Radiant Desire- Inara Scott
You know how I love Inara Scott’s young adult series Delacroix Academy. Well, good news for adults, her romance series is awesome too. True to Scott’s hallmark easy to read style, Radiant Desire (Handmaid’s Seduction #1) is everything you want from a paranormal romance and more. In addition to heart-palpitating chemistry and some steamy scenes that will leave you weak in the knees, there are serious explorations of love whether familial, romantic, or philia. The plot is at times incredibly moving with a focus on humanity and the kindness of strangers. If there’s one thing you take from this book let it be the sentiments of “I love you and I’m sorry.” The cover is stunning too! Radiant Desire is sure to delight romance fans, faerie fans, and paranormal fans across the board.
Radiant Desire is out NOW from Entangled Publishing! Get your copy here!
Heart of the Druid Laird- Barbara Longley
What is there not to like about this book? Hot druid magical men with accents everywhere, the dual U.S. and Scottish locales, strong leading ladies, bad faeries and just enough of the paranormal to keep it interesting. Heart of the Druid Laird was a gluttonous read. I wasn’t wild about the reincarnation aspect, but it does drive most of the plot. Things start getting very interesting as we delve more into the past. There’s this scene in a cabin that, well, just wait till you read it. My lasting impression was that Heart of the Druid Laird was a strong read which will delight fans of romance, paranormal, or boys with brogues.
eGalley provided gratis by Carina Press via Netgalley.
Her Kilt-Clad Rogue- Julie Moffett
Her Kilt-Clad Rogue brings the word rogue back in vogue. I love Julie Moffett’s spy series so I figured I’d take a stab at her historical romance as well. I was not disappointed. I love the Scottish highland setting and the dislike of the English is historically accurate. It’s a hint of Jane-Eyre and Wuthering Heights with 3 parts of smoldering sex appeal. So many juicy questions to tackle: Did the brooding Connor kill his wife? Can Genevieve forgive him enough to thaw the walls around her heart? There’s a twist you don’t see coming too. My only complaint is that it is too short. Fans of historical romance will enjoy this one for sure.
The book is out now and is a STEAL at only $3.19 for Kindle.
Past Perfect- Leila Sales
Past Perfect was a pretty interesting concept for a contemporary YA. Two historical re-enaction sites engaged in a summer war. A girl and a boy who fall for each other despite being enemies. It was an interesting modern take on Romeo and Juliet. I loved the musings on history, time, and memory; these were worthwhile questions and there’s some wisdom lurking in this book to be found. I didn’t love the quick forgiveness of grievous sins or the too happy ending arrived at too soon.
Past Perfect is due out October 4th. You can pre-order your copy here.
eGalley provided gratis via Simon and Schuster Galley Grab
The Juliet Spell- Douglas Rees
Juliet Spell was in short: delightful! Just as with any Shakespeare related story all I can say was, You had me at Shakespeare. The plot was cleverly done, and I loved that it wasn’t a glorification of the bard but a portrayal through another’s eyes of a very human Shakespeare. But lest you be confused, this book isn’t really about Shakespeare, it’s about everything from theatre to language to science to friendship and of course the play Romeo and Juliet. The contemporary YA plot is classic but Rees stays true to the tragic end of the Romeo and Juliet that is central to the story. I am not a fan of the Epilogue which I think ruins the emotional blow Rees successfully pulls off at the end of the novel proper. In the end what matters is this: it was a sweet read, a smart read, full of quotes from Shakespeare, plays with language, and two main characters to fall in love with it (Miranda and Edmund).
P.S. I want this dress on the cover.
The Juliet Spell is due out September 27th from Harlequin Teen. You can pre-order your copy here.
eGalley provided gratis by Harlequin Teen via Netgalley
Tris and Izzie - Mette Ivie Harrison
Clearly my inner medievalist was ESTATIC when I saw this book because Tris and Izzie is based on the German fairy tale of Tristan and Isolde. Someday maybe I will tell you why I believe them to be the greatest pair of lovers of all time. Today is not aht day however. I wanted to like this book; I wanted to love this book in fact. But I didn’t. Not even a little, not even at all. Contrary to the title and the description, precious little of the book is based on the actual story. I’m sorry but using their names and a minor detail here and there does not mean you were based on that story. Izzie, our main character lacks self-awareness to the point of stupidity and is borderline annoying throughout the entire novel. Perhaps my biggest pet peeve of the whole reading experience was that it was in past tense narration. WHY? I think that had the book stood on its own, with a different title and no relation to the fairy tale that I might have given it more leeway.
I will say this if you’re at all familiar with the original or even if you’re not this is a great cover.
You can pre-order a copy here.
eGalley provided gratis by Egmont Publishers via Netgalley
Legacy- Cayla Kluver
Legacy melds historical fiction with fantasy. It took some time for me to appreciate Alera. Eventually I came to enjoy her voice. What kept me reading through that wavering phase was Narian’s story. Narian is charming and mysterious, and frankly, still an unknown factor by the end of the book. Is he a threat or a savior? There are lots of questions still to be answered. Kluver has a great attention to detail, though at times I felt a bit hit over the head with the whole “women don’t have any rights” thing. I sincerely disliked this ending. It actually made me question whether Alera was the girl that I had come to appreciate or if she was a snivelling git to be bossed around. Also, small pet peeve, this is clearly set in a different world yet they celebrate Christmas? It confuses me a bit. Apart from those small issues for me, Legacy was a great debut in the historical/fantasy genres.
