Thursday, 25 June 2009

Obsession by Sharon Cullen.

A really interesting and enjoyable 138-page e-romance which I will probably buy when it comes out in print. Much better than many series romances because I do not like 'secret baby' stories. The writer plays a really sly trick on the readers and I happily fell for it hook line and sinker. I just thought Tessa was another TSTL romance heroine when she didn't recognise the attempted rapist as her brother-in-law. But what do I know!

The story is about the reconciliation of husband and wife, Alex and Tessa. No other people involved. Just some heartache and job pressures. Initially Alex came across as an unfriendly sulker but once he learned that Tess had not divorced him, he did seem to calm down and become a whole lot less defensive.

Tess can say what she liked about how they didn't discuss their baby's death but when she was nearly raped, Alex gave her what she seemed to need. Which was silent time to get over what happened without him putting the moves on her until she was ready. I really liked that. No 'You've nearly been raped now lets have a threesome.' Which is what happens in so many other so-called erotics. This story is not an erotic. So yes. It is just a little 'woman's fictionish.' Particularly the scene where Tessa doesn't mind that her sister has named her newest baby after Tessa's dead daughter. Shannon was just a total bitch for doing that. But at the heart of the novel is the romance between Alex and Tessa and that's what I enjoyed reading.

The epilogue was also a little too cute for me to totally appreciate. It seemed that Alex got himself into pretty much the same situation as what drove Roger to deal. i.e. Lots of kids and only one income. Not that Alex would ever do anything illegal or even immoral. He didn't seem at all like the kind of cop to cut corners. And that's a nice change too. The other thing was. Ok. Alex is probably an hispanic in name only and maybe he doesn't speak spanish at all. But really. He could have given just one of his kids an hispanic name...just to carry on his traditions..not just Tessa's.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

The Sins of Lord Easterbrook by Madeline Hunter

The problem with this novel is that the main couple despite her being about 25 and him being in his early thirties, both read like they are each about 105 years old. They are so full of regrets its unbelievable. The heroine seemed to be pursing a vengeance on behalf of her dead father. Why? Live your own life dear. And the names; Pedro, Gaspar...very strange.

Whenever the main couple met I couldn't detect the slightest spark of emotional feeling between them. I struggled to maintain an interest for 2 chapters and then gave up.


McAlistairs Fortune by Alissa Johnson

The sequel to 'Tempting Fate.'

I got to about page 273. And I put the book in my bag knowing full well I probably wouldn't be finishing it.

The story is basically killed stone-dead by its well-intentioned pc-ness. The heroine is a cripple with a facial scar. So under no circumstances is the hero allowed to be mean to her. Except that making her ride for two days did actually cause her a great deal of unnecessary pain. (And that was down to the author) I had no idea who Mary Summers was, or Christian or Mr Fortune...other than they had appeared in previous novels or were being prepared for sequels. And because of that we have absolutely no written characterisation of these people...they are just there.

But what finally killed the novel for me was the ludicrous scenario of these 5 people living in a big house with no servants....and none of them can cook. So instead of all helping each other, they split up cooking duties one by one. The sheer monotony of each person's attempt at preparing a meal just alienated me from the story. How did they manage bathing? Or washing clothes? Or emptying chamber pots? I could see how the scenes would work on tv. Very funny. But on the written page it just seemed pointless. Even the main couple didn't help each other out in the kitchen! What was the purpose of the cooking scenes. There was absolutely no character development between anyone. Just to pad the story while waiting around for the bad guy to make an appearance? Most probably.

I lost interest completely...

dnf...but probably will one day when I'm too infirm to leave my bed.

The Real Deal by Lucy Monroe

Buying this book was a terrible mistake for me. All the reviews I read of it seemed to imply that the story was a contemporary romance between Amanda and Simon. But in fact there is a third person involved in the whole novel; Lance. Who is married to Amanda at the beginning of the novel. So there you have it. The heroine. Married to one guy at the start. 'In love 4evah' with another by the end. I think that's a version of hot-bedding and an object lesson in why guys and gals should pay regular visits to a clap-clinic. (I don't actually know if Amanda's gyno puts in an appearance.) And of course. Its All Lance's Fault. The swine. He likes threesomes. So Amanda must be the wronged party, mustn't she? But the first time we meet Amanda she's committing violence on her husband's maybe the breakup was just inevitable. That's why 'no fault' divorce was invented..although from the words I read this story seemed to say that the husband was to blame.

Sorry. Women's fiction and chick lit. Where guys are always in the wrong...I don't read them.

...actually. I only read 2 pages. Which is a record even for me.


Sunday, 14 June 2009

Called by Blood and Bound by Blood by Evie Byrne

Why would anyone read these very short erotic novellas?

