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Big Myths That Should Be Dispelled About Romance Novels: a romance blogger post by multi-genre author Marie Lavender

Big Myths That Should Be Dispelled About Romance Novels

 

If you’re a fan of romance, then you’ve probably heard an insult or two regarding your favorite genre. And for those who don’t often gravitate towards romance for various reasons, now is the time to listen up and take this into consideration. You might be wrong about your assumptions! 😉 So, read on and learn more here…

I’ll list some myths that I’ve heard and read before.

  1. “It’s all smut.”

    freestocks.org, Unsplash

    Uggh…this word can annoy an avid romance reader. Some might think this myth is outdated, but there are people who still believe romance novels are smut, or trashy reads.

Bodice rippers went out of style by the mid-80s. The genre, as well as authors and readers, have evolved considerably. Erotica is a different subject matter entirely. Plus, bodice rippers promote rape culture, and most romance novels nowadays don’t even touch on that topic in a romantic relationship. With good reason, of course. Both sexual partners should be willing.

‘Mommy porn’ is also a derogative term which is used by certain parties in reference to romance books. Come on, not every romance author writes Fifty Shades-esque material, and readers are certainly not just mothers. Some are single, professional women. Romance readers are intelligent, capable people just as they are, and they’re not reading ‘smut’ or even ‘fluff’. It takes a lot of effort and smarts to digest a full romance novel (historical romance is heavy on time period description) – or in the case of fantasy and sci-fi romance, lots of world-building – in one sitting, and keep coming back for more.

Yuri Efremov, Unsplash

And no, we don’t just skip to the good parts! 🙄

  1. “Gross! I’m a guy. Men don’t read or write romance.”

Geez…get with the times! Men like to read romance too. ♥ For God’s sake, my reviewer for this blog is a guy. He adores reading romance books! And yes, he’s also a romance writer. I’ve also met a handful of other male authors who sometimes write in the romance genre.

There’s nothing wrong at all with dudes getting into romance reads, as writers or readers. More power to them! 😀

  1. “These books are so simple. 1+1 = 2, right? It’s not that difficult to understand.”

Actually, romance stories are complicated. It takes a hell of a lot more than just throwing two unique people next to each other, and then expecting fireworks. Life is full of ups and downs, a roller coaster journey, so to speak. Why wouldn’t a romance read have the same drama and tension?

Created by bearfotos- freepik.com

Authenticity is everything. Readers won’t care about characters or a story which isn’t relatable, or read something that couldn’t feasibly occur in reality. Even if the tale has fantastical elements, we have to believe in what’s happening, and see the reason why these characters are compatible.

Carly Rae Hobbins, Unsplash

  1. “Romance books are standard, or boring! Not for me…I need something that holds my attention.”

Really? With the constant evolution of multiple themes and sub-genres of romance, we’re not likely to run out of new ideas, nor are readers liable to call it quits any time soon. It’s one of the most popular book categories for a reason! 🙂

If you like shapeshifters, there’s always paranormal romance. Who doesn’t like vampires, werewolves or witches?

Favor a good spy tale or mystery/thriller? Try romantic suspense or a romantic thriller for some heart-pounding action.

Do you crave stories that are…a tad darker? There’s a type called dark romance, and even unique themes such as mafia romance or MC (biker) romances are available.

Prefer adventure tales? Maybe fantasy romance or romantic adventure is more your style.

You could be a science fiction fan, but might be willing to try something with a romantic storyline. As you know, many of the most popular sci-fi films usually have a romance angle to appeal to audiences. Why not go for science fiction romance, dystopian romance or even a good time travel tale?

 

Maybe you like stories about war veterans. Well, we have military romance

In other words, this genre has sooooo many options! ♥

  1. “I don’t believe in love at first sight. I can’t get into romance novels.”

Even as someone who has read tons of romance novels in some capacity since the age of thirteen, I can’t say I go for love at first sight either. However, I do believe that two people can connect right away. Lust also happens pretty fast too, but that’s beside the point. With these two facts, I know it still takes time to build a good relationship. I’ve read plenty of novels that don’t fall into the trap of the love at first sight ideal. I think it’s why the ‘Happy for Now’ ending works so well; most novelists get that this is more realistic on some level. I think that a lot of writers these days are doing their best to show that it’s not really love at first sight – rather it’s more about chemistry and an instant connection evolving quickly into something substantial. And this isn’t unheard of in real life.

But we don’t have 1,000 pages to explain the whole courtship/dating period; therefore it falls on the writer to try to make it a believable story in a short amount of time.

As a writer of romance as well, with twenty-four published books and 125+ works-in-progress, I usually do my best to avoid the idea of immediate love. Chemistry is easy, though.

Created by yanalya – freepik.com

It’s everything else that complicates the story. Even in my shorter romantic fiction, I try to explain that enough time – even though I don’t always go into the normal life details – has passed for these two people to actually develop feelings.

With The Missing Piece, a story that was part of a holiday romance anthology and was then made into a single ebook (new adult romance), I was careful to simply show the stirrings of romantic interest in such a short time.

For me, I see insta-love as a notion that often works well for supernatural creatures in fiction, simply because their primal, possessive instincts are winning out over logic. This can merge into affection rather quickly because all of their senses are more heightened than usual. Everything is so vivid that it must be love.

  1. “Romance novels are too sexy. I can’t handle all that heat.”

So steam isn’t for you. We totally respect your preferences! If you find that most romance reads are rife with heated or even graphic content, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Try inspirational romance. Have you seen Amish romance in bookstores? Yeah, that’s one type, among so many others.

But let’s say you’re open to looking outside spiritual reads. Also available on the market are clean romance and sweet romance. Plus, cozy mysteries typically lack sexual content, and amid all the other events in the books, there’s sometimes a romance angle.

In any case, the authors of these clean reads subscribe to the notion of a sweet romance, or at least closed door romance. We’re all adults here, right? But at least if sexual content bothers you in any fashion, you can rest assured that with these types of books, it usually won’t go beyond kissing. And even if it does, what happens is implied and never vividly described. Cut to the next scene!

Anyway, if you believe you can’t read romance because it’s just too hot for your taste, that no longer has to be the case.

  1. “Please…romance novels aren’t even real fiction!”

Hmm…ouch. 😥 Still, this myth is just wrong.

Let’s look at the basic formula for fiction.

The character is introduced. There is some action happening, a type of conflict. Something prevents him from getting what he really wants (usually the antagonist, which can be a person, place, thing, or even a concept). By the end of the story, this character must change in some capacity, internally or externally. The tale reaches its conclusion, however satisfying – or unsatisfying – it may be for readers.

These are the principles of fiction, of course. And you have interactions with secondary characters, dialogue and tension that help shape the story and your idea of who this person is. There’s also the climax of the tale, that pivotal movement when things get really tense for the character – the reader too – and he or she is close to losing everything. But I digress.

Every romance meets the requirements of fiction as well. It’s a lot more than two people being brought together like magnets. Chemistry is just a small part of it. The question becomes…how do we realistically connect these individuals? They have to fit somehow.

Created by yanalya – freepik.com

Numerous elements go into making that happen. There’s a specific plot, as well as subplots. The character must want something, have a goal in mind. The story isn’t always just about romance, but also the way characters come to believe new truths about themselves. They’re not only capable of love. Maybe the main character wants a promotion. But to do that, she’ll have to step outside her comfort zone to impress her boss. In any case, an HEA (Happily Ever After) or HFN (Happy for Now) is only possible if the character reaches the proper mindset to have a real romantic relationship. Without that, it’s just attraction – then it becomes erotica alone, which is something else altogether.

For example, being with an emotionally unavailable person is like hitting your head against the wall. In the end, it’s just pointless. For this type of relationship to qualify as a real romance, the characters must change – events might happen in their lives to help adjust their worldview – and they can reach a certain level of happiness. But it’s going to be a hard journey to get there. Romance stories aren’t all hearts, flowers, and butterflies.

Frank McKenna, Unsplash

True fiction is housed in every romance tale. The character still goes through a range of emotions to achieve what he/she wants. As aforementioned, often there is an antagonist preventing the couple from being together, whether it’s a person, a misconceived notion, or another external force that keeps them apart.

Sometimes it’s more than one antagonist. It’s never easy right away. Eventually, the characters must find a way around the barrier. Every relationship in real life takes effort, and these stories are no different.

Oh, wait!

