Book Feature: Witness in the Dark (Love Under Fire #1) by Allison B. Hanson

Note: I am featuring some of the review books I’ve had for a while, but run out of time to do a review for. That’s not to say I’m not going to read them; it’s just that I’ve fallen behind, and think the authors deserve an appearance here!

Witness in the Dark (Love Under Fire #1) by Allison B. Hanson

Witness in the Dark (Love Under Fire #1) by Allison B. Hanson

Deputy Marshal Garrett McKendrick does not get involved with witnesses he’s tasked to protect. Especially when his boss has a very personal reason for keeping Samantha Hutchinson alive. Can you say off limits?

But as Garrett battles to keep Sam safe from the powerful and influential people out to silence her—permanently—he finds she’s strong, feisty, and willing to risk everything to tell the truth. And totally irresistible.

Losing everything you know and love might just be worth it to meet an amazing man like Garrett. But when Sam learns he has been keeping secrets from her—big ones—she’s convinced his affectionate words were all for the sake of the job. She sends him packing. But can her new protective detail be trusted? The last team betrayed her to the enemy…

Garrett isn’t about to take any chances. Not with the woman who has stolen his heart.

 

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Romance Novels Celebrate Women

Romance Books Category Romance

Great article over at The Messenger, a newspaper from Kentucky, USA:

Romance Novels Celebrate Women

Yes, it’s ridiculous that these pieces need to keep being written, but I can’t see the need for them going away any time soon!

Here are some excerpts:

‘I volunteered to sort, label, and shelve our library’s collection in order to create a browsable romance aisle. Why? Because romance novels are one of the few, if not the only, form of media which enthusiastically celebrates women. No other entertainment industry places as high a value on female agency, empowerment, happiness, and personal fulfillment like romance publishing.

There can be no doubt, the romance publishing industry is a juggernaut of commercial and financial success. However, the stigma surrounding these books has only exploded over the years. We are laughed at for reading “formulaic” stories, despite the fact that every book follows a formula; without formula the concept of genre ceases to exist. Likewise, Happy Ending stories are dismissed for being “predictable,” despite the fact that every action story concludes with the good guy winning, and mystery novels never end unsolved.

Sometimes our stories are set in a futuristic dystopia, sometimes they’re on an 1800s frontier, or on a planet far far away, or in a Regency London ballroom, or in China during the Tang Dynasty, or on a 17th century pirate ship, or among a coven of demons. No other genre can boast of such vast variety.

So There. 🙂 🙂

Book Feature: Resurrection (Rock Solid #4) by Karina Bliss

This is where I send my apologies to author Karina Bliss, whose book Resurrection came out a while ago, and I’ve still not got around to writing a review! It’s coming soon, I promise!

In the meantime, I’d like to say that Bliss is one of those authors you’re guaranteed to enjoy. Call me biased, but there’s something about contemporary romances by Kiwi and Australian authors that really appeals to me. They write in such a “contemporary” way, and you can identify with the characters as if they’re real people.

I’ve loved Bliss’ books since day one, and would recommend every one I’ve read so far.

Resurrection (Rock Solid #4) by Karina Bliss

Resurrection (Rock Solid #4) by Karina Bliss

No more rock stars. Not ever.

Lily Hagen Stuart has done that scene to death. Her new career in early childhood education is way more rewarding and she deals with far fewer tantrums. Then a stolen sex tape is posted online and her future is in jeopardy. She needs to get away from the paparazzi and the only place that offers refuge is the world she swore never to return to: the music world. Fine. A few weeks—tops. That’s all she needs to get her life back. And keeping her hands off gorgeous Moss McFadden? Should be easy.

Moss McFadden may be a rising rock star, but he’s quite happy to keep everyone at arm’s length. Until Lily needs help, that is. They strike a deal that puts them in closer proximity than is good for his equilibrium. Still, he can keep his fascination with her in check. Or can he? Because when she lends him a hand in a life-changing situation, all his defences are shot. And as he goes down in a wave of longing, he wonders if she just might be his salvation.

Romance Novels Are Not Your Junk Food

Sarah Mayberry Julie James Contemporary Romance Book Covers

This is an article from over at Book Riot a few days ago, addressing some longstanding stereotyping and insults that are routinely hurled at the romance genre.

Romance Novels Are Not Your Junk Food

Of course, it’s been said before, but this piece addresses the “junk” and “trash’ labels we hear all the time, and is a response to a highly ignorant piece written about the genre by Sadaf Ahsan.

Audiobook Review: Watchmaker’s Heart by Juli D. Revezzo

Watchmaker's Heart by Juli D. Revezzo

For Miss Phoebe Lockswell, fashionable London tea parties and balls aren’t her style. Instead, she prefers to tinker tirelessly with a clockwork diffuser she’s built from scratch. If only she can get the invention to work on command, she might earn her way out of an arranged marriage to a repugnant member of the House of Commons. London watchmaker Mortimer Kidd was brought up hard in the arms of an infamous London gang. Despite the respectability he strives for now, the gang leader is blackmailing him. When Mortimer sees Phoebe’s diffuser, he thinks he’s found a way to buy himself out of trouble. The brash Phoebe manages to steal his heart, however, before he can purloin her invention. Will Mortimer’s unsavoury past catch up to him before he convinces Phoebe of his devotion? Worse, once Phoebe learns the truth, will she ever trust him again?

Watchmaker’s Heart by Juli D. Revezzo

My original review of this book can be found HERE.

