Tag Archives: romance books

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.

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RFG Recommends: Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels Series

9 Feb

Magic Rises

I recently bought Magic Rises which is Book 6 in the Kate Daniels series and because of this I went back and re-read the 5 books in the series that came before (as you do). I am now totally kicking myself for not adding Ilona Andrews to my first autobuy authors list as I love their writing.
(Quick sidenote: for those who may not know, no the use of their instead of her wasn’t a massive grammatical error. Ilona Andrews is actually the pen name for a husband and wife writing team, how cool is that? )
The Kate Daniels series is the series that automatically springs to mind when talking about IA. It’s a fantastic urban fantasy about a mercenary named (you guessed it) Kate Daniels. I don’t want to put too much detail in as I don’t want to inadvertently spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t started the series yet, but I CAN tell you that Kate is a totally kick ass, strong female lead. What I love about her is that IA manages to make her strong and kick ass without crossing over into the mad at the world, ornery for the sake of being ornery stereotype. Kate is strong and has been through a hell of a lot, yet manages to be kind and well, likeable.
The Kate Daniels World is a post-apocalyptic type world with a twist. Technology in this world is no longer reliable due to “waves” of magic that suddenly come and go. People have to adapt to having tech one minute and then not having anything work in the next during a magic wave. This applies to everything including lights, cars, phones and even guns. Because of this folks in KD world Atlanta have two of everything to ensure that they have things that work during tech and during magic such as regular electric lights and magic lights, guns and swords, normal cars and cars that run on magic- the world building is fascinating and provides plenty of avenues for IA to stress out their poor hapless characters.
But what I love about this series is the writing. The stories and plot points just flow very naturally and nothing feels forced or contrived. All the characters, even the secondary ones are interesting and multi-dimensional. My favourite part though has to be the dialogue. I’m a big dialogue and character girl and this series (and the other series of this author) is GOLD when it comes to witty dialogue.
I love the romance between Kate and her man (who I will not specify as there may be a FEW people who may not know who it is). My only complaint as a romance reader is that in some of the books I would have liked a little more on the romance- but that’s really nitpicking.
Magic Rises is my favourite book so far of the series. It’s hard to get into too much of the storyline without massive spoilers but let’s just say there was plenty of magic and good old fashioned sword fighting and ass kicking by Kate and the cast of secondary characters who are just as big a presence in the book. It had that perfect blend of romance and action that great urban fantasy books have: the relationship stuff that made me tingle (and at one point I burst out laughing in my darkened bedroom surprising my poor baby girl in the cot next to me) and oh my goodness so much edge of your seat action I stayed up WAY past my bedtime finishing it. It’s an A for me for this book and this series generally. What’s your favourite Kate Daniels book?

Random Fan Girlness November 2013

25 Nov

HAIYAN

First off I have to admit to being a naughty little fan girl about adding new entries the past couple of weeks. I was so caught up in that awful typhoon that hit the Philippines. My heart goes out to all the victims and their families. In spite of a lot of things that went wrong with relief efforts, the generosity of the human spirit from all around the world was also so beautiful to see.

ARCHANGEL’S LEGION

Another thing that delayed adding to the blog was that I decided to do a review of Archangel’s Legion by Nalini Singh and because I loved it so much I took a lot of time writing the review as I wanted to do it justice. I also have to sheepishly admit that I got so excited about the book while I was doing the review that I had to read the book again (for research purposes mind you). And THEN because I read that book I was reminded of how awesome all the OTHER books were in the series and yup, total romance fan girl moment, read the whole series all over again. FYI there are now 6 full length novels in the series, so you can imagine that this took a bit of time.

COPYRIGHT LAWS

As mentioned earlier, November was a good month for me as a lot of my favourite authors released new books. This brought home a bit of a sore subject with me however- the fact that Australia and New Zealand have delayed releases as compared to the US. There are some books that I can’t even purchase if I don’t live in North America and this is SO FRUSTRATING for me- especially in this age of ebooks. I could understand a delay in terms of shipping actual hard copy or printed books overseas but when a digital book can be ordered, paid for and downloaded in less than 2 minutes I really can’t understand the delay. I know from reading posts that this is due to copyright laws being different for North America and the rest of the world but as a consumer it is maddening. Hmph.

ARCs

I’m really new to the blogosphere but have been following other romance blogs such as Dear Author and Smart Bitches Trashy Books for years and therefore have picked up some of the lingo. One term that I picked up and totally envied is ARC or Advanced Readers’ Copy. A call came out recently for bloggers to put their hands up for ARCs for some Christmas anthologies and thinking it couldn’t hurt, I did and I got them! Total romance fan girl moment! I was absolutely thrilled to bits and can’t wait to read and review them!

BOOKS I THAT I READ WHEN I SHOULD HAVE BEEN WRITING

  • Susan Mallery’s A Fool’s Gold Cookbook
  • Kinked by Thea Harrison
  • Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter Series (again)
  • Sealed with A Curse: A Weird Girls Novel by Cecy Robson
  • A Cursed Embrace: A Weird Girls Novel by Cecy Robson
  • Born Wild: Black Knights Inc by Julie Ann Walker
  • Jagged by Kristen Ashley
  • Play it Safe by Kristen Ashley
  • One Perfect Night by Bella Andre

Reviews to follow!