Tag Archives: NetGalley

Naked Sushi by Jina Bacarr a Yummy Addition to Cosmo’s Red-Hot Reads Collection

15 Oct

Naked Sushi by Jina Bacarr (Cosmo’s Red-Hot Reads by Harlequin, October 15, 2013)

I’m beginning to appreciate the diversity of voices in Harlequin’s recent partnership with Cosmopolitan magazine‘s Red-Hot Reads ebooks. Tawny Weber, HelenKay Dimon and we all know how I think Lauren Dane’s Cake should win an award it was so awesome…this is quite the lineup of very different authors, all of them with a distinct readership. It’s a smart approach and I love smart.

When I saw Naked Sushi available on NetGalley and that it had the Cosmo Red-Hot Reads brand in the corner, I was intrigued enough to give it a try although I had never read anything by Jina Bacarr.

Bacarr has a somewhat zany style in this 90 page novella, starting the book in media res with our heroine, Pepper, stretched naked on a sushi table at a high scale Japanese restaurant trying to get the attention of her former boss and horrified to see the man she had sex with in the copy room of her programming company taking a tuna roll off her thigh.

The scene quickly dissolves to take us back to the beginning of the adventure, focusing on Pepper the brainy computer programmer who loves her job but not her witch of an office manager. She drops back into work one night only to find a hot guy in the copy room who she thinks is the new person just hired. They end up having one steamy sex scene before Pepper accidentally triggers an alarm and her copy buddy makes his escape after having his orgasm but right before she has hers. Ouch.

This is frustrating in more than one way, particularly after her bitchy manager, who is perpetually jealous of the pretty, capable Pepper even though she wears thick glasses and oversized flannel shirts, is the one to discover her bare-assed and shaking with need attempting to tidy the room. When the paper scattered every which way is revealed to be the company owner’s tax returns, Pepper is instantly fired without a reference. Angry at both the lover who left her high and not dry as well as the situation, Pepper shifts into sleuth mode and tries to get back her job. What she finds is that the mystery guy carries handcuffs….for a living…and that things are way more complicated than even she could imagine.

I wasn’t initially sure that I liked the style of this book, with the way it jumped around a bit on the timeline, until I realized that it had the flavor of a more steamy Stephanie Plum novel, with Pepper’s antics reminding me of that level of screwball luck. Granted, Pepper is a talented computer hacker but her FBI agent love interest walks the edge of obnoxious before melting for Pepper’s charms. I liked the vulnerability built into her backstory when we find out why she didn’t go through the entire application process for law enforcement, and adored the denouement of the final take-down. Granted, this is the most unprofessional FBI unit ever, with the hero having sex on the job and his sexually manipulative boss content to flash cleavage and make remarks about the hero’s intimacy with Pepper, but I’m willing to suspend my disbelief. Despite the cover blurb, both the POV of the hero and the heroine are given.

Naked Sushi is priced a little high for a 90 page novella – at the $3 mark – and considering I can get a full-length category romance Harlequin book for this amount, I worry that the publisher’s decision is going to put people a little off purchasing it. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this novella very much and felt that Bacarr lived up to the sensual promise inherent in such a provocative title.

Happy reading! 🙂

Fatal Strike by Shannon McKenna Shoots for Heart with Pulse-Pounding Romantic Suspense

11 Oct

Fatal Strike (McClouds & Friends #10) by Shannon McKenna (Kensington, September 24, 2013)

I’m finding that the authors who emerge as some of my favorite writers are ones who aren’t afraid to push the category envelope. Whether it’s the explosion of ebooks which allows publishers to promote new novels under a variety of categories (versus the bookstore model where there was only one shelf a book could sit upon) or just reader demand, stories that involve multiple elements make me putty in the hands of a good writer.

Shannon McKenna’s McClouds & Friends series is just such an example. I fell in love with a NetGalley copy of One Wrong Move, instantly intrigued by her combination of romantic suspense, paranormal elements and an alpha hero teetering on the edge of asshole. Her writing is tight and suspenseful with McKenna unhesitant in continuing detailed story arcs of villainous bad guys and their evil henchmen who must fall (or at least retreat) in the face of the McClouds and their allies in each book in the series.

Fatal Strike not only met all my expectations but it melted my inner marshmallow with the evolved hero, Miles. It’s been easy to love gentle Miles over the series as he assisted the McClouds with his high tech wizardry and suffered at the hands of McCloud in-law, the slutty Cindy, who would always cheat on him until he cut her loose. But the final showdown in One Wrong Move left Miles in a coma after brutal torture with psi-powers and he has emerged a changed man.

In his opinion, it’s not been a change for the better. His psi-ability is now off the charts, and while he has invented an elaborate shield in his mind in an attempt to initially protect himself (and now to control his ability), he nevertheless is constantly being fed physical and environmental data that has elevated him from techno-geek to official badass, finally unleashing all the skills the McClouds have attempted to teach him for his own protection over the years.

The only thing that makes him feel better as he lives in the wild and hide from his friends is when the image of Lara Kirk – the woman Miles searched for over the course of months and never found – slips right through his defenses and comes to visit. She’s a beautiful dream and one so erotic that their encounters exceed any actual physical sex he’s ever had, but she’s also a symbol of how crazy he’s become and her recurring presence has him pondering how long he has before his friends have to commit him to a mental hospital.

One Wrong Move (McClouds & Friends #9) by Shannon McKenna (Kensington, June 2013)

A major wrinkle in his thinking is that Lara is not a dream. By focusing on her over all those months of searching, Miles unknowingly created a back door for her to enter his mental refuge and his shield is just that – a refuge of safety – to Lara as well. She’s being held and tortured with psi-drugs developed by a man bent on “saving humanity” from itself, and part of that plan appears to be unleashing Lara’s powers. She doesn’t know who the erotic sex god who occupies this lovely Citadel is exactly, but he’s the only thing that helps her cling to sanity.

It’s only when a series of events reveals to each of them that this isn’t fantasy – the realization which helps Miles free Lara from her prison – that their dream world becomes a living nightmare. Because even with their strong psychic connection and intense physical attraction, a man continues to stalk them, bent on using both of them to kill thousands if not millions of people.

Is there anything sexier than the geek turned total alpha hottie? (Don’t answer. That was a rhetorical question.) Of course not! Miles, who we know is a love of a guy, is so damaged and yet trying to do the right thing even when no one around him understands, that your heart breaks right at the beginning of this book. I found myself clinging to Lara as much as Miles did because I understood that to each of these broken people, the other person was going to be their refuge and their salvation.

