Audio Review: Disciplining the Duchess by Annabel Joseph

Disciplining the DuchessHero: The Duke of Courtland is known for his subversive bedroom behavior and his uncomfortable preferences. He’s also known for his rigid control and decorum… but that just confirms these “uncomfortable habits.” He’s a dom and is into spanking – the news reaches his father-in-law and fiancée and suddenly he’s jilted while the bride runs off with another. Determined to leave it behind, Court goes to a house party and comes across a most intriguing creature.

Heroine: Miss Harmony Barrett is a spinster in the making. She’s been on the marriage mart for five seasons and is still unmarried. She’s very good at repelling gentlemen of consequence away – but who wouldn’t repel a greasy overblown aristocrat, decades older than yourself? She’s not even allowed to waltz since the debacle at Almacks. A genuine bluestocking, Harmony prefers her books on Mongol hordes over idle chitchat with girls her own age. When it comes to the hero and Mongols, she’s a bit of an airhead.

Review: Harmony is a heroine determined to land herself in the suds. She wants to see a Roman wall so badly she runs off without telling anyone. Lucky for her the Duke was interested in her safety to the point of willingly leg-shackling himself to her in order to fulfill her stubborn desire. (Heroine believes for as long as possible there will be no consequences to her misadventure.) The story is definitely erotica and for the most part works really well and comes across sexy. But as with most BDSM set-ups the hero is unaware of when he takes it too far and it causes emotional and physical strife for the heroine. That’s always difficult for me especially when the reasoning behind the “big punishment” is so stupid. Court wants Harmony to be a society duchess, but he’s oblivious to her own desires and the fact that she’s apparently incapable of proper behavior in front of company. He tries to mold her into something she’s not and that there is the “uncomfortable habits” for me. I quite liked the heroine just as she was – earnest, eager, and ditzy. The heroine pulls off a “perfect submission” as an innocent punishment for the hero (she’s really trying to be exactly what he wants.) It becomes very clear to Court that the perfect sub and featureless woman is not what he truly desires… and then comes the groveling. Epilogue was meh for me. Overall, why it works so well is how much it reads like a “normal” Regency romance novel with a little extra added.

Narrator: Emma Kent is great. She makes the heroine sound young and airy (and occasionally earnestly ditzy). She handled the bedroom scenes very well and in a way that pulled you further into the story. In my opinion she was integral in how the novel read to listeners. I can’t think of another narrator that would have fit as perfectly as she did.

Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Disciplining the Duchess, Disciplining the Duchess (Audiobook)

Dark Hero or Creepy Psycho: Vampires in Contemporary Romance

Guest blog by Kenya Wright, author of Fire Baptized and The Burning Bush

Last month, to my husband’s dismay, I bought all of the contemporary romances on the New York Times Bestseller list. Usually, I only read paranormal romance, but I decided to explore other genres. What I discovered shocked me. It was an interesting phenomenon. Heroines, insane enough to fall for men that most women would run from shrieking in horror, filled the pages.

Now I’m not denying that these guys weren’t sexy or that the books weren’t page-turners. I’m just shocked that the dark heroes were so terrifyingly creepy. And then a theory came to me. These guys are just like my crazed blood-lust vampires. So I tested the theory, comparing the contemporary dark heroes to my favorite fanged creatures.

Alpha Male

Gideon Cross (Bared to You) is a powerful millionaire that manages many businesses. He gives the orders and doesn’t receive them. He demands what he wants and expects it handed to him immediately. Christian (Fifty Shades of Grey) is another millionaire who thinks the world belongs to him. Although Travis (Beautiful Disaster) isn’t a millionaire, he has the reputation around campus as a bad boy brawler who takes no mess. Guys think twice before bothering him. Women swoon in his presence.

Emotional Vampire

For me, Travis (Beautiful Disaster) has the ability to suck all the life right out of Abbey. Travis needs constant reassurance that she loves him, gets worried about the outfits she wears, and takes her on an extreme emotional rollercoaster throughout the whole novel. Like my paranormal vampires, one disturbing bite from Travis could drive Abbey into pure insanity. Christian (Fifty Shades of Grey) drowns Anastasia in his emotional baggage. Gideon (Beautiful Disaster) is a bed mate who could traumatize you in the middle of the night if he doesn’t take his pills. (I wish I could explain that further, but it would be a major spoiler.)

Dangerous Sex

In paranormal romance, having sex with a vampire can be dangerous to the heroine’s health. The bloodsucker could go overboard and snap into a vein during climax. The lingering risk is what makes paranormal romance sex scenes intriguing. To me, Christian Grey (Fifty Shades of Grey) provides this same threat of harm while he makes love to Anastasia. He has clear rules that they follow to keep them safe, but the possibility of injury is always present.

Hot Fantasy Lover but Reality Hell No!

I love to read and fantasize about vampire love interests, but if I met a real vampire, I would run to safety while clinging to wooden stakes, silver crosses, and vials of holy water. Like vampires, Gideon, Christian, and Travis are real-life nightmares. These are not the men I would want to dedicate my heart to, and if they arrived at my doorstep holding my daughter’s hand, I would kill them.

All in all this is an interesting development for paranormal romance readers like me that swim in that murky pool of bad boy love. I recommend that if you adore sexy vampires lurking in the night and hovering over an unsuspecting heroine, then you may want to check out the contemporary romance novels I mentioned.

