On My Wishlist #8

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme that’s currently hosted at Cosy Books, but was started at Book Chick City. It’s a way for us to share the books we’re drooling over, at least in the hypothetical sense. (Actual drool on real books is messy and disgusting. Actual drool on ebooks may result in failure of the device. Yes, I’m being snarky. I’ve been watching too much House recently.)

About those books I’m wishing for…

Midnight Rescue by Elle Kennedy just looks incredibly cool. I saw reviews at Fiction Vixen and The Book Pushers and I just want it. The story is a combination of military romance and romantic suspense. It sounds like something along the lines of Suzanne Brockmann’s recent Born in Darkness or M.L. Buchman’s The Night Is Mine, both of which I absolutely loved.  Except that Midnight Rescue involves both a band of mercenary male soldiers and a separate band of mercenary female soldiers who are going to have to learn to fight side-by-side. And eventually pair off as the series goes on.

Speaking of books I just plain want, I also want Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. This is the sequel to A Discovery of Witches, her breakout debut from early last year. Everyone wants this one, so I’m not alone. The first book was an absolutely spellbinding combination of history, alchemy, witchcraft and romance. I expect the second book to be the same, as the forbidden lovers, vampire Matthew and witch Diana, continue their tale in Elizabethan London. It sounds like the perfect summer read. (I’ll admit, I’ve requested this one twice from Penguin through NetGalley, and haven’t received an answer. I’m keeping my fingers that the third time proves the charm!)

The summer book announcements are starting to heat up. Just think of the number of books we could all be adding to our wishlists! What’s on your wishlist this week?


ARC Review: The Saint Who Stole My Heart: by Stefanie Sloane

Format read: egalley from NetGalley
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Number of Pages: 304
Genre: regency romance, historical romance
Series: Regency Rogues #4
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Formats Available: paperback, ebook
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author’s Website, Amazon , Barnes & Noble,


Desire, danger, intrigue, and steamy seduction unite a sexy spymaster and an intrepid bluestocking as Stefanie Sloane’s luscious new series continues.

Possessed of a brilliant mind and a love for puzzles, Dashiell Matthews, Viscount Carrington, is a crucial member of the elite Young Corinthians spy league. Assuming the façade of an addle-brained Adonis, he hunts for a notorious London murderer known as the Bishop. When fate causes him to cross paths with Miss Elena Barnes, Dash discovers an enigma that will prove delightfully intoxicating to unravel: a voluptuous beauty as intelligent as she is fearless.

Only the lure of a collection of rare books bequeathed to her family by Dash’s late father could tempt Elena from her cozy rural life to the crush and vanity of London. But if Elena finds his lordship to be the most impossibly beautiful man she’s ever seen, he also seems to be the stupidest. Which made her body’s shameless response to his masterful seduction all the more unfathomable. Yet when she discovers Dash’s mission to track the dangerous Bishop, she willingly risks everything—her trust, her heart, her very life—to join him.

My thoughts:

I think Elena fell in love with Carrington’s library. And she was certainly consumed with lust for Carrington’s person.

Based on the descriptions of both the library and the Viscount, I’m not saying I blame her for either reaction.

Elena Barnes is a bluestocking. She had one season, and she didn’t, well, as one of Carrington’s friends put it, she didn’t take. Elena is also somewhat of a tomboy, and her widowed father gave up on governesses after she drove the fourth one away. With a frog.

Carrington’s late father willed his library to Elena’s father. He’s not quite well enough to see to the cataloging and packing himself. Carrington’s library is, of course, full of rare and wondrous volumes.

The new Viscount has the looks of an Adonis, one who pretends to have the brains of a cabbage. Of course, he’s not an idiot. He’s really a kind of spy, a member of the Young Corinthians.

Poor Elena can’t quite figure out why her body is sending her one signal, and her brain is sending quite another. After all, she’s certain she couldn’t possibly be interested in a man who isn’t actually, well, interesting.

