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

Big Myths That Should Be Dispelled About Romance Novels

 

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

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

  1. “It’s all smut.”

    freestocks.org, Unsplash

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 Some might think this myth is outdated, but there are people who still believe romance novels are smut, or trashy reads.

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

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

Yuri Efremov, Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

Created by bearfotos- freepik.com

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

Carly Rae Hobbins, Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

Created by yanalya – freepik.com

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

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

Frank McKenna, Unsplash

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

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

Oh, wait!

Pixabay, pexels.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why? Are we silly dreamers?

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

Inna Lesyk, pexels.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a lovely rest of your week, readers! 🙂

Host Blogger Bio

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

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

Links:

Official Website: http://marielavender.com/

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

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Happy reading, everyone! 🙂

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Filed under Action & Adventure, Authors, Blogging, Book News, Book Release, Books, characters, Contemporary, dark romance, Event, Faith, Fantasy, Fiction, Guest Writer, Historical Romance, Hope, inspirational romance, Love, MC and biker romance, Message, Military Romance, Mystery, New Adult, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Relationships, Romance, romantic ideas, Romantic Suspense, Stories, sweet romance, Thriller/Suspense, Writers

Book Review: Jake’s Redemption by Jamie Schulz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Info:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s a peek at the book…

AUTHOR: Jamie Schulz

TITLE: Jake’s Redemption

GENRE: Dystopian Romance, Romantic Fantasy

RELEASE DATE: February 1, 2019

PUBLISHER: Amazon Digital Services LLC

ISBN/ASIN: B07K5L411H

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan

Get your copy on Kindle Unlimited here.

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

Thanks for reading our weekly book review on ILRB!

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Book Review: The Key of F by Jennifer Haskin

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

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

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

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

Only $.99 on Kindle.

Recommended Read

Book Info:

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

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

Here’s a peek at the book…

AUTHOR: Jennifer Haskin

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

GENRE: paranormal romance, urban fantasy, some YA elements

RELEASE DATE: May 8, 2018

PUBLISHER: Rogue Phoenix Press

ISBN/ASIN: B079P7DMQ4

OUR RATING: ♥♥♥♥♥

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Ethan

Up Next Week: Undercover Siren by Ellen Mint

Thanks for reading our weekly book review on ILRB!

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

Paranormal Romance Review: Magick and Moonlight (Marie Lavender)

If you liked Practical Magic with Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, one-click Magick & Moonlight by Marie Lavender. Both Jessie and Ethan are hiding in small-town Oregon from something in the p…

Source: Paranormal Romance Review: Magick and Moonlight (Marie Lavender)

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A to Z Challenge: Key Trilogy by Nora Roberts

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

The Key Trilogy by Nora Roberts

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Genre: Paranormal Romance/Fantasy

Blurb for Key of Light:

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An invitation to unlock your dreams…Three women. Three keys. A unique series with a twist—Nora Roberts opens the door to one woman’s search for truth and passion in the first Key Trilogy novel.

A few choice lines from the book:

Key of Light -excerpt1

key of light-excerpt2

key of light -excerpt3

key of light-excerpt4

Blurb for Key of Knowledge:

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In the second installment of Nora Roberts’ thrilling Key series, Dana Steele is forced to face her past with the handsome Jordan Hawke when he writes a book that connects him to her quest for the Key of Knowledge. Now, Dana must seek out the truth from among deception and lies––or succumb to her worst nightmares.

A few choice lines from the book:

Oh, God, not him. Not now.
“What do you want?” she snapped. “Go away. I’m busy.”
Before she could slam the door, he slapped a hand on it.
“I want to talk to you about … What is it?”
She was white as a ghost, her dark eyes enormous, and glassy with shock.
“What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. I’m fine.”
The shakes started up again, harder this time. “I don’t want to … oh, the hell with it. You’re better than nothing.”
She simply fell against him. “I’m so cold. I’m so goddamn cold.”
He scooped her right off her feet, then booted the door shut behind him. “Couch or bed?”
“Couch. I’ve got the shakes. I can’t stop.”
“Okay. It’s okay.” He sat, kept her cradled in his lap as he tugged the throw off the back of the couch. “You’ll warm up in a minute,” he comforted, and tucked the
throw around her. “Just hold on to me.”
He rubbed her back, her arms, then just wrapped his own arms around her and banked on body heat to do the rest. “Why are you wet?”
“I was in the tub. Then I wasn’t. I don’t know how it works.” Her hand was fisted in his jacket, kneading there as she fought to steady herself. “The son of a bitch
got inside my head. You don’t even know it’s happening, it just does. I’m not going to make any sense for a couple more minutes.”
“It’s okay. I think I’m following you.”
His stroking hands bumped the band that tied her hair up. Without thinking, he slipped it off, combed his fingers through. “It was Kane? He was here?”
“I don’t know.”
Exhausted, she laid her head against his chest. She had her breath back at least. It no longer felt as if a hand was squeezing her racing heart. “Like I
said, I don’t know how it works. I wanted to take a bath, relax.”
To give her something else to think about, he deliberately sniffed her neck. “You smell terrific.Tasty. What is that?”
“Mango. Cut it out.” But she made no attempt to get off his lap.

