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

Carolyn Crane

Shuzluva Reading List, Week of August 13

Shuzluva Reading List, Week of August 13

Intervamption by Kristin Miller. This book is the first in the Vampires of Crimson Bay series and it’s a hot mess that I am going to expand upon in a longer review. Dylan runs ReVamp which is both a clinic and supply center for the Crimson Bay vampires and she’s dedicated her life to figuring out what’s screwing with the vampire blood supply. Slade is a therian (shape shifter, they’re the enemy of the vamps), sent to infiltrate Dylan’s khiss (her…er…vampire coven? nest? whatever?) to stop the supposed vampire uprising. Yeah, the whole star-crossed lover thing is happening here along with a shitload of WTF. Information comes out of left field every chapter and there’s a serious lack of organic evolution. I feel like I’m lost in a vortex of world building hell.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

An ARC of Gena Showalter’s The Darkest Surrender. This is the 10th book in the Lords of the Underworld series and I’m pleasantly surprised so far. Strider is hilarious and miserable (what a great combination for a hero) and Kaia is hilarious and miserable. Kaia wants Strider, Strider is afraid that he won’t be good enough for her…but he wants her…but she had a one nighter with his best friend. Oy. Strider’s demon, Defeat, will send Strider into a coma of pain if he isn’t as good in bed with Kaia as Paris was. For all of their winning ways and bravado, Strider and Kaia are both kinda loser-ish. I’m only 100 pages or so into it, but I’m enjoying the heck out of this installment and am anxious to see how they redeem themselves.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Red Heat by Nina Bruhns. It’s The Hunt for Red October + utter romance ludicrousness. Captain Nikolai Romanov is slightly disgraced and is forced to captain a broken down sub that does scientific missions. He’s informed that a CIA spy will be part of the expedition team and is tasked with figuring out her mission. Julie Severin is a CIA analyst, now working as a spy and posing as a reporter. Totally ridiculous and far-fetched, but it’s a fun read and I’m frankly enjoying the absurdity.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Wild & Steamy Anthology. Two words: Brooks and Crane. I have been so annoyed that there hasn’t been a follow up to Crane’s Disillusionist novels. Yeah, I know it’s bad form to push an author to write, but dammit, I love those crazy kids. Kitten Tiger & the Monkis a little snack to stave off my Disillusionist hunger. But when I finish this book it’s all over, and I’m really, really going to need another one. If that isn’t dropping a hint like a bomb I don’t know what to call it.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Cowboy Up by Vicki Lewis Thompson. I’ve only read one other Sons of Chance novel, Claimed!, and enjoyed it. This is the story of Clay Whitaker, the foster son of the Chance clan, and Emily Sterling. Emily is the seemingly spoiled daughter of Emmett, the Last Chance Ranch foreman and father-figure to Clay. Thompson sets the stage for an enjoyable big reveal that Emily isn’t all the bad that Clay’s cracked her up to be. Thompson does a wonderful job of showing that as an outsider perception can be way off base from the truth in family relations. I am enjoying the familial back stories (just like I did in the other novel I read) and all of the secondary character interaction.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Reading List for Jane, Week of August 13

Reading List for Jane, Week of August 13

This is more a list of what I read last week because I don’t know what I am going to read this week.  Last week I read:

Never a Mistress, No Longer a Maid by Maureen Driscoll.  This was sent to me by the author. The pitch was really good.  The book not so much.  Standard fare Regency historical that pays no attention to societal restrictions in order to get the couple together.  Also a secret baby story.  It took me days (4) to finish this book.  Full review to come.

Goodreads | Amazon |  nook

Wild & Steamy by Carolyn Crane, Jill Myles, Meljean Brook. I liked all three stories although there wasn’t any consistent theme among the three.  I understand that there was some angst over Crane’s female protagonist but having not read the previous stories, I didn’t find the character objectionable.  Meljean’s story made me mad because a) it was short and b) I don’t have another Iron Seas book to read until next year.  Jill’s story is fun. I consider Jill a friend, though, so take my recommendation with that proviso.

Goodreads | Amazon |  nook | Sony | Kobo

Hidden Talents by Emma Holly.  It’s a shapeshifter, etc. alternate reality story based on fated mate bonds.  It’s fairly decent erotic romance but it’s short and the emotional connection is underdeveloped. At the beginning of chapter two, Holly has a gay character use the word ‘faggot’ in reference to himself. I visibly recoiled.

Goodreads | Amazon | nook | Sony | Kobo

To the Brink by Cindy Gerard.  This is a marriage in trouble story recommended by the readers to last Tuesday’s thread.  I liked it but I was disappointed that I didn’t get to see the fallout from breakup.  Gerard writes several flashback scenes including how the couple met, got together and what led up to the breakup, but not the actual breakup itself and I felt emotionally robbed.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

A Whirlwind Marriage by Helen Brooks.  A marriage in trouble story recommended by Saly on Twitter.  It was a great read and very different in feel than past Brooks books. Brooks often writes about the heroine who wants to stay at home and have children and devote herself to her family.  She often has her characters refer to those “driven career women” as hard and uninterested in family.  But in this book, the heroine married young and felt suffocated. She wanted to have a life outside the marriage and this leads her to leave her extremely wealthy husband and rent out a dingy bedsit and work at a grocery store until she can start university classes.  Her husband wants her back but until he comes to accept her desire to have a career and a family, they can’t have their HEA.  Full review to come.

Goodreads | Amazon |  nook | Sony | Kobo

Bad Girl By Night: A H.O.T. Cops Novel by Lacey Alexander. I meant to press the “send a sample” button but inadvertently hit the “buy” button. Oh, Amazon.  Your technology is too easy at times.  I haven’t liked previous Alexander books in the past which is why I wanted to try a sample, fortunately, I ended up liking this a lot.  There are definitely problems in this book but I’ve struggled to find erotic romances that have a good emotional arc and this one does.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Touch of Crimson by Sylvia Day.  I’ve really enjoyed the short story contributions by Day in the upcoming Men Out of Uniform and another one (the title of which I can’t recall) but I haven’t been able to get into the historical books. I picked this up because I figure it would feature the Day contemporary voice.  There is a kernel of a very good story in this book, but because of the “no paranormal being left behind” mantra that seems to be driving the worldbuilding, the overlapping and confusing taxonomy of beings, and the super unlikeable and hypocritical hero made this a disappointing read. Full review to come.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

Catch Me by Lorelie Brown.  This is a historical western and I love the cover.   I’m not wild about the idea  - the heroine robs a bank to pay for medical care for her dad, the town sheriff, and then is hunted down by a bounty hunter who wants to be the town sheriff.  I’ve been reading it off and on for a month now. I don’t know if I am ever going to finish it.  I keep hoping that at some point I’ll start being lost in the text but it hasn’t happened for me.

Goodreads | Amazon |  nook | Sony | Kobo

Bride for Real by Lynne Graham.  Apparently this is a sequel to a previous Graham book.  I think this is the second time this year that Harlequin Presents have had sequels to a book but haven’t really given the reader a heads up about it.  The sequel starts off with the couple in the previous book having broken up, so a marriage in trouble trope. I found parts of the story kind of interesting because the secret baby in this story was the hero’s that he created with a different woman while the heroine and hero were separated (but not divorced).  For some the infidelity might be hard to overcome.  My problem was with how superficial some of the issues regarding the couple’s separation were treated.  I did like the idea that the heroine didn’t want to accept the hero’s baby and how the hero’s baby paralleled her own life (she was the out of wedlock child in her family).

Goodreads | Amazonnook | Sony | Kobo