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A Duchess in the Dark by Kate McKinley

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Duchess in the Dark (novella)
By Invitation Only #1

Kate McKinley
Historical Romance/Erotica
Published in 2013

H/h - Ashton Fitzgerald, the Earl of Claymore/Daphne Hayward
Setting: England, 1813.

Read in Dec, 2013
My rating:


                                             [spoiler alert]

Kate McKinley’s erotic historical novella, A Duchess in the Dark, was a quick read. Funnily enough, even though I thought I had a reasonably good time reading it, some things in the beginning shadowed my views of the lead characters- the H, Ashton and the h, Daphne. I’ll try to explain why I felt that way in the following...

Ashton, the Duke of Claymore, is currently visiting a house party of one of his closest friends, James. At night, some lady slips into his room when he is in a brandy induced stupor and starts touching him. Now, Ashton is already a Duke. A handsome Duke and a rake (no surprises there), or so it was said for the better part of the story, and women are... well, they’re always vying for his attentions. When the woman starts touching him, he readily thinks it’s his mistress and has sex with her. It was so mind-blowing that he even remembers it vividly at daytime, and the dried blood he finds doesn’t really bother him, thinking it was that time of the month for her or some such thing. But when, downstairs, James informs him that his mistress hasn’t even arrived yet is when Ashton is alarmed. Who the hell did he shag last night? And the thought of blood reminds him that he might have to look for the offended party and offer for marriage. Even though, James sagely ‘advises’ him to take off to avoid being caught, Ashton is determined to look for this girl because the sex was too incredible brush aside.

Guest Post: The Challenges of Writing a Series by Tori L. Ridgewood, Author of Wind and Shadow

Monday, December 30, 2013

Today, I'm featuring this Guest Post by author Tori L. Ridgewood where she talks about the trials and tribulations of a writer planning her new series and how the authors can be more organized while planning one of their own. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Also find the info on Wind and Shadow and how to connect with the author.
The Challenges of Writing a Series

    I never imagined that my first foray into the publishing world would be with a series.

    But I never thought it would be with a paranormal romance, either.

    At the end of the first book, I looked ahead to the second and third and wondered how in the world I was ever going to complete them. Finishing the second was helpful, though, as well as writing a prequel novella. And as I approach the mid-point of the final novel, ideas for other works that branch off the original keep coming to me, even though I’ve vowed that once the third book is done, I will move on to other projects.

    The first difficulty I found with writing a series was not in making sure I had enough material -- it was having too much for a single novel that led me to prepare for books two and three in the beginning. The trouble lay in deciding where to end the first book so that it could stand alone to some extent, but also encourage readers to look for the next installment. Book One therefore ends rather like Gone with the Wind -- it has a cliffhanger, but one that suggests where the characters are going next.
   
    Another issue I soon discovered was in keeping track of details: the cast of characters, and each individual’s physical and personality traits; the boundaries of the supernatural in which I was crafting my story; the events of the plot, and the locations important to the plot. I made some notes before and during the first draft of Wind and Shadow, and writing the prequel novella for the trilogy helped me to answer questions and get through a period of writer’s block. However, when it came to working on the second book, Blood and Fire, I began to regret not having made copious notes before the manuscript was underway. I ended up having to take the time to go through the other pieces, gathering vital statistics and nuggets of precious information, in order to maintain continuity. And even then, as I’ve been writing the third book and completing edits on Book Two, I’ve found mistakes in little things like the colour of an antagonist’s hair, or eyes that have changed shades.

    If you choose to write a series, make sure you keep track of those finicky details. You will save yourself much time and frustration later.

    Finally, I found it difficult to keep the challenges running for my characters. As Book Three has formed, I have realized that the climax was approaching too soon for my own satisfaction, so I’ve diverged from my original outline, looking at the issues in the plot that I didn’t consider before. The worst that can happen in writing a series is that the characters’ dilemmas become stale and repetitive. Each installment needs to up the ante, challenging the status quo and inventing new ways for the characters to get into trouble, discover truths about themselves, develop relationships, and explore the world.
   
    And, I suppose, that means the writer avoids getting bored with the series as well.

    I remember reading that L.M. Montgomery, one of my favourite authors, was bored with the Green Gables books soon after her third or fourth novel was completed, but her fans and publishers demanded that she continue to produce installments. She did so, diligently finding awkward situations for Anne Shirley and expanding her knowledge and experience in the world. Even though her prose remained solid, it’s clear that her interest in the story fell sharply and her love for the work was strained. Montgomery had other, brief series -- Emily of New Moon and The Story Girl -- in which she fed her need for novelty and fresh expression. I think that’s part of the key of writing a series successfully. An author has to be intrinsically inspired, writing for the self first, in order for the work to be truly satisfying. When the reader knows the writer loved the experience and is happy with the story, it’s obvious in the words.

