Blood in the Stars by Jennifer Shea

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Title: Blood in the Stars

Author: Jennifer Shea

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

AMZN

Story:

Daria Mathews is an estate law attorney who realizes after a near-death experience that she has been too busy working to find love.  Jason Angel begins as Daria’s blind date through a matchmaking service and quickly turns into her guardian as supernatural creatures prey on Daria.  Her blood gives power, her flesh gives immortality, and marrying her confers the right to rule.

Overall:

The beginning reads as a damsel in distress scene where an unknown hero (Jason) rescues Daria.  It quickly darkens into what could be too gruesome for a regular romance novel.  The fight scenes and authentic Chicago backdrop veer into urban fantasy though this story is still a romance where the arc between the hero and heroine are the main focus.

There are moments of levity from the secondary characters and the smattering provides color and depth into what could be a simple story.  There are also hints of blossoming love and opportunities for another book, though there is no indication this is part of a series.

The twist on revisionist religion and the entry of behind-the-scenes political struggles add a new dimension to the story.  I would have liked to see more on this versus the explanation at the end.  It came a little late in the book as did the resolution with the antagonist.  The last third of the book felt like a build up to another.

It’s a solid paranormal romance and I’ll be interested in reading more from Ms. Shea in the future.

Heat Level: 2 of 5

2 flames

 

 

Romance: 4 of 5

4 hearts

 

 

Overall: 4 of 5

4 stars

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Snag a Rich Guy: The 5/5 Rules and the Secret Search Criteria by V. Ellis

Snag a Guy CoverTitle: Snag a Rich Guy: The 5/5 Rules and the Secret Search Criteria

Author: V. Ellis

Genre: Women’s Fiction / Chick Lit

Publisher: Animedia Productions

AMZN

I found this book through a free Kindle download posting on Goodreads.  The author V. Ellis had posted her Introduction, which described her journey for how to be a gold digger.  The compelling the idea, funny tone, and idea of a guidebook hooked me.  I downloaded it as soon as I saw the post and here is my review.

Story:

This is supposed to be a non-fiction book.  A memoir, if you will, of the author’s journey to becoming a gold-digger.  As much as women lament and hope for “the one” they watch other women who aren’t as nice, kind, pretty, get the rich guy.  So she embarks on a journey to learn their ways through a clandestine website, extensive surveys and interviews, a catalog of what works, and puts it all into practice.

Critique:

Vee, both the author and main character of the story, is our heroine.  She is determined to find a rich boyfriend and a future rich husband.  Though she don’t know the exact journey of she went from wallflower to pretty girl, we know she maxes out her credit cards to look great and fit into the role of the trophy girlfriend for that unsuspecting rich sap.

The reader roots for her, wanting to see success.  At the same time, there is a level of disgust that she has begun to lie to her best friend/roommate, changing everything about herself to fit this supposed mold, etc.  And the lack of money paired with the need for money is omnipresent.

She’s the train wreck you watch veering to the end of the broken tracks.  You watch her spiral deeper and you wonder – will she make it?  Really beat out all the rest of us who hold out for true love and become a genuine gold digger?  Or will she see the light and realize this is all for naught and her quest is leading to self-destruction?

These questions raced through my head and kept me reading.  The witty repartee between the characters, the poor guy she’s targeted all kept me reading.

Yet there were many points in time where I paused and asked myself if any of this could have happened.  Despite the name changes and the dramatizations, etc…could this have all taken place in real life?

(On an editing note: there were errors throughout the book.  I know every book has something or another.  But when it’s on the first page, I’m a tad disappointed.  Also, as I am from California, Silicon Valley is not IN Palo Alto.  Rather, Palo Alto is a part of the Silicon Valley.  I must say I bristled at that particular mistake as I imagined all the other SV companies would.)

Overall, Snag a Guy was a fast read – train wrecks tend to be fast no? – and Ms. Ellis has a wonderful knack of keeping the reader hooked and interested in reading more.

Given that this was more of a self-help, I’ll just give total ratings.

Overall: 4 of 5

4 stars

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Shotgun Bride by Karen Lopp

 

ImageTitle: Shotgun Bride

Author: Karen Lopp

Genre: Western Romance

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

 

 

 

AMZN

Story:
Ms. Lopp’s story is action-packed. Bullets are flying (quite literally) from one chapter to the next. Kathleen Barnes is a resourceful heroine who is set for New Mexico Territory after an inheritance windfall. But she’s not the only person eager for the land.

The hero is Mike Baca, a gentleman cowboy/rancher who “never misses” with his gun. Among the attempted robberies and murders, Mike and Kathleen develop a bond and suspicions as they travel together.

Critique:

The writing was solid and Ms. Lopp inserts just enough Wild West nomenclature to keep it authentic but not weighted. The characters were sympathetic to the extent that I rooted for them. But I wished for more – I wanted to know more about Kathleen’s past. She seemed almost too resourceful for a girl who had lived in the city for years. Likewise for Mike, whose gun seemed to fire like magic.

And maybe that was my main gripe with the whole book. There were always bullets flying, always another disaster at the end of every chapter that I started to wonder how the characters could be so blind that they didn’t notice. And how could they keep going on with their lives as they were when there were dangers lurking everywhere? Most of the plot twists were predictable, though there were one or two that kept me guessing and the ending seemed a little too convenient. I needed better foreshadowing.

(There were also about half-a-dozen errors throughout the book. It made me concerned about the amount of editing. It took me out of the story every time I came across one.)

