Monday, August 12, 2013

Kaetrin's Musings has moved

The brand spanking new Kaetrin's Musings is live.  A new platform, a new theme, same content. You will be automatically redirected in 10 seconds.

Newsletter subscribers and RSS feeds have been changed to the new site so you don't need to do anything.  But you might want to update your site bookmark.



Visit me at KaetrinsMusings.Com

Bye Bye Blogger.

Hello WordPress!



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I'm Over at Dear Author...

with a review of Full Moon by Mari Carr.
Full Moon
See what I thought here.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Tea for Three by Anne Douglas

Why I read it:  This book was recommended to my by one of my Twitter friends when we were having a discussion about m/m/f menage stories, so I went and bought it.

What it's about: (from author's website)   Straight, gay or in between, turning thirty’s never easy.
Craig wonders just where his life is heading. His relationship with Jack is satisfying, to say the least. But deep down, he sometimes still craves the soft touches of a woman.
Something’s bugging Craig, and Jack knows it. Some sort of pre midlife crisis that he just can’t understand. The sex is hot and demanding. Their home life is comfortable without being too familiar. But he just can’t help feeling he might be about to lose the love of his life.
Then they meet lovely, loyal and slightly broken Wren Browne. It doesn’t take long to realize, they might have just have found the solution to both of their problems.
Love isn’t tidy or simple; it doesn’t come packaged in neat little boxes. And sometimes you have to set the table with tea for three.

What worked for me (and what didn't): If there are two men and one woman in a romance, my personal preference is that it is an m/m/f rather than an m/f/m story.  I have enjoyed m/f/m stories but I think they work better where there is a sexual connection between all three parties - it has something to do with my sense of equality I think.   When GrowlyCub said that she thought this book was one of the better examples of the genre, I couldn't resist.  I didn't end up liking it as much as she did, but I did enjoy it.

Friday, August 2, 2013

July Round Up

On Paper/eBook

Mad About the Boys by JL Merrow and Jo Myles - B  This anthology is a collection of 1 new and 4 previously published short stories featuring m/m/f romance (which is my favourite kind of menage story).   

Dinner for Three (Merrow) is a wonderful start to the anthology, a contemporary about two happily coupled guys who are interested in expanding their relationship to include their oblivious housemate Claire - I could happily have read a full length novel about this trio.  Because of the very short word count, the characterisations are necessarily very thin and the story doesn't take us beyond one day of encounters.  What there was however was so very engaging, I was sad when the story ended - I really wanted more.
   
In the Greenwood (Myles) is a paranormal fairy tale of a wood sprite who brings two men together and then manages to become real - again, this story suffered a bit from the short length but it's fairy tale quality meant that a certain air of unreality was to be expected and made the story work better than it would have otherwise.

The Antithesis of Magic (Merrow) is about a man with no magic in a world full of magic users, who finds he is the perfect third for a fairy and a werewolf who need him.  I wasn't clear exactly on why Gus was needed and there wasn't really any relationship between the three so it was the least satisfying in terms of romance.  If it had been expanded to a longer story so I could see a courtship/developing relationship, I would have enjoyed this much more because the set up and the tone of the story was great.   

Changeling (Merrow) Another fairy tale type story, this was a lot more successful for me.  The connection between Meg and Adam/Thistledown was apparent and, I felt the characters were more developed. Certain character-types were representative/short cuts, but this works in a fairy tale so that's not a criticism - rather a clever use of the style.    

Kiss Mark Two (Myles) This contemporary story was a delight and, in my opinion, the best of the book.  Like my other favourite, Dinner for Three, it is a contemporary, but this time it is an m/f couple who hook up with his best friend.  Like the first story in the anthology, I could happily have read a whole novel about them, but the story did feel remarkably complete for all of the short word count.  I enjoyed the tone and the characters very much. I think I'd quite like a friend like Ruby.

All in all, the anthology was a lot of fun and perfect for when you're time poor or perhaps having trouble deciding what to read next.


BUY IT:
AMAZON       KOBO

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses by Molly Harper, narrated by Amanda Ronconi

Why I listened to it:  I have enjoyed all of the Jane Jameson/Half Moon Hollow books on audio and picked this one up at Audible when it was released.

What it's about: (from Goodreads):  Nola Leary would have been content to stay in Kilcairy, Ireland, healing villagers at her family’s clinic with a mix of magic and modern medicine. But a series of ill-timed omens and a deathbed promise to her grandmother have sent her on a quest to Half-Moon Hollow, Kentucky, to secure her family’s magical potency for the next generation. Her supernatural task? To unearth four artifacts hidden by her grandfather before a rival magical family beats her to it.

Complication One: Her grandfather was Mr. Wainwright and the artifacts are lost somewhere in what is now Jane Jameson's book shop.

