Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Daily Deals: Romances from established authors and new ones.

Daily Deals: Romances from established authors and new ones.

Forever and Always Jude DeverauxForever and Always by Jude Deveraux. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Darci’s psychic abilities have always guided her through hardship…and into a once-in-a-lifetime love with her rich, powerful husband, Adam Montgomery. When Adam vanishes in a mysterious accident, a grief-stricken Darci is left alone to raise their young daughter. But her instinct tells her the reports of Adam’s death are untrue. When the FBI enlists her intuitive talents to solve a heinous crime, she agrees — if they’ll help to uncover the truth about Adam. It may be a tougher deal than Darci imagined: she must go head-to-head with Jack Rose, a criminal whose mind power matches Darci’s at every turn. Now Darci must discover if those in the highest circles of authority have her best interests at heart — or if someone intends to sever the everlasting bond she shares with her one true love

This is the second in the “Forever” series. The first book had readers upset about the lack of romance and PW says that this second one skimps on the romance as well. First published in 2003, this may have been the start of Deveraux’s move away from the romance genre.

I should note that all the deals today are available at Amazon, Google, and iBooks but not Barnes & Noble.

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Every Dead Thing (Charlie Parker Series #1) by John ConnollyEvery Dead Thing by John Connolly. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Hailed internationally as a page-turner in a league with the fiction of Thomas Harris, this lyrical and terrifying bestseller is the stunning achievement of an “extravagantly gifted” (Kirkus Reviews) new novelist. John Connolly superbly taps into the tortured mind and gritty world of former NYPD detective Charlie “Bird” Parker, tormented by the brutal, unsolved murders of his wife and young daughter. Driven by visions of the dead, Parker tracks a serial killer from New York City to the American South, and finds his buried instincts — for love, survival, and, ultimately, for killing — awakening as he confronts a monster beyond imagining…

It seems for trad publishers, $1.99 is the new $.99 discount price point. This book was a 2000 Shamus Award for Best First Novel and a Finalist 2000 Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel

Library Journal review says: “The grim and grisly events are emotionally balanced by the book’s dark humor and Bird’s vulnerability. This is a highly intelligent and exciting novel, with almost enough action and story for two books.”

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Love Unscripted: The Love Series, Book 1 Tina ReberLove Unscripted by Tina Reber. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

An A-List Movie Star. . .
Ryan Christensen just wanted to be an actor. Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine a life where fans would chase him, paparazzi would stalk him, and Hollywood studios would want to own him. While filming in Seaport, Rhode Island, Ryan ducks into a neighborhood bar for a quick escape from legions of screaming fans . . . and finds much more than he expected.

A Small-Town Girl. . .
Nursing a recent heartbreak, Taryn Mitchell believes men are best kept at a safe distance. But when Ryan Christensen unexpectedly bursts through the front door of her pub, she can’t help but be drawn in by his humor, charm, and undeniable good looks. At six foot two, with dirty blond hair, blue eyes, and an incredible body, Ryan has every girl in Seaport swooning. But Taryn isn’t every other girl.

A Relationship That Doesn’t Follow the Script. . .
Despite her better judgment, Taryn soon finds herself falling hard for Ryan. But is their bond strong enough to survive the tabloid headlines, the relentless paparazzi, and the jealous fans who seem determined to tear them apart?

I actually read all three books in this series which I guess is loosely based off of Robert Pattison, a person I find not at all attractive but I’m obviously an outlier. I wished Reber had a better knowledge of the movie industry because I think the shallowness of that part of her world was a real weakness. Taryn is interesting but has a background that lacks credibility. Overall I obviously found the series interesting enough to read but there are a lot of flaws.

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Naked: The Blackstone Affair, Book 1 by Raine MillerNaked: The Blackstone Affair by Raine Miller. $ 1.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

The first book in the bestselling Blackstone Affair series

Naked desire. Secret satisfaction. An affair you’ll never forget.

Brynne Bennett has left scandal in her past and is living the good life. An American grad student at the University of London and part-time photographic model, she’s getting back on track with lots of hard work and focus on a career in art conservation. When London businessman Ethan Blackstone buys her nude portrait, he wants to possess more than just her image. He wants Brynne in his bed, serving him in every way possible. He has no trouble voicing his desires, and he isn’t taking no for an answer.

At first his dominant nature captivates her, but it isn’t clear if the force of his powerful desire will ultimately awaken or dispel the demons Brynne is carrying inside. There are secrets on both sides of this relationship—huge ones. Can Ethan erase the scars of Brynne’s past so that she can reveal her true self to him? Or will the shadows cast by Ethan’s own mysterious former life destroy their chance at happiness?

