Tag Archives: 6.50 out of 10

Dreaming of You, by Lisa Kleypas

16 Jul

DreamingOfYouI’m back with another historical romance from Lisa Kleypas–and not just any one of them.

For a rather large number of romance readers, Derek Craven, the hero of Dreaming of You, is up there with Mr Darcy, as far as favorite romantic heroes go. Ergo, the book shows up often on “top 100” romance lists.

I, however, came late to Ms Kleypas’ books; this book had been out ten years, if not twelve, when I finally read it, and I had read a lot of romance during that time (including a number of Ms Kleypas’ later novels) so my opinion has always been…a tad less enthusiastic than the norm, shall we say.

As usual, reader beware: there’s explicit sex and cursing on the page.

Dreaming of You, by Lisa Kleypas

This is the second book in a duology; Derek Craven, our hero, was introduced as a rather important, and quite intriguing, secondary character in Then Came You, published a year earlier.

Our heroine, Miss Sara Fielding, is a little country mouse who just happens to be a well known novelist, and who is visiting London to research her next opus. And let me tell you, this background for the heroine creates all sorts of problems for me.

Here’s the (as always hated) blurb from my copy:
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“Woo Me” by Karina Bliss

29 Feb

woomeThe delightful Miss Bates is directly responsible for this one.

Even though I like everything I have read by Ms Bliss, I am not what you would call a ‘devoted fan,’ and so, I was unaware that she wrote this story as part of a three author anthology/book, until I read Miss Bates’ mini-review.

After reading that, what can a reader do?

Go to amazon and one-click it, of course (it was on sale too, so that helped).

Warning: despite the recommendation, the blurb cutesy style almost put me off the story entirely. YMMV, of course.

“Woo Me” by Karina Bliss

This is one of three novellas tied by the friendship/sisterhood of the soul of the three female protagonists, as well as by the venue. The three friends are attending a Outback Bachelor and Spinster Ball, which (seems to me, sitting here almost directly on the other side of the globe), is a very Aussie thing to do. This event provides fertile ground for romance of the HEA variety for them.

Here, have the punny blurb:

Disillusioned in love, Jen Tremaine is done with men. So when her best friends dare her to wear a cow costume to their reunion at an Outback Bachelor and Spinster Ball, she’s all over it. Who would have thought dressing as a heifer would make her irresistible to a bunch of lasso-twirling, drunken cowboys?

Maybe you should have thought this through, says the sexy security guard who keeps finding her at the center of trouble. Even though Jen’s always dismissed soul mates as a load of bull, the sizzle between them is making her wonder: What if you met The One while wandering lonely as a cow? Would you find the courage to become a believer?

When ex-Special Forces soldier Logan Turner is roped into helping out with security at the B&S ball, he isn’t expecting to find love – but after months in all-male company he sure is hoping for lust. He certainly isn’t expecting to fall for a feisty, funny, trouble-making Cowderella. Only problem is, she’s leaving Australia tomorrow. Convincing Jen they can still have a future together may wind up being the toughest mission of his life.

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Burning Up (Angela Knight, Nalini Singh, Virginia Kantra, Meljean Brook)

30 Dec

Burning UpAs much as I talk about Meljean Brook’s amazing Iron Seas series, it came as a surprise that I had never reviewed the story that forever hooked me on it. I hereby hasten to correct that egregious oversight.

It will be brief, but it will be done!

Burning Up by Angela Knight, Nalini Singh, Virginia Kantra and Meljean Brook

Not too long ago, in one of the Smart Bitches podcasts, there was a conversation on how effective are novellas as a way to introduce new series to readers.

My knee-jerk reaction is to say that they don’t work for me, but the truth is that they don’t when:

  1. the world building doesn’t hold up in the novella,
  2. events that are essential to the longer stories happen in the novellas (I like the shorts as extras, not compulsory reading, myself), and
  3. when the novella is actually the first few chapters of a novel (yes, this has happened–ask Nora Roberts about Laurell K Hamilton and the Out Of This World anthology)

Three out of the four stories in Burning Up are part, or the starting point, of series of different lengths and success. I will review them as they appear in my print copy. Please do be aware the there’s explicit sex, and in some quite a bit of it, in all four stories.

