Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Woman On The Run by Lisa Marie Rice

Well this is interesting. On page after page the main couple Get Down To It with hardly a word between them. Because, actually, that is how the hero is written, uncommunicative. So the suspense plot is absolutely vital to the progression of the relationship. This is the first novel I have read where that is the case. Usually the suspense element of the plot turns out only to be a page filler that gets in the way of the portrayal of the main romance.

The story shows its e-book roots in that it is a very simple tale of love. Between two quite sophisticated people as it happens. Maybe I'm too sensitive but I thought it pretty horrible how close to death the heroine actually gets. Unusually only the missionary position is explored by the main couple and as always, size matters.

The other theme; how to transform a dying small town into a vibrant growing community. Heartwarming stuff I'm sure. The ending was total sweet corn. I just about refrained from puking.

I like romances that feature the hero or heroine being kind to mistreated animals.

Again. recommended.

.....and then I remembered how much I was charged for this paperback. Man! It is seriously overpriced for what it is. It isn't even HOT (much).

Ooooo!! I have just discovered that this is basically a re-write of a book called Pursued written by Elizabeth Jennings. Honestly! Authors are such tricky little beasts.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Flirting With Danger by Suzanne Enoch

I thoroughly enjoyed this restrained romance between burglar Samantha and billionaire Rick. Published in the Avon Romantic Suspense series which means there's a lot of 'who cares' plot which climaxes in a gobsmackingly violent denoument scene. The heroine gets her head battered repeatedly by the baddie. Unbelieveably she seems to make a complete recovery in just about 2 weeks. I felt all her pain even if she didn't.

There are no secondary romances (praise be) and reading Sam and Rick together was a nicely sensuous experience.

Sometimes I didn't really like how Samantha speaks but that wasn't a big concern. After all the story is set in Palm Beach and we all know the wives/girlfriends of Florida millionaires are foul-mouthed. Another point is that the brit lord, Rick Addison, is mostly portrayed as refined, rich and classy when towards the end of the novel he is shown to be mean and vengeful. Not to mention the fact that he was too dumb to notice that a long term employee and old friend were robbing him blind. The american heroine is too often called a no-class whore by other characters in the book when she's nothing of the sort. Also 'Mr Wonderful' Rick totally fails to protect Sam from harm. And he stops wearing 'body armor' after only 2 days into their biblical relationship. (try that with me sonny and see what happens.) What I liked is how Rick talks to Sam and how he talks about his feelings for her. Other reviewers have said that the main couple are basically 2 highly strung individuals who don't seem to belong together. But that's the aspect I enjoyed.

I feel obliged to add that the food the main, supposedly rich, couple eat is totally disgusting...fried chicken, pie, chicken and parmesan, endless sandwiches...guaranteed to turn them both into obese blimps within the next 5 years. Sometimes I had to work hard to stay with the character of the heroine and not hear the voice of a cynical west coast author.

With each twist and turn in the plot I kept asking myself 'Why does he stay with her,' or 'Why does she stay with him.' And I liked the fact that the answer wasn't necessarily 'He has money,' or 'She's beautiful and clever.'

I'm buying the rest of the series definitely.

In the end I read the story about 2 or 3 times. And each time I felt more sympathy for Sam, the burglar heroine. Ok, she's an unconvicted felon. But basically she goes through the whole story with some quite serious, deep cuts on her back and leg. Which she got when she protected Rick from the bomb blast. Yet she rarely complains nor does she allow her injuries to cramp her style. And she gets so emotional about having feelings for her guy. Lovely.

Plus. It's not her fellow criminals who are doing all the killing.

btw. In popular culture a beamer is not 'a James Bond car'....actually its a dealers vehicle of choice. On the other hand. Nice to read about the lure of the Bentley.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who's a bit bored by Eve n Roarke. Although other reviewers say it's not in the same class, I found it satisfyingly more emotional than the 'In Death' books. With no crappy Mavis n Delia-wannabes in sight. Nor the now slightly annoying futuristic setting. And absolutely no sermonising. Thank goodness.

Damnation by Nathalie Gray

Page 19 of a 124 page story “Now was not the time to indulge in carnal needs” I disagree. Page 19 was just the right time to get down to it for the first time. Oh well. Mind you later on. This novel contains a half-way decent vampire orgy. That was nice.

