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My TOP 6 Dream Wedding Locations: a romance blogger post by multi-genre author Marie Lavender

My TOP 6 Dream Wedding Locations

 

Ever since I got engaged to my soul mate a few years ago, I’ve thought about the perfect locations for a wedding.

Sweet Ice Cream Photography, Unsplash

My fiancé and I have entertained big and small celebrations, anything from local to international ceremonies. And yes, most options tend to depend on the size of your wedding budget and the number of guests you intend on having.

Now, even though I’m a dreamer by nature, I am also a realist. That must be the Libra in me, weighing both sides! LOL. But in real life, I am much more likely to see the glass as half empty than remotely full. Lately, though, I have begun to see the benefits of taking an optimistic approach with some facets of life. Why not dream a little after all? What could it hurt?

Sharon McCutcheon, Unsplash

So if money was no issue, where might I choose for my wedding location? Well, I can’t pick one right now, but I will try to narrow down the regions a bit.

  1. England

My familiarity with British TV shows and movies has always led to a fascination with areas ‘across the pond’, so to speak.

Benjamin Davies, Unsplash

           A. London

  • Museum of the Moon

Located inside the Natural History Museum, this is a very modern event space which is only available from May to September. Looks like a cool place to hold a wedding reception, right? 😉

Natural History Museum – London

  • Sky Garden

With its stunning panoramic views, a wedding there is bound to be an unforgettable event.

  • One Marylbone

If you’re looking for an elegant place for a wedding and reception, this seems like a good choice.

  • Porchester Hall

This modern event space with different rooms is rather versatile, suitable for any type of occasion.

  • The Penthouse – Brick Lane

This private event space at a bowling alley might not seem like a great idea at first, but if you’re set on a casual yet intimate atmosphere, and aim to treat your guests to a lot of fun, it’s just perfect!

For London and its surrounding regions, Canvas Events is a great source for reserving a venue. You can even book Kensington Palace!

Wild, right? 😀

     B. Castles/Manors

I have a weakness for historical romance novels, and I’ve always wanted to visit all the lovely castles in Europe. Let’s look at some fancy venues in England.

  • Hedsor House – a country house with an Italianate style on the Buckingham-Berskshire border, and set amongst 100 acres of historic parkland.
  • Hengrave Hall – a Tudor style mansion complete with great halls and elegant chambers in the Suffolk countryside.
  • Chiceley Hall – a Georgian country mansion, decked out in the Baroque style with 48 rooms, a restaurant and a bar.
  • Clevedon Hall – a huge wedding venue in Somerset, situated on seventeen acres and boasting 25 luxurious bedroom suites.

C. Hotels

  • Dumbleton Hall Hotel – a 19th century Cotswald stone manor house with nineteen acres of gardens and a private lake.
  • The Grand Hotel – located at Tynemouth, close to the beach with a clifftop overlook. It has quite a history, having been originally built as a home for the Duchess of Northumberland.
  • Matfen Hall Hotel – a 19th century country mansion in Northumberland, located on 300 acres of parkland. They recently added a newly refurbished wedding space.
  • The Lodore Falls Hotel – situated on the shores of Derwentwater in Borrowdale, Cumbria in Lake District National Park. The site has 40 acres of tranquil land with a waterfall and a lakeshore.

These are all great choices! Here are some other venues to discover in England.

 

  1. Ireland

Let’s explore more of the U.K.

I have always been drawn to Irish mythology and Celtic music. So when I found out about two years ago that my great-grandfather was a full-blooded Irishman, it didn’t come as too much of a surprise that Ireland has been one of my top bucket list locations.

Patrick Metzdorf, Unsplash

          A. The Cliffs of Moher

Despite my fear of heights, this vista, which spans about eight miles across the Irish coast, is just too amazing to pass up! So, why wouldn’t it be an interesting locale for a wedding?

Jesse Gardner, Unsplash

  • Hotel Doolin Located in County Clare on the West Coast of Ireland and famous for its traditional Irish music, this contemporary hotel has spacious, modern rooms.

Let’s explore some other great wedding venues in Ireland.

       B. Drenagh Estate a 19th-century house, complete with a tree-lined driveway and richly wooded grounds.


       C. Ballyfin Set at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains in the center of Ireland, Ballyfin is an exclusive luxury five star hotel, situated on 614 private acres of parkland with a 28 acre lake.

       D. Dunluce Castle This medieval castle is on a cliff overlooking the sea in Northern Ireland, and is arguably one of the best and most memorable castles in the country, despite its state of ruins. It isn’t surprising that visitors go for the dramatic views, and yes, some choose to have a wedding ceremony there.

       E. Huntington Castle a 17th century house situated on more than 160 acres of gardens, woodland and farmland. And you might even spot the occasional peacock or rooster!


       F. Baily Lighthouse On cliffs extending into Dublin Bay from Howth, this is one of Ireland’s most photographed lighthouses on the eastern coastline. The cliff walk/path appears to be stunning and quite a romantic adventure. It’s no wonder some have chosen to set their wedding locales in clear view of the lighthouse!

       G. Ashford Castle (explore more wedding photos on the site here) A medieval castle which was transformed into a five star luxury hotel, situated on 350 acres of parkland, this castle has always appealed to me. I’ve been getting their brochures for years, and I can’t deny the pull I have to it!


       H. Adare Manor Set on 840 acres, this neo-Gothic architectural masterpiece, once the family seat of the Earls of Dunraven, has been transformed into a five star hotel and golf resort. Such stunning views!


        I. Castlemartyr Resort –The resort consists of a grand 17th century country manor house that sits adjacent to the ruins of an 800 year old castle. The five star hotel includes a 10 treatment room Spa and a luxurious golf course. With open meadows, manicured lawns and formal gardens, as well as a 24,400 square foot wellness, spa and fitness center, guests truly will want for nothing more.


        J. Castle Leslie – One of the finest castle luxury estates in Ireland, set on 1000 private acres of rolling hills, parkland and lakes to explore…why wouldn’t this be an idyllic countryside, just perfect for a dream wedding?

        K. Castle Durrow an 18th century country house in the Irish midlands – just an hour from Dublin – which was transformed into a luxury castle hotel. Looking over the wedding gallery on the site, the location has such picturesque gardens, and it’s easy to see why couples have chosen this site again and again.

Stunning! Here’s hoping that I make it to Ireland someday! Fingers crossed! 😉

Disover this link with more information on wedding locations in Ireland.

 

  1. New Zealand

Ömer Faruk Bekdemir, Unsplash

From bustling cities to dramatic mountainscapes to forests to scenic waterways, this country appears to have it all. At least everything you could want for a destination wedding. Here are some options, just to name a few.

           A. The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs Set on 6000 acres near Matauri Bay, The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs affords spectacular 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean. Situated atop a cliff and overlooking three pristine private beaches, alongside offering the amenities of a serene spa and a golf course, as well as a hotel restaurant, numerous local activities, and spacious suites to stay in, you just can’t go wrong!


           B. Huka Lodge Regarded as one of the top luxury lodges in New Zealand, surrounded by seventeen acres of countryside on the banks of the Waikato River, the Huka Lodge features an outdoor swimming pool, a tennis court, free airport transportation and a hot tub. It has air-conditioned suites with a private terrace and lovely river views. It’s only a 10-minute walk to the famous Huka Falls. Sounds like a great place to visit!


           C. Blanket Bay Located on the beautiful shores of Lake Wakatipu on a 10,000 acre high country farm with quintessential South Island lake and mountain views, Blanket Bay Lodge offers guests a relaxing hot tub and rooms with stunning views. The staff at this luxury lodge in a majestic mountain setting can arrange mountain bike tours, jet boating and Milford Sound tours. What a perfect wedding or honeymoon retreat, right?

    D. Annandale Coastal Farm Escape and Luxury Villa In one of the world’s most spectacular coastal locations, this is a rare 4000-acre sheep and cattle farm which also offers exclusive use of four multi award winning luxury villas.

