December 22, 2011

'Tis the season to go on vacation… (and the blog on hiatus)

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This is our last post of the year..................................................................…………………………………………………………………………(that was me giving you time to collect yourself after reading this). I’m spending Christmas with my family and I’ll be back next year (next year is in less than two weeks so don’t panic!).

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or nothing at all, I wish you all the best in this crazy -but happy- time of the year, and a fantastic New Year! (and that Santa doesn't keep your gifts)

And remember, is better to be like this guy...

...than this woman:

Happy Holidays!

2011, A Year in Books: Blogging

This was our first year blogging and so far it’s been an amazing journey! The blog hasn’t changed much since we first started back in March, at least not in terms of content, but we did get a makeover.

December 21, 2011

2011, A Year in Books: The Best

This year I read a lot of books, I don’t have an exact number but I think it was over 200 books. Not all of them were published in 2011 and not all of them were good, some of them were huge disappointments (I’m looking at you Susan Elizabeth Phillips), but I think that overall it was a good year for romance novels.

I admit that most of the Contemporary Romances of the year were either mediocre or good, but just a few were truly outstanding, and only two books made my list:

December 20, 2011

Review: Hidden Summit by Robyn Carr

Source: we received an e-ARC of the book through NetGalley for review purposes.

To me the Virgin River books are a bit like comfort food, you know what you are going to get, they make you feel good and you always come back for more. This is the 17th book in the series but Robyn has reinvented it by infusing it with new characters, which allows new readers to jump right in, even if you haven’t read the other books.

Hidden Summit is the story of Conner Danson. After an unfortunate event where he ended up the only witness of a murder he enters the witness protection program and the DA sends him to Virgin River to lay low while they wait for the trial to start. He has to leave everything behind, including his sister and twin nephews and get a new job working for Haggerty Construction. Needless to say he isn’t happy about it.

December 19, 2011

Review: The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

The Rose Garden is one of the best books I have read this year. Everything about it is beautiful: the setting, the characters, the romance, and most of all, the writing style. There’s something about Ms. Kearsley’s voice that feels almost magical, I was transported to the places she describes and I felt like I was part of the book.

When Eva’s sister, Katrina, dies, she has the painful task of having to take care of her ashes. After much consideration she decides to bring them to the small town in Cornwall where they used to spend their summers when they were kids.

December 16, 2011

Winner! Between Seasons by Aida Brassington

The winner of Between Seasons by Aida Brassington was Jade. Congratulations! If you didn’t get my message leave a comment here or send me an email to

Thanks to Aida for offering the book and writing such an interesting post, and to everyone else for participating.

Have a fun weekend and see you all next week!

December 15, 2011

Review: Brightest Kind of Darkness by P.T. Michelle

Source: we received a copy of the book from the author for review purposes.

Every so often you start a book without any expectations, just to have your feelings about it change, and then change a little more. I know it’s confusing, but that’s what happened to me with this book. When I finished it I wasn’t sure what to think and it took me a couple of days to finally be able to write the review, the only thing sure at the moment – and it’s still true- is that I enjoyed the story a lot, but it does give you stuff to think about it. I don’t mean that it was confusing, but it gave me mixed feeling. Let’s see if I can explain myself better with the review.

December 14, 2011

Review: Serpent's Kiss by Thea Harrison

Note: This review contains spoilers for the previous books in the series.

Sometimes the thrill of reading a series comes from the chance to revisit our favorite characters without jeopardizing their HEA. So when I started this series I was beyond excited about the whole bromance between Dragos and his sentinels, and the fact that Thea Harrison created a whole new world so well written that you can easily imagine living in it.

In this book I was expecting to read more about Dragos and Pia, and Tricks and Tiago, or maybe just have them be part of the plot. What I got was a cameo, yes they are in the background but really, really hidden so you forget about them, and the sad part is that apparently the tight group of sentinels is tight no more. I am saying this now because is basically my only complaint. It is a big issue to me, but Serpent’s Kiss ended up being an enticing story and a good addition to the series regardless of the lack of previous characters, and I enjoyed it more than Storm’s Heart which to me is the weakest book in the series.

