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Julie [userpic]
It's that time of year again! My 2011 books read!
by Julie (julielu)
at January 1st, 2012 (09:04 am)

I've read a ton of romances this year, come and take my poll!

Here it is! 2011 Poll

Paranormal Romance Book Suggestions
by RedWineAndVampires (heatherbookblog)
at November 7th, 2009 (10:38 pm)

 I need some suggestions for good book!   Here is my Blog with what I have already read, please send your suggestions.

ferretwoman [userpic]
Brenda Novak Auction for diabetes research
by ferretwoman (ferretwoman)
at April 29th, 2009 (08:06 pm)

Every year Brenda Novak puts on a great raffle where all funds raised go to diabetes research. This is the perfect raffle for book lovers!  She's a writer, and she gets a ton of authors to give away signed books, advanced copies, critiques by authors, and lots more!  You must check it out!  If you sign up for an account, and you tell her I sent you (my username is  Ha280585) we both get a signed copy of one of her books!

Check it out: Brenda Novak Auction

Julie [userpic]
Assorted reviews
by Julie (julielu)

I read a bunch of romances to get me through the stressful holiday period! At the same time, I made it to my 100 books challenge goal. I'm sure many of you will recognize these titles, I'm making my way through Lisa Kleypas' backlist as well as Celeste Bradley and Julia Quinn.

My books and reviewsCollapse )

cross posted to romancenovels

Lisa [userpic]
Secret Desires of a Gentleman
by Lisa (troutqueen)
at December 1st, 2008 (10:43 pm)

by Laura Lee Gurhke
C-

I just finished this one. I've liked Gurhke in the past. She tells a good enough story that I can forgive some of the not-quite-right cultural accuracy. This one, however, had good elements that were thoroughly, painfully beaten away by the poor handling of the romance/relationship and the characters. UGH. This was an obvious derivative of Sabrina, one of my favorite movies (both original and remake). The servant's daughter returns after a time abroad in which she becomes a polished and accomplished entrepreneur/pastry chef. Definitely not the type a marquess should be dabbling with, despite their history.

Primarily, I disliked the hero. He was a snob to the bitter end, and his turnaround was so quick and so unbelievable, I can see only a miserable h/h in 5 years from the end of the book. He's going to continue being overbearing, snobby, elitest. I didn't buy his change.

I didn't care for the heroine's change in the end, either. She gave up something that had seemed to be her dream. Something she'd held as a torch for a very, very long time, and something she was obviously good at. It wasn't believable to her character.

The end felt sudden, as if the author ran out of word count and just ended the book. Unsatisfying. I wanted an epilogue to reassure me that they really did have a freakin' happy ending, despite my disbelief that they would do so.

Some good elements, as I said, that were handled very badly. Hope her next one is better!

Lisa [userpic]
Julie Anne Long: To Love a Thief
by Lisa (troutqueen)
at October 7th, 2008 (11:28 pm)

This is my first book by this author, but not the last! I'm busy looking
up the backlist and seeing what I need to get next book-buying binge :)

To Love a Thief
by Julie Anne Long
Regency Historical
B+

(For those of you who love standalones, this is one of them :)

Synopsis:
Gideon Cole, a successful barrister (career-wise, not necessarily
financially), has his sights set on the incomparable Constance Clary, the
daughter of a Marquis. Constance can bring him a title, wealth and
prestige. Unfortunately, Constance has her eyes set on both Gideon and
another suitor and won't commit. Gideon strikes upon the idea of making
Constance jealous in order to win her hand, particularly when his plans to
buy the townhome his rival is planning to buy fails when he gives away the
30 pounds downpayment to save a thief for Newgate.

Lily Masters has been supporting herself and her younger sister as a
pickpocket, and she's a good one. Until she meets Gideon Cole and an angry
mark who threatens to send her to Newgate. In return for paying off the
mark, Gideon demands that Lily play his new interest to make Constance
jealous. Lily reluctantly agrees to this Pygmalion scheme to turn her into
a lady and present her to society.

At first, I had huge issues with Gideon's seeming shallowness in wanting a
society bride, and one who was so obviously frivolous and manipulative.
Ugh. How could you even like a hero who apparently had nothing to redeem
him other than being a successful barrister who took on many charity
cases.

But then Long slowly unfolds the layers, and you see pieces of Gideon
coming to light, from his desire to help his sister, to the man who reads
Keats behind legal tomes.

Long does a fabulous job of showing Gideon's struggle to stay true to his
Master Plan (tm), and his growing affection and love for Lily. Lily is
proud, resourceful, and intelligent, a storyteller who keeps her sister
entertained with fanciful fairy tales. She quickly learns the ropes to
being a lady in society (maybe a bit too easily). Lily is definitely more
aware of her own feelings towards Gideon. And, IMO, a bit too
self-sacrificing - knowing she's in love with a man whom she's helping to
secure a wife. I'd want to pound some sense in him myself and rip the
eyeballs from the other woman.

