29 September 2014

The Male ‘Mistress’ in Romance Books

Hello everyone,

On Saturday one of my favourite romance blogs, or is more of a site? I’m not sure but it’s amazing and if you haven’t heard of Heroes and Heartbreakers before a) where have you been? b) You should definitely go check them out asap! Anyway back to my original point, earlier this week Heroes and Heartbreakers published a post on Mistresses and Courtesans as part of their Trope of the Month series. Its true the figure of the mistress or courtesan has been a prevalent trope in the romance novel, particularly historical romances. In fact some of my favourite novels of all time feature heroine who have been ether a mistress, or a courtesan, or a prostitute at some point in the novel. As pointed out by the Heroes and Heartbreakers team, when money and love mix everything gets more complicated.

However, their article and the comments people left got me thinking. Why do the only books being mentioned feature the women as the mistresses or courtesans?* Why should this trope be limited to the heroes being the only one who are paying for sex and/or companionship? Now I’ll admit novels featuring male courtesans, prostitutes, escorts, gigolos, rent boys (or whatever you want to call them) aren’t as prolific. They are out there, however, I personally really enjoy reading this trope with the typical roles reversed. In fact I enjoy it so much I have a whole shelve on Goodreads dedicated to this trope; so I decided to share some of my favourites with you! Also a slight warning given the nature of this trope all these books have a high level of sexual content.

Historical romances:

Master of Sin by Maggie Robinson

24 September 2014

The Last Wolf by Sue Brown

Hey everyone,

The book: The Last Wolf

Book 1 in the Sapphire Ranch Wolves Series 

The only good predator is a dead one, as far as Joe Lowther is concerned. 

That is until the day he shoots a wolf, only to watch the animal turn into a naked Callum Pope. Cal is being hunted by a group of humans who eradicate shifter packs for sport. 

Joe makes a decision to help Cal and discovers a deeper connection with the young shifter. One which he’d like to explore. If they live that long. 

My Thoughts:

I feel a little conflicted about this book. It isn’t that I didn’t like it; I personally thought the concept of shifters being hunted by zealous human was extremely interesting. I also thought Cal and Joe were both likeable characters. Cal is a werewolf and a big part of his personality is decided by pack hierarchy, in particular his position as pack omega.

“There’s one other rank, omega. Generally the smallest and weakest wolf”.

Cal is clearly ashamed of his status as omega, probably due to how his family/pack viewed him as less everything due to it. To be honest Sue Brown doesn’t paint Cal’s family in a good light, they bully him, treat him as a servant, tell him he isn’t strong enough to defend the pack and finally leave him to fend for himself because he will apparently slow them down as they escape from the hunters. 

21 September 2014

Provoked by Joanna Chambers

Hello everyone,

The Book:

When a man loses his heart, he has no choice but to follow…

Enlightenment, Book 1

Lowborn David Lauriston lacks the family connections needed to rise in Edinburgh’s privileged legal world. Worse, his latest case—defending weavers accused of treason—has brought him under suspicion of harbouring radical sympathies. 

Troubled by his sexuality, tormented by memories of a man he once platonically loved, David lives a largely celibate life—until a rare sexual encounter with a compelling stranger turns his world on its head. 

Cynical and worldly, Lord Murdo Balfour is more at home in hedonistic London than dingy, repressed Edinburgh. Unlike David, he intends to eventually marry while continuing to enjoy the company of men whenever he pleases. Yet sex with David is different. It’s personal, intimate, and instead of extinguishing his desire, it only leaves him hungry for more. 

As David’s search for the man who betrayed the weavers deepens, he begins to suspect that his mysterious lover has more sinister reasons for his presence in Edinburgh. The truth could leave his heart broken…and more necks stretching on the gallows. 

My Thoughts:

This week I wanted to read a romance set in Scotland, and yes that is due to the recent Scottish referendum. Some searching through my extensive TBR pile I came across Provoked by Joanna Chambers and after reading the blurb instantly started reading. In my head I was going to read for an hour, then go to bed so that I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for work tomorrow. Unfortunately, my plan didn’t quite work, as before I knew it the book was finished and my clock was informing me it was 1am. Not the early night I had dreamed off. However, credit to the author this is an amazing book that completely absorbed my mind.

15 September 2014

Love in the time of the Dead by Tera Shanley

Hey everyone,

The book:

Laney Landry has been fighting Deads alongside her brother and friends for three years. But she has a secret. She’s immune to Dead bites and has to find the right people to trust with the information. Her team rallies around her to find a doctor who can extract a vaccine from Laney which could fight the virus that ended the world. 

Sean Daniels leads a colony that provides her team with much needed shelter and supplies. He is obviously interested in Laney. The question is whether he’s only intrigued by her as a source for the possible vaccine, or for something more. Tests for the cure might push her body beyond what it can endure, and just as she faces a ghost from her past, her longtime teammate Derek Mitchell hints at an interest in more than just her Dead slaying abilities. 

Two honorable and alluring men -- one colossal decision to make. Despite historically bad taste in men, can she rise above the chaos of the apocalypse and choose the one who deserves her heart? The right choice could mean the difference between surviving…and just living.