Some people listen to enough audiobooks that they can name their favourite narrators the way they can name their favourite authors.

I am definitely not that familiar with narrators, haven’t listened to all that many audiobooks, and and came to Watchmaker’s Heart without any expectations.

Narrator Rachael Beresford has a smooth reading voice and handles the various characters well. The story takes you through different social layers of late Victorian London, which means tackling many different ways of speaking. It’s good to have someone who is familiar with those accents.

I enjoyed listening to Beresford’s take on the characters. If I had to nitpick, I’d have two little issues. Firstly, the word “mischievous” was mispronounced every time (I remember being a kid and learning about that the embarrassing way!). Secondly, there were a couple of places it sounded like there should have been a pause, like a comma was being ignored.

However, these are tiny nitpicks, and not the usual thing audiobook reviews mention!

This was an interesting take on Victorian London, and as that’s my favourite setting, I’m always happy to discover new stories.

 

Review copy provided by the author.

A Word on Book Adaptations

To All the Boys I_ve Loved Before by Jenny Han Movie Tie-In Cover

Over the years, when it comes to film and TV adaptations of books, I’ve seen a million comments in a similar vein:

  • Why didn’t the author cast a different actor?
  • Why did the author let them change a scene from the book?
  • Why didn’t the author pick different music?
  • Why? Why? Why?

(On a side note, this applies to book covers, too.)

This has come to my attention again with the release of the movie version of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. As successful as the movie is, Han has come under attack from the male Asian American community, and has been suffering abuse all over the internet.

Much of this centres on her making the Asian heroine’s love interest white.

However, some of it is about the inclusion of actor Israel Broussard in the film. With the actor’s newfound fame, people have been digging into his social media accounts. He is from Gulfport, Mississippi – deep Trump country – and it’s been discovered he made all kinds of horrific, racist, discriminatory (now deleted) tweets over the years.

Here’s the truth about adaptations:

THE AUTHOR HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING.

Nothing whatsoever. When you sell the rights to your book, YOU’VE SOLD THE RIGHTS TO YOUR BOOK.

You get no say in the casting. You get no say in the writing of the script*. You get no say in filming locations, or music, or costumes, or what the movie posters look like.

It is no longer your story.

Please remember that before attacking an author about something they have no control over.

 

*Added to say that very occasionally an author might get a say in some script choices. Usually this only happens with very famous authors of a very well-established series. And even then the input they get is minimal.

For example, Diana Gabaldon is listed as a “consultant” for Outlander, and yet that still doesn’t mean she writes the scripts, nor that she gets a say in the overall production.

The Heiress He’s Been Waiting For by Kaitlin O’Riley

The Heiress He's Been Waiting For by Kaitlin O'Riley

In Victorian London, the Hamilton sisters are known for their bookshops—and for finding their happily ever afters on their own terms. Now, much to their chagrin, their offspring are following in their unconventional footsteps—in life and in love…

Raised in New York, shipping heiress Sara Fleming was ready to elope—until her disapproving parents tricked her onto a boat heading to England. Her only consolation is getting to see her beloved aunts and cousins. Even the start of London’s Season—and a strikingly handsome earl—can’t make her forget the man she left behind.

Considered one of London’s most eligible bachelors, Christopher Townsend, the Earl of Bridgeton, is not what he seems. Having inherited his father’s crushing debt, he must choose a wealthy bride to save his family’s estate. Though rumored to be penniless and committed to another, Sara takes his breath away—and makes him question what he truly needs to be free of the past. But he’ll have to win the headstrong beauty’s heart one kiss at a time.

The Heiress He’s Been Waiting For by Kaitlin O’Riley

The appeal of this one for me was that the setting is late Victorian England (1894). I’m a massive fan of the era, and will pick up most things that use that setting.

The Heiress He’s Been Waiting For (the title is so clunky!) is a very readable book. Kaitlin O’Riley has a style of writing that most readers will find appealing, and I bet the American heroine appeals to US readers. However…

As excited I was about the setting, I was really confused about this book.

The heroine comes from America to stay in London with her relatives who all hold different aristocratic titles, but… they run a little bookshop? One of them is a “Marquis”, even though no such title exists in Britain (it’s a Marquess – Marquis is French)? And there are also earls and dukes – all in the same family… Possibly even in the same house? I was too confused to try and figure it out properly.

Someone in the publication process should have picked up on this.

Additionally, I found the heroine to be very young – and not in years.

When I reviewed Lisa Kleypas’ Devil in Spring I commented on this quote:

 

‘To play devil’s advocate – has it occurred to you that Lady Pandora will mature?’

 

I loved the idea that maybe a very young woman hasn’t finished growing yet; historical romance readers tend to expect their twenty-year-old heroines to act like they’re forty. I like seeing heroines who don’t have everything sorted out yet.

On the other hand, Sara – the heroine of this book – comes across as too childish to be ready for marriage. Her melodramatic thoughts are one thing (I know I must have had them back then), but her melodramatic actions and constant mood changes are another. One moment she’s so devastated over her lost love in New York she’s a little suicidal, then in the same scene she’s excited to be going to London and happy and smiling. She seemed more in the Lydia, rather than Elizabeth Bennet stage of maturity.

I think that readers who either don’t know or don’t particularly care about the little details will have a good time with The Heiress He’s Been Waiting For. However, the things some others will overlook are the things that matter to me.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.