Category Archives: Books

RWA Rita Award Finalists in HR

Today the Romance Writers of America announced the finalists for their coveted RITA awards.  Since This blog deals primarily with Historical Romance I’ve chosen to list those finalists here but you can go to the RWA site to see the finalists in all categories. Those reviewed on this blog will be indicated by a red asteriskUse the search box in the left column to find the book or author and read Deet’s review.

Historical Romance: Long

*How I Married a Marquess by Anna Harrington
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Michele Bidelspach, editor

No Mistress of Mine by Laura Lee Guhrke
Avon Books
Erika Tsang, editor

*Susana and the Scot by Sabrina York
St. Martin’s Press
Monique Patterson, editor

 


Historical Romance: Short

Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare
Avon Books
Tessa Woodward, editor

*Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt
Grand Central Publishing
Amy Pierpont, editor

*A Duke to Remember by Kelly Bowen
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Alex Logan, editor

Left at the Altar by Margaret Brownley
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
Mary Altman, editor

*The Study of Seduction by Sabrina Jeffries
Pocket Books
Micki Nuding, editor

Taming the Highlander by May McGoldrick
St. Martin’s Press, Swerve
Elizabeth Poteet, editor

Romance Writers of America website:

 https://www.rwa.org/p/bl/et/blogid=20&blogaid=1808

 

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Historical Romance Novels; a little history and some info

Historical Romance Novels; a little history and some Info originally posted back in March, 2013.  But still interesting information. (comments are 2 from the original posting.)

Historical Romance Th 2

The modern day romance novel can be attributed to Georgette Heyer who wrote Austen-like novels in the 1930’s.  The Grand Sophie being one of her most famous. From that time until the  early 1970’s there were novels with romantic elements like Forever Amber and  Gone With The Wind to name just a few.  All of these were published in hardcover editions, paperback books being somewhat confined to pulp fiction offerings.

In 1972 all that was about to change when Avon published Kathleen Woodiwiss’ The Flame and The Flower in paperback. It sold over 2 million copies and Woodiwiss followed up in 1974 with The Wolf and The Dove.   Also in 1974 Rosemary Rodgers came on the scene with Sweet Savage Love.  These early  paperback original novels usually had Alpha Males and helpless females with sex often of a violent (rape) nature.  Since the covers often pictured scantily clad women with dominating men leaning over them they were often referred to as “bodice rippers”. This term is not appreciated by current Historical Romance fans and writers.

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Through the 1980’s and 1990’s the genre continued to evolve featuring heroines of a more independent nature and although the heros were still Alpha types they often redeemed themselves and the sex became consensual.  Humor was often added as well as suspense and mystery.  Considered a required feature is a happy-ever-after for the protagonists. The New York Times reports that romance novels,  are the fastest growing segment in ebooks, out-pacing general fiction, mystery and science fiction.

Romance Categories:

Ancient: Egypt; Greece; Rome; etc. – the ancient world.
Dark Ages: from the fall of Rome (410 AD) to 1065.
Medieval: from 1066, up to and including the 17th century.
Georgian: from 1702 to 1811 (the age of reason and freedom).
Regency: from 1811 to 1830 (includes the regency and the kingship).
Western: the wild, wild West! Contemporary or historical.
Colonial: early settlements, exploration, and Southern romances (including Americana).
Victorian: from 1830 to 1901 (including William IV’s reign).
Civil War: America – from 1861 to 1865 (the civil war era).
Vintage: from 1901 to 1945 (Edward VII, World War I, World War II, etc.)
 Celtic: historicals / paranormals / fantasies that take place primarily in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Brittany, etc.
Time Travel: modern-day heroes and heroines thrown back in time to meet their true loves.
Fantasy: dragons, fairies, wizards, and witches – oh my!
Paranormal: vampires, ghosts, werewolves, shape-shifters, goth, etc. Contemporary or historical.
Anthology: must contain at least one genre from above.

(this blog post was referenced from Wikipedia and Historical Romance Club.com)

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Filed under Books, Books Historical Romance, Favorites, Historical Romance, History

Happy Valentine’s Day from Deet

valentine-bookmarks-etsy

Happy Valentine’s Day

You can find these bookmarks and more as a downloadable printable at Esty.

Here is the URL.

