header('Cache-Control: max-age=259200'); Book Reviews Archives – Kristen Koster

$5 Friday eReads

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Mar 252016

$5 Friday eReads: What can I read for under $5 this week?$5 Friday E-Reads are my way of listing what I’ve been reading lately, sharing them with you as well as a few good deals to boot. Each week, I’ll either bundle a set of books that I know total $5 or less at the time of posting, or pick one book that’s $4.99 and see how that goes. I like the idea of 5 books for $5 or less too so expect some freebies thrown in like this week to make up the balance.

I found a lot of stuff on my iPad that I need to get to work on reading, so I have more to share with you in the coming weeks, but I’m always looking for good recommendations, so if you’ve read something fantastic lately, be sure to share it in the comments below!


$5 Friday eReads

What can I read for under $5 this week?”

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$5 Friday eReads

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Mar 112016

$5 Friday eReads: What can I read for under $5 this week?$5 Friday E-Reads are my way of sharing some good deals on the great reads I’ve read fairly recently. I’m going to try to bundle a set of 5 books that I know total $5 or less at the time of posting. I kinda like the 5 books for $5 or less idea too, so if one book costs $4.99, expect to see 4 freebies too!

It’s Friday again! Let’s see what ebooks we can buy for $5 this week!

Another mixed bag here in that there’s an excellent craft book on sale in the kindle edition, some great Regency Romances — maybe a bit on the tame side this week– and one not so tame Contemporary Hockey Romance. I hope there’s something in there that catches your eye.

Have you found any great reads lately? Let me know in the comments below. I’m always looking for new stuff to read… I just need more time to read everything!


$5 Friday eReads

What can I read for under $5 this week?

Continue reading »

Mar 042016

$5 Friday eReads: What can I read for under $5 this week?$5 Friday E-Reads were conceived because I’ve been contemplating a new type of blog post that’s both relevant and recurring. I’d also been thinking about listing what I’ve been reading lately, and thought this would potentially kill two birds with one metaphorical stone. I’m thinking I’ll either bundle a set of books that I know total $5 or less at the time of posting, or pick one book that’s $4.99 and see how that goes. I kinda like the 5 books for $5 or less idea too.

I don’t read exclusively on my iPad these days, but I do read most things there lately. Craft of writing and research books are more likely to be physical books because I can picture WHERE on the page and how far through the book I read or saw something and the kindle zaps that to uselessness.

I also tend to read rather widely and rather eclectically, so please let me know if you’d prefer a mixed bag like I’ve included below, or to do do themed weeks or something different.

Lemme know what you think and what books you’re looking forward to their release!

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Dec 182011

Maggie Blackbird asked me about a month ago (sorry Maggie!) for my recommended Regency Romances. I had written up a long list and lost it to stupid swipe on my “magic mouse” that managed to erase the reply on the web page. So… I’m sure I’ve forgotten authors I absolutely adore on this list, and I apologize for that in advance.

I figured it would be cheating to put this up as a Regency Primer Series post, although it would have made my life easier this week with all the holiday madness. I tried to keep it to Regency Era specific, but there are a few authors who write much later and veer into Victorian or skew earlier and are considered Georgian.The heat levels also vary quite a bit, but are fairly consistent author to author. For example, Julia Quinn is much tamer than Stephanie Laurens.

I’ve read some of these several times over (marked with a *) and have loaned many out to friends looking for something good to read, so I hope that Maggie and anyone else looking at this list finds something they’ll love and enjoy!

Recommended Regency Romances: Series

This list contains my favorite series by these authors, and what I consider the best introductions to their books.

Julia QuinnThe Bridgertons Series*
Mary BaloghThe Bedwyns Saga
Suzanne EnochLessons in Love Series*
Anne GraciePerfect Quartet*
Stephanie LaurensThe Bastion Club Series and Cynsters Series
Celeste BradleyThe Liar’s Club Series — SPIES
Gaelen Foley The The Knight Miscellany + The Spice Trilogy
Joanna Bourne – set a little earlier around the French Revolution, but excellent reads, SPIES, and Jo has an EXCELLENT blog

Recommended Regency Romances: Stand Alone Titles

These were a few stand out books that I knew were set around the Regency.

