October 5, 2014

Winners!



The winner of WILD by Jill Sorenson is Lynn R.
The winner of RIDING DIRTY by Jill Sorenson is Justine.

Congrats, ladies! Please check your inbox and reply as soon as possible. If you didn't get my email, contact me at brie.clementineATgmail.com

To everyone else, thank you so much for stopping by, and thanks to Jill for providing the books and for the great interview. Have a great week!

October 1, 2014

Because I Never Learn from Past Reading Mistakes: In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins


Source: Review copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

TW: Fat-shaming and fat-hatred.  

Cover description: A man and a woman sit on top of two wine barrels while a German Shepherd puppy looks up on them. The background is a winter landscape with a red barn.
To say that I have disliked Ms. Higgins’ most recent books is an understatement, yet here I am, reading and reviewing her newest. In my shameful defense, I still get excited when I see she has a new book out; I can’t stop myself from requesting it from NetGalley, and then I go home and read them in one sitting. I know some object to reviewers who read books they know they will hate, and I understand that, even if I don’t share the sentiment. But believe me when I tell you that the excitement I still feel about these books comes with a heavy dose of hope that this time they won’t punch me in the face with their gross transphobia, slut-shaming and casual racism. So think of this opening paragraph as a disclosure of bias and know that my subjectivity has been compromised.

In Your Dreams is about a desperate single lady, desperately seeking some desperate man who will be her plus-one at her ex’s wedding. As you can see, it’s a very desperate situation, after all, the only thing worse than going to a wedding alone, is if said wedding is that of your ex. Now, these books are very into single ladies who need a man to validate their lives, so the fact that this one repeats the pattern isn't a surprise, and although it’s a great source of perfectly valid criticism, it hasn't stopped me from reading all the books, which is why I’m moving on to my next complaint, also known as the moment the story sucker-punched me.

September 30, 2014

That One Time a Publisher Sued a Blogger


Image description: the Dear Author logo. It's a postage stamp with the illustration of a woman's profile and a round seal on top that reads Dear Author.

By now, you have probably heard that last week Ellora’s Cave sued Dear Author and Jane Litte for defamation.

When I first heard about the lawsuit, I thought it was a joke. My second thought was that my blogging days were over, because I was suddenly very afraid. Not only was EC suing a blog, they were also suing a blogger and using her legal name*, effectively doxxing her. Other things I briefly considered were stop posting negative reviews or stop the reviews altogether and just write general articles that didn't mention specific books. That’s not going to happen, but for a moment there it felt like the only viable option. Even if EC just wants to gag DA and frighten their authors into silence, the chilling effect, as Sunita puts it, is likely to inhibit other voices and criticism including authors, readers, and bloggers, which is why this is an issue that affects and concerns us all.

September 29, 2014

Interview & Giveaway: Jill Sorenson


Image description: faded picture of a field with a close up on a wheat-like plant. The words Interview: Jill Sorenson on white on the foreground.
Credit: Florin Gorgan

Welcome to a Romance Around the Corner interview, where the questions are longer than the answers. Our guest today is Jill Sorenson, one of my favorite Romantic Suspense authors and a long-time friend of the blog.

Q. Hello and welcome back, Jill! Your new book, RIDING DIRTY, is a bit of a departure from your usual work, both in terms of story and the way it’s been published: it’s a Motorcycle Club book, it’s an electronic-only release, the tone is darker, and the sexual content is higher. You have been very open and frank about your struggle and desire to sell more books, and you recently talked about how the upcoming Aftershock book, WILD, has been dropped by the publisher and your plans to self-publish it. How much of this new direction you’re taking with RIDING DIRTY is motivated by the market and what currently seems popular, and how much of it is driven by inspiration and the desire to explore a new side of your writing? Is it hard to balance the business aspect of writing with the artistic and creative process? 

Image description: black and white author photo. Jill: Hi Brie! Thanks so much for having me. These are such great questions. I’m not going to pretend that my motivations for writing this book were purely creative. I’ve struggled in traditional publishing and romantic suspense has been a tough road. I wanted to go digital-only to keep the price down, and I wanted to capitalize on a hot trend. But I was also more inspired by this story idea than I’ve ever been before. For me, it’s all about a good concept. I can’t write something I don’t believe in. I also think that MC romance is a subcategory of romantic suspense. Some of my previous books have been dark and gritty, so it’s not that much of a departure.

September 11, 2014

Currently Reading: Rock Stars, Vampires, Demons, and Maids


Source: Review copies provided by the publishers through NetGalley.

Are you feeling cheerful today? Here’s a bunch of mini doom-and-gloom reviews to help you with that.

Rock Addiction by Nalini Singh

Rock Addiction, cover description: Black and white picture of a topless man wearing dark jeans and holding a mic. He has one armed with a full-sleeve tattoo. I was very excited when Ms. Singh announced that she was publishing a Contemporary Romance, but this book was a disappointment that I couldn’t even finish.

A rock star falls in love with the virgin, skittish heroine the moment he first sees her. There is absolutely no reason why these two would want to be together, not even to have sex. The problem here wasn’t the trite tropes and contrived plot, though, but how incredibly half-baked the book was. Nalini Singh’s books are all about complex world-building and interesting characters, and at first I thought that the shortcuts she was taking were the product of bad PNR habits that didn’t translate well to a contemporary setting. But whereas the fated mates in the Psy/Changeling series are nuanced people who take time to develop a relationship, this book had two stock, flat characters getting together for superficial reasons in what ultimately was an underdeveloped story. I hear the second half gets better, but I seriously doubt it, because the groundwork just isn’t there.

Grade: DNF
Purchase: Amazon

August 26, 2014

A One-Line Review of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Heroes Are My Weakness


White background. A woman wearing a red coat, and blue globes and jeans stands on the side, but we only see half of her.
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher through Edelweiss.

This isn’t a real review, but I needed an excuse to post something this month, because yes, I’ve become a slacker, but I will post something each month even if it kills me! And this book almost did.

In June, I decided to start a reading journal to keep track of all the books I read and that, judging by the blog's current state, I’ll probably never review. This is what I wrote about Heroes Are My Weakness:

SEP hates women, and I hate myself for enjoying this. 

I guess I should also mention that it’s a 547-page Jane Eyre fanfiction retelling homage. No, let's go with retelling. With puppets. Yes, puppets.

July 9, 2014

Review: Summer Rain Anthology


Cover description: blue background, a man and a woman kiss under an umbrella he is holding.
Source: Review copy provided by one of the authors. 

This review is going to be long, so let’s jump right into it.

*****

Redemption by Ruthie Knox tells the story of two unlucky people punished by the economy (as well as some unwise and bizarre business decisions) and how they come together and find solace in each other.

Basically, this novella is a unicorn, also known as a doom-and-gloom small-town contemporary. Blink and you’ll miss the magic of two miserable people whose future is uncertain, falling in comfort with each other. It has a hopeful ending that doesn’t promise much to either reader or characters, but that perfectly fits the tone of the story.

Grade: 4
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FTC Disclaimer

The books reviewed here were purchased by us. If the book was provided by the author or publisher for review, it will be noted on the post. We do not get any type of monetary compensation from publishers or authors.