McKenna’s ebook bundles of the early books in the series are terrific deals in your local library isn’t carrying them (or you just want them on your ereader!).

Lara was a terrific heroine who had just as pure a heart as Miles and yet whose fragility masks intense strength, even when she wasn’t ready to see it herself. I love it that she always called Miles on his bullshit (McKenna never writes a hero who doesn’t at some point turn into a complete asshole – for good reasons in his head, but still) and that she could love him even when she was angry at his behavior. There are a few scenes that make you want them both to see a therapist, but they are luckily the work of the situation and hardly a permanent dynamic. McKenna also possess a real talent for the three-dimensional villain, who has you understanding his twisted motives even while you’re busy hating his nefarious plans.

I’m sure with Fatal Strike the tenth book in this long-running series some readers might be hesitant about jumping in. Don’t be. McKenna has the talent of writing each of her books in such a way that while you recognize other characters clearly have their own back story, you do not need to have read those books in order to appreciate the novel in question. Fans of the series will love the appearance of so many of the previous couples and their burgeoning families, however, with their presence much more visible than in One Wrong Move.

It’s worth mentioning that McKenna has bundles of the first books in the series available for ereaders, with the first five going for under $15 or the first seven books costing a smidgen over $20, both excellent deals as her books run in the 350 to 400 page range. I think readers who love paranormal psychic storylines and/or lovers of romantic suspense will both find so much to admire and enjoy in Shannon McKenna’s McClouds & Friends series. Walk don’t run to your bookseller or library to pick up a copy!

Warrior of the Nile by Veronica Scott Brings Ancient Egypt to Life With Vengeful Goddesses and Romance

16 Sep

Warrior of the Nile (#2 The Gods of Egypt – Khenet and Tiya) by Veronica Scott (Carina Press, September 16, 2013)

I have been lamenting the dearth of historical fiction not set in England and/or the Regency period, so I was naturally intrigued by the good reviews of Veronica Scott’s romance novels set in ancient Egypt around 1500 BC. When the second one, Warrior of the Nile became available via NetGalley, I snapped it up to see if I would enjoy a non-traditional historical romance.

Did I! I loved the premise of her The Gods of Egypt series – that Egyptian gods had the ability to become corporeal and interact with humans – and it lent a wonderful paranormal element to an already rich historical setting. In Warrior of the Nile, two people find themselves pawns caught in the machinations of the gods.

Khenet is the adopted brother of Pharaoh who reluctantly asks him for a favor. A region which previously harbored a usurper has suspicious reports of the nomarch (leader) engaging in black magic. The priests and priestesses of the goddess Nepthys have notified Pharaoh that she will be providing a bride for this man, a bride born dedicated to Nepthys’ service who will be sacrificed when the goddess takes over her body, killing the evil magician and shutting out the influence of destructive gods who would threaten Egypt. Part of her instruction includes the demand that only a single man to accompany the doomed bride on the dangerous journey to her husband, and the guard must be a man who means something to Pharaoh.

Priestess of the Nile (#1 The Gods of Egypt – Sobek and Merys) by Veronica Scott (Carina Press, January 23, 2013)

Khenet and his brother have faced enough danger and battles to realize that this is actually a dangerous trap, one Khenet might not return from. As an adopted sibling to the most powerful man in Egypt, Khenet has nevertheless felt caught between two worlds. More a rough soldier than a noble, he has had negative experiences with the court beauties who pursue him, preferring the no-strings-attached relationships with tavern wenches and dancing girls he can leave the next morning. Accompanying a blubbering aristocrat to her death sounds worse than battle, particularly if he might die in the attempt, yet his loyalty to his brother and his desire to help Egypt outweighs any personal discomfort.

Lady Tiya has always known of the dagger hanging over her head. Her family is descended from the goddess Nepthys, with many of its members choosing to go into her service. But she has been cursed with an extra layer of obligation, as the birthmark on her forearm and over her breast is an inherited one indicating that the goddess can take over body with ease. When she is called along with her cousins to the temple to be chosen, it’s an easy decision to volunteer – the other candidates are a little girl and Tiya’s weeping cousin who has just been betrothed. With her father’s remarriage, Tiya is being pressured by her stepmother to marry and Tiya would rather escape the match, even if it means being used by a goddess who might not care about hurting Tiya.

Dancer of the Nile (#3 The Gods of Egypt series – Kamin and Nima) by Veronica Scott (Carina Press, October 2013)

Tiya’s instincts are proven correct and she’s more than a little dismayed to discover the nature of her mission and more concerned that the handsome, brave soldier who is to guard her on the journey is also doomed. They slowly begin to get to know one another, each recognizing the other’s courage and intelligence, and cursing the fate that would bring them into each other’s lives just in time to take them away. Tiya calls upon another goddess for assistance while Khenet wrestles with the nightmares of his lost village, reemphasizing to him that he is the last of his people and burdened with an incomprehensible prophecy. Yet that prophecy might just offer the one loophole that could have Tiya and Khenet saving Egypt while escaping with their lives, although it might bring the wrath of a powerful goddess upon their heads.

I loved both characters and while the text is peppered with references to Egyptian religion and deities it’s nothing the reader doesn’t adjust to within a couple of chapters. While Khenet and Tiya have plenty of sexual tension, there really is only one tender, wonderful sex scene between our couple as they are kept pretty busy evading the machinations of evil sorcerers and deities.

A view of the Nile River which is probably not far from what an ancient Egyptian would have seen.

Scott has an excellent note on historical accuracy on her website, indicating that while she has done a tremendous amount of research (it shows in her wonderful descriptions of the religion and everyday life), she still took some liberties with the history, particularly with the Pharaoh who doesn’t appear on any list of kings. The bibliography of sources she lists is a nice start for anyone interested in learning more (even if, as a librarian, I wish she had included publisher and year information and/or links to an online bookstore).

Did I mention that this book is not just excellent but affordable? A full-length novel from Carina (and therefore only available in ebook form), Warrior of the Nile is only $1.99! While other books in the series appear to be set in the same world, they also are independent of one another, so you can break into the series at any point with impunity. I’ve already ordered the first book in the series, Priestess of the Nile about a singer who catches the eye of the Crocodile God in human form. Dancer of the Nile, the third book, will be published in October 2013, so if you find yourself liking Scott’s writing (and I think you will) you won’t have to wait long for the next installment.

