Review: It Had to Be You by Jill Shalvis

It Had to be YouTitle: It Had to Be You (Lucky Harbour #7)
Author: Jill Shalvis
Release Date: 28 May 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Page count: 368 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
ISBN: 9781455521111
Links: Amazon / Book Depository / Goodreads
Rating:  3star

Jill Shalvis has begun a new trilogy within her long running Lucky Harbour series. Rather than focus solely on the romance, Shalvis has introduced a welcome mystery element. Our heroine is florist Ali Winters whose optimism is severely tested when in a matter of hours she is dumped by hot town clerk Teddy, threatened with eviction and accused of stealing money from her ex’s office. Fortunately for her, police officer and owner of the rental, Luke Hanover is back in town to hide out after screwing up a case. Although he was rather surprised to find a hot woman clad only in underwear wandering around his property, he quickly adjusts and decides to help Ali out. Continue reading

Booking Through Thursday: Ideal

Booking Through ThursdayBooking Through Thursday which is weekly meme about (mostly) books and reading. Here is this week’s question.

I want you to think about your ideal reading experience. Think about the location. (Your bed? Favorite chair? The beach? Indoors or outdoors?). Think about the sounds. (Is there music playing? Happy children playing in the background? Utter silence?) Is there a snack or beverage nearby? Are you alone or with friends/family (presumably being quiet enough for you to read in peace)? What kind of lighting is there? Are you dressed in something ultra-comfy? What’s your position? Curled up? Stretched out? Now … describe it so that we can all feel exactly how perfect it is … and why. Continue reading

Review: Performance Anomalies by Victor Robert Lee

Performance AnomaliesTitle: Performance Anomalies
Author:  Victor Robert Lee
Release Date: 15 January 2013
Genre: Thriller
Page count: 292 pages
Publisher: Perimeter Six Press
ISBN:  9781938409202
Source: NetGalley – in exchange for an honest review
Links: Amazon / Book DepositoryGoodreads

Performance Anomalies is an intriguing thriller featuring an unusual protagonist, Cono. His old lover Xiao Li has been kidnapped and calls him from Kazakhstan begging for help. The friend he relies on for help double-crosses him and demands Cono help him collect oil contract bids. Things spiral out of control as Cono has to juggle stockpiled uranium, wannabe terrorists and a Beijing agent determined to take him down. Continue reading

Review: A Witch’s Handbook of Kisses and Curses by Molly Harper

A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and CursesTitle: A Witch’s Handbook of Kisses and Curses (Half Moon Hollow #2)
Author:  Molly Harper
Release Date: 28 May 2013
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Page count: 368 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books
ISBN:  9781451641882
Links: Amazon / Book Depository / Goodreads

A Witch’s Handbook of Kisses and Curses is another fun read from Ms Harper. Our witchy heroine Nola Leary has travelled from Kilcairy, Ireland to Half-Moon Hollow in order to track down four magical artefacts given to her grandfather in order to recreate a 100 year old spell. She’s on rather a tight schedule though as a rival family is desperate to claim the goods and to make matters worse her grandfather, Mr Wainwright, has hidden them somewhere in his bookshop which now belongs to Jane Jameson (heroine of another of Harper’s series). Failure to get the artefacts would mean her family losing their magic and having to close their health clinic which the Kilcairy locals rely on. Nola knows she needs to concentrate but her sexy and often semi-clad neighbour Jed makes that a bit difficult. Continue reading

Booking Through Thursday: Childhood vs Adult

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme about (mostly) books and reading.

Have your reading habits changed since you were a child? (I mean, I’m assuming you have less time to read now, but …) Did you devour and absorb books when you were 10 and only just lightly read them now? Did you re-read frequently as a child but now only read new books? How about types of books? Do you find yourself still attracted to the kinds of books you read when you were a kid? 