Complication Two: her new neighbor, Jed Trudeau, who keeps turning up half naked at the strangest times, a distraction Nola doesn't need. And teaming up with a real-life Adonis is as dangerous as it sounds, especially when he’s got the face of an angel and the abs of a washboard—can Nola complete her mission before falling completely under his spell?

What worked for me (and what didn't): To be honest, I nearly quit this one about 10 minutes in. I usually enjoy Amanda Ronconi's narration but her accent for the narrator and main character, Nola, was putting me off.  I persisted, in the hope I'd get used to it.  Fortunately, by the middle of Chapter 3, it was explained that Nola's accent was a horrid mashup of Boston and Ireland and maybe something else.  And you know what? That's exactly what Nola's accent sounded like.  I thought it was Ms. Ronconi doing a really bad Irish accent.  But I did her a disservice when I thought that - she actually voiced the character as written - it's just that it's not written right at the beginning of the story so it was a little hard to understand at first.  When there were Irish characters, Ms. Ronconi did a fine Irish accent.  I can't say I'm sorry that the Boston dropped out of Nola's accent for the most part by the latter part of the story.  It did sound a bit like Ms. Ronconi's teeth were clenched and that can't have been comfortable.

I'm Over at AudioGals...

with an audiobook review of Laura Kinsale's The Dream Hunter narrated superbly by Nicholas Boulton.


Go here to check it out.




Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hotter Than Ever by Elle Kennedy

Why I read it:  I have been eagerly awaiting Dylan's book since the straight boy BJ scene in Feeling Hot (which was my introduction to the series) so I bought this one on release day.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  When you land in hot water, swim for safety—or let the fire burn. 

An Out of Uniform Story

Claire McKinley has just experienced every bride’s nightmare. The groom is a no-show, and now she must face five hundred guests alone. Furious and humiliated, Claire seeks help from the most unlikely candidate—her almost-brother-in-law, who promptly whisks her away to his apartment in San Diego, where she can recover her pride in peace and quiet.

Dylan Wade is no fan of Claire’s, but no way can he leave the jilted bride in her time of need. Bringing her home seems like a good idea—until he remembers his new roommate. Dylan’s relationship with Aidan is…complicated. And with Claire thrown into the mix, life becomes even more…complicated.

Claire is blindsided by her attraction not only to Dylan, but also to Aidan, a man she’s just met. Soon they’re caught up in an all-consuming sexual storm they can’t fight even if they wanted to. Yet Claire wonders if it can last, or if she’s just setting herself up for more heartache.

What worked for me (and what didn't): I enjoyed this story and it certainly lived up to its title (oh mama! *fans self*), but the ending came too abruptly for me and there were some things glossed over or not mentioned which meant that the book didn't end quite as well as it started. Still, I was a lot of fun and overall, another great addition to the series.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Power Exchange by AJ Rose

Why I read it:  I read a review of Safeword (the sequel to this book) recently at SmexyBooks and it reminded me I had this one on my TBR.  I've already bought Safeword too.

What it's about (from Goodreads):  From the moment Detective Gavin DeGrassi steps into the world of BDSM to solve the brutal slaying of Dom George Kaiser, his course is not his own. Mesmerized by the context in which the victim lived and the images of the lifestyle seared into his soul, Gavin must find a way to navigate these unknown waters. With his personal life in upheaval due to marital trouble, and his professional life uncertain with the assignment of a new partner, Gavin needs all the help he can get understanding the case.

Enter Ben Haverson, a psychologist and a well known Dom. With Ben’s help as a consultant and attention to Gavin's own murky truths, Gavin delves deeper than he ever thought he would into the world of restraints and paddles. Forced to scrutinize his true nature and his innermost desires, Gavin has a choice: keep the fear of submitting at bay, or dive in and solve the case with the knowledge he gains. When another victim is discovered, Gavin’s choice is made for him, and he’s pulled headlong into the deepest, most emotional journey of his life.

Unfortunately for him and Ben, a killer has noticed, has taken stock, and has set his sights on the D/s pair. Can Gavin outwit him, or will his first exchange of power be his last?


Warning: Some readers may find this book triggering and will wish to avoid it.  There is off page and on page (male) rape as well as some fairly graphic violence (all on the part of the villain).

What worked for me (and what didn't): I had heard nothing but good things about this book and it turned out to be just what I was in the mood for.  I stayed up way too late the other night finishing it.  It's not without flaws, but overall, it was a great read and I'm excited to read the second book in the series and see where the author takes these characters next.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Why I read it:  I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.  

