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Eeek, have you guys read this yet? All I can say is WOAH!

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Eva never really wanted to be a mother – and certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin’s horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklin. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.

One could be forgiven for thinking that this was a true story, but after reading it, I learned that it wasn’t, and I have to say, I was more than a little gob-smacked. This is a book that I would like to do an in-depth review on, but honestly, I’m not sure I could do it justice. (more…)

I’m such a Maya Banks fangirl. Her writing seems to get better and better, and better. Read the KGI, series if you don’t believe me.

She sent me three of her latest category books from the Pregnancy and Passion line, and I love her for that. Maya, Shiloh Walker, and Dee Tenorio are three authors who consistently send me books despite my rarely reviewing them. In case I’ve never said it before, I’m ever so appreciative of this, especially when one considers that I live in England, so postage is probably quite expensive.

Anyway, here’s the blurb for the book from the back cover:

Despite his fiancee’s chilling betrayal, developer Ryan Beardsley provided for Kelly Christian when he sent her packing. So he’s livid to find her working in a dingy Houston diner, desperate and pregnant. Regardless of whether the baby is his–or his brother’s–Ryan demands that Kelly return to New York with him. Now. For the baby’s sake. Or maybe because the woman’s as irresistible as ever…

This was the review that I posted at Goodreads: (more…)

Too good to pass up (as blog fodder)

 

I was busy with other things yesterday when this review went up at Dear Author, but as I was coming over to post something else, Karen had already been there, done that, and come back to post about it.

Anyway, will you look at this precious, precious gem from Sandy: (more…)

Reviewing…

Saturday, January 7, 2012
Posted in: reviews

Nah, I’m not going to talk about the recent reviewing flame-out, I still haven’t checked out the scene of the crime to see the author who’s apparently showing her knickers to the world.

No, I just want to let you guys know that I think I may have gotten my reviewing mojo back, so if any of you have any books you’d like to see reviewed on here, go for your life. Erm, please don’t bother suggesting any Carol Lynne books, her writing sucks too hard. Sorry Carol, just saying Babycakes… Friends? :)

By the way, if you’ve been under a rock like my fabulous self, check out this blog, that links to the drama.

Ahh, another blast from the past. I don’t know what it is, but I’m on a massive re-reading binge at the moment. I first read Dee Tenorio’s Betting Hearts in 2006, how amazing is that? Where has the time gone?

Anyway, I still enjoyed this book as much as I did the first time.

Without further ado, here’s the blurb

When Cassandra bishop’s ex-fiance shows up with the prerequisite, blonde haired, big boobed bimbo in tow, and announces that he’s getting married, she’s absolutely gobsmacked. Not because she’s still in love with him, but because, he broke their engagement a year ago, after telling her that he was gay.
Things go from bad to worse, when bastard ex-fiance tells cassandra, that the real reason he broke up with her was because she wasn’t woman enough for him. The swine!

Cassandra being the fiery tempered broad that she is, decides to rearrange his well-placed nose.

Devastated by this revelation, Cassie gets drunk as a skunk, and ends up at her best friend, Burke Halifax’s house at stupid o’clock. A ritual which Burke has long become familiar with.

For the past twenty-two years, Burke has made it his life’s work to make sure that nobody hurts Cassie. She’s the best friend he’s got, and he’ll be damned if a snivelling little fuckwit like bastard-ex-fiance is gonna hurt his friend.

Things start to get out of hand when bef issues a wedding invitation to cassie, out of spite.

Burke foolishly bets Cassie’s prized car that she’ll be the hottest woman at bastard-ex-fiance and big boobed bimbo’s wedding. Cassie herself is determined to prove that she is woman enough for any man, least of all her BEF, and thus the make-over of one Cassandra Bishop begins, with a few mishaps along the way, to keep things interesting.

Will burke and Cassie finally work out that they float each other’s boat, or will they keep looking for love in all the wrong places?

My Verdict

I. Loved. This. Book. (more…)

Unbelievably, I’ve never read a Courtney Milan book, even though I’ve seen plenty of positive feedback with regards to her work.

I came across Unlocked when I was looking at some recommends on Amazon, and as it was only £0.86p, I thought I might as well give it a go.

Well, what can I say, Unlocked grabbed hold of me from the first paragraph, and wouldn’t let go until I’d read the very last word.

