This winter I’ve become fascinated by the Danish concept of hygge, or coziness. Growing up in Maine, curling up with a hot cup of tea and a good book was how I kept my sanity with three feet of snow on the ground. It turns out the Danish had a very similar idea. Even though I’m spending the winter in Florida this year, I still love books that inspire a feeling of coziness. Here are four novels that have made me feel cozy and warm inside even if it was miserable outside. Continue reading “4 Cozy Romances to Read Before Spring”
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There’s nothing better than waking up feeling refreshed from a good night’s sleep. Of course, it’s impossible to feel that way when you’ve been tossing and turning, unable to stop thinking about an intense project or work or the dirty dishes piling up in the kitchen.
One good way to help clear your mind and prepare yourself for sleep is to put the phone away, shut down the computer and read before bed with a nice cup of herbal tea. Here are three romance novels that will relax you without keeping you up reading into the wee hours of the morning. Continue reading “3 Romance Novels to Read in Bed”
Public transportation is a great way to save money and save the environment. But it’s also boring as hell and takes forever compared to cars. In my town, taking the bus is equal to driving a car two miles an hour. Continue reading “3 Romance Novels That Are Perfect For Public Transportation Entertainment”
Page Count: 368 pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.88/5 stars
My rating: 3.5/5 stars
When the Norman king gives Pagan the Rivenloch keep and a daughter of the current laird for a wife, he knows it’s too good to be true. Not only is Rivenloch’s laird suffering from dementia, but the two oldest daughters are not content to take on house-making duties like most women. Instead they are skilled fighters who command Rivenloch’s army. It isn’t long before Pagan realizes why the king chose him for Rivenloch. Only the strongest, most hardened men could conquer the Warrior Maids of Rivenloch.
Deidre isn’t about to give up her power to some Norman, even if he is supposed to be their ally. She’ll marry him to spare her sisters, but that doesn’t mean she’ll make it easy for him. She’ll conquer the Norman before he realizes it.
This book took awhile to get good, but I have to admit, both Pagan and Deidre have very realistic reactions and feelings considering the situation. Pagan comes from a very misogynistic society, so female warriors are unnatural to him. And Deidre sees Pagan as another enemy invading her territory and taking control. But their irrationality them makes them unlikeable at times.
I liked them, then I didn’t. Then I liked them again. Pagan’s devout honor and chivalry is admirable. Although he thinks in terms like “taming” and “conquering” Deidre, he would never actually force her or hurt her in any way. Nor does he want women to fear him. Seeing Miriel, the youngest sister, scared of him made him feel sick. Despite his flawed yet historically accurate upbringing, he does see the value in Deidre and Helena knowing how to fight after learning about the dangers they faced. But there’s so much misogyny in him. He actually thought Deidre would prefer having a man protect her than protecting herself, and he forbid her from sparring.
Of course, Deidre resents all the changes Pagan makes to Rivenloch, even though they were changes that desperately needed to be made. She also has deeply misguided views about sex and men. She planned to control Pagan through his lust by withholding sex, even denying her own desires. During this time, she considered him beating her and forcing her, but the idea that he would commit adultery never occurred to her, even though she repeatedly told him that she would never want him. However, I did enjoy watching Pagan’s massive ego get checked.
They drove me crazy, even though their emotions were realistic. However, after they put their absurdities aside and started working together, the story immediately improved. I loved them working in harmony and the fight scenes at the end were fantastic. Lady Danger is lame at first, but is worth the wait. Medieval romance fans will enjoy this book. Read it for free on Smashwords.
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Average Goodreads Rating: 3.8/5 stars
My rating: 2/5 stars
Cass runs one of the greatest band of highwaymen around. Despite being a woman, she’s respected by her crew, and every night they return to camp richer than they were and she can enjoy being in the arms of her second-in-command, Will Carpenter. But that all changes when Will accepts a position in the King’s Guard. Cass knows Will wants more than what she can give him. He wants marriage and kids, as well as honest work instead of thieving. But Cass doesn’t know if she can ever give him up.
Claiming Her Highwayman is free on Smashwords.