December 13, 2011

Guest Post & Giveaway: Aida Brassington

I’m happy to welcome author Aida Brassington to our little corner of the blogosphere. She’s here today to talk about the challenges of writing male characters and how research comes into play when it comes to accurately portray men. Please help me give her a warm welcome!

Men communicate differently than women. I know this doesn’t come as a shock to you, but many writers find it difficult to deal with. It can be even more obvious when, let’s say, a female writer takes on a main male character written from his point of view.

Between Season’s protagonist is Patrick Boyle, a nineteen-year-old man who dies in 1970 and falls in love with the woman who buys his house forty years later. How do you write a guy in his late teens (and a ghost, at that) and make it believable? Well, for starters, you eliminate current slang from his vocabulary and do research on popular language from the late sixties. You give him feathered hair.

It’s more than just physical appearance and slang, though. The key to writing believable male characters when you’re a woman is understanding how men communicate. In a general way, of course – all men don’t think or act alike any more than all women think or act alike, but there are some things that have proven true through clinical study.

December 11, 2011

Winner! Winter Warmers Anthology

The winner of the Winter Warmers anthology was Aija. Congratulations! I have already emailed you, if you didn't get my email please check your spam folder just in case, or contact me at

Thank you so much to everyone for participating, and I hope to see you all back soon!

December 9, 2011

M/M Week GIVEAWAY: Winter Warmers

There’s no better way to end M/M week than with a giveaway. One lucky commenter will get an e-copy of the Winter Warmers anthology (you can read my review here). To enter the contest leave a comment telling us what’s your favorite holiday story, it can be a book or a movie. Please don’t forget to leave an email on the comment so I can contact the winner.

  • Winner gets one copy (e-book) of Winter Warmers (Anthology) by Chrissy Munder, Clare London, JL Merrow, Josephine Myles and Lou Harper.
  • Contest open internationally.
  • Contest ends on Sunday, December 11th 2011 at 5pm EST.
  • Winner will be chosen using, announced here and contacted by email and will have 72h to respond.
  • You must be at least 18 years old to enter the contest.

Baby, it’s cold outside! Beat the chill with Winter Warmers – a seasonal anthology 

Mulled wine. Butterscotch kisses. Hideous sweaters. Candy at the beach, or a trip to a sex shop in Amsterdam. And the man of your dreams, wrapped around you… 

Winter warmers come in many shapes and sizes, from the tongue-in-cheek to the hot-as-hell. Enjoy a quintet of heart-warming tales of men loving men from Clare London, Chrissy Munder, JL Merrow, Josephine Myles, and Lou Harper that are guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face. 

One thing’s for sure—it’s going to be a red-hot Christmas!
Winter Warmers by Chrissy Munder, Clare London, J.L. Merrow, Josephine Myles and Lou Harper
Pink Squirrel Press; November 25, 2011.

December 8, 2011

Winter Warmers (Anthology) by Chrissy Munder, Clare London, JL Merrow, Josephine Myles and Lou Harper

Source: we received an e-ARC of the book from the authors for review purposes.

I almost didn’t read this book. My TBR pile is huge and I have lots of books to review, but when I realized that I had three m/m reviews ready I decided to have a special week dedicated to the genre and since I had an extra spot I decided to give it to this book. It was the best decision ever because Winter Warmers is filled with great stories that albeit short, pack a lot of punch.

December 7, 2011

Review: Simple Gifts by L.B. Gregg

I discovered L.B. Gregg’s work last year when I read Mistletoe at Night, the novella that was part of Carina Press’ His For the Holidays (Anthology). Ever since then I have enjoyed pretty much all of her books, so I was very happy to read this new novella.

Simple Gifts begins when Jason’s friend Sunny drags him to her parents’ Christmas party so he doesn’t have to spend the holidays alone. What she doesn’t tell him is that her older brother Robb is back from the army after ten years away from home. Jason and Robb share a past, they were together for a short while when they were young, but Robb broke Jason’s heart when he left and they haven’t seen each other ever since then.

