Tag Archives: ebook

Larissa Ione – “Snowbound”

15 Feb

GENRE: Romance / Contemporary
PUBLISHED: Samhain Publishing, 2007

SERIES:

WHY THIS NOVEL: I had a gift certificate for an online ebook shop, this was available for a reduced price.

Passion hot enough to melt the slopesand their hearts. Thanks to a devastating medical diagnosis, ski patroller Sean Trenton has endured two years of celibacy. Two long years that have chipped away at his confidence. Now, with the career opportunity of a lifetime on the line, he’s ready to remedy the celibacy situation, and sexy snowbunny Robyn Montgomery is just what the doctor ordered. Unfortunately, the last thing reliable, intense radio station manager Robyn Montgomery wants in her suddenly turbulent professional and personal life is a thrill-seeking former Olympic skier even if he is a total hottie. Shes had it with guys who hog the spotlight and leave her in the shadows. So why is it that even an icy blizzard can’t temper the combustible heat between them?

Robyn is the successful music director of a radio station in Chicago. That’s probably as far as you can get from the fat, teased and scorned teenage girl she’s been in high school in a famous ski resort where everybody expected her to never leave town and just take over her parents’ bakery. But in this story, she’s going back for a high school reunion. She intends to show them all how far she has come. For that, she’s planning to bring along a (semi) celebrity (her ex) and she’s also volunteered to organize the traditional charity auction.

Only, it doesn’t work out as planned. Her ex cancels at the last possible moment which doesn’t only mean she has to show up at the reunion alone, it also means she has no celebrity to emcee the charity auction. She’ll look like a bungling idiot again. Her best friend Karen urges her to worry less and instead take the time to enjoy herself and “find some hunky ski guys to play hide-the-mitten with.”

Sean Trenton seems to fit that bill. Instant attraction, sexy hunk, a ski patroller (no celebrity!), fun and easy to talk to – the perfect material for a fling for the time Robyn stays in her former home town. That is, until Robyn realizes who Sean exactly is: a former winner of an Olympics medal (skiing). And just like that, Sean is out of the running. Robyn doesn’t want another involvement with someone famous because when it’s over (as a fling tends to do), there’ll be constant reminders of their time together thanks to the celebrity status.

Sean is at a crossroads in his life. Two years ago, he had to leave behind his life as a very successful and famous skier because of an accident. He settled into his life as a ski patroller fairly well but he’s looking for a change to spice things up and make them more like they had been before. For that, he contemplates a career in media as a sports announcer which would give him back some of his former life, he thinks – fame and an easy access to women. Of course, for the women part to work out it would help if he could work up a real sexual interest for the first time in two years. On top of that, or possibly the reason for it, there’s also something mysterious going on which makes Sean afraid to go horizontal with women.

So Sean is on the lookout for a likely candidate to get him over his anxiety concerning bedroom activities. For that, he’s at a bar after work together with his friend Todd. Sean sees a woman who is exactly the type of woman he went for before his accident – and who looks like a “sure thing” – and nada. He sees Robyn, he takes notice and things perk up. Robyn’s very different from the type of woman he went after before but Sean isn’t about to complain or question his attraction.

And that’s only the beginning. Robyn’s and Sean’s reasons for getting involved with each other and what they want from each other change again and again as they get to know each other better. Paralleling this, they also figure out who they are and what they want for their lives. Robyn faces her past and Sean faces his future. I liked that their problems partly revolved around the same issues (like the question of fame, for example). Both Robyn and Sean deal with their problems in a slightly immature way in the beginning (Robyn wanting to show off, Sean more or less hiding from it) but this changes. I also liked that they get to know each other (translation: they talk), their attraction and chemistry, and the dialog in general.

