Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Forever and a Day by Jill Shalvis

Forever and a Day (2012)
Jill Shalvis
Grade: A
Genre: contemporary romance
Sex scenes: hot
Source: NetGalley
Lucky Harbour series: (4) Lucky in Love, (5) At Last, (6) Forever and a Day

When Grace Brooks was stranded in Eat Me diner, Lucky Harbour during a freak snowstorm several months ago, her plan was never to stay in town for very long. The adopted daughter of a rocket scientist and research biologist, her parents have always had high expectations for their only child. Grace might not have followed them into science, but she has her CPA and is expected to earn a nice salary with a big firm. Instead, she’s living in a B&B, earning money by delivering flowers and modelling for art classes amongst other things. At least she has her new best friends, Amy and Mallory to turn to. And chocolate – can’t forget the chocolate.

Dr Josh Scott has way too much on his plate and not enough hours in the day to cope with it all. A car accident five years ago killed both his parents and left his younger sister Anna in a wheelchair; Anna wants to use her compensation money to go travelling across Europe with her flaky new boyfriend; Josh’s ex-wife deserted him several years ago and he is bringing up their son, Toby, by himself; Anna has just bought Toby a dog and in his excitement, Toby has taken to barking instead of speaking; Josh is torn between the ER and the practice set up by his dad which he's being pressurised to sell and; Tank (the dog) is a nightmare on four legs that Josh only wishes he could get rid of.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Pleasures of a Tempted Lady by Jennifer Haymore

Pleasures of a Tempted Lady (2012)
Jennifer Haymore
Grade: C+
Genre: historical romance/ship
Sex scenes: mild
Source: NetGalley

Everyone had believed Miss Margaret Donovan – Meg to her family – to have drowned eight years ago when she fell overboard during the journey home to Antigua with her twin sister Serena. Serena had been involved in a scandal with Jonathan Dane, Earl of Stratford and the sisters were being sent home in disgrace. Meg’s body had never been found and it was assumed that she was dead.

Meg had been rescued by the pirate Jacob Caversham – a fate worse than drowning. He’s a brutal, selfish and ruthless man and when he discovers that Meg is an English lady, he decides to keep her to teach his (kidnapped) wife how to act amongst polite society. Meg manages to form a lasting friendship with the beautiful but common Sarah, mother of Caversham’s son, Jake. When Sarah dies, Meg takes the chance she’s been waiting for and escapes Caversham’s ship with Jake, heading for her father's family in Ireland.

Friday, 20 July 2012

One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

One Foot in the Grave (2008)
Jeaniene Frost
Grade: C
Genre: paranormal romance
Sex scenes: hot
Source: library
Night Huntress series: (1) Halfway to the Grave; (2) One Foot in the Grave, (3) At Grave's End

We open with Cat four years older than we saw her last, entering the house of a Master vampire alone. She heads up the supernatural division of the FBI and trains other men to work with her. At the end of HTTG, her future boss, Don, had used threats of exposure to coerce Cat into taking the position and for the safety of her mother, Cat reluctantly agreed. This meant leaving Bones and she hasn’t seen him since.

Who would have guessed that the Master Cat had been sent to exterminate would be Ian, Bones’ sire? Cat suggests to Ian that she and Bones parted on bad terms because she has no wish for Ian to know of the full extent of their relationship, nor for him to communicate to Bones that she still misses him like crazy. Cat can’t bring herself to kill Ian like ordered because without what he did, she would have never met Bones; instead, she allows Ian to run on the condition that she never sees him again. Little does Cat know that this is exactly what will make her Ian’s greatest prize …

The Booby Trap by Anne Browning Walker

The Booby Trap (2012)
Anne Browning Walker
Grade: C-
Genre: contemporary romance
Sex scenes: tame
Source: NetGalley

Bambi Benson, waitress at the sports bar The Booby Trap is not the dumb blonde bimbo that she sounds or looks like. Yes, her name, job and figure fits the bill, but Bambi is actually a Womens’ Studies PhD student at Harvard writing her dissertation on the sexual objectification of women who work in professions with highly sexualised environments. The Booby Trap belongs to Joe Mula, one of her mum’s ex-boyfriends and the only one that Bambi actually felt close to. The job is a killer on her feet but provides Bambi with a steady income that she needs to fund her trip to London for the Annual Women’s Studies Conference where some of her most respected role models will be in attendance.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Abandon by Meg Cabot

Abandon (2011)
Meg Cabot
Grade: C+
Genre: YA paranormal
Source: own
Abandon series: (1) Abandon, (2) Underworld

I haven't read any new MC in years. I've been reading her work for over half my life and the Princess Diaries, Mediator and Missing series were huge favourites during my teen years. My one venture into that huge world of Fan Fiction featured the awesome Suze Simon of the Mediator series but I never got near to finishing it and I think I would be horrified by what I found if I went and opened the document today. I believe the last new MC I read was Airhead in July 2009; it hadn't been great so I haven't yet read the other two. I distinctly remember MC stating years ago that she would never venture into vampire territory and so I steered clear of her Insatiable series. I'm really looking forward to Size 12 and Ready to Rock because I love Heather Wells, but when I saw Abandon and it's beautiful cover, I couldn't help but buy it.

