December 19, 2012

2012: A Year in Books | Blogging

Credit: George Deputee
Warning: this is going to be the sappiest post of the year. I'll try to keep the cheese at bay as much as I can, but I can't make any promises. Also, don't forget to check our Best Books of 2012 list.

This is the last post of the year and I’m going to use it to tell you how grateful I am for your support. When I started the blog I expected it to be a lonely experience, but after almost two years I can tell you that the sense of community and friendship has made this one of the most enriching, less lonely experiences of my life. I look forward to seeing reading what 2013 brings.

December 18, 2012

2012: A Year in Books | The Best

2012: A year in Books | The Best
Winter Berries by Michelle Buntin
This year I tried to choose books that were both the best and my favorites (although “best” is still quite subjective). The end of the year is plagued with awards, but most of the time the winners are the popular books and not necessarily the best. I want this list to reflect entertainment but also quality, because one of the reasons this year was less than stellar, was because of the rise of many books that were more unfinished product than anything else. And one thing I wish 2013 brings is higher standards. I believe quality and entertainment aren't mutually exclusive, and all the books on my list should reflect that.

December 17, 2012

Review: Aftershock by Jill Sorenson

Aftershock by Jill Sorenson
Source: a review copy was provided by the author.

This year Romantic Suspense has been lackluster, and with a few notable exceptions, I feel like it needs an infusion of new and innovative ideas. Jill Sorenson is one of those exceptions. Her stories may not be new, but they certainly are refreshing, and Aftershock takes it a bit further into the novelty territory. It’s not a perfect book, but I’m glad to see an author taking risks in a sub-genre that has become a bit stale. 

I can’t tell much about the story without spoiling it, but the basic premise is that there’s devastating earthquake in San Diego, and a group of people get trapped under a collapsed highway. They barely have water, half of them are injured, and not all of them are good guys. Lauren, our heroine, is an EMT, and the hero, Garrett, a former Marine. They have a lot to worry about, yet find the time to fall in love.

December 16, 2012

Winners! Breath on Embers by Anne Calhoun and Aftershock by Jill Sorenson

The winner of Breath on Embers by Anne Calhoun is: Anonymous

The winner of Aftershock by Jill Sorenson is: Maureen

The winner of Risky Christmas by Jill Sorenson and Jennifer Morey is: Heather Coulter

Congratulations! I've already emailed Anon and Maureen. Heather, please email me you mailing address at 

Thanks everyone who participated, and to Jill Sorenson, Anne Calhoun and Fatin, Anne's publicist, for providing the books and making the giveaway possible.

See you all next week!

December 14, 2012

Review: More Than Words by Karla Doyle

I discovered this book thanks to Liz’s cone of shame post (don’t click on that link, though, too many tempting books). When I saw dirty Scrabble and rock star hero, I was sold. I mean, how many of you stopped reading this to go and buy the book? The lure of the dirty Scrabble is irresistible and I’m weak. So I got it, and loved it until about the middle mark, then I didn’t love it as much. Here’s why:

Calli was assaulted two years ago, and now suffers a paralyzing fear to go outside once it’s dark. She spends the days working on her sex shop, and the nights doing nothing. But one day she logs into an online game of Scrabble designed to meet people and even flirt. She ends up playing a great game with a charming man name Travis. But when he decides to meet her, things get a bit tricky. But just a bit, and that’s part of the problem.

December 13, 2012

Review: Romancing the Holiday Anthology by HelenKay Dimon, Christi Barth and Jaci Burton

Source: a review copy was provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Carina Press’ Holiday Anthologies have become a tradition for me. This year they published three: Erotic, Sci-Fi and Contemporary, which is the one I’m reviewing today. To be honest, this is my least favorite of all their anthologies, although it still is a fairly competent set of novellas.

The first story is We'll Be Home for Christmas by HelenKay Dimon. I loved her previous novel, Lean on Me, and this novella is part of that series, so I was really happy to read it.

December 12, 2012

This post is just an excuse to have something go live on 12/12/12 at 12:12

Completely random, but funny nonetheless.

This is the last time we’ll get to see a cool date like this one, unless we become vampires, which, if Romance is any indication of reality, could happen. I just hope that if it does happen, I become a vampire right now, when I’ve yet to eat my weight in Christmas candy. 

So yes, I just wanted an excuse to post something at 12:12, and this is what I came up with: nothing. But remember that Jill Sorenson is doing a fun Q&A today, and giving away her new book, and one of her oldies. We also have an Anne Calhoun giveaway, the price is Breath on Embers, her latest novella, not Anne the person, we’re not that type of blog.

