Every year, Smashwords hosts an epic sale for the entire month of July, which means deep discounts on books from hundreds of participating authors– even books 100% off!
Here are Lover’s Quarrel’s top picks from the Summer/Winter Sale.
I don’t know about you, but I’m loving the flood of superhero movies and television shows. From crushing on Cisco Ramone in Flash to loving the Black Panther, I’m enjoying the wonderful and wonderfully flawed heroes as much as the action-packed plots and stunning special effects. So I’ve made a list of 10 romance novels for superhero fans. If you love the romance as much as the action in you superhero movies, then this list is for you.
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.62 out of 5 stars
Page Count: 288 pages
Anwen, bastard of Brynmor, has fought hard to find her place in the world. But she’s forced to rethink everything when she’s saved from death by her enemy Teague, Lord of Gwalchdu. Instead of releasing her, he holds her captive.
Teague trusts no one. So, which ominous messages threatening his life, he must keep Anwen under his watch, no matter how much her presence drives him wild.
And when passionate arguments turn to passionate encounters, Teague must believe that the strength of their bond will conquer all!
For those of you who haven’t watched That 70’s Show, the show is about a group of teenagers growing up in rural Wisconsin in the 70’s. Jackie is a rich, spoiled, and shallow girl while Hyde is the group’s burnout bad boy. Orphaned, broke, and not at all interested in applying himself for a better life, he seems like a very poor match for the status-obsessed Jackie. But somehow they manage to keep from killing each other and bring out the best in each other. Here are 5 teen romances to read today if you like Jackie and Hyde together.
The benefits to reading books are countless. Reading provides mental stimulation which will improve cognitive function and fight diseases like Alzheimer’s. It’s also great for gaining new knowledge and skills, reducing stress, and getting exposed to new cultures.
But despite all of these fabulous effects of reading, a quarter of Americans haven’t read any books in the past year in any form. The average American only reads 12 books per year. (It’s only April and I’ve already read 12 books this year. I’ve accomplished this despite being a college student with an internship, a blog, freelance writing work, and moving apartments to deal with.).
This isn’t necessarily because people don’t want to read. Novelist Jody Hedlund took a poll on people’s TBR (to be read) piles and found that the majority said they had a huge amount of books on their TBR piles. One person commentator even had over 1,000 books on their TBR.
A huge obstacle to reading is lack of time. Here are some ways to devote some small and large moments of time to reading.
The last thing Paula needed was a blindfolded, glowing god in her bed, but that's exactly what she got.
Still reeling from her fiance, Nick, breaking up with her, Paula is desperate to try anything to get him back. So when her neighbor, Mrs. Stephanopolos gives her a magic statue that will give Paula her heart's desire, she's skeptical but does the required ritual anyway.
A split second later, Apollo, the Greek god of the sun, is standing in her bedroom, ready to help Paula, even though he thinks Paula can do so much better than Nick. Everything seems to be working out until Eros sneaks in and shoots one of his insta-love arrows at Apollo. Now the sun god needs to stay permanently blindfolded to avoid falling in love with the first woman he sees, especially when Paula is so not his type. Now Paula and Apollo are stuck with each other until Aphrodite can swoop in and reverse the spell. But with the two of them in such close proximity to each other, they might realize they're each other's types after all.
I definitely enjoyed this book. A lot of little details were explained, like the history of the statue and why she and Apollo can understand each other, despite them speaking different languages. And even though this book has a lot of my usual pet peeves, like insta-love, arrogance, and even lack of regard for personal boundaries, I still didn't mind it. I think it's easier to accept because Apollo is a god and things work differently for him. His love for Paula doesn't have to be completely realistic because he's not human.
However, the actual moment Apollo gets shot is incredibly anti-climactic.
Suddenly, the golden god flinched, and he slapped at the side of his neck as if stung by a mosquito.
“No - Oh No! Not again!” He shut his eyes tight.
“What’s the matter?” Paula stared at him.
“Eros,” groaned the god, keeping his eyes tight shut, “He’s fired on me.”
That's it. It's a significant event in the book but it's as dramatic as a mosquito bite. You don't even meet Eros in this book. But aside from that unsatisfying scene, this was an excellent story.
I really liked Paula as a character. She's a bit of a smartass and despite being insecure with her looks, she's not whiny or obsessive about it. Even though she needs to go along with Apollo's absurdity to get her heart's desire, she stays snarky instead of being resigned to taking his (unintentionally) hurtful comments about her appearance. The only thing I didn't really like about her was her attachment to Nick. I get the fact that he was her fiance and she's in love with him, but it got a little repetitive, even in this novella-length story. It was especially bad when:
However, for the most part, Paula rocked.
Apollo is so absurd, he's adorable. Normally, arrogance turns me off, but Apollo is so over the top, it's impossible to take him seriously.