Pierce Oliviera is a NDE: Near Death Experience. When she was fifteen, she tripped and fell into the outside swimming pool during winter and drowned. When people inevitably ask whether or not she saw a light, she never tells the truth of exactly what happened to her. She's learned the hard way that the truth could lead to a future featuring men in white suits ...

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Almost a Scandal by Elizabeth Essex

Almost a Scandal (2012)
Elizabeth Essex
Grade: B
Genre: historical romance/ship-road
Sex scenes: mild plus
Source: NetGalley

Sarah Alice ‘Sally’ Kent has spent a lot of her life on ships. She’s nineteen years old and the only daughter of Captain Alexander Kent, legendary Captain of His Majesty’s Royal Navy. Her three older brothers (Matthew, Owen, Dominic) have all followed in the path of their father and are deeply respected in their own right. Until several years ago, Sally and her youngest brother Richard spent much of their childhood travelling the world with their father on his ship. For the past few years, Sally and Richard have been left at their family home in Falmouth. While Sally longs for the sea, Richard has absolutely no desire to follow in the family tradition and has instead resolved to join the clergy. When his father and older brothers secure him a place as a midshipman on the Audacious, he runs away the day that he's scheduled to board the ship. Knowing that Richard's absence could possibly ruin the Kent reputation, Sally knows that there is only one thing that she can do: take Richard’s place.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Witness by Nora Roberts

The Witness (2012)
Nora Roberts
Grade: B+
Genre: romantic suspense
Sex scenes: mild
Source: library

I generally try to read NR's new releases when they come out, but I haven't read the last three or four newest romantic suspenses. Not sure why, but I've tended to steer towards the contemporaries and In Death books in preference to the romantic suspenses. When I saw The Witness at the library, I knew that if I didn’t grab it then and there, the waiting list would be a mile long by the time I decided I wanted to read it.

Abigail Lowery didn't always go by that name. She's had numerous aliases since the day of her seventeenth birthday and has been on the run ever since. Abigail was born Elizabeth Fitch and at sixteen years old, she finally decided she was long overdue her teenage rebellion. Dr Susan Fitch is not your regular, loving parent and not used to being disobeyed. Elizabeth was conceived by donor after extensive research into the health, intellect, family history etc of possible donors and Elizabeth's own life has been similarly monitored and controlled. Her mother dictates what she eats, what she wears and her future career path as well as everything else in between. Elizabeth is exceptionally bright with an eidetic memory (more commonly known as photographic, though this description is inaccurate) and has already completed pre-med at Harvard and will be starting her med programme come September.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Saving June (2011)
Hannah Harrington
Grade: D
Genre: YA
Sex scenes: one scene, fade-out-ish
Source: NetGalley

June had always been the perfect daughter. The eldest of two girls, she was the prettier sibling with the perfect grades, perfect GPA, perfect friends, perfect extra-curriculars with the brightest future ahead of her. Harper is the rebel child: she’s never been able to live up to her parents expectations of her and so has taken to smoking, never expanding her clothing choices beyond a hoodie and jeans and barely scrapes by in school. June’s suicide leaves a chasm that the defiant Harper has no wish to fill.

No one had had any idea that June was suicidal; she hadn’t even left a note. Harper had been the one to find her: lying as if asleep in the backseat of her car, still in the garage, an empty bottle of sleeping pills beside her. Their family life had already been pretty dysfunctional what with their parent’s less-than-amicable divorce, but now so more than ever. Harper’s father has disappeared off into his new life with his new girlfriend and her mother is like a zombie, unable to go through the motions of everyday life without the pious Aunt Helen to coddle over her. Everybody is distraught but Harper can’t even cry.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

The Queen's Lady by Eve Edwards

The Queen's Lady (2011)
Eve Edwards
Grade: B-
Genre: YA historical
Source: NetGalley

The recently widowed Lady Jane, Marchioness of Rievaulx is Queen Elizabeth's new lady-in-waiting. While she had nothing but a daughterly love for her elderly husband, Jane's three step-sons loathe her and can't wait to play on the fact that her marriage was never consummated. On her late husband's advice, Jane escapes to London to take up her new role which carries with it the protection of the Queen.