Here is a list of other options in New Zealand.

 

  1. Turks and Caicos

With such clear blue beauty, what couldn’t be better than this view during a wedding ceremony? ♥♥♥

tkelly8843496, Pixabay

Here are some locales for a destination wedding. I won’t go into much detail with each site from now on, as I think I’m starting to sound like a travel agent. LOL. I figure you can decide for yourself where you’d like to base your dream wedding, and if any of the pictures appeal to you.

             A. East Bay Resort

            B. Blue Haven Resort and Marina

            C. Beach House

            D. The Regent Palms

 

  1. USA

Why not go for something more local? I have always dreamed of living by the ocean, so I wouldn’t mind a beach wedding in the U.S. either! 😉

Lauren Richmond, Unsplash

Especially if it’s a little easier to get to, here in my homeland. Hmm…let’s see what’s possible.

A. Florida

Jorge Vasconez, Unsplash

These are some venues in this beautiful, sunny locale.

  • Hollywood Beach Marriott
  • Panama City Beach Legacy By the Sea

Barefoot Hide A Way Grill

  • Miramar Beach Sol Mate (vacation rental home which is sometimes used for a wedding venue)

  • Destin Emerald Grande

  • Fort Walton Beach Holiday Inn Resort

For more information on Florida venues, click here.

 

B. California

Maarten van den Heuvel, Unsplash

  • Muir Beach Pelican Inn

  • Santa Cruz Santa Cruz Dream Inn
  • Monterey Monterey Tides Hotel

  • Laguna Beach Surf & Sand

  • Santa Monica Shutters on the Beach

  • Ventura Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach

  • Santa Barbara Rincon Beach Club

  • Redondo Beach Chart House

For more California sites, click here.

 

C. Maine

  • Bar Harbor Harborside Hotel

Bar Harbor Inn

French’s Point

For more places in Maine to have your dream wedding, go here

 

D. Hawaii

  • Koloa The Beach House

Sheraton Kauai Resort

  • Lahaina Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa

Montage Kapalua Bay

  • Kapolei Paradise Cove

For more places to have a wedding in Hawaii, click here.

 

E. Georgia

1778011, Pixabay

  • St. Simons Island

The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort

The Golden Isles

  • Jekyll Island Villas by the Sea Resort & Conference Center

For more wedding venues in Georgia, click here.

 

F. North Carolina

AJ Gallagher, Unsplash

  • Manteo The Outer Banks of North Carolina

  • Nags Head Jennette’s Pier

  • Ocean Isle Beach Oceanfront Weddings of N.C.

  • Duck Sanderling Resort

  • Wilmington Southern Beach House

  • Havelock Neuse Breeze

  • Kitty Hawk Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks

For more locations in North Carolina, explore this link.

 

G. Massachusetts

skeeze, Pixabay

  • South Yarmouth Red Jacket Beach Resort & Spa

  • Mashpee The Club at New Seabury & The Popponesset Inn 

  • Provincetown The Provincetown Inn

  • Dennisport – The Sea View

Corsair & Cross Rip Oceanfront Resort

  • Hyannis Cape Codder Resort and Spa

  • North Falmouth Sea Crest Beach Hotel

  • Nantucket Galley Beach

Westcliff

Check out some more locations here for Massachusetts venues. And this is a link to additional sites in the U.S.

 

  1. France

Oops, I almost forgot! Can’t overlook France. It’s breathtaking!

Augustin de Montesquiou, Unsplash

So…I’ve always wanted to visit Paris for a vacation, but if I was going for a wedding venue? Nah, I’d probably pick something more natural or unique. Perhaps a villa, castle, a vineyard, or even some lavender fields.

  • Provence Chateau de Tourreau

Château d’Alphéran

Bastide St Mathieu

  • Loire Valley – Chateau de Jalesnes

La Chatellerie

Château de Chissay

Here is a link which includes more options in France.

Wow, lots of choices to go over!

Well, I hope I covered everything. Maybe this post sparked your own ideas for a dream wedding, huh?

Tyler Nix, Unsplash

So after all this, what place have we as a couple chosen for the big day? That will most likely depend on the date of the wedding and our budget for the event. Okay, so maybe I didn’t narrow them down all that much. I like to have some variety! 😉

I just hope this helped you in your own search. I’ll keep you informed of our decision, however…

As always, happy reading, and have a beautiful summer! 🙂

Host Blogger Bio

Multi-genre author of Victorian maritime romance/family saga, Heiresses in Love, and 20 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. BLOOD INSTINCTS reached TOP 10 status in the Romance category of the 2018 P&E Readers’ Poll. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART 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 22 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/
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/

http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
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https://www.instagram.com/marielavender1/

Amazon author page: https://amzn.to/2yFx62c
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender
http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender

http://marielavender1.allauthor.com/

Creative Universal Reading List Link:  https://books2read.com/rl/marielavendersbooks

http://www.pw.org/content/marie_lavender
http://manicreaders.com/marielavender/

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

 

Have a lovely rest of your week, readers! 🙂

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Engagement, Event, Hope, Love, Lovers Like Us, Marie Lavender, Message, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Traditions, travel, Wedding

Book Feature: The Reluctant Husband by author Eliot Grayson

I am pleased to announce a great book by Eliot Grayson, an author I met during my journey! This talented writer is stopping by to tell us about MM historical romance, The Reluctant Husband, which released back in June!

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

Eliot is allowing us a look at a MM alternate history romance set in the Regency era, The Reluctant Husband, today.

Great cover!

This is the blurb for The Reluctant Husband, book two of Goddess-Blessed Series:

Disowned, disgraced, and with nowhere to turn, Tom Drake is willing to barter anything — even himself — for a reprieve from starvation and despair. Years spent lying to protect his secrets have left him longing for someone to value him, even if it’s only for his body and the blessing of his patron goddess.

Mal Leighton’s cousin and heir is dying. Only a miracle can save him — and if a miracle doesn’t appear, Mal’s damn well going to create one. Marrying Tom for his blessing is his last desperate hope to preserve his family. And if Tom happens to be as irresistibly seductive as he is untrustworthy? Well, Mal can focus on more than one goal at a time.

Tom doesn’t fall in love, and Mal knows better than to believe he’s the exception. But when Tom’s blessing doesn’t provide the quick cure they’d hoped, it’s clear that the goddess expects them to have a marriage in more than name. To save Mal’s family and find their own happiness, they will both need to sacrifice their pride and risk their hearts.

Release Date: June 7, 2019

Genre: M/M historical romance, LGBT, Regency, alternate history

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

Footsteps on the cobblestones of the square roused him from his fugue, and he pressed himself back into the alcove in panic. A lamp across the square did little to illuminate his corner; he was safe enough from anyone passing by.

Except that it wasn’t just anyone, and he wasn’t just passing by.

Malcolm Leighton stopped in the opening to the square, seeming to sense Tom’s presence; his silhouette, sinister in the mist, sent a shiver down Tom’s spine. But it was unmistakably Leighton, at least to one who’d spent years studying him surreptitiously from across school assemblies. He had a certain way of holding himself, both arrogant and graceful, that had always caught and held Tom’s attention — had made it so bloody difficult for Tom to hide the feelings he had to keep out of sight at all costs. What his father might have done had he discovered Tom’s leanings toward other men hadn’t borne thinking of.

When Leighton turned, his face was in shadow, but Tom could easily imagine his expression: one corner of his mouth raised in cynical amusement, the slight lift of his thick, straight black brows, and the shrewd gleam of his dark eyes.

As he stepped closer Tom’s body tightened, every muscle and tendon quivering with the urge to run, to fight, to take some action. He was cornered and brought to bay, quite literally and in every other way. If Leighton had followed him with violence in mind, he would find that Tom was not quite the easy pickings he had been as a schoolboy. Leighton still had an inch or two of height and the same in the breadth of his shoulders on Tom, but Tom could hold his own.