December 6, 2011

Review: Men Under the Mistletoe (Anthology) by Josh Lanyon, Harper Fox, Ava March and K.A. Mitchell

Source: we received an e-ARC of the book through NetGalley for review purposes.

I'm not a huge fan of anthologies but I enjoy them when I get great quality and the opportunity to read new stories by some of my favorite authors. That’s exactly the case with Men Under the Mistletoe, a book filled with interesting novellas that have a common theme of second chance at love.

December 5, 2011

Review: Boats in the Night by Josephine Myles

Note: we received a copy of the book from the author for review purposes.

I know what you’re going to say, another British m/m author? Well, yes! I’m on a binge and I’m loving every part of it. There’s something about British writers that’s quite unique, not just m/m authors but romance in general, and Ms. Myles is one of them. Maybe you have heard of her before because her novel Barging In made the rounds in a lot of review blogs and everyone had nice things to say about it, so when I was presented with the opportunity to read this novella I jumped right in.

December 2, 2011

Winners! Some Like It Hot by Louisa Edwards

All right guys, time to announce some winners. Ready? Here they are:

  • The winner of the signed copy of Some Like It Hot by Louisa Edwards is: Karen C. (whose favorite dessert is Tiramisu and anything chocolate).
  • The winner of the regular copy of Some Like It Hot by Louisa Edwards is: Marina M. (whose favorite dessert is Carrot Cake).  

Congrats guys! I’ve already emailed you so if you didn’t get my email check your spam folder or email me at brie.clementineATgmailDOTcom

Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to enter the contest and share with us your favorite desserts, you guys rock and I’m sorry I didn’t have the time to answer each comment but this has been a busy week. I hope to see you again soon and good luck next time.

Have a fun weekend!

December 1, 2011

Google Friend Connect and the Curious Case of the Panicking Book Bloggers

Hello lovely readers!

By now you probably already know the news concerning the Google Friend Connect widget. If you don’t, the story goes something like this: Google is trying to make us all leave Facebook and join Google+ because they are so good at social media and all… Remember Google Wave? Exactly.  One of the things they are doing to cleverly promote Google+ is getting rid of GFC for all non-Blogger blogs and encouraging bloggers to use Google+ instead. Now, Romance Around the Corner is powered by blogger, so technically we won’t be affected by this, at least not right now, but I’m sure that sooner rather than later they will banish GFC from Blogger as well.

So I’m going to give you some alternatives to follow the blog just in case GFC ceases to exist:

November 30, 2011

Interview & Giveaway: Louisa Edwards

As you probably know by now Louisa Edwards is one of my favorite contemporary romance authors, so you can imagine how happy I was to be able to interview her. I hope you enjoy reading her answers just as much as I did.

Hello Louisa, welcome to Romance Around the Corner. I’m thrilled to have you here today because I’ve been a fan of your work for almost two years now, ever since first reading Can’t Stand the Heat. So if I start squealing please ignore me, it’s just my inner fan-girl trying to come out, she will go away eventually.

November 29, 2011

Review: Some Like It Hot by Louisa Edwards

Source: we received an e-ARC of the book from the author and publisher for review purposes.

Contemporary romance is my favorite subgenre because the books in that category are filled with sexy and entertaining stories that are just plain fun to read. Louisa Edwards’ books are a fine example of the genre and Some Like It Hot is no exception.

This is the second book in the Rising Star Chef series and if you’re new to it you should know that the series follows our leads through a cooking competition where teams representing restaurants from all over the country battle it out in order to win. In the first book the protagonists were Juliet Cavanaugh and Max Lunden, both members of the same team, in this book the leads are Max’s younger brother, Danny, the team’s pastry chef, and Eva Jansen, the contest’s host and the person in charge of all the behind the scenes.

November 28, 2011

Review: Unscripted by Natalie Aaron and Marla Schwartz

Source: we received an e-ARC of the book through NetGalley for review purposes.