Historical romance readers should definitely give Veronica Scott’s The Gods of Egypt series is a try as it delivers great characters, a rich setting, and strong plots filled with meddlesome gods and goddesses who love interfering with human lives. Happy Reading!

Hotshot by Julie Garwood Continues Her Reputation for Solid Suspense

6 Aug

Hotshot (Buchanan-Renard #11) by Julie Garwood (Dutton, August 6, 2013)

I was a little leary about tackling Julie Garwood’s latest addition to her long-running Buchanan-Renard series, Hotshot. After all, I was not a fan of the last book in the series, Sweet Talk.

I did have a few criticisms similar to my concerns surrounding Sweet Talk. Rather than rich description, the narrative does sometimes lean to telling rather than showing. Garwood is excellent at creating a sincerely complex suspense plot with plenty of players, but it’s with her main characters that she needs to spend more time.

The book opens with a long prologue detailing how when the Lockhart family moves in next door to the MacBains, teenage Finn sees little five year old Peyton fall into the pool and almost drown. Luckily, the newly minted lifeguard rushes over and manages to save her. A bond is formed, one that continues long after Finn goes to college, the Olympics, law school and then later working for the FBI. Peyton always sends him a note on her birthday, thanking him for saving her all those years ago, and while he sometimes answers her and sometimes doesn’t she always thinks fondly of her “Hotshot” which she named him after all his medal wins in the Olympic games.

But she’s living her own life. Her parents are unhappy that she discarded her humanities degree to go to a presitigious French culinary school and pursued a chef career. Trying to find an opportunity back in the states is difficult, but she manages to astonishingly land a job at the premier food magazine as an assistant where she will train for a year and then become a reviewer. She packs herself up and moves to the middle of nowhere Minnesota in the middle of January to turn a new page of her life.

When something sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and Peyton discovers (over the course of the first fifth of the book) that the company’s CEO has recently lost his wife of many years, leaving the day to day in the hands of his grasping daughter and disgusting son-in-law. Peyton works for the son-in-law who makes it instantly clear that a big part of her job will be pleasing him in the bedroom. He doesn’t seem to take no for an answer and, with the support of a few friends, Peyton gets incriminating evidence of his sexual harassment and threats on her cell phone and then heads back to Texas as fast as she can. Pursued on the highway, she barely manages to get away, later discovering that her car actually has bullet holes in it from her boss’ henchman.

yokusuka-89827_640Home for his Navy brother’s wedding, Finn MacBain doesn’t recognize the amazing dark haired beauty approaching him with a smile in front of the church. He’s blown away to discover it’s little Peyton all grown up and the kiss they later share confirms that she’s got his vaunted control in the palm of her hand. Recognizing the bullet holes in her car, he drags her story out of her, putting her in contact with a lawyer friend who can help. Even though he knows he should stay away, they still fall into bed together for a cataclysmic night of sex and Finn is slightly horrified to discover (after the fact) that Peyton was a virgin.

She’s okay with knowing that nothing more can be between them, especially since she’s embarking on her own adventure. Her two sisters and Peyton have been offered the opportunity of a lifetime by their Uncle Len. He wants them to take over one of his resort properties in Florida and make it into a money-making prospect; if they succeed, they’ll inherit the multi-million dollar Bishop’s Cove and be set for life. With her older sister’s interior design prowess and Peyton’s culinary background it could work, and it’s a good excuse to move forward.

The FBI, bringing you taciturn and emotionally remote heroes.

The FBI, bringing you taciturn and emotionally remote heroes.

But Finn doesn’t seem to go away permanently. He shows up in Florida when the case against her boss further develops, offering life-rescuing help at every turn, and naturally they sleep together some more. While Finn is enormously helpful with protecting her and figuring out the next move against her boss who has her in his sights, he (eventually) makes clear when he leaves he has no intention of seeing her ever again. Ouch. That’s kind of dick move, if you want my opinion, particularly since he’s sleeping with her for days before he says anything. WTF?

Even after Finn leaves, the suspense plot keeps moving and it’s only after a major attack on Peyton that the anvil falls on Finn’s head and he realizes that he loves her (not that we are privy to that internal decision, just his panicked reaction to the notice she’s in the hospital). The suspense plot has a tidy wrap up with all the baddies discovered and a happily ever after mapped out for our hero and heroine.

Finn is just as non-communicative as the hero in Sweet Talk (is it an FBI requirement maybe? To be a non-chatty semi-dickhead?) and is completely resistant to any future with Peyton, although he doesn’t mind sleeping with her and leaving her in the dark. While Peyton does a good job rallying when she realizes that Finn has no plans to make a future with her (and that he’s totally resistant to marriage and kids, an attitude he never and explains and we are meant to assume it’s because of his crappy ex and the violence in his life), she acknowledges some sadness but just keeps herself busy.

She’s virgin in her mid-twenties (dude, she’s gorgeous and went away to college and FRANCE – how is this possible?) but I like how direct and no-nonsense she was. She did not strike me as a chef at all; people who work with food have a distinct approach to it and use passionate, descriptive terms when talking about it and that wasn’t present in the text. There was also something…old-fashioned about her, and I don’t mean that as a complement. Several references to her mother’s outdated views had me realizing that Peyton herself seemed old to me; I couldn’t imagine a young woman putting up with Finn’s crap and not letting him have it. At no time was I really convinced she was actually in love with him, nor he with her, because I didn’t see it. Were they likeable? Sure. Would I want to be friends with either of them? Not so much.

I’m beginning to wonder if my issues might stem from a lack of editing time dedicated to the manuscript. I found a few usage errors and I could easily see the publishing house giving valuable editing resources to burgeoning authors, knowing Julie Garwood will sell on her own merits and is a pro in terms of the years she’s been publishing. It’s just hard rereading Garwood’s excellent characterizations in her older historical romance novels and not seeing that level of attention in her recent suspense work.

I’m not sure I’d pay the new book price of $9.99 for the Kindle edition or in the $16 range for the hardcover, but I would absolutely recommend checking it out from your local library if you enjoy Garwood’s other suspense novels.

Sunday Reflections: Upcoming Books, News, and Deals You Might Have Missed This Week

7 Jul

I just came back from the ALA (American Library Association) Conference in Chicago were I attended a lot of informative sessions. While most of them where geared toward my work in education, there were more than a few things that I think will help me be a better blogger for my readers. A great suggestion was having the occasional “round up” post to inform people about great links, upcoming books, and excellent blog posts you might have missed, so here are a few recent items I’ve been enjoying.