Here’s the blurb:

A perpetual wallflower destined for spinsterhood, Lady Elaine Warren is resigned to her position in society. So when Evan Carlton, the powerful, popular Earl of Westfeld, singles her out upon his return to England, she knows what it means. Her former tormenter is up to his old tricks, and she’s his intended victim. This time, though, the earl is going to discover that wallflowers can fight back.
Evan has come to regret his cruel, callow past. At first, he only wants to make up for past wrongs. But when Elaine throws his initial apology in his face, he finds himself wanting more. And this time, what torments him might be love…

Have you ever read a book where your heart literally felt like it was breaking from the start? A book that virtually had you on the verge of tears all the way through? A book that transcended the stereotypes of its genre? Well I have to tell you, Unlocked was that book. (more…)

I first reviewed Katherine Allred’s, The Sweet Gum Tree years ago. I remember how much I loved this book, anyway, I’ve recently re-read it, and it was just as good this time round…

I usually hate waxing lyrical about books, in fact, I don’t think I’ve done so since I read Sarah Mccarty’s Promises Prevail, but when a story is this good, what the hell, I’m just gonna gush away!

This is the blurb from Cerridwen:

Sweet tea, corn bread, and soup beans—everyday fare for eight-year-old Alix French, the precocious darling of a respected southern family. But nothing was ordinary about the day she met ten-year-old Nick Anderson, a boy from the wrong side of town. Armed with only a tin of bee balm and steely determination, Alix treats the raw evidence of a recent beating that mars his back, an act that changes both of their lives forever.

Through childhood disasters and teenage woes they cling together as friendship turns to love. The future looks rosy until the fateful night when Frank Anderson, Nick’s abusive father, is shot to death in his filthy trailer.Suddenly, Nick is gone—leaving Alix alone, confused and pregnant. For the next fifteen years she wrestles with the pain of Nick’s abandonment, a bad marriage, her family and friends. But finally, she’s starting to get her life back together. Her divorce is almost final, her until the day she looks up-business is booming, and she’s content if not happy and sees Nick standing across the counter.

He’s back…and he’s not alone.Once again Alix is plunged into turmoil and pain as Nick tries to win her love, something she resists with all her strength. Only one thing might break the protective wall she’s built around her emotions—the truth about Frank Anderson’s death. But when that truth comes out and those walls crumble, neither Alix nor Nick is prepared for the emotional explosion that could destroy as well as heal.

(more…)

Now, those of you who know me, know how much I thoroughly love Dorothy Koomson’s books. And those of you who have read her, also know that she doesn’t really do shiny happy clappy books. The Woman He Loved Before is no different.

Here’s the blurb from Dorothy’s website:

she’s out of his life, but is she out of his heart?

Libby has a nice life with a great job, a gorgeous husband and a big home by the sea. But she’s becoming more unsure of Jack’s feelings for her – and if he is over the mysterious death of Eve, his first wife.

When fate intervenes in their relationship, Libby decides to find out all she can about the man she hastily married and the seemingly perfect Eve.

Eventually Libby stumbles across some startling truths about Eve. As she begins to unearth more and more devastating secrets, Libby becomes frightened that she too will end up like the first woman Jack loved. . .

What I love about Koomson’s books are how easy she makes it for me to turn to page after page, even when I’m dreading the direction in which her book may be going. I loved the twists and turns of TWHLB, and although there was a sense that something fairly heinous was going to be revealed at the end, I still wanted to keep reading. (more…)

Sarah Mayberry has the rather amazing talent of writing category romance books that read like epic love stories. Even her Blaze bks are fab!

I wrote that on Twitter, and it’s absolutely true.

I’ve just finished reading yet another Sarah Mayberry Blaze title, and I don’t know how she does it. It was simply delicious.

Here’s my blurb for Amorous Liaisons:

Amorous Liaisons is about Maddy, a prima ballerina who finds herself at a crossroads in her life when injury threatens to end her career permanently. Her dance company are forced to retire her due to a cruciate ligament injury, leaving Maddy utterly devastated.

Maddy’s whole life has revolved around dancing, and suddenly she finds herself at sea without anything to hold onto, so she makes the decision to go and see her best friend Max, who’s always been there for her.

Max has been in love with Maddy for the longest time, but was forced to let her go after her dancing career really took off. Maddy, unaware of his feelings for her turns up on his doorstep, looking for a safe harbour.

Max tries to stick to friendship, but he soon discovers that his feelings for Maddy are still as strong as they ever were. Maddy in the mean time is disconcerted to find that she’s looking at her best friend in a less-than-platonic way these days. She doesn’t have a great track record with romantic entanglements, which is why she is frightened to take their relationship any further, in case it damages their friendship, irrevocably.

