Sunday, May 1, 2016

Scared of Writing? You're Not Alone

In October of 2015 I started playing with an idea for a novel that was different than my usual fare. During Nano in November I used it as my nano novel and wrote 50,000 words (more or less) (there were about 10,000 words of one scene written three different ways).

I love this book. I really do. This is a book I'd want to read because it's things I'm passionate about: God, morality, religion, love, self-destruction and the always popular good vs evil.

So why is it taking so long to write?

Eloisa James wrote a wonderful essay that I'm too lazy to find and link to where she was talking about academia and why men do so much better in the publish or perish sweepstakes: because women will agonize over every word while men write it, decide it's good enough and get it out.

Women: I used and three times in that sentence. And I think I dangled a participle.

Men: Hope they don't mind the misspellings. Time for a beer.

Obviously that's a little generalized but the truth of it is pretty intense. Women are so much more insecure and where does that show up? In our writing. (As well as every other aspect of our lives but that's another story.)

So then I was rereading On Writing by Stephen King which is considered a truly brilliant book and I always thought it was too and I realized that it doesn't work for me. Papa King telling me what I may or may not do just doesn't cut it.

Because it works for one, doesn't mean it works for someone else.

So anyway, I've been thinking about putting a piece of paper above my writing desk that says Write Like a Man to remind myself to stop fretting over every word and just write the damned thing. And to stop seeking advise from others about how to write because if I haven't figured this out for myself by now, I'm never going to.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Carolyn's May Books

I can't believe the year is almost half gone already. And still, the books, they come.  :-)


1.  Lake of Dreams
     Author: Linda Howard
     Publisher: Simon and Schuster
     Releases: May 2
     Price: $1.99

Dreams and reality collide—with potentially deadly consequences—in this stunning novella from New York Times bestselling author Linda Howard, available for the first time as a standalone ebook at an unbeatable price!

House painter Thea Marlow hasn’t been sleeping very well. Her nights are plagued by dreams, the setting by the water and the mysterious man who appears in them always the same. But the outcome of the dream changes nightly: sometimes the man loves her...and sometimes he kills her. Desperate for some much needed relaxation, Thea travels to her family’s remote country lake house. Imagine her surprise when a knock at the door reveals the man from her dreams...who happens to have just rented the house next door.

So will he love her—or will he kill her?

I love Romantic Suspense, so this, along with the price, is right up my alley.  :-)


2.  Night Shift: A Novel of Midnight
     Author: Charlaine Harris
     Publisher: Penguin
     Releases: May 3
     Price: 13.99


At Midnight’s local pawnshop, weapons are flying off the shelves—only to be used in sudden and dramatic suicides right at the main crossroads in town. 
 
Who better to figure out why blood is being spilled than the vampire Lemuel, who, while translating mysterious texts, discovers what makes Midnight the town it is. There’s a reason why witches and werewolves, killers and psychics, have been drawn to this place. 
 
And now they must come together to stop the bloodshed in the heart of Midnight. For if all hell breaks loose—which just might happen—it will put the secretive town on the map, where no one wants it to be...

I like these books, which is strange, because I didn't care for the Sukie books at all. In fact, I didn't get through the first one, let alone the whole series. In the Midnight books, the paranormal is very lightly applied which makes them intriguing for me.


3.  Troublemaker: A Novel
     Author: Linda Howard
     Publisher: HarperCollins
     Releases: May 10
     Price: $12.99

For Morgan Yancy, an operative and team leader in a paramilitary group, nothing comes before his job. But when he’s ambushed and almost killed, his supervisor is determined to find out who’s after the members of his elite squad—and why. Due to worries that this unknown enemy will strike again, Morgan is sent to a remote location and told to lay low and stay vigilant. But between a tempting housemate he’s determined to protect and a deadly threat waiting in the shadows, keeping under the radar is proving to be his most dangerous mission yet.
The part-time police chief of a small West Virginian mountain town, Isabeau “Bo” Maran finally has her life figured out. She’s got friends, a dog, and a little money in the bank. Then Morgan Yancy shows up on her doorstep. Bo doesn’t need a mysterious man in her life—especially a troublemaker as enticing and secretive as Morgan.
The harder they fight the intense heat between them, the closer Morgan and Bo become, even though she knows he’s hiding from something. But discovering the truth could cost Bo more than she’s willing to give. And when Morgan’s cover is blown, it might just cost her life.

