Review: Knight of Love by Catherine LaRoche

knight of loveHero: The hero has a complicated name. He is Wolfram von Wolfsbach und Ravensworth, also known as Wolf, the English Earl of Ravensworth. He first meets the heroine when he’s undercover as a blacksmith in Prince Kurt’s court, where he finds her being publicly whipped for a small infraction to the amusement of the Prince. Barely able to contain himself, Wolf watches and then volunteers to carry Lenora upstairs where he gives her a large knife for protection.

Heroine: Despite appearances to the contrary, Lady Lenora Trevelyan is not a damsel in distress. She is resourceful and determined to make her escape on her own… no knight in shiny armor needed. She successfully escapes her abusive fiancé, Prince Kurt von Rotenburg-Gruselstadt and is galloping toward freedom and safety with the English/German diplomat… and gets captured by rebels just days down the road. The head of the rebel camp is none other than the blacksmith who gave her the knife.

Review: The hero is an unusual mix of beta and alpha characteristics. He’s very flowery in his language, chivalrous, and believes in love at first sight, but is also skilled at war, believes in civil rights of man (and woman,) and carefully controlling to ensure all is in his favor. For my tastes, I would have had less flowery language and more determined wooing. Wolf arranges a wedding to Lenora in order to protect her – this battlefield wedding is hardly legit as she didn’t give her consent. Still, he consummates the marriage in a forced seduction that evening. It is a heartbreaking (and erotic) experience for both of them which makes it successful. That night destroys what trust Lenora had in him. Now she’s plotting a new escape… but it’s harder to break the touch of silk than the touch of iron. There’s also an erotic scene where Lenora is in full control of Wolf and that is also successful as it is healing for both. I felt the story fell short when it changed locations from Germany to England. It was a night and day difference and the smoldering passion cooled quickly. Definitely a memorable read.

[Rating:3.5]

Buy: Knight of Love

Review: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, Book 2) by Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night by Deborah HarknessReviewed by Sharon S.

I had heard wonderful things about A Discovery of Witches so when I got an opportunity to review the sequel Shadow of Night I thought, perfect! Unfortunately this is a series that needs to be read in order. Harkness did a great job of catching the reader up on her world building, except for what Daemon are. I still don’t know anything about them and considering one of the main characters in this book, Kit Marlow, is one I would think Harkness would have mentioned more about them. What you don’t get by skipping the first book is the emotional connection to the main couple Diana and Matthew. I can tell it was a passionate and emotionally volatile romance, but without it I wasn’t able to fully appreciate Shadow of Night. I love first person POV, but I found Diana a bit sterile and boring in her account of events. The subject matter is fabulous and I recognize and respect what Harness has accomplished with this book and the series as a whole, but I just didn’t like Diana.

Now, Matthew is whole other story. I love a complex and emotionally damaged paranormal Alpha male. Matthew is a 1500 year old vampire and in this book he must face the past he has never really been able to let go of. He is the perfect blend of powerful, sexy and scary. It is because we only see him through Diana’s eyes that make him so mysterious and absolutely delicious! I plan on reading the first book just to experience more Matthew. Another character I connected too was Matthew’s father Philippe, and watching these two interact was heartbreaking and touching.

I don’t know about A Discovery of Witches, but Shadow of Night is more like a historical, which isn’t my favorite genre. I got tired of Diana’s constant commentary on her surroundings and the ways of Elizabethan period. I do appreciate the effort it took Harkness to weave factual history and her made up world into one story.

I honestly don’t think I can rate this book in a fair manner. If you have read the first one and loved it, then you are going to go nuts over this one. There are tons of surprises that I am sure you won’t see coming (isn’t that mean <G>, but I can’t spoil). If you haven’t read the first book yet, then do so before picking this one up. And lift some weights, because this book is almost 600 pages long! I am going to give the book 3.5 stars when read as a stand-alone.

[Rating:3.5] (as a stand alone novel)

Buy: Shadow of Night: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy)

Private Jets in Regency England?

meganmulryroyalpainGuest Blog by Megan Mulry, author of A Royal Pain

Thanks so much for having me! Whenever I look at the name of your blog, there’s always a voice in my mind saying, “Check. Check. Check!” When I started reading romance novels I was like a really bad addict. I wanted it all—Dukes. Earls. Ball gowns. Private jets.

Wait. What? Private jets in Regency England?

And I didn’t want time travel. I wanted a duke. And I wanted him now. As in the present. I wanted him all reserved and proper (which is really just a veneer over all that roiling passion and encouraging prowess to bring the heroine to…well, you get the picture). I came to this genre pretty late in life, via Julia Quinn and Judith McNaught and Amanda Quick. I love snappy dialogue and I love angst. I can tolerate even the most protracted, diabolical misunderstandings if the characters have me hooked. Flowers from the Storm, for example? Just yes.