Upcoming Books

The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (Highland Pleasures #6) by Jennifer Ashley (Berkley, October 1, 2013)

Jennifer Ashley mentioned on her blog that the ARCs will be out very soon for The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie, the next book in the Highland Pleasures series (which I think is the best Victorian romance series on the market). It’s due out on October 1st, so hopefully NetGalley might have an ARC available soon! If you’ve enjoyed this series, you might also need a reminder that the next interim novella, The Untamed Mackenzie, will be out even sooner, and will finally give Inspector Lloyd Fellows, the illegitimate Mackenzie who is a reluctant member of the family at best, a happily ever after. That one is e-book only, so sorry print lovers!

On Ashley’s paranormal romance front, note that Amazon has made available Wild Wolf for preorder (even though it’s not coming out until January 2014), the next full novel in the fabulous Shifters Unbound series. Yes, I’ve preordered it and will be waiting up at midnight for it to land in my Kindle! Coming out even sooner is the next novella for that series, Feral Heat, which will be Eric’s son, Jace’s story (thank goodness!) out in November of this year.

Magic Rises (Kate Daniels #6) by Ilona Andrews (Ace, July 30, 2013)

In anticipation (and God knows I’m anticipating it!) of Ilona Andrews’ next book in the Kate Daniels series, Magic Rises, due out on July 30th, Bookpushers is sponsoring a Readalong for the series. The husband and wife team of Ilona Andrews have already vetted much criticism for the cover, since the model depicting the twenty-something Kate looks waaaayyyy too young and not nearly enough of a hard ass for this alpha female. I realize I still need to do a review of this series which is tops in the urban fantasy genre for me.

In exciting news, Nalini Singh had two great announcements. The first is that she just agreed to do a Psy-Changeling series novella in 2014 which will be part of an anthology and that the hero of her next full-length novel (the 13th in the series) will be …. VASIC! This cold Arrow won my heart with his questioning of silence long ago, so I’m elated to see that he’ll be partnered with a heroine we’ve never met before. This book will be closely tied to her latest book, Heart of Obsidian which won all five stars from me, making it the fourth book (out of over the 200 books I’ve read so far this year) to be declared totally perfect.

If you’re an urban fantasy fan chances are you’ve been devouring the Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones as much as I have (Reyes *fans face* is one of the hottest heroes in a loooooonnnnggg time). Keep in mind that the hardcover and Kindle editions of the next book, Fifth Grave Past the Light, will be released on July 9th (two days from today!!!) so you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a copy of this book hot off the presses.

Media News

Outlander (Outlander series #1) by Diana Gabaldon (Dell, 1992)

Any fans of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series? If so, you’ll be either pleased or dismayed to read that the book series has been made into a TV series which will debut on the Starz network come this October. According to the excellent blog, The Good, The Bad and The Unread, Scottish actor Sam Heughan has been cast to play Jamie Fraser. Worried? Don’t be. “Sam is 33, stands 6’3″ tall, and his Scottish brogue portraying one of the most-loved characters in literature will definitely make the ladies swoon. More importantly, of course, is that he’s perfect for this part and will make Jamie come to life on the screen.”

Reader Fun

In case you were wondering, this is what a RITA award looks like. Pretty cool, yes?

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (an AMAZING blog) is still doing their RITA Reader Challenge. If you love romance (any subgenre), I’d encourage you to take a look at this challenge, which lists all the winners in various categories from the Romance Writers Association. This a great way of making sure you get a taste of all the great books published in the last year. What if you missed one? You may not agree that they deserved an award, but it’s fascinating to note what the judges (published authors as well as agents and publishers) think constitute the best of the best.

Entranced Publishing, a wonderful new ebook press, is having a Christmas in July giveaway where they are giving away one copy of every book they’ve ever published. For a new publishing house, there has been a ton of great buzz about their editing and their payment model, with the result being some stand out books in a short period of time. Fill out their entry form before July 31st for your chance to win!

Australian romance readers! You lucky down-under dogs, the Australian Romance Readers Association is having a book signing event in Freemantle on August 17th that has over 56 authors attending, including powerhouses like Julia Quinn, Nina Bruhns, and Carole Mortimer. Wow! And the signings will be held at three public libraries (further proving the connection between public librarians and supporting romance). Have I mentioned how much I’d like to visit Australia one day?

Authors After Dark are having a giveaway for tickets to their conference (in Savannah this year!) August 14th to the 18th. Anyone who enjoys paranormal romance or urban fantasy should consider following this blog and learning more about the organization. The annual conference is quite small and you get tons of author time, which would be amazing for any fan! Enter by July 11th for your chance to win.

The Romance Publishing Industry

Is historical romance on the decline? Jeez, I hope not! But with the numbers dipping slightly, The Sisterhood of the Jaunty Quills discuss if the glut of Regencies on the market are stifling the genre. I agree with them that this is probably just the usual ebb and flow experienced by so many categories of romance, but it’s worth pondering.

In an unbelievable merger, Penguin and Random House have now joined forces, making them a force to be reckoned with. In romance terms, Random House publishes authors like Danielle Steel, Sophie Kinsella, and E. L. James (yes, that E. L. James!) under their imprints of Delacorte, Dial and Vintage, and Penguin controls the romance powerhouse Berkley (Jennifer Ashley, Jaci Burton, Nalini Singh) and Jove (Nora Roberts), so I feel that Random House really boosted their piece of the romance pie with this merger. For your consideration, does anyone besides me think the company’s new name should be Random Penguin? Imagine the logo!

Great Deals

It Had to Be You (Lucky Harbor #7) by Jill Shalvis (Grand Central, May 28, 2013)

If you didn’t have a chance to enjoy the most recent Jill Shalvis Lucky Harbor novel, It Had to Be You, fear not. Ebook readers can take advantage of the $2.99 deal going on right now on Amazon (and I think other retailers).

Julie Garwood’s classic, Rebellious Desire, is on sale in Kindle format for only $.99 for those of us wanting a walk down memory lane. Not to make you feel old, but this puppy was originally published in 1991 – 23 years ago! I’m not sure how long it will be at this price, so if you’re looking to bolster your classic romance backlist, this is a nice addition.

One Perfect Night by Bella Andre is a stand alone short story/novella originally published in 2011 and just reissued with a new cover. Right now, it’s available for free. I haven’t read it but, hey, it’s Bella Andre, so it’s bound to be great! For those of you who haven’t read her Sullivan series, get the lead out. This great family is available in ebook form and now in print via Harlequin and is tops in the contemporary romance category.

