When your karma needs a swift kick in the rear

A few days ago, I said something stupid and thoughtless and inconsiderate to a fellow writer on twitter, a writer whose work I admire greatly. I was trying to tell her how much I loved one of her books and instead . . . well, it was graceless to say the least. And I’m ashamed of myself. I know better than to try to say something complicated on twitter, let alone anything negative. Idiot. I considered deleting it, but it’s out there and I need to suck it up and own it. It’s not the first time and, knowing me, it won’t be the last. Nature of the beast.

But instead of dwelling on it, I decided maybe it’s time to remind myself to focus on the positive and recommend a few books I’ve read in the past several months and truly enjoyed. (Yes, that writer’s are among them.)

Keep in mind, these are NOT book reviews. I don’t do that anymore, partly because Amazon thinks writers shouldn’t be allowed to review books [really, Amazon? REALLY?], but also because on the rare occasions I’ve done a review over here I get a bunch of requests to do more. So please don’t ask me. I’m not a book reviewer. I’ll hate saying it, but the answer will be no.

I’ve been reading (and writing) a lot of romance lately, so these recommendations are all in that genre, although that might be the only similarity among them. Some are sweet romance and others are . . . a good bit darker. Or steamier. The links are all to Amazon but probably you could get these books elsewhere as well.

81HL-pHEgTL._SL1500_First is Jackie Ashenden’s TALKING DIRTY WITH THE BOSS. Don’t let the title fool you into thinking this book is about, y’know, talking dirty with the boss. Okay, fine, that’s part of it. But it’s so much more than that (hence my dislike for the title, but we just won’t talk about that) (any more). The hero has OCD issues, which is a spectrum and not the same for everyone, and Ashenden handles it so well and this guy comes across as troubled but also gruffly sweet and charming, and the relationship felt genuine. I loved this book and didn’t want it to end.

Besides being incredibly gracious when you say stupid things to her on twitter, Ashenden has become as close to an auto-buy as I get. I’ve purchased the first two books in her Nine Circles series — I loved the excerpts — and am saving them to read as a reward for finishing a project, but other books of hers I’ve read and would recommend are:

HAVING HER (Lies We Tell Book 2)
TAKING HIM (Lies We Tell Book 1)
NEVER SEDUCE A SHEIKH (International Bad Boys Book 2)
THE BILLIONAIRE’S CLUB: New York boxed set

Next up is Rebecca Zanetti. I read the first three in her Sin Brothers series and then pretty much gorged on her backlist while waiting for the fourth book, which recently came out. She writes the kind of ridiculously strong alpha male heroes that you’d want to strangle in real life and, if you like that (I love that), you probably can’t go wrong with any of her books. But this particular series is a “highly recommend” from me. It’s listed as paranormal, but it’s not your standard witches and vamps and were-things. It’s more that the heroes all have enhanced abilities (hearing, strength, etc).

FORGOTTEN SINS
SWEET REVENGE
BLIND FAITH
TOTAL SURRENDER

81WeEVt9H+L._SL1500_Carolyn Crane is another auto-buy for me. Just go to her Author Page and pick anything, but I especially love her Undercover Associates series. She also writes as Annika Martin and the book she co-wrote with Skye Warren, PRISONER, is one of the most disturbing yet well-written books I’ve read in a long time. But seriously, heed the warning about dubious (or complete lack of) consent. This book isn’t for everyone.

Let’s see, who else? I guess I’m really recommending writers more than particular books at this point, so I’ll just go ahead and link to their Author Page over at Amazon or I’ll be over here all day listing books.

Sarah Morgan is another auto-buy (the O’Neil Brothers trilogy is wonderful) and the first in her new Puffin Island series was delightful as well.

81NyUmbtEfL._SL1500_Victoria Dahl, of course. I’m a huge fan of her writing and, really, of everything she says on twitter (when she’s not taking an ill-advised well deserved extended break from it) (ahem). She has a new book coming out in July titled TAKING THE HEAT, which you can pre-order now (I sure did and I don’t even know, or care, what it’s about).

Oh, and Kelly Hunter is another terrific writer with an extensive backlist. She has recently started publishing with Tule (so have a bunch of other talented writers) and I’ve loved those books — SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL and THE HONEYMOON TRAP, for example — as well as the ones with Harlequin, especially the ones subtitled The Bennett Family (strong heroes, stronger heroines).

Kat Latham has become a favourite as well. I absolutely love her charming rugby players and have read all of her books, including her latest that just came out in May. So good.

I’m also really enjoying Laura Kaye’s HARD INK series, even though I’ve gotten a couple books behind. The ones I’ve read have been fantastic.

Oh, and a relatively new-to-me writer, Karyn Lawrence, has two books out, KEEP and STAY. I read and enjoyed both and it looks like a third, SURRENDER, is coming out later this month. There’s a good bit of violence, so be wary if that offends you. Although, thinking about it, that’s true of many of the books mentioned above.

I think that’s enough for now. Pretty sure I’ve included enough links that this will go directly into the spam folder of those subscribing by email. Ooops.

Mind you, these are just a handful of writers whose books I’ve enjoyed recently. No one paid me, or even asked me, to recommend these books and I didn’t get any of them for free. Well, unless it was a free-to-everyone kind of deal. That’s entirely possible. It’s not an exhaustive list of favourites or even of All-Time Best reads. I’d never be able to come up with such a list. There are just too many.

But don’t take my word for it. My reading preferences are pretty varied and just because you might like my writing* doesn’t mean you’re going to like everything I read. So read the description and sample pages, peruse the reviews, make up your own mind. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover a new favourite.