Pixabay, pexels.com

The character wanted something, had a goal in mind. To reach that aspiration, he took action, and then the events that occurred reshaped his way of thinking. But at least he found what he was looking for. And he changed on some level, right? Yep…sounds like fiction to me! 😉

  1. “These books are useless drivel, and they create unrealistic expectations for people.”

To me, that sounds like it’s coming from someone who is afraid of the power of genuine emotion. But, let’s explore the aforesaid theory.

Relationships are hard work, and those in romance novels take just as much effort. If a writer is doing his or her job correctly, this will come out on the page.

Unrealistic? Hmm…if anything, I think the romance reader will see reality for what it is. No, finding happiness is never easy, but it’s worth the journey.

To illustrate this point, I’ll reference the trope often seen in historical romances…Marrying for Convenience versus Marrying for Love.

The truth is that even modern readers understand the benefits of a marriage of convenience. With financial and social stability, it’s a match that makes sense. But more often than not, we’ll root for the opposite outcome.

Why? Are we silly dreamers?

Not at all. It’s just that deep down, we all want to be happy. This is in our nature as human beings. We’re conditioned to know that events should play out a certain way – getting married and having kids is usually expected – but our instincts tell us there’s more to the story. Of course, those eventualities don’t work for every person. Still, why wouldn’t we want happiness for the characters we’ve come to care about?

Inna Lesyk, pexels.com

So, is it unrealistic to crave love? I don’t think so. At least in my opinion, romance novels have the power to teach us what we want in life. And who couldn’t use a little more self-awareness? I know I’d rather be in a relationship that works well, which helps me evolve as a person, rather than one that might look okay on paper, yet will only serve to hurt me in the long run.

Plenty of people are unhappy because they made the wrong choices. Maybe they feel trapped, but in the end, they have to figure a way out on their own. Some will settle, others won’t. That’s the thing about life, though. If you make a mistake, the best you can do is try to repair it. And if that’s not possible, you get creative and find a new route to achieve your goal.

Being logical is one way of thinking. Listening to your heart, really opening yourself up to what will make you happy? That takes courage.

I believe romance novels can teach us a lot about ourselves, and help us to understand the motivations of other people too.

Is this realistic? Probably not. But it can prevent someone from making a rash decision, to use their heart and instincts to discover what they want, and determine the best solution for them. How admirable, right? Outsiders can judge all they want, and it won’t matter as long as that person is satisfied with what they’ve chosen.

At any rate, romance novels are lot more complex than they may seem at first glance. Reading these books can offer many benefits – numerous insights and a source of entertainment, just to name a couple! If you’re interested in learning more, you can view a full list of sub-genres and romance tropes below.

https://marielavender.blogspot.com/2016/03/understanding-romance-genre-by-marie-lavender-plus-giveaway.html

https://www.mindyklasky.com/index.php/for-writers/romance-tropes/

I hope I’ve reaffirmed some aspects for loyal fans, and offered advice worth considering for people who are new to the romance genre. If you know of anyone who still believes these myths are valid, please refer them to this article. 😉

Have a lovely rest of your week, readers! 🙂

Host Blogger Bio

Multi-genre author of Victorian romance, UPON YOUR RETURN, and 23 other books. Reached the Top 10 Authors list on AuthorsDB.com for the last 4 years. Featured interview in the January 2018 issue of Womelle Magazine. The Heiresses in Love Trilogy made the TOP 10 on the Anthology category on the 2018 P&E Readers’ Poll, and BLOOD INSTINCTS reached TOP 10 status in the Romance category. The Heiresses in Love Trilogy and DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART both reached the semi-finalist round in the 2018 AuthorsDB Book Cover Contest. Voted TOP BLOGGER for 2018 on the Romance Lives Forever Blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2018 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated and made it past the first round in the 2018 Author Academy Awards. UPON YOUR LOVE and THE MISSING PIECE placed in the TOP 10 on the 2017 P&E Readers’ Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART was nominated for the 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards. The I Love Romance Blog became a finalist in StartDating DK’s Romance Blog Awards of 2017. ILRB landed on Feedspot’s 2017 TOP 100 Novel Blogs and TOP 100 Romance Blogs. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART placed in the TOP 10 Books of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013, 2014 and 2016. 2013 and 2014 Amazon Bestseller Ranking for UPON YOUR RETURN. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and two cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 24 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. She writes adult fiction, as well as occasional stories for children, and has recently started some young adult fiction. She has also contributed to several anthologies. Her current published series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Eternal Hearts Series, The Magick Series, The Code of Endhivar Series and The Blood at First Sight Series.

Links:

Official Website: http://marielavender.com/

Blogs: https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
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Amazon author page: https://amzn.to/2SMRcRD
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender
http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender

http://marielavender1.allauthor.com/

http://www.pw.org/content/marie_lavender
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Publisher: http://www.solsticeempire.com/products.aspx?categoryid=262

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

Sign up for Marie’s Newsletter: http://bit.ly/1g3wO13

Follow her on BookBub for new release updates: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/marie-lavender

 

Happy reading, everyone! 🙂

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Book Feature: Loving Justice by author Sable Hunter

I am pleased to announce a great book by Sable Hunter, an author I met during my journey! She’s stopping by to tell us about her steamy contemporary western romance, Loving Justice, which released back in 2015!

Woo hoo! It’s always fun to discover romance authors and books. 😀

Sable is allowing us a look at a hot western romance, Loving Justice, today.

Great cover!

This is the blurb for Loving Justice, book two of El Camino Real Series:

Justice King and Charlee Parker are best friends…or they were until the day her feelings changed and she fell madly, hopelessly in love with him.
He didn’t feel the same way. And who could blame him? Justice King was perfect.
He could have any woman he wanted.
And she was just Charlee – a flat-chested tomboy with her heart in her eyes.
But some things are just meant to be.
Some are luckier than most. Soulmates, friends as well as lovers.
When fate begins to weave a thread of hope to bring them together, they go from an ill-fated night of passion to a misunderstanding which separates them for eight long years.
But destiny will not be denied – a calamity at El Camino brings Charlee home and from the moment he sees her, Justice knows he’ll never let her go again.
But Charlee has a secret…a secret she’s afraid to tell Justice. She’s been keeping something from him, something he might not be able to forgive.

**CONTENT WARNING: This book contains adult situations and language and is not intended for an audience under the age of 18**

Release Date: January 21, 2015

Genre: Steamy contemporary romance, western romance

And here is an excerpt to tease you with...

“I can’t believe you drank too much. This isn’t like you.” When he grunted and grumbled under his breath, she retorted, “Yea, I’m fussing a little. Sue me.”

“Just help me upstairs, boss.” His voice held that teasing note she’d heard so often years ago.

“Don’t you want me to fix you something to eat first?”

A groan was her answer to that question. “We’re alone,” he announced. The house was deserted. His parents and the twins, Trace and Trevor, were in Austin with Abby. All the rest of the boys were at school. Apparently, Abby had insisted her injury be downplayed to such an extent that most of the family was going about their normal routine.

“Don’t worry, your virtue is safe with me.” She did some teasing of her own. The second and fifth stair creaked like normal. Charlee didn’t need to be told where Justice’s room was located. She’d snuck up these stairs or shimmed up the drain pipe to his window more times than she could count while growing up. “Let’s get you into bed,” she winced, he was getting heavier by the second.

“Sounds good to me,” Justice murmured. “I’m beat.”

“You’ll feel better soon,” she assured him, checking the thermostat, making sure his room was warm enough for him. He obediently stood next to the big four poster bed, looking to her like a cross between a sexy teddy bear and an Old West desperado. Justice always reminded her of Chris Pine in a cowboy hat.

“You smell good, like a woman.”

Charlee had to laugh. “You are drunk.” At his snort, she added, “At least something about me is womanly.” It sure wasn’t her shape. Charlee’s unfortunate chest was as flat as a board.

“There’s not a damn thing wrong with you.” His voice was low and raspy.

Charlee shivered. “Never mind. Let me get the covers turned back and I’ll help you get your boots off.” This wasn’t the first time she’d helped him to bed. Of course, the other times he’d been hurting with one of those damn headaches he was plagued with.

“I think I need help with the rest of my clothes.”

His whisper sounded a little suggestive and Charlee blushed from her nose to her toes. “I think you need a cold shower.” She made light of his comment. Charlee had seen Justice flirt many times, but she’d never been the recipient. She’d always been relegated to the role of best buddy.

“Will you take one with me?”