Connie Brockway – The Golden Season
Loretta Chase – Mr. Impossible*
Lynsay SandsLove is Blind

Recommended Regency Romances: My Go To Authors

These authors have multiple books on my shelf, but many either don’t always write in the Regency or add in paranormal elements, or don’t have a particular series that I’d start people out with.

Victoria Alexander
Anna Campbell
Liz Carlyle
Kathryn Caskie
Tessa Dare – if you like to laugh, you want to read Tessa’s books. A bit steamier, but great reads!
Jennifer Haymore
Karen Hawkins – more scotland than london — printable booklist has all of her titles
Georgette Heyer – old school Regencies– if you like Jane Austen, you’ll love her wit and sense of humor
Eloisa James
Sabrina Jeffries
Lisa Kleypas – much darker and more upper working class than haute ton: Scotland yard, lawyers
Julie Anne Long
Julianne MacLean
Teresa Medeiros – Scotland or Regency with some paranormal thrown in – always entertaining
Amanda Quick – not always strictly romance, but always a great read for the period feel

Hope that gives you a lot of ideas and new authors to explore. I’ve got to get cracking on my TBR pile before I can’t fit anything else on that shelf!

Mar 212008

Today’s the official release day for Jodi Henley’s Hot Contract.

Hot Contract

by Jodi Henley

When Jen Stalling, chief geologist on a new magma-based power plant known as the Pele Project witnesses the murder of a fellow scientist, Project officials don’t want the negative publicity of a murder investigation. “An accident,” they say. Jen knows better. So does her father, billionaire Art Stalling. But having pushed Jen away years ago, he can’t now reveal his interest without exposing her to danger. He hires DalCon, a Seattle-based security group to watch over her.

Keegan Dalfrey has his own problems. Four days ago, during a routine mission gone wrong, his brother was captured by South Pacific extremists. They want two million in ten days. Keegan can make that in nine days by neutralizing the threat to Jen. It’s an all or nothing gamble with his brother’s life in the balance. He never expected to fall in love.

Read an excerpt or buy it now!

Rose (220 pages) Spicy

PRINT ISBN 1-60154-208-9 Also Available In Print Sep 2008


I’ll be the first to admit I’m biased, but please don’t hold it against her. I bought this ebook yesterday as the links and downloads were available at The Wild Rose Press. I knew a little more than the blurb about the book from reading her blog, so I was excited to see the work as a whole and how the story played out.

You may remember that Jodi’s the author who turned me on to Peter Dunne’s Emotional Structure and several other craft ideas. The evidence that these ideas are solid and are essential to a good great story runs all through this book. You end up being sucked into this world of DalCon and Stalling Co and even if you’ve only dreamed of vacationing in Hawaii, you become submerged in the story. Not only are the main characters and the secondary characters well-developed and matched, but the tertiary characters come to life on the page as well.

Now, lest you think I’m alone in my rabid fangirl praise:

Jennifer of The Redneck Romance Writer listed this book as one of “Thirteen Books That Should Be Bestsellers But Aren’t….Yet” in November of 2007 well before it’s release.

And I found this review out yesterday, and I gotta say I agree wholeheartedly with it:

Don’t just add this book to your to be read pile or even your must be read pile, place it front and center on your read now pile, you won’t be disappointed. I gave the book Simply Romances highest rating, but it has now become the standard I will judge all books of this type by. Good Job, Ms. Henley!

Read Stephanie’s full review or just go buy it!

I’m so buying the print edition when it comes out in September too! Definitely going on the “keeper” shelf. Don’t even think about askin’ to borrow it.

Oh, and ya know, Jodi, we’re going to be harassing you about finishing the sequel Drop Dead Gorgeous until it comes out.

