Quick Review: Breathless by Beverly Jenkins

Quick Review is a semi-regular feature of ARCs I’m loving. You should keep your eyes out for these! 


BreathlessBreathless by Beverly Jenkins

Beverly Jenkins has done it again. She gave me a story that had layered characters, a wonderful plot and as an added bonus gave a history lesson that most of us didn’t learn in school regarding US history. I love that our hero fell in love first, no brooding for this guy and the heroine? She was the one who had to be convinced to leave her single state. The romance between the two equals steamy.

Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Format: Digital ARC from Edelweiss

Quick Review: Lady Claire Is All That by Maya Rodale

Quick Review is a semi-regular feature of ARCs I’m loving. You should keep your eyes out for these! 


Lady Claire Is All That (Keeping Up with the Cavendishes, #3)Lady Claire Is All That by Maya Rodale

I have been really enjoying the shenanigans of the Cavendishes and this foray into their world was no different. I love that Lady Claire is basically Ada Lovelace. I also love that the book takes place at the exact same time as the previous two books so we can see what the other characters have experienced of the shenanigans that have ensued.

 

Publication Date: December 27, 2016
Format: Digital ARC from Edelweiss

Cravats, Corsets, and Canoodling

I’ve fallen into the blackhole that is historical romance and I’m not sorry. Well, I’m not sorry now. I was sorry. I did that stupid thing where I felt guilty over what I was reading. Because I’m dumb. I’m not really dumb, I just got caught in the web that is literary snobbery. It’s not the first time, but this will be the last time I let it bother me. Here’s a little background.

I used to read a lot of romance. In fact, my early adult reading was pretty much just romance novels. That’s what my mom read and bought so that’s what i had easy access to once I got out of what we call now YA. Not that it really resembled the YA we have now, but that’s the closest thing I can think of. I remember pretty much jumping from Fear Street books right into Danielle Steel. Then I moved on to Jayne Ann Krentz and historical romance. My mom was/is a contemporary romance type of lady, so I had to outsource historical romances. For those I went to her best friend. That’s where I discovered the Malorys. She had ALL the Johanna Lindsey novels out at the time. Later, I would find Judith MacNaught, Catherine Coulter, Jennifer Crusie (I love her still), JAK’s other pen names in which she wrote historical romances and futuristic romances, Mary Balogh, Elizabeth Lowell, Suzanne Brockmann, and last but not least, the “Queen” of romance, Nora Roberts.

I read romantic suspense, paranormal romance, historical romance, and contemporary romance. Pretty much to the exclusion of anything else. Remember while this wasn’t pre-internet, it was pre-Goodreads and social media. It was when your favorite author really didn’t have their own website, but were listed on their publisher’s site which weren’t as polished as they are now. Discoverability was tough when I didn’t really have any other people in my life who were readers. Working in a library on Grand Forks Air Force Base in my early twenties helped a bit, but it was still a lot of genre. Most of the patrons were reading the typical airport reads. I did discover Dan Brown and Steig Larsson, and also my next phase of urban fantasy with Kim Harrison and Kelley Armstrong.

Because I was the only heavy reader in my life, it wasn’t until I met some other heavy readers, that I found out that romance was looked down upon. Until then, it was my reading in general people couldn’t comprehend. I admit, I fell for it. I buckled and stopped reading romance altogether. I donated all the books I had slowly. To be fair, some of them I was getting tired of on my own. Some authors were just recycling material, some went a route I was unwilling to follow them on. But mostly, I got scared. What if I wasn’t doing this reading thing right?

Obviously now I know there is no right or wrong way to read as long as you’re doing it. Barring some of the problematic things like that “romance” novel floating around about Jefferson and Sally Hemmings, I mean. But that’s a discussion for another day.

I found Sarah MacLean a couple years ago thanks to Book Riot and fell back in love with historical romance. I also learned about Beverly Jenkins, Lisa Kleypas, Maya Rodale, and a few more. I do favor Regency historical romance over other eras, although medieval is another I’ll contemplate. I learned about Tiffany Reisz and discovered erotic romance (a subgenre I’d never been brave enough to try). Sonali Dev was my re-introduction to contemporary. I’ll be honest and say I’m still working on contemporary. So far, I’m really only reading Reisz, Dev, and Alisha Rai in my contemporary romances/eroticas. I’m working on discovering new authors. I also really don’t have any interest in paranormal anymore. I prefer my vampires and werewolves in urban fantasy.

This sounds great right? I’m reading all kinds of genres now. The problem? I relapsed for lack of a better term. After reading a lot of great Regency historical romance series, I realized I was just reading those. That wasn’t really the problem. The problem was I felt guilty over it. I was guilty that I was “ignoring” my other books or not reading anything “substantial.” Don’t get mad at me, I know it’s ridiculous. Those other books will still be there. Also my diversity stats fall when I read Regency historical romances. This is where only reading that subgenre fails. I don’t know of many PoC writing it. I can name Courtney Milan. I would love to read others, of different countries in the same time period. I’ve read a few historical fiction of China in the same time, but no romance. Give me your recs!