“A shower?” She choked back a laugh. Was he tormenting her on purpose? “Not a good idea.” Charlee fluffed the pillows and turned on the bedside lamp, anything to keep her eyes off the handsome hunk who was unbuttoning his shirt and eyeing her like she was a tasty treat. How many times had she dreamed of this moment? The only problem was – the Jose Cuervo was talking, not Justice.

“Come here. I need to hold you.”

The teasing tone had left his voice completely. This sexy Justice was almost more than she could handle. “Hush. Let me help you. You’re making a mess.” She stepped close to him, her whole body quivering at the sight of his gorgeous chest, lightly furred, muscles rippling as he struggled with the shirt which was behind him, still fastened at the cuffs.

While she was so near and he was otherwise occupied, Charlee dared to do something she’d only dreamed about. She placed a small quick kiss over his heart and felt hers jump in her chest.

“That’s good. Now kiss me up here.”

Caught. She lifted her eyes and he was staring at her with unmistakable heat. “Sorry.”

“God, don’t be. I need you.” He tossed the shirt across the room and began tugging at his pants. “Damned buttons.”

“Justice, you don’t want me.” The words slipped from her lips unbidden even as her hands joined his, tugging to get his belt out of the loops.

“Yes, I do. I want you. I need you.” He bent his head and she felt his lips on her neck. “Feel.”

He took her hand and moved it below his waist – and he was right. She could feel him big and hard. For her? Not possible. Unable to rest, she shyly cupped him, marveling at the way he throbbed in her hand. “I’m not your type, you said so. Remember?” Each word tore a little bit of her pride away.

“You’re my friend. A guy isn’t supposed to lust after his friend. But I can’t help it.” His words were still a bit slurred, punctuated by kisses as he licked a path from her cheek to her collarbone. “Don’t think I’ve missed those hot little nipples pressing against your shirt, or that wild flush on your cheeks when we sit close. You want me, Parker.”

“We don’t always get what we want, Justice.” Charlee tried to muster up some fight, some strength to push away his hands. But she couldn’t. She had wanted him forever. By age fifteen, she’d been aware of Justice as a man and by the time she was eighteen, she’d burned for him.

“I do, I’m not afraid to reach out and take what I want when I see it.”

God, he was potent. “All I’ve ever wanted was for you to be happy,” she offered as she tilted her head to give him access. Frissons of excitement covered her skin.

“I want your soft touches, like how you used to caress my forehead when I was sick. Now, I want you to whimper for the pleasure I can give you.”

Right on cue, she moaned for him as he skated his hands up under her shirt. “Justice,” she gasped his name in prayer.

“Your skin is like toffee-colored silk and your hair drives me mad.” He ran his fingers through the long, thick chocolate colored waterfall.

“It does?” Charlee was losing her mind. This was surreal. His hands were now working on her clothes, soon she would be naked in his arms.

“Yea, I love the taste of you. Sugar cookies. You’re sweet on my tongue.” Justice kissed her neck again, this time sucking a bit of soft flesh between his teeth. God, he was so excited, he was seeing stars. “Are you gonna let me love you?”

Did she have a choice? Her mind might be wary but her body was melting at his touch.

Justice slipped an arm around Charlee and lifted her to him, his other hand making quick work of the remainder of their clothes. Wrapping Charlee’s hair around his fist, he pulled her head back and claimed her lips with his own.

Their first kiss.

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/mvvyaX

Woo! ♥♥♥ Love how sexy this is. (Fans herself.) Seems like a sizzling read!

So, what are readers saying about this novel?

Great read! A second chance at love with your best friend. Doesn’t get much better than that.
Charlee Parker comes from a life that taught her to be strong the hard way, but when things got too much she ran. She left it all behind, especially the love of her life, Justice King.
Justice lost a part of himself when Charlee left town, and worst of all, he didn’t know why she left. But when she returns and he finds out the reason she left, he doubles his efforts to win her back for good…
” – Chrys Anthi, Amazon

“Books by Sable are always amazing! loved this story of Justice and Charlie! They were meant to be together.
There hasn’t been a Sable Hunter book I haven’t liked. You fall in love with the characters.
And her knowledge of the histories of the places they live in is so cool. I love that little history lesson in each of her books.
” – TammyS329, Amazon

“So beautifully written. Words cannot begin to express how much I loved this book. Sable has a way with words like no other. I fell in love with the characters in this book right away. I’m hoping I will get all the King brothers stories. This book is for anyone who loves true romance. ” – Amanda Smith, Amazon

Thank you for telling us about your book, Sable! I know I can’t wait to read this contemporary western romance!

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book! 🙂 Or you can add it to Goodreads!

Author Bio

Sable Hunter is a New York Times, USA Today bestselling author of nearly 60 books in 9 series. She writes sexy contemporary stories full of emotion and suspense. Her focus is mainly cowboy and novels set in Louisiana with a hint of the supernatural. Sable writes what she likes to read and enjoys putting her fantasies on paper. Her books are emotional tales in which the heroine is faced with challenges. Her aim is to write a story that will make you laugh, cry and swoon. If she can wring those emotions from a reader, she has done her job. Sable resides in Austin, Texas with her two dogs. Passionate about all animals, she has been known to charm creatures from a one ton bull to a family of raccoons. For fun, Sable haunts cemeteries and battlefields armed with night-vision cameras and digital recorders hunting proof that love survives beyond the grave. Welcome to her world of magic, alpha heroes, sexy cowboys and hot, steamy, to-die-for sex. Step into the shoes of her heroines and escape to places where right prevails, love conquers all and holding out for a hero is not an impossible dream.
Author Links:
Website:  http://www.sablehunter.com/  
Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/qRvyn
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorsablehunter/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/huntersable
Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Sable-Hunter/e/B007B3KS4M/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4419823.Sable_Hunter
BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sable-hunter

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sable_hunter/

 

Thanks again, Sable ! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Book News, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Readers, Romance, steamy, western, Writing

Book Review: The Homecoming (Bayou Shifters Book 1) by Tammy Tate

This week’s I Love Romance Blog review selection is The Homecoming by Tammy Tate. Once I started this one, I just kept reading – great beginning to the series!

The book jumps right into the story and I definitely appreciate that. Sometimes you just want the meat and potatoes. Sydney is goin’ on a trip. More specifically, she’s going to stay with her aunt and her pack of wolf shifters at their home on the outskirts of New Orleans. After Sydney’s mother died, her human father knew that he couldn’t help her transition, so she reluctantly agrees to go.

Her dreams have been wreaking havoc, though. It’s the same dream over and over and it always leaves her wanting.

Kyle and his best friend Beau are living the life – working, fishing, and running. But, one of them isn’t sleeping that well either.

In a story full of action, adventure, love, romance, sex, shifters, and yes, vampires – you will definitely be hooked, too.

For all this and so much more that you’ll have to discover when you read it – I give The Homecoming By Tammy Tate 5 HEARTS!

Book Info:

Sydney is half human, half wolf and has fallen in love with Kyle, a full-fledged shifter who for the last six months has been appearing in her dreams. During the next full moon, she will make her first shift from human to wolf. The transformation won’t be easy. It could leave her disfigured. Or, worse. Dead.

Kyle is in Bayou Fontaine. For the sake of the pack, the council has already chosen him a mate. Sydney and Kyle face incredible odds to be together and soon become pawns in a deadly game of survival.

The clock is ticking…

Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/3LGNXM

Here are some teasers!

And the book trailer…

AUTHOR: Tammy Tate

TITLE: The Homecoming (book one of the Bayou Shifters Series)

GENRE: Paranormal Romance – Werewolves, Shifters and Vampires

RELEASE DATE: January 14, 2017

PUBLISHER: Amazon Digital Services LLC

ISBN/ASIN: B01N4OJD6J

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan

 

Get your copy for only 99 cents here.

Up next week: Choosing the Cowboy by Liz Isaacson

Thanks for reading our weekly book review on ILRB!

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National Poetry Month Feature: “Miles of Our Memories” – a poem

Hi, readers! April is here again! 🙂

To celebrate National Poetry Month, I decided to write a romantic poem, inspired by my relationship with my fiancé. Here it is:

 

Miles of Our Memories

A special anniversary approaches…

How many times have we crossed these miles?

More than I can count.

Sapan Patel, Unsplash

Distance separates us again this year,

but I know it will turn out all right.

Still…

I miss your arms wrapped around me,

your special scent in my nose.