Blurb for Key of Valor:

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A woman’s quest for courage opens her heart to love in the third Key Trilogy novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts.

Join Zoe in the ultimate quest for courage.

A few choice lines from the book:

excerpt - Key of Valor

My Score:

In this series, three women who’ve never met before receive a bizarre invitation to a fine mansion and an offer to participate in an unusual endeavor, locating rare, mystical keys for a large sum of money. Oh, and it’s all to free a trio of goddesses.

The first book is Malory’s story. She just got fired from her job and now feels obligated to play this game she’s not so sure is real. She meets Flynn in the process of attempting to locate the key, except she doesn’t realize he’s directly tied to one of the members of the group.

This series is really interesting! Lots of romance, sexy tension, intrigue and some mystical forces to complicate things further. Dana and Zoe have some pretty great tales as well. Check out these interesting books!

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I give the series four hearts!  🙂

four hearts

 

 

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A to Z Challenge: Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Blurb:

Book One of the Gallaghers of Ardmore Trilogy

In Gallagher’s Pub, where the fire is burning low and the pints are waiting, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts has a story to tell…

Determined to reevaluate her life, Jude Murray flees America to take refuge in Faerie Hill Cottage, immersing herself in the study of Irish folklore and discovering hope for the future of the magical past.

Finally back home in Ireland after years of traveling, Aidan Gallagher possesses an uncommon understanding of his country’s haunting myths. Although he’s devoted to managing the family pub, a hint of wildness still glints in his eyes—and in Jude, he sees a woman who can both soothe his heart and stir his blood. And he begins to share the legends of the land with her—while they create a passionate history of their own.

Also in the Gallaghers of Ardmore trilogy:
Tears of the Moon
and
Heart of the Sea

 

A few choice lines from the book:

For himself, Aidan was content in where he was, and what he did. He’d learned a great deal of himself and of life during his rambles. The itchy feet were said to come from the Fitzgerald side, as his mother had, before she married, traveled a good bit of the world, with her voice paying the fare.

He’d strapped on a knapsack when he was barely eighteen and traveled throughout his country, then over into England and France and Italy and even Spain. he’d spent a year in America, being dazzled by the mountains and plains of the West, sweltering in the heat of the South, and freezing through a northern winter.

He and his siblings were as musical as their mother, so he’d sung for his supper or tended bar, whichever suited his purposes at the time. When he’d seen all he longed to see, he came home again, a well-traveled man of twenty-five.

For the last six years, he’d tended the pub and lived in the rooms above it.

But he was waiting. He didn’t know for what, only that he was.

Even now, as he built a pint of Guinness, drew a glass of Harp, and tuned in with one ear to the conversation in case he was obliged to comment, part of him sat back, patient and watchful.

Those who looked close enough might see that watchfulness in his eyes, eyes blue as a lightning bolt under brows with the same dark richness as the prize bar where he worked.

He had the rawboned face of the Celts, with the wild good looks that the fine genes of his parents had blended, with a long, straight nose, a mouth full and shamelessly sensual, a tough, take-a-punch chin with just a hint of a cleft.

He was built like a brawler – wide of shoulder, long of arm, and narrow of hip. And indeed, he had spent a good portion of his youth planting his fists in faces or taking them in his own. As much, he wasn’t shamed to admit, for the fun of it as for temper.

It was a matter of pride that unlike his brother, Shawn, Aidan had never had his nose broken in battle.

Still, he’d stopped looking for trouble as he’d grown from boy to man. He was just looking, and trusted that he’d know what it was when he found it.

When Jude walked in, he noticed – first as a publican, and second as a man. She looked so tidy, with her trim jacket and bound-back hair, so lost with her big eyes scanning the room as a doe might consider a new path in the forest.

