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Entries in romance (50)

Monday
Oct212013

Must-Read Monday: The Last Hour of Gann by R. Lee Smith

One of the things I love about being linked into the reading/reviewing/writing community is that I get book recommendations that lead me to stories I never would've picked up on my own. So last week, when I was pouting about having two DNF books in a row, I was on the look out for something good. That's when I saw buzz around Twitter about a book called The Last Hour of Gann by R. Lee Smith. And when I saw reviewers like Jane at Dear Author and Mandi at Smexy Books raving about it, I paid attention. 

But I looked at the summary and I'm thinking--meh, I don't really read adult sci-fi. And I'm not really into books where characters have those crazy, hard to pronounce names. And wait--the hero is a lizard man? And it's something like 1500 pages long?! It's like the opposite of what I gravitate to, lol. But the reviews were so effusive and those reviewers don't hand out praise easily. So I decided to give it a shot.

And omg, I'm so glad I did. For the last five days, I've been obsessed. Like reading into the night and sneaking pages on my phone while I'm out and about. I could not put it down. I'm sure my hubs was totally annoyed with me because I've basically ignored him during our normal TV time. And for me to read such a long book in less than a week is a testament to how much it captured me. Because even really excellent 1k+ page books like Stephen King's 11/22/63 take me a while to get through because I have a hard time staying with any book for that many pages.

So, I could try to summarize the book, but there's just so much and I know I won't do it justice. (Check the reviews I linked to above if you want more of an analysis with example passages and such.) Plus, the world-building is complex, so much of what I can say probably won't make much sense anyway. But here's a bullet point list of my thoughts on the book:

  • This is sci-fi--spaceship crashing on alien planet and all. I do not read sci-fi. I should not have been the audience for this book. But it totally worked for me. So don't be scared if you don't normally read this genre.
  • If you are sensitive to reading about violence, particularly rape, be warned. This is a brutal book at times. I've heard it called erotic horror. The things the characters have to go through are horrible and intense--particularly for the heroine and the other women in the story. There were times it was hard to read and I wanted to read faster just to get some relief from the horrible dark moments. And the bad times can last a long time. No brief ten page black moment. You're there for 200 pages or more at times. Then just when you think they're in the clear, something even more awful happens. It's gut-wrenching. But I also think this is why the love story ends up feeling so epic. These two have fought through things worse than death to be together.
  • Yes, the hero is a lizardman. He has a snout and red eyes and different, er, parts. I couldn't get my head around those things before I read the book. How could that work? But it totally does. Meoraq is a fantastic hero who does not start off as a very good person/lizard. He has a dramatic journey to go on, but the end result is one of the best heroes I've read in a long time.
  • In 1500 pages, there are bound to be some slow parts. This story is broken into "books" and then chapters. In Book 2, when we first meet Meoraq, the worldbuilding takes a while. There is so much to learn about their culture and religion and the hero himself that it can drage a bit. Don't give up. Keep reading.
  • Outside of Amber (the heroine), the humans in this book are pretty horrible people. It's hard to read some of it and can be over the top. They suffer from a bad case of TSTL often.
  • Faith is an important theme in this book. Religion plays a big role in the story and it leaves you with some fantastic food for thought on what religion is and what it can/can't do for a society. I loved this aspect.
  • I think this is a book people will either love or hate. I can't imagine having ambivalent feelings about this one. I've heard some have issues with the gender roles in this book and the fact that the hero doesn't treat women well before the heroine comes into his life. (Women don't have any say in anything in that world, including refusing sex.) But I saw those roles as part of this alien society and the heroine was a good, strong badass woman to break that mold. As for how Meoraq was with women before the heroine, I felt that was a big part of his journey and made the end result more satisfying. He had a long way to go.
  • Even after all those pages, I hit the end (which was fantastic) and wanted an HEA epilogue. So--yeah, 1500 pages and I still wanted more. That says a lot.
  • This is the biggest book hangover I've had in a long time, and that's the best sign that a book really got to me. I won't forget this one for a long time.

 

So that's all I've got to say about that. : ) If you decide to read it or have already read it, let me know what you think.

 

About the book:

It was her last chance:

Amber Bierce had nothing left except her sister and two tickets on Earth’s first colony-ship. She entered her Sleeper with a five-year contract and the promise of a better life, but awakened in wreckage on an unknown world. For the survivors, there is no rescue, no way home and no hope until they are found by Meoraq—a holy warrior more deadly than any hungering beast on this hostile new world…but whose eyes show a different sort of hunger when he looks at her.

It was his last year of freedom:

Uyane Meoraq is a Sword of Sheul, God’s own instrument of judgment, victor of hundreds of trials, with a conqueror’s rights over all men. Or at least he was until his father’s death. Now, without divine intervention, he will be forced to assume stewardship over House Uyane and lose the life he has always known. At the legendary temple of Xi’Matezh, Meoraq hopes to find the deliverance he seeks, but the humans he encounters on his pilgrimage may prove too great a test even for him…especially the one called Amber, behind whose monstrous appearance burns a woman’s heart unlike any he has ever known.