Todd leaned back in the booth and threw an arm over the back, blocking her. “Come on. Take pity on the guy. His dry spell has lasted longer than the Sahara’s. Help him get the ball rolling again.”
If Sean could have crawled into a hole and died, he would have. The heat in his face now had nothing to do with Robyn or the fire crackling nearby.
Robyn’s lips quivered with the need to smile, and her husky voice dripped with laughter. “I’m sorry, but I’m not interested in rolling Sean’s balls.”
“Sean’s ball,” Todd corrected, “I said he’s trying to get his ball rolling, not balls.”
“You know,” Sean said in the lightest tone he could manage, “I’m not sure I’m comfortable with this conversation about my balls.”
“Or lack of them.” Todd grinned. (ch. 2)*

If I would be asked to come up with something to complain about, the only thing that comes to mind is that it’s rather predictable in what will be the big conflict. You know the stumbling blocks on their way to their HEA the moment they’re mentioned the first time in the story. You know that it’s coming but before that you’re treated to watching two people trying to figure out what they want from each other and what they could mean to each other. You see them making a connection and building a relationship, as unlikely as that might have seemed at the beginning.

Nearly in the same vein, predictable but not really bothering, I see the reason for Sean’s reluctance to get intimate with a woman and the way Robyn’s former tormentors at school act today. I wasn’t exactly disappointed, that’s too strong a word, but maybe resigned because it wasn’t the big deal I was lead to expect based on the way he behaved (which seems to be the case rather often with romance novels). But then again, Sean’s story is about finding himself and growing, so it fits. And the way Robyn’s former high school tormentors treated her after all these years…let’s just say I have the impression that in this kind of story, romance novels are peopled with characters who don’t grow up by obligation. Or as Sean says:

“Yeah, it’s amazing,” he said and Janice and Gigi exchanged looks of mutual satisfaction. “Amazing that ten years later, you still act like you’re in high school.” (ch. 11)*

Snowbound is a nice, fun, warm and heartfelt straight contemporary romance with two likable and well-drawn protagonists who share a strong attraction and have good chemistry. I really enjoyed reading Snowbound and I would love to read more contemporaries by Ione.

Verdict: I liked it. (strong 4/5)

* the page wouldn’t tell you much because I read it as an ebook

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Something To Read With

3 Jan

The Boyfriend really surprised me for Christmas. He got me this:

Sony Reader PRS-505

I was SQUEE! and YIKES! and WORRY! at the same time. I couldn’t believe it.

Squee because it’s totally cool and because I haven’t looked at the Sony Reader in months.

Yikes because now I need to start bothering with all the different formats available for ebooks and in which format best to buy.

Worry because I have no idea where to buy my ebooks. Yes, there are online bookshops in my country that sell ebooks, even some ebooks in English. But form a cursory look a few days ago, the books seem more expensive than their paperbook editions and the selection is small. I guess I need to look into UK bookshops to get ebooks in English. I don’t think I’ll have much luck with shops based in North America because of regional rights which is really a bummer.

But I managed to load all the free ebooks I collected over the last few years on my Sony Reader. There are now over 60 books (romance, fantasy, science fiction mostly) on it. That should keep me for a while.

So for now, I concentrate on the cool. In a few days/weeks, I’ll concentrate on finding out about formats and all those other pesky details. And then I’ll worry about where to buy my ebooks.

The 60+ ebooks I have should keep until then. That is I hope they’ll keep because honestly, I love reading on my Sony Reader.

Books I Would Buy Again

8 Jan

I’ve yet to see a dedicated e-book reader in RL. Just walking into a store and looking at the thing is out of the question here. The closest I came to it was a few days ago when I saw this leaflet:

sony-leaflet

in a book store, announcing Sony’s Reader to be available in spring (no price announced…). There is also talk about the Kindle coming to Europe.

Anyway, with all the talk about readers and Christmas recently on some blogs, I thought about which romance novels I would buy again if I had a device for reading ebooks (disregarding DRM for now). The titles I came up with are not necessarily all books I consider “perfect” or 5/5 but all are books I would want to have with me for some reason.

