Tag Archives: Dear author

Good Books, Weird Covers and Weird Girls

1 Sep

I’m reading and enjoying some books by authors who may not necessarily as well known as some of the other authors I’ve reviewed in the past.

The first book I read that I really enjoyed is Code Name: Nina’s Choice by Natasza Waters. This is the third book in her warrior series and boy, are these books FUN. The books follow a team of Navy Seals (because in Romance land only the Special Forces count) and the women they fall in love with. The first two books are about Admiral Grayson Thane and Kayla, who is a Canadian analyst that started working for the team and has some serious emotional issues to work through. Aside from the romance, there is an overarching storyline about a serial killer who targets women in the base that the Navy Seal Team Alpha One are stationed at. This third book is about Mace Callahan and Nina- characters who I was introduced to and fell in love with in the previous books. The author does have some sort of background working at the Coronado Base (in San Diego, California) where most of the story takes place so I found the military jargon etc to be pretty realistic.

Everything else though? High emotion, screaming suspense, over the top drama- it’s almost like reading a military based soap opera and I LOVED IT. The characters are very likeable and the whole concept of “no man gets left behind” and teamwork gets taken to almost superhero, GI Joe levels. SO. MUCH. FUN. I actually got a book hangover from this book; it has that special crack quality to it. I may have to stalk this author’s page until the next book comes out. Think Kristen Ashley writing military suspense novels and you get the general flavour of these books.

Another book that I just started and am enjoying is Prisoner by Lia Silver. I discovered this author after listening to Jane from Dear Author talk about it on the Dear Bitches Smart Authors Podcast. This book is about a wolf-shifter marine who gets coerced into working for a top secret government laboratory as an assassin. It was hard to type that last sentence with a straight face but this is paranormal romance, people so realistic does not fall anywhere within our sphere of reading.

I’m only 60% into the book but so far am enjoying the dialogue between the hero and heroine. There is a fun sense of humor threaded throughout the story even though the premise seems a little grim. To give you an example, the hero’s werewolf scent name is Lechon which is Filipino for roast pig which really shows that the author doesn’t take herself or her characters too seriously as that’s about the least sexy code name you can come up with in my humble opinion.
I also like how the hero isn’t this perfect badass who can defeat 25 armed men singlehandedly, all the while never breaking a sweat on his perfect, tall, built, secret billionaire playboy philanthropist’s body. This hero is far from perfect. He’s of medium height (a mortal sin in romance land), suffers from debilitating dyslexia and talks too much when he’s stressed. He’s also kind and strong, darkly handsome and unfailingly loyal. I’m enjoying the slow build into romance and the friendship between the hero and heroine is a lot of fun to read. I can’t wait to finish the book and have signed up to this author’s newsletter so I get notified when the next book in the series comes out.

A sidenote is that the covers for BOTH these books are really ugly, like fugly ugly, and I almost didn’t buy them because of the supreme el cheapo effect of the cover art. In this case, do NOT judge the books by their covers. I’d give a solid 4 out of 5 stars for both them.

Prisoner L Silver Nina's Choice

In contrast, another book that had a pretty decent cover but one that I found to be a bit of a let- down was the third book in the Weird girls series by Cecy Robson, Cursed by Destiny.

Cursed by Destiny C Robson

This is the third book in the series and I really loved the first book and seriously liked the second. This series revolves around Celia Wird and her three sisters who all have strange powers due to a curse that a witch put on their family. Celia is a human who can shift into a tiger but also has the ability to pass through matter (cool right?). I really enjoyed the world building and learning about Celia and her sisters in the first book. I loved the sense of family and closeness and pack dynamics that I got there. I didn’t really like the love triangle between Celia, Aric the werewolf and Misha the master vampire (Twilight flashback). I didn’t mind it so much in the first two books because she clearly was with Aric and Misha was just so much fun to picture in my head. The third book though is where it gets a bit annoying.

Suffice it to say that Aric and Celia have a bit of a star-crossed love going as he is a pure-blooded shifter and must mate another shifter for the good of his race. It’s all very plausible in the context of the story and I really felt for the couple in the first two books. For some reason though, it just annoyed the heck out of me in the third book. I did at one point roll my eyes and wished with all my might that Aric would just get over himself already and that Celia would get over him already for the love of all that is furry. That said, the rest of the book was very well-written and I still am invested enough in the series to want to read the fourth book. So although I didn’t like it as much as the first two books I would still give this one three out of five stars.

Do you have any new authors you’re excited to talk about?

Advertisements

RFG Recommends: Uncommon Passion by Anne Calhoun

11 Mar

Uncommon Passion A Calhoun

I was listening to the DBSA (Dear Bitches Smart Authors) Podcast recently, going through all of their old podcasts hoping that I would find a book or books to break this reading slump that I’ve been on lately. One of the books that Sarah from Smart Bitches Trashy Books recommended was Uncommon Passion by Anne Calhoun.
The thing that made me want to read it was the description of the heroine. Her name is Rachel Hill and she is described in the summary as someone who has recently left a fundamentalist commune called Elysian Field. Having grown up in this very restrictive environment, she is a 25 year old virgin. Wanting to rid herself of her aforementioned virginity she buys the hero, Ben, at a bachelor auction thinking that he looks like the kind of guys who could do the job and walk away. Ben, at first, seems to be nothing more than a really hot adrenaline junkie police officer with too many notches on his bedpost.
One of the things that I really LOVED about this book was how thoughtful it was. There were no stereotypes to be found anywhere in the story. A lazier writer could have easily portrayed Rachel as an uber innocent (verging on too stupid to live) traumatised young thing and her father and everyone in the commune as evil and mean. What we do get is one of the strongest heroines I have read in a good long time.
Rachel’s strength is quite different from the outwardly tough, I will kick your ass to the moon and back strength of the urban fantasy/paranormal heroine, but by the end of the book I thought: wow that is one strong, self-aware woman. Anne Calhoun was able to write a character of such quiet inner strength and grace, I finished the book with an incredible amount of respect for the character and for AC as a writer for not turning Rachel into a caricature of what people think “escapees” from cults or communes should be like.
It also would have been easy to just vilify Rachel’s father as this oppressive man and in some ways, he was because of his beliefs. At the same time, he was also the man who baked cookies with her and read her stories and all these other things that show that he was a very loving father. There’s a scene where Ben and Rachel are talking about her life in Elysian Field and she says that people think she left because of the lack of fashion or long skirts but that’s not why she left at all. She left because she wanted to decide things for herself without her father or one of the elders telling her what to think or feel. I found it fascinating that she wasn’t even supposed to be mad or grumpy as this was being ungrateful to God so she had to be serene or cheerful all day.
Ben as a hero seems really simple in the beginning but is actually a really complicated character. I LOVE that he had to work through his issues and come to realizations about himself before he felt he had anything to give in terms of a relationship. I love how the romance developed slowly, completely apart from the steamy sex which would have been about an 8 or 9 in the steamy charts. I LOVE how the heroine , even being inexperienced knew to stand up for herself after a raunchy sex sesh and say you know what? You didn’t treat me right that time, buh-bye. I love how AC made Rachel brave enough to fully accept and experience all emotions even negative ones.
I know I may be repeating myself but it has to be said again; this was a very well-written and thoughtful romance that I will remember in the jumble of all the other meh books that I have read lately. My only criticism is that I didn’t get that ‘chest hurts oh my God this book is ripping my heart out’ feeling that I get with the some really good books. It’s a solid B+ for me though, hope you like it.