    A natural pitfall, then, in writing series is in writing only for the fans. There is something to be said in doing service for the fans, who certainly help to buffer a writer’s spirits and give us something to strive for, but when a writer begins to reach for plot or characters only to keep the story going at the request of the readers, it can damage the whole. Everything ends, at some point. Stories are not meant to carry on forever, and while it can be sad or a frustration when a favourite series comes to a close, it’s also an invitation to go back over the whole and read it again.

    So if you choose to write a series, remember that it will end, even when it seems interminable. Keep track of your details. And explore ways to challenge yourself and your characters, playing with twists and the unexpected -- the more you enjoy each installment, the more your readers will, too.

    Thank you for having me on Punya Reviews...!

Remy by Katy Evans

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Remy
Real, Raw & Ripped #3

Katy Evans
Contemporary/New Adult (ARC review)
Published: Nov 26, 2013

H/h - Remington "Riptide" Tate/Brooke Dumas-Tate
Setting: Present time.

Read in Dec 2013
My rating:

                                                  [spoiler alert]

Remy by Katy Evans brings somewhat of an unofficial end to Brooke and Remy’s love story. I was so blown away by the first book of Real, Raw & Ripped series, I couldn’t stop reading until I finished Remy with a sigh of relief, and then, becoming nostalgic too.

We all knew that at some point, Remy will have his voice and tell us his side of the story. I was anticipating it ever since I read this little tidbid. I wanted to get inside his little head and read what’s going on. It was satisfying in a way and I enjoyed knowing him. However, for me, the storyline was way too repetitive to appreciate it completely.

If you haven’t read book 1, Real and book 2, Mine, they’re told from the h, Brooke’s POV. But I’d recommend you to not read Remy immediately afterwards as it’s the retelling of those books from Remy, the H’s POV. Not chapter by chapter of course but the major incidents are all there. 

Wild Fire by Edie Harris

Monday, December 23, 2013

Wild Fire (novella)
Wild State #1.5

Edie Harris
Historical Romance/Western
Published 2013

H/h - Delaney Crawford/Moira Crawford
Setting: Colorado Territory, 1866.

Read in Dec, 2013.
My rating:

                                        [spoiler alert]

Wild Fire is sort of a short sequel to the first book of Wild State series, Wild Burn, even though in the author’s note, EH called it an ‘extended epilogue’ for Del and Moira, our protagonists from book 1. I really enjoyed the first book and was only glad to have more to read on them.

If you haven’t read Wild Burn, I’d suggest that you definitely read it before Wild Fire. In there, we were introduced to the sexy Delaney Crawford, who was a hired killer for dog soldiers. Before that, Del has been a soldier. Even though he’d had a blessed childhood, born and raised in a rich family, Del lost everything in the war. The memories after that hadn’t been pretty and Del had been fighting nightmares of incidents, haunting him every day. So when he met Moira in the wild town of Red Creek where he was called in to hunt down some rogue Indians, Del thought he had found the missing piece of his life. His soulmate. Their meeting was rather awkward IMO but the attraction was there since the beginning. Moira Tulley, an Irish ex-nun, had her own demons-of-the-past to fight; demons that returned to haunt her again as the story progressed. And as their relationship became intimate, a whirlwind courtship followed and both knew they can’t really live without each-other anymore. It was all about two lonely, tortured souls finding peace in each-other’s arms.

Promo Spotlight and Giveaway: The Ever Trilogy by Jasinda Wilder

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Are you ready to be introduced to Jasinda Wilder's latest new adult series, The Ever Trilogy? Check out the info on book 1, Forever & Always and book 2, After Forever, coming Dec 20th. There's also a giveaway, you can enter via rafflecopter widget (below!).