Forgotten Sins (Sins Brothers #1) by Rebecca Zanetti (Forever, July 2, 2013)

Looking pretty intriguing on the paranormal romance front is Forgotten Sins, the first book in the Sins Brothers series by Rebecca Zazetti which just came out on July 2nd. A husband returns to his wife after turning up in the hospital with amnesia, yet he abandoned the love of his life two years ago. Does his amped hearing and powerful strength have something to do with his missing years? This new series is billed on Goodreads as “Romantic Suspense with a slight paranormal twist about a band of brothers who carry unnatural powers genetically engineered into them by a black ops military unit.” At only $2.99 for 384 pages, I’m excited to try it!

S. E. Gilchrist’s Darkon Warriors a Great Addition to Erotic SciFi Romance

8 Jun

Awakening the Warriors by S. E. Gilchrist (Escape Publishing, May 1, 2013)

I love scifi romance (the hotter, the better) but it’s often of variable quality. The good news is that it appears that there is a growing market for it, particularly in e-book form, so I’m seeing more and more out there. When I received the NetGalley short story, Awakening the Warriors, I confess I was so intrigued with the premise and the author’s voice that I went out and purchased the author’s full-length novel and other short and devoured all of them!

First off, I need to be upfront and mention that the author, S. E. Gilchrist, doesn’t have an actual name for this series so, to make it easy on myself, I’m just calling it the Darkon Warriors series since that’s the obvious binding factor. Maybe she didn’t want to imply that there was an order to the books since they technically could be read independently with little confusion, but I think it helps the reader to have the books clearly labeled in an order, so I’d encourage her to at least add that information to her Goodreads account. 🙂

The Darkons are a dying species who used to rule a large amount of territory but now are fighting the Elite Forces, a military controlled by a dictator who would enjoy seeing the Darkons completely extinguished from the galaxy. It may happen without his interference; the Darkons lost all of their women and children six years ago to a horrible virus and have been, um, “unawakened” ever since despite exposure to the females of other races.

Legend Beyond the Stars by S. E. Gilchrist (Escape Publishing, January 1, 2013).

I think it’s to a reader’s advantage to begin with the full-length novel, Legend Beyond the Stars, to get a sense of the world and the Darkon backstory. Captain Alana Knight awakens from her space stasis to more than just the requisite stomach cramping. It’s quickly apparent to her and the other female colonists supposedly bound for a new world that something is wrong. They’re no longer with the other colonists – no older women or men – leaving only women in their late teens to thirties in the spaceship transporting them to an unknown system.

Alana takes charge, finding the other leaders among the women and beginning to pump the aliens caring for them for more information. They discover that the space traders transporting them are not just providing a travel service but rather trade in flesh, a situation brought home when a group of extremely large alien males, clad in black armor and wearing helmets obscuring their features, inform the women that they have been purchased and are now Darkon slaves.

All the women take tremendous exception at this, with Alana shoving to the forefront and informing the leader, identified as one Commander Tarak El Rajan, that he is sadly mistaken if he thinks they will be slaves to anyone considering that they’ve been duped. The hard feelings lessen a little after they are taken on board the more comfortable Darkon ship, The Ark, and the men take their armor off. That they are all gorgeous provides at least a distraction from the women’s fear, which is further lessened when it’s made clear that, in Darkon culture, no man would ever take an unwilling woman.

Much to her dismay, Alana finds she’s not unwilling, and that there is a powerful connection between her and Tarak. He doesn’t understand why she’s not elated to be his slave and is baffled by her information that, in her culture, women are equals who fight alongside men. Before they all died, Darkon culture sequestered their women who were quiet and caring. But Tarak finds, along with his men, that human women, unlike any they have previously found, are capable of “awakening” Darkon men, and it’s not long before all but the youngest (Elise is only seventeen or eighteen) are “claimed” by the men. Alana’s spunky sidekick Jess is actually tied to two hot warriors and she’s not letting it worry her too much (who would?).

milky-way-67504_640The relationship between Tarak and Alana is obviously the focus, even as the political and social piece unfolds. Tarak is an uber-Alpha, so if you don’t like a man who finds it hard to let go of the “you’re my slave” piece, you probably won’t enjoy this book. His redeeming characteristics come in the form of his POV which reveals that while he’s saying that over and over, in actuality he is experiencing a tremendous amount of attraction and affection for this woman who frustrates him with her insistence on being treated as an equal. Alana naturally vacillates between her overwhelming attraction for Tarak, who can really burn up the sheets, and her knowledge that nothing can come of a relationship between too people so unequal. It’s that inequality which leads to much of the mistrust on her part, compounded by the fact that Tarak is the heir to the Darkon throne, and she doesn’t buy into a fairy tale ending.

Great world-building and compelling characters can be found in this novel. Aside from the mention of Jess’s menage relationship, I actually thought this book could have easily been labeled “scorcher” as much as “erotic” with the level of explicitness and language choice for it’s smoking hot sex scenes. All of the sex was very appropriate to the storyline and the characters’ relationship, making it always steamy and often a little heartbreaking as these two people struggled to express their love for one another.

Gilchrist did an excellent job at seeding conflict beyond the interpersonal throughout the book as well. There is a lot of evil in this world between the forces opposing the Darkons as well as their own brand of villain (who will make you shudder at how horrible they are). I loved that the only unmated Darkon warrior was Tarak’s slightly older second-in-command who was clearly attracted to Elise, but too much of a gentleman to make a move on someone so young. I’m hoping a future book will be their story set a few years in the future!

The Portal by S. E. Gilchrist (Escape Publishing, March 1, 2013)

Technically, the next book in the series is the short story (only 31 pages or so) The Portal, and people have expressed a lot of dissatisfaction about this one. It’s actually a very sweet tale of a Darkon warrior who had a brief interlude with a young salvager months before and has been looking for her since. I think that much of the complaining is due to its length (readers always want more) and the fact that it does jump back and forth in time. I wished for more heat, as the sex scene that bonded the two together was extremely brief. A little more of a tie-in to her having “awakened” him would have also helped, particularly if it had been made clearer that his experience was the cause of his pursuit.