Dec 052007
Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas

Publisher: St. Martin’s
Pub. Date: October 2, 2007
ISBN-10: 0312949804
ISBN-13: 978-0312949808

I have enjoyed many of Lisa Kleypas‘ historical novels for their unique slant on how London life went on outside the highest eschelons of society. Lately, however, she’s gotten away from that and I was hoping this book would be a bit of a return considering the backgrounds of the main characters.

Mine Till Midnight is the story of Cam Rohan, a half-Irish/half-Romany manager for Jenner’s gaming club, and Amelia Hathaway, the oldest, practical Hathaway sister who has more than her fair share of trials heaped upon her shoulders — a kleptomaniac sister, another who’s wasting away after a bout with scarlet fever and a brother who lost his fiancé to the same fever and is hellbent on his own destruction. The pair meet when Amelia travels to London to rescue her brother who recently inherited the Ramsay title which is said to be cursed with bad luck. The rest of the book centers on restoring the balance between the good luck curse Cam believes he’s under — the man can’t seem to throw money away on even poor investments and his increasing wealth is an embarassment to his Romany roots — and the horrible luck of the Hathaways culminating in Ramsay House burning down which in turn leads to questions about the identity of Merripen, the Romany fellow the Hathaway family took in as a boy, while further detailing the depths of despair into which her brother.

Instead of proving her family can stand on their own without her, Kleypas instead resorts to Rohan’s saving them in just about every conceivable manner. He throws his vast fortune at problems, pulls miraculous cures he remembers his grandmother using, outsmarts the villain and even battles spirits to win his love. Kleypas deals a bit more sucessfully with his own reconcilliation with his inner demons and how to decide which of his backgrounds has the stronger pull on him.

Win and Merripen tried to take over this book instead of staying quietly in their roles as secondary characters with several familiar faces. It’s a good thing their story is next up from Ms. Kleypas.

Overall, the book was an enjoyable read, but I doubt it will hold up as one of her more memorable stories for me.

Nov 152007

Wife for Hire by Janet EvanovichI was first turned on to Janet Evanovich and the Stephanie Plum series a few years ago by the wife of DH’s boss at the time. I went through them like candy. The only problem is now that I’m caught up, waiting for the paperbacks to come out a year after the hardbacks are released really sucks. If you haven’t discovered the Stephanie Plum Novels, they’re a fun read. Plus they’ve got Morelli and Ranger!

Wife for Hire is another of her re-releases from the time before Plum. These books seem to have been practice for the Plum books. You’ll run into some characters which feel very familiar after you’ve read the Plum books, but these short contemporary romance novels also pack in some great stories along the way. This is one of them.

Aspiring author Maggie Toone, desperate to escape her hometown of Riverside, NJ where everyone knows your business, never hesitates to judge you for it and remembers everything you ever did, especially if it’s bad, meets with Hank Mallone to discuss a business deal to spend six months with him in Vermont so she can work on turning her aunt’s diary into a novel while posing as his wife. Maggie and Hank struggle with their growing attraction to one another as well as the notoriety and sudden crime spree surrounding her aunt’s diary while attempting to present a stable, settled front for his father, the president of the bank who can’t believe his ne’er do well son has changed his ways and can responsibly run the family orchards and refuses to approve his loan application. Will Maggie learn the lessons she discovers while fictionalizing her aunt’s diary or will she return home to Riverside at the end of their deal, leaving behind the man she loves, his expanding orchard operations and everything else she has come to love about life in this small, rural New England town?

Maybe it’s because I grew up in a small, rural community and I’m also attempting to write a novel that so much of this is familiar ground. However, this story, like many of the others from this stage in Ms. Evanovich’s career, is sweet with just the right amount of sexual tension and release to satisfy everyone. If you’re looking for a few hours’ escape, this book fits the bill.

Review: A Touch of Minx

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Oct 272007

Suzanne Enoch has become one of my favorite authors. I forget where I first stumbled across one of her books. It was likely recommended by Amazon as something I’d like because of reading authors like Julia Quinn. I went through her available books still in print and then went and specially ordered a couple because the stories and characters are so good. My favorite book of hers has to be England’s Perfect Hero (Lessons in Love, Book 3) — wonderful story and magnificently told. It definitely stands up to rereading also.