I read the first two chapters of this book in the back of Duncan's Bride and it looks to be a good one, although everything was from the hero's POV, with no sign of the heroine yet. This doesn't bother me, but it might some folks.


4.  Only Beloved: A Survivor's Club Novel
     Author: Mary Balogh
     Publisher: Penguin
     Releases: May 3
     Price: $7.99

For the first time since the death of his wife, the Duke of Stanbrook is considering remarrying and finally embracing happiness for himself. With that thought comes the treasured image of a woman he met briefly a year ago and never saw again. 

Dora Debbins relinquished all hope to marry when a family scandal left her in charge of her younger sister. Earning a modest living as a music teacher, she’s left with only an unfulfilled dream. Then one afternoon, an unexpected visitor makes it come true.

For both George and Dora that brief first encounter was as fleeting as it was unforgettable. Now is the time for a second chance. And while even true love comes with a risk, who are two dreamers to argue with destiny?

The last book in the Survivor Club series and one I've been looking forward to. George deserves a HEA.


5.  The Alexandria Affair (Captain Lacey Regency Mystery)
     Author: Ashley Gardner (Jennifer Ashley)
     Publisher: Self Published
     Releases: May 17
     Price: 2.99

Captain Gabriel Lacey accompanies famous dandy Lucius Grenville to Egypt, a land that Lacey has long anticipated visiting. Lacey travels there for more than a simple holiday, however--James Denis has tasked him with finding an "object" in Alexandria and procuring it, whatever the cost.

The task does not turn out to be so simple. Locating what Denis wants in the teeming city proves difficult, sending Lacey and Grenville exploring tombs and temples down the Nile. Lacey must deal with treasure hunters, a shadow following him and his friends, murder, and missing his new family as he explores the exotic country he has so longed to see...

Book 11 in the Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries series.

I've enjoyed this series immensely, especially the deepening relationship between the two protagonists. The relationship develops throughout the books, but each book has its own mystery which is solved.


6.  Deep Dark (Tracers Series)
     Author: Laura Griffin
     Publisher: Simon and Schuster
     Releases: May 24
     Price: $6.99

The moment detective Reed Novak steps onto the crime scene, he knows the case is going to rock his world. A beautiful young woman murdered at home. No sign of forced entry. No motive. She’s obviously not the killer’s first victim, and Reed’s instincts tell him she won’t be his last. Reed’s first clue comes via a mysterious text that links to a dating profile, but even more intriguing than the clue is the person who sent it.

As a white-hat hacker in the Delphi Center’s cyber investigation unit, Laney Knox sneaks into some of the deepest, darkest corners of the Internet looking for predators. Laney would prefer to stay away from Austin PD’s most recent murder case, but she can’t ignore the chilling similarities between that crime and her own brutal attack years ago. Laney offers to help the sexy lead detective, but he wants more from her than just a promising tip—Reed wants her trust. Laney resists, but as their relationship deepens she’s tempted to reveal the closely guarded secrets that could make her a key witness…or the killer’s next victim.

Book 10 of the series. I have all her books, just love her stuff.


7.  Marrying Winterborne
    Author: Lisa Kleypas
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Releases: May 31
    Price: $6.99
A ruthless tycoon
Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better . . .
A sheltered beauty
Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable . . . the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with…
Marrying Mr. Winterborne

The covers for this series are awful!  I hope I like this second book better than the first. (I did a non-review on it somewhere around here ...)


8.  Everywhere and Every Way
     Author: Jennifer Probst
     Publisher: Simon and Schuster
     Releases: May 31
     Price: $7.99

Hot on the heels of her beloved Marriage to a Billionaire novels,New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst nails it with the first in an all-new sexy romance series featuring red-hot contractor siblings who give the Property Brothers a run for their money!

