Friday, August 21, 2009

Coming Attractions: Part 2

Listing books by month and category is a strong reminder of the paucity of contemporaries. I only have three on my TBB list: two by auto-buy authors and one by a debut author who is already receiving a lot of buzz.


The Perfect Christmas(September 29), Debbie Macomber
I love Christmas books. I start buying new ones as they are released every fall, and then around Thanksgiving I take out all my Christmas keepers and read Christmas books through the end of the year. Debbie Macomber’s books are always part of this ritual, and I look forward to adding a new one to my collection each year. This year’s book sounds like great fun. A thirty-something heroine, ready for a husband and kids, hires a professional matchmaker, who assigns her three Christmas tasks: serve as a charity bell-ringer, dress up as Santa’s elf, and prepare a traditional Christmas dinner for her neighbors.

Lakeshore Christmas(September 29), Susan Wiggs
Wiggs takes readers back to Willow Lake in this sixth book in her best-selling Lakeshore Chronicles books. This one pairs an unlikely duo, a prim librarian and a long-haired, tattooed former child star, as directors of the annual Christmas pageant. While I’ve liked some of the Lakeshore Chronicles more than others, they have all been good reads. This one promises cheery fires, heartwarming carols, ample goodwill, and love story with an HEA. I’m sure there will be sightings of characters from former chronicles as well.

Note: If you, like me, have been waiting for Daisy’s story, Wiggs says we will have to wait a little longer. It will be a 2011 publication.

Can’t Stand the Heat(September 1), Louisa Edwards

The buzz on this romantic comedy has been enthusiastic. A light-hearted, fast-paced tale of the relationship between a food critic and a chef, Can’t Stand the Heat sounds promising. The word I heard is that if you like heat, you’ll love this kitchen. I’m looking forward to visiting. A second Recipe for Love book is due on shelves in March 2010.


Storm of Visions, Christina Dodd
I can take or leave paranormals; mostly I leave them. But I have been a Christina Dodd fan for ages. If La Dodd writes a book, I’m going to buy it. Like thousands of other readers, I thrilled to her Darkness Chosen Books and was delighted when I learned that CD was writing a spinoff series. The Romance Vagabonds were privileged to break the news of the new series, a fact that makes these books even more special to me. I loved Storm of Visions, which reached #5 on the NYT bestseller list. Storm of Shadows (September 1) promises to be just as great a read. I particularly love that the heroine of this book is a habitué of universities and libraries and is seduced into danger by the promise of museum visits. Now That’s my kind of heroine! You can read an excerpt here.

Romantic Suspense

I read little romantic suspense. Some of the best authors in this subgenre write too scary for me. I avoid things that might give me nightmares. But a handful of writers manage to hook me despite my caution. Two of that small group have September releases.

The Perfect Liar, Brenda Novak
Trust Me introduced Novak’s Last Stand series about an organization that focuses on helping survivors of violent crimes. The Perfect Liar is the fifth book in that series, and it offers something different, an Air Force captain charged with rape. His accuser is a stalker who has evidence to support her claim. Ava Bixby of The Last Stand must determine who the victim is and where danger lies. Romantic Times gave this one 4.5 Stars. You can read an excerpt here.

Make Her Pay, Roxanne St. Claire
Someone gave me one of Roxanne St. Claire’s Bullet Catcher books more than a year ago. Since romantic suspense is not my favorite genre, Take Me Tonight languished on my TBR shelf until I hit several DNF historicals in a row and needed something different as a palate cleanser. I gave TMT a try, loved it, and I’ve been a Bullet Catchers fan ever since, glomming the older titles and looking forward to each new story. Make Her Pay (September 29) is Bullet Catchers #10, if you count novellas. It features a hero with a Greek name and a redemption plot. I’ll be at the bookstore on release day for this one. You can read an excerpt here.


Back in the day when bookstores were harder to find, I used to buy category romances by the armload. I read many fewer categories these days, but I still have favorite authors that I look for and a couple of lines that I check out each month.

The Piratical Miss Ravenhurst, Louise Allen
Harlequin Historicals offers readers some wonderful books by terrific authors. Louise Allen is one of the best. Allen’s Scandalous Ravenhurst series is up to #6 with Clemence’s book (release scheduled for September 1). The books have been a bit uneven--some terrific and others just ok, but TPMR sounds good. High seas adventures,cross-dressing heroine, honorable naval officer undercover—I like the ingredients. You can read an excerpt here.

Here to Stay, Margot Early
Harlequin Super Romance is my favorite contemporary category line because I like context with the love stories I read. I particularly like the Everlasting Love books. I was sorry to see Harlequin discontinue the EL line, but I’m glad that the stories after the conventional HEA survive in certain books within the Super Romance line. Here to Stay (September 8) weaves together rich girl/poor boy and big secret themes. The themes may be overused, but since it’s an Everlasting Love book and I've read books by Early that I really liked, I’ll give it a try. You can read an excerpt here.