1. For a contemporary urban vampire fix. Gregor and Alex are happy unashamed blood-suckers who will co-opt any male or female as their food supply.

2. The bump and grind. Totally good.

I quite liked the mom too. The heroines are both incredibly easy. The heroes hardly have to bother with even the slightest courtship. They basically just turn up and do. What evens out the score is that both the heroines are fairly standard modern females in that they let they guy in with minimum fuss and then proceed to give him a hard time. Helena in particular really puts Alex through the grinder.

The one with Gregor and Maddy is the better of the two. Mainly because they have some difficulties to overcome. Although in some ways its a bit far-fetched to imagine a female with a battery pack dressed in a basque and deep-throating. Helena is a cop's worst nightmare. She calls to report a stalker, then has a relationship with said stalker. You can bet she wouldn't hesitate for one second to sue the cops if the stalker turned out to be nasty. That's why I dislike heroes or heroines who work in show-biz. They are total users and ball-breakers. Even government funded show-biz.

I hope Misha's girl is an assertive fellow-vampire who doesn't just lay down and open. But I doubt it.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Friday Night Mistress by Jan Colley

Nick sees Jordan every Friday night for some bump and grind. Neither is involved with anyone else. Unfortunately their respective families are on different sides in a libel case and have a history of hating one another.

I should have enjoyed this story.


Nick's younger brother Adam, who is presented as an amiable playboy makes a joke to Nick's beautiful secretary, Jasmine. He suggests that carnal relations should be added to her job front of Nick. Is that funny? Or is that generic harassment? If he wants to go out with Jasmine, just ask her and be prepared to accept 'No' as an answer.

More importantly. Essentially. Both Jordan and Nick, grown-up adult people, allow their respective fathers to control their lives....including their sex lives. The novel actually features a controlling Dad who has a heart attack, so his daughter Jordan changes her behaviour to Nick. That so reminds me of all those appalling 1980s romances where the heroine was basically pimped out by her family. But this is set in New Zealand...a very small island. Maybe the younger generation down there don't understand the concept of self-determination. That's why I gave up reading series romances. And discovered the independent hard-working heroines in JAK novels. flesh crawls...dnf on principle

Hidden Honor by Anne Stuart

Is it too much to ask that a Stuart couple are actually shown to have a HEA with nice house and kiddies playing in the garden? Probably.

Oh well. Lovely lovely story. Basically a medieval road-movie with a couple of chapters of intense loving bookended by lashings of stolen kisses and smouldering looks.

I will hear no criticism of Elizabeth. After all, she is just 17 yo and likes to give some attitude. So what she has a number of TSTL moments. She’s allowed them. The story features another divine ‘Peter.’ Why does he fall for Elizabeth? Because she’s tall, beautiful, has lovely red hair, helps deliver children, and can run a large house. Nuff said. But if ever a heroine had a m.v. it is Elizabeth. (She on the other hand has absolutely no idea of her own appeal.) I mean, Peter has been a penitentiary monk for seven years, but he's just entranced by Elizabeth from day one. Too much is written about Elizabeth's lack of looks mainly because the reader sees her through Peter's eyes and to him she is always beautiful. I really enjoyed reading her feelings of confusion, awe and pain as she fell in love for the first time. Assertive ladies beware though. I don't think Elizabeth ever helps Peter throughout the whole story although he saves her life a number of times. (On the other hand she doesn't place herself in unnecessary danger either.) And as far as Peter is concerned, Elizabeth is so easy.

There’s a secondary couple. Presumably because in 2004 every romance had to have more than the main couple. Adrian and Joanna were ok, except that sometimes Adrian spoke with the same voice as Peter, and actually they both seemed to have a better HEA than Peter and Elizabeth. Peter had given all his estates to the church. So where would he and Elizabeth make their home? How did Peter get away with killing the King’s son? He’s a very very lucky man.

I recognised that Peter was the good-guy right away. But that didn’t spoil the enjoyment one iota. I kept asking myself, ‘So when’s Elizabeth going to find out the truth?’ The poor dear.

A very simple plot about a knight-monk pretending to be a degenerate prince while the evil handsome prince pretends to be a simple monk. And they're all going on a journey to a shrine so the prince can confess his sins and be forgiven. On the way the group pick up a maiden travelling to join a convent and 'a professional mistress.' Unfortunately the monk and the prince have a history and some mayhem ensues. A reader could imagine forever what William truely would like his relationship with Peter de Montselm to have been...even back in their Crusade days.

All the protagonists are single with no romantic bagagge. And that is probably why I liked it...a lot.

Beauty and the Spy by Julie Ann Long

This story is well written and a skill with words dragged me from chapter to chapter. But often I thought to myself, “I hate this novel…it is not a romance…more a ‘make-do’ kind of thing between the main couple.” A kind of cold-hearted courtship despite the kisses.