A pretty thing, he thought, as most men do when they see an attractive female face and form. And being one who saw many faces in his career, he noted the nerves as well that kept her rooted to the spot just inside the door as if she might turn and flee at any moment.

The look of her, the manner of her, captured his interest and a low and pleasant hum warmed his blood.

She squared her shoulders, a deliberate move that amused him, and walked to the bar.

“Good evening to you,” he said as he slid his rag down the bar to wipe up spills. “What’s your pleasure?”

She started to speak, to ask politely for a glass of white wine. Then he smiled, a slow, lazy curving of lips that inexplicably set her insides a fluttering and turned her mind into a buzzing mess of static.

Yes, she thought dimly, everyone was gorgeous here.

He seemed in no particular hurry for her answer, only leaned comfortably on the bar, bringing that truly wonderful face closer to hers, cocking his head and his brow at the same time.

“Are you lost, then, darling?”

She imagined herself melting, just sliding onto the floor in a puddle of hormones and liquid lust. The sheer embarrassment of the image snapped her back to herself. “No, I’m not lost. Could I have a glass of white wine? Chardonnay if it’s available.”

“I can help you with that.” But he made no move to, just then. “You’re a Yank, then. Would you be Old Maude’s young American cousin come to stay in her cottage awhile?”

“Yes. I’m Jude, Jude Murray.” Automatically she offered her hand and a careful smile that allowed her dimples a brief appearance in her cheeks.

Aidan had always had a soft spot for dimples in a pretty face.

He took her hand, but didn’t shake it. He only held it as he continued to stare at her until – she swore she felt it – her bones began to sizzle. “Welcome to Ardmore, Miss Murray, and to Gallagher’s. I’m Aidan, and this is my place. Tim, give the lady your seat. Where are your manners?”

“Oh, no, that’s-”

But Tim, a burly man with a mass of hair the color and texture of steel wool, slid off his stool. “Beg your pardon.” He shifted his gaze from the sports event on the television over the end of the bar and gave her a quick, charming wink.

“Unless you’d rather a table,” Aidan added as she continued to stand and look mildly distressed.

“No, no, this is fine. Thank you.” She climbed onto the stool, trying not to tense up as she became the center of attention.

My Score:

I love Nora Roberts’ books, and to make things sweeter, this is part of an Irish trilogy. Ireland is a place that calls to me like no other. I guess it must be my Irish heritage.

This is such a great series! I fully recommend it!

Irish Series

Jude goes to Ireland to get in touch with her roots, and to satisfy her restlessness back at home. She doesn’t expect to find the handsome Aidan Gallagher or a mysterious ghost in her cottage.

This is a lovely romance, rich with Irish culture and a touch of the paranormal. A perfect five hearts, in my opinion!

five hearts

And I’d say the same for the sequels as well! 😀

Irish Series-1

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fantasy, Fiction, Reviews, Romance, Writing

A to Z Challenge: Face the Fire by Nora Roberts

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Face the Fire by Nora Roberts

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Genre: Fantasy Romance

Blurb:

In the conclusion to her acclaimed Three Sisters Island trilogy, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts masterfully evokes the quaint charm of New England, weaving a spellbinding tale of true love—and sheer magic…

Mia Devlin knows what it’s like to love with your whole heart—and then watch your love walk away. Years ago, she and Sam Logan shared an incredible bond built on passion, legend, and fate. But then one day he fled Three Sisters Island, leaving her lost in memories of the magic they shared—and determined to live on her own…

As the new owner of the island’s only hotel, Sam has returned to Three Sisters with hopes of winning back Mia’s affections. He is puzzled when she greets him with icy indifference—for the chemistry between them is still sizzling and true. Angry, hurt, and deeply confused, Mia refuses to admit that a desire for Sam still burns in her heart. But she’ll need his help—and his powers—to face her greatest, most terrifying challenge. And as the deadline for breaking a centuries-old curse draws near, they must take the first step toward destiny—and come together to turn back the dark…

Don’t miss the other books in the #1 New York Times bestselling Three Sisters Island trilogy…
Dance Upon the Air
Heaven and Earth

A few choice lines from the book:
From across the street, he studied Café Book. He should have known Mia would have taken what had been a neglected building and turned it into something lovely, elegant, and productive. The front window held a display of books and potted spring flowers scattered around a lawn chair. Two of her deepest loves, he mused. Books and flowers. She’d used them both in a way that suggested it was time to take a break from the yard work, sit down and enjoy the fruits of the labor with a ride in a story. He stood where he was, hands in his pockets, until he realized he was procrastinating. There was little more turbulent than Mia Devlin in full temper. He expected her to lash out at him in blistering fury the minute she laid eyes on him again. And who could blame her? Then again, he thought with a grin, there was little more arousing than Mia Devlin in full temper. It would be…entertaining to strike words with her again. Just as it would be satisfying to soothe that temper away.

