- Title: A Season for Sin
- Author: Vicky Dreiling
- Series: Sinful Scoundrels, Book 0.5
- Genre(s): Historical (Regency)
- Publisher: Forever Young (Hachette), September 2012
- Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley (99¢)
- Length: 100 pages
- Trope(s): Rake, Widow
- Quick blurb: Rake intends to make a beautiful young widow his mistress, but she’s not interested.
- Quick review: Can’t really review an unfinished story.
- Grade: DNF
Although I actually read the whole thing, I’m tagging this as a DNF, and here’s why:
Introducing the Sinful Scoundrels…
The Earl of Bellingham is nothing is not a creature of habit: money, meals, and mistresses must be strictly managed if a man is to have a moment’s peace. It’s a system that works splendidly for him — until now. With his oldest and dearest friends succumbing, one by one, to wedded bliss, Bell is now restless and a trifle lonely. Enter the Sinful Scoundrels — Colin Brockhurst, Earl of Ravenshire, and Harry Norcliffe, Viscount Evermore — who drag him back into society and draw his rakish eye to the ton’s new beautiful young widow. Bell isn’t after a wife, but a challenge. And Laura Davenport should fit the bill quite nicely…
Word count: 29,000 words
That’s the official description of this “novella” from Amazon. Do you see the words “preview” or “teaser” in there anywhere? No? Me either.
This is not a prequel. This is not a novella. This is not even a short story. Characters and conflict are introduced, but there is no resolution.
The “prequel” story ends at 67% of the Kindle version, with the remaining third an excerpt from the beginning of Dreiling’s upcoming full novel. If I had paid for this — even just 99¢ — I would have been really irritated at the blatant misrepresentation.
What’s there was an OK read, but I got the impression it would be just another typical Regency. And the publisher’s tactics in charging readers for a useless bit of fluff will not compel me to pay $7.99 for the author’s next release.
Only TWO man-titty covers. TWO. I clearly did something wrong.
- Alpha Males: 5
- Brooding/stoic/angsty heroes: 10
- Cowboys: 3
- Sheiks/sheikhs: 2
- Tycoons/billionaires (male, non-sheik): 3
- Title/peerages: 4 (all male)
- Cops/spies/detectives: 3
- Nerds: 1
- Heroines with believable careers: 7
- Heroines with romance-novel- plot-device-only careers: 7
- Wallflowers/Plain-Janes: 2
- Pregnant heroines: 1
Kids and dogs:
- Secret Babies: 6
- Plot moppets: 8
- Dogs: 2
- Villainous/Reckless/Annoying Siblings: 8
- Kidnappings: 5
- In Disguise: 4
- Coma/Amnesia: 2
- Airplane Rescue: 1
- Ski trail groomer chase: 1
- Accidental nakedness: 1
- Twin-switching: 1
- Dream sex: 1
- Helicopter shoot-outs: 1
- Use of log as weapon: 1
- Use of screwdriver as weapon: 1
- Cult leaders: 1
- Serial killers: 1
Subtitle: NetGalley is Not Good for People with OCD
When I got my first Kindle, I glommed onto historical romance authors like Julia Justiss, Elizabeth Rolls and Sophia James because their books were cheap and fun. Then I discovered Carla Kelly and I officially became a citizen of Romancelandia.
It wasn’t until I started cataloging the evidence of my OCD tendencies on Goodreads that I realized all those books were Harlequins. Yes, I used to make fun of Harlequins. My self-inflicted punishment was wasting a LOT of money on
Laurell K. Hamilton, who is solely responsible for my avoidance of all things paranormal.
ANYWAY, I like to broaden my knowledge and expand my horizons and step out of my comfort zone and all those other clichés. Thanks to NetGalley, I was able to try out some of the old-school category romance I’d been curious about but reluctant to spend money on.
[Note: I may be a grammar geek, but I think “don’t end a sentence with a preposition” is a stupid rule.]
ANYWAY, I requested a few e-galleys (well, OK, maybe a dozen or so, shut up and keep reading). I also purchased more to make sure I was being fair — even if I couldn’t be objective. I’m a Libra, we like things balanced.
The final grades ranged from A for Author Crush to several DNFs. As I was reading and reviewing, I tried to keep the category requirements in mind – most of the titles were what I expected, and sometimes not in a good way.
So, in no particular order….
Let’s be honest: It’s obvious Tessa Dare wrote this book JUST FOR ME. She just forgot to put my name in the dedication.
