” that were titled in ways insulting to the authors, who howled. It should be noted that the authors in question are not many in number; most authors I know are responsible, professional, and often hilarious on social media and if they are reading their reviews they resist responding to them at all.

Goodreads responded by some very quick lets’s-hide-it-under-the-rug maneuvers. They threw together some new rules about how book reviews should be about the book, not the author, and said they would delete reviews that didn’t follow the rules, but then deleted only a handful of people’s reviews without giving them the opportunity to revise them. They also did this (per Elizabeth May’s twitter):

This seems like a not awful idea.

I’ve seen a lot about how this is a sign of how Goodreads is turning more to an author/marketing bias rather than being for readers now that Amazon has bought them out, and while that commentary may have roots, it seems to me more like Goodreads trying to half-ass a solution to the inevitable problem wherever people gather semi-anonymously, and ultimately pleasing no one. I’ve moderated forums and it is a thankless task of drudgery and deflection of misplaced anger. I’m sure I made a few bad calls then and have no desire to pick up that sort of mantle ever again. It can truly suck. Ultimately, some one will say, usually with some level of validity, that they should not be prevented from sharing an opinion, no matter how much of a shitstorm they are creating on a regular basis. And they will be supported by other members. But if you don’t limit the shitstorm-creating interactions, the site becomes nothing but shit and the good, contributing members disappear and you’re left with the self-righteous trolls and newbies who can be counted on to say nothing more interesting than, “I like cheese. Do you like cheese?  I think it’s good stuff.”

Where does this leave me, a semi-regular user of Goodreads? I sympathize with those that have decided to move on to the next site – LibraryThing seems popular – but my desire to embrace new social media platforms is very low. My Goodreads participation has also waned; its clunky categorization makes it useless for really organizing what I want to read, and really, if my close friends and I had more books in common that we could discuss, I wouldn’t be motivated to maintain a book blog. I expect I’ll see how it all falls out and either continue cross-posting to Goodreads when convenient or adopting a new site if one emerges from the pack.

You know, I didn’t really intend to rant about that for 500+ words.  I didn’t even get to David Gilmour, who only really loves books by people who look just like him and whose books I will not be reading.  Look, here’s some baby sloths:

Please return next week, when I’ll be in a much better mood and will just talk about books.

Tasty Book Tour: Summer is for Lovers by Jennifer McQuiston

Tour BannerI’m always wary about romances with any sort of reference to Scotland. I don’t have anything against Scotland itself; I fully intend to travel there one day. It’s just that romances with Scottish heroes tend to be the same story over and over – overbearing Laird, feisty lass, some squabble between clans to be overcome, highlands, etc.  Some of the least loved novels by favorite authors are the ones they’ve set in Scotland.

So When Jennifer McQuiston’s first novel came out last year, I resisted because it was called What Happens in Scotland, despite the fact that everyone was raving about it and it had a great cover (and I rarely notice covers).  Here, look:

 So I didn’t read it, and I’m now regretting it, because really enjoyed Summer is for Lovers.  (What Happened in Scotland is 99 cents on Kindle right now, so that will be remedied fairly quickly. )  But back to the new one, which also has a lovely cover.

Summer is for Lovers coverBlurb

David Cameron has been tricked. After bringing his supposedly ailing mother to Brighton to take the waters, he’s found himself bombarded with young ladies of marriageable age, while his mother has made a marked improvement. Seeking respite from the hordes, he retreats to a beach he hasn’t seen in years–and finds a woman he’s never quite been able to forget.

Caroline Tolbertson just wants to be left alone. But her mother is determined to see her married off, no matter Caroline’s protests–or her embarassing lack of suitors. Seeing David Cameron, her childhood crush, again sets her heart racing, but she’s older and wiser now. And no, that wasn’t her heart sinking when David suggested a faux courtship instead of the real thing.

But Caroline has never been very good at following the rules, and the fake attraction soon grows into the real thing. Now Caroline has more scandalous pursuits in mind and David is finding it very hard to say no to his gorgeous friend. Will giving in to temptation send them both down a path they each claim to abhor–straight to the altar?

So yes, Summer Is for Lovers has a Scottish hero, but the story is set in Brighton.   Brighton is, of course, one of those places that is integral to Jane Austen but that she doesn’t ever actually allow the reader to visit, so it was great fun visiting it here and seeing the interaction between our heroine Caroline, a full time resident “townie”, and the London vacationers.  Caroline is a misfit with everyone, so her friendship with David is especially meaningful.