Earlier than half-way through the story I realised this was a stonking good read. On so many levels. Wow! Hot hot scenes. A very high body count. That still doesn’t make the reader lose sympathy with the hero. Omg. The hero isn’t even faithful to the heroine. And I still like him. The heroine isn’t a very nice person either. I think I love her! Wow! It’s a freedom fighter’s novel. It’s about a downtrodden minority Doing Something Proactive about their situation. Rather than waiting for a rich prince to fall in love and rescue them from hell. Am I making sense? No matter. Wow. Wow. Wow. Everything a vampire love-story should be. Have I used the word poignant? It is. Thank you Mrs Giggles for first bringing this author to my attention. I didn’t really like Feral. But this. This Damnation. Is amazing. Oral. Anal. A smattering of non-consenual guy on guy. (Don’t worry. The perp Dies) Tension, excitement. All in 124 pages. I thought skills like that were a thing of the past. I suppose I should use the word ‘futuristic’ as well. For a change it works quite well.

Ok. Calm down. Let’s discuss the heroine’s transformation from a ball-breaking ‘bitch from hell” to a revolutionary sympathiser. Was it believable? Let’s face it. Dawn basically transforms into a spineless puddle of gooey emotionality. Ahhh. Ugh.

Page 84. Things start to turn nasty. The heroine, Dawn, gets caught. I had to stop reading and go do some housework for a while. I just know the author will punish and humiliate her. It’s her style. Obviously there was some higher purpose to me reading Wolfsbane first. :>( On page 87 the heroine got captured. I couldn’t take the tension. So I decided to read from the ending backwards. (yesiamacoward)

But have no fear gentle reader. The plot gets resolved by page 104 and then it’s nothing but carnality all the way to the end. Lovely. I checked out page 107. No criticism intended. Just that my latest book package arrived at that very moment. I’ll return later.

Geez. What a fantastic read. Goes straight onto my recommended list.

p.s. sorry about all the repetition. I'll re-edit in the future. Obviously I got a bit excited about the fact that I actually enjoyed a novel after so much dross. And then there's the aforementioned book package....and I still have all the shopping and gardening to do! Pooh.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Wolfsbane by Nathalie Gray

Another e-novel. I read them much quicker than print novels. And they're usually shorter than print novels too. In a way I'm glad e-authors don't spend pages and pages on boring characterisations.

This is one nasty piece of work. Because it features a lot, repeat, a lot, of non-consensual activity. Plus a lot of brutality. The main couple are really two poor victimised human beings finding comfort in each other.

My main complaint is this. Ok. The two persons who perpetrate the non-consensual acts on the hero both deservedly die. But those in Amsterdam who subjected the heroine to various indignities get no punishment whatsoever. So unfair.

Wolfsbane is essentially an eerie twisted Grimm faery tale. Set in medieval times on continental europe it still reads like a very modern story.

On many levels Wolfsbane is sordid sordid sordid. What redeems it is the rock-solid belief of the main couple in the goodness of each other. Both the hero and heroine have endured physical outrage to their bodies for quite some time past. But neither of them are bitter nor filled with hatred. Although the hero is a werewolf his condition reads more like a serious illness that has marginalised him from most of society than a rage of blood and lust. In fact the main couple do not get it together until almost the final chapter.

The story is notable for the fact that the author plays a mean trick on the readers. It's like she's trying to punish those persons who like to read hot hot scenes. Bitch! But really. I bear no ill-will to her.

Quite a nice happy ending. Although that dim-wit Frederick lets himself be taken for a fool by the heroine, Scarlett. One day he'll learn.

imo EC incorrectly categorised this novel as e-rotic. It should be x-treme because of all the non-consensual stuff.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

The Unsung Hero by Suzanne Brockmann.

Oops! I'd better be polite.

Obviously this book is written by a hugely talented and mega-successful author. But it is not for me. And I wondered why. Probably the reason is this. I think it’s weird if you still have the hots for someone you last met 16 years ago. And it’s disrespectful of what they may have made of their life. I absolutely know that serial monogamy is the norm nowadays…you marry and divorce (or change partners) every 5 years or so...but unless the writing is excellent I’m not that keen on reading about it. Romance, commitment, loyalty, respect, fidelity are all part of the same package. This novel is not for people who subscribe to that kind of thinking.