"Turn away from me, and try not to think of my wonderfully developed upper arms or what you moderns call my six pack"
It's just so silly that it's funny. And Apollo genuinely does care for Paula. He warned her away from Nick from the start, telling her she could do better. He also offered to strike Nick dead for her and was in general very protective of her (but not in a controlling way).
His lack of personal boundaries bothers me slightly. He has no concept of personal space and has no problem touching Paula randomly and without warning.
While this sort of behavior would usually bother me, I don't really mind it because it's pretty clear he's not doing it to exert power over her or because he thinks he owns her. He's just pretty oblivious to how the world works.
However, I really liked him for the most part. He's really sweet in general and has a great dynamic with Paula.
This was definitely a short and sweet read worth checking out. People who love romance and Greek mythology will like this book, and the other two novellas in the trilogy. It's available for free on Smashwords.
Word Count: 13,700
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.47/ 5 stars
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Sebastian Clark and Nicole Harrison don't want to have a relationship with each other. In fact, when Sebastian approached Nicole for the first time, he wasn't even looking to sleep with her. He just wanted to have a drink with a lonely woman at the hotel bar.
But a one-night stand became two nights, and even though Sebastion and Nicole know it can't last, they both feel something more than a couple nights of sex with a stranger. In each other they find escape from their stressful jobs and their pasts. Even though they know their connection with each other won't stretch longer than the weekend, they want the weekend to last forever.
You can read Weekend Lover for free on Smashwords.
I was a little worried when I started this book. I'm usually not a fan of one-night stand stories because a) no happily ever after and b) one-night stands seem so awkward in real life, it takes a lot of suspension of disbelief for me to enjoy the too-perfect sex scenes.
But this book is an exception.
Despite the shortness of the story, Melissa Blue is a master at crafting complex characters. Both Nicole and Sebastian are realistic. Nicole is a woman who is great at PR, and consumed by her job. Feeling a little bit of burnout after a long day on a business trip, she goes for a drink at the hotel bar. She just wants to have a drink and go up to her room, but things go awry when Sebastian approaches her with a cheesy line and a con-man smile.
Unbeknownst to her, Sebastian is dealing with his own trouble. A past relationship left him feeling bitter and cynical. A publicist himself, he's also swamped with a demanding job. He didn't mean for anything more than a light conversation when he approached Nicole. He wasn't looking for a relationship, or even for a one-night stand. But the more he talked to her, the more he wanted her. And the more I liked him.
The dialogue between the two of them is light and witty most of the time. The few times it gets personal, the conversation moves smoothly. Nothing about the chemistry between the two of them feels forced or fake.
He said, “Since it'd be rude for me to order a drink without getting you one too, what would you like?”
She scoffed. “Yeah, you do that incredibly well. Come in, wow the estrogen with your testosterone and the woman can't help but say yes. So for all of woman-kind, I'm saying no. You can't buy me a drink.”
She hummed in assent. “I've already granted you squatter’s rights next to me. You might get the wrong idea.”
“What would that be?” His laugh was as rich and deep as his voice.
A shiver danced down her spine at the sound, but she refused to revel in the sensation. The wrong idea just might become too appealing. “That your con man smile actually works. Whatever you have in mind, the answer is no and it will stay no. I don't have time for momentary distractions.”
The wattage of the smile didn't dim. “Most people believe a moment is a second. It's a single point in time. Do you know how much can change in a moment?”
And the sex scenes and descriptions are just as fantastic. Sebastian is the perfect gentlemen, even when he's saying he's not, and despite her dominant and strong personality, Nicole has a bit of a submissive streak to her. And somehow Melissa was able to write it in without taking anything away from Nicole's strength. She might enjoy submitting to Sebastian, but Sebastian submits to her just as much. Both of them have a competitive streak in themselves that lead to fantastic sex scenes.
What's more is that this story isn't love at first sight. By the end of their weekend together, both of them do have feelings, but it's not love. They enjoyed the thorough distraction they found in each other, a sweet escape from life. And that is perfect. No marriage proposal or even an "I love you" is traded. It's actually realistic enough for me to enjoy it, even though it has plenty fantasy.
Sebastian had long since crossed a personal boundary. What was one more? So, he kept right on kissing Nicole like it was the last time he'd get to taste her. It likely would be. They had set up boundaries that neither could cross without losing something in the end. This weekend had been perfect. There was bound to be a minefield he hadn't foreseen if they tried to prolong it. She couldn't be this woman who made him forget the bitterness of the past, a woman who made him consider the things he'd long since given up.
My only complaint with this story is how their work lives consume the characters. Even in the bedroom, Nicole is thinking about how all of her skills and talents of a PR person bleeds into her sex life, too. Her competitive streak from her job is what makes her so great in bed. That was a little annoying. I would have preferred less talk about her job, even if it does play such an important part in the sequel. So a half star off for that. Aside from that? It's a fantastically entertaining and quick read.
If you liked this review and want more, please check out my blog, Lover's Quarrel, where you can find new books to read and even donate to charity in the process: https://loversquarrelreviews.com/