Author Bio: Dark fantasy bestselling author Kenya Wright currently resides in Miami with her three amazing, overactive children, a supportive, gorgeous husband, and three cool black cats that refuse to stop sleeping on her head at night. Visit Kenya http://kenyawright.com/

Buy: Fire Baptized and The Burning Bush

Dark and Damaged Heroes – Why We Love ‘Em

by Elisabeth Naughton, guest blogger and author of Tempted

Thanks so much for inviting me to stop by during my Tempted blog tour! Tempted is the third book in the Eternal Guardians Series, which just hit store shelves on September 6, 2011. The Eternal Guardians are seven warriors descended from the seven greatest heroes in all of Ancient Greece who protect the mortal realm from threats of the Underworld. Tempted is Demetrius’s story. He’s a descendent of the famed hero Jason and he hides a dark and deadly secret—one that could lead to the end of the world.

Demetrius is your classic dark and damaged hero. Readers met him in the first two books in the series (but don’t worry if you’re new to the EG world – you can read Tempted without reading Marked and Entwined first). He’s the loner, the guardian who doesn’t fit in with the others, the one who always seems to have a chip on his shoulder. And to the heroine in Tempted —Isadora, the future queen of their realm—he’s the one who has always ridiculed and belittled her and made it more than clear he doesn’t think she’s qualified to rule.

Of course, Demetrius isn’t what he seems. It’s the façade he’s adopted to keep people away. Because if his fellow Guardians knew who he really was and where he came from, he’d not only be kicked out of the order, the one person he’s been protecting his whole life might find herself in jeopardy.

The damaged (or rat-bastard, as I like to call them) hero is one of my favorite heroes to read and write about. Why? Because, as Shrek said, damaged heroes “have layers”. What you see on the outside is never what you get when you peel away the layers. They feel deeply. They have serious reasons for the things they do and say, and they justify their actions by those reasons but don’t share them with others. And as a reader, it’s just plain fun to see preconceived notions of a person crumble over the course of a book. Often from within.

From the moment Demetrius came on the page in Marked, book one in the series, I knew that he was not as he seemed. But originally, he was not the hero I intended to pair up with Isadora. He was so mean to her, it didn’t make sense to me that they would eventually fall in love. Readers knew long before I did, though, and halfway through book two—Entwined—I realized those readers were right. Demetrius had to be Isadora’s hero. Isadora turns out to be a lot stronger than anyone gave her credit, but it’s really Demetrius and the way he’s treated her over the years that propels her to finally stand up for herself and become the ruler she was meant to be. Without him—and his dark and damaged character—she never would have reached the culmination of her character arc. For me—the writer—that was a heady moment; when I realized they needed each other to get where they both needed to go. And in a romance, that’s exactly what the reader is hoping to see.

Are you a fan of the dark and damaged hero? Who’s your favorite damaged hero? I’d love to hear your view on this topic!

TEMPTED BY ELISABETH NAUGHTON – IN STORES SEPTEMBER 2011

DEMETRIUS—He’s the hulking, brooding warrior even his fellow Guardians avoid. Too dark. Too damaged. And given his heritage, he knows it’s best to keep everyone at arm’s length.

Isadora is missing. The words pound through his head like a frantic drumbeat. For her own protection, Demetrius did all he could to avoid the fragile princess, his soul mate. And now she’s gone—kidnapped. To get her back, he’ll have to go to the black place in his soul he’s always shunned.

As daemons ravage the human realm and his loyalty to the Guardians is put to the ultimate test, Demetrius realizes that Isadora is stronger than anyone thought.

And finally letting her into his heart may be the only way to save them both.

Buy: Tempted

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A former junior high science teacher, Elisabeth Naughton traded in her red pen and test-tube set for a laptop and research books. She now writes sexy romantic adventure and paranormal novels full-time from her home in western Oregon, where she lives with her husband and three children. Her work has been nominated for numerous awards, including the prestigious RITA Awards of Romance Writers of America, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, the Golden Leaf, and the Golden Heart. When not writing, Elisabeth can be found running, hanging out at the ball park, or dreaming up new and exciting adventures. Visit her at www.elisabethnaughton.com to learn more about her and her books. Her next book in the Eternal Guardians series, Enraptured, will be in stores in April 2012.

GIVEAWAY: I have 2 copies of Tempted. Open to US and Canadian readers only. Enter by leaving a comment on sexy dark damaged heroes. Last day to enter: September 30th, 2011.

Romancing Trashy Novels #5

There are over 50 hand selected links in this edition. That’s pretty fan-freaking-tastic if I do say so myself. Due to the crazy amount of awesome content linked to below, I pulled out what I think are the top 10 articles from the batch. If you read nothing else, read these. Have a great Sunday!

Jump to Navigation: Top 10 Posts, Book Reviews, On Genre and Subgenre, Author Interviews, Misc. Fun, On Romance Writing, Book Promotion, Between the Sheets.

Top 10 Posts:

Book Reviews:

On Genre and Subgenre:

Author Interviews:

Misc. Fun:

On Romance Writing:

Book Promotion:

Between the Sheets:

That concludes this awesome blow out edition! Submit your blog article to the next edition of romancing the novel using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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