Tag Archives: 9.50 out of 10

Trade Me, by Courtney Milan

26 Jan

Trade meLast week I posted a note to remind everyone about the release of Trade Me.

This is the actual review.

Trade Me, by Courtney Milan

In case you missed it: this is a contemporary new adult novel, told in present tense first person, with alternating points of view from both main characters.

Trade Me is also the first of at least three, but perhaps–please, please, please!–five novels written around Cyclone Systems, a made up, and massive, technology company that sits quite near the top of that food chain. The books, though, are about people.

Considering how incredibly picky I am about first person narrative and young protagonists, this should not have event tempted me, let alone worked for me.

But a) this is Courtney Milan and so far everything she writes works for me on one level or another, and b) holy shit, these two kids grabbed me by the throat so quickly and just would not let me go.

Warning: there may be is gushing ahead. Also, please note that I got this book as an ARC, though I’ve never been asked to write anything but my honest opinion.

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Snowball in Hell, by Josh Lanyon

31 Dec

Cover Snobwall in Hell

(Please see footnote – September 21, 2015)

A long time ago, when I was just starting to review, Lisabea (before she was L B Gregg) had a little giveaway at her blog. As luck would have it, I was the winner. This was the result.

I have since read more than a few m/m romances, though a quick look shows I’ve only reviewed a handful of them. I must remedy this, because there are some really good authors writing it.

Snowball in Hell, by Josh Lanyon

This book was originally released by the now-defunct Aspen Mountain Press in 2007 and re-released by Carina Press (my copy has a 2011 copyright notice). I do not know whether this is a revised version or not, but I know I really, really like it, and I want to talk with some detail about all the things I like about it. Therefore…

Reader beware: there be spoilers within!

Here’s the blurb:
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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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Son of the Morning, by Linda Howard

3 Jan

Son of the MorningSon of the Morning, by Linda Howard

Another blast from the past, this classic was published in 1997, and has since polarized romance readers. A mix of romance, suspense and time travel, it boasts one of the most compelling heroines I’ve read. Grace St John’s journey from sheltered academic to self-reliant avenger is wonderful to witness. As Karen Scott has said, Grace is both heroine and hero for a really good chunk of the novel, and while this is one of the best things of the book for me, many a rabid erm, devoted romance reader find it most objectionable that Grace and Niall do not meet for a good two thirds of the story. If this sort of thing seriously bothers you, then frankly, this is not the book for you.

But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. First, the back cover blurb (and I do believe this is the original paperback edition, by the by):
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The Heart of Christmas Anthology (Mary Balogh, Nicola Cornick and Courtney Milan)

25 Apr

The Heart of Christmas Anthology

After reading and enjoying Courtney Milan’s work, I have been keeping my eye out for a copy of this anthology, which contains her print debut, the novella “This Wicked Gift.” I am very, very happy to report that it didn’t disappoint—to the contrary, I enjoyed it soooo much!

But hold on, let me get this review back on track.

The anthology consists of three Christmas themed stories by Mary Balogh, Nicola Cornick, and Ms Milan. Here is the back cover blurb: Continue reading

Northern Lights, by Nora Roberts

6 Aug

Northern Lights, by Nora Roberts

I don’t think it’s a secret that I enjoy pretty much anything and everything that Ms Roberts writes—short stories, long novels, trilogies, series, mysteries… She writes it, sooner or later I’ll read it—and chances are I’ll review it too. Sometimes sooner, sometimes really later—as is the case now. Northern Lights was first published in hardcover back in 2004, and it has the uncomfortable distinction of being the only paperback edition of Ms Roberts’ work in the ohmahgawdsouncomfortable Venti edition*.

Set in the very small and *ahem* colorful fictional town of Lunacy, in Alaska, Northern Lights is a love story, a mystery, and the portrait of a community superficially reminiscent of Northern Exposure, full of eccentric characters in a setting that feels almost out of time.

Here is the blurb from the paperback edition: Continue reading

Almost a Gentleman, by Pam Rosenthal

28 Oct

Almost a Gentleman, by Pam Rosenthal

Set in the early 1800s in England, Almost a Gentleman is Ms Rosenthal debut novel and another sleepless night for yours truly (and this was a long night, since it is 380 pages long). Published originally in May 2003, it was reissued in December 2007 after her second novel, The Bookseller’s Daughter, had come out.

For whatever reason, I had endeavored to forget everything and anything I had heard about this novel—other than the title and author—when it was first released, and I am incredibly grateful I did. Because if I had known the central gimmick—the McGuffin, if you will—it’s quite likely I would not have wanted to read it, and that would have been an utter shame.

Here is the back cover blurb: Continue reading