But most importantly. It’s not really a romance. More a small-town adventure caper. Like a grown-up version of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys featuring the two old coots from the Muppet Show. And boring boring boring. Vanilla. Mainstream. Boring. Well written though I’ll admit. It’s just personal taste that I don’t like stories where characters bicker for pages and pages. Also it would take a lot of special special writing to make me accept a hero with male pattern hair loss.

Plus. Did I get this wrong. But there were a minimum of 3 courtships in this story. That's far too many. And each couple is a stereotype. Dork, SEAL, rich girl, coot; all cyphers. Everyone knows that like gets attracted to like. Especially in a small town. So all these couples manufactured purely to appeal to a diverse readership I found to be a construction too far.

I did finish the book. But no more. Give me interesting, stimulating, emotionally involving over successful any any day.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Confession Time

I've caved in. Because I'm grateful to adult authors who write entertaining books for grown-ups.

Not only am I buying Killer Secrets. Also Hidden Agendas. Of course Fire and Ice. (If only for the continuing adventures of Peter) And A.N. Other. But I haven't decided what yet. Maybe that Linda Castillo that nearly traumatised Rosario. Or a Christine Warren. She seems to get regular good reviews.

What's more. I'm quite excited about reading them tooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Demon's Kiss by Eve Silver

Childish poop.

Another trailer-park romance with a no-life, no money heroine going gaga over the hero's wealth. Cripes! She's 28-years old with no friends and working in a flea-pit motel. Of course. She's also a medical student. But then again. Aren't we all? (hur, hur)

There's a hilarious scene where the heroine is attacked by a demon. She feels about on the floor for some kind of weapon and finds...a thumbtack!!! So wtf is the point of the scene?? Seeing how the thumbtack doesn't even get used.

I strongly suspected the high poop factor from the names of the hero and his friends. Ciarran, Darqun and Javier. I bet 90% of the readers (including me) don't even know how to say Ciarran.

In the end I couldn't finish the novel. Mainly because of the character of the heroine. I admit to having had a fantasy when I was young. For about 2 days while I got used to a new school. That I was secretly 'very special' and that one day a rich handsome popstar guy would fall in love with me and whisk me away from my humdrum life. And this novel is that fantasy brought to life. Except that I would not have been as cloyingly, embarassingly grateful as the cringe-making 28-yo heroine, Clea, of this novel. And the hero is not a popstar but a sweet biker guy with dark shades; a fantastic motorbike; who probably practises a lop-sided grin daily in front of a mirror in order to look mean.

Clea obviously has so little going on in her life. Apart from grief at her grandmother's death. She can't even afford a nice cup of coffee. She gushes pathetically when the hero buys her three types of the frothy brew. Sometimes I got the impression that Ciarran with his fake fawning over the very ordinary Clea read more like a psychotic episode she was experiencing. A total delusion. Signifying 'special' mental health problems. Because the poor dear was in need of some positive strokes.

I felt sorry for her.

Also. Why is the novel called Demon's Kiss? The hero is a Sorcerer. The demons are ugly animal type creatures. I doubt if the heroine ever kisses one of them. Unless maybe they are also rich.


Midnight Angel by Lisa Marie Rice

You know. I find it amazing how romance novels from minority publishers are able to address stimulating social issues in an entertaining manner in addition to including the obligatory hot hot earthy nookie.

Anyway. Midnight Angel. It's all about how big ugly Douglas and blind Allegra find true love. In the blink of an eye basically. Seeing how it's an Elloras Cave print novel. There's also a cracking good secondary plot about Allegra being stalked by a low-life killer on the orders of an imprisoned high-life killer.

The big let-down is that the psychological tension is built up very effectively but then the whole situation is resolved much too quickly. In the space of one chapter...because the author ran out of pages....because she spent too much time on the hot hot nookie between big Douglas and blind Allegra...and forgot about the suspense plot. Maybe a decent editor would have helped. On the other hand. Midnight Angel is a romance. So maybe that's the only plot that needed to be completed properly.

Not for one minute did I believe that the main couple have a long-lasting HEA. So much effort was put into depicting Douglas's ugliness. Allegra's gratitude will only last so long. Then it's 'Goodbye Douglas.' Poor man. One broken heart coming up.

