Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Reading Until Dawn Mini-Review Round-up

Over the past few months, I've read works by a number of our Reading Until Dawn authors. Just for fun, here is a round-up of all the tidbits I've included in prior editions of the Sunday Soup:

✽Following up on the Candace Blackburn feature last week, I picked up Return of the Lycan King, the first in a trilogy. Although I found it a little slow in places, I think it's a pretty good start to a new series, and I'm looking forward to the next installment. The attraction between the h/h both emotionally and physically is strong and convincing, and to me, that's the most important part of a romance.

✽In my ongoing support of the Reading Until Dawn conference, I nabbed a title by Cynthia St. Aubin called Unloveable: the Case Files of Dr. Matilda Schmidt. At just over 100 pages, it's a fast-paced farce, drawing from familiar Greek mythology characters. The humor worked for me and it was pretty sexy too, although it's a light touch and not a focus. Not a romance, but the beginning of a fun-looking series about a "paranormal psychologist." This title is currently free on Amazon, so grab it now and see for yourself. And of course, you could always come to the Reading Until Dawn conference and meet St. Aubin herself. Personally I'm hoping to see a short story sometime next year inspired by #RUDC15 shenanigans...

✽I finished Beast, a Norseton Wolves novella by Holley Trent. Really enjoyed it, and I liked the setup. I found the heroine to be pretty unusual personality-wise; she's uneducated and sort of... beaten-down at the beginning, but she jumps at the chance to be essentially a mail-order bride, and leave West Virginia for remote New Mexico. She has some behaviors you'd expect from an abused woman, but enough spark to get her own story burning, and a cheer-worthy refusal to stay down. As a prologue to a series it's just right: there's definitely some unfinished business between Anton and Christina, which left the story feeling a little unresolved but makes you want to read more in the series. For 99 cents, why not give it a whirl?

✽I have finally, FINALLY started reading Mark of the Tala, by Jeffe Kennedy and I seriously want to call in sick tomorrow so I can hide somewhere in a cushy chair and read it all the way to the end and then download the next book and read that one too. I have read and enjoyed Kennedy's erotica for quite a while now but hadn't nabbed this one. I'm enjoying it all the more for the wait.

✽My favorite read this week was Jeffe Kennedy's Under His Touch. Stop me if you've heard this before: powerful, wealthy businessman dom; young ingenue girl working in the building falls for him-- OK, I'm stopping you, because this one is different. She actively pursues him, and he doesn't abuse his economic power position, and actually has ethical pangs over the whole thing. Weird, amirite? Beautiful balance of sexual tension and "payoff" (heh) scenes, which are hot, hot, hot. Confession: I read it twice.

Going Under by Jeffe Kennedy. Absolutely loved the premise here and the heroine. This is an erotic romance and they do get up to some fetishy hijinks; you may want to kick the air conditioning up before you dig into this one. I sort of felt that the ending was a bit rushed and that she forgave him a bit too easily, but I really loved the tech element here. (Kennedy's inspiration was a true story that made a huge impression on me as well when it broke). You'll have to decide if a ginger-flavored Tom Hiddleston-esque hero is a plus for you.

✽Katee Robert's Protecting Fate was a total win. I've read a number of the kidnapped-for-her-own-protection tropes lately, and it's very rare that they work for me. This one was not a kidnapping, but it was still not exactly the heroine's preference. She did reluctantly agree to go along with escaping to a secure location, alone with a hunky bodyguard, and hijinks-- delightful, dirty hijinks-- ensue. This one hit all the right notes for me.

✽Fallen, by Roselynn Cannes, was a really good read. Set in a Greco-Roman alt-history world, I loved this militant heroine and the man who is a match for her. I will caution that the author does not class this a romance, and it doesn't not have an HEA. There is a pretty compelling set-up for another book, and we may eventually get there. In the meantime, I'd just call it alt-history fiction, without anything magical or supernatural to put it into fantasy territory. Perhaps similar to some of Guy Gavriel Kay's less mystical novels. Because I didn't know exactly which genre to peg it into, I did wonder where it was going at times. I tried to just be open, but it turns out I rely a lot on knowing what category something is in-- which is more a commentary on me and my ways than the book.

A Lush Betrayal, by Selena Laurence. I'm gearing up for RUDCon, and Laurence is a featured author. I'm going to do my best to read something from each of the authors before October. I'll do a bit more of a feature on Laurence, uh, SOON, but I'll say I did enjoy this rock & roll contemp (that might be redundant, I suppose?). The titular Betrayal, and the conflicts addressed in this book are pretty dark, but I really liked the heroine and they way she came through the Black Moment. (This one is still a freebie, check it out).

Stay tuned for a few more reviews and features between now and the conference, only NINE DAYS away!  I think my feelings about this conference can best be described by THE DUDE:


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