But Carrington finds Elena much, much too interesting. And the longer she’s around the less he is able to keep up the pretense of being a total dim-wit.

I kept looking for a courtship, and there really isn’t one in the usual sense. It’s more of a reveal. The more he drops his mask of stupidity, the closer they get.

What makes Dash stop pretending he’s an idiot? Elena finds a puzzle box in his father’s library. Not just any puzzle, but the key to a mystery that Dash and his friends have been hunting for over a decade, the reason they all joined the Young Corinthians in the first place.

It’s his father’s notes on the murder of his best friend’s mother, Lady Alford. Notes that lead to the leader of a spy ring. Notes that make his enemies, Elena’s enemies. and put her directly into the line of fire.

Once this suspense line of the story got going, I couldn’t put the darn thing down. However, and it’s a big however, too many of the issues it raised were left unresolved. I smell a set up for the next books in the series. And I never did figure out who or what the “Saint” in the title referred to. Hearts definitely got stolen, but no saints were involved in their theft.

I give The Saint Who Stole My Heart 3 1/2 Stars.

What’s on my (mostly virtual) nightstand? 4-22-12

Before I start on this week’s Nightstand, which is going to be a traveling nightstand, two newsworthy items.

We’re famous! Or maybe infamous. Your mileage may vary. Very much. Reading Reality is the featured blog this week over at Curiosity Quills Book Blog Spotlight. Go check out all the blogger interviews. They are awesome. And don’t forget, there’s still time to review one of their books and enter their contest for a chance at an iPad3.

Speaking of giveaways, tonight at midnight, the Spring Fling Blog Hop will begin at Reading Reality over 80 other blogs. So come back tomorrow and fill out the Mr. Rafflecopter for your chance at a $10 Amazon Gift Card at Reading Reality, plus more fabulous prizes at all the other participating blogs.

About that nightstand of mine. As I said, it will be a traveling nightstand this week. We’re going to a conference. Well, my husband has a conference, and I’m going along as his “plus one”.

So I’ll be taking one or two print books as my “airplane” books. Probably either Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules, or Karen Kondazian’s The Whip.

But what’s up on the reviewing calendar between now and May 1, next Tuesday? And is anyone else out there having a difficult time wrapping their heads around the idea that next Tuesday is the first of May?

I did get a new iPad3 for my birthday earlier this month. There were a certain number of trials and tribulations involved in transferring the contents of my old iPad to my new one. Enough that Galen was moved to write a guest post that will appear later this week.

But I do love my iPad enough that I requested Insanely Simple by Ken Segall from NetGalley. It’s a non-fiction business book, which is not the sort of thing I usually get. But it’s about Apple Corp. There are a couple of companies whose inner workings do interest me. Apple is one. (For anyone wondering, no, I don’t have a Mac. Galen has a Mac)

From a business that makes gadgets we go to gadgetry that makes a genre. I have Cruel Numbers by Christopher Beats, which is subtitled “A Steampunk Noir Mystery”. I hope it’s half as cool as it sounds.

I also have Zero Gravity Outcasts by Kay Keppler. As you might guess from the title, Zero Gravity Outcasts is science fiction romance. These are my two Carina indulgences from NetGalley for the week.

Because I loved Shona Husk’s Dark Vow, I snapped up her Kiss of the Goblin Prince when is appeared on NetGalley. The difference is that Dark Vow was stand alone, and Goblin Prince is book 2 in a series. So I have the prequel (The Summons) and book 1 (The Goblin King) to get through first.

Sadie Jones’ The Uninvited Guests is a book that looks like it’s going to get a lot of buzz. I picked up a paper ARC at PLA and I requested in from Edelweiss. It’s due out on May 1. At least when the Edelweiss egalley timebombs, the paper ARC will still be good! It’s about an Edwardian house party that goes sadly astray, it reminds me of the movie Gosford Park, and, of course, Downton Abbey.

