Bitchin' Blog Posts
: Authors, L-P
by SB Sarah | May 03, 2012 | Thursday at 3:00 pm | 13 Comments
This review was submitted by Qualisign, and get ready, for it is majestic. This novella was nominated in the Romance Novella category.
The summary: Dr. Grace Hunter seeks an ancient text beneath the castle of Count Alessandro Volta.
The reclusive count wasn't expecting scientist Grace to be a beautiful woman who stirs his scarred soul. Outside, a media storm is brewing, but inside the count's world the heat between them is sizzling!
And now, Qualisign's review:
Alternate title cum synopsis: “How a scar(r)y Count Count was possessed by the Cookie Monster only to be exorcized by a fame-seeking scientifically-minded Sunshine Bear with scraped-back hair” Seriously. This was horrible. And I paid for it – just so that I could review it for SBTB. AAARRRGGGHHH! It has such promise: a long-lost manuscript containing healing secrets-of-the-ages, a PhD-carrying-manuscript-curator of a heroine, a wounded hero with a title and a castle on an island with secret tunnels, caves and wicked storms. It was SO good – until I…
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by SB Sarah | April 23, 2012 | Monday at 4:21 am | 17 Comments
Betty Fokker wrote a guest review of Lucy March's "A Little Night Magic," and I wanted to share it with you.
must make with the confession. I am an Internet-Pal of Lucy March/Lani Diane Rich. It is like being a real-life friend, except we’ve never gotten drunk and talked each other into getting a Tramp Stamp of jumping dolphins at 3:00 AM. (Not that this has happened to me.) This means that I am not without favorable bias when I read her work.
However, my mild mannered mundane self is an academic, and I swore on a Roget’s Thesaurus that all literary reviews would contain some criticism. The penalties for “failing to critique” are harsh. You have to watch Jaws IV without commenting on the plot holes or bad special effects, and you are accused of having written a “hagiography” about an author. You’ll go to academic conferences and someone will have scrawled “hagiographer” across your place card in red marker. No one will sit with you at lunch. It gets real ugly, real fast.
A Little Night Magic is Lani Diane Rich’s first offering…
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by SB Sarah | April 11, 2012 | Wednesday at 12:20 am | 51 Comments
I admit, I have a low tolerance for amnesia stories. I don't often enjoy them, I can't suspend my disbelief when the person with amnesia conveniently remembers some things, like the names of her household servants, but doesn't remember other things, like who she is. And I always wonder where the other physical symptoms are, like questionable bladder control or possible drooling.
So when this book was recommended to me, I read it with some trepidation. Ultimately, I finished it because I wanted to know what happened, not because I cared about the characters or their plight. It fed my love of mistaken-identity stories like damn howdy, but the character actions and reactions became so ridiculous I just wanted to see how far it would go before the end.
In the beginning of the story, Adrienne meets Cynthia. Cynthia is spoiled, very wealthy, frighteningly skinny, and not happy to be in coach class. Adrienne is leaving New York, lucky to afford the airline seat, humiliated after her boutique failed to catch on and she had to close her store.
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by SB Sarah | March 28, 2012 | Wednesday at 8:50 am | 20 Comments
I was initially fascinated by the plot synopsis for this book, the opportunity to read historical romance in a setting that was unfamiliar, and the characters. But the book suffers from such poor editing that I couldn't finish it, and had to stop reading.
This is the synopsis, provided by the author:
Set in Gilded Age America, a young woman must choose between circumstance and destiny. Orphaned as small children, Sterling Redmond and her older sister Charlotte are raised by their grandfather at the family’s Maryland country estate of Northampton. Charlotte blossoms into a famed Baltimore beauty, but Sterling is more interested in books and horseback riding than feminine pursuits. Concerned that her niece will never find a suitable husband among the local Baltimore gentry, Madame De Chant whisks Sterling away to Belle Époque Paris in search of a gentleman who can understand her. In their absence, Nicholas Pembroke, the son of an English earl, takes up residence in the manor bordering Northampton. When Sterling and her aunt return to America for Charlotte’s wedding, Sterling finds that her perfect husband is…
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by SB Sarah | March 27, 2012 | Tuesday at 12:24 am | 12 Comments
I really enjoyed Queenie's Brigade but I have no idea how to grade it. Should I assign a letter grade based on the over-all quality of writing, or the level of enjoyment? I find that all the ebooks I've read so far (steampunk, steampunk western, space opera, space opera western) are really, really fun and similar in style - but not what I would call Great Literature. The writing style is always over the top, everything is very exciting and colorful and nothing is subtle. Attraction is in the form of instant, over-powering, and unprecedented lust. No one is "pretty" or "cute", they are "like a goddess" or some such hyperbole. There seem to be a lot of bazaars and jungles and saloons and glistening sweat and meaningful tattoos. These eBooks remind me of the pulp fiction of the forties and fifties, or of early comics. Of course said pulp fiction sold like mad in its day and has recently earned a whole second life, as Deep Reviewers with Deep Thoughts are suddenly appreciating its verve. Some of those dime store novels are…
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by SB Sarah | January 03, 2012 | Tuesday at 12:34 am | 50 Comments
You guys know that I’m in my last year of law school (ABOUT FUCKING TIME) and it’s finals coming up and I SHOULD be writing a paper, but Sarah knows very well that I usually do reviews when I’m avoiding writing. Or studying. Or doing anything I really should be doing. SO HERE I AM and I’m also a little (a lot) unhinged (which totally should be the title of Courtney’s next book).
