Bitchin' Blog Posts
: Grade D
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 08, 2012 | Thursday at 8:11 am | 25 Comments
It’s time to get back to my roots- a hot pink (HOT. PINK. With bonus rearing horse!) Zebra romance I picked up, oh, ages ago- somewhere between my high school heydays of romance, and coming back to the fold a couple years ago. It was clearly from a free pile somewhere, and it’s everything you’d expect from a late 1980’s Zebra romance and MORE. No Texan Viscount, though- I feel like that stays in it’s own category of crazysauce.
I think I picked this up something like seven years ago, and read it, and (apparently) liked it enough to keep it and cart it around to four different houses and three moves. Now I'm wondering what the hell was in my head, except that I'd gone through a years long phase where I hadn't read any romance at all, because I was trying to be an adult (overrated). So any water tastes good to the parched girl in the desert? And it's been sitting on my shelf in all of its hot pink glory, and I remembered the disguises being awesome? But…
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by SB Sarah | December 07, 2011 | Wednesday at 3:29 pm | 89 Comments
This book made me mad. Really mad. Mad to the point where I'd mark passages that pissed me off and yell at the book instead of making a note. The hero is awful until about 75% of the way through the book, and the heroine lets everyone push her around and permits varying levels of cruelty. Her family is made up of some horrible people. Her conflict is real enough, but her decision-making ability as an adult is constantly questioned and undermined to the point where she makes the decision that everyone else wants, mostly because she abandons her perfectly valid arguments.
And that last bit is what pissed me off the most. In this book, the subtext is that family is more important than anything else, and the people who are your family deserve your undiverted loyalty, no matter how shitful, cruel, and hypocritical they are. Love and family are more important than anything else, even when that love and that family are the opposite of beneficial to the heroine.
That subtext wove through the book repeatedly, because that was the only…
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by SB Sarah | August 15, 2011 | Monday at 6:13 pm | 184 Comments
This is a difficult book to review. On one hand, up until a specific point, I liked it. On the other hand, it turned offensive to the point of horror, demonstrating not only a repulsive prejudice but a use of lame stereotypical stock characters that detracted from the strengths of the novel. In the end, my enjoyment was dissolved by my own bitter disappointment.
Until that point of 0_o, I was loving this book.
Sophy is the only daughter of a diplomat, and has been following him around war-busy Europe. Now that her father has been assigned to South America, Sophy is to live with her aunt, Lady Ombersley, who will help Sophy find a husband. But Sophy’s father’s description of her is not at all the reality, and while most of Lady Ombersley’s family thinks Sophie is wonderful, her son, Charles Rivenhall, who has taken over management of the family’s finances and is as a result somewhat cranky in his responsibility, thinks Sophy is more trouble than she’s worth - and his fiancee dislikes Sophy, too.
Sophy strikes me as something of an original manic pixie dream girl, except…
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by SB Sarah | August 03, 2011 | Wednesday at 9:24 pm | 48 Comments
This all you need to know. Hot and Steamy: Tales of Steampunk Romance is neither hot, nor steamy, nor romantic. It contains short stories that work more like sketchy idea pitches than like fully realized stories, the romances are perfunctory and either depressing or unbelievable (or, in many cases, both) and worst of all the collection is boring. I normally read one book every one to three days depending on length, content, and other commitments, and it took me almost two weeks to force myself to finish this because I. Was. Bored.
I was really excited when this anthology came out, because I love steampunk and romance, and I was curious as to how well romance would work in a short story format. I was also intrigued by the fact that about half the authors are male, and I thought it would be interesting to compare their styles to the female authors in light of the eternal debate over whether men can write good romance (I vote yes). Unfortunately, all the authors in this collection, regardless of gender, wrote as though they had never written, or perhaps even read, a romance novel,…
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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 | June 29, 2011 | Wednesday at 4:48 pm | 40 Comments
SusiB reviewed this book for the RITA® Reader Challenge. This novel finaled in the Contemporary Single Title Category.
Plot Summary: As the public face of Vows wedding planning company, Parker Brown has an uncanny knack for fulfilling every bride’s vision. She just can’t see where her own life is headed. Mechanic Malcomb Kavanaugh loves figuring out how things work, and Parker is no exception. Both know that moving from minor flirtation to major hook-up is a serious step. Parker’s business risks have always paid off, but now she’ll have to take the chance of a lifetime with her heart…
And here is SusiB’s review:
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by SB Sarah | June 21, 2011 | Tuesday at 9:14 pm | 9 Comments
This RITA® Reader Challenge review was written by Shari. This story is found in the That Christmas Feeling anthology, and is nominated in the Novella category.
Plot Summary: A woman seeking refuge in a strange town during a snowstorm is taken in by a man who helps her discover that home is where the love is.
Shari didn’t think the plot summary really captured the book, so she included her own summary: “Ken is a super-hot, fairly young retired NFL player. Cierra’s a spunky 25-year-old mail order bride from Guatemala who attempted to sacrifice herself to keep her and her younger sisters from being forced into prostitution in Guatemala by marrying a 74-year-old American. Unfortunately, the fiance dies before the marriage occurs so she’s now an illegal alien trying to stay one step ahead of immigration, although they never show in the novella. They are more of an ever-present threat in the mind of the…
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by SB Sarah | June 20, 2011 | Monday at 9:07 pm | 33 Comments
This RITA® Reader Challenge review was written by…me. No one signed up for this book so I read it. Oh, boy.
Plot Summary: In the past twenty-four hours Sabrina Carr had been shot at, kidnapped and held hostage. As if being eight months pregnant wasn’t stressful enough!
