Tag Archives: self published

“Unlocked” by Courtney Milan

28 Aug

UnlockedBona, a fellow TBR Challenge participant, posted a review of this story over a year ago, on her blog. As I mentioned here, her review led me to–finally–reading this story.

Which in turn, leads me to a confession: I do have a few Courtney Milan stories in the digital TBR.

But, I hear you say, aren’t you the one singing Ms Milan’s praises and telling us how wonderful her writing is?

Yes, yes, I am one of the many who do these things–because pretty much everything I’ve read of hers, I’ve liked very well indeed.

However, well before I fell into the dreaded reading slump from hell, almost two years ago (dear dog, shoot me now!), I already had accumulated scarily ginormous TBR mountain ranges (both print and digital), so really, it’s not surprising some of Ms Milan’s stories had gotten lost in the shuffle there.

Be warned: there are people in love and sexytimes in here, so if you don’t care to read about either, you may want to stop reading here. You may also keep in mind that this story deals with the aftermath of bullying.

“Unlocked” by Courtney Milan

This story is set in the same ‘universe’ as the Turner brothers stories, and it’s about a fairly minor secondary character introduced in Unveiled, the first novel.

While this story is definitely shorter than, say, Proof of Seduction or Trade Me, it didn’t read like a novella. By which I mean, despite the lower word count, the pacing and structure of the story allowed me to believe in the characters’ feelings about themselves and each other, and how these changed over time.

Here, have a blurb:

A perpetual wallflower destined for spinsterhood, Lady Elaine Warren is resigned to her position in society. So when Evan Carlton, the powerful, popular Earl of Westfeld, singles her out upon his return to England, she knows what it means. Her former tormenter is up to his old tricks, and she’s his intended victim. This time, though, the earl is going to discover that wallflowers can fight back.

Evan has come to regret his cruel, callow past. At first, he only wants to make up for past wrongs. But when Elaine throws his initial apology in his face, he finds himself wanting more. And this time, what torments him might be love…

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“The Seduction of Lord Stone” by Anna Campbell

5 Mar

TheSeductionofLordStoneWhile I am not on twitter, I lurk there, following #not chilled, and two or three people’s stream/timeline/whatever it’s called. I am fascinated by all the things I learn about that way.

Among these many interesting things, I saw that Anna Campbell just released the second in a trilogy of shorter stories about a trio of tonnish widows returning to society after their mandatory year of mourning.

As each of these are only 99c, and as I enjoy Ms Campbell’s writing (and her), very much indeed, I snapped both of them up.

Here are my thoughts.

“The Seduction of Lord Stone” by Anna Campbell

The prologue introduces our three friends, henceforth known as The Dashing Widows. Two of them are nearing the end of their obligatory year of mourning, and they are chomping at the bit to get back out there, and to finally be allowed to live. Instead of, you know, playing the small, background character of “wife” in someone else’s life. Their thirst for life after such prolonged emptiness convinces the third to join in their quest.

The blurb, from the author’s site:

For this reckless widow, love is the most dangerous game of all.

Caroline, Lady Beaumont, arrives in London seeking excitement after ten dreary years of marriage and an even drearier year of mourning. That means conquering society, dancing like there’s no tomorrow, and taking a lover to provide passion without promises. Promises, in this dashing widow’s dictionary, equal prison. So what is an adventurous lady to do when she loses her heart to a notorious rake who, for the first time in his life, wants forever?

Devilish Silas Nash, Viscount Stone is in love at last—with a beautiful, headstrong widow bent on playing the field. Worse, she’s enlisted his help to set her up with his disreputable best friend. No red-blooded man takes such a challenge lying down, and Silas schemes to seduce his darling into his arms, warm, willing and besotted. But will his passionate plots come undone against a woman determined to act the mistress, but never the wife?

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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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Worth: Lord of Reckoning, by Grace Burrowes

26 Aug

Worth, Lord of Recknoning coverThis book was free back in April, before the reading slump from Hell struck, and has been sitting in ye olde kindle app since.

This is one of two novels by Ms Burrowes that were nominated for this year’s RITA Award for long historical (the other one was Douglas: Lord of Heartache, which I had read a few months ago).

I originally thought, after being unable to finish reading The Summer of You for July’s TBR Challenge, that this novel would do, but, well, reading slump from Hell, you know?

Worth: Lord of Reckoning, by Grace Burrowes

This is the eleventh book in The Lonely Lords, a loosely connected series. As far as I can tell, for whatever reasons, some of these were published by Sourcebooks Casablanca, and others have been self-published. This books is one of the latter, and I had a lot of issues with it.

Here’s the blurb:
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“A Wolf to Watch Over Me” by Sela Carsen

25 Jul

A Wolf to Watch Over MeI feel like cheering and doing cartwheels.

I read a story! I read a new-to-me story! In one greedy gulp!

Okay, it’s a short story (amazon tells me it’s only 35 pages long), but here’s the thing: it’s the first thing I have managed to read through since freaking May!

So here’s my (brief) review.

“A Wolf to Watch Over Me” by Sela Carsen

I became aware that Ms Carsen had released a new story after a fairly long hiatus, so of course I headed over to read a sample–and fell right into the story.

Here, have a blurb:
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“The Lady Always Wins” by Courtney Milan

13 Mar

The Lady Always WinsI have made no secret that I love Ms Milan’s work.¹ I enjoy her writing voice very much, I love how strong her heroines are, and how even in short stories like this one, she manages the most wonderful twists.

I have, however, been quite remiss in reviewing any of her work until now. I’m hoping to correct the oversight this year.

“The Lady Always Wins,” by Courtney Milan

You can see in the author’s website that this story was originally written for, and published in, a charity anthology a couple of years ago. Later, Ms Milan self published it individually, and it’s also available in her A Novella Collection.

You can read more about the story, and a longish excerpt, here.

And the blurb, from the author’s site:
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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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