Printable Bookmarks

 

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Deet’s Favorite Reads of 2016

Once again I cannot stop at the magic “Ten”.  I always have more favorites than ten.  In fact there are even more favoites than what I have listed here.  But if you are stuck for an absolutely fabulous read then look no further.  If you want to read my review of any of these gems, just go to the search box and plug in either the title or the author and it will direct you to that review (and possibly others by that author). Many are part of a series but most are also standalone novels. In the case of a series you will find the others in that series just as good.

Favorite Reads of 2016

Paper and E-Books:

1.       How I Married A Marquess by Anna Harrington (The Secret Life of Scoundrels #3)

2.       The Redemption of Julian Price by Victoria Vane

3.       Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt (Maiden Lane Series #10)

4.       Mad About The Marquess by Elizabeth Essex

5.       Once Upon A Moonlit Night by Elizabeth Hoyt

6.       The Headmaster by Tiffany Reisz

7.       The Legendary Lord by Valerie Bowman

8.       Lucifer (Vampires In America #12) by D.B. Reynolds

9.       The Dare and The Doctor by Kate Noble

10.   Campbell’s Redemption by Sharon Cullen

11.   Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane #11) by Elizabeth Hoyt

12.   Twas The Night Before Scandal by Christi Caldwell and Eva Devon (Two Novellas)

13.   A Match Made in Mistletoe by Anna Campbell

14.   The Cyn and Raphael Novellas (Vampires In America) by D.B. Reynolds(this series is a must read)

15.       The Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt (I might have read this last year, but I’m crazy for all of Hoyt’s books.)

16. The Hunter by Kerrigan Byrne (Terrific new author, dark historical romance)

 

Audiobooks:

1.       The Parfit Knight (Rockliffe #1) by Stella Riley, audiobook, Alex Wyndham narrator

2.       The Mesalliance (Rockliffe #2) by Stella Riley, audiobook, Alex Wyndham narrator

3.       The Player By Stella Riley, audiobook, Alex Wyndham narrator

4.       The Rogue’s Wager(Sinful Brides #1) by Christi Caldwell, Tim Campbell narrator

5.       Flowers From The storm by Laura Kinsale, Nicholas Boulton

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E-Reader Bargain- Kiss of Midnight by Lara Adrian

kiss-of-midnight

This is the first book in Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breed Series and You can get it for e-reader for $1.99 for a limited time.  Also if you buy the e-book you can get the audio book for $3.99. Both prices a true bargain for a terrific series. (the regular price is e-book=$7.99 and audiobook=$24.99.) Filled with heart pounding action and heart stopping drama along with sizzling romance.

This series is one of my favorite vampire series.  It is right up there with Vampires In America by D.B. Reynolds and Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward. Here is your chance to try it or add it to your keeper shelf.

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Recent Release Review-The Untouchable Earl by Amy Sandas

the-untouchable-earl

Title: The Untouchable Earl (Fallen Ladies, book #2)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Amy Sandas

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, Nov. 2016

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 416

Rating: 2

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

He’s a reclusive Earl with a painful secret that’s kept him from knowing a lover’s touch. She’s a sheltered debutante tired of living by society’s rules. But when she’s forced from the ballroom to the brothel, Lily discovers the dark thrill of falling from grace…and into the arms of a man who could destroy her as easily as he saved her.

Lily Chadwick has spent her life playing the respectable debutante. But when an unscrupulous moneylender snatches her off the street and puts her up for auction at a pleasure house, she finds herself in the possession of a man who fills her with breathless terror and impossible yearning.

Though the Earl of Harte claimed Lily with the highest bid, he hides a painful secret—one that has kept him from knowing the pleasure of a lover’s touch. Even the barest brush of skin brings him physical pain, and he’s spent his life keeping the world at arm’s length. But there’s something about Lily that maddens him, bewitches him, compels him…and drives him toward the one woman brave and kind enough to heal his troubled heart.

“Are you afraid?” “Yes,” she replied in a soft voice. “But I love the way you frighten me.”

**

That description sounds intriguing, right? Well, I thought so, that’s why after reading book #1 (Luck Is No Lady) in this series and giving it 4 stars I thought this one would be just as good if not better.  I was wrong.  Although it has a terrific premise the execution was downright repetitive. The book starts out good, but then it becomes the same scene done a slightly different way over and over.  I didn’t like the characters and although they “talked” attraction, I never got the feeling that there was very much emotional attachment. Yes, he saved her, yes, he stares into her eyes forever and she his, yes, he acts mysterious…wait, that’s not mysterious, that’s just boredom.

Okay, you get it, this one I can’t recommend.  

