Because of travel and more I'm woefully behind on updating my reviews. As I'm thinking of doing away with reviews in any case, except for books I really love, that may not be a bad thing. But, for my own sake as much as anything else, here are the books I've read since I've been gone . . .
Kendall Kulper, Salt and Storm: the setting was the best part of this. Rich,
evocative fantasy set in the whaling world of 19th century New England
(think Moby Dick, but more accessible). The language was lovely and the
atmosphere perfectly drawn: but I didn't love the ending.
Kelly Fiore, Just Like in the Movies cute, not entirely convincing story of two girls who set out to change their romantic fortunes by mimicking movie scenarios.
Kasie West, The Fill-In Boyfriend. I pre-ordered this book: I was that excited to read a new Kasie West book! And while it was fun and harmless, it didn't have quite the same depth or wit as her other books.
Julie Wright, Melanie Jacobsen, Heather Moore, Boardwalks Antique Shop. This collection of three related novellas about romances along Tangerine street in a delightful SoCal town is not quite as much fun as the previous one, but these stories are fun and sweet.
Martina Boone, Compulsion: Martina has done a lot to support the YA community (she has a great website that runs all kinds of interviews and contests that was hugely helpful to me), and I've been wanting to read her debut for some time. There was lots I loved about it: richly evocative setting in the South, an intriguing cast of characters (Barrie, her scarred--and now dead--mother, her cross-dressing guardian, Eight, and so many more), interesting mysteries about Barrie's past. But while I enjoyed reading the book, I didn't love it, and I'm not entirely sure why. Boone is a good writer, her characters well-drawn and did I say I loved the setting? But I wasn't fully drawn into the world until the end.
Jude Morgan, A Little Folly.
Jude Morgan might be the next best thing to reading Georgette Heyer or
Jane Austen. He's got a great ear for period language and the details
are wonderful. Sometimes the narrative is a little slow, but I still
really enjoyed this story about siblings Louisa and Valentine who, when
their strict father dies, plan to fully enjoy life--with some unexpected
Nichole Van, Intertwine. A sweet, romantic, if sometimes implausible time-travel romance that plunges the heroine into Regency era England.
Josi Kilpack, A Heart Revealed. I've read several of Kilpack's culinary mysteries and liked them but didn't love them, so I was intrigued when I saw she'd written a Regency, even more so when I heard it had starred reviews from Kirkus and Publisher's Weekly. And while the story was more of a slow burn than a fast-action piece, there was a lot I liked about it: especially the extreme humbling of the heroine after she discovers her hair is falling out. I can imagine few things more horrifying to a woman who puts all her value in her personal experience. Amber's humbling and transformation give this Regency a lot more depth than most, and the romance (while I wanted *more*!) was sweet. (And if it looks like I've been reading a lot of Regency lately, well, yes, I have. And I have lots of recommendations.)
Marie Rutkowski, The Winner's Crime.
Rutkowski is one of those authors I want to be like when I grow up: her
books are effortlessly plotted, well-paced, and the heroes tread that
fine line between complicated and unlikeable. I adored book one (The Winner's Curse),
and I was so happy to find that the sequel didn't disappoint. It's hard
to say much about the book without spoilers, suffice it to say that
Kestrel has engaged herself to the Emperor's heir to save Arin and his
kingdom (though of course, she can't tell Arin, and he doesn't
understand why she's done it). The politics were fascinating and
well-drawn, the writing was sometimes so lovely it hurt, and, of course,
the romance is still smouldering.