Unscripted follows our heroine, Abby Edwards, as she tries to make a living in Hollywood while working as a producer in the world of reality TV. We see her trying to come to terms with the fact that her dream of being a screenwriter won’t come true, having a job that is hard and demanding but not as rewarding as she would like, and overall struggling to find her place, be successful and achieve happiness. In the process we meet Abby’s best friend Zöe, who has her own struggles, and a set of different characters that are part of Abby’s life, some of them help her, some of them become obstacles, but all of them impact her in some way. All of this is set against the background of Reality TV, a complex and interesting world that acts almost like another character.

November 26, 2011

Winners! Small Blogs, Big Giveaways 5th Edition

We want to say thanks to everyone who took the time to enter the contest and follow the blog, we appreciate the support and we hope to see you back soon.

The winners are:

The first winner will choose 13 items from the prize list + US$10 gift card
Entry #1045 J.C. Martin
The 2nd will choose 12 items after the 1st winner has chosen + US$10 gift card
Entry #1004 angel
The 3rd will get 11 items after the 2nd winner has chosen +US$5 gift card
Entry #927 Velvet Hubler

And the gift card winners are…

Entry #1408 DAYLE BUTLER
US$10  OR Barnes and Noble
Entry #694 Dinky
Extra winner: US $5
Entry #1480 Miranda Sherman
Results powered by
Contest powered by Rafflecopter

The winners have 48 hours from the date the email is sent to reply and claim their prizes. If you do not contact Nat over at Reading Romances within two days a replacement winner will be selected. NO EXCEPTIONS.


November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you guys have a fun day with your families, eat a lot of delicious food and if you’re going shopping tomorrow I hope you don’t get trampled to death by a crazy shopping mob! If you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, then be grateful for all those extra calories you WON’T be eating and that you won't end up looking like the cat in the second picture…. Although I do have a sinful recipe that you might want to try: PumpkinPie Snickerdoodle Bars and if you’re more into savory stuff then try CreamedCorn Gratin With Fried Onions & Bacon (because bacon makes everything better).

This has been a busy week, which is why there was only one lonely review, but be sure to stop by next week because there will be lots of fun stuff including an interview with author Louisa Edwards (very appropriate since we're talking food) and a giveaway. Also, remember that there’s still time to enter the Small Blogs, BigGiveaways contest, lots of goodies up for grabs and it’s international.

Happy eating and reading!

November 21, 2011

Review: Head Over Heels by Jill Shalvis

Source: we received an e-ARC of the book through NetGalley for review purposes.

Jill Shalvis writes the type of contemporary romance that I love to read, she gives us sexy, funny, charming and entertaining stories that leave you wanting more and Head Over Heels is no exception to the rule.

This is the third book in the Lucky Harbor series and if you are not familiar with the books you should know that the series is about three sisters who shared the same mother but different fathers and grew up apart from each other. When their mother died they inherited her house in a small town called Lucky Harbor. Despite having clashing personalities they decided to work together in order to restore the house and turn it into an inn, and because this is a romance, they find their soul mates in the process.

November 19, 2011

Shameless Giveaway Hop: Sign Up Now!

You know how we love those McSteamy and McBurning books, right? Well, we want to share the love for racy books with you guys so we decided to do this Shameless Giveaway Hop, because we love scorching hot sex scenes and we are not ashamed to say so!

November 18, 2011

Winner: Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins

The winner of the copy of Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins is Jess.

Congratulations! I’ve already emailed you so please check your spam folder just in case. If you didn’t get my email leave me a comment here or send me an email to brie.clementineATgmailDOTcom

Thank you everyone for participating! It was great reading all your answers and talking about bad boys with you. I hope to see you all again soon! And thanks to Kristan for visiting us and to her publicist Katie for providing the price.

You can still try your luck with the Smalls Blogs, Big Giveaway contest that's taking place right now, there are tons of goodies up for grabs and that one is International so everyone can participate.

Small Blogs, Big Giveaways 5th Edition

The Biggest International Bookish Giveaway Online 

36 Books split between 3 winners + 6 Gift Card Giveaways! 

Follow the event on Twitter 

Hosts, Featured Authors & Other Giveaways 

November 17, 2011

We are Mystery Bloggers!