I went through a period of picking up mysteries at NetGalley. Fatal Induction by Bernadette Pajer is the second in the Professor Bradshaw series, after A Spark of Death. These are historic mysteries, and they look interesting, taking place at the beginning of the 1900s and having to do with electrical engineering and academics, and, of course, murder.

My last book for next week is also a bit unusual for me. I will be participating in the BlogHer Book Club in May, and the book chosen for the Book Club next month is You Have No Idea by Vanessa and Helen Williams. So it’s an autobiography written by a famous daughter and her mother.

I’ll be visiting my mom in the middle of May. Maybe I’ll get some insights from the rich and famous…

So, what’s on your nightstand this week? What are you planning to read?


In My Mailbox #6

Books keep appearing in my mailbox. It’s magic!

Sometimes it’s really magic. One of my wishlist books was granted. Edelweiss presented me with a ebook ARC of Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King. This is the next book in the Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell series. I am ecstatic about this one. Now if only the magic would repeat and John Scalzi’s Redshirts would transport in…


My other arrivals this week:

From Sizzling PR for review:
The Risque Target by Kelly Gendron (ebook)

Book and Trailer Showcase for review and book tour:
Bad Girl Lessons by Seraphina Donavan (ebook)

From Bewitching Book Tours (you guessed it for review and book tour):
Night Walker by Lisa Kessler (ebook)

From the author:
The Whip by Karen Kondazian (print)
Under His Protection by Karen Erickson (ebook)

For Book Lovers Inc. for review:
Of Thieves and Elves by AP Stephens (ebook)


From NetGalley:
The Bewitching Tale of Stormy Gale by Christine Bell (ebook)
Untouched by Sara Humphreys (ebook)

From Edelweiss:
Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King (ebook)
The Vampire Shrink by Lynda Hilburn (ebook)

Purchased from Amazon (what can I say, I couldn’t resist reading the rest!):
Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James (ebook)
Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James (ebook)

NetGalley April Read-A-Thon

It’s April, which means it’s time for the quarterly NetGalley catch-up month at Red House Books.

Emily has declared this month to be a Read-A-Thon, a chance to clear some of the backlog of NetGalley books and just plain maintenance tasks associated with reviewing.

Mmm. Well. Mmm. Marlene sticks her toe in the ground and looks down shame-facedly.

On the maintenance, I’m good. On the backlog, not so much.

I did finally take advantage of the “Kindle books don’t expire” option and mailed every possible NetGalley title to my Kindle app. Whether that will help or not, we’ll see. One thing I don’t see with that option is book covers. They are all “docs” and documents don’t have book covers. There is one word for them, and that word is “UGLY”.

Also very hard to tell apart.

I had a second reason for doing this. The Kindle app probably doesn’t get full. Bluefire, much as I love the app, does seem to have a limit. And I found it. Every time I need to add a book to it, I have to delete one.

Guess what? You can fill up an ebook reader, if you try really, really hard. Or at least, you can fill up an ebook app. (I’ve emailed Bluefire support and we’re in the middle of figuring this one out. It seems to have to do with expired books. Update: It turns out it definitely has to do with expired books. I have too many and there’s no easy way to get rid of them. Only very boring ways.)

In the meantime, I’ve got to take a look at my NetGalley queue. There’s plenty in there (shudder). I absolutely must post a couple of reviews this month for the Read-A-Thon.

After all, I can’t let the side down. I’m one of NetGalley’s Librarian Voices.

What’s on my (mostly virtual) nightstand? 4-15-12

If this were not a Sunday, in the U.S. today would be the day that the taxman cometh. Or perhaps goeth might be the better word.

April 15 is usually the deadline for filing U.S. Income Tax returns. Except when it falls on a Sunday–then we get a reprieve. Until April 17th this year.

All the procrastinators in the U.S. are waiting until tomorrow night. Or maybe even Tuesday night!

Does having more time make it better, or worse? You tell me!

In the trying not to put things off department, what books are on my nightstand, just waiting to be read and reviewed?

Two books for tours coming up. I’m doing more tours. I get some very interesting books, and some equally interesting commenters. Folks that I hope will like what they read, and come back for more.

