Posts Tagged ‘ romance ’

Stocking Up and NaNoWriMo

DSCN6225 by pippalou on morguefile

It’s been a busy month.

I’ve found some good sites and a few useless ones (always the way to find the good among the bad) and I’ve been stocking up on writing inspiration and good ebooks.

#NaNoWriMo

It’s the month of NaNoWriMo (or national november writing month) for the uninitiated. I decided last minute (at around 7pm on the 1st November) that I was going to join in. This is my profile if you’re interested: Bellalullaby.

The fun of the activity and the support of the writer community drew me in. Plus, I like a challenge. I’d wanted to write Book Two of The Otherworld Series – the book that comes after While I Slept – for around a year now and had been putting it off due to other writing activities I was waiting on. I decided I’d waited long enough.

For those who don’t know, the series is fantasy/crime with a strong sub-plot of romance and takes place in a world where the Fae (all manner of supernatural creatures including but not limited to Giants, Piskies, Donestre and Succubi) Otherworld has reconnected to our own. As their society is one which values violence and power rather than mercy and order, murderers tend to trip over the border into our own modern world. My protagonists Annie and Arthur do their best to deal with these.

I’m currently over 22,000 words in to book two. I had originally decided on the name Salt The Windows but this may well change. I’m not feeling it fits the plot as it’s coming together. I’m hoping for a gem of a title to come up in the writing process.

#StockingUp

In addition to NaNoWriMo, I’ve been stocking up on some good ebooks. This has stemmed from me finding a great site: Bookbub. You can search their site or give them your email address and get lists of discounted ebooks and free ones. You can specify what genres you like and even get a selection sent daily to your inbox.

I must have downloaded 20-30 so far. Course, I haven’t had a chance to read them yet but they should provide good fodder for reviews on here after the madness of NaNoWriMo.

#GoodEditingSite

As the tag would suggest, I’ve also found a great editing site through searching through the sponsors for NaNoWriMo. I would highly recommend Scribophile. The name is a little weird but they do great stuff.

Making an account is free and members can post chapters or short stories up for critique. You post by using up points called karma and you gain these points by critiquing others’ work. In short, it’s a matter of what goes around comes around and, so far, I’ve had some quality comments.

#AllinAll

A good couple of weeks to start out November. I currently have a beautiful Midnight Jasmine Yankee candle burning, an evening of writing behind me and a promising series ahead of me. Any questions or comments, chuck them my way on here or via my twitter (link in my name below) and I’ll get back to you.

Holly Ice

Horny Ancestor Ghosts and Weird Romances of the Living – Ghost Lover – Liza O’Connor

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Here’s a book review for you all. It’s been a while since the last one. I obtained a free copy in exchange for an honest review. It’s an exciting book, if not often wholly realistic. I would recommend it for some fun holiday reading or for the young adult audience (if you’re happy for the detailed sex scenes to be read!)

Ghost Lover by Liza O’Connor
Publisher: Possibly self-published, though the publisher used to be Lyrical Press.
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: 229 pages
Heat Level: Pretty spicy – some play by play love scenes thrown in – even one where a ghost sleeps with a living human!
Rating: 3 stars/5

Synopsis according to Amazon:

Two sexy English brothers.

One irresistible ghost.

Who would you choose as your lover?

 

Completely broke and with a criminal record to boot, Senna Smith is one day from eviction from her apartment when Brendon, her promiscuous roommate from London, suggests she go to England, marry him, and manage his fortune. With few other options, she agrees to an open marriage. But she’ll never, ever, have sex with him, knowing if she falls in love with him, he’ll break her heart.

 

As trustee of Brendon’s family fortune, there is no way Brendon’s older brother, Garrison Durran, is going to let him marry a self-professed American gold-digger. As Senna tries to embrace castle life and English society for Brendon’s sake, Gar discovers Senna is the perfect woman for him–beautiful and intelligent, kind and caring. Now, if she wasn’t already engaged to his brother…

 

The ancestral ghost of Durran Castle has to intervene if the Durran brothers have any chance of an heir. He can’t leave them to fix matters on their own. They are useless buggers when it comes to love. As counselor to Gar, matchmaker for Brendon, and lover to Senna, a ghost’s work is never done.

Ghost Lover is not a novel for those who value realism, and that does not mean there’s a lack of realism because there are ghosts in the story; it is the characters and situations in this book which defy reality rather than the paranormal characters which, if anything, are more magical realist interlopers.