A Marriage-Minded Man, Karen Templeton
Templeton is one of the category authors whose books I always look for. I was fortunate enough to win an early copy of this book, and I’ve already read it. I have a soft spot for reunion stories, and AMMM is a good one. Tess and Eli are likeable characters, and the issues they overcome are real issues in contemporary life. You can read an excerpt of this Silhouette Special Edition here.


A Christmas Ball
I love anthologies, and I especially love Christmas anthologies. A Christmas Ball (September 29) sounds like a terrific way to start celebrating early. It contains novellas by Emily Bryan, Jennifer Ashley, and Elissa Johnson. All three historical romances are set at the Christmas Ball of Lord and Lady Hartwell. Ashley is the only one of these authors I’ve read, and it is her story that puts the book on my list. “The Longest Night” is part of her Nvengaria series. Shapeshifter Valentin has returned to England at the command of Grand Duke Alexander (The Mad, Bad Duke), but he also has a second mission, to win the heart of Mary Cameron, who nursed him back to health. I’m eager to try Bryan’s story because I’ve “met” her viaTwitter and because “My Lady Below Stairs” sounds fresh. The heroine, Jane, is the bastard daughter of an aristocrat, and a stable hand vies with the betrothed of Jane’s runaway half-sister for the role as hero. Johnson’s “Traditions,” appropriately named, is a more traditional story. An earl in search of a bride finds his head and his heart at odds as he falls for a prim, bespectacled lady. All the stories sound like great fun.

What’s missing from my list? Any other early Christmas releases? I’d love to add more contemporaries.


J Perry Stone said...

Btw, I still have your Kleypas Christmas book. Haven't read it yet. It felt somehow wrong to delve into with it being so blasted hot outside. But I haven't forgotten. Will send as soon as the weather suggests carols.

Seriously. Consider a "printer friendly" button.

MistyJo said...

Janga, you have lots of terrific ideas, but one of the best is your collection of Christmas novels through the holidays. I've adopted your idea and have been collecting a Christmas novel here and there for the past couple of years. Reading them help in relishing the Christmas spirit.

I have plans to add A Christmas Ball. I'm a Jennifer Ashley fan. Also, I'm making plans to purchase Deep Kiss Of Winter by Kresley Cole and Gena Showalter. It may not have anything Christmasy about it, but it will be set in winter. :)

The other day I read Upon A Midnight Clear by Sherrilyn Kenyon, and I enjoyed the Christmas feel at the end of the novel.

irisheyes said...

You are always such a font of information, Janga. I just love this. I don't think I've read or heard of most of these selections.

Just like Misty, I've been acquiring Xmas stories here and there and I pull them out when it gets close just to get me in the spirit.

I really liked Jennifer Ashley's The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie so A Christmas Ball will definitely go on my September list.

I've been slacking off on the Susan Wiggs' Lakeshore Chronicles series. I think I've just missed the last one about the ball player. Maybe I'll check that one and the new Xmas one out of the library together and try to catch up.

Janga said...

J, no hurry about the Kleypas book. I'm not short of Christmas reading. Even after culling and adding in January, I have more than 150 Christmas keepers. :)

And I'll check into the printer-friendly option.

Misty Jo, how great that you started a collection too. You should share your Christmas books with your girls. One of the things I love best about my Christmas rereads is coming upon a book that I know my mother read. For the duration of the story, it's as if she's with me again.

Irish, some of the the Lakeshore Chronicles are better than others, but I'm so hooked on the series that I can't miss one. Then, Wiggs is one of those writers that I trust never to give me a truly bad story. And I love what I've learned about the Christmas book.

irisheyes said...

I just found out there is another Virgin River Xmas story coming out September 29th in the anthology That Holiday Feeling with authors Debbie Macomber, Sherryl Woods and Robyn Carr. I think Carr's entry is about the town veterninarian.

Janga said...

Irish, that should be a great anthology. All three write the community-centered romances that I love. Thanks, I've added this one to my list.

PJ said...

Another great selection of books, Janga! My list for the final quarter of 2009 is getting so long that it's going to take me months just to read them all. My RT magazine arrived today and now the list has doubled!

I'm glad to see Macomber has a new Christmas book coming out. I was delighted to see that Robyn Carr has a new Virgin River Xmas story coming out in an anthology with Macomber and Sherryl Woods (October) but just found out that the Macomber and Woods stories are re-issues from 1996 and 2002 that I've already read. I'll buy it for the VR story alone but it's kind of disappointing.

PJ said...

I haven't read it yet but a contemporary that's been getting some good buzz is Julia London's A Summer of Two Wishes.

Stef Ann Holm has one coming out October 1st that I've been looking forward to. It's All That You Are, the final book in her Moretti series.

Janga said...

PJ, reissuing two stories with one new one seems to be a trend. I know that is also true of Courtney Milan's Christmas anthology. CM's story is new; the stories by Mary Balogh and Nicola Cornick are reissues. With that one as well, the new story is incentive enough to buy the book, but it would be nice to have three new stories.