What it's about: (from author's website)  “Bono met his wife in high school,” Park says.
“So did Jerry Lee Lewis,” Eleanor answers.
“I’m not kidding,” he says.
“You should be,” she says, “we’re 16.”
“What about Romeo and Juliet?”
“Shallow, confused, then dead.”
“I love you,” Park says.
“Wherefore art thou,” Eleanor answers.
“I’m not kidding,” he says.
“You should be.”
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor & Park is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

What worked for me (and what didn't): I didn't know a lot about this book going in.  I knew it was YA, I wasn't entirely sure how much romance would be there and whether it would have a traditional HEA (it did not, but romance readers, don't be scared - it doesn't end badly and Eleanor and Park are only 16/17 in the story).  When I started reading, as much as I was engaged when I was reading, I found myself sometimes reluctant to pick it up again.  Not because it wasn't good.  That's not the case at all.  The writing is lovely and the characters are drawn so well.  No, it was because there was an aspect to this book which was painful to read.  Eleanor's story in particular is sad.  I was worried for a lot of the book that things would not end well for her.  I had a deep sense of foreboding throughout the story which made me increasingly reluctant to keep going.  Perversely, the further I got into the story, the faster I read and the last third of the book took one day whereas the first two thirds took a week.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Im Over at AudioGals...

with an audiobook review of Cecilia Grant's A Woman Entangled, narrated by Susan Ericksen.  See what I thought here.



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I'm Over at ARRA...

with a review of Nora Roberts' newest release, Whiskey Beach.


See what I thought here.


Agony/Ecstasy anthology edited by Jane Litte

Why I read it: Sometimes, I'm in the mood for a short story, kind of  like a sorbet.  I'd had this on my TBR for some time, having bought it ages ago, and I decided to intersperse the stories with my other reading.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  All new stories of punishing extremes and unbearable pleasure... 
 
With historical, contemporary, and futuristic backdrops, this outrageously diverse collection of original stories explores every conceivable variation of BDSM erotica--from knitting circles to the Titanic to a retelling of The Little Mermaid. Featuring all-new stories by Meljean Brook, Jean Johnson, Bettie Sharpe, Jill Myles, Margaret Rowe, Sara Thorn, and more, this book has everything a reader could hope for in an erotic romance.


What worked for me (and what didn't): 

Agony

Transfixed and Transformed, the two stories by Anne Calhoun in the anthology (one each in Agony and Ecstasy) were about the same pairing, one from her POV, one from his.  I liked these stories very much and could happily have read a whole book about them.  That said, the stories did feel complete and I didn't feel at all shortchanged.  For me, these stories showed how a skilled writer can immerse me in a character in a very short space of time.  After I got finished enjoying them, I did sit back and think about how cleverly it was achieved.  Short is not my forte, so I'm particularly impressed when it's done as well as this.

The Sybil by Jean Johson had a Warprize/Game of Thrones type feel to it.  I liked the worldbuilding which was fairly detailed for such a short story, but the ending was not only unclear but it also bent toward the traditional and that kind of let it down a little I thought.

Monday, July 22, 2013

In the Arms of the Heiress by Maggie Robinson

*NB This review first appeared in the July ARRA newsletter - so the format is slightly different and it's also shorter than usual.*


There aren’t many historical romances around set in 1903 so when I got the chance at an early copy of this book (which is now out), I jumped at the chance.  Louisa Stratton is the heiress of the title.  Her parents died when she was a child and she was raised by her Aunt Grace – a cold woman whose motives are murky – even when Grace is being kind, she is more cruel than anything.  After inheriting her fortune at age 25, Louisa escapes with her maid, Kathleen, to the continent, to get away from her awful family.  After a “indiscretion” with a local landowner at age 17, Louisa’s activities have been much curtailed and she’s been a virtual prisoner at the family estate, Rosemont.   A year after her “escape”, she discovers some oddities in her finances and receives reports that her aunt is very ill.  Against her own desires, she decides she needs to go home for Christmas and check on things.  There is a problem though.  To stop Aunt Grace from fussing, Louisa has told her family she has met and married one Maximillian Norwich – a man whose perfection is only eclipsed by the fact that he doesn’t exist. 
 
Mrs. Evensong, a rather mysterious woman who runs an employment agency and seems to have a knack for solving problems and matchmaking, locates Captain Charles Cooper, a man suffering from PTSD after serving in the Boer War in Africa, to play the part of Max for a month.  In pretending to be married, Louisa and Charles find opportunities for indiscretions of their own and along the way, they fall in love.

Louisa is flighty, she talks all the time, she loves driving her motor car (albeit that she does it very badly) and she is also an early adopter of feminism and the suffragist cause.  She makes for quite a delightful heroine.  Charles/Max came from very humble beginnings but was elevated by the factory owner who employed the rest of his family and sent to Harrow and thence to the Army as an officer.  Charles’ experiences in the War are touched upon and I would have liked to have this more fully expanded actually.  But those aspects of the story are very serious and sad and don’t really fit well with the light-heartedness that is Louisa and the rest of the book.