Last week I told you that this would probably be the last week of blogging for the year, but it was a lie. I’ll still be around next week with reviews and probably the Best of 2012 List. This week is all about novellas, if stop by tomorrow, you will see why. Sorry Nath!

I hope you have a fun day. If you buy a lottery ticket, don’t play 12 12 12 12 12, because that’s just silly. See you tomorrow!

Interview & Giveaway: Jill Sorenson

Interview: Jill Sorenson
Image Credit

Jill Sorenson is a friend of Romance Around the Corner. She's a great person to talk --or Tweet-- to, and on top of that, she’s a fantastic writer. She’s been here before as a guest reviewer, and I’ve reviewed her books, but today she’s putting her author hat on and answering some of our questions about her new book and her writing process. So please, let’s give her a warm welcome!

Hello, Jill! Welcome to Romance Around the Corner. 

Q. First things first: tell us a bit about yourself and your books. What is it about Romantic Suspense that appeals to you as a writer, and I assume, as a reader?
Jill Sorenson

JS: Hi Brie! Thanks so much for having me. I live in San Diego with my family, I like twitter, and I write romance. I think RS appeals to me because I love conflict and tension. I’m drawn to that rollercoaster feeling, the drop in the pit of your stomach during a climb. Danger heightens emotions and arousal. Whee!!

December 11, 2012

Review: Under the Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis

Source: a review copy was provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Note: this review contains spoiler for The Sweetest Thing. 

As you guys know, I’m a fan of the Lucky Harbor series, even though I think the original trilogy has been the best. When I saw that this novella was about a secondary character from the original series, I couldn’t wait to read it. And for such a short story, I was pleasantly surprised.

If you’re familiar with the series, or if you have read the second book*, you will know that Mia is Ford and Tara’s daughter that Tara gave up for adoption, just to be reunited when she was a teenager looking for her birth parents. In this book we get to see her get her HEA.

Mia is madly in love with Nick. Now that she’s almost finishing college and thinking about starting to establish her life, she wants to share it with him. But his life wasn’t easy, and he’s not outspoken about his feelings. But Mia is confident that he’s finally going to tell her that he loves her, and feels like it’s time to meet the parents. Not her real parents, but her birth parents, Ford and Tara, which makes no sense, because as far as I know she had a great relationship with her parents, but I’ll try not to nitpick. Anyway, she’s expecting a love declaration, he gets scared, and she breaks up with him. Then he realizes his mistakes and follows her to Lucky Harbor where the actual story takes place. The rest, I’m sure you can imagine.

Review: One Hit Wonder by Elyssa Patrick

There was a lot of hype surrounding Ms. Patrick’s debut novel, As You Wish, but unfortunately I had to DNF it because the hero was a widower, and you know how I feel about those. But I liked her voice, and when I saw that she had a new story out, I was happy to give her a second chance. I’m glad I did.

One Hit Wonder is a novella about a has-been pop star and the assistant who secretly loves him. It’s short, sweet and entertaining, exactly what one would expect from reading the blurb. You can pretty much guess what happens, but that’s fine because the real star of the story, what makes it good and fun, is the hero. 

Damon had one hit when he was a teenager, and that was it. He’s rich thanks to that one song, and he’s completely happy and content with it. Of course he wants to be more than that, and it’s in the middle of staging a comeback, but in the meantime he’s happy singing the same song over and over, and dancing on demand. There’s no angst, no feelings of failure or regrets, no demons to battle, nothing. This guy is as uncomplicated as it gets. And the reason why there’s no drama is because he’s confident and self-aware. Damon was a breath of fresh air in the middle of a sea filled with tortured characters, and as I said, he’s the reason you should read this novella.

December 10, 2012

Guest Author & Giveaway: Anne Calhoun

Guest Author: Anne Calhoun
Image Credit

Breath on Embers was one of my favorite Erotic Romances of the year, and Anne Calhoun one of my favorite authors. So today I’m very happy to welcome her to the blog. The story is set in New York, and the city features prominently, almost like a secondary character. She’s here to tell us more about it. 

Location, Location, Location – Columbus and Manhattan
“You know who lives here?” he asked as she was about to walk out. Without waiting for her response, he added, “People who want to feel alive.”
“I should go back to Columbus then,” she said.
“Is that a possibility?”
She shrugged as she wrapped her scarf around her neck. “I don’t have a plan one way or the other,” she said truthfully. Right now her only plan was to get through the holidays. Life in January was impossible to imagine.
She had the door open before he spoke. Like Erin, he liked to get the last word in. “Maybe you should stop fighting the city.”
BREATH ON EMBERS, my current release through Carina Press in the RED HOT HOLIDAY anthology, is set in Manhattan, specifically on the Upper East Side and in Midtown. This is a setting I know well. My husband and I moved to Manhattan in the late summer of 2001 and lived there until 2006. I would have stayed for the rest of my life but by the end we had a toddler and an apartment that seemed to be shrinking as he grew. I know people raise kids in the city, but we didn’t want to do that. So we moved back to the Midwest.