The short story, Awakening the Warriors, has none of those problems, and even though its a mere 46 pages it packs quite a bit of heat between its e-covers. Fran is a geologist who signed on with a corporation to travel to a new world when her transport was intercepted by the Elite Forces. She’s being held in a cell with a group of other women of various species and they are becoming more horrified by the minute. Some of the females were taken away a few days ago and the remaining prisoners are beginning to think that it’s for experimentation. Word has gone out that a group of human women have succeeded in awakening the fierce Darkon race and clearly there is one government who would like to see them die out. The fact that their are Darkons in the next cell can’t be a coincidence.

prison-58320_640Because the only other human female is a sickly girl of 15, the other prisoners tell Fran it’s up to her to sneak into the nearby cell of the Darkons, who are regularly whipped and beaten, and use her sexual wiles to “awaken” them. Talk about pressure! By the time she breaks into their cell, she can tell one of the men is already dead and the other two are covered in blood. She washes away the blood and tends their wounds, all the while wondering at their beauty. While their encounter is out of necessity, Fran is astonished at the heat and tenderness with which they treat her. She’s attracted to both of them equally and it quickly becomes clear that Jerrell and Quain have no trouble with the idea of her being with both of them. Yet Fran knows that she plans on leaving for home at the first opportunity since there’s no future with two men with whom sex was a means of helping them literally break their chains and escape. Or is there?

This is a very tasteful and tender menage that is further understood after reading Legend Beyond the Stars. I would have liked to see a stronger tie to the overall story arc, namely with explaining why the warriors were being beaten – combined with the missing female prisoners, were the Elite Forces attempting to discover more about how or why the rumored Darkons were awakened?

Speaking of tiny discrepancies, in Awakening the Warriors, the point of Fran stealing into the adjoining cell with the Darkons is that if she “awakens” their lust, they will possess increased strength and fighting ability, enough to overcome their injuries and help the imprisoned. In Legend Beyond the Stars, while there was a LOT of awakening going on, this added piece was unaddressed. The warriors were certainly loyal and focused on the women with whom they bonded, but no one made reference to enhanced abilities. Hmmm.

Nevertheless, I greatly enjoyed this author’s style and the world-building in which she engaged in all her works. I would say that anyone who loved Evangeline Anderson’s erotic Brides of the Kindred series might also find fun in the pages of Gilchrist’s science fiction romance (although keep in mind the men are waaayyyy more alpha than Anderson’s Kindred men!).

The Last Gladiatrix by Eva Scott Blends History and Fierce Romance

3 Jun

The Last Gladiatrix by Eva Scott (Harlequin Escape, April 2013)

I do enjoy novels of Ancient Rome, so I was intrigued by the premise of The Last Gladiatrix by Eva Scott when I saw it available as a novella from NetGalley.

Xanthe is a woman on a mission. Her younger brother went missing and it’s her duty as a warrior to her clan to bring him home. Set upon by a gang of Huns, she is brought before a Roman general as a tribute. Hearing that she slew seven of the men before being taken, he decides to put her in the arena where she can make money for him prior to being killed.

Centurion Titus takes one look into the fierce warrior woman’s eyes and feels the ground shift under his feet. Hearing the general’s plan, he offers to take care of the prisoner and train her for the arena during their march back to Rome. Close to leaving the army, he’s considering working as a gladiator trainer anyway, and this is a good chance to be close to the wild beauty.

Xanthe is frustrated that she doesn’t understand what’s being spoken around her, but luckily the handsome Roman speaks a dialect close enough to her own. He helps explain her situation and clearly wants to help her survive this “Colosseum” he refers to. She loves warming his bed but can’t stand other Romans or the city and counts the days until she can escape, hopefully with Titus by her side. Yet Titus cannot use the property of the general – in this case, Xanthe’s body – without putting them both in danger, and their secret is betrayed. When the price of her freedom might be that of her newfound love, Xanthe isn’t sure she can pay it.

I loved the characters of Xanthe and Titus. In only 97 pages, the reader gets a good picture painted of both characters and their background, rapidly understanding these are two people with similar warrior values who unsurprisingly come together. I felt that the sex scenes could have been more in depth (basically you get the sense they are really attracted to each other and BAM they are kissing and having sex in only a few paragraphs – I wanted more!) but the affection between them was substantial and real.

There were a few historical elements that I’m pretty sure were off (I don’t think gladiators – or anyone other than the Imperial family – could wear purple, for example) but they were very minor. I think Eva Scott actually made Rome a lot less sinister than it actually was, but I appreciated her executive decisions since it moved the plot along. Considering that gladiators were often pimped out to aristocrats, I have trouble believing a beautiful female fighter wouldn’t have met the same fate and continued to earn her owner plenty of money. Thank goodness it didn’t happen to Xanthe (although she would have gutted anyone who tried).

Never having heard of Escape Publishing, I discovered that they are an Australian publishing house devoted to romance (of all subgenres) and owned by Harlequin. Hmmm. I was sufficiently impressed enough by this novella and Escape’s website to keep a close eye on future offerings from this publisher!

Considering the open-ended final paragraph that left the writer capable of shifting to Xanthe’s missing brother’s story (with a glimpse at our happy couple, perhaps?) I’ll be purchasing this author’s future historical novellas. Great job, Eva Scott and Escape!

Red Zone By Sherri Hayes Has Potential But Ultimately Misses the Goalpost

7 Feb

We are in an exciting age of publishing. Groups of committed writers can band together and publish books that would probably have otherwise languished on editor desks in the Big Six houses. The good news is that individual writers are empowered in e-publishing to offer more, affordable books to an audience who, in the end, could care less about whose emblem is stamped on the spine. The bad news is that often the quality of the books would have benefited from excellent editing.

I’m not trying to say that excellent editing can only be found in the cubbies of Big Six publishing – far from it. Thankfully there are now outstanding smaller houses producing work that (in my opinion) often surpasses much of the new releases at significantly larger publishing houses (Entangled Publishing is a prime example). But the publisher of this novel, The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House, has the dubious honor of being the organization responsible for Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James, the BDSM phenomenon which as galvanized the erotic romance industry.

Since The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House was begun by a group of Australian friends with the express purpose of being a place for writers to post fan fiction and original work, it’s no surprise that much of the brohaha surrounding Fifty Shades of Grey was not that it was BDSM oriented but that it greatly resembled the Twilight series upon which it was originally based.