I did love the early 1900s setting and those bits for me were the best part of the book.  The rise of the motorcar, early suffragettes, women working and the way Louisa wasn’t at all class conscious.  Louisa and Charles were fun together too and I very much liked how Louisa was frank in her desire for Charles and not at all shy to take the lead in intimacy.  Ultimately, I think the book tried to be too many things – a mystery, the farcical aspects of Louisa and Charles’ deception and relationship, the seriousness of Charles’ PTSD, the complicated relationship between Louisa and her family and the book felt a little disjointed for me.  Louisa is a delightful character however and I was happy to see her well settled with Charles at the end – and surrounded by people who love listening to her talk!

Grade:  C+

BUY IT:


Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Bell Curve of the HEA

The other day I was pondering why some books work better for me than others; why some books leave me dissatisfied at the end, even when they meet the genre conventions of the HEA.  Perhaps I'd had too much pizza but I came up with what I like to call "the bell curve of the HEA".  (*I'm aware that it's not actually a bell curve, but it is a curve and it sounds good so I'm keeping it.  Also, maths isn't my strong suit.  Go with me here.)

It isn't an absolute answer, but it does go toward explaining why some books don't work for me.

In most romance novels (perhaps this is true of other genres also but I'm sticking with what I know), the "happiness graph" might look something like this:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Winner!


And the Winner of a Kindle copy of Lick by Kylie Scott is

 Sabina van Nijnatten-Bestulic

Congratulations Sabina!  I have sent you an email regarding your prize. so check your inbox!




Thanks to all who participated in the giveaway.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Curve Ball by Charlotte Stein

Why I read it:  I've had this on my TBR for some time - I can't remember exactly when I picked it up (Goodreads tells me I got it for free so there must have been a promotion), but it came up in a Twitter discussion recently so I decided to open it up.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  When Judy Myers is offered a relaxing vacation to get away from her latest heartbreak, she can’t say no. A cruise on her brother’s yacht sounds like heaven...until she realises her brother’s best friend has been invited along for the ride.

Steven Stark is big, he’s loud, and he’s obviously not interested in the plump, plain little sister he used to tease unmercifully. In fact, he’s still quite happy to tease her – until she turns the tables on him. Now Steven can’t seem to keep his thoughts, or his hands, to himself. And worse, Judy’s not sure she can resist the attraction she’s kept buried for so many years.

Being trapped on a boat isn’t the best place to be, when you’re suddenly thrown a hunky curveball.

What worked for me (and what didn't): I usually like Charlotte Stein's authorial voice and this was no exception but there wasn't enough of the hero to really satisfy me.  Judy is a plus-sized girl - a self described "fat chick".  (On Twitter, the author described her as a size 18-20, but it is not specified in the book).   She is on a small yacht in the Mediterranean with her brother and his wife and her brother's best friend, Steven Stark.  Judy has had a crush on Steven for the longest time but has never imagined anything could ever come of it.  While Steven is described as a very big man, his description is all in terms of muscle rather than flab.   

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Making it Last by Ruthie Knox



Why I read it:  I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.  I read and enjoyed How to Misbehave a while back (this marks the start of Tony and Amber's relationship) and I have the other two Camelot books on my TBR.  But I am a sucker for marriage in trouble stories so I decided to read this one out of order after being assured by the author that doing so wouldn't spoil the other books. 

I don't think it's absolutely essential to have read How to Misbehave first but I do recommend it.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  A hotel bar. A sexy stranger. A night of passion. There’s a part of Amber Mazzara that wants those things, wants to have a moment — just one — where life isn’t a complicated tangle of house and husband and kids and careers. Then, after a long, exhausting “vacation” with her family, her husband surprises her with a gift: a few days on the beach . . . alone.

Only she won’t be alone long, because a handsome man just bought her a drink. He’s cool, he’s confident, and he wants to take Amber to bed and keep her there for days. Lucky for them both, he’s her husband. He’s only got a few days in Jamaica to make her wildest desires come true, but if he can pull it off, there’s reason to believe that this fantasy can last a lifetime.

What worked for me (and what didn't): It has been 14 years since the events of How to Misbehave.  Tony and Amber now have three sons, the youngest of whom (Jake) is 6 and has recently started school.  Tony is working 80 hour weeks and far from home because the housing industry is in the toilet - he's gone by 5.30 and doesn't get home until around 10 most nights.  If they're lucky, he and Amber have half an hour to talk before they fall asleep.  Amber is feeling particularly lost and lonely - the kids are all at school, she barely sees her husband and somewhere along the way her sense of self has disappeared in what she is to everyone else in her life.  Tony and Amber still love each other but that isn't enough.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Unsticky by Sarra Manning

Why I read it:  Brie from Romance Around the Corner recommended this to me and I managed to snag a copy from my local library.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  STATE OF GRACE
Money makes the world go round - that's what twenty-something Grace Reeves is learning. Stuck in a grind where everyone's ahead apart from her, she's partied out, disillusioned, and massively in debt. If she's dumped by another rock-band wannabe, squashed by anyone else at her cut-throat fashion job, or chased by any more bailiffs, Grace suspects she'll fall apart...

