January 31, 2013

Review: How to Misbehave by Ruthie Knox

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

Last year when we were doing our genre tropes and themes wish list for 2013, one of the items everyone wanted to see more of were regular characters and blue collar heroes. This novella has one, and it’s no wonder we’re so thirsty for similar characters, because it was wonderful.

Amber lives and works in Camelot, a small Midwestern college town. She has lived there he whole life and even went to a local conservative college. The title and blurb make it clear that she’s a good girl tired of being good, and that hers is the story of the virgin and the bad boy. Except that it’s a lot more than that; beginning with the fact that nice girls who don’t want to be that nice, can manage to have sex --as bad as it may be-- on their own and long before the hero comes to their rescue. So Amber isn't a virgin, but does have a big set of longings and desires, one of which comes in the form of the hero, Tony.

January 30, 2013

Giveaway: Dead in L.A. by Lou Harper

As you probably know, I'm a fan of Lou Harper and her adorable, sexy M/M contemporary romances. And now she’s self-publishing her first paranormal story, Dead in L.A. Thanks to her we have one e-copy to give away to one lucky reader of Romance Around the Corner. 

For a chance to win, just leave a comment telling us you’re in. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your email on the comment, make sure you come back next Monday to see if you won. Contest open to all, and I will pick the winner on Sunday. For more info read our giveaway policy.

January 29, 2013

Review: Crazy Thing Called Love by Molly O’Keefe

Update: there seems to be a confusion with some comments, so I want to clarify that this is a review, NOT a giveaway.

Update 2: Spoilers ahead. They don't ruin the book, but do give away one big plot development. 

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

As you guys know, I’m a fan of Ms. O’Keefe’s books and I really liked her single title debut, Can’t Buy Me Love. I was apprehensive about the second book, which turned out to be just as good. So now we’re here with the conclusion of the series, and a new take on romance, relationships and old genre tropes.

Crazy Thing Called Love is about second chances; not only at love, but in life, family and work. It’s the story of Maddy and Billy -- high school sweethearts who married very young and got divorced almost immediately, not because they didn't love each other, but because they weren't mature enough to deal with what life put in their way, in this case, fame and glory.

January 28, 2013

Giveaway: Crystal Cove by Lisa Kleypas (and Something More)

Hello, everyone!

The people over at St. Martin’s Press have kindly offered us a copy of Lisa Kleypas’ upcoming Friday Harbor book, Crystal Cove, to give away among our readers. And to sweeten up the deal even more, the giveaway also includes an aphrodisiac essential oil (in case you want to get a massage while reading the book). 

For a chance to win, leave a comment telling me you’re in. If you don’t feel comfortable including your email on the comment, please come back on Friday to check if you won, because I won’t have a way to contact you. 

This giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only and it ends on Friday, February 1st. For more details check our Giveaway Policy.

January 27, 2013

Winner: Crazy Thing Called Love by Molly O'Keefe

The winner of Crazy Thing Called Love by Molly O'Keefe is Kim.


I've already emailed you, so please check your inbox.

To everyone else, thanks for the thoughtful comments and great discussion. I hope to see you again soon.

And thanks to Molly for the book.

January 23, 2013

Review: All He Ever Dreamed by Shannon Stacey

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

All He Ever Dreamed is the last book in the newest Kowalski trilogy, and as usual, the best brother goes last. It’s a strong addition to the series, perhaps not the best in this new trilogy, which I think ended up being the second book, but it maintains the quality Ms. Stacey has us used to. At this point I should be ready to say goodbye to the books, and making noises about never-ending series, but I think this one still has a few more books in it.

We met Josh in the previous book, but for those new to the series, he’s the youngest brother, and as such, he was saddled with the responsibility of having to take care of the family home that also acts like their business and legacy. All the other brothers left town as soon as they could, but Josh couldn’t leave because there was no one else left, so he put his dreams on hold and progressively became more frustrated and unhappy. A few months before this book begins, he had an accident that forced his brothers to come home and realize that Josh wasn’t happy and something had to be done with the house and the whole situation. So when the book starts, the family is getting ready to sell the house and Josh is getting ready to leave. The problem is that he’s not counting with all the attachments he has to the house, the town, and to his best friend Katie.

January 22, 2013

Guest Post & Giveaway: Molly O’Keefe on Sports Journalism, Realistic Romance and the Consequences of Fame

Molly O’Keefe wrote one of my favorite books of 2012, and she continues to amaze me with her ability to infuse her stories with a heavy dose of realism. 

Romance tends to, well, romanticize every aspect of life, especially when said life is already seen as desirable but unattainable. This is particularly true with sport romances that mostly feature perfection and an idealized version of reality that gets old when constantly repeated. So when I read a book like Crazy Thing Called Love, a story that doesn’t pull any punches in its portrayal of the negative consequences of sport glory and fame, and still manages to deliver a very romantic love story, I feel hopeful that more authors won’t hesitate to tell stories that are closer to reality.

She’s here today to tell us more about that uglier aspect of fame, and what makes it so fascinating.

Also, stick around because there’s a giveaway at the end.

January 21, 2013

Review: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

Warning: Minor spoilers ahead.

I enjoyed Slammed, Ms. Hoover's first novel, but I thought the sequel, Point of Retreat was a fan service mess. Yet she has an engaging voice, and I wanted to give her a second chance, because I figured that a new, original book wouldn’t be as bad.