Naked is the sizzling, unforgettable story of what happens when a strong woman meets the one man powerful enough to strip away all her defenses, leaving her standing naked and perfect before him.

This was another popular indie title from last year. The first book, Naked, was entertaining although flawed but the second book was a disaster for me and I never finished out the series. you can read the first one, however, as a standalone.

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REVIEW:  Behold the Stars by Susan Fanetti

REVIEW: Behold the Stars by Susan Fanetti

Dear Ms. Fanetti:

Both Kati D and I enjoyed your first book and we recommended it to many other readers with the caveat that the motorcycle club featured in the book helps to traffic meth throughout the St. Louis pipeline. It’s not heroic behavior but given that we are reading about an outlaw motorcycle gang, I accepted this storyline.

Behold the Stars Susan FanettiOne of the great features of Move the Son was the female protagonist, Lillie Accardo. She falls in love with the president of a motorcycle club called the Night Horde, Isaac Lunden. Their romance is the very best thing about this story. Lillie’s struggle for independence while still being part of a couple is endearing. Isaac is completely gone over her and has no trouble admitting it.  But the romance is overshadowed by the suspense portion of the book. My issues with the book can be broken down into three broad categories. There is extreme violence toward women in this book; an excessive and unlikely romanticization of the MC; and finally Lillie’s agency often seems stripped from her.

Let’s start with the romanticization of the MC. In the beginning Lillie muses that this small band of men are actually more honorable than the ordinary citizen. No, sorry. A group that decides they will run a protection ring for meth producers aren’t really that honorable no matter that they are “face to face with real consequences.” The story is book-ended, open and close, with this idea that the MC is this really cool club filled with really awesome people not withstanding the lengths that they go to achieve their selfish ends which is to run their little club and keep their town alive. Further, the whole idea that all the Night Horde does is provide protection is disproved later in the book when Isaac says that they are going to bring all the cookers in to discuss new ways to make money. So they are producing meth and protecting it. I’m irritated that I have to read about how honorable and worthwhile it is because it really isn’t.

The first 40% of the book is set up as the “villain”, a big crime boss named Lawrence Ellis, tries to take over Isaac’s town. Lawrence is a villain only because he opposes Isaac’s Night Horde group and wants to take over the Midwest meth production and sales. I guess his ambition and the lengths that he will go to achieve that makes him villainous but unfortunately I felt the Night Horde was just as villainous.

As Ellis begins to put the squeeze on Isaac and his town, they are forced to fight back and the way in which they do this was hard to swallow. There was one scene in particular where I had to put down the book and I wondered if I would ever go back. I did return but was subjected to just more violence after that. Spoiler ahead

Spoiler (spoiler): Show

There are several women that are raped in the book including one fifteen year old who is literally raped to death. The MC figure out that there is a mole and it’s a woman. One of the members of the MC has loose lips during sex and has revealed a number of details to the young woman. So they torture her, prepare to rape her and then decide at the last minute to just chop off her head. With an ax. In front of her father via Skype. Isaac says that she deserves it but where her actions really any different than his?  She was helping her father preserve their lifestyle just like Isaac did all kinds of bad deeds in order to protect his.

The book ends with a “satisfactory” ending on the relationship front and from a romance standpoint, it had an interesting dynamic. Lillie was trying to cope with being part of Isaac’s life, both his business life with the MC and his personal life. She had been alone for a long time and adjusting to being part of a team was difficult.

The writing was good and that made the disturbing scenes all the more worse because I could visualize those things happening. As I said in the beginning, one of the primary problems I had with this book was the middle portion of the book where there seemed to be non stop violence. Several women were sexually violated and some in pretty graphic terms. Lillie took back a lot of the agency lost at the end but I was too sorrowful to enjoy it at that time.

I joked with KatiD that I felt like I suffered a mild case of PTSD after reading this book. It’s very grim and while there is a romance, I almost felt resentful reading about the hearts and flowers, particularly at the end. I don’t know if I came away with a feeling that they deserved it. From a purely technical standpoint, it was a gripping read for me although after a major scene I did lose interest. Both my stomach and my heart were impaired at that point.

Maybe read it as a horror book instead of a romance. It’s decently written. There’s a strong romance. Individually I liked Lillie but after the midway point in the book, I just couldn’t like Isaac enough. I just don’t think I can read romances like this. I can’t tell you how much I would’ve liked to recommend this book to readers. I told all kinds of people about Move the Sun but this one should come with a warning. Lots of warnings. C

Best regards,

Jane

If you have any triggers for violence against women or animals, I’d advise you to be careful if you choose to read it.

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