Tag Archives: Contemporary Romance

Skintight, by Susan Andersen

25 Apr

SkintightI am so very late with this month’s TBR Challenge review, it ain’t even funny. This year, though, I’m just going to push through; better late than skipping the month entirely.

(Sez I)

I actually got this book signed by the author, which means that I either got it at RWA 2009 in DC, or RWA 2010 in Orlando. Either way, it’s been sitting on the TBR mountain range for ages. Oh, and I note that this is a rare one for me: a straight contemporary that is not a category romance.

There’s explicit sex and adult language, so if those are not your thing, skip this one.

Skintight, by Susan Andersen

I’m pretty sure that this is only the second of Ms Andersen’s novels that I’ve read, and I’m sorry to say that I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I did All Shook Up; partly, because I’ve been in a filthy reading mood–my inner critic (hat tip to Liz at My Extensive Reading) just wouldn’t shut up. And partly because…oh, where to begin?

But I’m getting ahead of myself; here’s the blurb:

Professional poker player Jax Gallagher should have known better than to wager a World Series baseball that wasn’t his to lose. Now the man who won the collectible is demanding his prize…or else. Trouble is, the ball is owned by his estranged father’s widow–a flamboyant Las Vegas showgirl. Jax will do whatever it takes to get it back.

Yet Treena McCall is anything but the ruthless gold digger Jax expects. She’s build a life for herself filled with good friends and hard work. And she’s got enough on her plate trying to hang on to her job as a dancer without being wined, dined and seduced by sexy Jax Gallagher.

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Rock Redemption, by Nalini Singh

2 Dec

Rock RedemptionAs most of my regular readers know, I am a fan of Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling stories. I have not only read every one of those books; I’ve written fairly positive reviews for all of the full length novels in the series, as well a for a few of the short stories set in the same universe.

I have also read, enjoyed greatly, and reviewed, the first three installments of the Rock Kiss series.

There was no way on earth I wasn’t going to get the next book.

And so, a while back–well before it was released–I asked for, and received, an ARC of this story.

Unfortunately, the reading slump from Hell got in the way; later on, life got in the way, and so on, and so forth. To make an already long story a wee bit less so, here’s a very belated review, filed under “better late than never (maybe).”

Two caveats: I seem to have read a different book than the one I’ve seen reviewed (yes, that’s a hint–don’t read on if you are easily offended), and one of the protagonists is a survivor of child abuse. Read on at your own risk.

Rock Redemption, by Nalini Singh

Kit’s and Noah’s story has been blatantly set up pretty much from the beginning of the series–there’s a very telling scene in Rock Addiction that can be likened to a neon sign flashing: “look! future book protagonists right here!”

Perhaps that’s why, even though I always intended to read their book, I wasn’t as fired up about it as other fans of Ms Singh.

And perhaps that’s why it’s so easy for me to find flaws in the story, the characters, and the writing.

See, this is one of those books where pretty much every trope–and the proverbial kitchen sink–make an appearance. I know I’ve read, and loved, books with an overabundance of trope, but this was not one of them. Not by a long chalk.

Here, have a blurb from Ms Singh’s website:
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After the Night, by Linda Howard

27 May

After the NightAs some of you know, I took a very quick trip home last week. While the occasion was my mother’s 80th birthday, the lion’s share of preparation and actual effort was for my sister.

In order to maximize the benefits of these efforts, we keep a spreadsheet as a Google document. That way, should she manage to find a title on the “books to get” list she can mark it off, and I won’t be carting duplicates to her. In the same manner, I will mark off those books she requests as I get them.

Unfortunately, she hasn’t done the best job at this so far. Not only did I take her one duplicate on this trip–despite begging her since February to double check the list–but I found seven other duplicated books, from previous shipments, that she had sneaked to my mother’s house.

After some swearing (out of range of the parental unit), I grabbed them and tossed them in my bag. Good thing I did, because while my flight down there was on a new plane, the trip back was on a relic that didn’t have outlets to charge my phone. All those books? Yeah, out of reach.

But there it was, a dog eared print copy of one of my favorite Linda Howard books, coming to my rescue.

Now you get my thoughts.

Please note: there’s an attempted suicide, subtle sexual coercion, and some generalized Southern asshattery in the novel

After the Night, by Linda Howard

There are a couple of things you may want to take into account as you read this review.

The first is that I am a fan of Ms Howard. I have read everything she wrote up to 2008, and I still own all of those books, save five: All That Glitters, An Independent Wife, To Die For, Drop Dead Gorgeous and Raintree: Inferno. The first two are her debut and sophomore efforts, both released in 1982. The next two are the Blair Mallory novels, which a) are narrated in first person, and b) I hated, with the passion of a thousand suns. The last one I just couldn’t get into.

I also own, but haven’t finished reading, Burn, which she released in 2009. I may also have Ice, and perhaps even Veil of Night, but there was something about Burn that put me off trying any of Ms Howard’s newer work.¹

The second is that this novel was, if not my very first, one of the first Linda Howard books I ever read, back in 1997. As such, it holds a special place in my heart. I can see some of its problems, but I know I’m blind to others. This is very much a book of its time; it was published in 1995, likely written the year before that. Not only are faxes essential for business, there are no cell phones. Hell, not even car phones are mentioned! You may correctly assume that some of the gender and social issues in the book follow pattern.