December 7, 2012

Sport Romances and Hyping Next Week

Hey, guys!

I couldn’t finish today’s review, and I was thinking that I almost managed to blog every single day of this week (Saturday and Sunday don’t count *grins*). But then I remembered that I have a new post on Heroes and Heartbreakers and that I forgot to tell you about it, so it counts as an extra day of blogging.

This time I’m talking about Sport Romances, why they are so appealing and I wonder about the lack of sport player heroines. So head on over there and let me know what you think!

Next week is probably going to be the last week of blogging before I go on my Christmas break (although I’ll have a review or two for the week of the 17th), so I’m going to make it count. Anne Calhoun and Jill Sorenson will join us and there will be giveaways, and I’ll have a couple of roundup posts including my Best of 2012 list. Can you believe the year is almost over?

Have a fun weekend, and see you next week!

December 6, 2012

Review: Breath on Embers by Anne Calhoun

Source: A review copy was provided by the publicist.

Anne Calhoun is one of my favorite Erotic Romance writers, and as usual she delivers a great story with interesting characters. Breath on Embers is a novella that you can get as part of Carina Press’ Red Hot Holiday anthology, or separately.

Thea’s husband died two years ago and grief has been her relentless companion. She became a loner and pretty much isolated herself from everything except music and a firefighter named Ronan. For the past nine months they have been lovers but nothing else. But of course you can’t share your body for so long and not develop feelings, which is exactly what Ronan did. And that’s when things get interesting.

This is a very introspective, quiet and melancholic story. Thea is sad and doesn't want to feel anything. She uses her iPod as a way to detach herself from her surroundings, and her only human contact is with a guy she uses for sex. She doesn't want to let go of her husband and only allows herself some physical relief but not an emotional one.

December 5, 2012

Genre Wants that I Hope Become Gots: A Christmas List of Tropes, Stories and Characters


Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, we can all agree that December is the perfect time to do two somewhat related things: ask for stuff and complain. So today I made a list of all the things I wish to see in Romance, especially after a year that’s been quite naughty, but not in a good way. 

The first thing I want to see is readers demanding quality and being more critical of poorly written and edited books. I understand that sometimes books are so entertaining and engaging that we’re willing to overlook their technical issues, especially if they were self-published. But here’s the thing: forgiving mistakes because the book was self-published is offensive, because it means that we equal poor quality to self-publishing. And that is most definitely not the case, or it doesn't have to be. And when we give those books free passes, we create a vicious cycle. So now we have a bunch of poorly written books experiencing huge success in detriment of everyone. It lowers the standards as evidenced by the fact that the big publishers purchasing those books don’t see the need to improve and refine them. So is up to us to demand the quality we deserve. 

December 4, 2012

Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

This series flew under my radar and I only discovered it this year after I read Janine’s review of Bitterblue, the third book in the series. It seemed to be a favorite of many, so I decided to read the first book. It was exactly what I was hoping it would be.

Katsa lives in a world where some people have an enhanced ability, or grace. They are known as gracelings, and in Katsa’s kingdom these people are treated like tools. She’s graced with killing, so her uncle, who happens to be the king, uses her as his personal enforcer and executioner. People fear and avoid her, and she hates herself for the things she’s done. 

As a way to atone and even revel against her uncle, Katsa created the Council, a secret organization in charge of helping people. During one of their missions they rescue an old man from his kidnappers, but by doing so they uncover a mystery that will lead her directly to danger, but also freedom. That night she also meets a man named Po who’s graced with fighting. He helps her break free and see herself under a different light.

December 3, 2012

Review: Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

First things first: Wallbanger must be the most unfortunate book title ever. At least I don’t associate the word wallbanger with anything good, especially not when it comes to books. So based on the title and the fact that it’s a former Twilight fan fiction, I wouldn't have read it if not for some reviews that piqued my interest. My overall impression includes a lot of mixed feelings, although I can’t deny that I had a lot of fun while reading it.

The plot is quite simple: Caroline Reynolds moves into a new apartment, and every night her next-door neighbor, Simon, has loud sex with a different woman (hence the wallbanger part). Tired and orgasm-less for months, she confronts him, and hilarity ensues. There’s also a cat, a bunch of minor romances between her friends and his friends, and a very slow-building romance that surprisingly takes the time to establish a strong friendship first.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

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.