 

 

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Review-Faithful by Alice Hoffman

faithful

Title: Faithful

Genre: Literary Fiction

Author: Alice Hoffnman

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Nov. 1, 2016

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 272

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5 (not explicit)

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt. What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

**

The book blurb pretty much says it all. This a story of the journey from the depths of despair to the realization of dreams and happiness. Shelby is nearly totally destroyed by the accident that left her best friend in a vegetative coma.  She struggles through that despair with drugs, time in the mental ward and self-hatred by shaving her head. She makes mistakes that cost her emotionally but at the same time encourage her growth as a mature person.  The prose in this book is superb, the characterization of every character true to each personality.  You will laugh and cry for Shelby and with her but you won’t forget this book.

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Advance Review- Lucifer by D.B. Reynolds

lucifer

Title: Lucifer (Vampires In America: The Vampire wars, book11)

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Suspense

Author: D.B. Reynolds

Publisher: ImaJinn, Nov. 18, 2016 (preorder available)

Source: Free For review from the publisher

Pages: 303

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5+

Violence Rating: 5+

Description from Amazon.com:

Montreal, Quebec . . . A charming city on the St. Lawrence River, historic, sophisticated, but beneath it all lies an extensive underground where treacherous vampires are plotting to seize the country. Lucifer Scuderi is a vampire—handsome and charismatic, a powerful hunter of unusual skill—who arrives in Montreal to take on the most important hunt of his life. Someone has kidnapped the mate of Canada’s ruling vampire lord, and it’s up to Lucifer to find him before his death sets off a crisis that could engulf the entire continent. Eleanor Morel lost everything—including the love of her life—when she became a vampire. But now, twenty years later, she’s a trusted bodyguard to the Canadian lord, Sophia, and the only person Sophia can count on to lead the search for her endangered mate. But what Eleanor doesn’t know is that the special hunter she’ll be working with is none other than her long-lost love. And he’s demanding answers. Lucifer’s love for Eleanor burns as hot as his anger towards her for leaving him. But they’ll have to find a way to set history aside and work together if they’re going to unravel the twisted betrayal that threatens not only Sophia and her mate, but the whole continent. Because the European vampires are on the move. And if Canada falls, the rest of North America could follow . . .

(D. B. Reynolds is the RT and EPIC Award-Winning author of the Vampires in America series of paranormal romance and an Emmy-nominated television sound editor. She lives with her husband of many years in a flammable canyon near Los Angeles, and when she’s not writing her own books, she can usually be found reading someone else’s. Visit her blog at dbreynolds.com for details on all of her books, for free stories, and more.)

**

I’m always wondering how to classify the genre of the Vampires In America Series.  Yes, it is Paranormal Romance but it is also Urban Fantasy, Romantic Suspense and Erotic Romance.  It is romance in that the focus is always on the romantic involvement of the main characters but the running side story is all about vampire politics which is often violent and conniving.  In this installment we are treated to the most romantic of all of Reynolds’ vampires.  Lucifer Scuderi loved Eleanor before she was made a vampire and lost her twenty years ago. Now he finds her again as his aide in recovering the kidnapped Colin and he has no intentions of losing her again. Eleanor is still besotted with Lucifer but thinks that their relationship is doomed because she thinks two vampires cannot find happiness together. Together they make a formidable team in the search for Colin.

This series is still going strong after eleven books which is to the credit of terrific writing and an author not afraid to change things up. Always, Ms. Reynolds’ heroines are feisty and quite able to take care of themselves in this violent world. Eleanor is a vampire to be reckoned with. Humans, those not a love interest of the protagonists, are relegated to bit-part players, usually as daytime trusted guards of the vampires. I would like to see humans playing a more pivotal role in the series. There is a lot of sex in this book. A lot! I personally would have liked less because the story did not need this amount to carry the plot or theme. I even found myself skipping some sex scenes, which is far beyond what I usually do, so I could get back to the meat of the story. The action scenes are truly well choreographed and leave us biting our nails to wait for the end of the confrontation.  The suspense is riveting.

This is a superb addition to a superb series.  Yes, this is a standalone book but you would do well to enjoy the entire series starting with book #1 RAPHAEL. You can type in my search box Vampires In America to find my reviews for all of the books in the series.