My Thoughts:

First things first, I LOVE this cover! It is one of the most beautifully artistic covers I’ve seen for a zombie based romance in ages. In fact it was the cover that first attracted me to this novel and I’m so glad I ended up buying it, it was quite simply perfect for me.

In theory I shouldn’t have liked it, as I normally hate, and avoid, books that offer the reader two men that the heroine could be romantically interested in. Yet something inside told me to give this book ago, partly because I loved the concept; as mentioned in a previous post I currently love zombie, apocalyptic based romances. One of the reasons I loved this book was due to the main character of Laney, she was feisty, determined, sarcastic but also loyal to those she loved. One of my favourite lines from Love in the time of the Dead was Laney talking about her ex Adam:

10 September 2014

Ghost Planet by Sharon Lynn Fisher (Audiobook)

Hello internet,

The (Audio)book:

Apologies this was the biggest picture I could get of the audio version!

Psychologist Elizabeth Cole prepared for the worst when she accepted a job on a newly discovered world - a world where every colonist is tethered to an alien who manifests in the form of a dead loved one. But she never expected she'd struggle with the requirement to shun these "ghosts."

She never expected to be so attracted to the charming Irishman assigned as her supervisor. And she certainly never expected to discover she died in a transport crash en route to the planet.

Reincarnated as a ghost, Elizabeth is symbiotically linked to her supervisor, Murphy - creator of the Ghost Protocol, which forbids him to acknowledge or interact with her. Confused and alone - oppressed by her ghost status and tormented by forbidden love - Elizabeth works to unlock the secrets of her own existence.
But her quest for answers lands her in a tug-of-war between powerful interests, and she soon finds herself a pawn in the struggle for control of the planet... A struggle that could separate her forever from the man that she loves.
My Thoughts:

As soon as I read the blurb of this book I wanted to own it! It just sounded so amazing as I love science-fiction and I love romance so what could be better than a book that promised to be good at both? I loved the blurb so much I didn’t even listen to the sample narration on audible... this may have been a mistake, however, to do justice to the author I’m going to start with all the reason I loved Ghost Planet.

7 September 2014

Text Me by Shelley K. Wall

Hello everyone,

The book:

Carter Coben is having some serious communication problems lately. First he mouthed off to a project manager at work and got fired, now his girlfriend's dumped him and trashed his cell phone. About the only place he hasn't got his wires crossed these days is at the anonymous texting app, Justchat.com. Carter thinks he might have found a real connection with "She Hearts Dogs," but little does he know he's already quite acquainted with this cunning canine-lover…

When Abigail Jeffries gets a random text message from a stranger saying he's been dumped, she can't help but answer it—and recommend he send his ex some flowers from her new shop. When she delivers the bouquet though, she finds out his ex was cheating on him with his best friend—the same best friend she's impersonating via text! Abby feels guilty, but she can't help responding. But what will happen when Carter finds out that Abby is not only the face behind the texts, but the reason he got fired at work and his mysterious mutt-loving pal on Justchat.com?

Will they ever manage to sort out their mixed signals, mistaken identities, and misunderstandings to find real love? This madcap, modern-dayYou've Got Mail for the texting generation will delight romantic comedy fans.

My Thoughts:

This is a book that hits the ground running and entices you to keep up. Text Me offers a fast-paced and humorous depiction of the perils of romance in an increasingly digital world. Throughout the novel Carter and Abby’s relationship is both enhanced and crippled by modern technology. Although in some instances it allows them to form a deeper connection, it is also the cause of some serious misunderstandings. These misunderstandings provide plenty of humour and outlandish situations, especially when Abby and Carter start piecing together the various connections. One moment that stands out for me in the novel is when Carter tosses a rubbish bin over Abby’s head.

2 September 2014

Dystopian Romance Books

Hello readers,

Now if you’ve been reading romance for a while you’ve probably noticed that there are defined tropes or themes that authors and readers return to again and again. Now although this sounds like a bad thing it really isn’t and in fact one of my favourite things to do is binge on a trope. At the moment I’m obsessed with dystopian, apocalypse, zombie style romances, basically anything were society, as we know it has crumbled or broken down. Obviously this is an extremely popular style of book at the moment, particularly within the young adult genre. I blame the Hunger Games trilogy.

In this post I’m going to talk about my favourite romance novels that incorporate this theme, some of them are quite well known and if you’ve read them I loved to hear your thoughts. This is not, of course an exhaustive list as that would take forever, but instead a small selection that show the diversity of this trope. I hope that you will like the following post and now let’s get started.

I’m going to begin with the most well known book on my list, which is The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook.

Now I know some of you would be reluctant to call The Iron Duke a dystopian romance and while I agree that it does sit more comfortably in the world of steampunk, I still believe that this is a story about a society in crisis, or at least one recovering from crisis. The first novel in the extremely popular Iron Seas Series The Iron Duke introduces the reader into an England that has been destroyed by Horde control, the majority of people were enslaved and could be turned into mindless drones with little or no free-thought due to the use of nanobots. Not only is this a country recovering from Horde control it is also part of a world that is suffering from zombie infestation with most of Africa and Europe being a dangerous wasteland.