Phyl's 5 Phaves from June

Oops! It's been exactly a month since my last post. Sorry about that. But any of you who visit here regularly don't really expect consistency from me, do you?

I enjoyed some interesting reads in June. It's a good thing, because in some ways, June was a hellish month. Reading was a wonderful refuge from the stress. As was social media where I learned about 4 of the 5 books listed here (the exception being Heart of Obsidian since the Psy-Changeling series is an auto-read). I don't put myself out there much, but I'm grateful for the people who do and talk about what they're reading. Those folks inform my choices and lead me to some great stuff; my June Phaves are evidence of that.

5. The Turncoat / Donna Thorland. (2013) Heh. Just now when I was capturing the link to Thorland's website I noticed its subtitle: "Sex, Violence and History." And doesn't that say it all about her writing. I picked this up after seeing a glowing mention somewhere (probably on Twitter) from author Pamela Clare. Thorland's book is set in the middle of the Revolutionary War and Thorland does not shy away from the nasty realities of war and the brutality of an occupational army. This book is not an easy read, but it is an illuminating, interesting, and well-written historical romance. It's probably higher on the historical than the romance; since I was fascinated I didn't mind. British officer, Major Lord Peter Tremayne meets Kate Grey, a quiet, bookish young lady, when he commandeers her home. Bent on seducing Kate, Peter isn't aware when the dispatches he is carrying are stolen. In turn, Kate is forced to flee her home. Months later, disgraced and trying to rebuild his career, Peter encounters Kate in Philadelphia where she has remade herself into a glamorous woman engaged to his rakish, dissolute cousin. Kate is, of course, spying on the British, and Peter doesn't know whether to turn her in, or find a way to protect her. The title should give a hint as to Peter's ultimate decision, but it's not an easy journey for either Peter or Kate. It's definitely worth a read if you are interested in the Revolutionary War period and can handle the difficult bits.

4. Making Her Way Home / Janice Kay Johnson. (2012) This book was nominated for a RITA in the Long Contemporary Series Romance category this year and I read and reviewed it for the SBTB RITA Reader Challenge 2013. Typical of Johnson, who routinely tackles difficult topics, this is a very unusual romance. Ten-year old Sicily goes missing and the investigation brings together the child's aunt Beth and the detective trying to find the little girl. I really liked this book, perhaps especially because the romance had to take a back seat to the safe return of Sicily. Yet the romance between Beth and Mike is realistic and touching.

3. Fractured / Dani Atkins. (2013) The Kindle edition I own has a 2009 copyright date, but Atkins was never able to find a publisher. In early 2013 she self-published the book and I learned about it in June when Maili tweeted out the first couple of lines of the book. At $.99, it was worth buying and subsequent tweets by SonomaLass had me reading the book right away. Shortly after buying the book, Atkins got a publishing contract for it and, for the time being, it's unavailable. It will be out in paper and ebook in the UK later in the year--November I think. Hopefully it will also be available world-wide at the same time. Anyhow, this unusual, but fascinating book is about Rachel, a tired, grieving, and sick young woman who goes home for a wedding, suffers an accident, and wakes up to find herself healthy again in a world where the previous 5 years did not happen the way she remembers them. She re-connects with her childhood friend, Jimmy, who had always been in love with her. But Rachel is confused over what she remembers vs. what everyone else says happened. The first couple of chapters come across a bit confusing, because we the readers are as confused as Rachel is. The story is emotional and touching. It is also very bittersweet at the end. I am so glad I took a chance on this book. I loved it and thought about it for days. Watch for its publication--it's worth the read. Oh, and after Maili, SonomaLass, and I read the book we had a fun Twitter convo about it. Atkins' daughter found our tweets and jumped in to answer some of our questions. That's when we learned that Atkins now has a three-book deal. I am very interested in reading more of her writing.

2. Heart of Obsidian / Nalini Singh. (2013) Kaleb Krychek, the enigmatic Councilor who has been featured briefly throughout this series is the hero of the latest book in Singh's wonderful Psy-Changeling series. He's hard and he's cold. He's also been working for a long time to rescue Sahara, a specially-gifted Psy, from those who imprisoned her in order to exploit her abilities. Sahara saved herself from being used by burrowing deep into her own mind. This book is wonderful in the way that we see Sahara slowly come back to herself and Kaleb learn that he is capable of more than he imagined. It's hard to talk about this book without entering spoiler territory, so suffice it to say that as a fan of the series I absolutely loved this latest installment.

1. Let it Be Me / Kate Noble. (2013) I have to confess that I tried to read some of Noble's earlier books and just couldn't warm up to them the way others did. As a result, I was not particularly inclined to try this one. But glowing reviews and a story set primarily in Venice caused me to go ahead and pick it up and I'm awfully glad I did. Bridget is an incredibly talented pianist and unfortunately she's also a bit of a social disaster. She's overshadowed by her beautiful younger sister and because she's a woman, her musical talents are underappreciated. She longs to study under renowned Italian composer Vincenzo Carpenini, and she finally has her chance when she, her mother, and younger sister travel to Venice to get away from London for awhile. It's the composer's friend, Oliver, who helps Bridget as she begins to study under Carpenini and when she allows herself to be used in a piano competition. Oliver is also something of a misfit; he feels more at home in the world of the theater in Venice (his late mother's home) than he does in London (the home of his estranged father). This is a rich story about both Oliver and Bridget finding themselves and having confidence in who they are. I especially loved the way the theme of music was woven throughout the book. All-in-all, a very romantic book.


  1. What an interesting list of favorites. Of course I plan to read Nalini's book, but you've got me curious about the others. I've always wanted to try Kate Noble.

    1. It was an unusual month, wasn't it? Anyhow, I think this is a good Kate Noble to try. The setting alone (and Beethoven!) make it stand out from other historicals that take place in the same era. I highly recommend it.


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