He crossed the street and opened the door to Café Book. Lulu was behind the counter. He’d have recognized her anywhere. The tiny woman with a gnome’s face almost swallowed up by silver-framed glasses had, essentially, raised Mia.
Because Lulu was ringing up a customer’s purchases, he had a moment to look around the store. The ceiling was pricked with lights for a starry effect and made the prospect of browsing through books a festive one. A cozy seating area was arranged in front of a fireplace with a hearth, scrubbed and polished, used as a haven for more spring flowers.Glossy blue shelves held books—an impressive array, he reflected as he wandered through, and as eclectic as he would have expected of the proprietor. No one would ever accuse Mia of having a one-track mind. His lips quirked as he saw that other shelves held ritual candles, Tarot cards, runes, statues of faeries, wizards, dragons. An attractive arrangement of another of Mia’s interests, he thought. He’d have expected nothing else there, either. He plucked a tumbling stone of rose quartz from a bowl, rubbed it between his fingers for good luck. Though he knew better. Before he could replace it, he felt a blast of frigid air.

Smiling easily, he turned to face Lulu.

“Always knew you’d come back. Bad pennies always turn up.”

This was his first barrier, the dragon at the gate. “Hello, Lu.”

“Don’t you hello-Lu me, Sam Logan.” She sniffed, skimmed her gaze over him. Sniffed a second time. “You buying that or do I call the sheriff and have you hauled in for shoplifting?”

He laid the stone back in the bowl. “How is Zack?”

“Ask him yourself, I don’t have time to waste on you.” Though he had her by a foot in height, she stepped forward, jabbed her finger at him, and made him feel twelve years old again. “What the hell do you want?”

“To see home. To see Mia.”

“Why don’t you do everybody a favor and go back to where you’ve been gallivanting these past years? New York City, Paris, and oo-la-la. We’ve all done fine without you taking up space on the Sisters.”

“Apparently.” He gave the store another casual look. He wasn’t offended. A dragon, in his mind, was meant to be devoted to its princess.

In his memory, Lulu had always been up to the job. “Nice place. I hear the café’s particularly good. And that Zack’s new wife runs it.”

“Your hearing’s just fine. So listen up. Go on and get.”

Not offended, no, but his eyes turned edgy, the green in them deepening. “I came to see Mia.”

“She’s busy. I’ll tell her you stopped by.”

“No, you won’t,” he said quietly. “But she’ll know in any case.”

Even as he spoke, he heard the sound of heels on wood. It could have been a dozen women, descending the curving steps in high heels. But he knew. As his heart stumbled in his chest, he stepped around the bookshelves and saw her just as she made the last turn. And the look, that one look at her, sliced him into a thousand pieces.The princess, he thought, had become the queen.

My Score:

This novel is part of the Three Sisters Island Trilogy. It’s actually the third book in the series, and I have all of them on my shelf at home. I just adore Nora Roberts’ style. She tells it like it is, no holds barred.

Mia and Sam have a troubled romantic history, and when Sam returns to the island, they are both in for some big surprises. There is so much tension between these two, and the sparks literally fly. I love a good second chance romance. Add to that a trio of powerful witches, and you’ve named my weakness! I love witch stories. I would seriously recommend the whole series!

Threesisters island trilogy

I give this one five hearts, for creativity, lots of passion and heart-stopping supernatural danger to keep things really interesting. Grab a copy if you can! I doubt you’ll regret it! 🙂

five hearts

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance, Writing

Vote for Solstice Publishing’s Author of the Year!

Hello, readers! It’s that time of year again, when Solstice Publishing gears up for their Author of the Year contest! Readers get to cast their votes for their favorite author. How exciting, right? So, before I tell you to go ahead and cast your vote for your favorite romance author at Solstice, let me tell you that, yes, I am on the list. This is, however, not shameless begging on my end for you to vote for me. That is certainly your choice. There are lots of talented authors at Solstice, and I respect all of my fellow authors!