- Title: A Lady by Midnight
- Author: Tessa Dare
- Series: Spindle Cove, Book 3
- Genre(s): Historical (Regency)
- Publisher: Avon Books, August 2012
- Source: Provided by the publisher via Edelweiss ($5.99 ebook)
- Length: 384 pages
- Trope(s): Beta Hero, Smartass Heroine, Wallflower, Angst, Unrequited Love
- Quick blurb: When a family of strangers shows up looking for their long-lost heir, a stoic military officer must step in to protect the local wallflower he secretly loves.
- Quick review: Uptight, conflicted hero. Smart, smartass heroine. I was doomed to love this book.
- Grade: A
Corporal Thorne could make a woman quiver, from all the way across the room.
That was just the opening line, for crying out loud. Let’s take a glimpse at the HEA, shall we?
“It’s all your fault.” His voice was rough with emotion. “You listened when I needed it. Laughed when I needed that. You wouldn’t go away, no matter how I scowled or raged. You loved me despite everything, and you made me look deep inside myself to find the strength to love you in return. I’m a different man because of you.”
I have to do a One-Quote Review for this because anything longer would be nauseatingly sycophantic.
- Title: Second Hand
- Author(s): Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton
- Series: Tucker Springs, Book 2
- Genre(s): Contemporary, GLBTQ (M/M)
- Publisher: Riptide Publishing, September 2012
- Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley ($6.99 ebook, available 9/10)
- Length: 175 pages
- Trope(s): Friends-to-Lovers, Rebound, Angst, Gay for You, Dysfunctional Families, Beta Heroes
- Quick blurb: Lonely and jaded pawn shop owner falls for seemingly-straight customer.
- Quick review: The dog’s name is MoJo. See his begging eyes and wistful expression? He wants you to read this book.
- Grade: A
“I just want to be the first choice for someone for once. Just once.”
So, Heidi and Marie, just go ahead and push all my buttons, and THEN reach in and pull my guts out. You both seem to be good at that sort of thing.
ALSO: Hurry the hell up with your next books, so I can fling myself on the altar of your brilliance ALL OVER AGAIN.
I guess that last bit crossed the “sycophant” line, huh? Oh, well. I HAVE NO SHAME.
- Title: My Fair Concubine
- Author: Jeannie Lin
- Category/Series: Harlequin Historical; Tang Dynasty, Book 3
- Genre(s): Historical (9th century China)
- Publisher: Harlequin, June 2012
- Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley ($4.49 ebook)
- Length: 288 pages
- Trope(s): Extreme Makeover, In Disguise, Unrequited Love, Beta Hero
- Quick blurb: Stern soldier trains orphaned teahouse girl to take his runaway sister’s place as a political bride.
- Quick review: I swooned. And then I got weepy. And then I swooned again.
- Grade: A
He’d trained her in calligraphy to teach her patience and discipline while using the same techniques to try to control his own emotions. He’d buried them deep and only allowed them to show in one place.
In the forms, she could see the gathered memories of their days together. She could see the hundred different want he thought of her. The flowing curves of wistfulness, the tight control of denial. It was all there. Anger, hope, longing. Desire.
Huh? What? Oh, sorry – I was swooning again.
This was my first Jeannie Lin. Now I own her entire backlist and I pre-ordered her next one. I think this means I have an Author Crush. In a totally non-creepy, non-stalkerish kind of way, of course.
Reading With Me Vicariously: Status Updates
July 27 – 10%:
Chapter one, and the hero already gets cold tea thrown in his face. This is a good sign.
July 28 – 25%:
First writing lesson = *swoon*
July 28 – 42%
I wish the slumber party in my living room would actually slumber so I could READ MY BOOK because I THINK THERE MIGHT BE SOME SMOOCHING SOON.
July 29 – 71%:
NOTE: This inspired an idea – Pygmalion/My Fair Lady Theme Week coming soon!
Let the Sunday of Squee commence!
- Title: Heart Murmurs
- Author: Suleikha Snyder
- Series: N/A
- Genre(s): Contemporary
- Publisher: Wild Rose Press, August 2012
- Source: Amazon, 99¢
- Length: 34 pages
- Trope(s): Alpha Male, Smart/Smartass Heroine, Age Difference, Lust in the Workplace
- Quick blurb: Hospital heartthrob finds a challenge in a smart and prickly surgical resident.
- Quick review: I’m having withdrawal symptoms. I think I need a sequel.
- Grade: A
He was a prick, and Anu wanted him so bad she could taste it: sharp and hot, like his smile. It was sheer insanity. Having a crush on an attending – on a department chief, at that – was right up there with hallucinating leprechauns.
It took me 45 minutes to choose just one quote from the dozens of smartass and swoon-worthy lines I highlighted. This short story is pretty close to perfect, and I want MORE MORE MORE.