June 26, 2013

Review: To Have and To Hold by Patricia Gaffney

Earlier this year it was announced that Penguin would reissue Gaffney’s Wickerley trilogy through InterMix, their electronic-only Romance imprint. These books are a beloved and memorable part of the genre, yet I had not read them before. I confess that I was mildly intrigued by To Have and To Hold, the second book in the series, but unlike the rest of Romanceland, I was not eager to read them. But enthusiasm is catching and after my friends started talking about reviews, discussions and book clubs, I ended up buying the book on re-release day. After reading the book, I feel compelled to join the conversation now that I clearly understand why the book is so popular, even though my ultimate reading experience wasn't as successful as I was expecting it to be.

To Have and To Hold tells the story of Sebastian, the most bored, jaded and debauched hero ever. And when I say jaded, I mean that he’s done and had everything and anything money can buy. So when fate lands Rachel, a widow who spent ten years in prison for murdering her husband, on his lap, he seizes the opportunity to have some unique enjoyment. That is, her complete hopelessness, inability to make even the simplest decision, and her absolute and utter vulnerability, make him want to torment and push her until the breaking point. It doesn't take long for him to realize that she’s way past her breaking point, which only makes him even more horny and rapey.

June 25, 2013

A New Feature and an Update

Through the Nostalgia Glass a Romance Around the Corner feature
Credit: ginnerobot

All reviews and no play make Romance Around the Corner a dull blog, so I’ve been thinking about ways to improve and freshen up the blog. The one I came up with still involves reviews, but there’s a twist.

We have talked about hype and how popular new releases get all the attention. I will be the first to admit that shiny new books are hard to resist, but we should make room for older books, especially those we hold dear. Our perception of old favorites can change during time, because while the stories remain the same, readers tend to grow and change. However, new perspectives don’t necessarily lessen the value of the books, and may even give us a new view and appreciation of the stories. So I thought that it would be an interesting experiment to re-read these old favorites and see how (or if) our reactions to them have changed and how they hold up to the test of time.

June 19, 2013

Review: Carolina Girl by Virginia Kantra

I’m a long-time fan of Ms. Kantra’s books. Last year, the first book in the series, Carolina Home, was one of my favorite books, and I was anxiously waiting to read the next one. I’m happy to say that it was just as good as expected.

This is a pretty standard book with a pretty standard set of tropes.

First we have our heroine, Meg. She grew up in a loving home and had dreams too big for the small island. She was in love with her older brother’s best friend; a guy who broke her heart the day he took her virginity and left. Eighteen years later, she’s incredibly successful, lives in New York and shares her life with a long-time boyfriend who is clearly all wrong for her because 1. He’s never asked her to marry him and 2. He doesn’t console her after she loses her job. So she decides to go back home to put her life in order, figure out what to do and in the meantime help take care of her mother who was recently in an accident.

June 14, 2013

Review: One Tiny Lie by K.A. Tucker


I usually take time to talk about how and why I decided to read the book, but today I’m feeling lazy, so I’m skipping everything and jumping right into the review.

The blurb should give you an idea what the book is about:
Livie has always been the stable one of the two Cleary sisters, handling her parents' tragic death and Kacey's self-destructive phase with strength and maturity. But underneath that exterior is a little girl hanging onto the last words her father ever spoke to her. “Make me proud,” he had said. She promised she would...and she’s done her best over the past seven years with every choice, with every word, with every action. 
Livie walks into Princeton with a solid plan, and she’s dead set on delivering on it: Rock her classes, set herself up for medical school, and meet a good, respectable guy that she’s going to someday marry. What isn’t part of her plan are Jell-O shots, a lovable, party animal roommate she can’t say ‘no’ to, and Ashton, the gorgeous captain of the men’s rowing team. Definitely him. He’s an arrogant ass who makes Livie’s usually non-existent temper flare and everything she doesn’t want in a guy. Worse, he’s best friends and roommates with Connor, who happens to fits Livie’s criteria perfectly. So why does she keep thinking about Ashton? 
As Livie finds herself facing mediocre grades, career aspirations she no longer thinks she can handle, and feelings for Ashton that she shouldn’t have, she’s forced to let go of her last promise to her father and, with it, the only identity that she knows.
This book was one entertaining mess. The heroine is instantly attracted to the bad-boy hero, but she decides to start a relationship with this other guy who is just as hot, but also nice, which instantly makes him the safe, but wrong choice. She’s still lusting after the hero, though, even when he turns out to 1. Have a girlfriend and 2. Be her boyfriend’s best friend and roommate. But who can resist a bad boy, right?  She’s also kind of disgusted by the hero constantly cheating on his girlfriend (even after spending the night with the heroine*, so double rainbow cheating all the way!), but she’s not that disgusted not to cheat on her boyfriend with the hero who apparently was only sleeping around to forget her. This is a thing that happened.

June 13, 2013

Review: Flirting with Disaster by Ruthie Knox

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

Flirting with Disaster is the third book in the Camelot series, and it brings closure and a happy ending to Katie, the last Clark sibling. The previous book was a bit of a mixed bag, but this new installment worked much better for me, even if some of the same issues remained.

Katie is a people pleaser. She followed her husband to Alaska so that he could make his dreams come true, and in the process she lost herself and put her life on hold. So when her husband left her with nothing, she came back to her hometown completely defeated. Her brother gave her a job, which helped her get her life back on track, but she remains a work in progress.