Anyway, so I got an advance copy of Unraveled in a giveaway during the Sizzling Not Summer Book Club chat and there was pressure for a review and here we are because Smite is AWESOME and I LOVE HIM and Miranda is FANTASTIC and also I really don’t want to write this stupid paper. SO HERE WE GO.
(Told you. Unhinged.)
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by SB Sarah | December 15, 2011 | Thursday at 12:16 am | 18 Comments
I read this book in a matter of hours. That's how much I liked it. I didn't even notice that the Steelers were on, that there was dessert on the table, that it was past my bedtime. I thought it was charming and I loved reading it. I want to read everything Marion Lennox has written, and I want to read the rest of this series.
But after I finished it, I found myself arguing with my own opinion, challenging how much I liked it, pointing out flaws and figuring out that, yup, despite them, I still liked it. I'm conflicted about how to grade the book, because I know there are flaws and I know there are some uses of character that will drive some readers nuts, but I also really enjoyed it, with and despite those flaws.
Plot summary: Abigail is about to marry Phillip, who has been her boyfriend for ten years, who she went to law school with, who she practices defense law alongside each day, and who she has been with for so long it's hard for her to…
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by SB Sarah | December 05, 2011 | Monday at 12:23 am | 13 Comments
Back in August, this lovely author, Theresa Meyers, sent an email to Smart Bitch Sarah asking if I (Me! CarrieS!) would review her latest book, The Hunter. Well. As Paula Deen once said, that just knocked my socks clean off and into the washer. I feel I have Arrived. Now that authors (or, at least, an author) are requesting me (me!) personally, I'm sure the New Yorker will be calling any minute. I'm waiting by the phone, New Yorker! Call me!
Anyway, there I was, flattered right out of my mind, when I realized that this was actually a disaster, because for the first time I knew in advance that an author was going to read my review. What if poor, nice, trusting Theresa sent me the book and I hated it? What if I had to say, "In all honesty, Theresa, reading your book is akin to having my toenails pulled out by angry monkeys?" Would I be able to keep my journalistic objectivity under this kind of pressure?
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by SB Sarah | November 07, 2011 | Monday at 11:59 am | 23 Comments
Whenever I read a first person YA novel, I feel like I need to state in the review that it is first person, and the narrators are telling the story to the reader in each chapter directly. I know that drives some people bananas, though it doesn’t bother me. But be ye aware: this is first person narration from the hero and heroine’s point of view.
Awareness aside: Holy, holy crap, I really enjoyed this book.
Plot summary ahoy! Elodie Rose has just moved to town, and is keeping a big ol’ secret. She’s on the cusp of turning into a wolf, which means, according to her family history and all the evidence she has at hand, she’s going to go absolutely nuts and kill everyone in her path, including her father. She’s cursed. She and her father are doing everything they can think of to delay that violent change, so Elodie lives a live of near seclusion. They moved to a new town, they changed their names, and her father chose a place near a huge park so that if they have to run they can head…
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by SB Sarah | October 17, 2011 | Monday at 10:11 am | 13 Comments
Y’all know I can’t resist a geek/romance crossover, so I had to check out Hero, a YA novel about a gay teen superhero that involves a love story. It was solidly written, painful, and touching, and although I haven’t the foggiest idea of what it’s like to be a gay teen it had the feel of honesty to it. However, it wasn’t very much fun. That’s not surprising, because it deals with some very painful topics. Not every love story or superhero story has to be fun. Personally, though, I want my romance to have some joy, and I want even my darkest superheroes to get at least a few moments to revel in their powers (or, in Batman’s case, their “wonderful toys”). I can’t fault the craft or content of Hero, but I found it strangely easy to put down.