Soon, things heat up between the two friends, leaving both uncertain about what the future holds for them as a couple.

Mayberry’s ability to drag emotion from this reader is incomparable, especially when I think about the kind of books she’s writing. Who knew that a Blaze book could make me cry like a baby? (more…)

I admit it, patience is not my long suit.

I get frustrated when I see the same old bullshit brought up and touted as truth, the whole truth and the absolute truth. Honestly, how many time must these things be debunked for it sink in?

“A review that points out anything negative about a book is a bad review.”

No. A bad review is a review that doesn’t say anything about the book. Examples of bad reviews:

“This is the best book EVER!”

“Highly recommended!”

“You have to buy this book!”

“Don’t buy this shit.”

“It’s obvious the author can’t write, don’t buy his/her work.”

None of these tell the reader anything about the book, regardless of whether they praise or berate it. As reviews, they are useless. Useless review = bad review.

“A good review must contain constructive criticism. “

Not only no, but hell, no. Reviews are for readers, not for authors. If authors want constructive criticism, they should get beta readers and/or critique partners.

“Free speech protects authors as much as it protects reviewers.”

First, free speech is a protected right in the US–check your country’s law for other takes on it.

Second, what the hell does that have to do with a reviewer’s reaction and/or opinion on a book?

Third, while authors have every right to their feelings and reactions, common sense (that most rare of all senses) tells me that it behooves them to be careful with their professional image.

“There is no need to be ‘mean’ when reviewing.” “Why go out of the way to hurt the author’s feelings?” “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.”

A good review needs to be well articulated and factual; the rest is style–the reviewer’s style. The rest of the above admonishments are bullshit intended to silence opinions that differ from those of the people uttering them.

* *** * *** * *** * *** *

(Most of KKB’s readers know what brought this up; the few who don’t can check here and here)

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In other news…

I’ve been reading like crazy. Seriously, who needs sleep when there are books to be read?

Now I need to sit down at the computer for more than three minutes in a row and write reviews for at least a few of the two dozen books I’ve read in the past ten days…

Shotgun Wedding by Maggie Osborne

Even though I love Ms Osborne’s Silver Lining (review here), I had not sought out any of her other novels—I’m not exactly sure why. However, Super Librarian Wendy has talked about loving most of what Ms Osborne has written1 and… well, when I saw a copy of Shotgun Wedding at the USB last week, I just couldn’t resist it.

Set in the late 1800s or very early 1900s, the novel details events occurring during the few months between late Spring and early Fall in the small Kansas town of Marshall.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

Annie Malloy is in a fix. She’s gotten herself into the worst kind of trouble, and there’s really only one way out. It seems the town’s handsome new sheriff, Jesse Harden, has taken a shine to her—and has offered her a way to end the scandal once and for all. But Annie soon finds that the quiet life she once lived has been exchanged for one full of chance, desire, and the breathtaking possibility of true love.

Jesse John Harden has always followed his instincts and has no doubt that he can turn this marriage of convenience into a true marriage of the heart. With each day that passes the bond between him and his pretty new wife grows stronger and the spark between them gets hotter. But Annie is hiding a secret that could destroy their delicate happiness. Now Jesse must convince Annie to let him stand beside her to face the past so they can have a chance at a happy future.

The first thing that struck me as I began to read the novel was that once again Ms Osborne’s writing drew me into the story so deeply that I couldn’t stop reading—even when at times I wanted to.

As the novel starts, we learn that Annie Malloy has been having an affair with a rather not-desirable sort of man and that she finds herself pregnant. He offers her marriage, but since he’s a bank robber, she realizes that she can’t marry him.

Which leaves her in a rather difficult position.

(more…)

The Search, by Nora Roberts

Reader beware: I am a fan of Ms Roberts’ writing, and very rarely do I feel disappointed by it. The Search was definitely not one of those rare books. In fact, it was quite the opposite: an engrossing read with interesting characters, great dialogue, and solid writing.

Here is the hardcover jacket blurb:

Number-one New York Times-bestselling author Nora Roberts presents a novel set in the Pacific Northwest, where an island provides sanctuary, the lush forests seduce the unwary, and a man and a woman find in each other the strength to carry on.

To most people, Fiona Bristow seems to have an idyllic life—a quaint house on an island off Seattle’s coast, a thriving dog-training school, and a challenging volunteer job performing canine search and rescue. Not to mention her three intensely loyal Labs. But Fiona got to this point by surviving a nightmare.