So how did I get from there to A Royal Pain? The short answer is I have no clue. But let’s just pretend for the sake of this blog that I have the slightest idea as to how or why any of this came to be. So there I am reading every Amanda Quick at the public library, plowing through McNaught and Quinn and Eloisa James. I’m still chugging along. I’m reading and reading, not even giving a thought to writing and then BAM! it hits me. I want something…a mash-up. I want all the meticulous social observation of the drawing room Regency and the powerful Duke (the one in A Royal Pain is very responsible, but don’t worry, in Earl Meets Girl his younger brother is a horrible reprobate in need of the redemption that only one kind-hearted American girl can give him)…but I digress.

Right. No time travel! I just wasn’t feeling this as a time travel idea. But I couldn’t let go of wanting all that buttoned-up duke-ish manpower right here in the midst of our (supposedly) sexually liberated present. Guess what? Turns out you can write whatever the hell you want when you don’t have an agent or a book deal! (In fact, you can do that after you have an agent and a book deal, too…but it becomes slightly more complicated…apparently readers develop something called “expectations”…but that would be another blog!) Anyway, I pretty much just sat down and tried to weave all of those ideas and emotions into one big story. And if I was able to draw upon some of the crap that life had thrown me, all the better. Writers are allowed—nay, encouraged!—to use every last bit of that…imaginary…stuff. Mostly imaginary. Reified, maybe?

Well, anyway. I suppose I followed the write-what-you-want-to-read rule before I had ever heard of that rule. And I wanted it hot. So I did that, too. I made it steamy. As my editor said, “I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I think we might need to take out a few of the sex scenes.” And if it turns out that other people end up liking the duke and the jets and the, ahem, intimacy, well, that’s like the world’s best cherry on top. Because, like any good addict, I merely grew up to become a supplier.

Buy: A Royal Pain

GIVEAWAY: 1 copy of A Royal Pain up for grabs. Open to US or CAN readers. Enter by leaving a comment. Share some of the ideas you love to read and want written! Last day to enter: November 24, 2012.

Review: Wild Rides by Elizabeth Coldwell

Reviewed by Sharon S.

Ridden Hard, Stud to Go, Layover… A collection of three intensely erotic gay novellas – prepare yourself for a Wild Ride!

Whew! I think I need to fan myself after reading these stories <G>.  I read and reviewed Ridden Hard a while back for LRP and gave it 5 stars. So when I got a chance to read more by Coldwell I jumped at the chance. I always say I don’t like erotica, but I think I might have to rethink that when it comes to m/m romances. These three stories are over the top, throwing every possible sexual scenario at you in a very short amount of time. Ben, the lead character in Stud to Go manages to be involved in voyeurism, BDSM, ménage, masturbation and probably some others I forgot, with multiple people. In his defense, he was working as a male escort.

These stories worked for me because of how well developed and likable the characters are.  Each story is told in the first person POV, which I am quite fond of. I immediately loved each lead character. They are good natured, funny and all around nice guys. Coldwell has a talent for writing wonderful characters and she will have you rooting for them and their HEA, which they all get I might add.  The sex might be rough and crazy, but the romance behind all that is so strong and sweet it will leave you wanting more.

My favorite of the three was Stud to Go. I loved Ben and Jeroen. It is almost like a m/m version of Pretty Woman (for those who remember that one <G>). Layover was my least favorite of the three, but I still liked it! We are talking 5 stars vs 4 stars, but I didn’t feel the same connection between Cal and Justin as I did with the other two couples.

If you like m/m, HEA, and freaking hot sex, then you will love this collection 🙂

[Rating:5]

Buy: Wild Rides

Review: The Forbidden Wife by Sharon Kendrick

Before you start: Have you read Jane Eyre? Did you like it? Well The Forbidden Wife followed Jane Eyre to a Tee, which is great if you love Jane Eyre (which I do) but awful if you’re looking for new surprises (I was and there wasn’t any).

Heroine: 18 year old Ashley Jones is an orphan who grew up in the foster care system. She’s got lots of debt and so desires jobs that include room and board. She’s pretty perceptive and has a lot of insights on people’s behavior because of her upbringing. Working as Jack’s live-in assistant at Blackwood Manor is her ticket for something better, even if it’s located out in the middle of nowhere on the moors.

Hero: 30 something Jack Marchant is working on a novel about his experiences in the military where something bad happened (but is never explained). He suffers a lot from bad dreams which might be indicative of PTSD (but again never specifically stated). He wants Ashley, his little oddball, something fierce, but the trick is making her realize she wants him and can have him.

Wife in the Attic: Or in this case the cruel wife in a coma. She tricked Jack into marriage with a fake pregnancy, which he honored even after finding out because he didn’t want her to swindle him out of money for a marriage that was only 3 months old and also because his pride demanded he make it work anyway.

Review: I wanted Forbidden Wife to do more. If it explored more emotional depth out of Ashley and Jack it could have been a solid update on Jane Eyre. I found this review of the story hilarious because it really tells it like it is.

[Rating:2.5]

Buy: The Forbidden Wife (Harlequin Presents)

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