A Touch of Minx is the 4th full book to feature the heroine, Samantha Jellicoe — a retired cat burglar, and her hero, Rick Addison, a wealthy businessman and titled English Lord. This couple also featured prominently in her historical romance, Twice the Temptation.

As usual, the story focuses on Sam and Rick’s differing worlds and how Sam slowly settles deeper into his life, which is complicated when Sam must solve two mysteries within the week and Rick is kept busy in his attempts to keep her out of trouble. Tensions are wound tight as Samantha investigates the mysteries and the stakes are raised when Rick starts talking marriage. Can there be a happily ever after in this couple’s future or will they always be stuck with happy for now endings?

Along with all the others in this series, I enjoyed this book. Sam and Rick have great chemistry and the rich characters (even the recurring secondary ones) draw you into their world. Every time Jellicoe pulls away from him, you want to smack her for being so dumb, but you also understand why she is emotionally distant and unable to settle easily. Addison is a great hero. He’s not obviously troubled or broken, but has a few issues of his own. You can tell he genuinely loves his little cat burglar and not just because she saved his life back in book one. I was eager to read this book since Enoch has such a fantastic track record and I needed a refreshing, fun and solid series entry after the last couple I’ve read.

Other titles in this series:

Flirting With Danger
Don’t Look Down
Billionaires Prefer Blondes
Twice the Temptation

Oct 202007

To Scotland, With Love by Karen HawkinsI was looking forward to the new Karen Hawkins book To Scotland, With Love, but I was disappointed with this one. The hero’s family has been cursed so that the weather is tied to their temper – love that idea and it was used effectively in this book.

The story centers around a practical but meddlesome heroine, who is kidnapped by a feather-brained young lord who wants to elope with her, and her best friend, the hero, who rushes off to rescue her as an unseasonable snowstorm gathers. The storm traps them and several other travelers at an inn for several days where they assume roles to protect the heroine’s identity and reputation but she can’t resist meddling and everyone follows her to her grandmother’s home when the roads finally clear. The tables are turned as the girl is manipulated into close proximity with the hero, she finally agrees to allow everyone to solve for themselves their issues that she compounded with her meddling and she agrees to marry him.

The title of this book was horribly misleading for me. Yes, the young lordling was absconding with her to Gretna Green. No, they never make it that far. The hero is of Scottish descent, so I assumed that he’d be whisking her off by the end… nope. The other problem I had with this book was that it felt like it sat and spun its wheels throughout the entire middle section. I realize it mostly dealt with internal conflicts and centered on issues more akin to political intrigue, but I felt like we were stuck in the inn way too long for comfort or plausibility for their roles not to have been seen through. I’ll probably buy the next brother’s book, but can only hope for a more rewarding story.

Review: Sleepless at Midnight

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Oct 172007

Sleepless at Midnight by Jacquie D'AlessandroJacquie D’Alessandro’s latest offering Sleepless at Midnight was a fun read, but not as enjoyable as some of her previous books.

In this story, the hero made two promises at his father’s deathbed and combines his efforts by hosting a house party at his estate to search for a hidden fortune while looking over heiresses as prospective brides. He becomes attracted to the sister of an invited widow even though she herself is penniless and he’s considering proposing to her best friend when murder strikes fear into all their hearts. After several red herrings, they eventually solve the murder and after coming to the realization that not everything is as it seems, they are able to solve the mystery of the hidden fortune and he fufills both promises, ensuring they both get what they want without compromise.

I felt D’Alessandro was unecessarily coy with the reader as she attempted to hide the object of the hero’s searching from the heroine. Tying in the thread where the heroine and her friends steal bits of the gentlemen’s wardrobes to build the perfect man as they read Frankenstein was amusing. Without spoiling the ending, the identity of the bad guy caught me off guard. I should have seen it coming, but was distracted by the love story. I felt D’Alessandro accomplished the story goals set out in the opening of the book, but I think the middle and ending of the book weren’t as tight and as focused as the beginning.