Several years ago, she was the only survivor of a serial killer—a madman who stalked and abducted young women, strangled them, and left them buried with a red scarf on their bodies. As authorities were closing in on the Red Scarf Killer, he shot and killed Fiona’s cop fiancé and his K-9 partner.

On Orcas Island, Fiona has found the peace and solitude she needed to rebuild her life. Yet all that changes on the day Simon Doyle barrels up her drive, desperate for her help. He’s the reluctant owner of an out-of-control puppy, foisted upon him by his mother. Jaws has eaten through Simon’s house, and he’s at his wit’s end.

To Fiona, Jaws is nothing she can’t handle. Simon is another matter. A newcomer to Orcas, he’s a rugged and intensely private artist, known for creating exquisite furniture. Simon never wanted a puppy, and he most definitely doesn’t want a woman. Besides, the lanky redhead is not his type. But tell that to the laws of attraction.

As Fiona embarks on training Jaws and as Simon begins to appreciate both dog and trainer, the past tears back into Fiona’s life. A copycat killer has emerged out of the shadows, a man whose bloodlust has been channeled by a master with one motive: to reclaim the women who slipped out of his hands…

By choice I have read very few in the way of actual reviews of this novel. Generally speaking, when one is spoiler-phobic, it’s wiser to avoid most chatter on books one is planning on reading. However, it is difficult to avoid all mentions of highly anticipated novels—which happens to be the case with most of Ms Roberts’ releases.

(more…)

So after giving up on the steaming pile of shit that was Laura Kinsale’s Lessons In French, the postman did me a favour and delivered Laura Leone’s Fallen From Grace through my door a few weeks ago. It was very timely indeed.

I first heard about this book via Keishon’s (Avidbookreader) blog quite a few years ago, and I’ve been looking for it ever since. They had a copy at Amazon a while back, but I wasn’t prepared to pay £50 for it at the time.

The last book that I read and loved that featured a prostitute hero was Shelby Reed’s The Fifth Favor, and in fact I felt that there were quite a few similarities in terms of tone and overall feel of the book. As with TFF, the hero was the shining beacon in the book, ably assisted by a fine heroine.

Blurb:

While trying to save her spiralling career, writer Sara Diamond befriends her new next-door neighbour, Ryan Kinsmore. A soft-spoken younger man with charm and good looks, Ryan leads a mysterious double life which becomes increasingly hard for him to conceal from Sara as their intimacy grows.

Even after Ryan falls in love with her and stops pretending to himself that this isn’t wrong, that Sara wont be hurt by their relationship, he can’t give her up or walk away.

As Sara learns the truth about him, trapped in a world of lies, danger and sex-for-hire, Ryan becomes determined to find a way out of the life he was drawn into as a runaway minor, and equally determined to rescue a street kid whom he finds falling into the same traps which once caught him. But Ryan’s secret life is lived in a ruthless world which wont easily let him go. Having fallen so far from grace, can he find his way back?

(more…)

Oh look, another author who can’t take criticism.

*Yawn*

The difference is, this author decided to take a potshot at the reviewer’s weight.

Lord.

Here’s the author’s rant in its entirety, crossing a line that no man should ever cross: (more…)

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OK, so I read The Gingerbread Tryst, a book by Nichelle Gregory, that Jill Noble very kindly sent to me after I erm, questioned the wisdom of using a much-loved, innocent fairytale character in an erotic book.

Here’s the blurb:

Meet Marisa, a restless homemaker who spends her time baking, masturbating and dabbling in magic. Happily married, Marisa only wishes her husband Don could keep up with her insatiable need for sex. She craves orgasms daily and her sex drive has become a sore spot in an otherwise happy marriage. Determined to find a solution to ramp up Don’s libido, she turns to magic.

After trying magical amulets and oils, Marisa discovers a book that contains wish spells. Throwing caution to the wind, she decides to experiment with an incantation that could make her naughty gingerbread man cookie a real flesh and blood man. Taken by surprise . . . literally, Marisa indulges in a delicious sexual rendezvous that ends up going further than she could have ever imagined. This delightfully sexy tale offers up hot thrills sure to please any sweet tooth!

Where do I begin? (more…)

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

Regular readers of KKB will know that I’m not a great lover of hysterical historical romances (TV doesn’t count). Oh I read the occasional historical author, for instance I love Lisa Kleypas books, and Elizabeth Hoyt is another favourite, but on the whole, I pretty much try to avoid anything written before 1999.