I’ve been looking around for a weekly feature/meme thing to embrace so I’m not just posting reviews and I stumbled across Booking Through Thursday. Now I know that I’m four days late answering my first one which is not ideal – I probably wouldn’t even qualify for a ‘congratulations for trying’ award – but I wanted to answer it. Here goes nothing… Continue reading

Wondering Wall: Minimalist Romance Book Covers

wonderingwallThere are a lot of blogs commenting on the change in the rise of minimalist cover art for romance novels such as Smart Bitches Trashy Books. The prequel, if you like, seemed to be the Twilight series which was followed and popularised by the erotic Fifty Shades of Grey. Given the success of this style, it isn’t too surprising that other erotic novels such as those by Sylvia Day and Beth Kery have followed suit. I don’t read this genre but I can’t help wondering why this shift is occurring. I came up with what I think are plausible reasons:

  1. They don’t look like romance novels so you won’t be embarrassed buying them, reading them on the train or bus or even leaving them lying around at home. It also helps to distance the reader from the stereotypical romance reader
  2. It is cheap to produce. You don’t have to hire models or photographers etc and get international rights to the pictures. You don’t have to mess around in a design program trying to touch up the images. Simply find a stock image, add the title and author in a simple font and you are done
  3. The publishers think people are bored of the bodice rippers and the guys with impossible abs. The problem is that they are simply replacing one trope with another
  4. Simple often works best at attracting an audience. Why confuse them with lots of colour and distracting images, when you can settle for something simpler. Case in point is Macy Beckett’s new novel Surrender to Sultry. The original image was very busy and the main characters got lost in the background. The publisher decided to commission a new one and the author is ecstatic with the simplicity of it
  5. Publishers have decided to stop objectifying women and men in particular for the instant but non-PC gratification of their audience (snicker).

The Twilight series:

TwilightNew Moon Eclipse Breaking Dawn






50 Shades of Grey and a couple inspired by the approach:

Fifty Shades of Grey

Bared to You

Because You are Mine






Macy Beckett’s Surrender to Sultry. Old is on the left.

Surrender to Sultry OLD Surrender to Sultry NEW

Review: Immortal Hope by Claire Ashgrove

Immortal HopeTitle: Immortal Hope (The Curse of the Templars #1)
Author: Claire Ashgrove
Release Date: 3 January 2012
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Page count: 355 pages
Publisher: Tor Books
ISBN: 9780765367587
Links: Amazon / Book Depository / Goodreads

I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of this novel as the cover looked pretty cheesy but the blurb was intriguing. I’m glad I picked it up though as I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The Knights Templar got caught checking out a scroll that no humans were ever supposed to see. They were cursed and have to wander around fighting Azazel’s demons. Every evil being they kill, pollutes a bit of their once pure souls until one day they turn into Dark Knights and become agents of doom. The only thing that can save them is the love of a good woman, a seraph to be precise. Every Templar has one seraph but finding them is tricky and if they should die before their Knight can find them, the Templar is basically screwed. Continue reading

Review: The Best Man by Kristan Higgins

The Best ManTitle: The Best Man (Blue Heron #1)
Author: Kristan Higgins
Release Date: 26 February 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Page count: 432 pages
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
ISBN: 9780373777921
Links: Amazon / Book Depository / Goodreads

I loved and disliked this book in equal quantities as although the story itself is moving and the characters are well rounded, there is this undercurrent of cruel, misogynistic behaviour that just didn’t sit well with me. I’m all for humour in books but not petty and cheap shots. Our heroine Faith Holland has returned to her hometown after being ditched by her fiancé Jeremy at the altar. Faith forgives Jeremy but blames Jeremy’s best friend Levi for giving Jeremy the courage to come out publicly and thereby ruining her big day. Continue reading

Review: Who Do, Voodoo? by Rochelle Staab

Who Do VoodooTitle: Who Do, Voodoo? (A Mind For Murder Mystery #1)
Author:  Rochelle Staab
Release Date: 1 November 2011
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Page count: 292 pages
Publisher: Berkley
ISBN:  9780425244593
Links: Amazon / Book Depository / Goodreads

Who Do, Voodoo? is an enjoyable cozy mystery with paranormal elements. Our protagonist Dr Liz Cooper, is a clinical psychologist who doesn’t believe in anything paranormal. When her friend Robin is suspected of murdering Sophie, a woman who was harassing her with Tarot cards and other para-paraphernalia, Liz decides to investigate. She ropes in her brother’s friend Nick Garfield, a professor specialising in the occult. Continue reading