Created by Freepik

I miss our unique closeness,

the quiet talks in the night as we lay there,

absorbing breaths and heartbeats.

Becca Tapert, Unsplash.

I miss gazing at you across the table of a romantic meal,

even laughing as we dodged the puddles of a parking lot.

GEORGE DESIPRIS, pexels.com

I miss the experiences we shared for years.

Surely we can get some of that back?

It has been too long, my love, since we…

Sat in a dark theater, hands entwined,

Malmanxd, Unsplash

Strolled through a mall, pointing out the wares,

Tossed a ball down a lane, hoping to miss the gutters,

Joseph Costa, Unsplash

Had a picnic, chatting about all those simple things in life,

Went on a walk, hand in hand.

Clem Onojeghuo, Unsplash

It has been far too long since our hearts were so connected, and we surrendered to the glee inside us.

Created by Teksomolika – Freepik.com

For tonight, let’s cast aside our obligations.

Say you’ll travel with me to the stars and beyond,

Juskteez Vu, Unsplash

where time doesn’t interfere with its incessant, haunting chime,

when we can be us again.

Join me and we’ll find our bliss,

a reprieve from the madness.

I know one day these chains of clock and mile won’t bind us,

and we can be free.

As one.

I live for the moment when I am yours,

tied with paper and mirrored hands.

Ivan Cabañas, Unsplash

We’ll confront this world together,

and then blend into a perfect union of well-matched souls.

I love you and miss you…

Yet I’d wait forever if the fates tried to keep us apart.

Nothing can break us, I swear.

We are stronger than the mere miles that threaten to split this bond.

Sylwia Bartyzel, Unsplash

And I am always,

always yours.

NeONBRAND, Unsplash

© 2019, Marie Lavender.

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Filed under Blogging, Event, Hope, Love, love poem, Marie Lavender, Message, poem, poems, Poetry, Readers, reflections, Relationships, Romance, Writing

Book Feature: Texas Maverick by authors Sable Hunter & Ryan O’Leary

I am pleased to announce a great book by Sable Hunter and Ryan O’Leary, two authors I met during my journey! They’re stopping by to tell us about their steamy western military romance, Texas Maverick, which released back in 2016!

Woo hoo! It’s always fun to discover romance authors and books. 😀

Sable and Ryan are allowing us a look at a sexy military romance, Texas Maverick, today.

Nice cover!

This is the blurb for Texas Maverick:

Maverick Cross is a Texas hero, not the flashy kind, he’s a war veteran who served his country overseas and now serves it at home as an Austin firefighter. To look at him – and women love to look – he’s a ripped athlete who takes care of himself and has it all together.
Only his next door neighbor knows the truth; Maverick suffers from PTSD.
Everly Winterfell is almost invisible, blending into the crowd is fine by her. She’s a hero too, not the kind who wears a cape, but the kind who isn’t afraid to dig for the truth and expose it for all to see. Everly’s alter ego is Eve Winters, an award winning journalist who doesn’t seek the limelight, she’s content with writing stories that change people’s lives without drawing any attention to herself.
Nothing much escapes Everly, she has a talent for seeing beneath the surface, reading people for who they really are. From her vantage point in Apartment #701, she has learned that the occupant in #702 is lonely. He has a habit of pushing people away before they can get too close, especially women. Maverick can offer a woman great sex, Everly can vouch for that fact. The walls are thin between #701 and #702 and many nights she has lain there wishing she was on the receiving end of his attention. He’s intrigued by his odd little neighbor, who seems to want to be his wingman and he has no idea that her ulterior motive is to be his friend. After some negotiations, they strike a deal – she’ll find him women who know the score, who won’t expect more than he can give, and in return he’ll see if he can advise her on how to attract a man for herself. To facilitate their odd arrangement, they install a chalkboard on the narrow wall separating their front doors, leaving messages about their shared adventures.
The more time they spend together, the less important finding dates for the other becomes. Everly and Maverick discover they share a chemistry that’s off the charts, they can’t keep their hands off one another. There’s only one problem – Maverick has no idea Everly is his secret obsession, Eve Winters. Sometimes what we need is right in front of our face. Sometimes what we’re looking for is right next door…

**CONTENT WARNING: This book contains adult language and sexual situations. It is intended for ages 18+ ONLY**

Release Date: July 15, 2016

Genre: Steamy contemporary romance, western romance, military romance

And here is an excerpt to tease you with...

“Maverick, it’s me. Everly.”

He opened his eyes, expecting to see flashes of gunfire and explosions from IED’s. Instead, he looked into delicate features, eyes warm with concern. “Everly?”

“You were dreaming,” she whispered.

Fuck, he was dreaming now. “What are you doing here?”

She kept her hand on Maverick, seeking to soothe him. “I heard you through the wall.” Rising, she stood next to the bed. “Do you want some water before I go?”

“Did I hurt you?” He grabbed her hand, pulling her back down to sit on the bed.

She twined her fingers with his. “No, of course not.”

“Don’t go.” His hand came up to weave itself in her hair. “Where’s the whale spout, Tink?”

“What are you doing?” she whispered as his other hand skimmed up under her shirt, caressing the soft skin of her back.

“I need you,” he pulled her head down until their lips met.

Now Everly thought she was the one who must be dreaming. Could this be real? His mouth moved on hers, a gentle graze that made it hard to breathe. She wanted to kiss him back so badly she could die.

“Open.”

His demand made every nerve ending in her body spark to life. There was no way on God’s green earth she could resist this man, she wanted him too much. Tentatively, she responded to his strength, his passion. Parting her lips, she touched the tip of her tongue to his and he groaned, pulling her to the bed beside him. Everly’s blood raced through her veins. She craved him – she craved his touch and she craved to touch him. Clutching his shoulders, she began to kiss him back with desperate intensity.

Her surrender seemed to free something within him. Maverick began to devour her lips and she trembled as his big hands roamed all over her body. Never had she been kissed this way. His mouth on hers was the single most wonderful thing that had ever happened to her.

A haze of desire clouded Maverick’s brain. Her body was soft and warm as his mouth blazed a trail across her face and down her throat. When his lips brushed the pulse point that betrayed her excitement, he knew he wanted more.

(this section was edited out for this post because it was too hot for ILRB…LOL!)

Maverick pulled her into his embrace, the act of release seeming to give him peace. Everly held him close, marveling at what had transpired. A small smile played on her lips. Tingles of elation mixed with shivers of remorse. He’d been in the throes of a nightmare when she’d come to his bed, offering him comfort. Oh, he’d taken it all right. The only problem was that Everly wasn’t sure this was something he’d have done in any other circumstance.

Easing out from under him, she made a grab for her shirt, pulling it over her head. When he didn’t move, she felt around in the bed for her panties, but found nothing. “Dang it,” she whispered, then froze when he moved again, his hand running over the covers. Was he looking for her?

No matter, he wouldn’t find her.

Coward that she was, Everly Winterfell backed out of Maverick’s room and retreated to the safety of her own apartment.

The cold light of day would tell the tale. If what they’d done together meant something to him, he’d let her know.

And if it didn’t….

Well, she’d deal with that when the time came.

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/bPZ7EA

OMG! ♥♥♥ Love how steamy this is. (Fans herself.) Seems like quite a read!

So, what are readers saying about this novel?

These two have an interesting relationship; funny, confusing, no matter what they have each other’s backs, misunderstandings, and lots of making up. It is a very good story and one I would recommend reading.” – Linda Knott, Amazon

While I’ve never been to Austin, I feel like I know the city from reading this latest release in the Texas Heroes series.
Everly is the kind of person we all should want to be – loving, kind, outgoing, artistic, talented, with a heart of pure gold. She and Maverick are next door neighbors but don’t really know each other until she offers to help him with his lady problems. He can’t seem to keep a girl more than one night and she’s sure she can help him with that. But along the way, they develop a deeply honest friendship. Of course there are bumps and bruises along the way, but in true Sable Hunter/Ryan O’Leary fashion, they eventually reach their HEA.
If you’ve never read Sable Hunter, this is an excellent place to start. In my opinion, she never disappoints the reader and always leaves you wanting more.
” – Shirley, Amazon

“Another home run! Sable Hunter and her co-writer Ryan O’Leary are at the top of my auto buy list. With every book, they continue to set the bar higher and higher. This book is well written with a fully developed plot and intriguing characters. In many of Sable’s books the hero and his love ignite sparks from the get go. This book deviates from that a bit in that Maverick and Everly start out as friends and develop deeper feelings as their relationship progresses. Sometimes what you have always wanted and needed is right in front of your face. The heat factor is high as usual, and as an added bonus the authors include very detailed descriptions of the Austin area. I loved this book!!!” – Mamiecj, Amazon

Thank you for telling us about your book, Sable and Ryan! I know I can’t wait to read this sizzling western military romance!