But when Leighton reached out, he held something in his hands, and his movements were slow and easy. “Your coat, Drake. They said you didn’t have a hat.”

The tension bled out of him as quickly as it had built, leaving him almost shaking from relief, from an odd disappointment, from despair and drink.

“You followed me to return my coat?” Tom’s voice came out all wrong, hoarse and dry. He reached out, took the coat, felt its weight in his hands as something unfamiliar and strange, now that it had been in Leighton’s possession even for a few minutes. “And — how did you know I’d left without it?”

“Half of the city saw you fly out the door as if all of Ingard’s hounds were on your heels,” Leighton drawled. “The gossips will be whispering of Tom Drake’s sudden fit of madness, this time tomorrow.”

“As though it matters,” Tom muttered. He wished it didn’t — wished he could be truly indifferent. He unfolded his coat, hands numb and clumsy, and nearly dropped it.

“Allow me.” Leighton swept the coat away so smoothly that Tom hardly realized it was gone. “Well?” Leighton prompted him impatiently.

Tom left off gaping at him and turned obediently to allow Leighton to help him on with it, a task he accomplished as well as any valet Tom had ever had.

None of Tom’s valets had ever lingered so long on the task of smoothing the fabric down his arms, though, nor stroked their hands over his hips afterward. Tom jerked away and spun to face Leighton.

“What the hell are you playing at?” he snarled. “If you think I’m the kind of man to fumble in an alley —”

“I know you’re that kind of man.” Leighton pushed forward, his chest brushing Tom’s and his face close enough that Tom could feel his breath. It was warm, and sweet with fine brandy, and nearly as intoxicating as the spirits Leighton had clearly imbibed. “But I’m not one to fumble, myself. There’s a place nearby. Rooms to let, short notice and short term. I had thought to take you there.”

“You’re not taking me anywhere.” Leighton’s other meaning belatedly sank in. “And I don’t fumble, in alleys or elsewhere, you arrogant, condescending, conceited arse!”

Leighton’s broad shoulders moved slightly, an arrogant, condescending shrug if ever there was one. “Your rather checkered history says otherwise, Drake.” Amused, Leighton was amused by Tom’s misery, and it was suddenly the outside of enough.

Tom seized Leighton by the shoulders and shoved, knocking the bastard against the rough bricks of the alcove wall, and he followed the shove with his full weight, knocking Leighton back and pinning him. Leighton hit hard and let out an oof of surprise, his hat flying off and landing somewhere on the damp cobblestones of the walkway.

“Don’t.” Tom shook him once, slamming him into the wall. “Don’t you dare speak of my wife as . . . checkered history. I should thrash you for that!”

“I’d like to see you try,” Leighton retorted, as calmly as if they stood in a drawing room discussing the weather.

Tom had been thrashed more often than the reverse, most recently by his own brother, but he’d learned a thing or two on those occasions, most notably that one took what advantage one could and be damned to the rules. He drew back and drove his fist into Leighton’s solar plexus — or would have, if Leighton hadn’t caught his arm, ducked to the side like a damned snake, and used Tom’s own momentum to fling him face-first into the wall.

He landed just hard enough to bruise, his cheek stinging where it scraped against the bricks. Leighton’s full weight landed against his back and knocked the wind out of him. He only registered that Leighton had one arm twisted behind his back when he tried, and failed, to throw him off.

“That’s enough of that,” Leighton said, suddenly not sounding so amused. “A friendly quarrel is one thing. I draw the line at fisticuffs.”

“We’re not friends,” Tom spat. He bucked, cursed, and landed against the wall again, winded and defeated.

Leighton leaned in, slowly pressing the whole length of his tall body against Tom’s. “Certainly not,” he breathed in Tom’s ear, the warmth of it sending a contradictory shiver down his spine. “But the way you’re wriggling your arse feels very friendly indeed.”

Tom stilled abruptly; he had been moving, but surely that was just a continued attempt to loosen Leighton’s hold.

“I didn’t intend for you to stop,” Leighton said, his low, smooth voice curling around the edges of Tom’s confusion, soothing and lulling him, making everything hazy. “You have a delightful arse. It may be the only thing you have to recommend you.”

Tom’s eyes snapped open. The dull ochre of the wall filled his vision; his own rasping breaths filled his ears; all his other senses could feel nothing but Leighton, on and around him, his rich, brandied scent and the heat of his hard form.

A harsh, horrible laugh rose up in his throat, and he forced it down before it could become a sob. His arse, of all things. His one remaining possession, besides a few items of clothing he couldn’t appear before the world without and that he hadn’t thought to sell — and that was all the value Leighton could see in him.

Goddess knew, perhaps that was all the value he had.

He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to fight the spinning of his head and the tingling in his extremities. He had to survive, didn’t he? Everything he’d done had been what he’d had to do — he’d had no choice but to make the decisions he had. They’d all come out badly. His decisions always did, and this one would surely be no different.

But tomorrow he’d be hungry; within a week, he’d be evicted from his rooms. He needed to live. And the hat he’d pawned that morning had been one of Monsieur Favreau’s masterpieces; gentlemen of higher station than Tom waited months for one made by the fellow’s own hands. Really, he probably should have sold his arse first.

A strange calm descended as he made up his mind. “Let me go.” And then, because Leighton seemed the sort to want to be quite sure he’d won, he added, “Please.”

Leighton’s hand around his wrist tightened, just a trifle, and then he released it and stepped away.

Tom took his time; he pushed back from the wall slowly enough to hide the stiffness in his limbs, and he carefully flicked the dust of the bricks from the front of his clothing. His fingers brushed over a snag in the silk of his last remaining waistcoat, and he shoved down the flash of panic at that. Leighton could afford to buy him another. He took a final moment before he turned around, giving himself one deep breath before he put his mask in place.

Bankrupt, disowned, and disheveled he might be, but Tom Drake could seduce anyone.

 

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/bQa97e

Woo! ♥♥♥ Love the tension. This sounds like a sizzling read!

So, what are readers saying about this novel?

The Reluctant Husband was a lovely novel, I quickly finished it and it was too soon, I found the MCs interesting and well mixed together, the double POV helped me understand better their stubborn minds and hearts. I devoured every word.” – M Marshall, Amazon

This was so so good!!!! I absolutely love this series, and hope it continues. Everything about it is lovely. Even though it’s a fictional world, you can totally see this taking place in the English countryside. The characters are fully actualized, as is the world around them. You see, smell, and feel it all as it unfolds. 💞Truly romantic in every way! 💞

This is a series I will revisit, and I hope more books come from this world. Thanks Eliot, for another enjoyable escape!💋
5 old-english-romance-infused-stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟” – Sharonica, Amazon

I’ve never seen two people fight the inevitable as much as Tom and Mal. They walked that razor thin line between love and hate and absolutely cut each other to pieces with it. This was such an intriguing storyline, the characters were engaging, and I thoroughly enjoyed following them on the rocky road to their happy ending.” – Joscelyn Smith, Amazon

Thank you for telling us about your book, Eliot! I know I can’t wait to read this MM Regency romance!

Also, check out book one in the series, The Replacement Husband

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

Author Bio

Eliot is an editor by day and a romance writer by night, at least on a good day — more of a procrastinator by day and despairing eater of chocolate by night when inspiration doesn’t flow and the day-job clients are being particularly insane. Go ahead and guess which of these is more common.

A steady childhood diet of pulp science fiction, classic tales of adventure, and romance novels surreptitiously borrowed from Eliot’s grandmother eventually led to a writing career; Eliot picked up an M/M romance a few years ago and has been enjoying the genre as a reader and an author ever since.