Ever the responsible eldest brother, Caleb Pierce started working for his father’s luxury contracting business at a young age, dreaming of one day sitting in the boss’s chair. But his father’s will throws a wrench in his plans by stipulating that Caleb share control of the family business with his two estranged brothers.

Things only get more complicated when demanding high-end home designer Morgan hires Caleb to build her a customized dream house that matches her specifications to a T—or she’ll use her powerful connections to poison the Pierce brothers’ reputation. Not one to ignore a challenge, Caleb vows to get the job done—if only he can stop getting distracted by his new client’s perfect…amenities.

But there’s more to icy Morgan than meets the eye. And Caleb’s not the only one who knows how to use a stud-finder. In fact, Morgan is pretty sure she’s found hers—and he looks quite enticing in a hard hat. As sparks fly between Morgan and Caleb despite his best intentions not to mix business and pleasure, will she finally warm up and help him lay the foundation for everlasting love?

Not too sure about this one, but the "red hot contractor siblings" caught my eye because - tool belts, y'all! Plenty of time to make a final decision.  :-)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Dirty: A Dive Bar Novel by Kylie Scott

I've pretty much enjoyed all of Kylie Scott's books, some more than others. Play, Mal and Anne's story tops the list. But, I have to say, Dirty is right up there with Play in reading enjoyment.

Here, have a blurb:



Love—on the rocks….
The last thing Vaughan Hewson expects to find when he returns to his childhood home is a broken hearted bride in his shower, let alone the drama and chaos that come with her.
Lydia Green doesn't know whether to scream or cry in a corner. Discovering the love of your life is having an affair on your wedding day is bad enough. Finding out it's with his best man is another thing all together.
Just when this runaway bride has nowhere left to turn, a handsome stranger offers her a broad, muscular shoulder to cry on. Vaughan is the exact opposite of the picture perfect, respected businessmen she's normally drawn to. This former musician-turned-bartender is rough around the edges and is facing his own crossroads. But Lydia's already tried Mr. Right and discovered he's all wrong--maybe it's time to give Mr. Right Now a chance.
After all, what's wrong with getting dirty?
Dirty is the first book in the Dive Bar series from bestselling author Kylie Scott.

                                                                             *****

I read the first couple of chapters with a smile on my face, I know I did, all because of lines like this:

"It's just kind of hard to ignore a penis and scrotum when they're dangling right in front of your face. I tilted my head, trying to get some perspective. Every viewpoint, however, was equally shocking. There was dick as far as the eye could see." (Lydia has been discovered in the tub.)

Lol!

I liked this couple. I liked their personalities, their humor, their appetite for each other. I liked the secondary characters too, even Eric, even though I'm sure they are all sequel fodder. It will hopefully be as much fun reading their romances as it was Lydia's and Vaughan's.

And we got to catch up just a bit with the Stage Dive gang. Mal made a cameo, being his usual crazy self while bringing news of the others.

There's no shoot 'em ups, no deeply tragic angst, no fairy godmothers or life saving alphas in this novel. Just real people (more or less) with life problems that can be solved with a little introspection and a lot of trust. "To thy own self be true" is the quote describing this tale of love and if you can do that, well then, you can love and be true to others. 

It's gonna be a great series, I feel it in my bones.


Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Discussion of The Obsession by Nora Roberts

Carolyn:  Okay, so obviously I didn't cancel my pre-order and actually I'm glad I didn't. This was a good book, classic Nora, and the first third was even better than The Witness.

Have a blurb:


“She stood in the deep, dark woods, breath shallow and cold prickling over her skin despite the hot, heavy air. She took a step back, then two, as the urge to run fell over her.” 

Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous. No matter how close she gets to happiness, she can’t outrun the sins of Thomas David Bowes.
 
Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, a rambling old house in need of repair, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the kindly residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton. 
 
Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But the sins of her father can become an obsession, and, as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.