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book! 🙂 Or you can add it to Goodreads!

Author Bio

Sable Hunter is a New York Times, USA Today bestselling author of nearly 60 books in 9 series. She writes sexy contemporary stories full of emotion and suspense. Her focus is mainly cowboy and novels set in Louisiana with a hint of the supernatural. Sable writes what she likes to read and enjoys putting her fantasies on paper. Her books are emotional tales in which the heroine is faced with challenges. Her aim is to write a story that will make you laugh, cry and swoon. If she can wring those emotions from a reader, she has done her job. Sable resides in Austin, Texas with her two dogs. Passionate about all animals, she has been known to charm creatures from a one ton bull to a family of raccoons. For fun, Sable haunts cemeteries and battlefields armed with night-vision cameras and digital recorders hunting proof that love survives beyond the grave. Welcome to her world of magic, alpha heroes, sexy cowboys and hot, steamy, to-die-for sex. Step into the shoes of her heroines and escape to places where right prevails, love conquers all and holding out for a hero is not an impossible dream.
Author Links:
Website:  http://www.sablehunter.com/  
Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/qRvyn
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorsablehunter/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/huntersable
Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Sable-Hunter/e/B007B3KS4M/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4419823.Sable_Hunter
BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sable-hunter

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sable_hunter/

 

Author Bio

Rarely will you find Ryan O’Leary in a state of rest; if he’s not on the ice or kicking around a soccer ball, he’s plotting his next story or out on the town with friends. His fun and flirty nature makes it possible for him to write the kind of romance that makes the reader both smile and tingle.

Author Links

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/WriterRyanOLeary/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/team_oleary

Amazon author page:  https://www.amazon.com/Ryan-OLeary/e/B00BEJ2NUQ/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6074123.Ryan_O_Leary

 

Thanks again, Sable and Ryan! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Recommended Read: Break My Chains by Nicolina Martin

I know Kevin usually does a review per week, but I couldn’t help jumping in here to talk about the book I just finished last night! ♥ Nicolina Martin’s Break My Chains is so spicy, a little dark, and has enough suspense to keep you going. I just couldn’t put this one down…

I literally stumbled across this novel on Amazon. When I read the sample, it just drew me in and I had to buy it!! ❤

With elements of dark romance, some erotica, and enough suspense to keep the storyline moving, you can’t go wrong with this read. Mia and Martin are such fascinating characters, each tough in their own right. It makes them quite a match, and just adds to the steamy tension. Loved this book…and I don’t hand out five stars easily!
I simply devoured this book! 😀
Book Info:
When nothing is what it seems, who can you trust?

Martin Garrett has sworn to die rather than go back to prison. He’ll stop at nothing to reach freedom, but even he can’t win over the forces of nature. When he gets caught in a violent snowstorm, he has no choice but to seek shelter. He can’t know that the young woman opening the door will change his life forever.

Fleeing her troubled past in Arizona, leaving her loved ones behind, Mia Cassidy has found solace in an isolated cabin in the deep woods of Colorado. She’s hesitant to let the tall, hulking, and oddly attractive stranger into her home, but the storm is lethal. She has no way of knowing this chance encounter will rip her from her cocoon and make her question everything she thought she knew.

Trapped together, their unexpected meeting soon turns into a battle of wills and a fight against the irresistible pull between them. When the fragile trust they’ve built is betrayed, everything comes crashing down. Mia must unravel the secrets and find the truth before it’s too late to save either of them.

Publisher’s Note: This steamy contemporary love story is not your typical wine and chocolates romance. It has a dark edge but if you’re up for the ride there is a guaranteed HEA. It contains elements of mystery, suspense, action, adventure, danger, betrayal, and power exchange.

Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/3LGnwD

Here’s a peek at the book…

Martin Garrett, convicted five years ago almost to the day for committing a heinous series of murders between 2011 and 2013, escaped this morning from Penitentiary Florence High. The details of his escape have not been revealed. Garrett is considered extremely dangerous and caution is recommended. If anyone sees this man…

The whistling from the water kettle drowns out the rest. I’m leaning my elbows on the kitchen counter, staring out the frosted window. A thick layer of snow has covered everything during the night. It’s so white from where I’m standing; I can’t even make out the shapes of the outside world. It’s like someone wrapped a large sheet around my house. I’m not entirely taken by surprise. It’s my second winter here and it gets really cold, and really wintery in Colorado. The difference between Arizona and where I live now couldn’t be greater. Sighing, I move away from the window and take the kettle off the stove. The whistling fades and comes to a stop. They forecasted snow. I don’t think I listened well enough. Pouring the boiling water in the cup, I watch it turn black as the instant coffee dissolves. I stare vacantly at the mug, my thoughts sprawling in every different direction. I need to locate the shovel and find my truck under those masses. I have cans but not a lot of fresh food, so I really need to go into town if I still want bread, milk, eggs, cheese and… I look around me. Fruit. Grimacing, I grab the cup and head off into the living room, which also doubles as office, dining area and hallway. That’d be ‘quadruples as’, I think as I sink down on the chair and set the cup on the table.

As I flip open the lid to my old MacBook it chimes pleasantly, and I realize I forgot to shut it down last night. Again. I yawn, stretch and glance at the clock on the wall. Twenty past nine. The morning passes too quickly and I need to get some work done. I’m helping a local store with some images for marketing, a newspaper ad, some flyers and whatnot. I’ve strayed far, far away from the exhibition at the Etherton Gallery I had when I was twenty-one. When I was young and ‘promising’.

Three years ago.

What happened then was a nightmare I am still trying to wake up from. Pushing the thoughts away, I click on the folder for Farman’s Fishing Lodge. I trekked the woods day in and day out, walking along the river, catching the fine rainbow-colored mist as the water slammed against the rocks in its path downstream. The pictures turned out fantastic. Local flora and fauna, fishermen standing in their yellow pants, the color reflected in the calm surface, sun glittering in tiny ripples. For a few days I was really happy with my choice to move here. The fresh air, the smell of approaching snow, the sometimes near-silence out there.

The tranquility only lasts moments before I return to myself, but I cherish them.

I start sorting the images: by motifs, by colors, by how the sky and the ground harmonize with each other. Choosing a few I intend to show Mr. Waltman, I copy them and begin to toy around with effects.

As I lose myself in work, I don’t register how many hours pass until I notice the corners of the room are darker and that my stomach aches. I study the processed images on the screen. Several of them are everything he asked for, and I hope my client will see it as well. I need the money. Desperately. I stand, straighten my back, and stretch my arms until my hands almost touch the low ceiling, then I close my laptop and head for the kitchen to see if I can find anything that appeals to me.

Armed with canned soup I heated in the microwave, and a bottle of beer, I sink down on the couch and turn the TV back on. I doubt anything interesting has happened in my little corner of the world.

Terrorist attacks in Europe. A gas line leaking in Russia. Price of oil increasing. Some prisoner on the run.

I eat and keep flipping through the channels until I give up and resort to watching a cop show that doesn’t crave my attention. Everything is very dramatic, with shaky camera movements, flashing blue and red lights, men screaming when they’re pushed to the ground, women screaming when their men are pushed to the ground. I study the handiwork of the cameraman. It looks sloppy and haphazard, but he’s really clever in how he switches between objects and with the angles he chooses. I like being surprised by a random TV show.

Dropping the spoon on the table next to the bowl, I lean against the backrest, and stare at the ceiling. It’s made of pine boards, yellowed with age, giving the cabin a dark and moody feel. Then and there I decide to paint it when I get the money from this gig. A soft white should go well with the dark hardwood floor and the cute floral patterns on my couch and armchair. I rub my face and glance out the window. It’s not dark yet and I need to get some of the snow off my porch and make a path to my truck. There’s at least thirty feet to plow to get to the truck, then I have to keep shoveling until I get to where my yard meets the road. I doubt they’ll plow it today, though. Shit. Probably not tomorrow either.