GRACE UNDER PRESSURE
So when older, sexy and above all, wealthy art-dealer Vaughn appears, she's intrigued against her will. Could she handle being a sugar daddy's arm-candy?

SAVING GRACE
Soon Grace is thrown into a world of money and privilege, at Vaughn's beck and call in return for thousands of pounds in luxurious gifts, priceless clothes - and cash. She's out of her depth. Where's the line between acting the trophy girlfriend, and selling yourself for money? And, more importantly, whatever happened to love?

What worked for me (and what didn't): Brie thinks this book isn't a romance.  I think she's right.  It doesn't fit squarely into the genre romance conventions but it does have a very strong romantic thread and there is a HEA (which is mandatory for me) but I suppose it is a bit more chick lit than romance.  Having said that, the romance thread is very strong so I'd recommended it for romance readers.

I'm Over at Dear Author...

with a review of Charlotte Stein's super dirty (in a good way) novella, Make Me.

See what I thought here.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I'm Over at Romance Around the Corner...

with my Heroine Week post.  Brie has collected a whole week's worth of wonderful posts celebrating heroines in romance.  My post is about giving a heroine a second chance and how my hero-centric readerly-ness is becoming more centrist.  Or something.


Brie also drew the picture on the banner above and Mary Ann Rivers and I would like it on a T-Shirt!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold, narrated by Grover Gardner

Why I listened:  After finishing The Firebird, I listened to some podcasts - a bit of a sorbet if you will, and I thought it was safest to listen to something from another genre altogether for my next audiobook - Kearsley casts a long shadow.  Also, Bujold is always reliable I have found.  This was no exception.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  Together, they can get into a lot of trouble. Trouble only the combined forces of the Free Dendarii Mercenaries can get them out of. At least, that's what they're hoping...
In this latest adventure with the galaxy's craftiest mercenary leader Miles, starts out by so shaking up the High Command on his home planet of Barrayar that he is sent to the other side of the galaxy - where who should he run into but his old pals the Free Dendarii Mercenaries. And a good thing too, because it turns out that Miles' childhood chum, that's Emperor Gregor to you, has been the victim of foul play, and only Miles - with a little Dendarii muscle - can save him. This is very important to Miles; because if Gregor dies, the only person who could become the new emperor is Miles himself - and that he regards as a fate worse than death.

What worked for me (and what didn't): As is most often the case with the Vorkosigan books, I didn't read the blurb before I clicked play.  The story begins when Miles is given his first assignment after graduating from the Barrayaran Military Academy.  He is sent to Kiril Island ("Camp Permafrost") where his mission is to learn to be subordinate to superior officers and to also learn how to command ordinary soldiers.    What I thought was going to be the story (which perhaps would have been clearer had I read the blurb!) was not at all what the story turned out to be.  But, it's an adventure tale and it's an adventure when you don't know where the story is going.  I was happy to go along for the ride and marvel at the way things went from point A to point Z and all the wonderful journeys in between.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers

Why I read it:  I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.  The first line from the blurb was enough to make me want it.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  I will meet you on Wednesdays at noon in Celebration Park. Kissing only.

Carrie West is happy with her life . . . isn’t she? But when she sees this provocative online ad, the thirtysomething librarian can’t help but be tempted. After all, the photo of the anonymous poster is far too attractive to ignore. And when Wednesday finally arrives, it brings a first kiss that’s hotter than any she’s ever imagined. Brian Newburgh is an attorney, but there’s more to his life . . . that he won't share with Carrie. Determined to have more than just Wednesdays, Carrie embarks on a quest to learn Brian’s story, certain that he will be worth the cost. But is she ready to gamble her heart on a man who just might be The One . . . even though she has no idea how their love story will end?

What worked for me (and what didn't): This is a special little book.  At just on 100 pages, it sounds like the sort of thing you could read in an hour or two but it is meatier than that.  The words are dense on the page and having layers of meaning.  So it might take a little longer to read, but it's totally worth it.

I'm Over at AudioGals...

with a review of The Autumn Bride by Anne Gracie, narrated by Alison Larkin.




A bit of a mixed bag for me - see my full thoughts here.