Sean is back in town to sort his recently deceased mother’s affairs. It’s a deceivingly easy task, because although all he has to do is get rid of her clothes and sell her house, he’s also forced to confront the bad memories of a mother who was less-than stellar. He’s really bad at dealing with his baggage, though, and really good at ignoring them and hoping they will go away, which is why he’s staying in town far longer than planned.

June 11, 2013

DNF Review: Ghost Planet by Sharon Lynn Fisher

Warning: This review contains lots of spoilers.

Ghost Planet was my impulsive buy of last week. Its appealing blurb made me put all the other books on hold in order to read this one, but alas, we were not meant to be.  Here’s why.

Elizabeth is a psychologist who just moved to a new planet that’s been colonized by humans. Life in the planet would be pretty awesome if not for one tiny detail: the local aliens* take on the form of a person’s dead loved one and must remain close to them at all time. Not only do these ghosts look exactly like a dead person, but they retain their memories and personalities, which make things really awkward and creepy. Killing the ghosts is pointless because they just regenerate again and again, so the humans have established a protocol to deal with these aliens by completely ignoring them.

June 7, 2013

Update on Heroine Week

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The response to Heroine Week has been really positive, so I’m feeling overwhelmed and happy.

Here are a few updates:
  • The tentative date is July 1-7. This can change depending on whether people can write the guest posts on time or not. I’m very accommodating! Final date is July 8-14
  • I’m looking for more people to guest post, so please email me your ideas at brie.clementineATgmail.com
  • If you don’t feel like writing a whole post, but still want to contribute, send me a paragraph or two about your favorite heroine and why you love her (it can be Romance, Urban Fantasy, YA, etc.). If I get enough submissions, I will include them all in one post. 
  • I’m working on a banner for the event (with my amazing knowledge of Paint) but if anyone wants to help me with it, I would appreciate it. It's done! If you're going to use it on your site, make sure to include the image credit to Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I hope you guys are as excited as I am. Suggestions and ideas are welcome.

June 5, 2013

Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Source: A review copy was provided by the publisher trough NetGalley.

As you guys know, I loved Pushing the Limits because OVER THE TOP ANGST! *ahem* Which is why I was dying to read the sequel. Unlike its predecessor, however, Dare You To is --or at least feels-- less convoluted, probably because it only focuses on one angsty character instead of two. It is still quite dramatic, but way more contained.

I was intrigued by Beth as a secondary character in Pushing the Limits, and I liked her a lot as a heroine in Dare You To. She spends the whole book being angry, something that automatically makes her refreshing and interesting. The previous book heavily hinted at a different outcome for her, meaning that it appeared that her hero would be Isaiah, the other secondary character, yet this book completely challenged all my expectations. And although Isaiah still plays an important role here, he is not the love interest.

June 4, 2013

Heroine Week: Ideas and an Invitation to Join

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
For the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about writing a couple of posts focused on Romance heroines. When it comes to characters, the conversation often revolves around the heroes, which is perfectly fine, but the heroines need love too.  Then I thought that one or two posts wouldn’t be enough, so why not make it a whole week dedicated to celebrating female characters? And because I’m just the best at naming things, I came up with the name Heroine Week*. I'm so clever I can't even stand it.

The thing is that I can’t do it alone, and having diverse input is way more fun than hearing the same person talking over and over. So if you like the sound of this idea, I would love for you to join Heroine Week by writing a guest post. It can be anything heroine-related, for example: a list of your favorite heroines; a recommendation of books that feature unique or remarkable heroines; one post dedicated to that one heroine that deeply resonated with you; a post about the way traditional gender roles have shaped the genre; the different, more subtle ways a heroine can be strong (besides the obvious kick-ass way); the appeal of unlikeable heroines; the top 10 heroines of 2013 (or of each sub-genre); etc. It can be fun, serious, light and/or complex; the goal is to talk about female characters, discover new books to read, and above all, to have fun.

This is an open invitation to everyone: readers, bloggers and authors. Email me your ideas, thoughts and recommendation to brie.clementineATgmail.com You’re all welcome to participate, and I look forward to hearing from you, so don’t be shy.

I’m still in the early stages of planning the event, and whether it happens or not, it will depend on how many people are willing to participate, so fingers crossed that you guys like the idea. I’ll keep you posted!

*I will also accept ideas for a different name.

June 3, 2013

Review: Down London Road by Samantha Young

A few months ago, everyone was talking about a self-published book titled On Dublin Street (or at least everyone on my little corner of the blogosphere). The book became a huge success and soon was acquired by Penguin. I thought it was a compelling story, but not a unique or innovative one.  The sequel was still on my radar, though, and it became a must-read when I realized that the heroine would be the sexually forward, gold-digging friend from On Dublin Street.

Jo is a bartender whose goal in life is to marry a rich guy. Her current boyfriend certainly fits the requirements, so she pampers him and does everything he wants, even if that means not being herself. But before you get excited thinking that we’re finally getting a heroine that completely breaks the mold, I should tell you that the reason why she acts that way is because she has to take care of her teenage brother and their abusive, alcoholic mother. So nope, she’s not materialistic or self-absorbed; she’s just damaged and filled with a bunch of secret pains. Of course she is.
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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.