But, just in case you’re interested, here is a list of my Solstice book titles in order of recent to oldest, as well as their descriptions. Since this blog is all about romance, I thought it would be apropos to include romance books…

 

Second Nature, Book 1 of the Blood at First Sight Series
http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00Q7FWIWA

She never expected it…
Desiree Edwards has a problem. She’s been attacked, kidnapped and forced to get along with a vampire of all things. It’s something right out of the story books she reads, or her worst nightmare. But, sometimes he’s not the monster he appears to be. He seems so humanlike that she can’t help it when her emotions betray her, when her body betrays her. To make matters worse, she finds out more about herself than she ever wanted to know.
She was unlike any other…
Alec has a problem. The animal in him wants Desiree. But, so does the man. The more he learns about her, the harder it is to deny what he wants. But, he’s a freak, and she’s just a human. The two species don’t mix that way. Then an old enemy surfaces and Alec is forced to make a choice. His life or hers.
Can Alec’s soul be saved by this unique human? Or will it be far too late?

 

Upon Your Honor, Book 2 of the Heiresses in Love Series

http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00JTKTODG
Deception is a dangerous path…
New York City, August, 1891 – Orphaned after the death of her father, Chloe Waverly stows away on La Voyageur to escape the clutches of her cruel fiancé, Lamonte Beckett. Gabriel Hill, a strange and compelling gentleman, comes upon Chloe and promises to protect her without knowing the true circumstances of why she is running away. During their journey, Gabriel doesn’t bargain on being distracted by her fair beauty or succumbing to her many charms. As their attraction to each other grows, so does the danger and Gabriel suspects things are not as they should be.
Both are determined to get to New Orleans, where she can start a new life. But, once they reach their destination, events spin out of their control and Chloe is captured by the fiancé she escaped. Gabriel is left wondering if he can overlook her betrayal. Soon he finds himself in a race against time, to reach her before Beckett can exact revenge.
Magick & Moonlight, Book 1 of the Magick Series
http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00IRKN5P2
Messing with free will is always a bad idea…
Ethan Hamilton moves to a lazy little town in Oregon, hoping to escape his demons. But, instead he discovers a woman dancing nude in the moonlight. This woman who claims she is a witch dazzles him with her sensual presence. He thinks she’s crazy, but what if she’s not?
Jessie Anderson has been taught that her kind hides who they really are. And she has a problem on her hands. Someone knows her secret and she has to do all she can to protect herself. What other choice does she have? Jessie casts a love spell on a good man, a man with whom she can’t fight her attraction. The spell doesn’t work quite as planned – she ends up falling for Ethan.
To top it off, Ethan’s treatment of her, his “love”, is so addictive. Deep down, she knows the spell will wear off, and yet his feelings seem genuine. It’s just a spell…right?
 Upon Your Return, Book 1 of the Heiresses in Love Series
http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00I0D9LQ8

Fara Bellamont has been back in society for a year after leaving Cluny Abbey, where her uncle sent her long ago. When he chooses a suitor for her for marriage, she fears that she will be forced to marry a stranger and live a miserable life.
But, Fara finds herself thrust into an adventure of a lifetime when unforeseen circumstances cause her to place her trust in a strange man for protection. His intervention not only saves her, but puts her in an even more compromising position.
Grant Hill, a trading captain, is enchanted by the young heiress not only because of her beauty, but because she is hardly conventional. Underneath her ladylike exterior lies a tigress. Grant cannot help but offer his protection as she is in need and he is far from immune from her charms.
Fara just never bargained on the passion that she feels for Grant Hill. As events unfold, she must decide whether her desires and the dictates of her heart should trump the rules of society…
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So, there you  have it! I’d post my fellow authors’ books as well, but we have a good 300 authors at Solstice. Lots of peeps, huh? But, to be fair, I’m going to include a link to some of our romance books at Solstice.
Anyway, if you’re interested, here is the place to vote for Author of the Year at Solstice Publishing. Or the direct URL:  http://solsticepublishing.com/blog/vote-for-solstices-publishings-2015-author-of-the-year/
However, if you would like to vote for moi, you’ll find my author name (Marie Lavender…yes, I know the blog doesn’t say Marie Lavender’s I Love Romance Blog…just letting you know my name in case you don’t already know I’m the moderator) about six names up from the bottom of the page.
Happy voting, of course!
And as always, happy reading! VGwy3SJLNYjpgFind a romance book to dive into! You know I would! 😉

 

 

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Filed under Authors, Award, Books, Event, Fiction, Historical Romance, Love, Marie Lavender, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Writing