Tag Archives: Contemporary Romance

A Gifts of Ghosts, by Sarah Wynde

12 Jan
Cover, A Gift of Ghosts; a field of dark clouds at the top, with two streaks of lightning coming down, and a three on the middle ground. Tag line: "Akira has secrets. So does the town of Tassamara."

I am not entirely sure why I got this one, though I have a vague memory of it being one of those, ‘this cute story is on sale right now, grab it’ tweets passing my feed in late December 2021, so I did. And it is a cute story in the “quirky small town” subgenre of romance, and honestly a refreshing take on paranormals.

If you want to skip the review, this is mostly a fluffy, just over category-length, 1 paranormal story with a romance tacked on.

A couple of warnings, though: there’s a history of physical child abuse, which is explained as loving concern (me: hell, no). There are also mentions of traumatic deaths for some of the ghosts in the story, including a suicide and the accidental drug overdose of a teenager.

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Stormy Nights, by Jules Jones and Stormy Duffy

17 May

There really is no rhyme or reason why books languish in my physical and digital TBR Cordilleras of Doom.

Case in point: it had been a long while since I read anything by Jules Jones, though what I have read, I have liked, and there are a number of her works in my digital TBR pile.

So why I haven’t read more of her stuff? (I got nothing¹)

At any rate, back in August 2017, Ms Jones very kindly sent me a copy of this anthology for review. And while my reading has been iffy at best for a long time now, I read all nine stories in the book in one sitting just a few days after that.

Sadly, then the “can’t write to save my life” curse struck, fueled by current events, and here we are now, nine months later. ::guilty wince::

Warning: there is explicit sex and some light kink in all of these. If that’s not your thing, stop here. None of these are genre romance stories, with HEA/HFN, though all are full of hope and joy. Also, Jules Jones and Storm Duffy are two writing facets of the same author.

Stormy Nights, by Jules Jones and Stormy Duffy

This is a collection of nine short stories of varying lengths and genres; some are very romantic, some are more short erotic vignettes than stories, and one is an incredibly poignant fantasy with very strong romantic elements. There are merpeople, and fae, and just plain contemporaries.

In competition for the shortest blurb EVER:

Sex and love, lies and truth, shades in between. Happy endings and might-have-beens. Nine tales of these things between men.

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The Hating Game, by Sally Thorne

28 May

…or how I DNFed a book most everyone else seemed to love.

The Hating Game, by Sally Thorne

For months, I heard everyone and their pet poodle praise this book, so I snagged it at some point when it was on sale.

I don’t know how it was that I didn’t realize it’s written in first person present tense–which I do not like. As far as I’m concerned, first person is incredibly difficult to do well, and present tense can be gimmicky. I have enjoyed first person present tense before (Ann Aguirre’s Grimspace books, for example), but it’s very rare.

One of the reasons first person is tricky is that it’s harder to read for the other characters, when you don’t connect with the main character.

I also didn’t realize this is the author’s debut until I looked up the blurb; the writing does not read like a first effort.

The first few pages are smooth and engaging, and I felt myself being pulled into the story. Among the pulls is the fact that the story is set is the offices of two ailing publishing houses merged into one, still failing, company.

Blurb:
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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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