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Charmed Anthology (Jayne Castle, Julie Beard, Lori Foster and Eileen Wilks)

15 Jan

(Barely under the wire, I just finished writing this now, and have to run to work)

Charmed anthologyThis is, once again, all SLWendy’s fault. I am not entirely sure how it happened, but I have once again signed up for her annual TBR Challenge. Considering I have already managed two full reviews this year, I’m cautiously optimistic that I may last longer this time around than I did two years ago (when I lasted all of five months *wince*).

Anyhoo, this month’s theme is shorts, and happily there are a number of anthologies in the humongous TBR mountain range. Behold, my brief review of the four short stories in

Charmed Anthology, by Jayne Castle, Julie Beard, Lori Foster and Eileen Wilks

This anthology was originally published back in 1999, but I didn’t get it until a couple of years ago (or something like that, all I know for sure is that it’s been a while). And the main reason I bought my copy is because the first story is written by Jayne Castle aka Jayne Ann Krentz aka Amanda Quick, aka an author I usually enjoy (though I see with extreme surprise that I haven’t reviewed anything by her yet—under any of her names!). I was also happy to see that the last story is by Eileen Wilks, an author I wanted to try…because I have a couple *coughorahandfulcough* of her full-length Lupi novels in the aforementioned TBR mountain range.

At any rate, as is often the case with fickle lil me, the anthology languished in one of the many TBR shelves until now. So, and without (too much) further ado…

The mercifully short back cover blurb:

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Standoff, by Lauren Dane

5 Apr

Standoff, by Lauren Dane

This is the fifth installment in Ms Dane’s Cascadia Wolves stories, originally published digitally only by Samhain in January 2008. It was also the first story of hers that I read. While I enjoyed this book when I read it first, rereading it this week highlights how far Ms Dane’s writing has come in the intervening four years.

First, a warning: this is an erotic romance, with graphic language and graphic sex throughout. If either offends you (or if you are a minor), you are better off not reading either the review or the novel. Thanks.

Here is the blurb from the print edition: Continue reading

Broken Wing, by Judith James

30 Jul

Broken Wing, by Judith James

Ms James’ debut novel, Broken Wing is a historical romance set during the Napoleonic wars. The action covers a number of years and countries, mainly following the fate of its hero, Gabriel St Croix.

I first fell for this title because of Kristie(J)’s review. She has a way of making people crave whatever she has loved. However, around the time I got a copy (courtesy of Ms James herself, through a giveaway at Romance Novel TV—if memory serves *wince*) I happened to read this review by our very own Super Librarian. Yikes!!! Conflicting reviews ahoy, both from people whose tastes I trust!

So I put it on the TBR mountain range, knowing that sooner or later I would just grab and read it. Then orannia came up with a nifty little challenge and…here we are.

Here’s the back cover blurb: Continue reading

Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches Guide to Romance Novels, by Sara Wendell and Candy Tan (a joint review)

30 Jun

For those of you new to the world of romance novel blogland, the Smart Bitches are a couple of very smart, very funny, ultra-snarky bloggers who have a passion for romance novels; a passion that does not, however, blind them to the genre’s shortcomings, such as the over use of clichés, tropes, the godawful cover art, the often apostrophe-ridden, wince-worthy titles.

The Smart Bitches (SBSarah, aka Sarah Wendell of New Jersey, and SBCandy, aka Candy Tan of Oregon) have been around for a few years, providing continuous entertainment with their cover snark and an endless education. Their discussions have covered all aspects of the romance genre-from the use of rape as a metaphor for seduction to the evolution of the heroes and heroines from the stereotypes of the 1980s to the more realistic people of the late 1990s, to the use of ferrets to root out and demolish-metaphorically speaking-plagiarists.

How these two intelligent and educated women got together to create their very popular website, Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Books, is a different story entirely, but now, inevitably, they have collaborated on a book that has a bit of something for everyone who believes that romance novels should be treated no more, but certainly no less, respectfully than other genres. After all, romance novels account for a hefty percentage of all book sales worldwide-in fact, the biggest slice of the publishing pie for any single genre.

A warning to those readers who may be easily offended by “strong language” (e.g., the “f” word, the “c” word, the “p” word, the “s” word, the “mf” word and, probably, the “x”, “y” and “z” words, too): you may want to consider waiting for the expurgated version. Continue reading