David Cameron might be Scottish, but he begins the novel not with a show of strength but depressed and vulnerable, and saved by a young Caroline.  He was immediately sensitive, mysterious, and honorable, and it pulled me right in.  I liked David all the way through, which is rare.  Likeable hero, unconventional heroine, unusual setting, and the fake engagement setup – it’s a collection of all my favorite romance parts.

I read elsewhere that the author did not realize when picking a name that David Cameron was already taken.  So please don’t think of the important but rather puffy-faced Prime Minister of Britain.  Instead I suggest you picture a slightly different David:

photo
*Sigh*

Or, you know, there’s a book trailer to provide inspiration as well:

Author Info

A veterinarian and infectious disease researcher by training, Jennifer McQuiston has always preferred reading romance to scientific textbooks. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, their two girls, and an odd assortment of pets, including the pony she promised her children if mommy ever got a book deal. Jennifer can be reached via her website at http://www.jenmcquiston.com or followed on Twitter @jenmcqwrites.

Author Links

https://twitter.com/jenmcqwrites

http://www.jenmcquiston.com/

https://www.facebook.com/jennifermcquistonauthor

This tour includes a giveaway of two digital copies! You can enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can follow the rest of the tour here.

Friday Bookshelf: September 6, 2013

  • Mary Robinette Kowal posted a survey about SFF fandom.  The foxy Idoru posted – and I have to completely concur – that she had realized upon taking the survey that she had only read US and UK authors in this genre.  Kowal suggested this blog as a place to start for worldwide SFF.  Speculative fiction readers should take the survey and see what they’ve been missing.
  • Earlier this week, she also did an AMA on Reddit, and she provided more input on the question of why regency is so popular (which I discussed here.)

Because it was a period of great social change. People were able to move between stations for the first time, and you see the rise of the middle class. Women had more freedom than they do before or after.

Plus, the clothes are pretty and relatively comfortable.

  • I really enjoyed Zoe Archer’s steampunk novel Skies of Gold, and that’s been the trend for the reviews.  Here, she talks about how her personal experience impacted this book.
  • Finishing up Read-a-Romance month, Courtney Milan wrote about her journey to being a romance reader.  When she talked about covering up the romance she wanted with another book she didn’t, I laughed, because when I worked at Borders (RIP),  people did that all the time.  We sold about 10 copies a month of Playboy and a couple other nudie periodicals, and they were always bought with a Sports Illustrated or some business mag on top of them.

Man, I miss Borders.

  • Amazon has been busy this week.  They announced Matchbook, which will allow Amazon to offer deeply discounted e-book versions of print books they’ve bought in the past.  I don’t think this will be of much utility to me; the only time I think I’ll want an e-book of a print book I’ve bought is if I bought the book as a gift.  I mean, I’d like a Kindle folder of all the Mercedes Lackey  books I have instead of the bookshelf I have, but even at a couple of dollars I wouldn’t be tempted to repurchase them, and most were purchased elsewhere, anyway.  But I’ve bought a lot of books from Amazon; I really don’t have any idea how many that might be.  When this releases in October, I’m going to enjoy the review of what I purchased on Amazon in 2005.
  • Then Amazon – also, Apple – sent me email to tell me that, as long as the current settlement for the agency pricing litigation is approved, I will receive a credit for each book purchased during a particular timeframe.  This got me thinking about how many e-books I’ve actually paid good money for, and Amazon has all my order histories going back forever easily accessible, so I had a look.  I’ll likely discuss it more in a future post, but the result was a very low percentage, and the most expensive e-book I purchased there, outside of a couple bundles, was $3.99.  I suspect that my credit may add up to a single book.  I remember purchasing a couple of full price books from iTunes, because there was a gift card involved, but I don’t think there’s any way for me to look and see what my iTunes purchases were.
  • Now Amazon has gone and announced a new Paperwhite.  This is problematic as I just bought a Paperwhite a few months ago, but this one has integrated Goodreads.  I will be suffering a good deal of upgrade envy.
  • If anyone feels the need to buy me an unbirthday present, I’d quite like a subscription to this Jane Austen themed periodical.  But I promise to stop before I wear regency dresses to Jane Austen conventions.