Now, after narrowly escaping the clutches of masked gunmen, Sabrina and her baby needed a protector. That’s when hot Texas cop Shaw Tolbert came to her rescue. As the surrogate mother to his child, Sabrina couldn’t help the sizzling attraction to Shaw that the danger stirred up…or the kiss that told her she meant more to him than she ever realized. With her attackers still on the loose, Sabrina’s priority was keeping the baby safe. But how could she keep her cool when things were so hot?
And now, my review:
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by SB Sarah | June 02, 2011 | Thursday at 10:47 am | 30 Comments
Steph tried out this inspirational romance for the RITA® Reader Challenge, but alas, it was not meant to be.
Here is the plot summary: What happens when an idealistic student nurse encounters an embittered army doctor in a stagecoach accident? How will she react when she learns her training didn’t prepare her for tragic reality? How will he, an army deserter, respond to needs when he vowed to never touch another patient? Can these two stubborn mules find common ground on which to work and bring healing to West Texas? And now, Steph’s review:
I am a huge inspirational romance fan, but there were several (okay slightly more than several) times that I nearly gave up on Doctor in Petticoats. Honestly, had it not been on the old Kindle, I would have probably thrown it across the room a time or two. This makes me sad, because the title gave me such hope that…
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by SB Sarah | March 09, 2011 | Wednesday at 11:23 am | 64 Comments
This book came to my attention based on a reader recommendation. I’ve been trying to figure out how to approach this review since I finished the book this weekend and immediately said out loud and on Twitter, “You have got to be fucking kidding me.”
When I look at a small press book, I think about whether I’d buy another book from them, if the book I read is indicative of the quality of the books the press plans to produce in the future. Based upon this book, I am not impressed with the quality of the editing or the press itself. But the story and the concept were enough to keep me reading, and I wanted to finish it because I wanted to know how it ended - I cared enough to want to see the resolution, in other words. But when I got to the ending, I was far from satisfied, and am not impressed with the author or the decision to end the book in this manner.
The opening of the story focuses on the painful death of Frank, whose ghost is attempting to touch or…
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by SB Sarah | August 18, 2010 | Wednesday at 6:05 pm | 15 Comments
I have heard from a few readers here that they love Jane Porter’s books. One reader mentioned in particular her sense of humor and her friendly heroines. So when this book arrived I read it in a matter of days. It had a line up of things that I generally jump into as fast as I can:
- a heroine who has picked up her old life and moved to a place that’s familiar and yet completely foreign
- exchanging city life for rural life
- facing real actual contemporary problems that aren’t easy
- finding oneself in charge and having to lead when one really, really doesn’t want to
Shey Darcy is a former model whose husband, a famous fashion photographer, has just left her. She picks up her family, including her 3 teenage sons, and moves home to rural Texas, where she moves into her old home, sends her kids to public school, and tries to figure out where to go from there. Her youngest son loves it, and is fascinated by bullriding. Her middle son is emotionally troublesome and she’s very worried about him, and her oldest is all,…
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by SB Sarah | January 14, 2010 | Thursday at 12:48 pm | 90 Comments
I honestly wonder if this book came from the past, the far, far distant past where brutal behavior, ripping of bodices, and complete idiocy in response to those first two were the norm. My jaw dropped open more and more as I read it.
To say that Phinn Hawkins (that’s the heroine) has had a very unconventional upbringing would be a honking huge understatement. Her father was an eccentric tinkerer and general dreamer. Her parents split up, and she stayed with her dad on Honeysuckle Farm, where his family has been tenant farmers for generations. The farm itself isn’t much in the farming way, and the land is used more as a repository for various unfinished tinkering projects from Phinn’s dad. Phinn herself gets a job in town - quite a drive from the farm - as a secretary after her mother moves out, and takes on the responsibility of basically supporting her father. Phinn adores him and admires him and accepts no criticism whatsoever of her dad.
Until Ty Allardyce buys the estate, and wants them off Honeysuckle Farm. A series of unfortunate people enter and exit in the…
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by SB Sarah | January 05, 2010 | Tuesday at 11:11 am | 52 Comments
Sometimes, a romance is like a souffle. It’s all delicate and airy: there’s some fat and egg white for structure, and it’s sweet and light, and it can be satisfying, if not the most rib-sticking, satisfying thing you’ve ever eaten. But sometimes, because it’s a souffle, one little thing will break it, and the whole puffy thing that until that moment was fun and simple and pleasing will collapse while you stare in horror because there is NO WAY THAT JUST HAPPENED.
An Unlikely Setup was following the path of one of my new favorite forms of category romance plot: girl returns to small rural town and finds community, home, and a really hot guy with a supremely excellent bum. Hot Bum is Quinn, who runs the local pub, and returning girl is Maddie, who has recently inherited the local pub building and a house from her godfather. She’s in deep financial trouble after losing her job as a reporter because she thought flipping houses would work as a way to earn money quickly - even borrowing money from her best friend’s IRA - and when the bottom fell out of the housing…
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by SB Sarah | October 06, 2009 | Tuesday at 11:38 am | 22 Comments
Lindsay Bingham is a small town girl who finds herself in St. Michel, a small European country similar to Monaco, as a bridesmaid to her friend Sophie, who is marring the crown prince of said country. At the wedding, she meets the gaze of one hot celebrity chef, Carlos Montigo, and the attraction is immediate. As Carlos goes off to fetch champagne for them both after a short but charged conversation on the balcony, another man, a television producer, asks her to dance and drops an amazing opportunity in her lap: television show hostess for his newly-purchased cooking network. Sophie, the princess of the previous book in this series, has pulled some strings for her best friend.
Lindsay used to be in television. Now she’s a receptionist at a job she assures herself is important, and she doesn’t want to get back into the television life, especially after it (ominous moment ahead) cost her so much in the past. But upon realizing that her job really isn’t all that (heads up! rapid change of priority and plot and understanding of the main character!) she turns the car around (she’s…
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