Fantasy Romance Book Haul

Last week’s book haul featured three romance titles, the last of which (A Promise of Fire Amanda Bouchet) was a fantasy romance. Ever since I finished reading that book, I have been in the mood for more fantasy romance. Which is why this week’s haul is all about that subgenre:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BJX8Kr6DDNw/

 

After The Winter King, I read Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan but I didn’t get a picture! Which is a shame because I enjoyed reading the latter more than the former. If I ever find the time to actually sit down and write reviews, maybe I can do short ones for these.

I then went on a Grace Draven marathon this weekend, starting with Master of Crows:

 

Which was quickly followed up by The Lightning God’s Wife:

 

Which is so short that I finished reading it in one sitting! So then I read The Light Within:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BJppIkwDZ1O/

 

Also finished that one in one sitting. I think both The Lightning God’s Wife and The Light Within are bonus short stories that serve like outtakes or epilogues for Master of Crows. The next in the series is a longer novella and is set a few years after the first book. I’ve already downloaded The Brush of Black Wings on my Kindle but haven’t started it yet:

 

I think I may have to pick up some contemporary titles after this. I don’t want to get burned out on fantasy romance! Also, it hasn’t been easy looking for fantasy romance books that I’m interested enough to try, so feel free to recommend titles if you have favorites.

Even though I’ve bought a couple of ebooks the past week, I’ve tried to be a good girl by resisting temptation in the form of a Kinokuniya sale. I still have so many unread physical books in my TBR pile so I resisted going to the bookstore because I know I might end up buying something. I need to go to bed soon because ugh, Monday will be here in a few minutes! But I’m curious, have you bought or received any books recently?

Cover Reveal: Cover Story Girl by Chris Mariano

Cover Story Girl written by my friend Chris Mariano for Mina V. Esguerra’s romance class, was previously published independently. It’s a romance novella set in Boracay Island, one of the most popular beaches in the Philippines and features a Filipino guy who works as an assistant museum curator and a Korean tourist who visits the beach. It will be re-published by Visprint as part of their romance class series. Yay Visprint for publishing more Filipino romances!

The cover was illustrated by Jamie Bauza . I think it’s a good fit for the story and I like the summery vibe of the design. I also noticed that the design includes items that are significant to the story such as calamansi muffins.

New cover and blurb:
Cover-Story-Girl

Cover-Story-Girl-2

About the Author:
Cover (Story) Girl is Chris Mariano’s first published romance work, but her speculative fiction and poetry have appeared in Fully Booked’s Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards Prose Anthology, Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume 7, TAYO Literary Magazine, and Ideomancer. When she’s not writing,she supports Eskritoryo Pilipinas, an organization that encourages kids to appreciate Filipino literature and culture. Chris divides her time between Manila and Aklan. Boracay is a two-hour trip from their home in Kalibo. She’s also a fan of Korean telenovelas, which is why common K-drama plot devices are referenced in the story. She’s already working on her next novella, also set in Aklan.

Follow Chris through Twitter or her blog. Chris will be at the Manila International Book Fair 2015 on September 17 to sign books from 1:30 to 3:30 pm, in case you’re planning to attend the event.

A Rose in Winter by Laura Florand

No Place Like HomeA Rose in Winter by Laura Florand is a novella in the No Place Like Home anthology. It’s set during Christmastime in Grasse, in the south of France. I read and loved it last December but wasn’t able to review it. I recently reread it on my flight back to Singapore because I wanted to be reminded of Aix-en-Provence and this is the closest that I could get because I haven’t read any novels set in Aix. At least Aix and Grasse are in the same region!

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Allegra Caldron knew the rule never to talk to strangers. But on a cold winter night in Provence, she breaks that rule – and more – with an irresistible man. Raoul Rosier seems thrillingly dangerous, yet why does Allegra feel so safe with him – even when she believes he’s a thief?