A request: if you've visited my blog and entered from here, consider 'liking' my facebook page to earn points. I'd truly appreciate the support. :)


 Forever & Always and After Forever
(The Ever Trilogy, 1 & 2)
Jasinda Wilder
Expected Release: Dec. 20th, 2013
Join the Release Party Here
https://www.goodreads.com/series/114893-the-ever-trilogy
Ever,

These letters are often all that get me through week to week. Even if it’s just random stuff, nothing important, they’re important to me. Gramps is great, and I love working on the ranch. But…I’m lonely. I feel disconnected, like I’m no one, like I don’t belong anywhere. Like I’m just here until something else happens. I don’t even know what I want with my future. But your letters, they make me feel connected to something, to someone. I had a crush on you, when we first met. I thought you were beautiful. So beautiful. It was hard to think of anything else. Then camp ended and we never got together, and now all I have of you is these letters. S**t. I just told you I have a crush on you. HAD. Had a crush. Not sure what is anymore. A letter-crush? A literary love? That’s stupid. Sorry. I just have this rule with myself that I never throw away what I write and I always send it, so hopefully this doesn’t weird you out too much. I had a dream about you too. Same kind of thing. Us, in the darkness, together. Just us. And it was like you said, a memory turned into a dream, but a memory of something that’s never happened, but in the dream it felt so real, and it was more, I don’t even know, more RIGHT than anything I’ve ever felt, in life or in dreams. I wonder what it means that we both had the same dream about each other. Maybe nothing, maybe everything. You tell me.

Cade

Cade,

We’re pen pals. Maybe that’s all we’ll ever be. I don’t know. If we met IRL (in real life, in case you’re not familiar with the term) what would happen? And just FYI, the term you used, a literary love? It was beautiful. So beautiful. That term means something, between us now. We are literary loves. Lovers? I do love you, in some strange way. Knowing about you, in these letters, knowing your hurt and your joys, it means something so important to me, that I just can’t describe. I need your art, and your letters, and your literary love. If we never have anything else between us, I need this. I do. Maybe this letter will only complicate things, but like you I have a rule that I never erase or throw away what I’ve written and I always send it, no matter what I write in the letter.
Your literary love,

Ever

Super Book Blast and Giveaway: His Perfect Game by Jenn Langston

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Super Book Blast of Jenn Langston's His Perfect Game is taking place today. This is book 2 in the Perfect series. In the following post, find the author and the book info alongside an excerpt. Please comment to be entered in the giveaway!

Jenn Langston will be awarding a digital copy of His Perfect Game to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour, as well as to two randomly drawn hosts.


His Perfect Game
Jenn Langston
(Perfect Series #2)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19097417-his-perfect-game

Greyson Thorpe, Viscount Merrick, wants respectability above all else. Knowing the fastest way to achieve that state comes through marriage, he challenges Hammond Everett, the Duke of Donetic to a card game. After winning the match, the duke agrees to exchange his daughter’s hand in marriage for the forgiveness of his debts.
      
Willimena Abigail Everett had no desire to marry after experiencing the violent nature of men at her father’s hand. When Viscount Merrick arrives, she has no choice other than to obey her father and marry him. Will she be able to set aside her previous beliefs about men and judge her husband by his own merits?
      
After obtaining good social standing, Greyson sends his bride to the country; however, he finds himself missing her. Following her to the estate, he discovers she had been living a double life. Will he discover her secrets and control his burning desire for her at the same time?

Buy Links:

Don't Let Go by Skye Warren

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Don't Let Go
Dark Erotica #4

Skye Warren
Contemporary Romance/Erotica (non-con)
Published in 2013 (ARC review)

H/h - Ian Hennessey/Samantha Holmes
Setting: Present time.

Read in Dec, 2013.
My rating:

                                                 [spoiler alert]

Since Don't Let Go s the final installment of the Dark Erotica series, I feel like writing a eulogy. Eh, not the way those are used but just some of my own thoughts on the series.

When I started reading this series, I did it only because I was very moved by the author’s writing from her Beauty series, specifically book 1, Beauty Touched The Beast. Mind you, dark erotic, non-con stories weren’t my forte. At all. Yet I put my trust in Ms. Warren to guide me through this unknown territory or so to speak, and never once was disappointed. It was not a smooth journey by any means and it certainly wasn’t always nice but there was always hope and redemption at the end of every book. She delivered what she promised to the max.

When I heard of Carlos’s book, I had only one thought in mind... ‘OMG, whadda...? did she hear me or what?’ because I wanted to know this perverted criminal mastermind’s story since I met him in book 1, Keep Me Safe. Maybe I’m a little crazy myself but I had been fascinated with him. I don’t mean it as a compliment mind you, he made me cringe and had me agape with his activities, yet I couldn’t stop reading. But never once, I thought Ms. Warren would actually make him the ‘hero’ of a book!

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Punya
I'm a simple girl. I love to read in my spare time and do reviews the books I read. I also write, mostly songs/poems, though I'm not published. I love music and traveling. Sometimes, I wish I could live inside a book, having my own HEA. :)
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