About those books…

The Minefields by Steven C. Eisner was sent by Book Lovers Inc. It’s business fiction, which isn’t quite my usual, but the author’s family reminded me more than little of my own family. The story (I finished this afternoon) seems like fictionalized auto-biography. And if it is the author’s own life fictionalized, it’s definitely one I’d rather read about than have lived. But fascinating. The tour will be stopping at Reading Reality on April 20.

Completely 180° from there, Robyn Carr’s Sunrise Point tour will be stopping at Reading Reality the following week, on April 24. I’ll have an interview with Robyn and also a review of the book, the latest in her Virgin River series.

In addition to the tour books, there are three other books coming up next week that I’ve been really looking forward to.

Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules comes out next week.I have a print ARC that I picked up at PLA, as well as a NetGalley egalley for next week. I adored her Iron Fey series, so I have high hopes for this. I’ve tried not to spoil myself by reading any of the advance reviews.


Last year, I found this terrific new urban fantasy, Hard Spell by Justin Gustainis.  I really loved that book. Who would have thought that Scranton, PA would be crawling with the supernatural? The sequel is finally here. I can’t wait to find out just how dark the Evil Dark in Scranton really is.


Wicked Road to Hell by Juliana Stone is the first book in her League of Guardians series. Well, it’s the first whole book. I reviewed the prequel novella, Wrong Side of Hell a few weeks ago, and it was a fine introduction. It was also hellishly hot in all the right places!


Speaking of series, the next book in Amanda Stevens’ Graveyard Queen series, The Prophet, is on my list for next week. I still need to catch up with this series. I have a paper copy of The Restorer, and The Kingdom is still in my NetGalley queue.

And, back to things in my NetGalley queue, I’ve been trying to resist the impulse, but a couple of Carina Press titles caught my eye for this week: Desert Blade by Ella Drake and Darkest Caress by Kaylea Cross. Desert Blade is science fiction romance, which I can never pass up, and I just liked the sound of the paranormal romance in Darkest Caress.

And that’s my overburdened nightstand for this week. Hopefully I’ve tempted you into adding something to your nightstand.

What are you planning to read this week?

In My Mailbox #4

In My Mailbox is a weekly feature, started by The Story Siren, as a way to give a shout-out to the books we received the previous week.

From the author:
The Key by Pauline Baird Jones (ebook)
Geared for Pleasure by Rachel Grace (print) I won this in a drawing at The Smutketeers.

From the author or publicist for review for Book Lovers Inc.:
The Cinderella Blues by Obren Bokich (ebook)
Blind Traveler Down a Dark River and Blind Traveler’s Blues by Robert P. Bennett (ebook)
On One Condition by Diane Alberts (ebook)

From Samhain Publishing:
The Lawman’s Surrender by Debra Mullins (ebook)

From Angry Robot Books as a member of the Robot Army:
Suited by Jo Anderton (ebook)
vN by Madeline Ashby (ebook)



From NetGalley:
Amped by Daniel H. Wilson (ebook)
The Unholy by Heather Graham (ebook)

And I received the second box of books and ARCs I sent myself from PLA, so I opened the boxes. Here’s the picture of my PLA haul. Pictures, plural. There were too many for one picture to do them justice.



Notable Books and Advance Galleys: It’s so much fun to say “We knew you when”

I’m so very pleased (actually giddy) to say that this post will appear on April 6, 2012 as the first of their “Librarian Voices” columns at NetGalley.

It can be fun to look at someone famous and say “I knew you when…”, particularly when that “someone” is a book, and the “when” in question is waaaay back before that book came out, and no one knew the book was going to be as hot as it turned out to be.

Or when you’re looking at the ALA Notable List, and remembering when you picked up the ARC at a conference, or got the egalley from NetGalley, because you thought it might be good, and, lo and behold, there it is, an award-winner.

Sometimes, you read a book, and you know it’s special. Then you tell everyone you know until they’re sick of it, and you. Unless you’re very lucky, and it’s your job to help people find their next perfect read.