If Laura Florand’s Amour et Chocolat series is all about chocolate then her La Vie en Roses series is all about perfume. Each of the La Vie en Roses books feature a Rosier cousin. The Rosier clan own and control a significant portion of the world’s perfume business through their company. A Rose in Winter is Raoul’s story. Raoul has spent several years in Africa, establishing his family’s foothold in that region, and is itching to settle back home in Provence where the familiar scents of lavender, rose and jasmine will calm his restless soul. Laura’s writing style paints a vivid picture of the settings of her stories. She makes Grasse seem like such a charming and beautiful place. It’s not surprising that Allegra fell in love with it and decided to stay a while. Given that A Rose in Winter is a novella instead of a full-length novel, the romance gets developed pretty quickly. After all, Allegra’s mom said it best:

Quote from A Rose in Winter

What was Allegra supposed to do when she meets someone she can’t resist? I still felt that there was enough character development in the short span of time that Allegra and Raoul got to know each other. It wasn’t just their attraction that was the focus of the story but also their insecurities and how those affect their budding romance. I loved the Christmas setting of the story and how we get an idea of what a traditional Provencal Christmas is like. I liked how santons, terracotta nativity scene figurines that are only available in Provence, play an important role in the story. I also enjoyed seeing a little bit of the Rosier clan during their Christmas dinner. A Rose in Winter is a delightful installment in the La Vie en Roses series. I really can’t wait to read the next books and find out more about the other members of the Rosier family. Similar to Laura’s other books, there are hints of a particular fairy tale included within the story. Part of the fun in reading Laura’s books is trying to determine what fairy tale is being alluded to so I’ll let the rest of you discover that for yourselves. Prior to reading this, I wasn’t aware that Grasse is the perfume capital of the world. Now I want to visit the place and immerse myself in the world of artisan perfumeries. I ended A Rose in Winter on a happy sigh, dreaming of flying back to France to visit Grasse this time. I would probably end up buying several bottles of perfume if that ever happens.

Aix-en-Provence - santons

Santons in Aix-en-Provence

Young and Scambitious by Mina V. Esguerra

I grabbed Young and Scambitious while it was available for free on Amazon. I think the cover looks great, it has an intriguing and glamorous feel that goes well with the premise. Yesterday, I couldn’t decide what to read next so I thought I’d start on this short story because it would be easy to get into. I started reading it on the train ride on the way to work in the morning and was able to finish it on the way back in the afternoon.

Young and ScambitiousHere’s the summary from Goodreads:

Who is Elizabeth Madrid, exactly? She’s Manila’s latest It Girl–stylish, staple of the club scene, new best friend of famous-for-being-famous Chrysalis Magnolia. She’s also a jewelry clan heiress, a former model, an Ivy Leaguer… except no one actually knew of her until last year. Shouldn’t her new society friends be more suspicious? Especially “BFF” Chrysalis, who reportedly already lost an expensive ring to a friend who turned out to be a thief?

I like that this story focuses on the Manila socialite scene and the people who prey on the rich. While I’ve never been into that kind of scene, I think it’s interesting to read about it. Even though Jane is a con artist, I really liked her as a character. I feel like she’s only doing what she has to do in order to survive. She’s good at playing out different roles and she takes advantage of that skill. I also like that she’s a reader, I think it’s always nice when a character likes to read.

“Jane liked to go to libraries. She spent a lot of time in them growing up, and she had had to grow up in several places. Later she started seeing how each building was different. In one place, old and regal; in another, shabby and musty.

So since the preparation for the Chrysalis Magnolia job had her visit Singapore, a city with a (shiny and modern) public library, she naturally had to go there on her only day free.”

I thought it was pretty cool that the story was partially set in Singapore, in a library! I could totally relate to that. I also liked that even though the story is so short, there was still enough room for some romance. My only issue with this short story is that I felt like the whole thing ended a bit abruptly. I kind of got the feeling there should be more to the ending that what I got. Maybe I wouldn’t have minded if I knew that the ending was meant to leave readers hanging? According to Mina, there will are probable sequels to this but no definite date on when they will be published. I think that will give readers a fuller perspective of the story that was introduced in Young and Scambitious. Check this out if you want a quick read that you can finish in one sitting or if you want to give Mina’s writing a try.