April 15, 2014

That One Time I Read Half a Serial and Liked It: The Kraken King by Meljean Brook

An airship on fire is about to crash into the sea and we see a gigantic tentacle coming out of the water near where the airship is about to crash.
I’m guest reviewing the first four parts of The Kraken King serial over at Dear Author. This is a spoiler-free, general review of the first half of the serial, so it reads like a review of the whole thing. I’m not a fan of the format, but I really enjoyed this one, even though I’ll probably wait until I have the final four parts to read them all at once.

I also feel like I should warn you that this is a very positive review. You guys know how much I love Ms. Brook’s books, but I actually struggled with finding things to criticize, something that didn’t even happen with Guardian Demon. Part of it is that what I read was all very, very good, and part of it is that I haven’t read the whole thing yet, so I’m missing half the information. In that regard, writing the review was an interesting exercise, just as interesting --and slightly frustrating-- as reading the serial. I probably should have serialized my review instead of looking at it as a whole, but even then I think I would have had a hard time finding something to criticize, because each part has enough individual merits to stand on its own. And don’t worry, the book I will review next is one of the worse I've read this year, so I’ll will bring balance to the Force.

For those of you interested in the series, all the books stand alone ridiculously well,  but I would read them in order just to build the sense of the world in the order the novels were published. Also, The Kraken King offers a perspective of the world that’s pretty different to the one we get in The Iron Duke, so having that contrast makes the experience richer.

That’s it! Go read the review and let me know what you think. I’m also interested to hear how you feel about serials: love them, hate them, meh!, is there a serial that changed your mind about the format, etc.

March 26, 2014

Sex and the Romance Novel: Satisfaction by Sarah Mayberry

Someecard. Drawing of a white man, yellow background and a message that reads: I'll always be there for you if you feel like having sex without orgasm.
Source: Someecards

Source: A review copy was provided by the author.

Remember the Four Horsemen of the Tropecalypse? One of them is back, only with a slight variation.

Meet Maggie, our poor, orgasm-less heroine, who, after trying everything on hand (pun intended!), decides to get under the sexy, hung tattooist who gave her BFF a tattoo and the best sex of her life. Maggie figures that if his magic dong doesn’t give her an orgasm, nothing will, so she makes an appointment and accidentally tries to seduce the sexy tattooist’s identical twin, in what must be the most awkward scene I’ve ever read.  

But fear not! This is a Romance novel, after all, and humiliation makes for a great meet-cute. It turns out that Mr. Sexy Twin, also known as Rafel, is so smart and intrigued by Maggie, that he puts two and two together and realizes that, holy shit! She’s never had an orgasm, and lookie here, he happens to have the right tool to alleviate her ailment. That’s how they embark on a relationship that’s based on unconventional motivations, so of course things go pear shaped fast. The good news is that these two are mature individuals, so they actually deal with it accordingly. Well, Kind of.

March 24, 2014

Three Years of Reviews, Discussions, Community and Friendships

Three cupcakes with vanilla frosting, sprinkles and each one has a birthday candle on top.
Image credit: April 

Romance Around the Corner turned three last week! It’s been three years of hard work, love and fun, so I’m going to celebrate it by giving away this unicorn to one lucky commenter so the winner can drink his blood and live forever. Forever!

March 18, 2014

Big Fat Book Readalong: The Stand by Stephen King

This month, Sunita is hosting a Big Fat Book Readalong and I wanted to participate*, which is why I’m interrupting our not-so-regular schedule with this post about a book that isn’t a romance, but it sure is long (the audio clocks at almost 48 hours). This won’t be a traditional review, but I hope you enjoy it more than I enjoyed the book. I’ll be back with a couple of Romance reviews later this week (fingers crossed!).

In high school, I used to be a huge King fan, but I never read his two big fat books: It and The Stand. A couple of months ago, I was browsing through Audible and decided to use my promotional credit on the longest book I could find, which is how I ended with this book. But with about 5 hours to go, I felt annoyed and unsatisfied, so I decided not to finish it, which turned out to be a good decision, because shortly after, this happened and I’m still trying to rinse the bad aftertaste from my mouth. Yet I wanted to comment on a book that I've been meaning to read for years, and that I found disturbing for reasons other than those originally intended.

February 6, 2014

Review: Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier

Hand-drawn picture of a girl with a giant wolf standing behind her on two legs and looking menacing. The background colors are dark purple and orange.
Note: I received an e-ARC through NetGalley, but I also purchased my own copy to verify, so the quotes in this review are from the finished copy not the e-ARC. Also, the review ended up being really long, so you're welcome to go TL;DR on it. 

There are four reasons why this book appealed to me: I’m going through a Romance burnout (I know!) so I wanted something different (because werewolves are about as rare as unicorns, right? Right?); the main characters were Mexican; I’ve heard great things about Ms. Neumeier’s books; and the cover was pretty.

The werewolves in this story have a magic shadow that allows them to change at will. They are born that way and are known as black dogs. Regular werewolves, or shifters, are the product of a bite, and unlike black dogs, they can only change during the full moon. Then we have magic humans known as the Pure. Because their shadows hold a lot of power over them, the black dogs are in a constant struggle to control their natures, but the Pure have a calming effect over them (a bit like the Omega wolves in Patricia Briggs’ books), so they are considered valuable by some and useful by others whose intentions aren’t that good.

February 5, 2014

Is Anticipation the New Gratification?

Brown background. Black and white drawing of a man with an umbrella. The card says "I can't wait for whatever season it isn't right now"
Source: Someecards

I’m slowly reading Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick. I first heard of it last week after it won the Printz award, although so far I can’t tell what makes it Young Adult. It’s been an interesting experience. I hit the buy button without even reading the whole blurb, and proceeded to be thoroughly freaked out by the first few pages. The ambiance of the book is dark and filled with foreboding and dread. It’s a weird but oddly compelling and well done book, and I’m not surprised that it's getting praise and awards.

The reason why I’m telling you this is because everything about the book is surprising and makes me feel like I’m discovering something new and secret. The complete lack of expectations enriches the reading experience. It’s a feeling I haven’t had in a while, because ever since I started blogging, I’m hyper aware of new books, old books and, especially, of upcoming books.

February 4, 2014

Review: Badlands by Jill Sorenson

Background is a stormy desert. A man with a blue open shirt and jeans stands on the foreground looking down.
Source: a review copy was provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Full disclosure: Jill has been a regular on the blog both as a guest author and reviewer, and we are Twitter friends. 

Badlands is the last of the Aftershock books, and it’s a great resolution to what has been a strong and entertaining series. All three books stand alone relatively well, but I suggest reading Aftershock first, because it will offer important background on this book’s main couple.

Penny and Owen met years ago during the earthquake that almost killed them. At the time, he was in prison and a member of a white supremacist gang (more on this later) and she was pregnant. There was an instant connection between them that only intensified when he ended playing a pivotal role in their rescue.
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The books reviewed here were purchased by us. If the book was provided by the author or publisher for review, it will be noted on the post. We do not get any type of monetary compensation from publishers or authors.