The fundamental problem is the characters of the main couple and their relationship with one another. When the heroine, Susannah, had money she came across as a selfish stuck-up bitch, who believed herself in love with the nobleman she was engaged to. Early on in the story, she becomes penniless…and is promptly jilted by her fiancĂ©. Who then turns up later in the story to offer her a place as his mistress. Although Susannah rejects his insulting offer, she seems happy enough to fulfil the same role for the hero. In fact the whole novel is too full of kept mistresses who come to sad or sordid ends. As much through desperation as anything.

About two-thirds of the way through the book the hero, Kit, himself admits that a carnal relationship with Susannah would be nothing more than a ‘delightful interlude.’ Is that because he knows that not only is she destitute, but she’s also illegitimate. Obviously in the end he admits he loves her and marries her…but that’s too late to make a good romance. Also. When Kit isn’t hankering after his first love Caro, he’s fixated on returning to his liaison with the married countess.

Susannah meanwhile just drifts into ‘loving’ the nearest nobleman. And as the writer says. The way Susannah still clings to wearing her clothes in the style she used to when she was wealthy is frankly, a bit sad. Who was washing all her lovely dresses?

I kept reading for a while because I was somewhat interested as to how Morley would be revealed to be the traitor he was. Because there’s an issue in politics today about elected officials being happy to give state secrets to groups dedicated to destroying the freedoms of the western way of life.

Actually I stopped reading when the main couple go at it for the first time. The heroine was too desperate to find someone with money and the guy should have had a higher moral code than to take advantage of a vulnerable young woman who more than anything seemed on the verge of depression.

But this is written by a successful author so I’m probably in a minority.

dnf surprisingly

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Always a Scoundrel by Suzanne Enoch

I'm not saying I won't one day finish this. Because I'm sure it's a very good story.


The heroine is basically 'sold' into an arranged marriage with a corrupt degenerate because her younger brother has built up enormous gambling debts. And she doesn't hate her brother's stupid guts??!! And she doesn't despise her parents for accepting the guys disgusting proposal??

That should be the story of this novel. Not. Oh, actually she ends up marrying the slightly less degenerate hero who's really a good sort of guy at heart. I'm sure they'll be very happy ever after.

Vexing the Viscount by Emily Bryan.

The Big Disappointment in this story is that there is no treasure. I repeat. No Treasure. If there had been the story would have been truely sublime. (Sigh)

Apart from that major misjudgement by the author this book is lovely. It features a Miss with Money who plots her hardest to get the man she was friends with when they were children to fall in love with her. And it works really well. Lots of lovely steam. I really liked the hero. Despite being practically broke he refuses to marry the heiress his father has searched out for him. (Who is not the heroine I hasten to add.)

The title makes the book seem really lightweight but I thought some serious issues appear in the story. Like the issue of being a traitor to the Crown. Like the issue of what good Lucien could do for his estates if he had found the treasure. Like the issue of being a slave in Roman times. Like how Lucian saves Daisy's life when his own father tries to shoot her dead! That's how much he loves her. Also the story is set in times when people wore wigs and the guys 'showed a leg' as a courtesy. So the cover is a load of old hokum again.

The story features some characters from previous novels which I had not read. And I couldn't really work out if Lady Wexford was one of those characters.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Seraphim by Shelby Reed

I kept reading in the hope it would get better. But it never did. The plot just goes nowhere for ages. Gia, the heroine, basically trades her body for material comfort every chance she gets and closes her eyes to her husband being a career criminal. But more than that. She’s a woman who has relations with her husband because he wants to and she just mentally opts out of the experience. But oh, there’s nothing wrong with her marriage; after all her husband gives her little gifts all the time. Of course the hero is the guy that can actually make her feel emotions during the act. She wants to have her cake and eat it, so to speak. Fine. That’s her life. There’s nothing romantic or erotic about it. It’s basically sordid. Jesus said….Yes. But Jesus gave his life for humanity. Gia sacrifices nothing. She justifies her tawdry compromises with ‘..but I was born poor.’ Which is no justification at all. Did I say Gia is also 100% TSTL…all the time?

The story, such as it is, is nothing original. ‘Special’ person chosen and trained to fight evil. Actually I love that theme. But this version was just….crap. Recently I’ve watched a number of movies in which I so wanted the ‘hero’ to just Die…Hot Fuzz (whoever heard of a slasher movie with an HEA!!), Wanted (in which the hero is fooled into killing his own father by a wealthy cult but of course he decides to stay with them because....they gave him his self-respect??!!!), Terminator:Salvation (why did all those people sacrifice themselves for the charisma-free John Connor??). And reading this novel I felt the same. “Please, Gia. Die in vain and do Not be resurrected.” But I don’t think that happened.

I got to page 71 and checked out due to utter boredom and disinterest.