Heat Level: 2 of 5

2 flames

 

 

Romance: 4 of 5

4 hearts

 

 

Overall: 3 of 5

3 stars

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Ride the Free Wind – Book 2 Savage Destiny Series by Rosanne Bittner

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Blurb: 
Abigail Trent Monroe abandons the only life she’s ever known to live among the Cheyenne with her half-breed husband, Zeke. Together they face peril and enjoy a passion most never experience. Their love is so strong that no amount of danger or rugged living can come between this man and woman so devoted to one another.
Against the backdrop of a magnificent landscape and during a time when freedom meant everything to the Native Americans, Zeke and Abbie cling to one another for courage and strength.

Buy Links:
Amazon
**This book is e-Book is exclusive to Amazon**

Excerpt:

Clinging to Zeke tightly, Abbie pleaded. “Don’t let go! Don’t ever let go!”

“It’s all right, Abbie-girl,” he told her quietly.

He gladly kept his arms around her, and she kissed his neck, breathing in the wonderful, manly scent of him, running her hands across his broad, strong shoulders. He moved his lips back to her own in one long, lingering, hungry kiss, then he swung her up into his arms. She rested her head on his shoulder and asked no questions. … It did not matter at the moment where he had been or why. All that mattered was that he was here now. …

Author Bio:

I’ve been writing for nearly thirty years and to date have had 57 novels published, all about the American West of the 1800’s and Native Americans. I write romance, but not the typical bodice-ripping adventures. My stories are deep love stories, often family sagas told as a series. It is the hero and heroine’s love that holds them together through the trials and tribulations of settling America’s western frontiers. I absolutely love the Rockies, the Tetons, the Sierras, and the wide-open plains, prairies and desert land west of the Mississippi. In my books, I strive to tell the truth about the settling of the West and how it affected our American Indians, as well as the gritty depth of what our brave pioneers suffered in their search for free land and a better life.

I am a member of the Nebraska and Oklahoma Historical Societies, my local southwest Michigan historical society, Women Writing the West, Mid-Michigan Romance Writers of America (treasurer) and the national RWA, and a local charity group called the Coloma Lioness Club. I help run a family business and love doing things with my three young grandsons. If you visit my web site at http://www.rosannebittner.com, where all my titles are listed as well as a page that lists all my many writing awards; or you can visit me on Facebook. At either site you will learn news of new books to come as well as reprints of many of my past titles soon to be published in trade paperback and as e-books! I also have an author site at Amazon.com.

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Proudly hosting this Page Turner Bonanza Tour from Buy the Book Tours.

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Buy the Book Tours

Romance Critique is a proud partner of Buy the Book Tours! All BTB reviews will follow a different format than my standard ratings. Stay tuned for reviews in the near future!

 

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Circle of Desire by Carla Swafford

Title: Circle of Desire

Author: Carla Swafford

Genre: Erotic Romantic Suspense

Publisher: Avon Impulse

AMZN

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Story:

Ms. Swafford’s Circle of Desire is action-packed from the first page when we meet the heroine Olivia St. Vincent, a woman who has been trained to kill since she was “rescued” from the streets by The Circle. After knocking off a target, she eases the stress of her job as any female assassin today would (in an erotic romance suspense): she finds a man.

Meet the hero Collin Ryker, who plans to abduct Olivia and bring her into his mercenary organization, the OS, in order to destroy The Circle. The immediate sexual tension between the two characters sizzle and explode off the page from their first meeting on a plane.

Critique:

Olivia’s past, present, future, and everything she cared about was clear by the first quarter of the book. I knew exactly how this woman ticked and how she would react. Ms. Swafford did a great job with Olivia, keeping her motivations consistent and her character development believable. I wished I could have seen that more with Collin. He’s hot, he’s brave, he cares about his organization…and he has this little family situation that left him…what? I wanted to know more about our hero and how his past affected him and it seemed Ms. Swafford spent more time on her heroine than her hero.

The romantic relationship between the hero and heroine was above average. They’re killers. I’m not expecting professions of love and Ms. Swafford didn’t disappoint me there.

The pacing of the book was great for the first half and waned a little bit toward the end. Goals and objectives of their characters were also clear. For an Erotic Romantic Suspense however, I began to wonder if there should be more “erotic” and maybe even just a bit more on the “suspense.”

There were several characters I felt were inserted purely to set them up for future novels. That made me a little sad as I really wanted to know about them more. A few of the characters came in rather late in the story and given some of the significance, I wish they had shown up earlier. Other characters felt like throwaways.

I think my one complaint for the story was that I found the ending anticlimactic. I was reading and suddenly, it was over. The characters in the book seemed to feel the same way. As a reader, it let me down. I expected a big finish and it didn’t happen.

(On an editing note, I found errors in the last quarter of the book. Unfortunately, there were two sentences within a few pages of each other with missing words. That took me out of the story as I read and reread.)

Overall, Circle of Desire was a fast read and one of the better ones I’ve read recently. I’m looking forward to reading her next installment, Circle of Danger.

Heat Level: 4 of 5

Romance: 3 of 5

Overall: 4 of 5

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October 20, 2012 · 10:31 pm

Welcome!

Greetings!  Welcome to Romance Critique, a blog posting constructive critiques on romance novels to writers and readers from a writer/editor.

Every week or two, I will post a critique of the book on my current reading list.  So long as it is a romance novel, I will read it.  No limitation on the sub-genre.

If you are interested in having your book critiqued, please leave a message and I will get back to your shortly.

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October 20, 2012 · 9:47 pm

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com! This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

Happy blogging!

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