Friday, July 5, 2013

After Hours by Cara McKenna

Why I read it:  I bought this book as soon as it came out but have only now got to it.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  A dangerous infatuation with a rough and ready man…

Erin Coffey has been a nurse for years, but nothing’s prepared her for the physical and emotional demands of her new position. Needing to move closer to her dysfunctional family, she takes a dangerous job at Larkhaven Psychiatric Hospital, where she quickly learns that she needs protection—and she meets the strong, over-confident coworker who’s more than willing to provide it.

Kelly Robak is the type of guy that Erin has sworn she’d never get involved with. She’s seen firsthand, via her mess of a sister, what chaos guys like him can bring into a woman’s life. But she finds herself drawn to him anyway, even when he shows up at her door, not eager to take no for an answer.

What Erin finds even more shocking than Kelly’s indecent proposal is how much she enjoys submitting to his every command. But he can’t play the tough guy indefinitely. If they want to have more than just an affair, both will have to open up and reveal what they truly need.

What worked for me (and what didn't): My reading mojo has been missing the past week or so.  I can't really explain what happened.  I tried about 6 or 7 books and only got 10-20 pages in before switching to something else because I wasn't feeling it.  In the end, I picked up this one.  I enjoyed the book but I feel, in a case very much of "it's not you, it's me", I may have enjoyed it more had I been on a reading high at the time rather than in somewhat of a slump.  I found myself entirely engaged when reading but not inspired to pick the book up after having had to put it down for some reason (dinner, bed, etc.). Last week, books in general weren't doing it for me I'm afraid. So: all the caveats - if you read it at the right time, you will probably enjoy it even more than I did.  Moving on.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Lick Blog Tour - Interview with Kylie Scott


 
Waking up in Vegas was never meant to be like this.
Evelyn Thomas's plans for celebrating her twenty-first birthday in Las Vegas were big. Huge. But she sure as hell never meant to wake up on the bathroom floor with a hangover to rival the black plague, a very attractive half-naked tattooed man, and a diamond on her finger large enough to scare King Kong. Now if she could just remember how it all happened.



Today I'd like to welcome author Kylie Scott to the blog.  She's here to answer some questions about her new book Lick.  I don't normally do blog tours, but as you can tell from my review, this is a very special book.  **Also, look out for the giveaway details at the end of this post.**

I'm sure in your blog tour you will be asked a lot of questions about Evelyn and David but I wanted to focus today on one of the secondary characters who really stood out for me.  What can you tell me about Kaetrin?  She's not in the book all that much, but she's a total scene stealer.  
I know right? I think in a way Kaetrin really carried the book. It’s subtle, but it’s there.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lick by Kylie Scott

Why I read it: I received a review copy from the publisher.  But (wait for it) this was also a part of my prize for winning the "name the band" competition.  (Actually, the name wasn't terribly original, the series was already called Stage Dive - I just piped up and said that would be an awesome band name).  The other part of my prize was that a secondary character in the book was named after me.  Kaetrin is an (awesome) (slightly slutty - but in a sex positive way) groupie with an AMAZING rack. LOLOLOL!    The author very kindly asked me to pick her hair colour and the colour of her dress for her second appearance in the book.  We had a lot of fun on Twitter with it.  I told her to go for broke - but please just make me hot!  (And she did, so: thank you Kylie!). She's not in the book very much and while I was tickled to see my name in print, that wasn't the reason I liked the book.  Fortunately, it turned out that it's a book I'm very happy to have my name in, even if Book Kaetrin is a bit of a skank (I say that with love).

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  Waking up in Vegas was never meant to be like this.

Evelyn Thomas’s plans for celebrating her twenty-first birthday in Las Vegas were big. Huge. But she sure as hell never meant to wake up on the bathroom floor with a hangover to rival the black plague, a very attractive half-naked tattooed man, and a diamond on her finger large enough to scare King Kong. Now if she could just remember how it all happened.

One thing is for certain, being married to rock and roll’s favourite son is sure to be a wild ride.

What worked for me (and what didn't): I'm a hero-centric reader but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate a good heroine.  I was actually pretty impressed with Evelyn.  She holds her own against celebrities and rock stars when she's out of her depth and in unfamiliar territory.  There was a certain feistiness to her which appealed very much to me.

Monday, July 1, 2013

June Round Up

on Paper/eBook

Like the Taste of Summer by Kaje Harper  - B+  This free online short is a little gem.  Jack thinks back to the summer he met Sean, some 28 years earlier and recounts how they got together. I actually enjoyed it all the more knowing that they'd made it and were still in love.