Got any recommendations of your own? Leave a title or a link in the comments, all genres welcome. I’m always looking for new ways to procrastinate good books to read. I read fast and devour a LOT of books when I’m not writing, or embarrassing myself on twitter. Which I will go back to doing now. The writing, not the other thing.

*Reminder: if you want me to send you an email when I have a new book available, sign up here for my mailing list.

10 Comments

Filed under book reviews, twitter, writing

10 responses to “When your karma needs a swift kick in the rear

  1. MinO

    I too enjoy Victoria Dahl and Laura Kaye’s work. Getting a little behind on Hard Ink isn’t terrible, because then you can binge and know you’ve got stories worth your time to enjoy!

    I have jotted a few you mentioned here and will check library and online excerpts to see if they are a good fit.

    I continue to enjoy the most recent Anne Bishop Series (partial titles Red, Crows and Silver.) They are “other worldly” but the world is crafted VERY well and filled with very interesting characters.

    And, dare I admit, that I’ve devoured all Kristen Ashley’s released books. And, I’ve re-read two complete series (what is plural of series?) and a few exceptional stories more than twice. Not sure why, they just click for me and “take me away”.

    Don’t beat yourself up on the Uh-Oh. You’ve owned it, move on . . . nothing to see. . . something new will come along and grab the focus.

    Good luck, prayers, and fast healing over the coming weeks and summer.

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  2. Thanks, MinO! People keep mentioning Anne Bishop and I have no idea why I haven’t tried her yet. Must remedy that. And honestly, I’m afraid to start reading Kristen Ashley. SO MANY people love her books and say they’re “reading crack.” What if I get sucked into her backlist and can’t get out?! Wait, that sounds like a GOOD thing. One of these days, I’m going to clear a big old stretch of time and give her books a try.

    And thank you for the good wishes. Have a feeling I’m gonna need all I can get.

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  3. McB

    Argh, wrote a long and witty response, then it disappeared. Sigh. Haven’t read much in the way of new authors lately, but I like Jane Haddam’s Gregor Demarkian books, Laurie R King’s Marry Russel books, although Touchstone was also really good. And I’m another fan of Anne Bishop’s Others series. A very well done alternate world set up that’s somehow not fantasy or sci fi, nor paranormal – well, nothing sparkly about it.

    I’ve been reading a lot of Patricia Briggs, and recently Christopher Fowler’s Bryant and May books. I haven’t quite made up my mind, but the characters and premise are quirky – if you like Locked Room type scenarios, you might enjoy them. Not cozies, but there is something comfortable about them.

    And if you want to try something really fun and different, Lindsay Buroker’s Emporer’s Edge series is oddly addictive. Sort of Steam Punk/adventure. It’s my guilty pleasure.

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  4. McB, our reading tastes are SO different, it always makes me smile. I’m glad we’re friends in spite of it. 😎 I actually bought the first couple of Buroker’s series on your recommendation a while back, but haven’t read them yet. So much time, so little to do… Speaking of steampunk, have you read any of Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas series? I didn’t think I’d like that genre and avoided them for a long time, but they are so good. Terrific writer.

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  5. McB

    Something for everyone!

    I’ve not read Brooks, but I think someone else has recommended her, so one of these days I’ll have to try one. I honestly did not think I’d like Buroker as much as I did, and I’m not sure even now what it is that pulled me in. Very character driven. They are quirky and fun in a swashbuckling sort of way, but have unexpected dark parts. I just know that they sucked me right in, in spite of reminding myself that I don’t like that kind of thing. Which just proves that you never know.

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  6. McB, that’s so true. Way waaaay back, during a time when I was reading romance exclusively, I never wanted to read Harlequin because those books were too short. I wanted more words for my money, damn it. Not sure when, exactly, I decided to give them a try but holy guacamole there are some really talented writers writing those (relatively) short books. Including several mentioned above, who got their start with HQN. Yeah, you never know.

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  7. Merry, whose motto is 'just give me the coffee and no one will get hurt'

    I think McB was the one who suckered me into — er, that is, persuaded me into reading the first Buroker Emperor’s Edge book. After all, it was free. (And may I say that Buroker is a good role model for getting people into reading her books.)
    After that, I decided I might as well try the second one. Then I hesitated before trying the third, but what the hell. However, then I came upon the fourth and damn the author’s perfidious soul, she set it up so that I had no choice but to read the fifth. And the sixth. And the seventh.
    Really. She could give lessons on making a success out of self-publishing, mostly by word of mouth. And providing the first three books free in audible form on itunes.

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  8. Yeah, that McB is a book pusher. Dangerous woman.

    I think I got the first Buroker free as well. ONE OF THESE DAYS I’ll read it. I’m sure I’ll get hooked too. I didn’t realize she was self-published. Interesting. I think the best strategy for getting people to read books is to write damn good ones. Apparently she does. I’ll have to look into audio books, once I have a few more out there. I don’t have the patience to listen, so I’m always surprised by how many people like them. And I agree, offering the beginning of a series free is a great option when obscurity is your biggest obstacle. Well, that and a glacial writing speed. *sigh*

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  9. Merry, whose motto is 'just give me the coffee and no one will get hurt'

    I think she actually did write a book on how to make a living by self publishing. If it has a chapter on how to organize your time so that Life doesn’t interfere with important stuff like writing, then maybe I should read it!

    Except that NMC does not quite approve of my spending time doing things that do not actively contribute to her health and comfort.

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  10. I looked at AMZ and couldn’t find anything like that listed. She does have a bunch of blog posts that look interesting/informative, so I’ve bookmarked her blog for future research.

    Yeah, The White Ninja thinks I don’t spend nearly enough time sitting still and keeping her warm. There’s too much going on in my life lately.

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