So it was with trepidation that I decided to pick up Jennifer Ashley’s, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie.
I decided to buy it because I like unusual heroes, and unfortunately, the heroes that I’ve encountered of late have been a little run of the mill.

Anyway, I needn’t have worried actually, because it was a pretty terrific book. Ashley got all the elements just right, and I finished reading it in no time at all.

I’ve been having trouble reading books till the end lately, so any book that I pick up and read in one go, is worth talking about methinks, so I decided to give TMOLIM a quick plug.

(more…)

Coyote's mate

So the other day, I read Lora Leigh’s Coyote’s Mate.

I’ve followed her Breed books for what seems like forever, and I have to admit, even when I think I couldn’t possibly read another LL, I give in to temptation, and purchase yet another one.

You know that scene in Brokeback Mountain when Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) turns to Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and says “You are too much for me Ennis, you sonofawhoreson bitch! I wish I knew how to quit you.”? That’s just how I feel about Lora Leigh books. Sometimes I too wish I could quit her.

I’ve been reading her since circa 2005, and I’ve had a love/hate relationship with her Breed books ever since. I’ll read one book, and it’ll blow me away, and then I’ll read another, and I’ll wonder at the brand of mushrooms Lora was smoking when she wrote said book.

Anyway, it’s been quite a while since I visited the world of the Breeds, so I picked up Coyote’s Mate and read it last weekend. (more…)

Bound By Honor

Erm, so apparently, I haven’t yet mastered the art of brief reviews, so read on only if you have the time, cuz this goes on a bit.

I discovered Colette Gale when TTG and I were in the States last year. I think the first book of hers that I read was Master, the erotic re-telling of The Count of Monte Cristo (This originally read The C*nt Of Monte Cristo, heh) story. I have to say, I enjoyed it enormously, although I remember chatting with DA Jane and she mentioned that she wasn’t keen on it at all. Or perhaps she meant the Phantom book? Ahh crap, I forget.

Anyway, I then read Unmasqued, Gale’s Phantom of The Opera book. Whilst reading Unmasqued, I recall thinking that it would have been a great book for anybody contemplating suicide, who hadn’t quite worked up the courage to shoot themselves in the head yet. Jesus it was depressing.

Despite being rather underwhelmed by Gale’s bastardization of Phantom, when I discovered that she was due to release another classic retelling, Bound By Honor, I was very excited. This book was based on the story of Robin Hood and Maid Marian. Yippee.

(more…)

A Hearing Heart, by Bonnie DeeA Hearing Heart

Just shy of two hundred pages, set in a small town in Nebraska at the turn of the twentieth century, A Hearing Heart is a very moving story. From the setting to the issues it touches on, A Hearing Heart is definitely worth reading.

Here is the blurb:

The heart conveys messages beyond what ears can hear.

After the death of her fiancé, Catherine Johnson, a New York schoolteacher in 1901, travels to Nebraska to teach a one-room school and escape her sad memories. One afternoon, violence erupts in the sleepy town. Catherine saves deaf stable hand, Jim Kinney, from torture by drunken thugs.

As she takes charge of his education, teaching him to read and sign, attraction grows between them. The warmth and humor in this silent man transcends the need for speech and his eyes tell her all she needs to know about his feelings for her. But the obstacles of class difference and the stigma of his handicap are almost insurmountable barriers to their growing attachment.

Will Catherine flout society’s rules and allow herself to love again? Can Jim make his way out of poverty as a deaf man in a hearing world? And together will they beat the corrupt robber baron who has a stranglehold on the town?

(more…)

Black Hills, by Nora Roberts

Black Hills

I believe it is no secret that I enjoy most of what Ms Roberts writes to one degree or another. Like so many things in life, this is a two-edged sword. While this is good because it means that I can look forward to a number of books each year that, odds are, I’ll enjoy, it also raises my expectations as to the quality of each new novel. Ninny that I am, this may mean that I avoid reading the next book for a bit…

Yeah, I’m an idiot, go ahead and laugh.

After avoiding anything remotely resembling spoilers for more than six weeks, I finally cracked open my signed copy* of Black Hills last week—and stayed up all night reading it, all four hundred and seventy two pages of it. After reading the last line, I closed the book, sighed happily, went about my daily business with all the energy of a half dead mouse and, come evening, cracked the book open on the first page again.

(more…)