The end doesn't quite sit well with me (Lily's ultimate decision), hence
the B rating instead of an A. But I'll leave that for others to judge.
Despite my objection, the denouement was emotionally compelling and
sniffling-worthy.

Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon
by Kat (menage_a_kat)
at August 1st, 2008 (12:59 am)

Title: Acheron
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Genre/Historical Period: Paranormal

Summary/Review:
My full review is on my blog (Blogger). Meanwhile, here are the highlights...

I loved the first part of Acheron. Despite feeling that the writing lacked a certain authenticity--Did they really say "prepped" in ancient times?--I found the storytelling so compelling that the book was almost unputdownable. Acheron's early life is gruesome, and Kenyon manages to find that fine balance between laying it all out for the reader without making the violence feel gratuitous.

About halfway through the first part of the book, I realised that Kenyon was playing me. And doing it beautifully. She intersperses scenes of beauty and simple joy with acts of barbarism, and she balances these so finely that I was shocked yet again by each act of betrayal that Ash suffers. I completely bought his back story, including the complexity of his relationship with Artemis. In a way, I read theirs as a kind of love story, too, just not one with a happy ending. I cried for them a little. That was a bit of a surprise.

Then I got to the second part of the book, which is shorter than the first, and things started to unravel a bit. I skimmed a lot, lot more. I had high hopes, but between the clunky prose, the need to close off the series arc, and the mass of characters crammed into part two, I think romance got the short shrift. On the other hand, it reads more like Kenyon's other Dark-Hunter novels, so if you love the series, you probably won't be disappointed.

About halfway through part two, I began to question why, in the thousands of years that Ash has lived, this particular woman is the one who gets him. I'm not sure Kenyon answers that question to my satisfaction. The way she builds Ash's relationships in part one and uses them to show how Ash's character is formed isn't mirrored in part two. Or to put it another way, I never even came close to tears.

If you like the Dark-Hunter books, you'll probably love Acheron. If you're squeamish, have tissues handy when you read the first part. If you just want to read the book so you can cure yourself of an unhealthy obsession with fictional characters, I'm not sure this will help. There is another series...

Part of a Series?: Dark-Hunter
Would I recommend this book?: Yes
Planning to read anything else by this author?: Probably

Cross-posted to romancenovels

Return to Romance
by aberdeen_lassie (aberdeen_lassie)
at July 21st, 2008 (12:52 pm)

After years of reading mainly mystery I returned to romance in a big way this year.

Brockmann is good. Discovered Lora Leigh the other month.

Hell, do SEALS take courses in how to be the best of the best in the sack? Sensitivity classes or what?

Did I just stumble into a strange genre of romance fiction?

Lisa [userpic]
Christina Dodd: Into the Shadow
by Lisa (troutqueen)
at July 11th, 2008 (12:43 pm)

Into the Shadow
Christina Dodd
Darkness Chosen Book 3

C-

**Review contains some mild spoilers**

*Note: I apologize in advance for any weird sentences and spellings. I’m on a percocet right now :)

I’ve been following this quadrilogy (is that correct terminology?) after the premise of the series intrigued me. I haven’t read Dodd in about 5 years, though I lump her with Quinn and Kleypas as “Fluffy but fun reads.” I really enjoyed the first one, Scent of Darkness, and was ambivalent to the second one, Touch of Darkness. I wanted to like Into the Shadow more, but it just suspended my disbelief a bit too much.

Adrik Wilder (aka Warlord – no, not a warlord, but Warlord) left his family after a horrible crime that he felt he wouldn’t be forgiven for. He hides in the Himalayan mountains, leading an army of mercenaries and doing all sorts of Evil and Vile things because he is Evil. No, really. He’s Evil and Bad. Really. He is descended from a Ukrainian warlord who sold his soul, and the souls of all his descendants, to the devil for the ability to be the most evil and successful of bad guys. Adrick’s family escaped but the pact with the devil still holds strong and they are trying to break it so that they won’t, you know, burn in hell.

Karen Sonnet is a construction project manager and a workaholic, building a boutique “adventure” resort in the Himalayans. The mountain is supposedly cursed. Must be, since at night, some strange guy comes into her tent and they have hot, sweaty sex for a month, and she’s perfectly okay with this. When an avalanche threatens her life, Karen finds herself rescued...then kidnapped by Warlord, her secret lover. Then an attack on the camp again threatens her life and Warlord lets her go to save her. Karen goes jetsetting around Europe before settling as an events coordinator at a resort, though she remembers, and continually looks for, Warlord’s return. I actually liked Karen. She came across as strong, stubborn and fairly sure of herself, father issues aside. But she wasn’t overpowering and one of those kickass heroines, although with a bit of nudging I’m sure she could be. Her phone conversation with Adrick’s brother Jasha had me smiling. She’s no-nonsense and very capable.

There were moments in the book that I enjoyed. For instance, the first third of the book deals with Karen’s captivity by Warlord/Adrick. Those of you who like kidnapping/captivity fantasies would love this. I know you’re out there – raise your hands.

