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Showing posts by: Laura K. Curtis click to see Laura K. Curtis's profile
Mar 22 2016 9:30am

First Look: Jill Shalvis’s Nobody But You (March 29, 2016)

Nobody But You by Jill Shalvis

Jill Shalvis
Nobody But You (Cedar Ridge #3)
Forever / March 29, 2016 / $7.99 print and digital

Opening a Jill Shalvis novel for me is like going out to girls' night with good friends. You know you're going to have a few laughs, but you're going to end up thinking about some more serious stuff, too. Nobody But You is no exception.

This is the third book in the Cedar Ridge series and while I'm a huge fan of Shalvis's, I had missed the first two books in the series. Luckily, all the books stand alone, so even if you haven't read the others you'll be fine visiting Cedar Ridge for the first time with this book.

Sophie Marren is the kind of hapless heroine who ends up living on her ex-husband's boat—which she took in the divorce because it was the only thing he cared about—even though she is prone to seasickness. 

From her vantage point, she could see the impressive Rocky mountains shooting straight up to the limitless, shocking azure sky marred only by a single white fluffy cloud that resembled a pile of marshmallows

Her stomach, normally in love with marshmallows, turned over again.

This is our—and not coincidentally our hero Jacob Kincaid's—first view of Sophie. Later, not even at this point, she pukes on his shoes. It's not an auspicious beginning to a relationship.

[Get out of your head and let this latest jump into your heart ...]

Sep 24 2015 9:30am

First Look: HelenKay Dimon’s Facing Fire (September 29, 2015)

Cover of Facing Fire by Helen Kay Dimon

HelenKay Dimon
Facing Fire (Bad Boys Undercover #3)
Avon / September 29, 2015 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital


When his uncle is brutally murdered, Josiah King knows that business just got personal. His uncle's ties to the Alliance can mean only one thing: Josiah and his black ops team are targets, along with everyone they love. Primed for vengeance, Josiah is determined to unravel the plot—until long-legged redhead Sutton Dahl becomes a dangerous distraction.

Sutton is very good at uncovering other people's secrets—and protecting her own. When Josiah bursts into her life she's torn between pushing him away and asking for his help. Mysterious, strong, and much too sexy, he's a puzzle she longs to solve, and a temptation she can't ignore.

Thrown together in the face of Alliance's most lethal threat, Josiah and Sutton become unlikely partners, fighting for their lives even as the attraction between them flares into real passion. Torn between his team and the woman who means everything to him, Josiah will risk it all to save Sutton, even if that decision is his last.

Here's the bottom line: if you enjoy the Cinemax series Strike Back, you will love this book. The romance in Facing Fire is enjoyable enough, but the place the book really shines, the thing that reminds me so strongly of the show, is the relationship between the two Alliance agents, our hero Josiah and his partner Mike. I think this is what's been missing in previous Bad Boys Undercover books. I liked them, I enjoyed them, I wanted to read the next one, but I didn't feel a huge surge of attachment the way I did with Facing Fire.

[Face the fire ...]

Feb 13 2014 10:30am

First Look: Jill Shalvis’s Once in a Lifetime (February 18, 2014)

Once in a Lifetime by Jill ShalvisJill Shalvis 
Once in a Lifetime
Grand Central / February 18, 2014 / $6.00 print, $5.99 digital

After a wrenching loss, Ben McDaniel tried to escape his grief by working in dangerous, war-torn places like Africa and the Middle East. Now he's back in his hometown and face-to-face with Aubrey Wellington, the hot-as-hell woman who is trouble with a capital T. Family and friends insist she's not the one to ease his pain, but Aubrey sparks an intense desire that gives Ben hope for the future.

Determined to right the wrongs of her past, Aubrey is working hard to make amends. But by far, the toughest challenge to her plan is sexy, brooding Ben - even though he has absolutely no idea what she's done . . .

Can this unlikely couple defy the odds and win over the little town of Lucky Harbor?

Many contemporary romances take place in small towns, and the success or failure of a series can often depend as much on the portrayal of the town as it does on the romance itself. In Once in a Lifetime, Jill Shalvis takes us back to Lucky Harbor, where she’s set eight previous books. As usual, the town’s residents get their time in the spotlight, but this time they are far less scene-stealing than they have been in previous books. (Though if you read Shalvis, you know you’re not getting away from Lucille entirely.…)

[It's all you, Ben and Aubrey...]

Dec 12 2013 1:45pm

Superheroes for the Ladies? Sneaking Romance into “Boy” Movies

Twisted by Laura K. CurtisToday we're joined by author Laura K. Curtis, whose Twisted is a romantic suspense with a true-crime writer heroine who is trying to solve the true crime in her own life—the murder of her mother—and the chief of police hero who helps her. Laura is here to discuss the evolution of superhero movies, and who they're really aimed at. Thanks, Laura!

Recently, when my husband was out of town, I streamed the entire first season of Arrow, then followed it up with the various Marvel superhero movies. Why did I wait? Because, despite the comic books from which all these franchises are derived being written for young men, the screen versions don’t seem designed to appeal to the same audience at all.

I grew up with an older brother and a younger brother, which means I grew up with comic books. The ones I remember best were Batman, Fantastic Four, and X-Men, but Spider-Man made an appearance on occasion as did several others. We watched both Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk on television. (Naturally, the boys pooh-poohed at Wonder Woman, but we watched anyway.)

[News flash: Girls are comic readers too!...]