Lori:  I'm going to agree that the beginning of this book was better than almost anything I've read recently, and yes, better than The Witness. It was freaking brilliant.

And spoilers ahead: the book was damned good but there was no way that it could start as it did and not be a bit of a let-down. Because the book starts with a 12 year old Naomi following her father into the forest and discovering that he's a serial killer. I mean, come on. Right there that's brilliant.

But it gets better.

Because that little girl saves her father's newest victim, gets her to safety and brings her father to justice. Right there we know: Naomi is the baddest-ass heroine that exists. Boom! Mic drop. Story's over. Tip your waitress on the way out. 

Carolyn: I'm not sure that's a spoiler, the blurb sorta gives it away. I have to say, as soon as I finished this book, I just had to re-read The Witness and came to some conclusions. 

Yes, the first part of The Obsession wins hands down, IMO,but comparing heroines, I found Abigail much more appealing than Naomi, and Abigail's hero appealed to me more than Naomi's (except for his name). Brooks is a beta hero, in control of himself, his life and ultimately his heroine. I don't mean controlling; perhaps a better word would be content, although that isn't right either. Nothing throws him, not Abigail's quirks, her intelligence, her eccentricities. And, most importantly, he lets her save herself; he doesn't fight her plan, he has trust in her. 

I didn't get this same vibe from Xander. He verged on over protective but perhaps he was right to do so because Naomi wasn't as logical as Abigail and I was always afraid she'd do something TSTL. However, I did like her character growth throughout the book; it was steady and logical and I believed she had overcome her hangups.

Lori:  I didn't find anything about Xander to be heroic and I think that was part of his problem. He sees a hot chick. He makes moves on the hot chick. He falls in love with the hot chick. And so what?

So big huge honking fucking spoiler right here

seriously avert your eyes...

The only reason why Naomi didn't kick the killer's butt and Xander did was because otherwise he was completely non-essential to the plot.

In fact, I'm going to stick my neck waaaaaaaaaaay out there and say that this book was a good literary suspense novel. Or a woman's lit novel or whatever subgenre you want to call it but as far as romance it was pretty ho-hum. Xander brought nothing to the story except that he had big guy hands and he liked to read.

To be blunt, I felt like Naomi could have fallen for any number of different men and for any number of reasons. The stoner gardener (what was his name, Carolyn?) would have been a lot more fun as a romantic hero.

Carolyn: His name was Lelo. And I agree with you about the genre of this book; it's not so much romance as a thriller or suspense or a combination thereof.

And I don't mean to sound as if I disliked this book. I enjoyed it immensely. It's really well written, with great characterizations and not as many 'Nora quirks' as usual. It's just that I think The Witness is the better book by a slight margin. 

These two books are her best, IMO, with Public Secrets coming in third. (That's another book that's hard to categorize.)

Lori:  So what I didn't like wasn't that much. In fact, probably I can condense it down to three basic things.

1. The beginning was strong, crazy strong, and the rest of the book didn't maintain that strength.

2. The hero wasn't interesting. He had all the prerequisites but he was much too paint by the numbers and not very heart felt. It might have been more interesting if he'd been a little less perfect or had a quirk. 

3. The killer was obvious and although I think Nora might have been trying to make it suspenseful, it wasn't. The moment he showed up in the story it was like, "oh... him." Not that he wasn't well done. He was. He was just not very interesting either.

Okay. There's a number 4. The renovation of the dream house. So, here's the thing. 2 women I work with are currently renovating their homes.   And listening to someone talk about their plumbing or color schemes is damned dull. A book where that's so front and center is like a conversation that goes on much too long.

But there were things I really liked about this book. I didn't love it but I liked it a lot and it was a really good read.

I liked Naomi. She had the proper amount of screwed up in being who she was. Had she been not messed up, I wouldn't have believed her.

I liked her profession. Unlike the tedious house talk, the photography information was well dispersed and interesting. When she was totally into it, I believed that she was into it and I was in there right with her.

I liked how Nora showed the heavy toll of having an infamous monster in the family. This is not a life for a weak person and both Naomi and her brother Mason were great characters who learned to cope in very different ways. 

