1. A variation of the bear hug: a) a stiff embrace performed by New Englanders whose inbred Puritanism makes physical affection awkward. b) a clingy, pincer like hug involving one or both legs that smacks of desperation.
-verb 2. To crush the things I love into a liquid the consistency of unicorn's blood so that I can absorb their essence.
Things that I lobster hug: books, movies, tv, food, knitting, Zelda, feminists, pro-choicers, progressives.
I wrote a comment the other day about not being into Alphas in romance novels. That was a lie.
I can’t remember how I found Lori Foster, probably a Goodreads rec, but I have since read twelve of her books and will continue to devour her considerable backlist.
Lady is fucking prolific. Those twelve books barely scratch the surface of what she has put out.
Her books follow the same general premise: Alpha meets a special lady. There is trouble and/or danger. Together they overcome it and fall in love. And yet each book is decidedly entertaining and unique.
She writers great heroines who are partners to the alpha men. Some of them take charge and don’t want to be left behind. Some of them are scared and learn to be brave in difficult situations. And the men. Each one is taller and more muscular than the last. They call women “females” but other than that tend to be pretty good guys who respect women and have genuine concern for the safety of others.
And of course there is the sex. Intense, erotic and each couple has their own style. It’s worked into the story as a natural progression of the couple’s relationship so it’s not just page after page of banging.
Series I’ve read:
Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor - These books are about men who have a very particular set of skills. With their connections, they battle human trafficking. A prequel short story can be found in “The Guy Next Door.”
Love Undercover - There is some overlap with the Edge of Honor series with these books. This one focuses on a ragtag group of cops and street savvy civilians combatting organized crime.
Buckhorn Brothers - Four brothers in a small town help some ladies down on their luck. The oldest brother’s son carries on the family tradition.
Whenever I receive an Amazon gift card, I am crippled with indecision. So many books to buy! How can I choose which ones?!?
So Tough to Tame is out on Tuesday, and since it’s the final book in the Jackson series, I want to celebrate!
I’m giving away two signed sets of the full Jackson series! Four books are in the set: Close Enough to Touch, Too Hot to Handle, So Tough to Tame, and the Be Mine anthology.
One winner will be drawn at random from each person who reblogs this post on Tumblr by 10 PM Eastern Time on Monday, September 23rd. Another set will go to a random winner who retweets the following post on Twitter by 10 PM EST on Monday: https://twitter.com/victoriadahl/status/382015606553182208
Now, on to the fun part! Read the first chapter of So Tough to Tame here: http://victoriadahl.com/ExcerptSoToughToTame.html
Yaaaaaaaay! *more obnoxious cheering from my direction*
I hope all of you enjoy Walker as much as I have. Don’t tell any of the other guys, but he might be my favorite hero yet.
Good luck! Winners will be announced here and on Twitter.
I’ve made no secret of my esteem for Victoria Dahl and you should totally join this bandwagon. Her latest book is out tomorrow and the first chapter is available for preview!
This one took a long time because how much do I love Elizabeth Hoyt!!! I’ve read all her books and they are fantastic. They make me wring my hands and emit squees at decibels only dogs can hear. She is a delight.
All of Hoyt’s books are set in Georgian England. There is lots of play between the nobility and lower classes, amazing complex life-like characters, fresh stories, high emotion, charming secondary plots, and super erotic sex. Hoyt is also delightfully old school in making all the leading men well-endowed. The result is delicious Georgian romances that are practically perfect. I gave them all five stars because I will read them all over and over again.
Hoyt frames all of her books around fairy tales. There are similar thematic elements between the tales and the plot, but the plot isn’t always a straight retelling. I love this conceit and after thirteen books, it has yet to grow old. She is also the only author I’ve read who uses period slang in a way that feels natural. It fits seamlessly into her writing style.
So let’s get to the cunny and tupping.
The Raven Prince - 5 Stars
Anna’s life is kind of crap. She’s a widow, lives with her mother-in-law, has no money, and now she’s practically getting run down in the street by earls and their giant dogs. Edward de Raaf hasn’t had it easy either. He lost his family to small pox and is scarred from the disease. Also, his first wife, who died in childbirth along with his son, was grossed out by the scars so now he thinks he’s unlovable. He spends his time writing agrarian treatises. When his secretary quits on him, Anna presents herself to fill the position. There is an instant attraction between them, but neither acts on it. When Anna finds out he’s going to a brothel in London, she decides to take matters into her own hands (my kind of lady). She calls in a favor and disguises herself so she is the one Edward visits in the brothel!!!! It’s glorious, obviously. After two nights together, Anna returns home with Edward none the wiser. She is conflicted about their sexytimes because it was so impersonal and she wanted a deeper connection even though she knows they can never be together. He’s conflicted because the prostitute reminded him of Anna and now he wants her even more. When Edward realizes what Anna did, he’s upset and all his insecurities come to the fore. They have a lot to hash out before they get their happily ever after.
