Need Me, Cowboy (Copper Ridge #6) by Maisey Yates

need me, cowboy (copper ridge #6) by maisey yates

He’s not a man to be played with.

Not without consequences.

For five years, Levi Tucker had no control over his life, locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. Never again would any woman—any desire—overtake this cowboy’s common sense. Now Faith Grayson, the sexy, brilliant architect he’s hired to design his grand new house, is sorely testing his resolve. Faith is too young. Too innocent. Maybe just too tempting.

Need Me, Cowboy (Copper Ridge #6) by Maisey Yates

If you’re looking for a solid, well-written contemporary romance, Maisey Yates is a good bet. I was a bit alarmed that after I downloaded this review book I discovered it was number six in a series, but – apart from some obvious “past couples” factoring into the plot – it works as a standalone read just fine.

For me, and I assume many other readers, the reason Need Me, Cowboy appealed was because it has a hero who is fresh out of prison (he was wrongly convicted of his wife’s murder). I know themes like this fascinate many readers.

(Unlawful Contact by Pamela Clare, A Not-So-Perfect Past by Beth Andrews, and young adult book Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles come to mind, if you want books with similar themes.)

In truth, the cowboy aspect of the story is minimal, which was fine with me. I was more interested in the characters dealing with the “hero out of prison” conflict. He has a lot of anger to deal with, and no idea what to do about it.

I haven’t read a book in this Harlequin line for ages, and had forgotten the heat level – it’s fairly steamy, but doesn’t rule the story.

The hardened, jaded hero-meets-innocent, hardworking heroine trope is popular, and can be done really badly or be really well. In this case, I think it worked. Yates is good enough at her characterisation that she gives everyone unique personalities and quirks.

I especially loved that the heroine was very inexperienced in some aspects of life, but that it worked in a modern context. I didn’t, however, like the stereotyped promiscuous blonde woman named Mindy (of course) who was with the hero at the bar. On the other hand, I did appreciate that she wasn’t made out to be nasty.

These books are quick reads, which means a tight focus on the main two characters and a relationship that has to move rather fast. In this case, I was convinced by the pairing.

Recommended for anyone who finds these tropes appealing in their romance reads.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

London Calling by Veronica Forand

London Calling by Veronica Forand

Small town police officer Emma Ross loves her simple life––but it takes a hard turn into crazy when she’s kidnapped by MI6 and is put under the protection of an over-bearing, albeit sexy, Scotsman. A man who believes she’s lying to protect her father—a father whom she had no idea worked for British Intelligence and is now missing.

Liam Macknight’s partner was assassinated and he’s certain Emma’s father had something to do with it. But the stubborn woman isn’t talking, and she’s determined to get herself killed trying to find out the truth. Locking her in a room does no good––he tried that. So he’s forced to work with her, even if he’s not sure he’ll ever be able to trust her.

When he’s assigned to kill her dad to protect the identity of British spies in the Kremlin, he knows what little trust they’ve gained is about to be destroyed forever…

London Calling by Veronica Forand

I haven’t read much romantic suspense lately, but I’ve been meaning to change that, and the plot of London Calling sounded pretty interesting. Espionage? Kremlin shenanigans? London? Great.

Veronica Forand has a knack for writing suspense stories, and – honestly – it’s a hard genre to get right. Getting those action scenes you have in your head onto the page so they read the way you’ve imagined them is SO much harder than it seems, but Forand can do it.

The author has also done some good research. Some authors in the genre don’t bother with all the little details, and write about their settings and the government agencies their characters deal with in very bland terms, but that’s not the case with this book. The details are there, and a look at the author’s blog tells me she takes her research seriously.

However, I feel the need to do a bit of nitpicking: WHY do all the British characters speak in perfect American English? It’s the basic stuff that’s wrong: vacation instead of holiday, asshole instead of arsehole, windshield instead of windscreen, cookies instead of biscuits, pants instead of trousers. And “buddy” is a term of endearment I’ve only ever heard in North America.

This is just British English #101, and I feel like an editor should have noticed if the author did not.

However, I’ll forgive her the mix-up with Eastern European naming customs (different gender; different surname), as it wasn’t a major thing in the book.

That aside, I’m always happy to dip back into the romantic suspense genre to find someone who knows how to write their action and adventure, and this was an original plotline borrowing from present-day events – exactly the sort of suspense I want to read.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Read Bliss?

If – like me – you subscribe to the Harlequin newsletter, you probably got an email recently that advertises “Read Bliss“, which is a new YouTube channel that promotes romantic fiction and authors etc.