Taken by Him (Billionaire's Club #2) by Red Garnier - C  This erotic romance is very short (just over 80 pages) and at page 1 the couple have never before met, so it was always going to be a big ask for me to buy into the HEA.  I had the impression that the book doesn't take itself to seriously and the tone of the hero's OTT arrogance was, I thought, intended to be funny rather than insulting (as it may have been in a serious book or if a reader is in a serious mood perhaps).  The sex was very hot and Luke certainly had a massive turnaround from being a total manwhore to being a "you're-the-only-one-for-me-for-the-rest-of-my-life" guy.  I liked it, but there was something lacking in it for me. And I can even tell you where it was.  It was in Chapter 1, here:
Two hours later they were both a little too…merry.
Luke had seemed hesitant to drink first, but then he’d downed a whole beer within minutes and soon ordered more. They’d flowed into conversation like they’d met years ago, teasing back and forth.
Almost their entire getting to know each other is contained in that two hour period which occurs off page.  For me to really root for them, I needed to see their connection rather than just be told it existed.

As a fun, sexy, erotic short, it works well, as a romance, I could have used a bit more.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Wife for A Week by Kelly Hunter

Why I read it:  I was browsing through my reader and this one jumped out and said "read me".  I picked it up in a Harlequin sale a while back.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  Nicholas Cooper must produce a wife for his business deal, and Hallie Bennett is beautiful and intelligent enough to pull it off. She needs the money, and Nicholas has determined some strict rules for their week together. Rule No. 1: Displays of affection in public only

Keeping their hands on each other in public turns out to be surprisingly easy. It's keeping them "off" in private that's the problem. Hallie is falling for Nicholas, but will Nicholas make his contract wife his real-life bride?

What worked for me (and what didn't): This was so much fun! It's short, only 120 pages or so but the author manages to create a believable, amusing and sexy romance, not only in a short word count but in a short space of time also - the whole book takes place in just over a week.  

Hallie and Nick meet when Nick's mother is searching for shoes in a shop Hallie is working in and the witty banter and consensual double entendres begin between the two protagonists, egged on by Clea (Nick's mother), who is outrageous but huge fun.
‘No, they met at a birthday party. Clea was in the cake. I try not to think about it.’
Nick is heading to Hong Kong the following week to cement a business deal which has been months in the making.  His potential business partners is widower John Tey, who has a nineteen year old daughter, Jasmine.  Last time Nick was in Hong Kong Jasmine put the moves on him and to let her down gently, he told her he was married.  Now he feels like he has to keep up the pretense of risk the deal and the feelings of both John and his daughter, neither of which he wants to do.  He also doesn't want to set up unrealistic expectations, as he's not in the market for a serious relationship, let alone marriage, so paying someone to pretend seems like the best solution.  After Clea quite outrageously (also shamelessly matchmaking) suggests Nick hire Hallie for the job, things quickly progress to offer and acceptance.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley, narrated by Katherine Kellgren

Why I listened to it:  I borrowed a copy from a friend because mail from The Book Depository takes too long when a book is this much anticipated.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads):  Nicola Marter was born with a gift. When she touches an object, she sometimes glimpses those who have owned it before. When a woman arrives with a small wooden carving at the gallery Nicola works at, she can see the object's history and knows that it was named after the Firebird - the mythical creature from an old Russian fable. Compelled to know more, Nicola follows a young girl named Anna into the past who leads her on a quest through the glittering backdrops of the Jacobites and Russian courts, unearthing a tale of love, courage, and redemption.

Warning:  Spoilers for The Winter Sea

What worked for me (and what didn't): I have been eagerly anticipating this book.  My previous two favourite Kearsley books were The Winter Sea/Sophia's Secret and The Shadowy Horses.  When I found out that Anna Moray from The Winter Sea and Rob McMorran from The Shadowy Horses were featured in this book, I just knew it was going to be wonderful.  I was not disappointed.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I'm Over at AAR today...

for Speaking of Audiobooks where I have 3 reviews upFlowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale, narrated superbly by Nicholas Boulton



as well as Tempting the Best Man by J. Lynn, narrated by Kaleo Griffith and The Lion's Lady by Julie Garwood, narrated by Susan Duerdin.



My fellow SOA reviewers also share their thoughts on The Haunting of Maddy Clare, Beauty Queen and Practice Makes Perfect.  Come see what we thought.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Skin in the Game by Jackie Barbosa

Why I read it: I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  Angela Peterson was always the quiet, shy kid growing up in Harper Falls, crushing on the high school quarterback and honing her football strategy skills. Now grown up and coaching the high school team, she’s shocked when that same sexy quarterback returns to Harper Falls asks her back to his hotel room. And then tries to steal her job.

Injured NFL quarterback Cade Reynolds is in Harper Falls to take over as interim head coach, and he never thought the tall, blond bombshell he propositioned would offer up any resistance. Not to a repeat of the amazingly wild night they shared and certainly not to his coaching position.

