Sunday, August 4, 2013

Minis: Christie Ridgway, Jessica Sims, Carolyn Crane, Meljean Brook, Mary Balogh, Chris Owen

Since this last week's theme was "Fun Beach Reads," here are some short reads you can't go wrong with:

Beach House Beginnings (Beach House No.9, #5) by Christie Ridgway(HQN - Kindle Ed. $1.59) is a short novella that is just that, the introductory novella to Christie Ridgway's Beach House No. 9 contemporary romance series. It is quick, hot and just a bit angsty, with a too quick romance and a lusty couple who find a "happily ever after" years after they meet on the same island beach. She was in love with his cousin and has spent years agonizing over his death and drowning of his cousin and leading a stale life, while he spent those same years going forward and becoming a success just as his much admired cousin would have wanted him to. Coincidences abound, but they're attributed to the love woo woo that come from Beach House No. 9 where this couple meets again. This is cute, short, and a great beach read, even as everything happens too quickly. I like the premise, however, and am thinking of giving the first book of the series a try. Grade: C

If you like UF/PNR, there is always Fire and Frost with Jessica Sims, Conjuring Max by Carolyn Crane, Meljean Brook (Amazon Digital, Kindle Ed. $2.99). It begins with Speed Mating by Jessica Sims, a new-to-me author. I enjoyed this short piece about a female lyger (lion/tiger) shifter about to into heat. She goes to her sexy alpha for advice and decides to look for a mate/father for her cub through speed dating. What I liked the most about this is interesting world-building with shifters is that the female can choose her mate. Yes... she has a choice! The story is also hot and sexy too.

Then we have Conjuring Max by Carolyn Crane, a story set in the world of her Mr. Real series. This story works as a bit of a prequel and gives the reader an idea of how it all begins. I liked both characters, Max and Veronica, and the way magic and technology is integrated in a not-too-distant past. I really like how it ended.

Set in her Iron Seas world, my favorite piece in this three piece collection is Wrecked by Meljean Brook. Brook manages to add to her world-building by introducing new intriguing characters and interesting usage of the machines developed by the Horde, and also satisfactorily develops a believable romance with a happily ever after. Grade: B-

The Suitor by Mary Balogh (Dell - Kindle Ed. $1.99) is a very short prequel to The Arrangement (August 27, 2013), Balogh's next installment in The Survivor's Club series. Balogh uses The Suitor and Viscount Darleigh's reactions to drive him way and begin his romance (except of The Arrangement included), but this story is about Julian and Phillipa.

This is a couple who fell in love when Phillipa was only 16 and Julian a young, good for nothing, rakehell. Two years later she's of age and her family is actively trying to find her a husband. Julian is ready to make his move, but her parents have another man in mind. How will Julian and Phillipa find their happily ever after? The best I can say is that this is a too short, average read that provides an hour and a half of reading pleasure, but where all falls into place easily enough. As prequels go, we'll have to wait and see how Darleigh is affected by the events that take place in this novella. Recommended for those reading Balogh's new series or as a quick standalone historical romance treat without much of a conflict. Grade: C

If you're in the mood for some M/M Romance, there is always On the Clock by Chris Owen (Torquere Press, July 2013 - Kindle Ed. $4.99). Owen is a favorite M/M Romance writer and I couldn't pass up the release of this unread novella. Detective Strang finds himself investigating the murder of a lonely man with poor social skills and no friends. During the investigation he meets police officer Gallagher who first makes a move on him and then volunteers to help with the case. They flirt, hot steamy scenes ensue, and although Strang's focus becomes a bit clouded by his attraction to the handsome Gallagher, he is bent on catching the murderer, particularly since he feels a certain connection with the victim. This is an enjoyable, but too quick story, with some really hot scenes and a very good police investigative plot. My only niggle is that I wish it had been longer for better insight into the characters. Grade: C+

2 comments:

  1. I've been meaning to read the Christie Ridgway series... I've been in the mood for contemporary romance. Except that the books I've read before by this author has not worked that well for me... I'm hoping that a change of publishing house will change that fact though.

    It's too bad for the Mary Balogh short story :( Should I read it to get ready for the new book?

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  2. Nath, I've been gobbling up contemporary romance and enjoying it too. :) Ridgeway is basically new-to-me. I have books by her in my TBR pile, but I do believe this is my first read! I don't know why?

    Anyway, The Suitor by Balogh is worth the read, if only because the price is so low. And it's not bad -- short, not enough conflict, but enjoyable (average). I do believe that although this story is lightly connected to the next book in the series, it may influence the actions of the hero in The Arrangement. I'll have to wait and see.

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