I cannot even begin to fathom how a reader would react to this book today.

Here’s the blurb, from the print copy in question:
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Blind Passion, by Bonnie Dee

27 Apr

Blind PassionIt had been a while since I had read one of Ms Dee’s stories, even though I have liked all the ones I’ve read. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I was looking for something else on amazon and realized that this novel was free (still is, as of this writing).

I read the blurb and one clicked–not realizing this is yet another New Adult novel, with alternating first person points of view.

I have mentioned a few times that I’m absolutely not a fan of this particular subgenre of romance, so I was not very enthused as I started to read, but it is Ms Dee, and I really like her work, so I continued reading…and then looked up, a hundred pages later.

So here you have my review.

Blind Passion, by Bonnie Dee

This category length novel is the first story in the Wyatt Brothers quartet. A sweet romance, though with a bit more explicit language, it’s set in Chicago, and the protagonists are both in their early twenties.

Leah, our leading lady, has lost her sight due to a head injury sustained in a car crash, and is still struggling to adapt to her new reality as someone with a pretty major disability. J.D. has recently been discharged from the Army, after first being captured by the Taliban, and then rescued by fellow soldiers–some of which died during the operation. He suffers from PTSD, which he combats by taking prescription medication while mostly eschewing the benefits of actual therapy.

Here’s the blurb from the author’s website:
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Hope Ignites, by Jaci Burton

15 Apr

Hope Ignites coverJaci Burton’s Hope series are contemporary romances set in a small town. While I confess that I’m pretty much over this setup, I have liked Ms Burton’s writing for a good long time, so I was all set to like these books regardless. There was, however, a bit of a glitch.

The first one, “Hope Smolders,” is a novella that was originally released as part of the Hot Summer Nights anthology. Because I’m not a fan of any of the other authors there, I didn’t get it. Eventually, as it’s becoming more common, it was released on its own digitally, and at some point after that it I finally bought it.

In the meantime, Hope Flames and Hope Ignites had already made their way into my print TBR, so that when I finally had the first story at my fingertips, I read them in order–last month.

Which means I’m probably cheating by reviewing it for this month’s TBR Challenge *hanging head in shame* Look, people, I’m a bit desperate here, and while I dislike reviewing books in a series out of order, plus I’m actually typing this review on TBR Challenge day…well, let’s just get on with it, shall we?

Hope Ignites, by Jaci Burton

I’m going to start this by stating that it’s very difficult to write a review for a book that you find competent and fairly easy to read, but in which you don’t find anything particularly remarkable. Therefore, please do forgive me if this isn’t as cohesive or as impassioned as other reviews.

This particular story involves the brother of a previous hero, a rancher who is fairly reclusive. Not quite a hermit, but definitely not someone fond of noise, bustle and crowds. Even regular visits to nearby Hope, which is very much a small town (emphasis on small) are a bother he would be quite happy to live without. The female protagonist is an up and coming actress, which would lead both Logan and the reader to assume Desiree is a city girl through and through.

Here’s the blurb from my print copy, and you can read a decently sized excerpt at the author’s website here:
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Rock Hard, by Nalini Singh

9 Mar

Rock HardI don’t think it’s a secret that I’m a fan of Nalini Singh. I absolutely adore her Psy/Changeling world, and I have really liked both of her recently self published contemporary romances.

So of course I’ve been ansty as hell, waiting for the third title in the Rock Kiss series to come out–and boy oh boy, did Ms Singh knock it out of the park!

Reader beware, though: I received an ARC of this novel. There’s violence in the heroine’s past, and though very little of it is retold on page, you may want to take this into account when you read. Also, there is graphic sex and cursing.

Rock Hard by Nalini Singh

The very beginning of this novel happens concurrently with the beginning of Rock Addiction, so a reader who has recently read the latter will recognize a few scenes and conversations between Charlie and Molly, her best friend. However, both novels can be read as standalones; Molly’s appearances in this novel are few and brief, firmly establishing how close the relationship between these two women is, yet not taking anything away from Charlie’s own story.

Here, have a blurb from the author’s website:
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Make it a Double, by Sawyer Bennett

4 Mar

Sensual coupleThis week, Kristie(J) (who is back, blogging! yay!) talked about reading a bunch of Ms Bennett’s books and loving/liking most of them, so I thought, what the heck, let’s give her a whirl. And wouldn’t you know it, this one was a freebie, so I grabbed it.

There is some swearing and some graphic sex, and a bit of stalking, so…reader beware.

Make it a Double, by Sawyer Bennett

This is the second in the Last Call books. It is also young adult, narrated alternatively by the two leads, in first person present tense. Honestly, if I had known that before doing the one-click thing, I probably wouldn’t have grabbed it. Yes, I’ve liked a few of these, but it’s not something I particularly enjoy unless done really well.

Last Call is a bar, owned by our protagonists twin brother, Hunter, who is the main character in the first book. Brody has recently been released from prison after serving five years for vehicular manslaughter. Understandably, he’s having a hell of a time trying to integrate to life outside.

Here, have a blurb from the author’s website:
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