But the Harper Falls High Eagles are Angie’s team, and even the hometown hero won’t take that away from her, no matter how hot he is. As the two engage in a battle of wits and wills, this is one game neither is prepared to lose.

What worked for me (and what didn't): I liked Angie very much in this book.  She is a strong woman in a non tradiational role, kicking ass and taking names. She is the math teacher so popular there's a line to sign up for Calculus (this is unimaginable to me) and not just because she's good looking - but because she's such a good teacher.  She's also the Head Assistant Coach of the high school football team and she designs all the plays for the team.  Her vision and imagination when it comes to the team's playbook is one of the main reasons the team is headed to the championship.  She has the respect and affection of the players.  She loves her job and wants to keep doing it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Wait for You by J. Lynn

Why I read it:  I'd heard mostly good things about this self published new adult novel, so I bought it when it was 99c at Amazon.  I thought it was a pretty low risk investment.  It was subequently picked up by HarperCollins.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  Some things are worth waiting for…

Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at the Halloween party five years ago—an event that forever changed her life. All she needs to do is make it to her classes on time, make sure the bracelet on her left wrist stays in place, not draw any attention to herself, and maybe—please God—make a few friends, because surely that would be a nice change of pace. The one thing she didn’t need and never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she’s building for herself.

Some things are worth experiencing…

Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, complete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make her want things she believed were irrevocably stolen from her. She knows she needs to stay away from him, but Cam is freaking everywhere, with his charm, his witty banter, and that damn dimple that’s just so… so lickable. Getting involved with him is dangerous, but when ignoring the simmering tension that sparks whenever they are around each other becomes impossible, he brings out a side of her she never knew existed.

Some things should never be kept quiet…

But when Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls forcing her to face a past she wants silenced, she’s has no other choice but to acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. When the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface this time with one less scar? And can Cam be there to help her or will he be dragged down with her?

And some things are worth fighting for…

Warning: I don't think it's a spoiler to say that this book contains a (not very graphic) description of sexual assault.  It's not by the hero, but those for whom rape is a hot button may want to avoid it.

What worked for me (and what didn't): For the hero-centric reader, there is a lot to enjoy in how very nearly perfect Cameron is.  Even his flaws arise out of being protective and caring.  He falls for Avery almost from the beginning, is very patient with her without ever being  doormat.  He's gorgeous, popular, and not an asshole, so: win.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I have a new gig...

Hey everyone, I have some news.  I'll be reviewing at Dear Author a couple of times a month.  My first DA review is up today.  The Au Pair Affair wasn't a huge success for me unfortunately.  Go here to see why.


I'll still be reviewing here and for AudioGals and Speaking of Audiobooks as well as the occasional ARRA review (hence why there will only be a couple of DA reviews a month). I'm a busy girl!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

It Had To Be You by Jill Shalvis

Why I read it:  I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.  

What it's about: (from Goodreads) Ali Winters is not having a good day. Her boyfriend left her, everyone in town thinks she's a thief, and now she's about to be kicked out of her home. Her only shot at keeping a roof over her head and clearing her name is to beg for help from a police detective who's as sexy as he is stern....

After a high-profile case goes wrong, Luke Hanover returns to his hometown for some peace and quiet. Instead he finds a bombshell brunette in a heap of trouble. As he helps Ali put her world back together, the pieces of Luke's own life finally seem to fall into place. Is this the start of a sizzling fling? Or are Luke and Ali on the brink of something big in a little town called Lucky Harbor?

What worked for me (and what didn't: There is something to be said for a reliably good read. My reading mojo was a little down when I picked this book up but I knew that this would be a fun sexy read.  Jill Shalvis books are always that for me.  Some are more successful than others, but even the "average" ones are good and the comfort I can take in knowing that I'm going to have a good experience when I open a Jill Shalvis book cannot be underestimated.  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh, narrated by Angela Dawe

Why I listened to it:  A friend loaned me a copy to listen to while I was waiting for my print copy to arrive from the Book Depository.  I felt the need to get in quick to avoid spoilers.

What it's about: (from Goodreads) A dangerous, volatile rebel, hands stained bloodred.
A woman whose very existence has been erased.
A love story so dark, it may shatter the world itself.
A deadly price that must be paid.
The day of reckoning is here.


Warning:  Spoilers as to heroine's identity - if you don't want to know look away now.

What worked for me (and what didn't): I liked this one but I think it may have worked better for me in print.  Nalini Singh has a number of writing tics - in particular, she repetition of certain words - in this book it was "obsidian" "adamantine" and "entombed".  She also phrases things a little strangely sometimes - eg "in the bed that was her own" - and both of those things are easier to skip over in print than on audio, where I cannot skim.  In fact, Angela Dawe's narration style tends to emphasise these tics if anything.