You probably know Rebecca over at Kindle Fever, but if you don’t, her blog has a very interesting feature called Mystery Blogger where she does a quick Q&A session with different bloggers every week so that we can get to know a bit more about the people behind the blogs we love to read.

Today was our turn and we are very happy about it especially because Rebecca was one of the firsts bloggers we met and she’s been our friend ever since. So head over there to read our interview and while you’re at it take a look at her fantastic blog.

Thank you Bex, we had a wonderful time answering your questions!

November 16, 2011

Review: First Watch by Peter Hansen

Confession time! I totally judged this book by its cover and that's the only reason I read it. I mean, how can you look at that and not want to read what’s inside? So I got it and I was ready for a parade of tentacle-sex WTFckery. Instead, I got a very interesting and well written horror story that kept me on the edge of my seat and only freaked me out a bit. Yes, there’s tentacle-sex, but the craziness level is surprisingly low once you get used to the monster.

Edouard Montreuil was mortally wounded during battle when a voice asked him if he wanted to live. He said yes without knowing that the voice belonged to a monster who wanted something in exchange. Ever since then he’s been part of the crew of the Flèche, a submarine captained by the same monster that saved his life, cured his wounds and now demands that Edouard surrenders his body every night. The Captain is an otherworldly creature that disguises itself as human by hiding his tentacles and real appearance under human flesh.

November 15, 2011

Review: Because of You by Jessica Scott

Source: we received an e-ARC of the book through NetGalley for review purposes.

Because of You marks the debut of author Jessica Scott. It seemed to me like everyone was reading and loving this book. I kept hearing great things about it and since I don’t like feeling like I’m missing out on something -and I love military romance- I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did.

Shane Garrison is an Army infantry sergeant about to leave for Iraq. He’s an honorable guy, responsible and committed to his work and to the soldiers he’s responsible for. The Army is his life and he is willing to do and sacrifice anything for it. The night before leaving he meets nurse Jen St. James. Sparks fly but they don’t give in to the attraction because he’s about to deploy and she’s recovering from the physical and emotional scars that breast cancer left her with.

November 14, 2011

Interview & Giveaway: Kristan Higgins

Contemporary Romance and Romantic Comedy are my two favorite subgenres. So when I was presented with the opportunity to interview Kristan Higgins I did a little fan-girl happy-dance, because you can’t be a fan of Romantic Comedy and Chick-Lit without knowing who she is.

I’m happy to share with you this short Q&A session so you can all get to know a little bit more about this wonderful author.

Please let’s give her a warm welcome!

November 11, 2011

Review: All They Need by Sarah Mayberry

Sarah Mayberry is one of my favorite contemporary romance authors, and one of the main reasons why I love the Harlequin SuperRomance line so much. I wanted to read this book but I was wary about it as well because it deals with a subject that touches close to home: Alzheimer’s. Needless to say this book had me crying from page one, but regardless of how that makes it seem this wasn't an overly dramatic read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

The book opens with a party that our hero, Flynn Randall, is attending. Suddenly a woman catches his attention and he is immediately attracted to her. The woman is our heroine Mel Porter, a statuesque, full of life, and very married woman. What comes next has Flynn feeling even more attracted to her and everyone else talking: Mel falls into a fountain while trying to recover a piece of jewelry that someone lost. Mel isn’t embarrassed at all but her husband doesn’t seem happy about it, so they leave the party. Flynn only gets a last glimpse at her.

November 10, 2011

Winners! North of Need by Laura Kaye

The winner of  the e-copy of North of Need by Laura Kaye is: Jolene and Family

The winner of the trading card set is: Victoria

Congratulations guys! I’ve already emailed you so please check your spam folders just in case. If you didn’t get my email leave me a comment here or send me an email to brie.clementineATgmailDOTcom

Thank you everyone for participating! I had tons of fun reading all your answers, I hope to see you all soon. And special thanks to Laura and her publicist Danielle, for inviting us to participate in the blog tour and for providing the prices.

November 8, 2011

Review: By Honor Betrayed by Alex Beecroft

Source: we received an e-ARC of the book through NetGalley for review purposes.