Brendon and Gar are brothers; rich, upper class men based in the United Kingdom, and yet they act like over the top, ridiculously selfish, pre-pubescent boys who’ve never been taught manners. There is some reasoning for this, as they’ve had a terrible upbringing, but it was shock to find a romance novel with such immature and rude male protagonists.

The setting is also exaggerated and surreal as these brothers live in a huge house in the country, basically a mansion. Few of these still survive today and even fewer with rich, attractive brothers attached rather than an architecture-loving charity or grey-haired old men.

The plot follows the same route as the setting: Senna is willingly whisked away to the UK when she passively lets Brendon steal her money and not pay her back, with the condition if she marries him, she can have some of his trust fund. Many questions hit me at this point. Why would she trust him? Has he proved this trust fund exists? No. Why would she go with him then? The questions remain. Even later in the book, etiquette becomes a major concern and a large ball is hosted where Senna fails to make a great impression. For a modern day, contemporary romance, this does not reflect even the upper class within the UK that I live in. Balls are a very rare, special occurrence rather than everyday and the upper class are much more in line with the rest of the population than in previous decades.

Having said this, I was enamoured with Mr Finch, the ghost cat, and Lassier, the promiscuous orgasm-inducing ghost, ancestor to our boys Brendon and Gar. Lassier is the brains and the schemer behind the love interests the brothers eventually find and works behind the scenes to ensure a future generation for his family line, even if it means literally taking over his descendents’ bodies to do so. Mr Finch is a much warmer, cuddlier, and seemingly harmless purring cat who sometimes gets ticked off and throws papers to the floor but otherwise doesn’t really impact on the plot.

What surprises me with Ghost Lover, is that, despite all the inconsistencies in “norms” for the contemporary UK, despite the over the top, lacking in believability character traits and despite the slightly too perfect ending, I enjoyed reading it. It isn’t realistic and doesn’t appear to pretend to be. It’s a bit of pure fun where logic can remain suspended just long enough for the weird boy to get the equally strange girl.

 

You can buy this book if you fancy it on Amazon UK or Amazon USA 

and here is her personal website: Liza O’Connor’s website and extra character info on Ghost Lover.

 

Until next time!

Holly Ice

The Sorrow of Putting a Good Book Down

Erin Hart Lake of Sorrows Holly Ice Blog Author Writer Review Reviews Story Stories Novel Novels

Still sitting on my desk and propping up my dinner plate

 

No, it’s not propping up my dinner plate because it is bad. Quite the opposite. It is being used as a temporary balancer because I’m not yet ready to put it back on the bookshelf to gather dust.

This book was a great read from start to finish. There are two murdered victims preserved in peat- a modern and an ancient one but the wounds appear similar. The suspects and suspicious characters mount to a degree I’ve never seen before in novels without reaching unrealistic proportions.

There are secrets within secrets, deceptions, mistruths and many examples of people being used for another’s gain. That’s life. That’s a small village/town.

Erin Hart captures the familiarity of the in club in a small town and extorts this atmosphere to create the environment in which there can be a series of murders and a list of suspects so long I did not guess the killer until the clues had mounted to a point of obvious realisation.

Many authors cannot achieve this and the plot is up within a few chapters. Not this one! It keeps the reader interested and reels them along for over 400 pages of fast paced murder mystery and stewing relationship problems and successes. 

And, above everything, the environment is what sticks with me most about this book. The swampy peat land with its ancient sacredness and old names and history has seeped into my soul in the reading of this novel. I know a lot more, now, about swamps, the celts, and bee keeping and, somehow, it has made me feel more complete.

Definitely a book to add to your memories and not to leave to dust on the bookshelf. 

I give this book a grand 5/5. If I could give it more, I could: not many books cling to the reader like this one. 

A Touch of Magic – M. Ruth Myers – Cards, Romance, Murder

A Touch of Magic, M. Ruth Myers, Holly Ice Review, author, book, romance, murder, cardsA dazzling sleight-of-hand artist is recruited by the State Department to pit her skills – and wits – against a master terrorist. He’s about to receive a piece of stolen film used to make US passports, film that could open the door to terrorists around the world. Although Channing Stuart is the fourth generation in a family of acclaimed magicians, she’s the first of them not to turn pro. Eye-to-eye with a killer, will she have the nerve and nimbleness to pull off a switch that finally proves her worthy of her bloodline? Special agent Bill Ellery is irritated to find himself suddenly teamed with this amateur whose passion to succeed is as great as his own, and whose penchant for the unpredictable unsettles him as much as the woman herself.

