Sunday, January 31, 2010

~Year of the Historical~ January: "Four In Hand" by Stephanie Laurens

Setting: Regency England (early 1800s)
Genre: Romance

Synopsis: A rakish duke acquires not one but four beautiful wards, the eldest of whom he decides to seduce.

My two cents: I'm given to understand that this is a re-release of one of Ms Laurens's older Regencies. I also read numerous reviews of this book before deciding to purchase it. Some readers were dissatisfied with the lack of graphic sex in the story. I am the opposite. I was able to enjoy the story because the love scenes were far less graphic than is the norm in historical romance novels. (Some really finicky readers might have a problem with this book being called a "clean" romance, however, because there was premarital sex and a few sexual situations, but I would still categorize it as such.)

I tend to like my Regencies to have a little more substance than this one can boast but it was still an entertaining read. The characters were amusing; I smiled through the whole book. However, I think the focus being so much on four couples rather than one made it hard to really connect with any of them.

Title: Four in Hand
Author: Stephanie Laurens
Publisher: HQN
Genre: Fiction/Romance/Historical
ISBN: 0373773099
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
List price: $7.99US
Rating: 4 pearls
Warnings: None, really, but as I mentioned before, some may still have issues with the sexual situations.

Friday, January 29, 2010

~Book Review~ "The Sister Pact" by Cami Checketts

Synopsis: Two sisters, one is injured and in a coma from which it doesn't seem she'll wake and the other is suspected of being the one to have hurt her. While Allie sleeps, Savvy must try to determine who attacked her. Helping Savvy is Noah, the detective who suspects she is the culprit.

My two cents: This book had its funny moments, its scary moments and its "awwwww!" moments. I enjoyed each of the characters, most of whom had at least one scene told from their POV. I do like books where I get to see what all the main characters are thinking, instead of just the hero/heroine, as is the case with most romances.

I admit, I was first drawn to this book when I read a scene from the POV of the antagonist. But I felt it might have added to the suspense if I hadn't known from page 1 (literally) who the villain was. While the suspense was definitely there, it was the frustrated, "I-can't-believe-he's-standing-right-next-to-you-and-you-don't-know-it's-him!" kind rather than the edge-of-your-seat, "I-wonder-what's-going-to-happen-next" kind. (My apologies for my overuse of hyphens.)

Overall, it was a pretty good read. I would recommend this to anyone who likes a clean contemporary romance with a touch of suspense.

Title: The Sister Pact
Author: Cami Checketts
Blog: Cami's Books
Publisher: Bonneville Books
Genre: Fiction/Romantic Suspense
ISBN: 1599552671
Format: Paperback, 240 pages
List price: $15.99US (on sale at Amazon now for $12.47)
Rating: 3.8 pearls
Warnings: NONE

*This review is based on the paperback received for free from the publisher at the author's request. My apologies to Ms Checketts and her publisher for my delay in posting this review.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Year of the Historical : Reading Challenge for 2010

I wish I had been informed of this earlier! What a fun challenge for me! I am still going to give it a shot even though January is almost over. This is great since I've been focusing a lot on nonfiction lately rather than the historical romance that I love so much.

Here are the rules as I understand them:
  1. Sign up for the challenge at the original blog post (not mine).
  2. Read one book per month. A grand total of 12 in the year.
  3. Anything historical applies but it must be historical: young adult, romance, fiction, thrillers, mysteries, etc. Make sure it is set prior to the present day. (I like Regencies, LOL.)
  4. They can be re-reads, new reads, or new-to-you-but-old reads.
  5. Post a review at the end of the month for the book you read that meets the criteria for this challenge. Make sure the review is marked in some way to signify that it is for this challenge. For example, I will label mine ~Year of the Historical~ {month & book title}.
  6. No nonfiction, biographies or reference books. This is a straight-up fiction challenge.
I think that covers everything. I am currently reading a Stephanie Laurens Regency and I can probably get it done before February but the review might be a bit late.

Happy reading, writing and blogging!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

~Book Review~ "The Crown of Anavrea" by Rachel Rossano

Synopsis: A slave woman helps an outlaw escape capture and travels with him to the only place he knows he'll be safe. He gives her her freedom in exchange for her assistance.

My two cents: I loved this story! It was short at only 109 e-book pages (80 paperback) and every time I was forced to walk away from it, all I wanted to do was come back and finish it. I found the hero and heroine easy to like. Neither one was by any means perfect; they were both realistic and believable. The tale is fast-paced yet takes place over the course of many weeks. Any love scenes are completely vague, making this a suitable read for young adults.

Despite the novella length of this tale, the characters are well developed. I would have liked to have had more story, more detail in regard to their struggle, both internal and external. I wanted to spend more time with them.

*Review based on e-book provided free by the author.

Title: The Crown of Anavrea
Author: Rachel Rossano
Publisher: PublishAmerica
Genre: Fiction/Romance/Fantasy
Format: Paperback, 79 pages
List price: $16.95US
Format reviewed: e-book, 109 pages (not currently avl for purchase)
Rating: 4.3 pearls
Warnings: NONE

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Celebration Book Giveaway

In four months, we went from 100 to over 200 members in our Clean Romance group on Goodreads. When we hit 100 members, we held a giveaway. Now that we've hit 200, we're doing it again. To be entered to win, all you have to do is be a member. That's it.

Already, over 15 books have been donated to the giveaway. There are many great authors on the list, authors who excel at writing beautiful romance without all the graphic sexual details. (I am donating a paperback copy of Spellbound for a USA winner and an e-book copy of Redemption for an International winner.)

So what are the deadlines? If you are an author of clean romance and would like to get in on the excellent exposure, join and make your offering by January 10. If you are a lover of good clean romance, become a member by January 10 to be a part of this drawing. The festivities begin on January 11.

I hope to see you all there! Have a lovely day and as always, happy reading, writing and blogging!!


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