In the case of the blackhole, the only thing that I can do is ride the wave. I eventually fizzle out and start to crave a fantasy adventure or a feminist manifesto. One cannot live on cravats, corsets, and canoodling (also the name of my memoir) alone. Well, some probably can (and that’s perfectly okay!), but I have an appetite for variety. I’m sure in a month or two, I’ll have another foray into that world, hopefully this time, I won’t neglect my other TBRs.

Have you ever gotten stuck in a blackhole of a certain genre? How did you get out? Did you get out? Do you need me to throw you a feminist manifesto?

Upcoming May Books

Every month I try to make a list of all the books coming out that I’m excited to read. Let me know in the comments about any you’re excited about. Here’s what’s coming up in May.

 

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero (May 3). I love celebrity biographies, yet this one is especially important as Guerrero (you’ll recognize her from Orange is the New Black) recounts her family’s experiences in being undocumented workers in the United States.

 

 


We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl®, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement by Andi Heisler (May 3). I have this one preordered since someone declared May to be feminist manifesto release day and I’m here for it. I like Bitch Media and feel like there’s going to be a lot to say in this one.


Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen (Six Tudor Queens, #1) by Alison Weir (May 5). I have to confess something. I have an addiction. I am addicted to books about the Tudor reign in England. Doesn’t matter how many books have been published about the fickle king and his doomed wives and daughters, I’m there for it (Henry the VII is a little less on my radar atm). Alison Weir is a great source  for this era so this is sure to be a great read.


The Inquisition (Summoner, #2) by Taran Matharu. (May 10).  I really liked Matharu’s first book The Novice (which comes out in paperback this month as well if you missed it) so I’ve been waiting patiently for the sequel. If fantasy is your genre of choice, I suggest picking this series up.

 


The Crown’s Game (The Crown’s Game #1) by Evelyn Skye (May 17). I may be a bit biased about this one since Evelyn is a friend of a friend and a local Bay Area author, but I hope that doesn’t stop you from picking her debut YA novel up. Taking place in Russia, there is magic and intrigue afoot along with a bad ass lady main character.

 


How May We Hate You: Notes from the Concierge Desk by Anna Drezen (May 17). As someone who travels at least a couple times a year, this title fascinated me. I have a love of behind the scenes sneak peeks, whether it be a documentary about backstage  at Disneyland, a tweet about Book Riot/Slack shenanigans, or a book about hotel hooliganism (whether it be from the staff or the guests).

 


Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2) by Lisa Kleypas (May 31). I have to say, you really can’t go wrong with a Kleypas romance and I have a feeling this is going to be no different. The hero is not a duke or an earl or even a viscount, but a self-made man which is a fun change from the aristocratic world we usually see. The heroine is a shy lady with a secret. I’m ready to see what these two will get up to.


The Geek Feminist Revolution: Essays by Kameron Hurley (May 31). Did you hear that? Those were all my bells ringing. I’ve been hearing good things. This one is already on preorder as well.

 

 

*edited to fix a publishing date error.

Upcoming April Books

Here are some books in April that I’m looking forward to!

Lumberjanes, Vol. 3: A Terrible Plan by Noelle Stevenson. (Apr 5). Holy Michelle Obama! It’s time to see what the girls at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types are up to. Will there be shenanigans? Of course there will.

 

 


Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (Apr 5). I would say I worship at the altar of Seanan McGuire, but honestly she scares me a bit. In a good way. But really, I love her prose and wit and expect no different from this novella.

 

 


Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Apr 12) – Do I really have to say much on this one? This is going to be a hardback purchase so that I can dream one day I will get Lin-Manuel and cast to sign it.

 

 


The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi. (Apr 26). I keep finding myself picking up YA fantasy novels! The addition of this being inspired by Indian mythology is pretty much extra catnip. I love retellings and if I don’t know much about the source material it leads me to research (said as I cackle and rub my hands together Mr. Burns-style).


The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn, #2) by Renee Ahdieh. (Apr 26).  I can hear my friend Janani squeeing from Chicago. I have yet to actually read the first book in the series which is based on 1001 Arabian Nights (remember what I said about retellings?), but I know I’ll have read it before this one comes out. I have a plan, guys. Why are you laughing? Come back…

 


 

How the Duke Was Won (The Disgraceful Dukes, #1) by Leonora Bell (Apr 26). This is a debut author who I’ve heard good things about. Even though I’m not a huge fan of ladies vying for the attention of a guy, I’m interested to see how the concept is going to be applied here especially since the heroine is supposedly not who she seems.

 

 

What books are you looking forward to in April?