The ALA Notable Books List is always interesting and useful, because as soon as I see it, I look at it and go, “oh, that one was popular”, “oh, that’s an interesting choice”, or “mmm, I can see why that got picked.” In collection development, it always made for a list of titles to check, but they were usually ones the library already owned. We’d miss one sometimes, especially on the poetry portion of the list!

Maybe it’s because I’m  personally a genre fiction reader, but the ALA Notable Books List always seemed like the “big books” list, Not big in the sense that they’re long books, but big in the sense that they’re literary, at least on the fiction side. These are “important” books, even when they are also very, very popular. Tea Obreht’s  The Tiger’sWife was one book that we just couldn’t get copies of fast enough. I remember seeing it in NetGalley before the pub date, and I wish I had snagged it then! Then I would have known in advance it was going to be big!

There’s another ALA list, one that reflects what people read for pleasure, instead of the important books. It’s The Reading List that RUSA CODES publishes. This list has categories for genres like “Science Fiction” and “Mystery” and “Romance”, you know, the good stuff. (I’ve never been so sure about that “Adrenaline” category.)

Genre fiction sells, and genre fiction circulates. That’s what circulation statistics show, and publishing numbers and everything else. The books on this list are the ones that people will enjoy.

And they’re fun.

The trick for librarians is picking out which one, or ten, are going to stand out from the crowd. It’s hard because the genre field is crowded and very diverse. Each genre can feel like its own little planet, and the galaxies can seem light-years apart. Lists like this are great navigational tools.

Each title on the fantasy list this year is absolutely marvelous. One of my favorite books of the year, The Magician King by Lev Grossman, is on the short list. The short list! It’s not even the winner! I knew when opened the first page of that egalley from NetGalley that it was going to be one of the big books of the year. But as far the winning title is concerned, as soon as I saw the NetGalley description for this title, it was clear that Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus was something special.  The circus arrives and it brings magic.
On the 2012 list, one of the shortlisted titles in the romance category is Kristan Higgins’ My One and Only. I resisted the impulse to get an egalley last year, but Higgins new book, Somebody to Love, is available now. And I have an egalley from NetGalley.

Maybe Somebody to Love will be on the RUSA CODES Reading List in 2013. And I’ll be able to say that “I knew it when…”


In My Mailbox #3

I have this vision of all the virtual mailboxes marching, marching, marching…right behind, or maybe in front of, all my virtual nightstands. And they’re ganging up on me!!!!!

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren so that readers and bloggers (there’s a big overlap there) can share the books they received, bought or borrowed that week.

I keep telling myself I need to do something about my NetGalley addiction. And then fate intervenes in one way or another, and well, weeks like this happen.

Curiosity Quills Press does this neat feature every week where they spotlight a book blog. The interviews are fascinating! And many of the blogs are blogs that I rely on for reviews for Ebook Review Central, so, when I found a call for bloggers willing to be featured, I jumped on it. Reading Reality will be featured on April 22.

But back to my mailbox. Curiosity Quills is hosting a giveaway, from now until May 1, 2012, with the prize of an Apple iPad3. You get three entries in the giveaway for posting a review of one of their books on Amazon. You can get more entries in the giveaway for reviewing more books and doing other things, just like other giveaways. (But this has to be the coolest prize ever!)  CQ publishes a lot of very quirky urban fantasy-type books. Which I generally like. And remember, one gets extra entries in the giveaway for each review.

CQ is on NetGalley. I picked up two books. Shadow of a Dead Star and The Last Condo Board of the Apocalypse, which I would have read anyway, just for the title.

Because I loved Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series, I also grabbed The Immortal Rules from NetGalley. This is kind of a repeat, because this is one of the books I’m absolutely positive is in the box from PLA that LaZorra the Feline Empress is guarding in last week’s photo.

