Of rock stars, understatements, and the undead

Before you ask: No, I haven’t forgotten to post December’s reading list, I’m simply really really late with it. Because… reasons! (Such as finishing writing the first draft of Freaks Under Fire, the third Freaks book — woohoo! — and liaising with Cover Artist Extraordinaire about the cover — which, even in its unfinished state, is totally amaze-balls, I must say!) But more on Freaks Under Fire in another post, because right now it’s all about December’s reads :)

Rise by Karina Bliss First up is Rise by Karina Bliss.

Disclaimer: I know Karina personally, and doesn’t she have, like, the best name ever for a romance author? Anyway, I’ve previously read — and loved to bits — Karina’s Harlequin Superromances, and What The Librarian Did (featuring bad-boy rocker Devin Freedman and librarian Rachel Robinson) remains one of my all-time favorite books that Karina has written for that line. Apparently I’m not the only one who loved this book if this A- review from Dear Author is anything to go by: click here to read the Dear Author review of What the Librarian Did.

So when Karina mentioned she was writing a rock star book, and the hero would be Zander, Devin’s irredeemable brother (who was not at all hero-material in What the Librarian Did), well, I was big-time enthusiastic at the prospect! (And I’m not ashamed to say I might have nagged her the tiniest bit to hurry up and finish writing it *g*).

Anyway, I was privileged enough to receive an advanced reader copy of Rise (which releases Jan 28th) and I couldn’t wait to dive right in. And damned if it wasn’t soooo hard to tear myself away from this story to greet my Christmas guests, too! You’d better believe I was muttering under my breath about having to put down my Kindle.

Rock star stories are all the rage at the moment, but Rise is something special. It has all Karina’s trademark humor, vividly painted but concise descriptions of place, complex secondary characters and compelling lead characters – all the things I’ve always loved about her HQN Superromance stories. Touching on how Zander’s past demons complicated his (many!) present-day issues, and made the possibility of redemption seem so far out of his reach it was ridiculous? Yeah, well,  A+ for that, Ms Bliss. You certainly had me on the edge of my seat and biting my nails!

Bravo, Karina. This book was worth the wait, and I think your fans are gonna love this story.

Here’s the blurb:

Rise – The redemption story of a rock star going straight(er) through the love of a good(ish) woman.

Acclaimed literary biographer Elizabeth Winston writes about long-dead heroes.  So bad-boy rock icon Zander Freedman couldn’t possibly tempt her to write his memoir. Except the man is a mass of fascinating contradictions–manipulative, honest, gifted, charismatic and morally ambiguous. In short, everything she seeks in a biography subject. When in her life will she get another chance to work with a living legend? But saying yes to one temptation soon leads to another. Suddenly she’s having heated fantasies about her subject, fantasies this blue-eyed devil is only too willing to stoke. She thought self-control was in her DNA; after all, she grew up a minister’s daughter.

She thought wrong.

Pre-order Rise (a Rock Solid romance): | Amazon | iBooks B&N |

Rise releases on January 28th.

UnderstatementoftheYear-coverNext up, The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen.

Another disclaimer: I loved the first three books in Ms Bowen’s Ivy Years” series, so I guess you could say I was predisposed to like this 4th book. However I did have a few reservations because it was a wee bit of a departure from previous books in the series: Books 1 through 3 featured male/female protagonists, whereas Book 4 features male/male protagonists. I feel compelled to mention I have no issues with m/m books, and if I come across a review and the description of the story appeals, I’ll happily grab it to read. However, it’s not a genre I consciously seek out. So for me, buying The Understatement of the Year (which I anticipated would have a totally different dynamic because of the m/m element) for no reason other than I loved the other books of the series, was a risk.

But sometimes you’ve just got to trust the author, right? Right. And it’s a risk I’m glad I took because for me, Rikker and Graham’s story was an epic win. I didn’t care that I was reading a m/m book, I simply cared about Rikker and Graham. I was with them all the way while they struggled to make sense of their world and its prejudices, and accept both themselves and the person they’d fallen for. And man, did I ever want a Happy Ever After, or at the very least a promise of one, for those two young men!

Here’s the blurb:

What happened in high school stayed in high school. Until now.

With Bridger off the team, Coach brings in an unfamiliar replacement. But when the new guy reveals the reason for his transfer to Harkness, some of his new teammates aren’t so happy to have him in the locker room. And one is too devastated by past secrets to even look him in the eye.

And finally, Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris.

When this book first came out it provoked a bit of a shit-storm because many fans didn’t like who Sookie ended up with. I won’t spoil it for you — as it was spoiled for me! — but IMO, Sookie ended up with the right guy, and I was very happy and satisfied with this conclusion of this long-running series. Kudos to Ms Harris for sticking with her original vision for the series.

That’s it for now. And I promise I’ll try to post more regularly! In the meantime…. Happy Reading!

And here’s my reading list for December 2014:

  • The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen
  • A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean
  • The Lucky Charm by Beth Bolden
  • When The Duke Was Wicked by Lorraine Heath
  • Forever Dreams by Leeanna Morgan
  • A Fair to Remember by Stacey Joy Netzel
  • The Dangerous Jacob Wilde by Sandra Marton
  • Grayson by Delores Fossen
  • One Day to Find a Husband by Shirley Jump
  • Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris
  • The Marriage Mistake by Jennifer Probst
  • Seeing Is Believing by Erin McCarthy
  • Rise by Karina Bliss
  • Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn
  • A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare
  • A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare
  • Diplomat’s Daughter by Carolyn Wren
  • The Wrong Sister by Kris Pearson
  • One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean



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