Uh-huh. I thought so.

But the likeable and interesting scenes were immediately followed by such serious suspension of disbelief, my head sorta spun around Exorcist style. Yes, I know that a man changing into a panther stretches as it is, but there were just some really poorly managed scenes and plotting.

Warlord returns to civilization a programming game whiz. It apparently takes him only 2 years to become a master game programmer (and one of those years is spent as a slave in a mine) and to create a revolutionary game simulation that Microsoft can’t even do yet. Sure. That’s totally doable. Maybe. With an army of programmers and billions of dollars and pre-existing knowledge of game programming and simulation-based games.

Then there was Karen’s father, who doesn’t every give an inkling of approval for her. In the space of 4 pages, he reveals why and Karen leaves. But the scene was written with “INFODUMP” scrawled all over, instead of an attempt to show it through actions. Then his reversal in the end was so out of character (what little of his character we’re given) and pretty unmotivated IMO.

Dodd’s idea of a truly evil and bad hero is one who kills Chinese generals who take pot shots at Buddhist monks or who beats and kills women. Or who beat and possibly sexually assault their daughters. Yeah, really evil. They should put him up for life. His reversal halfway through the book wasn’t unbelievable so much as silly since he wasn’t really evil. Dodd should take a page from Anne Stuart who has had some truly dark and borderline heroes. But Adrick’s trials and tribulations during his year in the mining pit, which was supposed to show him at the bottom of the barrel, desperate and broken, maybe worked too well because I saw him as a whiny preteen. I know, torture = bad, etc. But somehow, the way Dodd wrote the retelling, instead of making me admire Adrick’s strength and eventual escape, I found him weak, emasculated, and unadmirable. Maybe it was the verbiage, or maybe I’d found too many problems with the book at that point.

The heart-wrenching attempted tear-jerker of the climax of the book was overdone and pointless.

All this said, I have to read the last one because I’ve managed to read the first three. Must find out what happens. But what started as a great series seems to have fallen into “Must meet deadline soon!” mode of telling, not showing, and trying to make what should be a dark and serious book into light fluffiness. Pacts with the devil is fluff fodder, right?

Starsong [userpic]
Marliss Melton
by Starsong (adept_starsong)
at July 7th, 2008 (08:34 pm)
current song: In The End - Kat DeLuna

Marliss Melton's Navy SEAL series is great, and although I don't go into frothing spasms of delight over the thought of reading her books, she's a good, solid read: lovely for a freezing winter's night. Think of Suzanne Brockmann before she got overly tangled in her multiple plot lines if you will.

I have to say though, that I didn't enjoy Marliss Melton's latest release, Don't Let Go as much as her previous one: Next To Die.

Synopsis:

DON'T GIVE UP...

It's love that keeps teacher Jordan Bliss up at night…the lost love for a Venezuelan orphan named Miguel—and the memory of a Navy SEAL tearing him from her arms. Now in the U.S. and longing for her child, Jordan vows to somehow, some way, bring Miguel home.

DON'T LOOK BACK...

To Navy SEAL Solomon McGuire, orders are orders. But the fierce passion in Jordan 's voice and the fire in her eyes when he separated her from her son haunt his dreams. Eager to make amends, Solomon promises to pull every string he can to find Miguel. Only time will tell if Jordan can trust him and forgive him. One thing is certain: his desire for her is relentless and irresistible. And soon their indestructible love will be tested by a terrifying trap of violence…

DON'T LET GO...

Thoughts:

There are problems with this novel. For one thing, the catalyst that gets Don't Let Go rolling in the first place doesn't sit well with me. That the plot relies heavily on the fact that the rescued Jordan is desperate to return to Venezuela for Miguel makes me want to pound my head against a rock and scream at Solomon "Why, you dunderhead! Why?!" Spoiler!Collapse )

The good times keep rolling as an assortment of people pop up, like a bizarre carnival game - you know, the one where heads jump out of holes, and you're supposed to whack it before it disappears? This isn't to say that Marliss Melton did a horrific job of Don't Let Go. She didn't, and in fact, I find her to be a wonderful writer who can make everything but the world within the book disappear. It's just that I found her plot to be a little holey. This might be because of the vast cast she seems to have in this novel (there are a fair number of children, most of who are featured in a given scene but not actively contributing to it) or the fact that the whole ripping-child-away-from-mother thing didn't sit well with me.

However, her characters are marvellous. Although I wasn't riveted by them, I found them all, from the hero and heroine to the children with non-speaking roles, to be real. As in with all the Navy SEAL novels so far, there's also a secondary romance. In Don't Let Go, FBI Special Agent Rafael Valentino, who's a friend of Hannah Lindstrom, the heroine of In The Dark gets a shot at love with Jordan's sister Jillian. I like that Valentino got a happily ever after, but I'm still not sure if I liked it or loved it as a secondary romance.

Although Don't Let Go isn't a keeper (although I'll still keep my copy...I'm horrendous like that) it's still a very good read.

Peace,

Starsong

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