Carolyn: See, I liked the home improvement parts. I don't think they were overdone, any more than the photography was. I mean, read the Boonsboro trilogy and then tell me if you think it was overdone in this book. Lord, the hotel was the real protagonist in that series and yet, I still enjoyed reading about the renovations, I think because it's something I'll never do and I truly admire people who have the imagination and get up and go (and money) to carry it through. 

I adored Mason and found myself wondering, as I read, if he would have his own book. I know he won't; these books (romantic suspense) are always stand alones but I would definitely fast click on a book about Mason.

And although I agree with you about the hero, I still enjoyed reading about him and enjoyed him and his care for Naomi. Naomi herself - I felt for the child Naomi, but my feelings for the adult Naomi were borderline. She tiptoed along the edge of being unlikable but never quite fell over.

All in all, I think we can both say we enjoyed this entry into the Nora empire and this is one book I'll definitely re-read. Now Lori, you need to read Public Secrets, another of her books that is not 'romance'. One of my favorites, as I said.

The Obsession was well worth the money, which is neat since I'm too damn impatient to wait for the MMP prices. (I just looked up The Witness and the mmp is $5.08 and the Kindle is $7.99 on Amazon. What's with that? I would love a peek into publishers' little minds - what on earth are they thinking??)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

White, Patriarchal Bullshit on Survivor

I've never hidden that I'm a Survivor fan. I love that show. It's fascinating to watch for a variety of reasons: there's heroes and villains. People eating maybe one fifth of their usual caloric count yet being physically challenged in planned challenges and also through extremes of living outdoors in tropical weather.

This season was a repeat of the three teams: Beauty, Brains and Brawn.

Interestingly, the Beauty team dominated challenges from the beginning while the Brain team did what all Brain teams have done in the past and that's squabble too damned much and the Brawn, well, they did badly.

Then a hard challenge came along that ended up evacuating a member of the Beauty team, changing the game up so they did a shuffle and brought it down to two teams. Shortly after that came the merge with people playing as individuals.

In Survivor, people make alliances to work with others while making alliances with others in secret and back stabbing here and cheating there... it's fun and complex. And some people play it really well and can truly get ahead by changing allegiances and working those around them.

Anyway, in the group were 5 men and 5 women. Three of the men, Nick, Jason and Scott (one beauty and two brawn) were very vocal about having the numbers to vote off the remaining members of the Brain tribe. They were cocky as shit. And one of their alliances was Sydney, a female body builder who rocks a bikini like I've never seen. And Sydney has been with Jason and Scott from the beginning but she was starting to give them the side-eye with the extreme cockiness they were showing.

Then we had a lovely moment of Jason, who is actually a bit of a dick, talking about his daughters and telling how his youngest is severely autistic and he loves her as she is and she's perfect. A very awwww moment.

However, the men's cockiness pissed off all the women and Nick was a beauty but not a Beauty (if you know what I mean) and his arrogance was too much and the women blind-sided the men and voted off Nick. It was a fucking beautiful moment.

Show ends and there's the preview for next week and it shows Jason and Scott walking into the forest with the tools from their campsite saying that they're going to starve the women by taking away their ability to get food as punishment for what they did.

Take that in for a moment.

In a game where the prize is a million dollars, where the theme of the game is "Outwit, Outlast, Outplay" and the men are going to punish the women for outplaying them. They're going to punish the women. Like let's see, the women are children and they need to do what the daddies say or they get no dinner?

Suddenly Jason's little sweet Daddy talk takes on a different tone. How can a man who thinks it's okay to make a woman go hungry for having her own opinion, possibly be a man who is believable as a father who loves her daughter as she is?

I was disgusted. I felt like I was watching the schism in our society where the privileged white men punish the uppity women for having their own agenda. I'm still sickened by it a day later.

I hope to see Scott and Jason get voted out quickly. What disgusting, uppity men they are.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Books I'm Looking Forward To In April

Well, it's another month and another look at books I've pre-ordered. Best not read this, Lea.  ;-) Looking over them, there's nothing that really really grabs me. I think the blurbs caught my attention and I can only hope the body of works holds up to the blurbs.