The story also touches upon issues like what happens when a girl says 'No' to the men in her life. OMG. The author dares to talk about the political affiliations of the hero. I liked that. Then there's all that alpha, red, 3 o'clock stuff which I didn't understand but enjoyed reading through. Also the main couple have shared interests that bind them. Music, good food.

However. The heroine does unfortunately express some quite intolerant views about her blindness. No excuse. Seeing how she is probably not a Republican! tee hee. Plus Allegra hasn't even begun to feel any guilt about her part in the father's murder. Did she really have no idea that Corey was a psycho waiting to happen? Of course she did. That's why she asked her Pop to go with her to the contract-breaking meeting with Corey. Really another 2 or 3 chapters minimum should have been written in to make the novel a Stephen King-like tome.

Wow! That would have made a magnificent read. And successful too. I'm sure.

The character of Allegra is A Million Times Better than the Vile Dylan from Midnight Rising. Although in the interests of fairness I feel obliged to add both Allegra and Douglas are thoroughly amoral. Allegra because she fakes orgasms (understandable), fakes attraction (why?) and blatantly lies to Douglas about his looks (Acne scars are not 'beautiful.') Douglas because he contracts someone to kill Corey in jail.

A good hot stimulating read for anyone with more than basic education.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Midnight Rising by Lara Adrian

Geez. I cannot believe how much of a slimey amoral inconsiderate b.i.t.c.h. the heroine, Dylan is. She works as a tabloid journalist with her career going nowhere. And even when she did have a career in serious journalism she victimised a completely innocent man. So maybe her nasty nature was to be expected. And making her emotionally dependent on a cancer-ridden mom did nothing to redeem her in my eyes. Geez. The more I read about her the more I disliked her. Nor do I believe that Dylan is beautiful. Maybe a long time ago when she just started college. But not now. Not after working for years in scummy tabloid journalism. With all that smoke, alcohol, foul language and take-out meals. Even by her early 30s she’d have already mutated into a sexless geezer-gal. With about 100 notches on her bed-post. Why would Rio fall for someone like that?

Also. Until now this series has been relatively free of hookers. Unlike the BDB. I don’t find the idea of hookers interesting at all. Let alone do I want to read about them. As far as I can tell from newspapers, hookers are often old or ugly or addicts and prone to pass on social diseases. Often all four. Particularly in continental Europe. Why do people think they are suitable for romances with primarily a female readership? Ugh. (Plus in today's world it just doesn't work as a device for the good woman/bad woman divide. I've read too much about the poverty and brutality that being a hooker involves.) It's pathetic that this author (and her alter-ego) still circulate the stereotype that hookers are second-class citizens by definition.

Midnight Rising is put together in such a way that the heroine first admires the luxury, fine arts, good food of the Darkhaven. Only then does she become receptive to the charms of the hero. Gross! I suppose that the character of Dylan is supposed to be enough life-hardened not to be repulsed by the physical and emotional trauma experienced by Rio in the warehouse explosion. Trouble is. She has absolutely no empathy with anyone's situation but her own. She is transfixed by the thought of fame and money if she manages to get her vampire story into print. Nevermind the consequences for another person, Rio. Actually. Vile Dylan would make a perfect mate for ho-loving Sterling Chase.

In fact I’ve now gone off the whole series. Repeat appearances by lightweight hooker-loving wannabees like Chase, Reichen initially dimmed my enjoyment. And now this awful awful heroine. I will struggle to finish the novel. I probably won’t even bother. Rising is a 350-page novel but by page 150 the hero and heroine haven’t kissed nor are they hardly even friends. As a former reader of the series I do not want any more exposition of Breeds and their mates. I’ve read it all before. At all levels a reincarnated Eva would have made a much better heroine. With Rio falling in love with her all over again and her somehow atoning for what she did. I think I got suckered in by Kiss of Crimson which was a stonking good read. The others have been so so. I actively hated this novel.

I bought this book from the abe network which I accessed from the fantasticfiction website. It was sold as new and even with post and packaging seemed to work out cheaper than amazon. ABE seems to be an excellent seller so long as you buy one book at a time.

ps I have never met a hooker or a journalist. Nor did I ever aspire to become either. (Just thought I'd add that. Most of my 'knowledge' comes from documentaries and broadsheets.)