I down the rest of the soup but leave the beer, then I rise. Jack, who’s been sleeping on his rug in the corner, immediately starts panting. He lifts a thick, furry eyebrow and watches me carefully under a heavy, barely open eyelid. Am I going where he thinks I’m going? When I lift a foot to put it in my boot he realizes that yes, I am indeed. Giving off a robust bark, he jumps up with ease, despite his huge body, and trots toward me, his tail wagging eagerly. He puts his snout against the back of my knee and pushes, looking at me pleadingly. I rub him behind an ear as I push my foot into the other boot and tie it.

“Did you think I’d forget you, silly dog?” Grabbing my jacket, I pat my thigh. “Come on!”

Jack doesn’t need to be told twice and lays his paws on the door, reaching up level with my face. He was such a cute little puppy when I took him in, having been abandoned when his former owner died, but Bernese Mountain dogs don’t stay small. He’s my company, my only friend, and my protection. Our long walks every day have healed me somewhat over the year I’ve had him.

As I pull down the handle, he pushes at the door, but is met by resistance. I frown and help him, slowly opening the slit until it is wide enough for us to squeeze through.

With a loud groan I take in the massive cover of snow. It’s gotta be a foot deep. Or more. It’s beautiful. Pure and untouched. But it needs to go.

“Get out there, boy,” I tell Jack and he jumps straight out, giving out a squeal of surprise when the cold white layer hits his belly. I laugh, push the door closed and go in search of the shovel.

After forty minutes there’s a narrow path to the truck, and a visible front window and driver’s door. I’ve had to shove Jack off me over and over, him thinking it’s a game. Panting, and drenched in sweat, I lean on the shovel and study my handiwork, then I lift my gaze to the prematurely darkening sky. The clouds are a heavy dark blue. Menacing. More snow is on the way. Much more. Fuck. I clutch at my burning chest. I’m exhausted, in need of a shower, a good book in front of the fireplace, and then sleep. I pray my hard work won’t be undone come morning.

I call for Jack who is happily jumping around at the edge of the forest and go inside. Pulling the door shut throws us into semi-darkness. Before I head for the bathroom I start a fire. Crumpling pages of old newspapers into little balls, I push them between perfectly dry logs and light them up. Soon orange flames lick the wood, charring it, creating beautiful gleaming serpentines around the edges. I put the cast iron mesh in front of the fireplace, and head for my well-deserved shower.

When I get back out Jack is restless and whining. He paces the room, and starts circling me as soon as he spots me. I have a towel wrapped around my body and dab my hair with another.

“What is it, sweetie?” I crouch in front of him, rub the thick fur on his neck and look around, but nothing seems out of the ordinary. The room has that good, dry warmth that only comes from a lit fireplace. Despite that, a shiver runs through me, and I quickly put on a pair of sweatpants and a flannel shirt. I postpone my own pleasure a little longer and go to give Jack some fresh food. It seems to calm him and soon he guzzles down the canned meat with his usual sloppiness, tail wagging. I give him a pat and, finally, I can sit down again with the intent to do absolutely nothing for the rest of the night. I turn the TV back on and flip through the channels, but then I just mute it and look at the fire instead, drinking my lukewarm beer.

I nearly fly through the roof when Jack suddenly howls, barks, then howls again. He runs to the front door, then back, then in circles. I stand, the hair rising on the back of my neck.

“Jack, boy, what is it?”

He looks at me and whines, crouching, his tail between his legs. Then he jumps up again and runs toward the door, barking.

“Enough!” I go to him and grab the loose skin at his neck, crouching before him as I glance at the silent door. “Shh!”

He’s quiet, but on high alert. I’m quiet too, also on high alert. Holding my breath, I listen intently but hear nothing. I rise and that’s when a loud rap on the door pierces the silence, quickly followed by two more.

Three heavy, ominous knocks.

My heart instantly jumps up in my throat and nearly suffocates me with its wild pounding. No one comes here. Not normally, and most certainly not when the snow is so thick you can’t come unless you are in a tracked vehicle, and they only do that if there’s a medical emergency. If you’re snowed in, you’re snowed in.

Who is out there? I swallow nervously and take a step toward the door when three new loud knocks make me jump. I shake my head at my own suspiciousness. Whoever it is, it must be someone who needs help. Covering the remaining distance, I then press down on the handle and try to push the door open, but it’s jammed again. I manage a couple of inches, then a hand grips the edge and suddenly the door flies wide open.

I stare at the vision before me. It’s a man: tall, wide, covered in snow from top to toe, and with clothes that are way too thin. Even in the faint light I see how blue his lips are. I open my mouth to ask, I don’t know, maybe what he wants, but then I change my mind. Whoever he is, he is clearly in some kind of emergency. Looking out at the wintery night, then back at the yeti before me, I shake my head in disbelief.

“Good God. Come inside!”

He doesn’t need to be told twice and takes a step forward, past the threshold. Towering over me, his hulking appearance dominates the room. I swallow hard and reach past him to close the door. The wind fights me and snowflakes whip in my face. I hadn’t realized it had started snowing again, and blowing. Behind me Jack is letting out a high-pitched noise.

The door slams closed and I turn back to the man. The top of my head reaches to his shoulder. He is gigantic. He has a big, dirty-blond beard, covered in snow. The snow in his eyelashes has started to melt. I have to crane my neck to meet his eyes. He’s frowning, looking down at me with an unreadable expression as he rakes a hand through his hair and shudders.

“Thanks.”

His voice is hoarse, a deep baritone that challenges the sudden silence in the house. I still don’t move, cornered in the narrow space between him and the door. A girl alone letting in a stranger is not a clever move, but what choice did I have? Let him freeze to death?

AUTHOR: Nicolina Martin

TITLE: Break My Chains

GENRE: New Adult Romantic Suspense, Some Erotica, Dark Romance

RELEASE DATE: February 6, 2019

PUBLISHER: Blushing Books Publications

ISBN/ASIN: B07NGQT8LB

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Marie Lavender

Anyway, just wanted to give you my thoughts on this fantastic read! Grab a copy of this new release! 😉

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Filed under Blogging, Book Release, book reviews, Books, Contemporary, dark romance, Erotica, Event, New Adult, new release, rating, Readers, Reviews, Romance, Romantic Suspense, steamy, Thriller/Suspense, Writing

Book Review: Jake’s Redemption by Jamie Schulz

This week’s I Love Romance Blog review selection is Jake’s Redemption By Jamie Schulz. By now, if you’ve seen my past reviews, you know that I love a book with role reversal – this is that on steroids.

In a post-war, dystopian Pacific Northwest, women have found that, in fear or anger, they are physically stronger than men. With a (un)healthy dose of medication that makes men panicky and fearful, women rule their world.

It’s never made clear if this type of society has taken over the whole country, or just this small patch of land East of the Cascade Mountains. Here, we find Jake and his best friend Bret who are set upon by a group of bandits. Jake is taken prisoner and Bret makes his escape into the woods. Sold into slavery, Jake endures unimaginable torture, rape, and abuse.

Side note: Though the book’s Amazon listing does mention “unsettling and violent subject matter”, it should definitely include a trigger warning for sexual assault victims. I’m just sayin’.

While owned by a true sadist named Darla (I pictured a grown up version of the girl from Finding Nemo the whole time), Jake is loaned out for his skills in construction and ranch handling. With his temporary owner, Michelle, Jake finds a slave plantation owned by a woman who isn’t mentally disturbed (Michelle’s home is never called a slave plantation, btw, but if it walks like a duck…)

The romance formed between Jake and Michelle really is touching. He has a lot of baggage from his time with Darla (being shaken in that little fish bag of hers…if it were filled with chains, whips, and rape), and she has the burden of being a slave owner.

The conflict moving the book along is Jake’s impending return to Darla the Devil. Should he run and surely be killed? But, in the end Jake is saved from having to decide by being purchased by another woman (and friend of Michelle’s) named Angel. For the first bit that we see Angel, I wasn’t sure if she was another sadistic sex fiend, but after bouts of depression and an attempted suicide, Angel turns out to be one of my favorite characters.

When I finished reading this book, knowing that it was a prequel, I was eager to see how things continue in this story. I will certainly be anticipating the release of the first official book in the series.

As a closing, I’m just going to throw this out there. As a gay man living in the Pacific Northwest just outside Tacoma, WA, I had to wonder – what happened to the gays?! Outside of Washington’s few big cities, this state is really no friend to the LGBTQ community.

So, in this story, where we are of no use as “breeders”, were we just killed off? Or are we still chained up and raped for our swimmers? I am intrigued and troubled to see how or if the author touches on this subject.