(All prices are Amazon's)


1.  The Viscount Needs a Wife
     Author: Jo Beverley
     Publisher: Penguin
     Releases: April 5
     Price: $7.99




Since being widowed two years ago, Kitty Cateril has been trapped in her late husband's home, where she is expected to mourn forever. Desperate to escape, Kitty will consider any option—even a hasty marriage to a stranger with no intention of abandoning his bachelor ways.
 
London life suits Beau Braydon, especially his work keeping Britain safe. So when he inherits the title of Viscount Dauntry, he has no intention of resettling on a rural estate. He can’t resist the opportunity to marry a sensible widow who can manage Beauchamp Abbey for him—until he realizes Kitty is more than he bargained for...
 
Before Kitty and Dauntry can adjust to each other, a threat to the royal family takes them to London. Soon someone is determined to prevent Dauntry from exposing the villain, and secrets in Kitty's past threaten their growing love...


I love the marriage of convenience trope and I like Jo Beverley, so this was a no brainer.


2.  A Gentleman's Position
     Author: K J Charles
     Publisher: Random House
     Releases: April 5
     Price:  $2.99


Power, privilege, and the rigid rules of class leave two hearts yearning for connection in the sizzling new Society of Gentlemen novel from K. J. Charles. 
Among his eccentric though strictly principled group of friends, Lord Richard Vane is the confidant on whom everyone depends for advice, moral rectitude, and discreet assistance. Yet when Richard has a problem, he turns to his valet, a fixer of unparalleled genius—and the object of Richard’s deepest desires. If there is one rule a gentleman must follow, it is never to dally with servants. But when David is close enough to touch, the rules of class collide with the basest sort of animal instinct: overpowering lust.
 
For David Cyprian, burglary and blackmail are as much in a day’s work as bootblacking—anything for the man he’s devoted to. But the one thing he wants for himself is the one thing Richard refuses to give: his heart. With the tension between them growing to be unbearable, David’s seemingly incorruptible master has left him no choice. Putting his finely honed skills of seduction and manipulation to good use, he will convince Richard to forget all about his well-meaning objections and give in to sweet, sinful temptation.



Although I don't read much m/m, I read everything K J Charles writes. It all started with Think of England and I've followed her through the Magpie series and now the Society of Gentlemen. None of her stories have involved the 'ton'.  Heh


3.  White Tiger
     Author: Jennifer Ashley
     Publisher: Penguin
     Releases: April 5
     Price: $7.99



Wanted and on the run... 
For twenty years, Kendrick, a white tiger Shifter, has been the Guardian of un-Collared Shifters who spend their lives living in secret—and in fear of being shunted into Shiftertowns. When Kendrick’s group is discovered and forced to flee, Kendrick is more desperate than ever to protect them
 
His only salvation was in a beautiful stranger. 
In a diner in the middle of nowhere, lonely waitress Addison Price has seen a lot of unusual drifters come and go, but none has ever captivated—and intimidated—her like the imposing fugitive who wields a broadsword with incredible skill. But when he risks all to protect her, Addison’s fear turns to empathy—and empathy to desire as she learns more about her savior. Soon she’s more than willing to help the crushingly sensual white tiger and his cubs in a passionate bid for freedom. Whatever the cost.

I love Ashley in all her incarnations. I follow her Mackenzie/McBride series as well as her Shifters and the Captain Lacy mysteries she writes as Ashley Gardner.