I’m still yet to discover what this channel is actually about, but Harlequin has always been great with their social media stuff, so it’s probably worth checking out.

 

 

10 Romance Clichés

Harlequin Publishing Logo

I randomly stumbled upon this blog post a little while ago, and thought I’d link to it. Usually when I see posts like this I disagree, but Harlequin editor Patience Bloom is pretty spot-on!

Bloom mentions clichés such as those bolts of electricity that always seem to be running up characters’ arms when they touch their true love, the “natural beauty” heroines whose routine consists of putting on lip gloss and nothing else, and those “curves in all the right places”.

You can read the whole post HERE.

Out Now: Toxic Game by Christine Feehan

It has been ages since I read anything by Christine Feehan, but I’ve read the earlier books in the GhostWalkers series, and the blurb of this new one really interests me.

I think these books generally work okay as standalones, and I’m planning on reading it without going back to catch up with the others.

toxic game (ghostwalkers #15) by christine feehan

Toxic Game (GhostWalkers #15) by Christine Feehan

On a rescue mission in the heart of the Indonesian jungle, Dr. Draden Freeman and his GhostWalker team need to extract the wounded as quickly as possible—or risk spreading a deadly virus unleashed by a terrorist cell. When Draden gets infected, he forces his team to leave him behind. He won’t risk exposing anyone else. He intends to find the ones responsible and go out in a blaze of glory….

Shylah Cosmos’s mission is to track the virus and remain unseen. Her enhanced senses tell her that the gorgeous man eradicating the terrorists one by one is a GhostWalker—and his lethal precision takes her breath away. When he’s hit by a lucky shot, she can’t stop herself from stepping in, not knowing that by saving his life she’s exposed herself to the virus.

There’s no telling how much time Draden and Shylah have left. Racing to find a cure, they quickly realize that they’ve found their perfect partner just in time to lose everything. But even as the virus threatens to consume their bodies, they’ve never felt more alive.

The New Cover Trend

British “chick lit” meets the American romance publishing industry this year to give us a cover design trend I honestly never thought I’d see in the US. As someone who is – erm – not into fads of any sort, I don’t really know what to think about this one, but it’s certainly going to make reading paperbacks in public a lot easier!

Book sites are declaring the cartoony cover the hottest new thing (though, Australians and Brits have seen books like these for years). What do you think?

Bridal Boot Camp (Little Bridge Island 0.5) by Meg Cabot

99 Perecnt Mine by Sally Thorne

The Right Swipe (Modern Love #1) by Alisha Rai

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

SYTYCW Blog: “Banish stylistic clichés!”

sytycw-logo harlequin so you think you can write

The So You Think You Can Write blog makes for an interesting read when editors weigh in on trends in publishing. They also give advice on things they’re tired of seeing in romance books, and they recently had a post about phrases that need to be retired.

One phrase that is starting to annoy me in historical romance is “gloved hand/s”. When it first started showing up in books I thought it was a great description (especially as a reminder that our historical characters dressed very differently). However, now I see it in every single book, and it has completely lost its impact.

Here are some of the things editors are sick of (and you can read the whole post HERE):

Her mouth formed a perfect O.

She bit her lip.

His smile didn’t reach his eyes.

She looked up from under her lashes.

She touched his hand and felt a jolt/spark of electricity.

(I’ve got to admit to absolutely despising the last one. People aren’t electrical conductors!)

Hands Off My HEA: Talia Hibbert

There’s a great article over at frolic that I read a little while ago. This is hardly a new topic for the romance genre, but Talia Hibbert takes on the book snobs in a refreshing way.

Hands Off My HEA: Talia Hibbert

When someone says “Romance doesn’t require a HEA!” I don’t hear: “Help me, I’m confused”. I hear: “I enjoy romance, but I don’t want to face the misogyny that romance-lovers face,” or: “I enjoy romance, but I struggle with internalised misogyny that says I shouldn’t.” To me, these people are trying to twist the meaning of ‘romance’ so our genre can fit alongside more respected forms of writing.

I don’t want the respect of anyone who can’t respect romance. Because they’re often misogynistic, usually ignorant, and frequently snobs. Their respect means nothing. Romance is above their respect. It’s about love, connection, caring, and hope. It’s about strength and power, about difference and kindness, and most of all, about everyone’s right to live happily ever after. It’s a trailblazing genre that constantly shakes the table. Anyone who tries to undermine that in a desperate grab for societal standing can go and debate their mother, because they certainly ain’t debating me.

Click on the link to continue reading…