Here’s the deal. Thom (Thom? Really? Is anyone named Thom? Commentators, please advise!) is a high school basketball player who volunteers with underprivileged kids in his spare time. His mom…
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by SB Sarah | September 26, 2011 | Monday at 10:28 am | 16 Comments
It's not a secret that I really like Sarah Morgan's books, and her latest is no exception to the happy sigh reading experience.
Polly Prince works at the ad agency her father owns, but in reality, she runs the place because he tends to disappear for long periods of time, usually with a new girlfriend who is Polly's age. This time, dear old dad has run off with Damon Doukakis's sister, who used to be Polly's best friend at school, and both of them are unreachable. Damon is so pissed off, he does what any good Harlequin Presents hero does: he buys out the Prince company, and aims to flush Mr. Prince out of his love nest by decimating the company.
Damon didn't count on facing down Polly, and their interactions are some of the best scenes in the book. Polly begins the novel by taking on the board of directors, who have done little to nothing that's profitable, while taking home huge paychecks. Polly's biggest fear is that Damon's takeover will result in massive layoffs (I believe the UK term is “redundancies”) and she figures she has nothing to lose by challenging the board of directors…
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by SB Sarah | August 24, 2011 | Wednesday at 5:25 pm | 28 Comments
Hearts Aflame, the current Avon .99c digital offering offering, inspired Betty Fokker to read and review this romance classic.
Boy oh boy, does this book bring back the memories. I was a devoted reader of Johanna Lindsey in the 80’s, but I hadn’t read any of her books for years, so when I saw this book on sale for $.99 I suffered a fit of nostalgia and uploaded that sucker to my kindle. Here’s the plot:
Kristen Haardrad was looking for one last adventure with her brother Selig. However, nothing prepared her for the fact that they are going Viking. As soon as they landed, they were attacked then captured. Saddened by the death of her brother, Kristen disguised as a boy to avoid rape. However, when Lord Royce entered the scene. It was love at first sight, or at least for her. She couldn’t help the mixed feelings that she had for him. She longed to escape this land of strangers, yet her feelings for Royce held her back from her freedom. Lord Royce of Wyndhurst was attracted to the Viking beauty. However, his memories of the past held him back from…
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by SB Sarah | August 06, 2011 | Saturday at 10:06 am | 39 Comments
Ahem. Squee commences… NOW.
OMG OMG THIS IS AWESOME. GO BUY IT.
What, that isn’t enough for you? Fine.
I have to come clean ad admit I have not read “The Iron Duke.” I respect the opinions of those who have loved it every which way enough to recommend it to people who I know will love it (and they have). I know that it is likely something I will enjoy when I do read it. But my brain is overloaded at present and has been for awhile, and I know it is exactly the wrong time to introduce said brain, which can be picky, to deep, nuanced, complex and thought-provoking world building.
Which MelJean Brook is really good at, damn her again.
So I haven’t read it. Yes, I suck. But this short story takes place in that same world, and within a handful of chapters and some incredibly deft and elegant writing, I was given a working understanding of a complex universe, treated to a truly emotional story, and gifted with an evening’s read that rocked my goddam world.
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by SB Sarah | July 28, 2011 | Thursday at 10:05 am | 39 Comments
This novella was submitted to me by the author, and based on her description, ” about a girl who decides to masquerade as her twin in order to get the attention of the guy she’s secretly in love with” I decided to give it a try.
Viola Gardener is the quiet twin, and has a Secret Thang for a Hot Earl who has danced with her once. She decides, as the author stated, to attend the masquerade ball her family is hosting and pretend to be her twin, Olivia, who is much more socially vivacious and popular. She captures Hot Earl’s attention immediately, but holds it through her own intellect and personality - something she’s not prepared herself for, because of course Hot Earl is thinking that he never knew Olivia was so interesting and smart. And much like the Shakespearean play for which it’s named and from which it drew some inspiration, shenanigans and mayhem erupt based on that and other mistaken identities.
In Twelfth Night - the Shakespearean version - Viola’s twin is a man, and Viola dresses as a man to serve as the servant to the Duke…
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by SB Sarah | July 21, 2011 | Thursday at 10:52 am | 9 Comments
I don’t usually read Christmas stories, particularly during the summer. But while I traveled from New Orleans to New York and then to Vancouver in three weeks’ time, I did a lot of reading. I mentioned over at Kirkus that I’d been on a happy Sarah Morgan glom after reading A Night of Scandal, and enjoying it so much I picked it for the July Book Club. This book was my favorite of the ones I read, particularly because of the heroine.
This is the official description: “His housekeeper, or his Christmas present? Unexpectedly homeless for the festive season, and exhausted from transforming the penthouse of the hotel where she works into a dazzling winter wonderland, chambermaid Evie Anderson secretly sleeps over.
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