4.  Duncan's Bride
     Author: Linda Howard
     Publisher: HarperCollins
     Releases: April 5
     Price: $2.99

Available digitally for the first time ever, Duncan’s Bride is a classic novel of romantic suspense from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Linda Howard
It's been seven years since rancher Reese Duncan's first wife left him high and dry, and he's been trying to rebuild his life ever since. What he needs is a dependable mate—someone uncomplicated with whom he can start a family and who will help out around the ranch. At first glance, city girl Madelyn Patterson seems all wrong. But Madelyn isn't after his money or his land. She wants the one thing Reese can't guarantee—his heart.
This is a re-release that I'm willing to pay 2.99 to read, because hey, it's Linda Howard, a fellow Alabama girl.  :-)


5.  Lost Among the Living
     Author: Simone St. James
     Publisher: Penguin
     Releases: April 5
     Price:  $9.99
England, 1921. Three years after her husband, Alex, disappeared, shot down over Germany, Jo Manders still mourns his loss. Working as a paid companion to Alex's wealthy, condescending aunt, Dottie Forsyth, Jo travels to the family’s estate in the Sussex countryside. But there is much she never knew about her husband’s origins…and the revelation of a mysterious death in the Forsyths’ past is just the beginning…
 
All is not well at Wych Elm House. Dottie's husband is distant, and her son was grievously injured in the war. Footsteps follow Jo down empty halls, and items in her bedroom are eerily rearranged. The locals say the family is cursed, and that a ghost in the woods has never rested. And when Jo discovers her husband’s darkest secrets, she wonders if she ever really knew him.  Isolated in a place of deception and grief, she must find the truth or lose herself forever.


And then a familiar stranger arrives at Wych Elm House…

This is the biggy this month, for me. I love St. James and her stories and I don't mind paying full price for them.


6. The Obsession
    Author: Nora Roberts
    Publisher: Penguin
    Releases: April 12
    Price: 14.99



Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous. No matter how close she gets to happiness, she can’t outrun the sins of Thomas David Bowes.
 
Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, a rambling old house in need of repair, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the kindly residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton. 
 
Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But the sins of her father can become an obsession, and, as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.


I know, I know - I said no more Nora! But you got to admit it sounds so good. And I've got time to think really hard about keeping it or deleting it to wait for MMP prices (which are still high).


7.  Listen To Me: A Fusion Novel
     Author: Kristen Proby
     Publisher: HarperCollins
     Releases: April 12
     Price: $4.99


In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new series, five best friends open a hot new restaurant, but one of them gets much more than she bargained for when a sexy former rock star walks through the doors—and into her heart.
Seduction is quickly becoming the hottest new restaurant in Portland, and Addison Wade is proud to claim 1/5 of the credit. She’s determined to make it a success and can’t think of a better way to bring in new customers than live music. But when former rock star Jake Keller swaggers through the doors to apply for the weekend gig, she knows she’s in trouble. Addie instantly recognizes him—his posters were plastered all over her bedroom walls in high school—he’s all bad boy...exactly her type and exactly what she doesn’t need.
Jake Keller walked away from the limelight five years ago and yearns to return to what’s always driven him: the music. If he gets to work for a smart-mouthed, funny-as-hell bombshell, all the better. But talking Addie into giving him the job is far easier than persuading her that he wants more than a romp in her bed. Just when she begins to drop her walls, Jake’s past finally catches up with him.
Will Addie be torn apart once again or will Jake be able to convince her to drown out her doubts and listen to her heart?

The first thing that popped into my mind as I read the blurb was: can a brand new restaurant with no reputation, really totally support five separate people? Inquiring minds want to know and this inquiring mind is willing to pay the price to find out even though the author is new-to-me. Because - FOOD, y'all!! (Plus, I have a soft spot for rock stars, at least some of them.)


8.  Dirty: A Dive Bar Novel
     Author: Kylie Scott
     Publisher: MacMillan
     Releases: April 19
     Price: $4.99

Love—on the rocks….
The last thing Vaughan Hewson expects to find when he returns to his childhood home is a broken hearted bride in his shower, let alone the drama and chaos that come with her.
Lydia Green doesn't know whether to scream or cry in a corner. Discovering the love of your life is having an affair on your wedding day is bad enough. Finding out it's with his best man is another thing all together.
Just when this runaway bride has nowhere left to turn, a handsome stranger offers her a broad, muscular shoulder to cry on. Vaughan is the exact opposite of the picture perfect, respected businessmen she's normally drawn to. This former musician-turned-bartender is rough around the edges and is facing his own crossroads. But Lydia's already tried Mr. Right and discovered he's all wrong--maybe it's time to give Mr. Right Now a chance.
After all, what's wrong with getting dirty?
Dirty is the first book in the Dive Bar series from bestselling author Kylie Scott. 