Author Links:
Website:  http://eliotgrayson.com/  
Contact:  http://eliotgrayson.com/contact.html
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/eliot.grayson.9
Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Eliot-Grayson/e/B07NL54KNF

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17300496.Eliot_Grayson
BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/eliot-grayson

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/eliotgrayson/

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Top 10 Dating Tips for the Modern Woman: a guest post by author Kai Nicole

Top 10 Dating Tips for the Modern Woman

by Kai Nicole

 

Let’s face it, dating in this digital era is getting a bit crazy. We are in a cultural shift where women have a lot more money and freedom than they used to have, all while traditionalism is still desired by many. So, how are modern women to navigate the madness? Here are 10 tips to help the single women out there:

  1. Be Whole

Do not date with the expectation that there is someone else outside of you who will complete you. You are a complete person, and you should date like one.  If you don’t feel fully complete then dating should not be your priority. You should take the time to focus on yourself becoming whole and happy.

Happy women always have a better dating life.

  1. Be Open

One of the biggest reasons women are disappointed with their dating experiences is because they have so many expectations that cannot be met. In order to have better dating experiences, you have to be open. That means no expectations! Let the dates flow and enjoy the moment!

  1. Stop “Husband Shopping”

“If you are one of these women who is searching for a husband, you are not dating, you are shopping. You are looking for a guy who fits some requirements you have created in your mind – a fantasy. Stop doing that. If you want to date, you need to understand the reality. Dating is taking time to get to know someone. That’s it. You give your time and in turn a man gives his time to you so that you both get to know each other.” – Date Like A Woman

  1. Only accept dates from men who are genuinely interested in you

Clarisse Meyer, Unsplash

How can you tell that a man is genuinely interested? He will risk rejection. Ladies, if a man risks nothing, especially public rejection, he really isn’t that interested in you, period. You are just some woman to pass the time with. When a man is REALLY interested in you, he is going to make sure you know it even at the risk of being embarrassed. Because in his mind you are worth it. The men who risk something to ask you out, those are the men you should date. They are genuinely interested.

  1. Date In Your Circle

When it comes to dating, there are many types of circles/leagues. However, your dating experiences are best when you date within your leagues/circles. I talk about dating circles more in-depth in my book. If you want to know what circles you are in, you should take a look at your own life. Chances are you spend time with those who are most similar to you. The men who are most similar to the folks you hang around are the men who are in your circles.

Pixabay, pexels.com

Why are dating experiences with men in your circle better? Because you have more in common and will have more to share and talk about.

  1. Avoid online dating and dating men who only send you DMs

As I like to say, “shoot your shot in public so I know it’s real.” Men who only date online or shoot their shot in DMs lack either true interest in the woman or their ability to talk to women is lacking in some way. When a man is not genuinely interested in a woman, the dating experience is always subpar.

While online dating and DMs have made it easier for men to access women, especially men who are scared to speak to women in person, the increased access to women means there is a decreased chance of genuine interest. Of course, many people love to fight me on this point, stating that they either met their spouses online or know someone who has met a spouse online. Whenever this happens, I simply point out that the success rate for online dating is 5%. That means 95% (that’s ninety-five percent) of the time online dating does not work. On top of that, the online dating business is worth $2 billion dollars. Online dating sites make more money if they keep you single. So, if you are okay with that, then please, by all means, keep dating online.

  1. Be more than a pretty package

Matthew T Rader, Unsplash

Focus less on how you look and more on who you are as a person when you date. “You must be more than just a pretty face. If you aren’t interesting, men are not going to be interested in you. You must be more than just a ‘wrapping.’ You have to give your date more than just an appearance. You have to give your date something to get to know.”’ – Date Like A Woman

  1. Date more than one man at a time

If you are not in a relationship, you’re single. Act like it. DATE!

Huy Phan, Unsplash

 

Shanique Wright, Unsplash

  1. Learn to let go

If a date doesn’t go the way you want it to, don’t sweat it. Letting go and moving on when things aren’t “right” is one of the key components to a great dating life.

Created by katemangostar – http://www.freepik.com

Remember, this is dating, not a relationship! If one guy isn’t for you, date a different one!

  1. Buy Date Like A Woman!

Get Date Like A Woman, the BEST dating guide for women, if you really want a better dating life!

Flower photo created by tirachard – http://www.freepik.com

 

Want to read more dating blogs? Check out DateLikeAWoman.com’s Blog. Be sure to also check out Kai’s personal blog at FlyMommy.net! And, don’t forget to buy the best dating book for women, Date Like A Woman!

Too right! Thank you, Kai, for giving us your impression of how to navigate dating in this modern age.

Well, readers, shall we take a look at the book on which her philosophy is based? Sounds like a plan!  😀

Great cover!  🙂

Here’s the blurb for Date Like a Woman:

Date Like A Woman (DLAW) is for the 21st century woman who is ready for a new narrative about dating, romance, sex and life!  DLAW helps women move from fear to freedom. It offers practical dating advice, teaching women to navigate through the often challenging and daunting dating world, while countering the sexist, stereotypical and, frankly, stupid “instructions” spewed at women by self-professed male “dating experts.”

DLAW puts the FUN back into dating while also providing no-nonsense guidance that empowers and encourages women who have grown weary, been disappointed, and are still holding on to outmoded and unrealistic expectations about their dating choices. DLAW reminds women of their worth, helping them understand that they do not need to fit some antiquated model of being “accepted” or “chosen” by men.

For women who are so ready to sever the cord – quickly, forcefully and permanently – that has kept them bound by dangerous dogma and silly, sexist “thought leaders,” DLAW offers fresh, funny advice for discovering themselves, deciding what they really want, and enjoying dating!

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/0692864350

Add it to Goodreads:   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36164605-date-like-a-woman

♥♥♥ Ooh…love it! This looks like such a helpful read! 

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Kai! Awesome to have you here! ♥

Author Bio

Published author, blogger and attorney Kai Nicole has emerged as an exciting and unique voice on dating and relationships. A graduate of Harvard University and Howard University School of Law, Kai’s professional experiences encompass diverse fields including legal, tech, and entertainment. She is a mother, world traveler, foodie, and lifestyle enthusiast.

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, Books, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, reflections, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Singles, Traditions, Writers, Writing

Love at First Sight: a guest post by author Holly Bargo

Love at First Sight

by Holly Bargo

 

Immortalized in movie scenes when our hero and heroine exchange that first glimpse from across a room, love at first sight occupies a permanent place within the romantic lexicon. Nowadays, though, it’s called “instalust” or “instalove.”

Ryan Jacobson, Unsplash

Apparently, that’s more accurate or realistic.

I think it’s derogatory.

What man or woman doesn’t want to feel that moment of instant attraction, that wondrous lightning strike of knowing that he or she is “the One”? That sizzling realization that you’ve just met your one true love can and should knock you off your feet.

Does it happen?

Mohamed Hassan, Pixabay

In fiction, it happens all the time. Consider that ubiquitous fairy tale, Cinderella. The prince gazes across a sea of hopeful ladies to see the glittering beauty of an unknown woman. He rises from his chair, wades through the crowd, and takes the unknown beauty by the hand. They dance all night until the clock strikes midnight and she flees. The next day he goes in search of the woman who captured his interest with just a glance and then took his heart prisoner over a single evening. And he doesn’t even know her name.

Paranormal romance, especially in shifter and vampire romances, capitalizes on love at first sight, using the practically instantaneous attraction and mating instinct possessed by many animals. Our hero (usually a shifter) recognizes his mate (usually a human) and then spends the rest of the story persuading her that he’s going to love her and take care of her forever.

Leandro De Carvalho, Pixabay

I think that most people crave that sort of obsessive devotion, which is why the “love at first sight” trope endures in popularity. However, it has its dark side, too. In Deerskin by Robin McKinley, our heroine’s parents have that sort of single-minded focus upon each other until the heroine’s mother fears the ravages of age and her father transfers his insane focus on his own daughter. The daughter grows up mostly ignored until that creepy and awful transference of obsessive love: her parents cannot focus on anyone but each other. They have no love to spare for their own child.

