September 11, 2014

Currently Reading: Rock Stars, Vampires, Demons, and Maids


Source: Review copies provided by the publishers through NetGalley.

Are you feeling cheerful today? Here’s a bunch of mini doom-and-gloom reviews to help you with that.

Rock Addiction by Nalini Singh

Rock Addiction, cover description: Black and white picture of a topless man wearing dark jeans and holding a mic. He has one armed with a full-sleeve tattoo. I was very excited when Ms. Singh announced that she was publishing a Contemporary Romance, but this book was a disappointment that I couldn’t even finish.

A rock star falls in love with the virgin, skittish heroine the moment he first sees her. There is absolutely no reason why these two would want to be together, not even to have sex. The problem here wasn’t the trite tropes and contrived plot, though, but how incredibly half-baked the book was. Nalini Singh’s books are all about complex world-building and interesting characters, and at first I thought that the shortcuts she was taking were the product of bad PNR habits that didn’t translate well to a contemporary setting. But whereas the fated mates in the Psy/Changeling series are nuanced people who take time to develop a relationship, this book had two stock, flat characters getting together for superficial reasons in what ultimately was an underdeveloped story. I hear the second half gets better, but I seriously doubt it, because the groundwork just isn’t there.

Grade: DNF
Purchase: Amazon

August 26, 2014

A One-Line Review of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Heroes Are My Weakness


White background. A woman wearing a red coat, and blue globes and jeans stands on the side, but we only see half of her.
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher through Edelweiss.

This isn’t a real review, but I needed an excuse to post something this month, because yes, I’ve become a slacker, but I will post something each month even if it kills me! And this book almost did.

In June, I decided to start a reading journal to keep track of all the books I read and that, judging by the blog's current state, I’ll probably never review. This is what I wrote about Heroes Are My Weakness:

SEP hates women, and I hate myself for enjoying this. 

I guess I should also mention that it’s a 547-page Jane Eyre fanfiction retelling homage. No, let's go with retelling. With puppets. Yes, puppets.

July 9, 2014

Review: Summer Rain Anthology


Cover description: blue background, a man and a woman kiss under an umbrella he is holding.
Source: Review copy provided by one of the authors. 

This review is going to be long, so let’s jump right into it.

*****

Redemption by Ruthie Knox tells the story of two unlucky people punished by the economy (as well as some unwise and bizarre business decisions) and how they come together and find solace in each other.

Basically, this novella is a unicorn, also known as a doom-and-gloom small-town contemporary. Blink and you’ll miss the magic of two miserable people whose future is uncertain, falling in comfort with each other. It has a hopeful ending that doesn’t promise much to either reader or characters, but that perfectly fits the tone of the story.

Grade: 4

June 11, 2014

This is How Disorganized Blogging Looks Like: Links, a Movie Review and Current Reads


Source

Guys, I have reached that stage of disorganized blogging where not only do I stop stressing about not having anything resembling a schedule, but I also say fuck it! and write a random post about random, non-romance stuff, just because.

Should you worry about this? Well, if you weren't worried that one time I announced a new feature and never came through with it*, then you shouldn't worry now.

June 5, 2014

Criminals and Heartbreakers


Image description: blue card with an illustration of a medieval couple. He is wearing an armor and she seems to be speaking to him. The caption reads: You're not my hero. You're an asshole.
Image Source: Someecards

Jane’s insightful review of The Devil’s Game by Joanna Wylde sparked a though-provoking twitter conversation about cracktastic reads, reader consent, and violence in Contemporary Romance. I was happy just silently following the discussion, but lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about violence in contemporaries, so I thought I should share those thoughts --which are in no way fully formed-- with you today.

June 4, 2014

That One Time I Finished a Serial and Liked It: The Kraken King, Parts V-VIII by Meljean Brook


Cover description: Building similar to The Big Ben, but smaller. Two hot air balloons, one orange, one blue, float on the foreground. It looks like it's about to rain.
Last month I was over at Dear Author guest reviewing the first half of Meljean Brook’s first serial, The Kranken King, and today I’m guest reviewing the second and final half.

Reading this serial was an interesting, choppy experience. I received surprise ARC’s of the first four installments back in May, but I didn’t get the two final parts until last week. So I did get to read the serial as a serial, but not in the way it was intended (although obviously there’s no right or wrong ways to approach a serial). This didn’t really affect my enjoyment because I really liked each part, so not knowing when or if I would be getting early review copies only increased my anticipation. I’m very happy with the final product, and I feel like it was money well spent (I pre-ordered all the parts months ago), but as much as I loved TKK, I haven’t changed my mind about serials, even though I’m more willing to read them as serials (as opposed to just waiting to read all the parts at once), so I guess there’s that.

I hope you enjoy my vague, gushing, slightly repetitive review. And if you decide to try the book, come back and let me know how you liked it!



May 20, 2014

General Thoughts on Some Current Reads


Today I don’t have a proper review ready, but I do have things to say about the books I’ve been reading, so you get four mini-reviews for the price of one.

***** 
Claiming the Duchess by Sherry Thomas

Cover description: Soft pink background that looks like wallpaper with a flowery print. On the foreground there's a woman wearing a period dress that looks suspiciously like a wedding dress. She's holding a pink bouquet.
Romance has the bad habit of using prequel novellas as samples, which usually backfires because novellas aren’t easy to write and they end up working as samples of bad writing. But I like Ms. Thomas’ books, so I was more than happy to read this prequel novella.

I really liked most of it, but the short length really hurt the story, because at its core there’s an act of deception and betrayal that needed more than one paragraph for the climax and ending to be satisfying and to do justice to a heroine that deserved much better. On top of that, the novella (or short story) ends around the 50% mark and the rest is promotional material, so having the book unexpectedly end when you think there’s still half of it to go, doesn’t make for the best reading experience.
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FTC Disclaimer

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.