Review: Hoping For Love by Marie Force

The Particulars: Contemporary romance, self-published, available as e-book and in print
The Source: Smashwords
The Grade: B
The Blurb:

All her life, Grace Ryan was the “fat girl.” Taunted and teased and ignored by her peers, she tried every diet ever invented to no avail. Desperate to change her life as her twenties slipped away, she decided it was time for drastic measures and had lap-band surgery. More than a year later, she’s lost 130 pounds and is venturing into the dating world for the first time. During a boat trip to Gansett Island with the new guy in her life, Grace refuses to have sex with him and finds herself abandoned without a dollar to her name at McCarthy’s Gansett Island Marina. At home for the summer awaiting the launch of his debut CD, music star-in-the-making Evan McCarthy is performing at the Tiki Bar when he notices Grace looking lost in a sea of happy people. Evan comes to her aid and quickly finds himself smitten. But the last thing Grace needs after all she’s been through is a guy who “doesn’t do relationships.” Will Evan change his ways to win Grace’s heart?

The Review:

I picked up this when Marie Force discounted the Gansett Island novels recently.  And I am glad I did. This book is Marie Force at her best.

Gansett Island… It felt so real. I loved how Marie Force described the upside and downsides of living on an island, with a quaint town, although not all of the buildings are old.
I loved the friendliness the Islanders showed towards strangers, although at sometimes it felt like they were almost gullible.

But what I enjoyed the most was the characters. I loved following Evan and Grace
developing romance. From their first meeting, to their first date.  Both of them struggled, since things moved fast between them ( Sometimes it felt like it moved too fast). I also liked how Grace was determinded to move on with her life, and take the next step.  
But so much more than Evan’s and Grace’s romance happened in this novel.  Tiffany’s marriage hits the rocks. ( And let me tell you: Jim is a jerk). I loved watching Owen and Laura, you could almost feel the growing romance between them.

That said all, no matter how much I enjoyed the other romances,it is the weak point of this books . Since there were secondary romances, it never felt like it the focus of the novel was  the romance between Evan and Grace.
Also one minor quibble: The lack of the final formatting touches, in the shape of more professional chapter headlines, and scene breaks. The lack of it made me feel like I was reading an post edits, but pre-formatting manuscripts.

On my To Check Out list: Indie authors, part two

This is the second post in my series of blogposts about books  On My To Check out list.  I also try to add why I haven’t got them yet. 

First up is Burning Sky by Joseph Robert Lewis:
Taziri had a promising career as an airship engineer and inventor until an explosion tore through the airfield, incinerating the fleet and killing most of the Air Corps. Now, Taziri is the only pilot left to help the marshals chase the killers across the skies of Marrakesh.

The investigation ranges across the country on steamships, atop racing locomotives, and into ancient tombs. Taziri discovers a corrupt doctor performing hideous experiments, hiding lethal weapons inside the killers’ bodies using Taziri’s own inventions. And with assassins in every shadow and riots on every street corner, Taziri quickly learns to defend herself as only an engineer can – with her machines.

The marshals have one other problem: they’re men. And in a country where women control the government, the military, and the most powerful industries in the world, Taziri has a clear advantage. But despite all her efforts, her country’s only hope for survival may be an exiled Incan princess riding a giant eagle, a dashing swordsman who talks to ghosts, and Taziri’s airship Halcyon plummeting out of the burning sky.

This book have been on my check out list ever since it was released. The blurb intrigued, me the cover was Ok ( it is much nicer now), I read the sample and enjoyed it. I still haven’t bought it.
However, he offered a free novella recently, set in the same world which I downloaded.
If I like that one, I’ll probably get this one :). Edit: Woot!  I just discovered that the author offers it for free from his homepage, so I downloaded it.
Harry Connelly’s Twenty Palaces:
When Ray Lilly was 13 years old, a handgun accident landed his best friend, Jon Burrows, in a wheelchair and turned Ray into a runaway and petty criminal. Fifteen years later, Ray returns home after a stint in prison; he’s determined to go straight, but he knows he can’t do that without making peace with his old friend.