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Bens Wildflower by Carol Lynne

You Have Been Warned.

First. The hero, Ben, is a monster waiting to happen. Constantly professing his love then telling Kate to be ready to take him the minute he feels like whipping it out. Wherever and whenever. Second. I sorta know that some people really really do live lives similar to those portrayed in this story. God help them. Thirdly. This novel is so astoundingly awful that in the end I just gave up being disgusted and went along with the ride. I have to say. In a smack-down between Lover Unbound and Ben’s Wildflower, the latter wins through every time. At least it has a happy ending. A proper full stop.

Ben’s Wildflower has it all and it has absolutely nothing. I’ll start like this. Both the females have been repeatedly violently raped in the past. Off-story. But does it put them off sex? Do either of them ever contemplate for one micro-second to say no the sexual demands of their partners. No Way Jose! Kate and Jenny both love to get Down To It. On their knees, on their backs, with small and big toys, any which way at all and in both holes.

But then. Interspersed with all the quite affecting carnality are scenes of mind-numbingly boring domesticity. Which I skim read. Like I’m interested in how much food the hero eats. This is share-cropper love at it’s most profound. Kate’s pooch almost dies then makes a complete recovery. None of the plot makes sense. I personally felt that somewhere there should have been an orgy scene involving Kate, Jenny, Cree, Jake and Ben.

The story also involves a proper plot about how Kate is nastily victimised by the small-town bully. Who also happens to be supposedly the richest guy in town. Yet again we get a small-town revenge scene where Ben gets a woman who has been disrespectful to Kate, fired. Oh and nicknames. Kate is Ben’s Wildflower. I’m inclined to call her Ben’s simple-minded slut. Unfortunately. According to the plot. Ben is Kate’s only lover apart from her rapist. At some point in the novel, the main couple make a conscious decision not to call their nemesis by his given name, Clint. So instead. For about half of the entire novel they refer to Clint as ‘the little fucker.’ So bizarre.

I absolutely could not empathise with Kate. Through any of her terrible troubles. Why was that? She relied totally on Ben for the resolution of all her problems. Yet she wasn’t any kind of doormat at all. I know for sure Ben will soon turn into massive spousal abuser. All the signs are there. Including his cloying declarations of love to Kate. On the other hand. Maybe not.

For the stout-hearted only. But having said all that. Just today I read a spoiler for Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult. Believe me. It's plot is even more ridiculous. And more offensive.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Feral by Nathalie Gray

Another e-book. Rated e-rotic. Which means it’s supposed to be hot hot hot. But actually I ended up thinking ‘Boy! Some women have to work hard for one simple orgasm.’

Science fiction is not a genre which particularly appeals to me. And this story is totally derivative. Think of a million episodes of Star Trek. And I mean the 70s schtick. What’s more. By the end of this story I was more interested in the secondary characters, Liberty and Cupcake than the main couple Dex and Eva. Not hard when both the hero and heroine have no loyalties, looks or purpose in life. Even Dragana, with her pointless causes and easily roused hatred was more interesting.

I was unimpressed by the circumstances that caused Dex to change form over three times in the story. He’s supposed to change into this big killer lycan only under extreme stressful conditions but towards the end all Eva had to do was give him a smouldering look for it to bring out the big bad wolf in him. How predictable.

This is the first romance I’ve read where the heroine gives the hero some anal teasing. Definitely the first romance where the heroine has unashamedly undegone numerous cosmetic procedures. And the relationship between Eva and Dex was perfectly acceptable and believable. It almost worked how they began to feel genuine emotion for each other. Well. That’s what I thought.

The plot, such as it is, goes nowhere special. Despite all that. I'm quite tempted to read the follow-ups. Primal (which seems to be Liberty's and Cupcake's story) and Carnal (which ventures into Breed territory). To say nothing of the author's vampire story, DamNation. Maybe a couple of her werewolf stories, Wolfsbane and Bains Wolf too. tee hee. She's sort of Lora Leigh hot but without all the offensive male domination, female doormat baggage. I like the length of this novel. 142 pages. I totally object to reading a 400+ page romance only to conclude that I hated everything about it. (ie Harmony's Way, Lover Unbound)