The ideal of it … ah, doesn’t that make you shiver with the longing to have someone whom you love forsake all others to dedicate himself or herself to your happiness? The trope generally builds upon a man’s instinct to possess and protect, taking those instincts to psychotic levels. The trope generally demands obedience from the submissive in the relationship—usually the female. He takes care, she is cared for—until the tables are turned and she ministers to him.

Andre Furtado, pexels.com

Love at first sight hearkens to the ideal of mutual care, mutual benefit, mutual pleasure, mutual support. It takes the concept of a utopian community and applies it to the two-person community of a romance or the slightly larger group of a polyamorous relationship. It takes that idealized, interdependent caring and support and adds sexual attraction.

I love love at first sight. It’s a wonderful catalyst to jump-start a character-driven romance. It complies with my no-cheating requirement in romance and ensures commitment even when intimacy occurs before the ceremony.

Intriguing post ! Thank you, Holly, for giving us a peek into the advantages and disadvantages of the ‘love at first sight’ trope.

Well, readers, shall we take a peek at her paranormal romance? Sounds like a plan!  😀

Great cover!  🙂

This is the blurb for The Eagle at Dawn:

Rachel’s brother uses her as collateral to settle a debt with an outlaw motorcycle gang. She flees to a local bar and pleads with a darkly handsome stranger to help her. His help results in homicide. When eagle shifter Diego’s vacation is interrupted by the innocent young woman he recognizes as his mate, he flees with her across national borders because she’s his and he’s not letting her go.

Having essentially swapped one captor for another, Rachel knows the dashing, sexy Spaniard is keeping secrets from her. He showers her with kindness and generosity in exchange for her obedience. Diego’s control over her and his secrets elicit her distrust and resentment.

When freedom beckons, Rachel answers its call; however, freedom brings hardship and indignity. Will she return to the controlling alpha male who stirs her blood or cling stubbornly to her freedom?

Here is an excerpt.

Rachel awoke to dark liquid eyes staring at her and the gentle stroke of fingers over her cheek and along her jaw. She gasped and drew back, initially confused. Memory slammed into place and she took another deep breath.

“What is it?” she asked, realizing the absence of engine noise and the stillness of the aircraft.

“We’ve arrived, mi encantadora.

She blinked and sat up, rolling her shoulders and stretching. Diego’s gaze sharpened and the small muscle at the base of his jaw clenched. His demeanor subtly changed from tender to ferocious and Rachel wondered what she’d done to anger him. As though realizing that he intimidated her, Diego pressed his full lips together in a thin line, closed his eyes in a long slow blink, and visibly relaxed his muscles.

He held out his hand and she took it, thinking he merely intended to help her up from the cot like the gentleman he claimed to be. However, he did not release her, but reeled her in so that her soft breasts pressed into his body and his heat easily penetrated her thin summer clothes. His other arm wrapped around her and clamped her against him. She inhaled again with sharp surprise at both the unexpected embrace and the surge of arousal that sparked low in her belly.

She swallowed, the sound audible, and blinked rapidly. “What’s going on?”

“Us,” he replied, his voice a husky murmur. Diego’s hand skimmed upward and cupped the back of her head, holding her in place and pressing her ear against his heart. The strong, steady beat thudded and calmed her nerves even as the enticing scent of him stirred her blood. She felt the soft waft of his breath over her hair and then the brush of his lips.

“Why did you kiss me?” she whispered.

“Because you’re not ready for more.”

Rachel gulped again. “What if I’m never ready for more?”

“You will be.”

Purchase Links:

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

Add it to Goodreads:   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46421105-the-eagle-at-dawn

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46682405-the-eagle-at-dawn

♥♥♥ Ooh…love the tension! This looks like quite a romantic read! 

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Holly! Awesome to have you here! ♥

Author Bio

Holly Bargo lives with her husband on a southwest Ohio hobby farm with a menagerie of four-legged pets. Their two children are grown. Holly works full-time as a freelance writer and editor, and has published over 20 titles since 2014. She primarily writes fantasy and romance, often blending the two genres. Her latest release is The Eagle at Dawn, the fourth book in her Immortal Shifters series in which, yes, readers get to experience the effects of love at first sight. Holly enjoys hearing from and meeting readers. She will be at the 2019 Summer Book Fair in Springfield, Ohio. Contact her via the Hen House Publishing website.

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writers, Writing

Book Review: Unglorious War by Maxine Flam

Our latest I Love Romance Blog review selection is Unglorious War by Maxine Flam. What a read! 😀

The novel was a gift copy provided well before I became an official reviewer on ILRB. Going into this review, I should state that even though I love reading historical romance, this is not one of my favorite time periods to read about (and I only have two or three that I try to avoid). I don’t claim ignorance about the Vietnam War. My own father served, and has his own stories – at least what he is allowed to reveal. Much of what he did remains classified. However, to be fair as both reader and reviewer, I reserved judgment until the book was finished.

Unglorious War is an appropriate title, for reading the story proved to be a rather enlightening experience. The characters were compelling. Marla, especially, was someone I grew to further respect as the tale progressed. The secondary characters were just as fascinating.

I must congratulate the author for her historical accuracy. She clearly did her research, and this book has the seal of approval from three war Veterans.

One issue I saw – both from the standpoint of a writer and a reader – was the head-hopping interspersed throughout the story. The approach was unusual overall, hinting at more of an omniscient narrator. Still, this fact wasn’t enough to pull me out of the fictional world, in most cases.

The varied emotions on the page were real, and the love story was deeply moving. The connection between Marla and Thomas was believable and heartfelt, even with the threat of war all around them.

As for an HEA or HFN – the one aspect a romance reader yearns for – I’d probably label the novel historical fiction with elements of romance. Possibly with a hint of inspirational romance, and definitely a military romance. We have to be realistic too with any tale about war. With the intent of being remotely authentic, it can’t be all hearts, flowers, and butterflies. I am not a person who likes to give away spoilers. I will do my best to avoid doing so here.

ONE WARNING: When something bad happens, don’t give up on this read. There is so much more to discover, to be resolved. And the ending is…well, open to interpretation.

In any case, my rating for this read is three hearts ❤️❤️❤️ – for a well told story and a realistic romance. Nice job, Maxine! 🙂

Book Info:

Major Thomas Harrison Smith is critically wounded while escaping from a POW camp deep inside Laos during the Vietnam War. Stabilized by medical personnel in Vietnam and Japan, he is flown to Oahu, Hawaii for surgery and rehabilitation. Emaciated, dehydrated, and half-dead from torture and constant beatings, he meets Lt. Marla Bristol, a nurse-therapist assigned to his case. During Major Smith s recovery, he and Lt. Bristol fall in love and marry, but the military wants Major Smith to do another tour of duty and if Major Smith does return to Vietnam, will he see his beloved Marla again?

Who is Lt. Anthony Lambello and what part does he play in whether Major Smith returns from NAM? Thomas and Marla are scared but each pray to God that they should be reunited soon. They find their faith tested and God answers their prayers, but is it the way that they hope for?

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/bP0AAr

Here is an excerpt.

AUTHOR: Maxine Flam

TITLE: Unglorious War

GENRE: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational, Military Romance

RELEASE DATE: February 19, 2009-2012

PUBLISHER: Flamingo Publications

ISBN/ASIN: 098211740X/9780982117415

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Marie Lavender

You can find an ebook copy for free on Smashwords! 😉

Up next time: Kurt Seyt & Shura by Nermin Bezmen

Thanks for reading our latest book review on ILRB!

 

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Book News, book reviews, Books, Event, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, inspirational romance, Military Romance, rating, Readers, Reviews, Romance, score, Writing

We All Have Dreams: a guest post by author Sheri Langer

We All Have Dreams

by Sheri Langer

 

We all have dreams. As a child, mine was to have long polished fingernails, a sparkly diamond ring, a husband, kids, and a puppy. It was my firm belief that my children would be the luckiest on earth because I would love them beyond reason. My only other wish was to be a movie star, admired by all.