Scott is the author of Play, with Anne and Mel so I'm willing to give her a chance with this new series


9.  Ride Hard: A Raven Riders Novel
     Author: Laura Kaye
     Publisher: HarperCollins
     Releases: April 26
     Price: 5.99
                                                   


Brotherhood. Club. Family.
They live and ride by their own rules.
These are the Raven Riders...

Raven Riders Motorcycle Club President Dare Kenyon rides hard and values loyalty above all else. He'll do anything to protect the brotherhood of bikers--the only family he's got--as well as those who can't defend themselves. So when mistrustful Haven Randall lands on the club's doorstep scared that she's being hunted, Dare takes her in, swears to keep her safe, and pushes to learn the secrets overshadowing her pretty smile.

Haven fled from years of abuse at the hands of her criminal father and is suspicious of any man's promises, including those of the darkly sexy and overwhelmingly intense Ravens' leader. But as the powerful attraction between them flares to life, Dare pushes her boundaries and tempts her to want things she never thought she could.

The past never dies without a fight, but Dare Kenyon's never backed down before...

This series is a spin off from the Hard Ink series, which for the most part I enjoyed. Hoping to find another MC club to root for.


10. The Earl Takes All
     Author: Lorraine Heath
     Publisher:  HarperCollins
     Releases: April 26
     Price:  $6.99

One summer night, Edward Alcott gives in to temptation and kisses Lady Julia Kenney in a dark garden. However, the passion she stirs within him is best left in the shadows as she weds his twin, the Earl of Greyling. But when tragedy strikes, to honor the vow he makes to his dying brother, Edward must pretend to be Greyling until the countess delivers her babe.
After her husband returns from a two-month sojourn, Julia finds him changed. Bolder, more daring, and more wicked—even if he does limit their encounters to kisses. With each passing day, she falls more deeply in love.
For Edward the embers of desire sparked on that long-ago night are quickly rekindled. He yearns to be her husband in truth. But if she discovers his ruse, she will despise him—and English law prevents him from marrying his brother’s widow. Yet he must dare to risk everything and reveal his secrets if he is to truly take all.

I haven't read many Lorraine Heath books, if any, but this is a sort of marriage of convenience and I want to see how she resolves the conundrum. Plus, the price isn't too bad.


11.  Magnate: The Knickerbocker Club
       Author: Joanna Shupe
       Publisher: Penguin
       Releases: April 26
       Price: $5.99

New York City's Gilded Age shimmers with unimaginable wealth and glittering power. The men of the Knickerbocker Club know this more than anyone else. But for one millionaire, the business of love is not what he expected...

Born in the slums of Five Points, Emmett Cavanaugh climbed his way to the top of a booming steel empire and now holds court in an opulent Fifth Avenue mansion. His rise in stations, however, has done little to elevate his taste in women. He loathes the city's "high society" types, but a rebellious and beautiful blue-blood just might change all that.

Elizabeth Sloane's mind is filled with more than the latest parlor room gossip. Lizzie can play the Stock Exchange as deftly as New York's most accomplished brokers--but she needs a man to put her skills to use. Emmett reluctantly agrees when the stunning socialite asks him to back her trades and split the profits. But love and business make strange bedfellows, and as their fragile partnership begins to crack, they'll discover a passion more frenzied than the trading room floor...

I saw the words Gilded Age and I didn't care that this was a new-to-me author. For this price, I'll take a chance.

                                                                    *****

I didn't realize I had so many books lined up for April. I know there are probably more that will pop up, just as some of these may be cancelled. But these all caught my attention for various reasons and one of the nice things about being retired and not having any regular bills except utilities to pay, is that I can afford to buy a list like this and all is well unless the DH finds out. ;-)