I’m participating in the First Flights, the Penguin Debut Author program from Penguin Books and Early Word. The first book is The Orphanmaster by Jean Zimmerman and the first Galley Chat for the book is April 11. I asked for the NetGalley and I received a print galley too!

During the Reading Romances Blogoversary chat, Victoria Vane was chatting about her latest book, A Wild Night’s Bride, and said she was looking for reviewers. Several of us volunteered on the spot! It’s on my iPad.

Another “real” book, The Minefields by Steven C. Eisner for a review on Book Lovers Inc. and possibly also for hosting a tour stop on Reading Reality. This one is business fiction, which is a little outside my normal reviewing, but some of the description sounded a lot like my family!

You Have No Idea by Vanessa Williams from NetGalley for the BlogHer Book Club for May. And I have no idea how I managed to get into this one, but wow!



And four from NetGalley, just for fun.

Worldsoul by Liz Williams (this was on my Wishlist!!!!)
Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti by Genevieve Valentine (steampunk)
Powers by James A. Burton (superheroes, demons, gods, urban fantasy)
Sword & Blood by Sarah Marques (The Three Musketeers as Vampires!)

What’s in your mailbox?

What’s on my (mostly virtual) nightstand? 3-25-12

The Virtual Nightstand is way for me to give a shout-out to books that are coming out in the next week or so that are on my TBR (To Be Reviewed, in this case) list.

And, since I tend to do a lot of my reading in bed at midnight on my trusty iPad, when I finish a book I take a virtual look at my Virtual Nightstand to figure out what the heck I’m supposed to be reading next!

And speaking of next…what’s on that Nightstand this week?

There are two books I’ve been really looking forward to.

Lessons After Dark by Isabel Cooper is a loose sequel to her breakout debut No Proper Lady. No Proper Lady was a romance that handled the time-travel, the romance and the magic right. I wasn’t the only reader who loved it (see review), this one was recognized with bunches of awards. I can’t wait to see if the magic continues.

Zoë Archer’s Skies of Fire is the first book in her new Ether Chronicles. The author says it’s steampunk, which makes it doubly appealing. I’ve really enjoyed both her historicals and her SFR, so her steampunk should be good. I got this one from Edelweiss with very high hopes.

I requested Legacy and Wrath by Denise Tompkins from Samhain. Wrath, the second book in The Niteclif Evolutions, is due out next week. This looked like an interesting suspense/paranormal romance series, and since I wanted book 2, I had to get them both.

A Tryst with Trouble by Alyssa Everett is a Regency Romance, and is the author’s debut. I requested this because it looked like fun. A rake and a wallflower join forces to solve the murder of a footman, because each believes that the other plans to pin their murder on a hapless but not murderous member of their respective families. The comedy of errors leads to true love by strange pathways, of course!

I was invited to get the galley of Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers at NetGalley because I went to PLA. I think librarians or conference attendees got a widget. But I’m starting to hear some very good buzz about this YA historical romance that seems to mix a lot of deliciously nasty political intrigue with just the tiniest bit of magic. Sounds like it could be fantastic.

And I have a mystery! No, really. Skeleton Picnic by Michael Norman looked good when I saw it on NetGalley. It reminded me a little of the Margaret Maron’s Deborah Knott series, only with a male protagonist. What I didn’t see (and didn’t check, my bad) was that it was the third J.D. Books mystery.

On April 6, Reading Reality will be hosting a stop on the Isadora DayStar Blog Tour for Book & Trailer Showcase. This will be a review stop on the tour, so I’ll be reading Isadora DayStar by P.I. Barrington this week so I have my review ready. P.I. Barrington will be giving away 2 copies of her science fiction novel.

Don’t forget the Brightarrow Burning Blog Tour  stops at Reading Reality on March 29!


And because I want to be a complete tease, April 4 is Reading Reality’s blogoversary and April 5 is my birthday. There will be a celebration. Here at Reading Reality. Is blogo-birthday the word? Whatever it’s called it will happen.

Watch this space! There will be further announcements.

Mondays come sooner. Ebook Review Central tomorrow!