We all have dreams that change. As a child I loved movies, especially the ones where sultry, stunning actresses had to do nothing but stand in a room to have every man in sight desire them. Their allure was disarming and enviable and as I got older, I wanted to be one of them. As a teen, it became somewhat painfully obvious that a 5’2”, very bosomy, bottle-blonde was not exactly the ingenue Hollywood was banging down doors to find. I still watched movies with palpable yearning, but as a matter of practicality, I knew I would have to switch gears.

We all have dreams that change us. I went to college because I had no choice but to graduate and be a “something.” I had given up my dreams of being an actress and so I returned to my most organic desire – to be a wife and a mother. My first serious boyfriend didn’t feel ready to comply with my wishes and broke up with me. Shortly after, I met the guy I believed was Mr. Right. He transferred to my school so we could be together. It was all very romantic in the screenplay I was writing in my head.

Aaron Burden, Unsplash

We all have dreams that work – until they confuse us.  We got married. I went for my MA in English Ed so I could actually be a “something.” I loved words. The problem was I didn’t want to be a teacher or a journalist. I didn’t want to be anything that required punching a time clock or reporting to a boss. I wanted to write movies, but as far as I was concerned those were created in some far-off land by nameless sprites.

We all have dreams that shape us. I got pregnant and realized that being a mother was my truest calling. Except for the pen and paper that beckoned me in the wee hours, I was a mom all the way from colic to toddlerhood and then onto my next pregnancy, and my next pregnancy, and my next pregnancy. All the while, my movies kept me company. They reminded me, while my own marriage was unraveling, that true love was still out there.

Ani Kolleshi, Unsplash

We all have dreams that save us. I got divorced. It was a blessing, but destabilizing, nonetheless. I was no longer part of a couple. We divvied up the friends, but I got to keep the videos. The weekends I didn’t have the kids became my nights for take-out and rom coms. I needed to reinforce my childhood notions of love. I started dating, which I found was not the way to secure those notions. The more I dated, the more I needed my movies.

At some point, we all stop dreaming and start doing. One day, my sister said, very matter-of-factually, “just write your movie already.” Really? Maybe she was right. Maybe the only way I could have the love I wanted was to create it myself. I started writing a screenplay and while developing the main conflict, decided to reach out to my first serious boyfriend. I was in NY. He was safely tucked away in Florida. Maybe he would be able to explain why I was relationship-challenged.

We all have dreams that come true. My former boyfriend was now divorced and seemed to have been waiting for my call. We kept in touch and after a few weeks he said he needed to see me. Our time together convinced me to keep writing. Upon the advice of my late, treasured mentor, I novelized my screenplay and LOVE-LINES emerged.

My boyfriend moved to NY, proposed, and after a mere dozen years of living together, we got married this past New Year’s Eve.

Brian Hartley, Unsplash

Keep dreaming.

Wow! Thank you, Sheri, for giving us a peek into your life and offering some of us a reason to have hope for our romantic futures. You are so right. Love is worth waiting for, and I’m glad your life journey also led you to writing that book! 😉

Well, readers, shall we take a peek at this contemporary romance? Sounds like a plan!  😀

Great cover!  🙂

This is the blurb for Love-Lines:

What if you could find the love of your life just by reading between the lines?

Single mom Fordham Price is juggling her job at a small publisher, her precocious ten-year-old daughter, and her feisty mother. She wants to find time for men, but after a series of dating disasters, her relationship status is still stuck at single.

As if her macchiato lite wasn’t already overflowing, a co-worker gets pregnant, and Fordham is expected to step in and deliver the company’s latest reality read from the Flowers from the Heart series. She must now supplement her own romantic misadventures with tales of cynical cat-ladies, identical-twin husbands, spunky monks, and countless other web-crawlers.
As she wades through the submissions, she finds one from a widower whose story gives her tingles in all the places she forgot existed. His words draw her in until she finds herself daydreaming about him more than she’d care to admit.

Could she have a love like that, or will her romantic fate be forever bound to her philandering ex-husband?

What are people saying about this book?

“Humorous romance. Entertaining tale of a divorcee meeting her Prince Charming but also encountering her first love. Will she rekindle that former romance where her heart was broken? Will she find out who is Prince Charming? Where does her daughter’s handsome principal fit into the story? All the answers will be there, as well as some surprises and laughs along the way.” — Barbara Tobey, Amazon

I must say I’m impressed. I’m not sure if a “virgin” reader’s enthusiasm is a plus or not, because I haven’t read a book in 50 years. No joke, that’s how long it’s been, and that book was the first fiction book I had read. Didn’t like it and figured it would always be like that.
This was fun, lighthearted, cute, serious, sad, happy, ridiculous, confusing, surprising detailed, vividly real as everything I read brought the characters to life in my mind, and they remained unchanged throughout. Most of all, a great read that I reluctantly put down every time I had to stop reading. Kudos, Sheri Langer!
” — Tony, Amazon

I love, love, love this book! Fordham struggles to figure out who she is and what she wants in life after being let down by her father, her first love, and her ex-husband. She finds herself raising her daughter with her mother and doing a job that makes her feel like she’s in way over her head. I enjoyed all of the characters and how you aren’t really sure how it’s all going to work out in the end.” — KReads83, Amazon

“Cute book! I loved all the different characters’ relationships throughout this book. Whether you are young, old or middle aged, love can show up! It was a quick, fun read and I’m looking forward to this author’s next book!” —R. McCleaf, Amazon

Purchase Links:

Universal Reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/mv7GN2

Add it to Goodreads or BookBub:   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43699742-love-lines

https://www.bookbub.com/books/love-lines-by-sheri-langer

The link to a book excerpt is: https://bit.ly/2DVHsLb

♥♥♥ Nice! This looks like quite a romantic read! 

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Sheri! Awesome to have you here! ♥

Author Bio

Sheri Langer is a chocoholic writer and editor who routinely feasts on romantic comedies. She’s been known to spontaneously reenact scenes from classic favorites like When Harry Met Sally.

A self-proclaimed moderately talented home-cook, Sheri spends a fair amount of time concocting dishes that can never be repeated. A creative rebel at heart, she has always colored outside the lines and has an instinctive aversion to recipes. To keep the calories from getting too out of hand, Sheri does step and aerobic workouts in the privacy of her bedroom, where no one has to be subjected to her lack of rhythm.

An avid word fan, Sheri frequently plays Just Words, Boggle, and Scrabble, mostly against the computer so she has excellent odds of winning. With her four kids all grown up – three of whom live in various locations across the map – Sheri and her guy, Brad, spend much of their downtime watching General Hospital and football, shopping, and pursuing the best ice cream on the planet. Much to the chagrin of their waistbands, they can often be spotted sitting on a bench outside their favorite creamery, eating obscenely overstuffed giant waffle cones.

Please feel free to connect with Sheri on social media. You can help her procrastinate by engaging in spirited exchanges or viewing pics of her great-looking family and ridiculously adorable cat, Zoe.

 

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

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Dating Tips, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Hope, Love, Message, Readers, reflections, Relationships, Romance, Writers, Writing

Book Review: The Impaler’s Wife by Autumn Bardot

If you haven’t checked the updates to our review policy, please do. I am taking over in the meantime. Our latest I Love Romance Blog review selection is The Impaler’s Wife by Autumn Bardot. What a great read! 😀

The test of a good book is one that successfully tells a tale from which you can’t turn away. The test of a good writer is one who constructs characters anyone can care about, even if their beliefs may not align with the reader. Suspension of disbelief, and being drawn into the fictional world is key. Bardot’s The Impaler’s Wife is one such title. This gothic romance is thrilling, with unerring historical accuracy, and a hint of the legend of Dracula which most have heard of.

