Thursday, May 19, 2016

Romance Is In The Air At Book Expo America

These are bookmarks BTW...

At first glance BookExpo America appears to be all about the  YA/Children's and literary fiction, but have no fear romance is alive and well at BEA.

Maisey Yates !

Harlequin was the place to go for the most  romance. I wandered into line for a signing features a corral of cowboys and contemporary romances by Jodi Thomas, Maisey Yates, Desiree Flossen and Lori Foster. I also met with Sophia from Carina Press who gave us romance gift bag and talked books. I  am now excited about their newly acquired mafia romance, The Gun Runner-- written by a male author. The author already has a fan base and it'll be interesting to see how it does in the main stream. 

The Romance Writer's Association had a presence at both BEA and BookCon. I chatted with a staff member from the home office about all the great things RWA is doing for diversity  and if they see a place for bloggers. They had multiple signings and Jess jumped in line for Jade Lee signing One Rogue at A Time  and I got in line for Cecilia Tan signing Taking The Lead during BookCon.

Give it to me now !
Sourcebooks had a few steamy romances from their Casablanca imprint on display including  As Rich As A Rogue.  I couldn't take it so I snapped a picture. I was the first blogger to come to their booth on Friday during a Twitter contest  and I won a book boyfriend tote bag and Test Drive by Marie Harte ! Also, in your fave is problematic corner Sourcebooks had stacks of Georgette Heyer for the BookCon attendees.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Night To Surrender by Tessa Dare

I've read Spindle Cove #3 and #3.5 so naturally I had to go back to the first one and read them from the beginning.

In just the first few pages (minutes) I realized there were little odds and ends about Spindle Cove that I had missed reading out of order. On the flipside having a little bit of foresight in the series I could see that Dare really had a firm grasp on who all her character from book one.

Let's back up. Spindle Cove is a seaside resort town that caters to women who don't fit into society definition as agreed upon by well. . .the patriarchy

Susanna Finch is the hostess of this town and this paradise for women is her whole world. So when a threesome of military men make a (literal) explosive entrance into town, Susanna wants them out.

 But the headstrong commanding officer Bramwell  has just been  given the title of Lord and he wants to start a Spindle Cove militia, goddammit ! Even if his only options are a vicar with an eye for tulle and blacksmith who makes jewelry. Don't worry he'll make men out of them  !


Forget the Napoleonic War because the battle of the sexes waging in Spindle Cove  might end in more than just a simple cease fire. Especially after the bar fights, explosions and mild head injuries. Also Bram (reluctantly) owns a  pet lamb. . . named Dinner.

Once again Dare manages to keeps the atmosphere of her novels  fun and energetic with a great sense of community. 

The story was a lot of fun but the layout of the plot was a little spotty. Like at one point Bram gets sensible and realizes it's disrespectful for him to want Susanna when he's supposed to be an officer and a gentlemen. . . but then the next chapter he seduces her in a willow tree. I liked the meat of this story, but the big climax and resolution felt sparse. I just didn't buy the decision Susanna makes at the end of this book. 

Narrator Carolyn Morris makes this audiobook, she has such a great voice and she really puts some performance behind it. Spindle Cove is a fun rompy series ! I'm saving one of these for my next vacation book.

Once A Rebel by Debbi Rawlins

This is the 2nd of the 46 Harlequin Series romances we are reviewing for a feature called The Romance Brown Bag Challenge. Jess bought a bag of random category romance at a library book sale and we plan to read and review every single one.

Time for me to go into the Romance Bag Challenge !

When Jess and I were going through the books we noted that out of 46 book we didn't get any  with people of color---well, we were wrong. Once A Rebel by Debbi Rawlins  features half Navajo Cord Braddock. He's an LA stunt man turned private investigator who is looking for the Winslow sisters, who mysteriously vanished out of thin air 18 months ago.

I was kind of nervous about a Native American protagonist because Romancelandia has this weird relationship with Arabs and Native Americans in particular, where they either get coded as white or become like exotic savages. I can't judge how well Rawlins portrayed Cord's Navajo identity but she does touch on some true facts about Native American life like the poverty on reservations, discrimination of Indians plus Cord uses the term Dine, which is what Navajo call themselves in their own language.

But  then I realized Cord was going to travel back in time to the American West in 1878 to meet his heroine. So through some applied phelbotonium  camera flash or something Cord travels through time and meets  Maggie Dawson, a spinster homesteader who has been secretly living on her own since her father died. Cord basically forces her to take him in because she has that whole Christian duty thing or whatever. . . and they eventually have a romance. But here's the thing....

Maggie’s super racist. Like literally racist. She like calls him a savage and is surprised by how he smells good etc. Which, I guess fits into the time and  obviously she gets over her preconceived notions but what was the most cringey to me was just how permissive Cord was of the racism.  There were a couple of paragraphs like this:

[Cord] sighed telling himself it was useless to get angry. For all  [Maggie] knew he streaked his face  with war paint, stuck feathers in his hair and took scalps when the urge struck. He couldn't fault her for the beliefs of the time. Well-found beliefs at that. He wasn't ignorant of ancient tribal atrocities, regardless of what he thought the white man deserved. He grunted to himself. White blood flowed through his veins as well.


Just thinking of that accusing look on her face earlier mad his stomach churn. Man, he had to quit being so touchy. The threat of Indian attacks was real during this time period. These people had just gotten over Custer and his men wiped out and whether they deserved it or not it wasn't the point.

So...just to clarify on that last one; this refers to the Battle of Little Bighorn in the Sioux Wars.... a war started when  Americans decided to encroach on Indians land to get to the gold. It wasn't an Indian attack, it was a battle.  I'm just not sure I believe that someone who grew up on a reservation would sympathize with the people who started it.

This book is the third book in the Stolen from Time miniseries, the first two being about the mysteriously vanishing Winslow sisters. If I'm ever at a used bookstore I'll have to keep an eye out for the last book, Lone Star Lover---which for whatever reason eschews the 'Once A...' naming conventions---just have to know if these people ever come back to modern times.

 I just don't get how super chill they all seem to be living in the 1870s with their new spouses. It's just  like--good luck not dying of tuberculosis. I mean if you get stuck in the past what is your responsibility ? Do you stop World War I ? Kill Hitler's dad ? I just don't find time travel like this fun, I find it completely terrifying.

To wrap up, on it's own the story isn't that bad. In fact I like how strong of a character Maggie was, but when you take into consideration some of the problematic material I can't give this more than a 2.5 star.

Side note:
The back cover is the worst. If I had actually read it, I would not have picked up this book. It claims Cord  shuns his ancestry when really he left  the reservation because his grandmother died...also there is a typo in here. It calls him a twentieth century hunk when this book clearly takes place in the 2000s.

Time travel has done its uncanny work once again. Folks best be watchin' out for stuntman-turned-private-eye Cord Braddock--a tall, gorgeous fella with a touch of Navajo blood. He's spent his entire life shunning his ancestral beliefs and fighting his way into the world--until he finds a strange old camera in an attic...

Now he's a sexy twentieth-century hunk stuck in 1878 and Maggie Dawson can't get enough of the stranger. He's exciting. He's exotically dangerous. And he makes her want to do the most unladylike things! Is this about to be Maggie's last stand?