For its romance and train wreck society that kept me reading – I give Jake’s Redemption By Jamie Schultz 3 STARS!

Book Info:

An imprisoned cowboy. An empowered woman. When true love is forbidden, opening their hearts could destroy them both…

Chained and enslaved, Jake Nichols is convinced he’ll die alone. In this new order where men are stripped of all power, he endures brutal torture at the hands of his female captor. But when he’s hired out to build a ranch home for an outspoken beauty, his dreams of escape transform into visions of passion.

Monica Avery struggles to fill her heart in a loveless society. With marriage outlawed and romantic partners reduced to pawns, she’s given up hope of finding her soul mate. But watching the rugged rancher hard at work on her shelter awakens deeply buried desires.

As the project comes together, Monica discovers a kindred spirit in the tenderhearted Jake. But despite their growing attraction, he still belongs to a cruel woman who’d rather see him dead than free.

Can Monica save Jake, or will their love lead to a tragic tomorrow?

Jake’s Redemption is a full-length book in the Angel Eyes cowboy dystopian romance series. If you like scorching-hot chemistry, clever post-apocalyptic worlds, and star-crossed love stories, then you’ll adore Jamie Schulz’s captivating tale.

Buy Jake’s Redemption today to see if love can brighten a dark world!

This prequel has an HFN ending and opens the door for the next book in the Angel Eyes Series.

This story would appeal to those who found the adult scenarios in books like A Handmaid’s Tale and The Hunger Games intriguing. Or who enjoy the writing of other romance authors like Maisey Yates, Pam Godwin, Karen Robards, and Nora Roberts, or who simply love cowboys.

Please note: Intended for mature audiences. This story contains some unsettling and violent subject matter that sensitive readers may find disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.

Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/3LGnKX

Here’s a peek at the book…

AUTHOR: Jamie Schulz

TITLE: Jake’s Redemption

GENRE: Dystopian Romance, Romantic Fantasy

RELEASE DATE: February 1, 2019

PUBLISHER: Amazon Digital Services LLC

ISBN/ASIN: B07K5L411H

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan

Get your copy on Kindle Unlimited here.

Up next in the first week of April: The Homecoming by Tammy Tate

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Book Review: Undercover Siren by Ellen Mint

This week’s I Love Romance Blog review selection is Undercover Siren By Ellen Mint. This book has a little of everything that I know you’ll love. Definitely add this one to your reading list. 🙂

This is another one of those stories that I love. The reversal of roles between Kristen and Colton is fun to experience as you read through. Don’t get me wrong, though – Colton is more than able to hold up on his own.

All I’m saying is, if you’re skeptical, read the first chapter…get to the part about the pen – and you’ll be hooked just like I was.

As I said, this book has a little bit for everyone, clandestine spies and intrigue, hot cops, sci-fi and fantasy, romance and hot sex, and lastly – a bat-shit crazy person in the background motivating the plot. What more would we need?

I’d have to put on my copy editor “hat” to find anything I’d suggest about the text, but the story, places, and characters are all fully realized and engaging – I give Undercover Siren By Ellen Mint 5 HEARTS!

Book Info:

He was only supposed to be a job. Why can’t she walk away?

Colton Davies, an ex-Marine turned cop, stumbles across a damsel in distress while working the beat and rushes to her aid. Unbeknownst to him, Kristen Trevelyan isn’t an old classmate who accidentally locked her keys in the car, but a spy working for a classified agency. She’s tasked with getting close to the police officer, but she never anticipated how close they’d become.

Action, adventure, dangerous gun battles, sizzling romance scenes, tender words of affection, and more await you in Undercover Siren.

Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/bPZy1A

Here’s a peek at the book…

Colton snapped off the radio and tumbled back into his seat. From God-awful love songs to burnt corpses, oh and dragging her into a rainstorm. He was a real pro at dating, as she could no doubt tell. Glaring out the windshield, watching the bounce of rain pinging off the rusted hood, Colton kept whipping himself for things beyond his control. He was so far gone, it wasn’t until her hand shifted higher up his arm that he realized Kristen was touching him.

Twisting his head towards her, he found those dazzling eyes burning directly into his. She stared at him as if…as if she couldn’t see anyone else. As if she’d never seen anyone else. Soft pink lips glistened with fresh rain, parting like she yearned for a drink. Colton dove towards her, his mouth puckering up just before it plunged against hers. Warmth erupted down his spine, the woman melting from his kiss. He let go of the arguing in his brain to fall into this moment. Fingers lifted off his arm to thread through his hair, gently guiding him deeper into her trap.

He was greedy to fall into it, their first kiss turning hotter than he’d ever have expected. Kristen tipped her head, her tongue darting up and down his scar before she tugged his bottom lip deep into hers. The nibble was little more than a whisper, but it broke down a wall inside Colton and a moan escaped from his throat.

Sliding back as if to catch her breath, those dazzling eyes darted up to his. The bliss of touching her dilated his pupils so much he had to blink a moment. As she focused into view, her cheeks bright from a flush and cleavage beaded in droplets, there was no denying how badly he wanted to take this further.

How in God’s name did he do that?

“You’re so…” he mumbled, his tongue clogging in his mouth as the words all stuck together, “pradortty.”

“Pradortty?” her eyebrow lifted in surprise, but a smile stretched across her lips. The ones that tasted of hunger and the thrill of the run.

“I, uh…” Colton absently wiped the back of his neck.

“Is that some kind of word only you people in Sky City use?”

“Ye…yes,” he sputtered out. “It means, it means a very beautiful woman.”

The blush burned brighter on her cheeks and she turned to stare at the dashboard. “Oh. Well, you’re handorablesome.”

Colton chuckled at her catching him, but with a grateful nod said, “Thank you.”

Her sparkling eyes darted around the truck, seeming to take in the state of it before landing upon the clutch. “This is a stick? You can drive a stick?”

“Sure,” he shrugged, “I’m from the country. Who couldn’t back in Winterset?”

“Right, right, just…surprised to see one here in the city,” she smiled. “Isn’t it hell on stop and go traffic?”

“Not if you’re good,” Colton said without a thought before wincing. “Did you never learn?” It seemed odd to the man who cut his teeth on tractors, but not everyone was a farmer. There had to be townies in a town after all.

“A little,” Kristen admitted, “but I’m happy with my automatic. When I don’t lock myself out anyway.”

“Until a helpful policeman comes along,” Colton said as if he had nothing to do with it. She smiled sweetly at him, but silence threaded through the cab. Only the bounce of rain thudding into the metal over their heads filled the air. All the unsaid words grew thicker than the humidity, both people staring at each other not knowing what to do next.

He could take her back into the bar. To talk more. Or have another drink. It was getting kinda late. Maybe he should offer to take her home. Or that they wait out the rain here. She could snuggle up next to him and…

“Colton?” Kristen whispered, her eyes darting up to him, “do you want to get coffee?”

“Uh…sure,” he spat out, his brain trying to rack up what place would be open this late aside from a fast food joint.

Her ravenous smile nearly knocked him over, when she shrugged. “I’d say we could go back to my place but I’m all out of filters, and grounds, and a coffee God.” Slowly, her fingers cupped against his knee and worried their way up the wet jeans clinging to his thigh. He blinked at her, his brain-jarring apart as it tried to piece together what she was asking. Or telling him. Saying that she wanted.

Sweet God.

AUTHOR: Ellen Mint

TITLE: Undercover Siren (book one of the Inquisition Series)

GENRE: Romantic Suspense, Sci-Fi, Police Procedural

RELEASE DATE: February 10, 2018

PUBLISHER: Amazon Digital Services LLC

ISBN/ASIN: B079QZPN5V

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan

Read for free with Kindle Unlimited and don’t forget to check out Marie’s feature of the author’s New Release in 2018 here. Ellen also writes sci-fi and fantasy under the pen name S.E. Zbasnik.

Up Next Week: Jake’s Redemption by Jamie Schultz

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Book Review: The Key of F by Jennifer Haskin

This week’s I Love Romance Blog review selection is The Key of F By Jennifer Haskin. With paranormal and sci-fi elements, this full-length novel is a great read.

Fale, who is as down-to-Earth as she is incredible, begins a journey to find out exactly who she is. When she starts having visions of the future and trying to do something about it, will she change it for the better or worse?

Really, I cannot say enough good things about this book – the storyline is well thought through, the dialogue is believable and relatable, and the interactions between the main characters keep you reading.

