Tag Archives: Romance

Insanity – Cameron Jace

I’ll be honest, I knew nothing of Cameron Jace…never heard of him, never seen any of his work when one day I received an email from an ebook service that I subscribe to that described one of his books that was on sale (OK free) and the description intrigued me…since the price was right I went and “purchased” it.  I didn’t get around to reading it for quite some time but finally did just before the holidays.

According to Mr. Jace’s web site, he isn’t a professional writer but likes writing stories that he always wanted to read but couldn’t find already done. There’s really not much more I can tell you about the author…which bothers me as I tend to like to know at least something about the author I’m reading so I can get an idea of how their background and experiences have molded their writing.

Insanity is the first book of a series of books that he refers to collectively as Insanity; however, I think a more accurate title would be the Wonderland Wars….but, we’ll see.

Years ago, I purchased and absolutely adored a computer game called American McGee’s Alice.  It tells a very dark tale of Alice (as in Alice in Wonderland) who accidentally set fire to her home as a child which resulted in everything and everyone she loved to be destroyed or killed.  She gets institutionalized in an insane asylum and is eventually called back to a much more dark and twisted Wonderland.

The reason I mention this game is because Mr. Jace’s stories have a striking resemblance to the concept (but not execution).  In Insanity, Alice Wonder is in an institution for having killed her classmates on a school bus.  There she meets Professor Pillar, a serial killer (a-la Hannibal Lector) who believes that she is “THE” Alice and that he is The Caterpiller from Wonderland.  Together they are trying to stop a Wonderland monster that is in the real world who is brutally killing people, leaving a sewn up grin on their faces.

The story is at turns bizarre, humorous, educational and dark…very much like the real Alice In Wonderland books.

Honestly, I could not put the book down (a rarity for me).  Once finished, I actually wrote a review on Amazon.com…which I seldom do and have never done so for a freebie.  I have since purchased the collection for the first 3 ebooks and will likely buy books 4 and 5 (I think that’s as far as it goes so far).   Honestly, I was afraid to start book 2 since often books that may have been intended to be one-off frequently doesn’t translate well into a series, completely changes the characters or changes the sense of wonder…..so far, I’m happy to report that book 2 “Figment” is every bit as much fun as book 1 although perhaps a bit darker.

 

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Mort – Terry Pratchett

I’ve previously written about Terry Pratchett, please see my previous reviews of The Colour of Magic and Equal Rites.

In the third (or fourth depending on whether you count the first two books as one or two books), a young man is offered a job he can’t refuse, Death’s apprentice.  While the position has much to offer, free room and board, the use of the company horse, i.e. Binky, and much, much more….but, like many busy professionals, when does one find time for love, particularly when the one you fall in love with is one of your “clients”.

The story is one part comedy, one part romance novel, one part Final Destination and all parts entertaining.  By some, this is considered to be one if not the favorite Discworld novel.  Unfortunately, while I very much enjoyed the novel, it is not my favorite, but, then again there are 20+ novels to choose from.  It is however my favorite of the first 4 novels….in my opinion they just get better and better.

If you enjoy this, read any and all of the Discworld novels.

One Night with an Incubus – Folia Deux

I frankly have no idea who Folia Deux is…  I’m pretty much positive this is a pseudonym.  The only thing written that I can find is that “makes the most of her filthy mind” by writing….that’s basically it.  She has a blog that is interesting in and of itself.  Blog

I purchased this along with two other books as a bundle on Amazon for Christmas on the cheap and on a whim.  I have NOT regretted it.  The story is fast paced and essentially broken up in individual sex scenes and oh my, oh my, oh my, talk about keeping me warm during the winter nights.

The story is essentially about a succubus who, one night while out on the prowl, follows a man home and floats up to his window (yes, you read that correctly) and enters thinking she’s going to control him, have sex with him, and absorb all of his energy and thereby killing him; however, it turns out her “victim” is actually a powerful incubus which she discovers too late and while in the throws of ecstasy she realizes that which ever of the two of them has an orgasm first wins…not only their “game” but the looser really looses…their lifes.  In chapter 2, she wakes up to find they both climaxed at the same time thereby preventing either from loosing their lives…and so begins a increasingly dangerous dance between life and death.

Hot, hot, hot…by all means, read this, but definitely NOT for prudes.  Fast paced, fascinating and enjoyable.

