A big family, a reading addiction, and the occasional celebrity scandal are the ingredients of life that create one woman's opinion on just about everything.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Contemporary you say?

March has turned out to be a bit of a throwback month for me in terms of the sorts of books I've read and the broad spectrum they've covered. I'll go into it more when I do my month end list, but I sure have read the gamut of real winners to real stinkers this month.

I was on an erotic/menage bender for a couple of days. Most of those books were a disappointment. I think I'm developing higher standards. If I'm going to read erotic romance, I want it to be (very) good erotic romance. Anyway I was mostly disappointed with everything I tried with one huge exception.

So a huge MWHAH to Lisabea for rhapsodizing about the Brothers in Arms series by Samantha Kane. I read and thoroughly enjoyed, AT LOVE'S COMMAND (excerpt). I finally get all the Derek references. (And how!) It was also my first Ellora's Cave purchase in what seems like forever.

At pretty much the other end of the spectrum, steam wise, is the very superior writing and story telling, of Jenna Kernan. I've already mentioned her a few times. I've read three of Ms. Kernan's books in the last month and each of them was very, very good. Lots of heart and soul in her books.

I've been reading more category romances lately too. Which brings me to what prompted this post. Who recommended Kathleen O'Reilly? SL was it you? Book Binge ladies? I wish I'd write down who makes the rec when I write down the book titles, because I almost never remember. *sigh* Anyway, I don't remember who it was, but whoever said go read about Those Sexy O'Sullivans really knew what they were talking about.

The trilogy is being released in successive months by Harlequin Blaze. The first two are already out with the third one due out late April/early May.

Don't be distracted by the titles. Don't be discouraged by the blurbs. These books are good. If you are in the mood for a good contemporary that doesn't sacrifice story or great characters to it's shorter format, these books are perfect for you. The trilogy focuses on three Irish brothers trying to figure out their lives in the Big Apple. The O'Sullivan brothers also co-own a bar in Manhattan that has been in the family since before Prohibition.

The first book of the trilogy is about the youngest brother Gabe, who's primary owner of the bar in the March 08 Blaze SHAKEN AND STIRRED (excerpt). It's not just about keeping a good employee when Gabe wants to help out college student and part time bartender, Tessa, when yet another roommate leaves her in the lurch. This book's not fancy. It doesn't put on airs. It's not about the rich and famous.

There's also no big rescues here. It's just a little story about two people trying to figure out life. Can't we all relate to that? I sure (still) can. I calls 'em likes I sees 'em. This was a well balanced and realistic contemporary romance.

In the second book, the oldest O'Sullivan brother, Daniel, has his story in the April 08 Blaze SEX, STRAIGHT UP (excerpt). Oh, this book. What to say. Whew! I had actual heart pain. This book was very well written. Here's the best I can come up with. Soul deep. Grief. Loss. Fear. Commitment. Love. Redemption.

I can't say too much more without giving away the story. I do think Daniel's story has to unfold in chronological order. This book can stand alone, but will have much more of an impact if you read the first book of the trilogy. I don't know what else to say, except it's so worth reading.

Next month, the sexy and wild middle brother, Sean, has his story in the May 08 Blaze NIGHTCAP (excerpt). You can believe I'll be reading it. While I do think the trilogy had a huge arc in Daniel's book, it seems likely from the excerpt that Sean's book is a bit fluffier than the other two. However, I don't count Ms. O'Reilly out. This is some good writing and with a good writer, well, anything can happen.

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Blogger Wendy said...

Twasn't I - but I'm thinking Dear Author reviewed some O'Reilly titles....could have been that series.

3:12 PM PDT  
Blogger Anne said...

It may have been me, Rosie. I read them and did mini-review of the first one. LOVED THEM. I've got the third preordered at Eharlequin so when it comes out in ebook on Tuesday (the 1st) I'll be one of the first in line to download and read that baby!

4:49 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Wendy, I think you'd like these. :-) So now I've rec'd them to you.

Anne, you know that rings a bell...since I read both you and DA maybe that's what made me add them to my list seeing two good reviews close together. So, I'm ready to read Sean's story now.

11:17 AM PDT  
Blogger lisabea said...

Rosie~I'm soooo glad you enjoyed At Love's Command. Wasn't Derek pheeeeenom? And Ian? Up the stairs, down the stairs, night, day? He's the triathelete of the Brothers in Arms.

Anyway. Yay!

8:35 PM PDT  
Blogger nath said...

Hmmm, those Blaze that you rec sound very interesting :D I'm going to have to take a look at them. If I'm lucky, they'll still have Shaken and Stirred at the bookstore. I hope.

9:39 AM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

lisabea, I've read one other Brothers in Arms, but AT LOVE'S COMMAND is a standout. Ian's devotion to both Derek and Sophia is so touching. I always appreciate when an author also deals with the jealousy that would be inherent (imho) in any menage. Just well written and well done.

Nath, I hope you do get them. I'll be curious to see your reaction. They are both well done short contemps. SEX STRAIGHT UP was my fave of the two so far. If you have trouble finding them, let me know. K?

7:30 PM PDT  
Blogger Samantha Kane said...

I'm sorry I'm so late chiming in here. I'm so glad you liked At Love's Command! Thank you very much for your kind words. lisabea has been so great and supportive, pimping me all over. I'm glad I didn't ruin her credibility. ;-)

1:18 PM PDT  

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