And here’s where we get to a piece of this particular novel by Sherri Hayes which made me really uncomfortable. The first quarter of this book strongly resembled Hot Target by Lisa Renee Jones – so much so that I checked the publication date on NetGalley because I was so sure I had read this book before (although I remembered it being better written). The plot is as follows. A highly trained female bodyguard is assigned to a professional athlete who initially acts like kind of ass because he doesn’t think that his stalker threat is as serious as his team owner believes. He eventually capitulates because he sees the bodyguard’s hotness under her professional clothes and is intrigued. Female bodyguard wants to keep it professional, plus she has all kinds of heinous family baggage, including non-independent adult siblings who need her, but with all the touching and going out being professional athlete’s faux-girlfriend/secret bodyguard, attraction takes wing and they end up having a serious affair, all while female bodyguard is trying to figure out who the jealous crazy stalker is. There. I just described BOTH books for you.

Behind Closed Doors (Daniels Brothers #1) by Sherri Hayes (The Writer’s Coffee Shop, July 10, 2012)

Fortunately, Red Zone veers off in its own direction. It’s basic premise (see above) is a great plot. Professional football player Gage Daniels is having fun being a successful quarterback and hanging out with his buddies on the team. He keeps relationships with women light to say the least, having no desire to get serious with any one woman. But the one thing throwing him off his game is the fact that he keeps getting weird letters from a stalker. He’s alerted the team owner, who has brought in a couple bodyguards to investigate.

Rebecca Carson was going stir-crazy on administrative leave for the FBI and is more than happy to help her retired FBI partner when he says he has a job. But she takes one good look at the gorgeous football player she’s supposed to guard and knows this job is not going to work out as planned. Rebecca prides herself on only having serious relationships with men and she knows from his file that Gage is anything but serious when it comes to women. Yet their attraction can’t be denied and they begin a passionate affair, one she knows will end as soon as she figures out who is trying to hurt Gage.

The initial part of the book (the part that reminded me too much of Lisa Renee Jones’ work) felt like it was populated with rather choppy, awkward sentences and a lack of description. There were actually a couple typos in the book and the use of a wrong word (“The boss didn’t usually stick around after the games, but Gage figured, given the uniqueness of the situation, he was making an expectation.”) which I found distracting. I was unsurprised to discover this book was the second in a series about a sibling group; once the setting shifted to Gage’s family home for Thanksgiving, the characterization and action picked up, with many of the other fleshed out secondary characters clearly set to star (or having starred) in their own novels. Nevertheless, I felt some of the writing issues and characterization problems would have been fixed with a strong editor who could have gotten the best out of author Sherri Hayes.

The cover was good; a bare-chested athlete holding a football clearly gives an indication of some of the content and the menacing, dark stadium hall behind him with a shadow denotes the suspense genre. I think I would have actually liked a little more about the suspense plot since I had trouble understanding the villain’s motivation. Was the stalker actually jealous of Gage? Why would the stalker put a bomb in the car and risk hurting him? I’ll be honest that I’m still trying to figure out the choice of this football phrase for the title – there are too many books named Red Zone (do an Amazon search and watch how many pages you have to sift through) and there was little emphasis on the football piece of the novel. I don’t think too many romance readers are going to know that “red zone” applies to the space on the field between the 20 yard line and the goal of the defensive team. What exactly is the application of this area to the story?

The final area of concern for me is the price. With an ebook price around $8.50 (for approximately 200 pages) and around $20 for a print book, the price is astronomically imbalanced for what you are getting. Hot Target by Lisa Renee Jones is under $4 for 223 well-written, well-edited pages of solid romantic suspense, so I have trouble believing that Sherri Hayes will be able to compete in this market. Her writing, particularly her love scenes and her family dynamics, hold a great deal of potential, so much so that if Behind Closed Doors was reasonably priced I would have considered buying it, but I’m afraid with all these elements stacked against her, she’s about to get sacked.

Countdown to Christmas: Let It Snow Gives You Two Stories Which Will Keep You Warm As Temperatures Drop

8 Dec
Let It Snow by Leslie Kelly and Jennifer LaBrecque (Harlequin Blaze, November 13, 2012 for print, December 8, 2012 for ebook)

Let It Snow by Leslie Kelly and Jennifer LaBrecque (Harlequin Blaze, November 13, 2012 for print, December 8, 2012 for ebook)

It makes me cranky when I overhear people disparaging Harlequin romances (or any category romance, for that matter). Yes, I’ve read the occasional shallow romance or a story that felt like it would have been stronger if the author had more pages to flesh out the plot or characters, but overwhelmingly my experience with category romance is a positive one. Practically all my favorite authors (Nalini Singh, Jill Shalvis) have published books at one time or another for Harlequin and authors like Sarah Mayberry, Rhonda Nelson, and Samantha Hunter have me wrapped around their finger. I’ll buy anything they publish!

One of my favorite authors with Harlequin is Leslie Kelly, who blends funny and sexy in every story she writes. When I saw on NetGalley that she had a story in a Christmas-themed collection, Let It Snow…, my finger automatically clicked the “Request” button. I was not disappointed! While the second story was not entirely to my liking, Harlequin Blaze has put together two stories that will make you feel nice and toasty when it gets cold outside.

“The Prince Who Stole Christmas” by Leslie Kelly

Kelly has written stories before set in the mysterious dimension of Elaytria, a kingdom harboring people and creatures upon which our own fairy tales are based, and I have loved them (sadly there is no Goodreads series numbering for this, so you have to go to Leslie Kelly’s website for the reading order). In this one, Prince Philip is feeling the pressure from his parents, the king and queen, to marry and he’s searched all Elaytria for his one true love with no luck. Taking his cousin and a servant, he decides that he’s going to search Earth for his future wife and his parents give him a month to try before he has to go home. The kingdom of New York seems to have a high concentration of women, so they decide to make that city their base while Philip searches, living as poor commoners to weed out any golddiggers.

Another great story from the Elaytria series by Leslie Kelly.

Another great story from the Elaytria series by Leslie Kelly.

When chocolatier Claire Hoffman discovers her n’er-do-well brother Freddy has rented the derelict apartments on the top floor of her building to pay his gambling debt, she’s incensed – both with the fact that he’s gambling and expecting her to help and that he’s subjected non-criminals to those living conditions. When she catches sight of one of her tenants, her heart stutters and not in indignation. He’s gorgeous and has old-world manners that can be endearing (when they aren’t a little annoying). She’s falling fast, but when he starts to drop hints that he’d like to take her away from all this, Claire has to face the idea of leaving her business, her family, and her friends for her one true love.