What Jane isn't banking on is that James Lacey is back in London. She's loved him for years, even when she was engaged to his older brother Will, the Earl of Dorset. Jane hasn't had any contact with James for six months, but her feelings remain unchanged. James - not so much. He's recently returned from Europe with his manservant Diego, where he was a spy for the English. He's still traumatised by what he witnessed and overcome with guilt that he couldn't do anything to prevent the terrors committed against women and children. With true brotherly loyalty, he's somewhat bitter towards Jane for her broken engagement with his elder brother. What he doesn't know is that Jane knew that Will was in love with her childhood friend Ellie and broke her engagement with Will so that he and Ellie could be happy. A right martyr.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Halfway to the Grave (2007)
Jeaniene Frost
Grade: C+
Genre: paranormal romance
Sex scenes: that infuriating spot between mild and hot that I’ve yet to find an adequate word to describe
Source: library
Night Huntress series: (1) Halfway to the Grave, (2) One Foot in the Grave, (3) At Grave's End

When I say that it’s been a long time since I’ve read a paranormal romance, I do mean it. I keep track of absolutely everything I read, both on paper and Shelfari and my records are pretty damn accurate. The last PR I read was A Lick of Frost, the sixth Merry Gentry book by Laurell K. Hamilton back in January 2012. The last PR by a new-to-me author was Wolf at the Door by Christine Warren back in July 2011 and even this was an aberration in my reading habits at that time. I went through a phase about three years ago where almost everything I read was PR, but I grew out of it and moved to straight romance because I got bored and most of what I was reading was too repetitious and unoriginal. 2012 and I’m not budging any time soon; I may be more willing to venture back into PR every now and again if I feel like it, so it better be worth it.

I’m not entirely sure why I picked Jeaniene Frost as my pass back into PR; there’s a lot of other authors and series that I’ve heard equally good things about. I think the deciding factor was learning that the vampire-hero is called Bones. Now, Bones the television show is one of my favourites. I’ve only watched up to the end of season five because six and seven are still too expensive to buy, but I have a vague idea of what happens. [Incidentally, this is the bulk of where my hatred of spoilers comes from]. Anyway, back to the point: yes, I am shallow enough to have picked up HTTG mainly for the reason that the hero’s name is that of one of my favourite shows.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Seven Day Loan by Tiffany Reisz

Seven Day Loan (2010) (short story)
Tiffany Reisz
Grade: A-
Genre: erotica/contemporary
Sex scenes: scorching
Source: NetGalley
The Original Sinners (The Red Years): (prequel) Seven Day Loan (1) The Siren, (2) The Angel, (3) The Prince, (4) The Mistress
Ms Reisz gives a new meaning to the term ‘short story’. I’d wanted to read Seven Day Loan before The Siren after it was recommended Heroes and Heartbreakers, but it was only available in e-book form and shock-horror in this digital age, I don’t have an e-reader. Thus, imagine my elation when I saw that it was available on NetGalley and then I received confirmation the next day saying that it was ready for download. As mentioned in my review, The Siren is a substantial work: nearly four-hundred pages long. In my head, I equate the term short story with novella; I generally don’t like either because I feel that the authors cannot do the story and characters justice in such a limited arena. Ms Reisz managed to prove me wrong in just twenty-five pages. Yes, that’s right: Seven Day Loan is a mere twenty-five pages long. This is the sort of length that I’d expect my five-year-old cousin to be reading – though clearly of a genre more suited to his age group.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

My Name is Memory (2010) (Hodder & Stoughton)
Ann Brashares
Grade: A-
Genre: YA romance
Sex scenes: fade out
Source: library

Re-incarnation can be boiled down pretty simply to the idea that when you die, you get born again in a new body. Daniel is pretty familiar with the concept: he's only done it dozens of times, again and again for the single purpose of finding the girl he loves - Sophia.

Daniel isn't your average re-incarnate. Unlike 99.9%* of the population, he has the unique ability to remember every single one of his past lives. Not only that, but he can recognise souls: people who were part of his past lives, which is how he manages to find Sophia every time. The names 'Daniel' and 'Sophia' are their names from their very first lives when they met and though they've changed time and time again, Daniel hangs onto the comfort of their familiarity. He's been filthily rich and dirt poor across several continents; some lives were substantially shorter than others but not in a single one of them has he managed to get Sophia (on the times he's managed to find her) to remember her past lives with him so they can have their happy ending.

Monday, 2 July 2012

The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection (2012)
Kiera Cass
Grade: A-
Genre: YA dystopian
Source: NetGalley
The Selection: (1) The Selection, (2) The Elite

The Selection is a life-changing experience for all thirty-fives girls who are chosen, even if they don't win. It's the traditional means of finding a wife for the Crown Prince of Illéa whereby one girl is chosen from every province to live the high life of the royalty in the palace. As the prince spends more time with the girls, he’ll eliminate them until he’s left with one girl who will become his wife. A reality television Princess-finding process, as it were, since the people of Illéa tune in weekly during the Capital Report to watch the progress of the Selected and are just as enthusiastic - if not more so - about who will become Queen than the prince is. The Selection is open to all girls between the ages of sixteen and twenty, whatever their caste. An eligible girl would be crazy not to enter; America Singer is by this definition, crazy.