First, I finished up A Matter of Magic by Patricia Wrede, which I mentioned here last week. In this case, finishing up means reading book 2, since it was actually a two-book omnibus. I enjoyed book one but I liked book two even more. Though the storylines are all nicely tied up, I liked the characters so much I looked to see if the author had ever written more books in that world, but sadly she had not. Recommended.

Next I read a few samples, and emailed with Jane and Sarah, to see what might catch my attention. One of the samples I read was Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. I liked the sample but I couldn’t bring myself to pay $8.99 for it. I’ve put it on my “maybe if the price comes down” list.

I also read the sample of Almost to Die For: A Vampire Princess Novel by Tate Hallaway but it fell in the same category as Leviathan. I liked the sample, but not well enough to pay $8.99 for it.

So I moved on to looking at my existing books because, seriously? I have a load of them. I realized that Amazon had auto-delivered Katherine Allred’s second Alien Affairs book, Close Contact: An Alien Affairs Novel, Book 2, back in June (I’d pre-ordered it) and I should read it. But first I decided to re-read Close Encounters. I read Close Encounters last year when it released and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m a futuristic romance fan and I thought the worldbuilding in Close Encounters was superb, as was the development of both the romantic relationship and the heroine (who is really the main focus of the book). I liked it just as well in re-read, and was quite satisfied when I “closed” the book (I read digitally so it’s not quite the same as closing the book). Close Encounters is recommended.

Unfortunately, I didn’t like Close Contact: An Alien Affairs Novel, Book 2 nearly as well, and it’s not a book I’d reread. I didn’t dislike it, but I was actively aware of its flaws as I was reading. I found this heroine (also the focus of the book) less easy to warm up to and not as likeable. In fact, I found her a bit silly. Because of that silliness, there were areas of the book that felt overdramatic to me, and I never bought into the romantic relationship as much as I did in the first book. Overall, if I’d picked up Close Contact first, I probably would not have moved on to another book, because while it was fine, it didn’t ring my bells. However, since I have seen what the author can do in Close Encounters, I’ll be looking forward to a third book in this world (which continues to be very well drawn, despite my reservations about this particular book).

In the interest of continuing to read books I have, I decided to move on to Nalini Singh and Meljean Brook. First, I read both of their offerings in Burning Up. I’m a long, longtime fan of Nalini’s work, so I wasn’t surprised to love her novella, Whispers of Sin, in this book. But Meljean’s novella–Here There Be Monsters–is an introduction to her upcoming steampunk, The Iron Duke, and oh my Lord, I loved this novella so much. So much that I was really, incredibly thankful I have Iron Duke because I didn’t want to leave that world. Love. I admit that I didn’t read the other two novellas in this book, but I think it’s worth it just for these two novellas.

So, currently reading? The Iron Duke I’m just over halfway through it. It was hard to work today because I wanted to be reading. Actually, I want to be reading now so it was hard to take the time to write this post. So far, I’m loving it. Meljean Brook is a master at steampunk. This world is…incredible. I want to read faster to find out what happens, but slow down because there’s not another book in the world to read! Final report next week but right now? So recommended!

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