If you enjoy this, read:

  • Revenge of the Incubus
  • Taken by the Incubus

Treat Her Right – Lori Foster

Lori Foster lives in Ohio with her husband and three sons…she’s written 70 plus romance novels in her career as a writer but started out in various jobs in sales and handling material for Proctor & Gamble, but, quit becoming a stay at home mom.  She gained an interest in romance novels when stuck at home with pneumonia which was followed by her interest in writing them herself.  Within five years, she had completed then manuscripts but sold only one of them.  Harlequin published her first in 1996.

I became interested in her novels after reading Caught in the Act, which I’ve written about already, this is the fourth in the Men to Rescue series (Caught in the Act is the third). The story is well written and quite funny.  Zack Grange, an EMT with a young daughter has lost his wife several years earlier is rudely woken after a late shift by the noise of someone moving into the empty house next door and is taken aback by the stunning beauty who appears to be the new neighbor.  As is a common theme in many romance novels, hate turns into shear lust which turns into a strong bond and love; however, in this case, it’s the journey that is so fascinating here not to mention the intense sexual energy between these characters and the adorable as anything daughter.

I quite enjoyed this and look forward to reading the others in the series.  If your enjoy this, try some of her other novels which are too numerous to even list here.

 

Fantasy Lover (Dark Hunter #1) – Sherrilyn Kenyon

I like to include what I know about an author in my blog; however, I frankly don’t know much about Sherrilyn Kenyon. What little I’ve been able to find out is that she was born in Columbus, Georgia.  According to her website, she’s of mixed Cherokee lineage, has three sons, a husband, a sword collection and lots of pets.  That’s about it.  If others know more about her, I’d love to hear.

This was the first book in the Dark Hunter series and isn’t as connected as most of the others nor as well written.  The story centers around a Spartan soldier who is cursed to be a love slave to anyone who possess the book that he’s trapped in performing whatever sexual desire she wishes.  Sounds ideal, unless you’re the one who’s cursed. After over two thousand years, Julian of Macedon is summoned to fulfill Grace Alexander’s fantasies and for the first time the summoner sees him more than a sex slave and she alone dared to take him out of the bedroom into the world.  Is she the one that can finally break the curse and heal his wounded heart?

Even prolific and popular writers of several series of paranormal romance novels have to start somewhere…this is NOT a great novel.  It is funny, it is intriguing, it is entertaining; however, it is also either poorly written or poorly edited (I cannot decide which).  There are plot holes aplenty, even in a paranormal romance, which distract.  Not to mention, if this guy has been a sex slave for over two thousand years, conservatively assuming 2 women a year for 2000 years, that’s 4,000 women….experienced does NOT even begin to describe this individual, would a woman like Grace even be interested in such a “well traveled” man?  Anyway, despite it’s flaws, I did have fun reading it and it introduced me to her Dark Hunter mythos which does get quite a bit better.

If you enjoy this, try:

  • Night Pleasures
  • Dance With the Devil
  • Night Embrace
  • Kiss of the Night
  • Night Play
  • Seize the Night
  • Sins of the Night
  • Unleash the Night
  • Dark Side of the Moon
  • Devil May Cry
  • Acheron
  • One Silent Night
  • Bad Moon Rising
  • No Mercy
  • Retribution
  • Time Untime

Stardust – Neil Gaiman

Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaiman was born in 1960 in Portchester, Hampshire, England.  He loves to read and claims to have been able to do so since he was four years of age.  J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Lewis Carroll, Edgar Allan Poe, Michael Moorecock, and many others inspired him.  In the 1980’s he conducted a number of interviews and wrote book reviews which ultimately was beneficial in getting him published later in his career due to connections in the publishing industry he acquired in those days.

In 1984, he wrote a biography of the band “Duran Duran” and a book of Kim Newman quotations called Ghastly Beyond Belief, which sold very well although he though they were terrible.

What really got him noticed was writing “Don’t Panic: The Official Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Companion” and collaborating with Terry Pratchett with the hilarious doomsday novel “Good Omens”.

Ultimately, his most enduring fame came from his re-write of the old DC Comics character “The Sandman” in which he changed quite drastically from the original, making it more hip, gory, and since it was being published by DC’s Vertigo label, nudity, blood and cursing were allowed.  “The Sandman” is to this day considered to be a classic work of graphic novel fiction and I myself have the complete collection in both graphic novel form and in bound collectors editions.

In 1999, Gaiman released Stardust which is a fantasy novel (and also a graphic/illustrated novel version).  The story is primarily about Tristran Thorn (a half-Faerie, half-human) and Yvaine (a fallen star) and their travels through the lands beyond the wall.

Tristran lives in a small English village named simply “Wall” which is set against a massive stone wall which devides the Human world from the world of faeries (which to my memory was never actually named).  Tristran knows he’s different and wishes for more. He desires “the most beautiful girl for a hundred miles around” (i.e. Victoria Forester), who only enjoys his attention but doesn’t love him.