In an upscale resort where every enticement hides a trap, they play cat and mouse with enemies known and unknown as a time bomb ticks. Hundreds of lives depend on the deftness of one woman’s fingers and … A TOUCH OF MAGIC.

This was a good read. It had romance, intrigue, some cool magic tricks, family angst and some great characters. The plot was also good although I think the female villain could have done with a little more filling out.

There was nothing overall wrong with the story really and yet I still felt it was missing something. I was not left with much after reading it and I think I should have been. Some thought or feeling should have remained: it usually does with a great book.

Perhaps I wanted more of a conclusion on the romantic side, something cuter, or perhaps I wanted to know what happened with the terrorists – whether good triumphed once and for all.

Of course, this could well be the point. I myself am a lover of grey, where the realistic side of the world creeps into books: the villain doesn’t always lose and the good guy doesn’t win every battle; not everything is solved in one book.

There were some surprises and great twists as well as sleuth work, time-focused problems and murder, all trademarks of a good thriller.

Ultimately, the book kept me interested despite me wanting some undefinable more out of it. Since I can’t define this, despite trying, I’m giving the book a 4/5.

This seems to be a rather popular score for me at the moment!

The book can be found here

Here’s hoping I find a 5/5 soon. Suggestions welcome.

My twitter: Holly Ice

Off to read some more now 🙂

Ink Exchange – Melissa Marr – The Bubble Chuckle

Ink Exchange Melissa Marr

This is a fantasy story with fae in the modern world. It already has my interest. Add tattoos and I’m well and truly hooked. There’s even some romance thrown in here. What could be better?

I must say: what a read. The story focuses on Leslie, a human girl whose life isn’t so great. She gets a tattoo to help her get control over her life. Only, it lets Irial, a powerful fae, get limited control over her instead.

I’ll be truthful. The day after I read this book I was supposed to get my first tattoo done. I was reading this before I slept. Only, it was so good I finished the whole thing in one sitting…only getting to sleep at 8am. It was good for the nerves!

The novel also had a hallmark of a great book for me: it made me bubble chuckle. This is that little chuckle in the middle of your throat that bubbles up and down like a hiccough – uncontrollable and full of glee (well, hiccoughs aren’t usually gleeful but you get the idea).

This chuckle only happens (in my experience) with the best of characterisation and witty dialogue. The characters are great, the plot is good and I loved the story.

The only negative to this is perhaps that the king and queen of courts has been done a lot, as has the dark and light courts. Perhaps this could have been tweaked more for originality. However, this is done to an extent: by the end of the book we find the dark fae aren’t all bad. There’s some grey in here, for sure…and I spoon up grey like ice cream.

So for a serving of this I’d give… 5/5

Not much I’d change.

As always, you can also find me here: Holly Ice

Hope you enjoyed my review!

Alyson Noel – Blue Moon Night Time Reading

Blue Moon Alyson Noel Review

‘Things have changed for Ever since she fell in love with Damen. But just as her powers are increasing, Damen seems to be weakening. Panicked at the thought of losing him, Ever finds a path to the in-between world of Summerland, where she learns the secrets of Damen’s tortured past  – and accidentally discovers a way to twist time. Now she can save her family from the accident that killed them. It’s all she ever wanted – but so is Damen. And Ever must choose between them…’

One of the books I picked up charity shop shopping. Only, I’d read it before…
Turns out it’s part of a series that I started reading a year or so ago but never finished.

I think the truth of it is the book is just a bit young for me. (I’m currently 21 for guidance here). It’s aimed at high schoolers or younger teenagers, probably those with a penchant for everlasting romance. Admittedly, I’m a closet romantic but this was too much for me.

In realistic terms, Ever is too young for her 600 year old counterpart Damen. Also, the name Damen has been swinging around in vampire and immortal circles for what seems like forever (or 600 years as the date he is attached to – heehee).

Having said that, the book is well written. It has good imagery and pacing. It also defied my expectations as I have a good memory; usually I find I can’t  reread a book within 5 years of reading it. This one I could. I still knew the general plot but it was still enjoyable. For that, I give it a lot of credit.

I think the book had space, if Ever was older, to play with the darker side of their connection in a cross-time romance such as the film Beautiful Creatures (that I’ve just watched and raved about). But, this isn’t what the author has aimed for.

So, for a young adult read (or teenage read really since I feel I’m too old for it) I’d give this…4/5.

For an adult read, maybe 2.5/5

Take my comments as you will.

As always, I’m also on twitter.

Holly Ice

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