What Ray doesn’t expect is to discover that Jon has just received a mysterious cure–not only is he out of his wheelchair, he seems stronger and faster than… well, pretty much anyone. Worse, his cure has drawn the attention of all sorts of attention: the media are camped out on his block, the police are investigating him for insurance fraud, and weird shadowy figures have begun to draw closer, figures who clearly do not mean to do Jon any good.

Can Ray atone for the biggest mistake of his life by protecting his oldest friend? And what terrible price will the world have to pay if he succeeds?

This is a prequel to Harry Connelly’s Twenty Palace novels, which are available in print in all major bookstores. I have been curious about Harry Connelly’s books, but I never got around to buy them.
Dragon’s Bones by James Hetley:
Few things about Stonefort are exactly as they seem.

Stonefort, small fishing village and harbor and township and island, sits off the Maine coast, about as far Down East as you can get without passing through Canadian Customs. Only the Salt Hay Bridge connects it to the mainland and rest of the Boston States. If you held a vote, probably more than half of the residents would choose to blow up that bridge and all it implies.

In this latest installment in the Stonefort saga, Maine author James A. Hetley revisits the tough land when a logging camp becomes the center of illegal activity in this world and perhaps in another as well. Nurse and cop, both must face a special duty in the face of Dragon’s Bones.

I love James Hetley’s books, and the only thing that have stopped me from buying this one is the price: 2.99 for a 14 000 words long story. I’ll probably buy it sooner or later, though. 
* Click on the covers to get the Smashwords edition. 

Review: Delicate Freakn’ Flower by Eve Langlais

The Particulars: Paranormal Romance, indie, available as e-book
The Source: Free read during downloaded during AllRomance 12 days of Christmas
The Grade: B
The Blurb:
Naomi doesn’t want to follow tradition and settle down with a violence-loving, chest thumping shapeshifter. She grew up in a household with five, testosterone laden brothers where none of the dishes ever matched, the ugly-as-sin furniture could withstand any catastrophe, and where crazy glue was bought by the case.

When fate—with a snicker—makes her meet not one, but two mates, Naomi digs her heels in and refuses to do what her wolf—and her body—demands. No way is she voluntarily allowing herself to get hitched to a pair of dumbass—totally hot and muscled—lacrosse players.

Can Ethan, the towering Kodiak bear, and Javier, the sexy, tanned jaguar convince this she-wolf that life with them won’t be all chaos? And can this delicate freakn’ flower unbend her prejudices enough to recognize she needs a pair of men who can handle her thorns—and her passion?

The Review:
I noticed this one when it was released, but I never bought it, so when it was offered as a free read I downloaded it. And I am glad I did. I loved this book in so many ways. It was funny, filled with snark and snappy comebacks. I loved Naomi, Her snarkiness, her determination to keep her independence. She was scarred by the past, and her reasoning made sense. She knew exactly what she wanted- which was to not mate with a shifter. Thank you very much. Ethan and Jared are determined to show her she is wrong. And how they do it. They start a sensual feast. A long courtship, that lasts until they have convinced Nicole that she needs a shifter.
But now for the things I didn’t like.  When it comes to the plot, the suspense subplot felt tacked on and unnecessary.  I didn’t feel that it added anything to the story.   There were a few minor typos, but the thing that  annoyed me most was the formatting… I have no idea why, but the spacing was 1,5 lines Why? Since it gives an unprofessional impression. 
Will I get more books? Oh definitely.  I loved this book, and the major flaw is fixable. 

Review: The Gods of Dream by Daniel Arenson

The Gods of Dream by Daniel Arenson
The Particular: Fantasy, Amazon, available as e-book
The Source: Free read from Amazon ( sometime during 2011)
The Grade: B
The Blurb:
What are dreams? Some think they are figments of our mind. But what if they were wisps of a distant, magical world… a world you could visit?

Twins Cade and Tasha discover Dream, the land dreams come from. It is a realm of misty forests, of verdant mountains, of mysterious gods who send dreams into our sleep. Cade and Tasha seek solace there; they are refugees, scarred and haunted with memories of war. In Dream, they can forget their past, escape the world, and find joy.

Phobetor, the god of Nightmare, was outcast from Dream. Now he seeks to destroy it. He sends his monsters into Dream, and Cade and Tasha find their sanctuary threatened, dying. To save it, the twins must overcome their past, journey into the heart of Nightmare, and face Phobetor himself.