One night they witness a falling star and Tristran claims that he will cross over the wall and collect the star for her if she will marry him.  Thinking that Tristran isn’t serious, she agrees.  Tristran does indeed cross the wall into the faery lands and comes across a crater which has a beautiful young woman at it’s center with an injured leg, Yvaine, which Tristran comes to realize is actually the fallen star.  He forces Yvaine to go with him as he is intent on bringing her back whether she’s a person or a rock to win his prize, Victoria.

The story follows the two as the experience hidden dangers at every turn, dangers such as the Lords of Stormhold who are also after the fallen star to gain the rule of Stormhold while killing off each other.  The witch, Ditchwater Sal and worse of all the Lilim which are three sister witches who have grown quite old and wish to capture Yvaine to cut out her heart and consume it to become young again.

I have to say, I loved this book in both forms; however, I preferred the book form over the graphic/illustrated novel.  The charcters are enjoyable and the story is both memorable, unique and at the same time vaguely familiar.  While over the wall, many characters and situations resemble fairy tales we learned and read when we were children, yet, they aren’t at the same time.  They’re not as terrifying as the actual originals, yet are creepy in the way only Neil Gaiman knows how to tell them.  It’s hard to describe exactly what it is about Neil’s style that makes it so creepy and in this case “sweet” at the same time, so I won’t try…just sit back and enjoy, again and again.

As of note, there was a theatrical release of Stardust in 2007, staring Charlie Cox as the renamed Tristan Thorn (face it Tristran doesn’t roll off the tongue as well), Claire Danes as Yvaine and Michelle Pfeiffer as the Witch Queen, with Robert De Niro, Peter O’Toole, and Ricky Gervais.  The movie was good, but, but much of what made the novel greate wasn’t present.  The journey was too short and the campy portrail of Captain Shakespeare as a cross dressing pirate was way too over the top.  The movie couldn’t decide whether it was a fantasy, comedy, or romance.  The movie was OK…it just wasn’t as good as it could have been, which is often the case when a beloved book is turned into a movie, particularly when it’s done by an American big distributor.  What was a saving grace was that it wasn’t produced by a big studio.

If you enjoy this, try:

  • The Sandman (graphic novels)
  • American Gods
  • Neverwhere
  • Anansi Boys

 

One For The Money – Janet Evonovich

An American writer whose career is primarily in the genre of romantic contemporary mysteries began her career writing short romance novels under the pen name of Steffie Hall, but, earned fame for her mysteries staring an ex-lingerie buyer turned bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum.  The novels are in turns hilarious with a cast of bizarre characters, stranger family and the ever present love triangle between Stephanie, childhood romantic interest Joseph Morelli and mysterious “Batman-like” Cuban-American Ricardo “Ranger” Carlos Manoso who is also a bounty hunter and owner of RangeMan security company.  Stephanie lives alone, well, except for her pet hamster, and works for her creepy cousin, Vincent “Vinnie” Plum who owns the Vincent Plum Bail Bonds. 

One For The Money is the first in the numbered series staring Stephanie Plum and while not the funnies since this is the introduction of her sometime partner “in crime” Lula who is currently a street walker when we first meet her.   That doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of laughs though, between Grandma Mazur, Stephanie’s parents, and a slew of other characters.  Don’t get me wrong though, this is not a madcap comedy…under the humor in pretty much the entire series is actual danger, the nastiness of humanity and more close calls, twists and turns than should ever be expected in a book, and series, that is primarily a romance. 

At the time of this writing, there are 20 novels in the numbered series but there are several “specials” which are usually seasonal and written very much like holiday specials for television series and don’t really fit into the normal time lines of the series and include “supernatural” characters, i.e. Christmas Elves, “Sandy Claws”, etc… and usually involves a character named Diesel who literally materializes in front of Stephanie.

If you enjoy this, you will enjoy:

  • Two for the Dough
  • Three to Get Deadly
  • Four to Score
  • High Five
  • Hot Six
  • Seven Up
  • Hard Eight
  • Visions of Sugar Plums
  • To the Nines
  • Ten Big Ones
  • Eleven on Top
  • Twelve Sharp
  • Plum Lovin’
  • Lean Mean Thirteen
  • Plum Lucky
  • Fearless Fourteen
  • Plum Spooky
  • Finger Lickin’ Fifteen
  • Sizzling Sixteen
  • Explosive Eighteen
  • Notorious Nineteen
  • Takedown Twenty (Due out November 19, 2013)