I found myself underwhelmed by this story. When it starts, Will and Cass are already a couple, and the chemistry between them already feels forced, as well as the heist they’re about to go on. It’s like a bad first draft that hasn’t developed into something greater yet. Cass and Will feel more like paper dolls than people and unfortunately, I never get that attached to them. They just don’t have the chemistry.
It doesn’t help that my suspension of disbelief took a huge beating when Will’s offered a job with the King’s Guard, as the princess’s personal guard. He’s a highwayman! Since when do they let criminals guard princesses? Um, never. Not only that, but he’s still in contact with his old gang, and he’s not even in training to be a soldier! He just is. Apparently the standards for becoming a member of the King’s Guard is really low.
It would make a hell of a lot more sense to me if there was a scarcity of guards for some reason, like the country was at war, and that’s why they’re turning to criminals to keep up with the demand of soldiers. That would flesh out the plot, too. But nope. Apparently we’re supposed to accept that a robber can become a princess’s bodyguard easily after mugging her with his gang of bandits. Oh, and he almost becomes her husband. Because every king wants his little girl to marry a common criminal.
Despite everything wrong with the story, I like Will’s and Cass’s characters. Even though Will only exists to be Cass’s lover, he’s got some pretty charming lines in the story. His need to protect her is incredibly sexy.
Cass’s character is a little more complex. She’s strong and independent, and she knows what she wants in life. She’s the type of girl who would be bored to death in most respectable professions for a woman, instead enjoying being a bandit. But I hated her when Bryce, one of her men, attacked her in her tent. All she did to defend herself was bide her time until she could scream for help
What. The. Fuck.
She’s a damn gang leader and she doesn’t know how to defend herself against one man who gets too handsy? Please. That’s fucking ludicrous, and all of my respect for her is just gone because of that one scene. How the hell did she become a leader in the first place if she needs to scream like a damn damsel whenever she gets attacked? Not cool.
This book really didn’t do much for me. While it’s all right, it’s not that good. The characters aren’t good, and neither is the writing. I suggest you look elsewhere for your historical romance bad boy.
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1. It’s more than just a romance
War Bride by Elise Marion is primarily a romance, but it’s so much more than a love story. The book covers a lot of social issues today, even though it’s a medieval fantasy romance. Lady Emery Calliot fights for equal rights as a woman in a misogynist world. Leofred grieves over his brother’s death. Both of them have PTSD from a recent, brutal conflict between their kingdoms that almost turned into a devastating war. Even though this is book is a lot of fun to read, nobody can ever call it a piece of fluff.
Elise Marion, author of the Chained series, was generous enough to do an interview with me in anticipation of our War Bride giveaway event. It’s a pleasure to be working with her and to have her on the blog. She has some great answers, including her opinion on the lack of diversity in books. I highly recommend you read her work, because she really is a fantastic writer.
Genre: Medieval, Fantasy, Adult
Goodreads rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
I’m going to earn your trust, Emery Toustain, he thought as he released her hand. Perhaps, if you let me, I’ll earn more than that.
The first time I read War Bride was several months ago. It was so good I actually missed a call from my boss because I was so busy reading it. No, really. I didn’t even “ignore” the call. The fact that my phone was ringing didn’t even register because I was so absorbed in the book. I ended up finishing it in less than a day.
I just finished it for the second time today, and it’s still incredible.
Emery Calliot kicks ass.
Doctor Who is a show I’ve been binge-watching recently, not only for the plot and the antics, but also for the amazing love stories in the show. While most people probably don’t consider Doctor Who a romance, that is basically what it is. There are the main love stories, like the Doctor’s love with Rose Tyler, a woman he can never be with, and his marriage with River Song, a time-traveling femme fatale brain-washed to kill the Doctor but falling in love with him anyway. And who can forget Rory and Amy, who have to have the most ideal marriage ever? There are also the single-episode stories, like John Smith and Joan Redfern in “Human Nature” and the Doctor and Astrid in “Voyage of the Damned”. So here are ten books for Doctor Who fans who can’t get enough of these fantastic love stories.