I love tales about Dracula, and this one is just as fascinating. Housed in historical fiction, complete with gory descriptions of war and a tale of unrivaled passion, The Impaler’s Wife gives us a unique take on not only the legend of Dracula, but also a story of the man himself. Who is Vlad the Impaler? And, who is Ilona, the strong, amazing woman that falls for him?

As a reader, I was yanked into the tale from page one, equal parts mystified throughout, and by turns horrified yet unusually resigned to the circumstances. This book may test your faith in…well, everything you think you know. Bardot has an uncanny ability to make one of the most vilified historical figures utterly human. Or is he far more than that?

Ilona really comes into her own from the first time we encounter her – and that pivotal moment when Vlad approaches her – to the well-rounded, confident, strong female she becomes by the end of the book. I enjoyed learning about both characters.

So…is Dracula just a story? It is tempting to think otherwise. Bardot may make you a believer too. Take a chance on this read. You won’t be disappointed!

I give this a rating of four hearts for an outstanding, unforgettable reading experience. Fantastic job, Autumn! ♥

Book Info:

A young woman is swept into a life of intrigue, revenge, passion, and betrayal when she falls for the world’s most notorious prince.

The year is 1464 and young King Matthias controls Hungary, his family, and the fate of the world’s most notorious political prisoner, Prince Vlad Dracula.

Ilona Szilágy, the king’s cousin, is young and ambitious. Dracula is determined to marry into the Hunyadi family. It is love at first sight, but the king has other plans. The Impaler Prince, however, never takes no for an answer.

This begins Ilona’s journey into the treacherous world of court intrigues, family betrayals, and her husband’s dark desires. Eager to become Vlad’s trusted confidante, Ilona soon discovers that marriage to a man tortured by his past comes with a price.

Woven throughout is a peek into the life and times of one of the world’s most enigmatic and maligned rulers…the man before the legend.

With Bardot’s decadent period detail and a cast of gritty, evocative characters, The Impaler’s Wife offers a fierce yet sensuous glimpse into the violent 15th century.

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

Here are some teasers!

And the book trailer…

Plus, an intriguing excerpt!

Prince Vlad rests his hand on the small of my back. “Come, Lady Ilona, look at the faces of anarchy and villainy, and see how much they resemble your friends and family.”

“I will not.” I back away from the entrance where moans rise from the bowels of the labyrinth like a demon’s song.

“The choice is yours, of course.” His tone is low and gentle, but in the lamplight his stare is wolf-like.

I shift from foot to foot, look away, only to glance back. Does he hear my heart knocking against my breast? Can he smell my fear as it beads wet on my neck? Do I want to rise to this challenge? Or am I a fool for allowing him to bait me?

My fingers tighten around the lamp’s clay handle. “I will humor you, my lord, but only because Father taught me courage and graciousness.”

“Mihály taught you well.” He holds out his hand. “My lady.”

The lamp divides the darkness like a saber, each foot forward lighting our descent into hell. Ghostly groans from below seep through the rock. I sink into Vlad’s fur-lined coat as though their suffering will soak into my soul.

Vlad pauses before descending the narrow rock steps leading into the labyrinth’s deepest level. “Are you certain?” His eyes glint with challenge. “A weak constitution is nothing to be ashamed of.”

I lift my chin and glare with pretended insult. “I am the daughter of Michael Szilágyi and Margit Báthory. Iron courage flows in my blood.” I push back my cuff and show him the blue-forked veins in my wrist. “I am as brave as Hadak Ura, our ancient pagan warlord.”

“I believe you, my lady. I will not doubt again.”

The clanking chains and eerie moans get louder with each step down, the noises merging into a demonic choir like that of Ördög’s requiem to the Underworld. My legs shake, my neck wet with icy prickles, and my skin tightens around my chest.

I lift the lamp into hell.

The circle of light shines upon a pockmarked man stretching his arm between the bars, his fingers curled like claws. “Bless me, good sister.”

In the cell next to him, a naked wretch spits onto the ground. “Menj a fenébe!”

“I am innocent!” A third prisoner grabs the bars and presses his wild-bearded face against the iron. “Tell His Highness there is a Turkish spy in his court. He is in danger! You must warn him!”

My head swivels toward Prince Vlad.

“There are always spies,” Vlad whispers.

I walk with measured pace and let the lantern reveal each doomed prisoner. Most stare, empty-eyed; the whips, chains, skin shredders, bone crushers, and strappado take away all hope and spirit. Others shout obscenities. One man kneels, hands in prayer, and mutters the Hail Mary.

The weight of their misery crashes down, squeezes my heart, and crushes my breath. This place must be worse than hell’s torments because these wretches yet live, have all their faculties! No one deserves this! It is inhumane! Sadistic and depraved!

My breath comes in shreds and clumps. I cover my nose with Prince Vlad’s cape, the stench of rotting flesh enfolding me in its putrid embrace. My pace quickens. It is time to end this test of my courage.

“You!” A milky-eyed wretch points to Prince Vlad and begins chanting in a foreign tongue.

Prince Vlad guides me away from the cells. “You have thrice over proven your courage tonight.”

“What language was that man speaking?”

“He recites from the Corpus Hermeticum.” Dracula takes the lantern and illuminates the stairwell. “It’s a pagan book of alchemy, astronomy, and metaphysics.”

“It sounded like he cursed us.”

“Pay no attention to a madman’s rants. That particular book is nothing but Egyptian and Greek nonsense.”

I tread upwards, evil’s chill clinging to my limbs. At the top, I try to purge the dungeon’s misery, malice, and madness with a long exhalation. Yet the horror sticks like nettles in my soul.

“This way.” I move past the dark tunnel and enter the lighted one, relieved to put space and distance between the prisoners and me.

The tunnel ends at a large grotto where Prince Vlad pauses to light the ring of torches affixed to the walls. I wait on a stone bench near the baptismal fount, sighing with relief as the golden glow of the church-like arches infuse peace into my troubled soul.

Prince Vlad sits beside me. “We go from hell to heaven.”

I tuck a stray lock behind my ear. “This was Father’s favorite grotto. God’s Buried Cathedral, he called it. His second favorite has a Titan-sized head emerging from the ground—like a god got stuck in molten rock. I was only in that grotto once. It reminded me of an insect trapped in tree sap that ages to amber—the insect forever entombed—never aging, almost alive in its resin grave.”

“Do you find that horrific or beautiful?” His eyes search mine.

“Both, I suppose.” My shoulders move into my sigh. “Caves are dreary places.”

“I rather enjoy them. Tunnels have saved my life several times.” Dracula stands. “I think we are both ready for fresh air.” He offers his hand, its warmth a familiar comfort.

Together we walk through the tunnel lit by small lanterns that flicker like fireflies all the way to the exit.

Prince Vlad gives the stubborn iron-crossed door a hard yank and it groans open. Outside, a sapphire dawn drapes over Buda.

“On no.” My hands fly to my face. “It’s so late it’s early.” Were we in the tunnels that long? If my aunts discover I never returned to my room…I spin about, my voice edged with panic. “I have to go back. Now.”

Vlad’s brows crease with concern. He tugs a handkerchief from his robe and touches it to my lips as though dabbing at a smudge. “There’s something I must do first.” He lays the linen over my lips and sets his mouth on mine.

Even through the thin fabric, his lips sear my own. I part my lips, feel the linen moisten with the breath of our lust. I collapse into him, my body sizzling with desire. I am about to rip away the fabric and taste his lips when he breaks the kiss.

Vlad Dracula steps back, the handkerchief between thumb and forefinger. “If you marry Luigi della Scala, you will still be chaste.” He drags the handkerchief across his mouth. “I will always have this.”

Chaste? Prince Vlad just violated my heart and corrupted my flesh!