From R. Lee Smith, author of Heat and Cottonwood, comes an epic new story of desire, darkness and the dawn that comes after The Last Hour of Gann.

WARNING: This book contains graphic violence, strong sexual content and explicit language. It is intended for mature readers only.

Have you ever been bowled over by a book that's not in your normal reading comfort zone? What was it? Why was it so fantastic?

 

Tuesday
Oct082013

Want a Query and 10-page Critique from Me?

 

*clears throat in preparation of dramatic infomercial voice*

Are you having trouble with your opening pages catching an agent or editor's attention? Or maybe it's your query that seems to be falling flat? Well, I may have just the thing to help you...

...one of my detailed, sadistic-in-a-loving-way critiques!

For those of you who have followed my journey for a long time, you know I used to do critiques regularly on my old blog (Fiction Groupie). I really enjoy giving writers feedback because when I was starting out (and even now still), I know there is nothing more valuable than honest, unbiased, knowledgeable feedback. Having those types of critiques early on is what moved me from being the writer with a pile of rejection slips to a writer with a book deal and an ongoing series.

So, I believe in the power of feedback. And, honestly, I'd love to be able to help writer friends out with critiques like I used to, but things have gotten way busier for me. Putting out 2-3 books a year has required me to drop some things--like giving critiques. HOWEVER, every year I donate one critique for a fabulous cause--Crits for Water, which provides clean water to developing nations.

So now's your chance! I am offering a query and 10-pg critique TODAY at the Crits for Water auction. This means you'll get detailed feedback on your pages (the good, bad, and ugly), suggestions for what could make it better, and suggested resources (books, articles, etc.) you can tap to improve those things.

I'm open to all genres, but my skill set is probably most helpful to those who are writing romance, young adult, or New Adult. Bidding is only open until 9am on October 11th and starts at 10 dollars, so get to it. AND if you win, beyond getting the crit, you get to know you're helping people in need (plus it's tax deductible to boot.) : )

So go forth and bid! I promise to give good crit. ;)

Monday
Sep232013

Must-Read Monday: Two Forbidden Love Stories

So it's been a while since I've done a Must-Read Monday, but I've been catching up on my reading lately and have a few to share with you. :)

It wasn't the plan, but the last two books I've read had the theme of forbidden love (a favorite dynamic of mine to write and read about.) And both were fantastic reads. So here you go...

On the Island  by Tracey Garvis Graves

Yeah, yeah, I know I'm behind the times on this one. It was a bestseller a while ago. But it's been sitting in my stack since last year and I finally got the chance to pick it up. I really enjoyed this story. It was fast-moving and transported you to the deserted island setting. And both characters were very likeable. My only complaint was that it could've been a bit steamier after all the yummy sexual tension built up in the first half of the book, but that's just a personal preference of mine because I like a very sexy book. :) But I definitely recommend it for an engrossing read. 

Here's the blurb from Amazon:

Anna Emerson is a thirty-year-old English teacher desperately in need of adventure. Worn down by the cold Chicago winters and a relationship that’s going nowhere, she jumps at the chance to spend the summer on a tropical island tutoring sixteen-year-old T.J.

T.J. Callahan has no desire to go anywhere. His cancer is in remission and he wants to get back to his normal life. But his parents are insisting he spend the summer in the Maldives catching up on all the school he missed last year.

Anna and T.J. board a private plane headed to the Callahan’s summer home, and as they fly over the Maldives’ twelve hundred islands, the unthinkable happens. Their plane crashes in shark-infested waters. They make it to shore, but soon discover that they’re stranded on an uninhabited island.

At first, their only thought is survival. But as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.’s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man. 

A Little Too Far  by Lisa Desrochers

Next is a read I couldn't put down. The blurb had me from the start. A love triangle with a stepbrother and a soon-to-be priest? My first thought was -- how did me and Tiffany Reisz not write this book? (For those who haven't read us: I have the forbidden foster brother love in MELT INTO YOU and Tiffany's Original Sinners series has a priest as the main hero.)


This is a New Adult book (college-aged protagonists) and transports you Italy for most of the novel. That's one of the things I liked most about it. The setting had real life to it. Also, the story was very sexy and fun. Here's my Goodreads Review:

A Little Too Far (A Little Too Far, #1)A Little Too Far by Lisa Desrochers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So I love, love, love forbidden romance stories and this one had double forbidden-ness, so yay for that. I loved the heroine's voice. She was funny and comfortable with herself and outspoken. I like that the fact that she enjoyed sex wasn't a BIG OL' DEAL. I was a little sad when I realized that I was pulling for the wrong guy in the love triangle, but I'm looking forward to his story next. I also really enjoyed the Italian setting. I felt transported there and that's always a nice treat. Very quick and sexy read!