I was wrong. 

Sky was adopted when she was five and has lived sheltered her whole life (this means home-schooled and without access to television, internet or phone). Her only link to the world outside her house is her best friend and neighbor, Six. They visit each other, have sleepovers and sneak boys into their rooms. But sky is immune to boys, and when they kiss and touch her she becomes detached and disconnected with her body and what’s going on. Other than that, she is fairly happy and has a good relationship with her adoptive mother.

January 17, 2013

Review: Fire by Kristin Cashore

Fire by Kristin Cashore
Fire is the next installment in the Graceling books, a fantasy series where some people called gracelings develop a power-like ability that depending on what it is, can be helpful, useless or very dangerous. This book is a prequel, so it takes place years before the first book and features a whole different set of characters that in no way relate to those in Graceling. You could read them out of order, but my advice is to read them all, and to do it in the order they were published. Once you read them all, you will see how three books that stand alone well, are actually quite cohesive. 

The story takes place in the Dells, a land geographically separated from the original kingdoms by a set of mountains. As a result, the people from the Dells don’t know about the kingdoms and there are no gracelings. Instead, they have monsters. These creatures resemble regular animals, but have colorful appearances and are unnaturally appealing, in fact, they use that appeal to enthrall and lure their victims. Monsters crave other monsters and become ravenous in their presence, especially if they can smell blood. Worse, animals are not the only creatures that have a monster equivalent, humans also come in that form --albeit rarely-- and Fire, our heroine, is the last one of them.

January 15, 2013

Review: Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt

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

The rise of the New Adult category has created an interesting debate about including sex in fiction marketed to young readers, and whether there is room for sex in these stories, or if it’s even appropriate. As in everything in life, the answer to that is that it depends on the context.

Personally, I think that in a world where female sexuality is often seen and portrayed with negative connotations in and by male-dominated environments, having positive representations of sex in stories that are mostly read by young women and teenage girls is a good, and necessary, thing. 

But of course, with the popularity of New Adult stories it becomes obvious that there’s a huge (or hugely vocal) audience claiming for the hypersexualization of stories that mostly have no business being sexualized in the first place. Because as many “adult content” warnings these books include, the truth remains that these are stories marketed to YA readers, that may not all be that young, but most of them are. So even though I think that sex in YA is necessary and can be a positive addition to the story, I’m not sure I agree with stories written with the excuse to add sex in them*.

January 11, 2013

Book Clubs and Sales

Image Credit: Horia Varlan
Happy Friday!

I have two quick links to share with you that will keep you entertained this weekend.

First, our friend and awesome blogger, Liz, is hosting a book club where we will be discussing Back to the Good Fortune Diner by Vicki Essex. I realize that I should have told you about this weeks ago, but if you have read it, come and join the conversation. If you haven't read it, and feel a bit upset because I didn't tell you about it sooner, fear not! The Smart Bitches, Trashy Books Sizzling Book Club will be discussing it later this month, so there's still time to read and talk about it. Also, if you want to buy the book, do it through ARe using the code SBTBARE at checkout and get 50% off the price.

And finally, Something Like Normal by Trish Doller, one of my favorite books of 2012, is currently priced at $1,99 on Kindle, which is a fantastic price for a fantastic book. Get it if you can. And while you're it, Love in the Afternoon, the book I'm reviewing today, is also $1.99 on Kindle.

Have a fun weekend!

Review: Love in the Afternoon by Alison Packard

I don’t watch soap operas, but I find them fascinating, and if the books I've read are any indication, it’s a good setting for Romance. So when I heard that this book featured two soap opera stars, I couldn't resist (it was also on sale*, so if the theme wasn't enough to convince me, the price sure was).

The story goes like this: Kayla Maxwell is the rising star of a popular soap opera. She doubts herself because her abusive ex did a number on her self-esteem and because she’s inexperienced. Her character’s new storyline means that she’s going to be working closely with the show’s biggest star, Sean Barrett. They have incredibly chemistry, but for different reasons neither is interested in a romantic relationship, which doesn't prevent them from becoming close friends, a friendship that soon morphs into attraction and love. But things get in the way of their happy ending, and by things I mean his issues and her stalker. One of these things got in the way of my personal book happy ending. Can you guess which one?

January 8, 2013

Review: The Other Side of Us by Sarah Mayberry

Happy New Year! To start the year with a bang I’ve chosen a great book, because the first post of the year should be all about the good books, right? I’m excited to be back, and I’m very happy to see you all.

The Other Side of Us by Sarah MayberrySource: a review copy was provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

I’m running out of original ways to explain why Sarah Mayberry is one of my favorite authors. So I’m going to skip the obvious and go directly to the review.

The Other Side of Us is the story of two people dealing with emotional and physical wounds. Oliver was crushed when he learned that his wife cheated on him throughout their whole marriage, and Mackenzie was crushed, literally, during a car crash. They are struggling with pain and with the fact that the life they had envisioned is over. She deals with it by being cranky and living in a denial that forces her to push her body until it has nothing left to give, while he does it by being sad, depressed and feeling emasculated.  All they want to do is hide and be alone, but life –and their dogs-- have different plans, and they end up meeting and, after terrible first, second and third impressions, falling in love.
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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.