Tag Archives: Carla Swafford

Oyster Brings a Netflix-like Model to Romance Reading

23 Oct

I was thrilled to find out that a new platform has come on the market for readers, Oyster. Looking to Netflix as a subscription model, readers pay $9.95 per month and have access to all of Oyster’s library (about 100,000 in copyright books), with the ability to “play” any book they want – books don’t download onto your device (which I imagine means you need to have a connection at all times).

For heavy readers this becomes an affordable alternative, particularly as more and more publishers release titles onto Oyster’s platform. Having read about Oyster and watched videos about how it works, I nevertheless wanted to have a better sense of what it could offer romance readers, but I wasn’t willing to pay for a month in order to test the water. Lucky for me, Oyster recently announced a free month to trial the platform for people wanting to test it out (in honor of their iPad app release).

A major caveat before downloading the app – originally designed for the iPhone, the iPad version of the program is meant to be enlarged using the 2x button. This means that users not running the latest iOS are going to notice highly pixelated text which makes it hard on the eyes. People running iOS 7 on their phones and iPads will have no problem.

The iPad is a natural first device upon which to launch considering its level of infiltration in the market.

But what does Oyster have to offer romance readers? I found the offerings to be diverse and hitting several big name authors – Amanda Scott, Debbie Macomber, Lisa Kleypas, Sarah Maclean, Julia Quinn, Katherine Ashe, and Tessa Dare were some of the historical romance authors (they even have most of Kathleen Woodiwiss‘ backlist) and paranormal authors like Christine Feehan, Jeaniene Frost and Lyndsay Sands were represented as well. A few erotica books were in there, as well as category romance from Crimson Romance’s imprint, and romantic suspense authors like Carla Swafford and Elizabeth Lowell.

I didn’t like that so many non-romance books were mixed in (because it makes it look like Oyster doesn’t know what the definition of the genre), but it is true that romance readers often cross-genres, particularly with mystery, historical fiction and women’s fiction – nevertheless, I don’t want to see them when I’m looking for romance. There’s plenty of contemporary romance, romantic comedy and inspirational romance and they even divide up historical romance, highlighting Regency and medieval titles. It’s pretty snazzy.

Could there be more titles? Sure. But the above authors are damn good ones and there was a nice mix of books I’ve read and books I want to read – considering I read around 350 romance novels a year, I find this pretty snazzy and I’m sure it will only get better as Oyster will have to acquire more titles in order to stay competitive, particularly with other subscription read services about to launch.

So take a look at Oyster (for free) to see if you’ve got the hardware to see if it has something to offer you as a romance reader. I think that you’ll find it may offer readers a wonderful romance library to draw upon (for only $9.95 a month.

Sunday Reflections: Upcoming Books, Fun Stuff and Great Deals You Might Have Missed, Week Ending August 25th

25 Aug

Contests and Giveaways

Robyn Carr has a justified reputation for damaged heroes and strong heroines so her fans are undoubtedly holding their breath for the release of her latest Thunder Point series release, The Hero, due out on August 27th. Lucky for them, there is a Goodreads giveaway to win a copy, so hustle over prior to the 27th and enter to win.

Nalini Singh is making everyone chomp at the bit for the latest book in her Guild Huntress series, Archangel’s Legion, and to tantalize us even more, this doyenne of paranormal romance and urban fantasy is giving away five ARC’s of the book! Just follow the instructions on her blog in sending an email to her assistant by August 26th to enter.

If I’m going to enjoy a cowboy romance, nine times out of ten I let Linda Lael Miller take me there. On August 27th, she’s got her latest novel in the Swoon-Worthy Cowboys series (great name, yes?), Big Sky Wedding, coming out and there is a giveaway in its honor over at Goodreads. Enter by the 27th and saddle up your horse to enjoy!

The I Heart Harlequin Presents blog is offering a Royal Giveaway of four of the imprint’s recent novelsLost to the Desert Warrior (which I reviewed this week – awesome!), Prince of Secrets, A Royal Without Rules, and Duty at What Cost?. All you have to do is leave a comment on the post saying where you were when the royal prince was born to enter. Get that comment in by midnight August 29th!

Carla Swafford delights in writing angsty, suspenseful romance as readers of her The Circle series know. The third book, Circle of Deception, was released back in January, but if you haven’t gotten to it yet, you might enjoy the prompt of trying to win the Goodreads giveaway for it! Be sure to enter by September 1st.

The Book Pushers blog is giving away five copies of Lisa Gardners’ latest romantic suspense novel, Maggie’s Man, written under her new pen name of Alicia Scott. It’s the first book in her Family Secrets trilogy about three half-siblings working to find out the truth about their family which just debuted on August 6th. Leave a comment with your favorite romantic suspense author before August 28th and you might win a free copy!

Fun Stuff

In case you worried that there were no good men out there who understood what it takes to not just fall in love but stay in love, read this inspiring post by Jackson Bliss about how he gives his all in his marriage. You’ll be forwarding it to your friends, male and female, I promise.

It’s a lamp, it’s an ampersand, it’s a “lampersand”! From the wonderful buyers at ModCloth, comes this household accessory for your favorite writer or reader, in textured metal and romance red. It’s 20 by 20 inches, so it’s a decent size, but you can hand on the wall or place on your favorite bookshelf. Wouldn’t it be fun to have two canvases, each with a couple’s name and this in the center? For $89.99, this household accessory is worth adding to your domicile.

As romance readers we spend a lot of time reading about character’s body language, whether it’s the alpha male crowding a rival or the heroine battling it out in the boardroom. This great article from buffer gives some great insight on body language and how it conveys power. You’ll find yourself never crossing your arms again!

Great Deals

wounded heroes box set copyWe’ve got three more additions to the uber-cheap boxed sets of themed collections so you can experience some new authors and series. First up is the Wounded Heroes boxed set (yes, please!) featuring physically and emotionally damaged horse trainers, military men and detectives who all need to find the woman meant for them to push them into dealing with what life has thrown them. As with all the collections in this series, this one is also only $.99 for over a thousand pages.

Also from the same author collective is the fantastic Bad Boys Boxed Set with four books (historical and contemporary) highlighting naughty boys who are ready to make the commitment to the right woman to limit their bad boy persona to just her. On the flip side is the Good Guys Heroes Boxed Set of five novels filled with men who make a living out of doing the right thing. Both are only $.99 for this leading man smorgasbord.

So many historical romance readers cut their teeth on Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and those readers might be interested to note that her best-seller, Shanna, is available on huge discount in ebook form on Amazon, currently costing only $2.99. Woodiwiss didn’t write small, so you are getting 672 pages of a condemned prisoner, a hasty marriage and hot consummation, followed by freedom and a Caribbean paradise. This is a saga, people, so brace yourself for a reminder for what romance novels were like in the late 1970s.

If you thought sets of four or five books for $.99 was great, how about ten of them? The Perfect Ten boxed set features such amazing authors as Alexa Grace and Adrienne Giordano and gives readers a slice of all the major subgenres of romance – romantic suspense, urban fantasy, time travel romance, mystery, thriller, paranormal, etc. – in one tidy package.

Jill Shalvis’ Forever and a Day, from her Lucky Harbor series, is on deep discount in ebook form on Amazon – down to $1.99. If you are someone who appreciates a small town populated by characters (many of them who fit the description “eccentric”) in each other’s business, plenty of humor and smoking hot sex scenes filled with emotion, you need to hop into this series ASAP. Not sure? Take a look at my review for more details.

Happy reading this week, everyone!

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