Back in my chambers, I touch my lips that still burn with the memory of our kiss—my first kiss—and groan. Vlad Dracula used my virtue, conceit, and fears to study the labyrinth’s secrets. He took advantage of my desire for romantic adventure to learn the escape route.

AUTHOR: Autumn Bardot

TITLE: The Impaler’s Wife

GENRE: Historical Fiction, Gothic Romance

RELEASE DATE: March 27, 2019

PUBLISHER: Flores Publishing

ISBN/ASIN: B07NKJX7R8

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Marie Lavender

Get your copy of this new release today!

Up next time: Unglorious War by Maxine Flam

Thanks for reading our latest book review on ILRB!

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How Shopping Correlates with Dating and Relationships: a romance blogger post by multi-genre author Marie Lavender

 How Shopping Correlates with Dating and Relationships

 

I love, love, love shopping…well, for almost anything! I can never be trusted with a credit card. 😉 Most of the time I resist temptation, but now and then, especially if I have some extra money on my hands, I indulge in one of my hobbies – shopping for clothes, or even books.

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But whether you’re browsing online or in the store, shopping for clothing items is a whole other animal. At least with a book, you can be sure you will usually end up a satisfied reader. The only issue, for me at least, might be a bunch of glaring grammatical errors, or so much head-hopping that I get fictional whiplash.

Amanda Jones, Unsplash

Shopping for clothes, however, is a different story.

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If you’re looking at stores on the internet, you have likely done your research already. Maybe you vetted the company for positive customer feedback. Looking over product reviews is never a bad policy.

When you’re dating, though, it’s not like you can ask your date’s exes how things went in the past, or what pitfalls to anticipate. It’s basically trial and error, right?

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Sometimes that happens with shopping too. Just because you properly assessed the site, or even had prior experience with it – you got a great bargain and the product was offered in the right size – that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically love the shirt you bought every time. Hell, you won’t know anything until it arrives at your house and you can try it on. Maybe the color is off, or the shirt fits smaller or bigger than advertised. Every brand is different. The problem is there are no guarantees with any purchase.

Same thing goes with dating. Just because your date is handsome – or pretty – doesn’t mean you’ll be compatible. Life is about more than appearances alone. Can you at least carry on an intelligent conversation with this person? Can you tolerate their presence for longer than five or ten minutes? An hour? These are ways to test someone out.

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If you try on a jacket in a store, you may not love it the same way a week later. If I’m just ‘meh’ about an article of clothing from that first moment in the dressing room, I’ll probably feel that way, or even worse later on. I may have a weakness for shopping, but I am also a highly discerning customer. I know when to go for the hard pass. I usually don’t jump to buy anything without a lot of forethought, or unless I am sure about it right away. Online purchases, though? It’s a toss-up as to whether I’ll be satisfied.

That happens with a relationship too. There is no better version than real, face-to-face human interaction. You can text, email or use social media messaging, even video chat all you want, and it still won’t replace learning about someone in person. Only then can you tell how it will work.

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What about facades, though?

Just as there are scam artists selling faulty goods online – or leaving you empty-handed – and vendors selling their wares on the street, some people aren’t upfront about themselves with a dating situation. And I don’t mean the horror stories we see on the news. Please refer to Dating Connections’ article from November of 2017 about safely dating in a high-tech world. What I’m talking about it is a fact we often overlook…

Some of us make assumptions about people without knowing the truth. All we see is surface. Keep in mind that it goes both ways. A certain majority of people put up a facade to protect themselves from being hurt. Others may do so for darker reasons, or because they’re shallower than you realize. I think the key here is to take your time when getting to know someone. If you’re serious about dating – and not just playing the field – your instincts will guide you to the right answer, and the perfect fit will find you.

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Have you ever bought a pair of shoes, and then a month or two later they break? Or, maybe it happened with a purse or your favorite shirt which tore right away. You found out it was made cheaply, or it just didn’t work for another reason.

Your dating journey is about trying on different relationships until you reach the right fit. Don’t give up easily, but don’t stay with someone for a long time just because you’re afraid to be alone either. If you’re not meant to be together, you’ll notice the signs or glaringly obvious red flags. Heartbreak is sometimes just a temporary obstacle to finding out what you want in this life.

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But, I can’t emphasize this enough. Identity is everything when finding your soul mate.

Of course, we all come from different backgrounds, affording us various experiences. but the most important thing to remember is to know yourself well first. If you’re aware of all your likes and dislikes – a useful skill we often develop with shopping – that will go a long way toward understanding what you want in a relationship. It’s true that wisdom from experience – maybe going through a couple baddies – can also bring you the same result. But knowing who you are in and out will prevent you from making some crazy mistakes too.

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Diversely, was there ever an item you didn’t usually wear, such as a scarf or hat, even a dress that you bought on impulse because something about it called to you? Perhaps later, you decided you really liked it after all, simply because it made you feel different. Consider the same with your search for a romantic partner. You may have an idea of the one for you, dreamt that person up in your head for years. However, don’t go looking with a certain image or impression in mind. The right person for you may be completely different, someone you didn’t anticipate at all. Yet, it somehow works.

Whereas we often focus on size, style and color with clothing, personality and compatibility are paramount in dating. Make sure you have a few things in common, but not everything. The best relationship still results in the occasional surprise, to keep things interesting.

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It is pretty rare when you go to a store, try on an outfit, and everything about it works. Later, once you’ve purchased it, you wear your clothes with pride and this feels so natural that you never want to take it off. Falling in love and being in love are similar. It’s a little scary at first to trust someone with your true self, to know that you’re accepted. It’s okay to be yourself around this person, and you won’t be judged. No, life won’t always be beautiful or exciting every day, but you can rest assured that you both respect and love each other. Being in love is like coming home to the open arms that always want you, even if you drive your partner a little crazy sometimes. And vice versa.

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Having a real relationship takes effort. Dating is work, plain and simple. We all know it; I think that’s why some people do their best to avoid a real relationship.

My advice? Be as discerning in your romantic relationships as you should be as a consumer, out there browsing stores in person or online. So…who is the one person you can still imagine sticking it out with you fifty years from now? Take a risk now and then, and don’t be afraid to look for the right signs that will lead you to the place where you belong.

Bruce Mars, pexels.com

At times we grab the nearest product out of necessity, and then end up disappointed by its contents later on. When you’re dating, don’t settle for a situation you don’t want, simply because you’re lonely or desperate for companionship. You’ll just be miserable in the long run. Believe me, I know.

Finding your soul mate won’t solve all your problems. You have to get yourself together too. Figure out what you want in life and go for it. But having the right person at your side will certainly make the roller coaster of life – the whole journey – a lot more tolerable.

Keep the faith. I know you can do this…

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/

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Publisher: http://www.solsticeempire.com/products.aspx?categoryid=262

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

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Have a lovely rest of your week, readers! 🙂

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Romance Novel Memories, Plus a Reader Poll!

Check out this romance reader poll, and join in on the fun!

Marie Lavender- Multigenre Author

Romance Novel Memories, Plus a Reader Poll!

 

Do you remember the first romance novel you ever read, or even which romance story in a film, that made you ‘swoon’?

As a child I’d always been swept away by the tales of Snow White, Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. And romantic comedy movies were wonderful! While I was growing up, I savored the Mary Anne/Logan couple dynamics in The Baby-Sitters Club book series.

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Being a writer and a bookworm at heart, however, I must be true to my passion. The first romance novel I remember being simply thrilled with was Annette Curtis Klause’s The Silver Kiss. I was browsing my library at school. I think was about twelve or thirteen. I had just finished two other reads, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (YA historical), and Say Goodnight, Gracie (YA fiction/drama).

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https://books2read.com/u/bQ61Q0

I needed a change, something altogether…

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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/
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/

http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender
https://twitter.com/marielavender1
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a

https://www.instagram.com/marielavender1/

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
http://manicreaders.com/marielavender/

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! 🙂

Pixabay, Pexels.com

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