When I saw this book on Netgalley I wasn’t familiar with Ms. Beecroft’s work, but I’ve been meaning to read more historical romance and since this was a novella I figured that if I didn’t like it at least it would be short. Obviously I shouldn’t have worried since it turns out that I was in the presence of a fantastic book by a great author.

By Honor Betrayed is set during the year 1750 (the blurb has the wrong year) and tells the story of Conrad and Tom. Conrad is a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy and Tom has been his servant since they were very young. Their relationship is different from the average master/servant because they are, above all, friends who care and respect each other. Conrad feels strongly attracted to Tom and knows that the feeling is mutual, but a relationship between them is forbidden and punished with death so they must resist the temptation and fight the attraction.

November 7, 2011

Review: If You Hear Her by Shiloh Walker

Oh Shiloh Walker, you evil mastermind! What have you done to me?

I’m a huge fan of Ms. Walker’s work, especially her romantic suspense novels, but when I got this book I did it under the wrong impression. I don’t know why, but I thought this was one of her romantic suspense  stories with a bit of a paranormal touch. I think I was confusing the book with The Departedher January release which was the book I was eagerly anticipating (and still am), so when I realized that this wasn’t it, I was a bit disappointed. The disappointment lasted about two seconds, the time it took for If You Hear Her to captivate me and make me forget that this wasn’t the book I originally wanted to read.

November 4, 2011

Giveaway & Guest Post: Laura Kaye

We have a different type of guest post today. Author Laura Kaye is here today to talk about her newest release, North of Need. But instead of talking about a general topic, she’s doing a character profile. This way you get to meet her new leading lady and know a bit more about her.

Please let’s give a warm welcome to Laura Kaye and her heroine Megan.

November 2, 2011

Review: To the Moon and Back by Jill Mansell

I’ve been meaning to read Mansell’s books for a while now. A couple of years ago someone gave me Millie’s Fling as a gift but it got buried under my huge TBR pile so I kind of forgot about it. Then my friend Jade over at Sort of Beautiful wrote a nice review of Miranda’s Big Mistake, and so I decided to finally read one of her books, but instead of reading the one I had or the one with the great review, I got this one because I absolutely hated the premise. Crazy, right? But to my way of thinking, if I like the book with the unappealing plot, then I’ll probably love the rest. I think that my weird logic worked because To the Moon and Back passed the test with flying colors, it wasn't  without flaws, but it was a fantastic read.

November 1, 2011

Review: Pricks and Pragmatism by JL Merrow

I’m joining in on the fun of Virgin Hero Week with my very own review of one of the best stories featuring a virgin hero I have read: Pricks and Pragmatism by JL Merrow.

Merrow is one of my favorite m/m authors; you really need to give her books a try because they are fantastic. I think most of her books -this one included- are novellas or short stories, so they’re perfect if you don’t have that much time to read.

Pricks and Pragmatism is the story of Luke, a college student that, like most college students, is broke. But unlike your average student who works a couple of crappy jobs to support himself through college, Luke has developed a rather morally challenged method: he gets rich guys to pay for his expenses and to give him shelter in exchange of sex. You could say that he’s technically a prostitute although he doesn’t see himself as one. He enjoys the sex and the company, and he even enjoys the expiration date on the relationship because he never gets attached to his partners, or so it seems.

October 31, 2011

Review: Small Town Christmas (Anthology) by Jill Shalvis, Hope Ramsay and Katie Lane

Source: we received an e-ARC of the book through NetGalley for review purposes.

I requested this book because I’m a huge fan of Jill Shalvis. I have also read great things about Hope Ramsay’s Last Chance series so I was curious to read her novella as well. But I wasn’t familiar with Katie Lane’s work. I’m also a sucker for small town stories, so this anthology was right up my alley.

The first story is Kissing Santa Claus by Jill Shalvis. Five months ago Sandy Jensen had an affair with NASCAR driver Logan Perrish. When he left, she sent him an email confessing her love for him but he never wrote back. So when she sees him again in less-than-stellar circumstances (she’s wearing a Santa Claus costume) she doesn’t know how to react.
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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.