This Elaytria series really is fantastic – the fairy tales we know are all a little off from the reality and the character’s behavior and speech patterns in our world make for an amusing contrast right from the start. Philip’s fascination with Claire, who is nothing like the wilting, ultra-feminine women he’s been subjected to at home, is as strong as his fascination with chocolate (and he finds several creative ways of combining the two that will melt any candy bar). It doesn’t take long for him to realize she’s the one. I loved Claire, who has been the responsible one in her family for so long finally having someone helping her, and this ending was fantastic. Love you, Leslie Kelly! Keep writing!!

“My True Love Gave to Me” by Jennifer Labrecque

Trudie and Knox have been best friends since childhood, but now that the grandmother who raised him died Knox has withdrawn from everyone, everyone except Elsa, the cool blonde he’s dating. Elsa is no fan of Trudie and the friendship she offers Knox, but when Knox says he needs a break from Trudie, she’s stunned. The fact that she just underwent the realization that she’s in love with him doesn’t help the timing at all.

Another holiday themed title from Jennifer LaBrecque

Another holiday themed title from Jennifer LaBrecque

Flash forward a year and half later. It’s the “Chrismoose” celebration in the small Alaskan town where both Trudie and Knox have grown up and he’s finally come back, ready to face all his demons. Elsa is the reigning pageant supervisor of the celebration, but he broke up with her a week ago and is just escorting her as a courtesy. What he wants is to reconnect with Trudie; he’s hurt that she’s never called or kept in touch all these months. When she walks in, he’s shocked – has she always been this beautiful? Has his body always reacted on sight? Why is he seeing her as a woman suddenly when she’s been a friend all these years?

Trudie knew that she’d end up seeing Knox and he still has the ability to steal her breath away. But even with Knox acting like he suddenly wants her, Trudie is not going to let herself be emotionally shattered again. She’s barely gotten the pieces together as it is from his walking out without a backward glance 18 months ago. But Knox is determined; he’s finally figured out what makes him feel alive again and he’s not about to let it, or in this case her, go.

This felt like a story with a lot of missed opportunities to me. I loved the beginning, as painful as it was, but Elsa seemed to exist just be a bitch to Trudie and some looming presence in the background. I didn’t fall for Knox, not in the slightest. I understand his desolate grief over his grandmother’s death made him want to push away everything and everyone associated with her, but he didn’t seem apologetic in the slightest to me. Knox didn’t just ignore Trudie for 18 months, he also didn’t talk to anyone in the town, his grandmother’s friends, and Trudie’s parents, who were like a second family to him. No wonder Trudie never confessed that she was in love with him for years, and her sudden passive turn around in the end of the story was anti-climactic and seemed illogical. The story just fizzled out.

Jennifer LaBrecque’s internet presence is also less than blazing. Her site looks like it hasn’t been updated in a few years and it’s static (no blog link or regular content updates). Without a Facebook or Twitter presence, I worry that LaBrecque is hiding her writing from the larger world; we no longer live in an age where the publisher can be relied upon to promote the author and every conference clearly states that social networking and blogging is now the responsibility of authors for building their audience. I hate to think of someone as talented as LaBrecque not having the readership she deserves. Trusting Harlequin like I do, I plan to give some of LaBrecque’s other writing a try (maybe another holiday story this month) hoping this story was an aberration.

This anthology is still worth it’s under $4 cover price for the Elaytria novella by Leslie Kelly and it’s definitely put me in the holiday spirit. Thanks, Harlequin Blaze, for helping me keep a little warmer this season!

Heart of the Dragon’s Realm Combines Fantasy and Romance to Supply a Wonderful Reading Adventure

22 Nov

Heart of the Dragon’s Realm by Karalynn Lee (Carina Press, October 29, 2012)

It’s been a while since I’ve read a romance that was a fantasy, but in the midst of baking for the holiday, I realized that was just what I was in the mood for. Luckily I had Heart of the Dragon’s Realm amidst my NetGalley offerings and it fit the bill.

Kimri is the headstrong princess of one of the riverland countries at war and her brother needs the bride price she can bring. When the peaceful and mysterious mountain-king offers for her, his finely wrought swords are a deciding factor in the acceptance of the betrothal. She’s resentful at being sold, yet her adventurous nature, one that had her cut her hair and disguise herself as a soldier before being caught, can’t help but rise to the adventure of her situation.

She’s even more relieved when she arrives in the city of Helsmont, for not only is the handsome King Tathan solicitous but he informs her that in his country they observe the tradition of a year-long betrothal so both parties have a chance to know one another and cry off if the match doesn’t suit. Kimri is astonished and relieved, and that positive feeling grows as she is allowed by all and sundry to be exactly who she is. She can ride her horse, visit the baker and smith, and learn the beautiful tradition of sword dancing handed to the people by the dragon they believe lives in the mountain.

But as her heart warms to Tathan and chooses him as her husband, a cloud passes over her happiness after she hears her brother the king has been captured. Tathan has to remain neutral and cannot hand over the ransom, driving Kimri to make a rash decision that might save her brother but cost her everything her heart wants in this cold mountain kingdom. Unless the magic of the dragon can somehow come to her aid, that is.

This would be an excellent book for someone who doesn’t like hard core fantasy but enjoys a small element of magic and the politics and traditions of another world. Kimri is an outstanding heroine (the entire book is told from her perspective) and it’s easy to fall for the silent but warm Tathan, particularly when the informal people of Helsmont are factored in. The political issues are well-developed and logical, and my only criticism is I think the fantasy element most evident at the end of the book should have been threaded more firmly through the first three-quarters of it as well. While there is a pull between Kimri and Tathan and they exchange kisses, the sensuality level of this novel is very mild with the final consummation of their relationship literally happening lovingly and discretely in the last couple pages.

Karalynn Lee appears to have written other science fiction and fantasy novellas (to her credit, this book was only 134 pages but I thought felt like a longer book as nowhere did the plot feel compressed to me) so I may try a couple having enjoyed this one so thoroughly. A major criticism however is that she almost proudly states on her website that she is not present on any social networks. Excuse me??!! I think it’s vastly irresponsible of any author to not be promoting their work and connecting with reader on sites like Twitter and Facebook. She doesn’t even have a fleshed out Goodreads page! If there’s anything that might make me not read her work, it’s this choice of hers since I like to connect with the authors I enjoy and know I’m going to hear about the latest publications or authors they enjoy through these avenues of communication.

While Heart of the Dragon’s Realm might be a wonderful book in a medieval like setting, modern authors need to join the 21st century and promote their terrific novellas on social networks! Face your own dragon, Karalynn, and hop on already. 🙂

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