View all my reviews

And here's the blurb:
Have you ever gone just a little too far?

Lexie Banks has.

Yep. She just had mind-blowing sex with her stepbrother. In her defense, she was on the rebound, and it's more of a my-dad-happened-to-marry-a-woman-with-a-super-hot-son situation. But still, he's been her best friend and confidant for the better part of the last few years ... and is so off limits. It's a good thing she's leaving in two days for a year abroad in Rome.

But even thousands of miles away, Lexie can't seem to escape trouble. Raised Catholic, she goes to confession in hopes of alleviating some of her guilt ... and maybe not burning in hell. Instead, she stumbles out of the confessional and right into Alessandro Moretti, a young and very easy-on-the-eyes deacon ... only eight months away from becoming a priest. Lexie and Alessandro grow closer, and when Alessandro's signals start changing despite his vow of celibacy, she doesn't know what to think. She's torn between falling in love with the man she shouldn't want and the man she can't have. And she isn't sure how she can live with herself either way.
 

If that blurb doesn't sell you, I don't know what will. :)  Also, I'm excited that Lisa is one of the authors in the Fifty First Times anthology I'm contributing too. (I actually didn't realize that until after I'd read her book, lol.) Btw, if you missed the announcement about the anthology, you can find out the details here. :)

*Also, if you entered my 50 Book Giveaway, all winners have been chosen and contacted. Thanks to all of you who participated and spread the word! :)

So how do you feel about taboo or forbidden romance stories? Has anyone read either of these.

 

Friday
Sep132013

Fill Your Shelves for Fall Book Giveaway (Day 5) - Historical Romances & A Genre Grab Bag!

If you missed it this week, I'm doing a huge giveaway of over FIFTY romances this week. Each day I'm featuring a different subgenre. We've been at it all week with different romance genres. But today is the day for Historical Romance and a special Mixed Genre Grab Bag.

Historical Prize Pack: 

AND

To Enter: You MUST fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Simply leaving a comment will not enter you for the contest. Contest ends Friday Sept. 20. Winner will be chosen and notified the following week.

Note: Contest for U.S. and Canada Only. Some books in the prizes packs are used. Signed books (besides Caught Up In You) are signed To Roni since these are books from my personal library and were not donated by the author. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Mixed Genre Grab Bag of Goodness: 

PLUS

A signed copy of CAUGHT UP IN YOU

To Enter: You MUST fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Simply leaving a comment will not enter you for the contest. Contest ends Friday Sept. 20. Winner will be chosen and notified the following week.

Note: Contest for U.S. and Canada Only. Some books in the prizes packs are used. Signed books (besides Caught Up In You) are signed To Roni since these are books from my personal library and were not donated by the author. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*You can enter as many of this week's contests as you would like. You're not limited to only entering one. So be sure to click back through previous posts from the week. :)

THE SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEK WAS...

  • Monday: Contemporary Romance
  • Tuesday: Paranormal Romance
  • Wednesday: Erotic Romance
  • Thurday: Young Adult
  • Friday: Historical Romance and A Mixed Genre Grab Bag

CONTEST CLOSES NEXT FRIDAY!!! Winners will be contacted after that.

Thanks to all those who entered and have a great weekend!

Thursday
Sep122013

Fill Your Shelves for Fall Book Giveaway (Day 4) - Thirteen YA Romances!

If you missed it earlier this week, I'm doing a huge giveaway of over FIFTY romances this week. Each day I'm featuring a different subgenre. We've already covered contemporary, paranormal, and erotic, and there's still time to enter those as well. But today is the day for Young Adult Romance!

Today we have two prize packs:

Prize Pack #1:

AND (if you're over 18, you also get...)

To Enter: You MUST fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Simply leaving a comment will not enter you for the contest. Contest ends Friday Sept. 20. Winner will be chosen and notified the following week.

Note: Contest for U.S. and Canada Only. Some books in the prizes packs are used. Signed books (besides Caught Up In You) are signed To Roni since these are books from my personal library and were not donated by the author. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

YA Prize Pack #2:

PLUS a signed copy of CAUGHT UP IN YOU (if you're over 18 years old)

To Enter: You MUST fill out the Rafflecopter form below (you can enter both giveaways but miss fill out both forms). Simply leaving a comment will not enter you for the contest. Contest ends Friday Sept. 20. Winner will be chosen and notified the following week.

Note: Contest for U.S. and Canada Only. Some books in the prizes packs are used. Signed books (besides Caught Up In You) are signed To Roni since these are books from my personal library and were not donated by the author. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 


 

*You can enter as many of this week's contests as you would like. You're not limited to only entering one. So be sure to stop by throughout the week. :)

THE SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEK:

  • Monday: Contemporary Romance
  • Tuesday: Paranormal Romance
  • Wednesday: Erotic Romance
  • Thurday: Young Adult
  • Friday: Historical Romance and A Mixed Genre Grab Bag