This eGalley provided free by Harlequin Teen via Netgalley.
Sometimes It Happens- Lauren Barnholdt
Sometimes It Happens is an age old storyline with a new twist. I enjoyed the alternating timeline of the narrative which I normally dislike immensly. I related strongly to Hannah even though from the start we know she’s done something wrong, something most people find unforgivable. I also disliked Ava despite the fact that she is the one wronged. Kudos to Barnholdt for questioning our black and white sense of wrong and throwing us firmly into shades of gray. At the end of the story there’s a message that people do things for complex reasons, and sometimes an action isnt a reflection of a person’s character but a single instance of time where weakness triumphs. That being said, lets not give an excuse or a pass to cheating. There is no reason for that. While the book made me think about ethics and the moral “ought”, I’m not sure everyone reads that way or would see this as something more than a dramatic attempt to excuse inexcusable behavior.
Sometimes It Happens just came out yesterday! You can get a copy here.
This egalley was provided gratis by Simon and Schuster Galley Grab.
What’s Your St@tus? (A Top 8 Novel)- Katie Finn
If I had to describe What’s Your St@tus I’d say it’s a contemporary YA with a great message about privacy and social networking. Madison is somewhere between Nancy Drew, a Gallagher Girl, and a member of the Babysitter’s Club/Sweet Valley High. She’s a sleuth meets spy meets teen girl. There story focuses on a good group of friends, and I loved the diversity among them. Their varied interests I found to be more realistic than other cliquish novels. The songs, quotes and status updates were a cute addition to the format of the novel, however the plot was rather predictable. That being said it was a quick and easy read. I think if I had read the first book Top 8, perhaps I would have been more invested in Madison and her group of friends.
Follow Katie Finn at her website here.
This book was given to me by Erica at The Book Cellar! THANKS ERICA!
I know I normally don’t do the whole synopsis thing, but since the author asked me if I would review it, I felt like it deserved a full on traditional book review. But I am relegating the synopsis stuff to the bottom so if you don’t want to read it, then don’t.
The Hambledown Dream- Dean Mayes
I found the Hambledown Dream to be a sweet and moving story. When you pick up this book be aware that you’re in for an emotional rollercoaster ride. The plot moves from sad to dark and troubled only to end in hope. While it does have a very happy ever after ending, I will let it slide, mainly because I think Andy deserves a happy ending. Once you invest in him as a character, it’s hard to not want that happiness for him. There is a great focus on classical guitar and the guitar descriptions are almost better than the single love scene. I enjoyed the dual setting of seedy Chicago and quaint Australia as well. Frankly, Hambledown does sound like a dream. Vacation anyone? All in all, Hambledown Dream is perfect for those who like romance with a hint of paranormal.
Sidenote: The second digital release cover art gets more to the heart of the story, but I kind of like the original paperback cover as well.
Follow Dean Mayes on Twitter @Dean_Mayes
The Skinny on the book and story:
Title: The Hambledown Dream.
Author: Dean Mayes.
Publisher: ireadiwrite Publishing
ISBN eBook: 978-1-926760-27-8
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Paranormal Romance
Word Count: 81,000
Publish Date: (print) March 2010 (digital) March 2011.
Content Warning: Sex Scene, Drug Use.
Review Copy Version: PDF.
Synopsis: Australian, Denny Banister had the world at his feet; a successful career, a passion for the guitar and he is in love with Sonya – his best friend and soul mate. Tragically, Denny is struck down with inoperable cancer & he is destined to die.
Meanwhile, Andy DeVries has almost nothing; he is alienated from his family, he moves through a dangerous Chicago underworld dealing in drugs, battling addiction & now he’s gone and overdosed - jeopardizing the only thing that matters to him; a place at a prestigious Conservatory for classical guitar.
Having been snatched from the abyss Andy recovers, but he is plagued by dreams - memories of a love he has never felt, and a life he’s never lived. Driven by the need for redemption and by the love for a woman he’s never met, Andy begins a quest to find her, knowing her only by the memories of a stranger and the dreams of a place called Hambledown…
A digital version of this book was provided free by the author in exchange for a fair review.
Spellbound- Cara Lynn Shultz
This is my warning that I’m about to fangirl all over this post, so you’ve been warned.
Spellbound is an apt title because from page 1 I was entranced.
Where do I even begin with how much I loved this book? I loved the New York setting from the MET to the UES to Central Park; NYC is a living breathing entity in this book, a character itself. I even had a nerd girl freak out moment when she referenced Fordham’s Medieval Studies program (the program that I got my Masters degree from). I loved loved loved the characters—Emma and Brendan are my ideal protagonists. They are smart, courageous and strong: mentally, emotionally and physically. Maybe most of all, I loved their story. I squealed, I swooned, and I laughed out loud at lines so clever and witty that I’d re-read this book a hundred times over just for them. Shultz’ dialogue is realistic too. In fact, I’d say it is spot on. It made me think, “OMG YES that’s exactly what I’d say!” And so I say this, pre-order Spellbound because it’s sure to be a summer read that everyone is talking about. Even better, if the end is any signifier then it’s just the start to what will end up being a riveting paranormal series.
Spellbound is due out June 28th! (only 13 days!). You can pre-order your copy here.
eGalley provided by Harlequin via Netgalley.