This book is extremely well-written and thought out and I look forward to reading the next one in the series – I give The Key of F By Jennifer Haskin 5 HEARTS!

Only $.99 on Kindle.

Recommended Read

Book Info:

Fale, Takanori warrior-in-training, begins having visions on her eighteenth birthday. When she realizes the visions are coming true, she intervenes and changes one to save the life of her crush. Soon after, thugs climb out of the woodwork chasing them with the intent to kill. Their only clue lies in the key Fale wears, given to her by her father on his deathbed. Could the key have something to do with her destiny? Can they live long enough to find the answers?

Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/bW9G0D

Here’s a peek at the book…

AUTHOR: Jennifer Haskin

TITLE: The Key of F (book one of the Freedom Fight Trilogy)

GENRE: paranormal romance, urban fantasy, some YA elements

RELEASE DATE: May 8, 2018

PUBLISHER: Rogue Phoenix Press

ISBN/ASIN: B079P7DMQ4

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan

Up Next Week: Undercover Siren by Ellen Mint

Thanks for reading our weekly book review on ILRB!

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Filed under Blogging, book reviews, Books, Contemporary, Dark Fantasy, Event, Fantasy, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, rating, Readers, Reviews, Science Fiction, score, Writing, Young Adult

Book Review: Take My Heart by J.J. Sorel

This week’s I Love Romance Blog review selection is Take My Heart by J.J. Sorel. Give me a book set in NYC with a relatable main character, a sexy bad boy, and a delightfully devious old woman any day.

Ava and Cassie start out this full-length novel and I was a fan of Ava from the start. Money is certainly a regular topic in the story, but whoever complained about having too much money? When Ava meets her boyfriend’s bad-boy brother for the first time, the heat in the room rises a few degrees at least.

While most (if not all) romances include a leading lady who is looking for an earth-shattering romance, none that I’ve read before had a foul mouthed, sophisticated older woman pulling the strings.

With a bad boy we can all fall in love with and extensive descriptions that leave little to the imagination, Bronson will surely be in my dreams for days.

For its well-written, fully realized characters, a great storyline and steamy hot romance – I give Take My Heart By J.J. Sorel 4 HEARTS!

Read for free with Kindle Unlimited.

Recommended Read

Book Info:

AVA – I’ve never been in love. Never felt that fire or been so desperate for a man’s touch that he’s all I can think about.
Then Bronson Lockhart walks into the party I’m at with my boyfriend, Justin.  Everyone notices him. How could they not? He’s ridiculously good looking with that dark, brooding masculinity that inspires dirty thoughts of the sweetest kind…

Too bad he’s also Justin’s adopted brother.

And they clearly hate each other. Yet I can’t help but notice the way Bronson looks at me that sets my pulse thrumming.  I can’t help wondering how his lips would feel on mine…  My new boss: a wealthy, eccentric old woman hidden away in her opulent penthouse with only her secrets and me to keep her company, tells me to follow my heart by surrendering to my deepest desires rather than act sensibly.
But I barely know Bronson, even though he seems determined to change that.

As I submit to desire and fall into his buff arms, a battle brews between my head and heart: are those hungry kisses and caresses a con?

BRONSON – Locked up for a crime I didn’t commit, I vowed to do two things when I got out–find my birth parents and make my brother pay for setting me up.  Now I’m out of jail and ready to set my plan for revenge in motion, starting with seducing his girlfriend. Not that it will be a chore.
Ava’s beauty stole my breath the moment I laid eyes on her. Sassy, intelligent, and sexy as hell, she’s got curves that fuel my darkest desires.
But what starts as revenge soon turns into something more. I want her…crave the sweet taste of her. Hell, who am I kidding? I’m falling for her. But as secrets about my adoption start to unravel, I discover a startling connection to Ava’s boss.
Was my meeting Ava a setup… or destiny?

Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/mYrBJw

Here’s a peek at the book…

I enjoyed sitting out in the open air surrounded by trees and earthy, floral aromas. It was a clear night with a pearly moon that beamed a ripple onto the swimming pool.

Fanning away smoke that suddenly blew in my direction, I looked up and noticed Bronson, his back to me, puffing on a cigarette. He turned and, noticing me there, distanced himself.

My eyes were drawn to him in a way I wished they weren’t. Under the moonlight, he seemed like an almost mystical being bathed in shadow, especially when the smoke formed a halo around him.

He turned again and said, “Is the smoke annoying you?”

I put my fork down and ran my tongue around my lips to wash away the chocolate. “Um… no. It’s okay. I’m kind of used to it, anyway.”

A slight shift of the brow was his only response, and then he went back to smoking while looking up at the sky.

“I work for a lady who smokes a lot.”

He turned and faced me again. I wasn’t sure if he wanted to be left alone. He didn’t exactly give anything away with that remote stare.

“She makes sure she’s on the balcony, though.” As I babbled, a little voice within told me to stop, because he wasn’t exactly encouraging me with that gaze that bordered on blank, even though I detected a whisper of depth in there somewhere. He just kept sucking on his cigarette as if his life depended on it.

Perhaps it was the champagne and the sugar hit because I kept talking anyway. “I read for her, you see. She also makes me mix martinis.”

After a moment and one more drag on his cigarette, he said, “With an olive?” A hint of a smirk touched his lips and boy… he wore it well.

I remained transfixed. “Um… no. Hmm… that’s funny.” I chuckled in a goofy way. “I have to admit I’d never mixed a martini in my life. I hadn’t even tried one. Until now, that is. She makes me join her, which means I always leave with a smile.”

“She sounds interesting.”

“Agatha’s a cross between Miss Havisham and Greta Garbo.”

“Let me guess,” he responded, butting out his cigarette. “A lonely woman with revenge in her heart who slinks about demanding to be left alone.”

My eyes brightened. “Justin didn’t know what I was talking about when I described her as that earlier. I’m impressed.”

He shrugged. “Let’s just say I’ve had plenty of time to read.”

“Then you’re a rare being because these days not many people read. And to be honest, when I got this job being asked to do just that, reading from a book that I hold so close to my heart, I nearly broke out in a happy rash…. I…” I suddenly lost my chain of thought, mainly because he ran his tongue over his cushiony lips again.

“You were saying?” His voice had a deep, guttural resonance that suited him perfectly.

“Just that I feel blessed. It hasn’t been easy lately. I had the worst boss ever, and then I landed this job.”

“Do you always break out in a rash when you’re happy?” His lips twitched into a hint of a smile.

I giggled. “No. Sorry. I’ve had a bit of champagne, and I tend to say silly things.”

“Silly’s entertaining.”

His eyes burrowed deep into me again. And the best I could return was a cheesy tight smile. I looked down at my half-eaten cake, and strangely, my appetite had gone. “Do you have a favorite author?”

“Do you?” he asked.

“I think I love Emily Bronte.”

Wuthering Heights,” he returned. I must have shown my surprise because he added, “Why that look? Am I giving off some kind of illiterate vibe?”

“No. Not at all,” I lied, because he was the last person I’d expected to know of Wuthering Heights. “I’m sorry. Most younger guys don’t really go for books like that.”

“I’m not like most younger guys.” His eyes darkened again. He’d gotten that right. There weren’t too many guys I’d met who read books, let alone looked like him.

He came toward me, and as I sat there staring up at him in suspense, for I wasn’t sure what he was about to do, my heart raced.

He leaned in, and placing his finger on my cheek, he wiped it gently.

“You had a brown mark there.” His eyes softened slightly. He put his finger in his mouth in a way that made me want to sigh. It was so suggestive. “Mm… chocolate. Nice,” he rasped as if he’d dipped his finger somewhere forbidden.

I wanted to speak but lost my voice due to that subtle cologne scent wafting up my nostrils, combined with his melty brown eyes boring into me.

“Um… Yeah, I…” As I stammered, seeking a coherent response, Justin and Marcus came out, holding cigars and laughing loudly.

Bronson turned to face them. The brothers’ obvious cold regard for one another made me think of the classic Cain and Abel relationship.

AUTHOR: J.J. Sorel

TITLE: Take My Heart

GENRE: steamy romantic suspense, some erotica

RELEASE DATE: January 8, 2019

PUBLISHER: Amazon Digital Services LLC

ISBN/ASIN:  B07MFSZ6Z2

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan

Up Next Week: The Key of F by Jennifer Haskin

Thanks for reading our weekly book review on ILRB!

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