Aug 7 2012 5:30pm

Fresh Meat: The Last Victim by Karen Robards (Aug. 7, 2012)

The Last Victim by Karen RobardsThe Last Victim by Karen Robards is the first Charlie Stone paranormal romantic suspense thriller (available August 7, 2012).

I shouldn’t like this book. If someone had told me in advance what it would be about, I wouldn’t have requested the ARC for review. But as it turns out, I am very glad I did. Here’s the thing: I am bored with serial killers and the inevitable torture porn scenes in the books about them, I’ve never cared for paranormal mysteries or romances, and I have no patience with love triangles. But The Last Victim goes to show that almost anything done well enough can defy expectations.

To read the full post on The Last Victim by Karen Robards, visit our sister Crime and Mystery blog, CriminalElement.com.

Jun 28 2012 2:30pm

Fresh Meat: Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot

Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg CabotSize 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot is the fourth in the chick lit cozy mystery series starring Heather Wells, dorm monitor extraordinaire (available July 10, 2012).

Back in the days when the publishing world was going chick lit crazy, I read a couple of very enjoyable light mystery novels by Meg Cabot called Size 12 Is Not Fat and Size 14 Is Not Fat, Either. I hoped for more, but none seemed to be forthcoming and Ms. Cabot seemed to have abandoned Heather Wells, the teen-pop-star-turned-dorm-advisor protagonist.

When I saw Size 12 and Ready to Rock on the LibraryThing early reviewers list, I was excited and went back to look . . . and indeed, I had missed one of the books (Big Boned), so I read it while I was waiting for Ready to Rock to appear in my mailbox.

For the full article on Meg Cabot’s Size 12 and Ready to Rock, visit our sister crime and mystery blog, CriminalElement.com.

Jul 29 2011 10:30am

Fresh Meat: Christina Dodd’s Secrets of Bella Terra (August 2, 2011)

Secrets of Bella Terra by Christina DoddChristina Dodd
Secrets of Bella Terra
Signet (Penguin), August 2, 2011, $7.99

Dark, brooding, and sexy, Rafe Di Luca has returned to Bella Terra for one reason: to find out who attacked his beloved grandmother… and why. Owner of one of the world’s leading security firms, he has his prime suspect: the beautiful Brooke Petersson, manager of Bella Terra. Years ago, he and Brooke shared a powerful passion before he walked out of her life. She swore the affair was over forever, yet they find themselves drawn into an erotic web neither can escape. Now Rafe must decide if he should trust the desire Brooke ignites in him—or if seduction is her revenge…

[Revenge sex? Love it!...]

May 21 2011 12:00pm

No Prom, Please, I’m A Grown-Up: Why I Don’t Read YA

Edward and Bella in TwilightIt started, I think, with Team Edward vs. Team Jacob. Or at least, that’s when the pervasiveness of YA fiction in the adult marketplace began to infringe on my consciousness.

Stephenie Meyer's Twilight and its sequels held no appeal for me, but everyone else in the world seemed to find them absolutely fascinating. Yeah, I could see why teenage girls would find them attractive—there’s a pretty big wish-fulfillment component to those stories for a miserable high school girl—but their mothers were reading the books and going to the movies, too, and I just didn’t get it.

At first I thought the problem was the Twilight trilogy itself. I’m not a fan of vamps and weres in general, and these supernatural heroes seemed particularly vapid. So I tried some other books in the same category. I looked into what was selling. I read books by people I know who write YA. I went for realistic high-school life YA and for paranormal (but without vamps) YA. Nothing moved me. Or at least, it didn’t move me in the right direction. I still couldn’t understand why so many grown, independent female friends of mine chose to read books about teenagers.

[Has the world gone mad?...]

Mar 8 2011 1:00pm

Ron Weasley, Romantic Hero?

What defines a romantic hero? Does he have to be sexy? Strong? The most important man in the room? Or can he merely be “the one who gets the girl”? If a story has a strong, intelligent heroine, do readers—or viewers in the case of movies—just go along with the heroine’s choice of hero? If you consider the Harry Potter movies fantasy or adventure, Harry is the hero. But if you consider the cycle a romance, it is Ron who steals the focus.

More than any factor that defines a romantic hero, after all, is that he is brought closer to the heroine by the arc of the story. He may start out less than worthy, but he grows to deserve her. He may not believe he cares about anything or anyone, but by the end she is the center of his world.

[Could you fall for a redheaded boy? . . . ]

Feb 22 2011 10:00am

Is That a TV Show You’re Reading?

Once upon a time, in the long-distant past, movies were made from books.  You remember that, right?  Everyone would say, “Oh, sure, I saw the movie, but it was nowhere near as good as the book,” even if they didn’t necessarily believe it to be true, because that was conventional wisdom. (In fact, it still is. I rarely hear anyone admit to preferring a movie over its book.)

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy film stillAnother odd idea that seemed to have become accepted as fact was that television audiences didn’t read.  (Radio audiences were a different matter entirely—The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, for example, began as a radio program.)  Television audience went to the movies—after all, both were visual media—so they could be trusted to attend Star Trek movies or The Blues Brothers (which started out as a Saturday Night Live skit), but they weren’t likely to actually read books based on television shows.

[Harry Potter was 10 times better OFF the big screen . . .]

Feb 18 2011 12:45pm

Knit with Me/Read with Me

Basket of yarn image by Flickr’s the second fiddleWhat is it with the intersection of knitting and fiction? You put the keyword “knitting” into an Amazon book search and get something for just about every genre lover: Romance, chick lit, mystery, even children’s literature.

[Spin me a yarn . . .]