The Review:
The blurb caught my attention, and when the author offered it as a free read on Amazon, I decided to take the chance. I am leery when it comes to indie books, since you never know what you get. I am glad I took the chance.
To me, this book felt like one of the old sagas, set in the unique world of Dream. Dream are filled with gods, speaking animals, and magical beings like the Pegacats. Dream is lush and sunny.
If Dream is sunny, Nightmare is dark and bleak. Nightmare is home to demons, and other monsters.
The contrast is stark, but it felt right. I liked how the bleakness of Nightmare affected Cade and Tasha.
I loved how all the characters, both gods, Elorians, and animals were prepared to fight for Dream. I liked how Moonmist, which was a protected princess, took charge of a large group of soldiers.
The book was good, but after awhile I started to wonder if Cade and Tasha would ever reach their goal. On the other hand, I don’t think the book could have been that much shorter.
Will I buy another book by Daniel Arenson? Yes. The price is decent, I liked it.  But, not the coming three months.  

Review: Evil Genius by Patricia Rice

Evil GeniusEvil Genius by Patricia Rice

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Particulars: Evil Genius by Patricia Rice, e-book, mystery.
The Review:

The Blurb:
Anastasia Devlin has the instincts of a chameleon, but what she really wants is to provide her siblings with the security of the home she’s been denied. Her grandfather dies and his mansion is usurped by a stranger. If murder hasn’t already been committed, she might perpetrate one herself—starting with the annoying spy in the attic. The threads of three mysteries twine together, and someone wants to cut the cord before Ana finds the answers.

My impressions:
I discovered that Patricia Rice had released a new e-book purely by coincidence. The blurb sounded interesting, so I bought it. Patricia Rice is best known for her romance novels, filled with charming characters. This one isn’t a romance, it is a mystery novel.
It is about family, and family secrets. The characters fascinated me, with their depth, secrets and humor. I especially liked that every character was there because they moved the plot forward.
As I read this book, the similarity to Jennifer Crusie struck me several times. Is it better than a Jennifer Crusie novel? Read it and decide for yourself. All I hope , is that Patricia Rice writes some more books about Ana and her family. 10 or so should be enough….

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Bargain round up

Let’s do a bargain round up, again. It’s been a couple of months since I did the last one. 
Lazette Gifford’s excellent Urban Fantasy Kat among Pigeons is on sale until tomorrow. More info here.

Kobo offers the coupon code redtag2, which gives a 2 dollar discount. The coupon works on non-agency books if you are in North america and UK, and on all books if you live in non-english speaking countries. If you combine this coupon with Kobo Cheap reads list, you can get historical romance for a bargain price.  WARNING: Lady Anne and the Howl by Donna Lea Simpson, and  Lady flees her lord by Michele Anne Young lacks download options. You can only read those online, or through Kobo Apps.

 Carina Press starts their steampunk week tomorrow, and as a part of it they offer a free novella from Cindy Spencer Pape.

Avempartha by Michael J. Sullivan

Avempartha (The Riyria Revelations, #2)Avempartha by Michael J. Sullivan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book:
Avemparta by Michael J Sullivan

The Particulars: Epic Fantasy, Ridan publishing, available as  e-book ( not sure about print)

Why was it in my TBR? I had heard about him, and when they offered it for free in November or so, I took the chance.

The Review:

The blurb:
When a destitute young woman hires two thieves to help save her remote village from nocturnal attacks, they are drawn into the schemes of the wizard Esrahaddon. While Royce struggles to breech the secrets of an ancient elven tower, Hadrian attempts to rally the villagers to defend themselves against the unseen killer. What begins with the simple theft of a sword places the two thieves at the center of a firestorm — that could change the future of Elan

My impressions:
I am the first to admit that I am a bit wary about indie publishing.I had heard good things about this author, so I decided to take the chance. And I am glad I did. The book is well written and set in an engaging world. The plot are filled with unexpected twists. Gradually, secrets are revealed. I liked the interaction between characters. I was sucked into the plot, looked up and found that I had read 60 pages.
This was book 2 and sometimes I regretted I hadn’t read book One first, but I didn’t feel I lost anything.

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