Here’s my list of books I would probably buy first for a second time:

  • Judith Ivory – Black Silk
  • Laura Kinsale – The Prince of Midnight
  • Stephanie Laurens – A Secret Love
  • Linnea Sinclair – Gabriel’s Ghost
  • J. R. Ward – Lover Eternal

I wanted to keep the list short. I mean, paying for those five books is quite some money already. And most of all, I would want to get “new” books.

Of course, there are other books that came to mind. Some other titles, like Meredith Duran’s The Duke of Shadows, for example. But I read this one only recently and I need some more time. Or authors: Megan Hart’s novels; Linnea Sinclair’s other novels; Meljean Brook. Some more – all? I know myself, I would want my collection to be as complete as possible if I had several titles by one author – novels by Judith Ivory and Laura Kinsale. Or Juliet Marillier’s Sevenwaters trilogy or George R. R. Martin’s hope-it-ever-gets-finished “A Song of Ice and Fire” series (for something non-romance).

Just to name a few.

Would you do this, too? Which books would be on your list?

One Post, Two Things

14 Dec

Some days ago, I read a post on Dear Author about the pricing of ebooks. I actually don’t want to write anything about the stupidity to set a higher price on an ebook than on a mmp. It’s so self-evident that it’s a VERY BAD IDEA, I don’t know what to say further.

Just: I don’t have an ebook-reader and I won’t have one for a very long time if the prices don’t come down and the DRM business is solved. I’m much too scared of the possibility that I’ll have to flush my library of ebooks down the drain in a few years time because I can no longer read the books.

But the post made me think about two other, slightly connected things.

1. The price decides if I buy a book not exactly on my wish list

Examples? Recently, I bought Deanna Raybourn’s Silent in the Grave and Jo Beverley’s Christmas Angel because I could get them for much less than their usual price. Raybourn is a historical mystery and I seldom buy mysteries. I buy Jo Beverley’s books when the story sounds interesting. But with a Christmas-related title, I wasn’t so sure. Right or wrong, my impression of Christmas-related stories is that they tend to be too sugary and sweet for me.

I now have both books and I know I won’t regret buying them even if I end up not liking them. Heck, because of the price, I very nearly bought Nalini Singh’s Hostage to Pleasure even though I’m not a fan of this series. I appreciate and like the world Singh has created, but the first three books I read didn’t convince me to stay with the series.

The slight connection to the post on Dear Author?

The obvious conclusion is that pricing ebooks higher than the print editions will never get me to buy them even if I had an ebook reader. But that’s just me.

2. Reminder of a draft I wrote about DRM in games back in October

Angie’s comment (number 18) on that post reminded me of a draft I wrote in October about DRM in games. Until then, I thought I was a somewhat educated buyer of PC games. I knew about copy protection. I didn’t buy games I wanted because I knew of the heavy restrictions they came with. Spore, the game Angie wrote about in a post on her blog, is the most famous, I think.

So, I thought I was informed. I thought I did my duty by not buying games like BioShock, Mass Effect or Sacred 2. I’m not sure what I thought the copy protection on other games did, check for a not copied disk in the player probably. I never bothered to think about how they do that. I found out.

In October, I stumbled upon a blog post about DRM in Fallout 3 (sorry, no link). There I learned some interesting things about copy protection and SecuRom and followed a link to Reclaim your Game, a website informing about games with SecuRom.

SecuRom is basically a third program that comes with installing SecuRom protected games on your PC. There are different versions of it according to the restrictions imposed on the use of the game (see Spore) and I don’t pretend to understand it all, but:
I don’t want software installed on my PC WITHOUT ASKING ME before.
Which is exactly what SecuRom protected games do. Not all of them want to “call home,” but all install unwanted and sometimes even invasive software. ME DON’T WANT!

Currently, there are over 100 games listed on the website. Of course, my PC has SecuRom on it. It came with the very first game I installed on it when it was new: Jade Empire: Special Edition (which has a lesser version of SecuRom).

The slight connection to the post on Dear Author?

The advice on the website what to tell the publishers:

“I am a customer, not a pirate. Don’t treat me like one!”