 

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Recent Release Review- All The Little Liars by Charlaine Harris

all-the-little-liars

Title: All The Little Liars (An Aurora Teagarden Mystery, book #9)

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Author: Charlaine Harris

Publisher: Minotaur, October 2016

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 240

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 2

Description from Amazon.com:

Aurora Teagarden is basking in the news of her pregnancy when disaster strikes her small Georgia town: four kids vanish from the school soccer field in an afternoon. Aurora’s 15-year-old brother Phillip is one of them. Also gone are two of his friends, and an 11-year-old girl who was just hoping to get a ride home from soccer practice. And then there’s an even worse discovery—at the kids’ last known destination, a dead body.

While the local police and sheriff’s department comb the county for the missing kids and interview everyone even remotely involved, Aurora and her new husband, true crime writer Robin Crusoe, begin their own investigation. Could the death and kidnappings have anything to do with a group of bullies at the middle school? Is Phillip’s disappearance related to Aurora’s father’s gambling debts? Or is Phillip himself, new to town and an unknown quantity, responsible for taking the other children? But regardless of the reason, as the days go by, the most important questions remain. Are the kids still alive? Who could be concealing them? Where could they be?

With Christmas approaching, Aurora is determined to find her brother…if he’s still alive.

**

I am delighted that Charlaine Harris has written another Aurora Teagarden mystery.  I have read all of the Teagarden books and have enjoyed every one and this one is no exception.  These are “cozy mysteries” in that there may be violence but it is not graphic and gory.  These are more in the who-done-it variety.

In this addition we find Aurora newly married and expecting her first child. She and new husband Robin set out to solve the mystery of her missing half-brother, Phillip. It is not too difficult to figure out who the villain is in this book.  I wish we had a few more red-herrings thrown in, but it is still a page turner and also a standalone in the series.

If you like figuring out the bad guy and don’t want gore then I recommend this book for a very entertaining read.

 

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Review not by Deet( You’re gonna love this one)

I haven’t read this book.  That doesn’t mean I won’t, but what follows the blurb is one of the funniest reviews I have ever read on Amazon.  Tell me, would you read this book after reading that review? Read the blurb first.  ( I love this cover!! That gown is to die for!)

a-reliable-wife

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Book Blurb:

Rural Wisconsin, 1909. In the bitter cold, Ralph Truitt, a successful businessman, stands alone on a train platform waiting for the woman who answered his newspaper advertisement for “a reliable wife.” But when Catherine Land steps off the train from Chicago, she’s not the “simple, honest woman” that Ralph is expecting. She is both complex and devious, haunted by a terrible past and motivated by greed. Her plan is simple: she will win this man’s devotion, and then, ever so slowly, she will poison him and leave Wisconsin a wealthy widow. What she has not counted on, though, is that Truitt — a passionate man with his own dark secrets —has plans of his own for his new wife. Isolated on a remote estate and imprisoned by relentless snow, the story of Ralph and Catherine unfolds in unimaginable ways.

With echoes of Wuthering Heights and Rebecca, Robert Goolrick’s intoxicating debut novel delivers a classic tale of suspenseful seduction, set in a world that seems to have gone temporarily off its axis.

**

A 2-star Amazon review

By Alyssa Donati on March 20, 2012

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

as he flung her onto the crimson horsehair settee and ravaged her like a wild dingo. He bathed in her flesh, he scooped it up like rich creamy yogurt until her swarthy lover burst in and brandished a large shotgun. “Release that venomous tart!” He bellowed. “Never! I must have her! I shall devour her completely until only one dazzling amber eyeball remains!”

No, this is not a quote from Goolrick or A Reliable Wife, HOWEVER it could have been.

A reliable Wife is not terrible. There are some beautifully written passages and it does commence with an intriguing plot but unfortunately midway through the book begins to morph into a dime store bodice ripper. Goolrick’s protagonist is a miserable aging man who craves sex so much you begin to worry he’s going to go completely nuts one day and mount the portly old housekeeper when she’s taking out the trash. He winds up advertising for a wife and when she arrives he turns into Charlie Sheen (the new one with the Tiger Blood and porn Goddesses…) From then on the book’s plot becomes so preposterous and the sexual encounters so salacious and repetitive it’s truly hard to maintain interest. In addition to the bacchanalian sex, the sprawled limbs, the moist loins, the heaving bosoms etc…every character in this novel basically wants to drop dead (that is, if they’re not in the middle of intercourse.) Truly, I have never seen so many homicidal, suicidal, morose, pissed off, seething, wretched individuals crammed into one book. So, in summation, if you like watching irate vengeful people savagely engage in coitus and then drop dead, you might like this book.

(Deet says: I came across this book because it was on one of those Buy this for $1.99 deals I get in my e-mail so often.) 

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