The Leopard Prince - 5 Stars
Harry Pye is a friend of Edward’s through the agrarian society they belong to. Harry is hired as a steward by Lady Georgina Maitland, whose estate is near where he grew up. He’s got some baggage from his childhood that leads to him being suspected in a string of murders. George returns to the estate with her family and has to deal with their drama. She is awesomely independent and doesn’t stand for her brothers’ meddling. The power dynamics between Harry and George lead to epically hot sex. I loved how the high/low relationship played out and that the difference ultimately brought them together. In this one, George tells Harry bits of a fairy tale throughout the book instead of having it be in the chapter headings.
The Serpent Prince - 5 Stars
This one is super angsty. Simon, Viscount Iddesleigh is in the agrarian society and his passion is rose cultivation. Lucy Craddock-Hayes leads a humdrum life in the country and she doesn’t really like her options for the future. She resigns herself to boring future doing what’s expected of her. Then Simon crashes into her life. He is on a mission to avenge his brother. He doesn’t think he is worthy of Lucy but that doesn’t stop him from wanting her in his life. He struggles with wanting revenge and also wanting the best for Lucy. She helps him let go of his demons while learning that she doesn’t need to be a paragon to be a good person. Simon makes up a fairy tale and tells it to Lucy over the course of the book. I love the characterization of Simon and how Hoyt writes his talkativeness.
The Ice Princess- 5 Stars
This is a short story about Coral, who we meet in The Raven Prince. She is a renowned courtesan. Isaac does not approve of her lifestyle but can’t help but be drawn to her. He makes her want something more for herself. So sweet!
Legend of the Four Soldiers Series
To Taste Temptation - 5 Stars
The books in this series are linked by a book of German fairytales. Lady Emeline Gordon is a widow with a son and spinster aunt to care for. She finds a book of German fairytales from her childhood and asks her friend, Melissande to translate. She supports her family by acting as a mentor to girls entering society for the first time. Samuel Hartley is her new neighbor. He’s a rich American merchant and needs help with his younger sister while they visit London. Samuel fought with Emeline’s brother in a battle that ended in massacre. Samuel struggles with the role he played in the battle. He has come to London because he believes that their regiment was betrayed. With Emeline’s help, he seeks out the survivors of the battle and comes to terms with his actions. Emeline fights her attraction to him because he reminds her of what she has lost. Also she is engaged to her brother’s friend Jasper. Jasper and Samuel literally fight for her. Super satisfying when Emeline and Samuel finally get together.
To Seduce a Sinner - 5 Stars
My favorite!!!! Jasper, Viscount Vale, is jilted so Melissande Flemming decides to take charge and put herself forward as a candidate for wife. She has loved him from afar for years. His personal demons from the massacre led him to be more of a rake. He continues Samuel’s search for who betrayed his regiment. Melissande has been hurt by love in the past and is determined that Jasper will never know her true feelings. I love these two sooooo much. I loved the banter between them. I loved their courtship. I loved the way Jasper talked, always calling Melissande his lady wife. I loved that they accepted each other and helped each other face what haunted them.
To Beguile a Beast - 5 Stars
Can I have a second favorite? Because this one is amazing! Helen Fitzwilliam is fleeing her life as the mistress of a duke. Sir Alistair Munroe is a reclusive natural scientist in Scotland in desperate need of a housekeeper. Helen was seduced by the duke as a girl and had two children by him. She wants a better life for them, so when Melissande presents her with the opportunity to become Alistair’s housekeeper even though she isn’t qualified, she takes it. Melissande gives Helen the fairytales she translated and asks her to write them out in her fine hand. Alistair removed himself from society because of the scars he received in the massacre. He aids Jasper in his continued search for the traitor in their regiment. He doesn’t realize how lonely he’s been until Helen arrives. He is scared to hope that they will have a future. Helen feels unworthy of love because of her past mistakes. Alistair comes to her rescue though and helps her see her value. Tears. God, I just can’t. It’s so fucking great.
To Desire a Devil - 5 Stars
Reynaud St. Aubyn was believed to be dead after the massacre, but he’s finally returned to England determined to reclaim his title as Earl of Blanchard. He finds his distant cousin is the earl in his place and he is immediately taken with his cousin’s neice, Beatrice Corning. Beatrice has managed her uncle’s household for several years. She has long been intrigued by the portrait of Reynaud and can hardly believe he is real. She is torn between her growing feelings for Reynaud and her loyalty to her uncle. Reynaud renews his friendship with Jasper and continues to search for the traitor of their regiment. Beatrice is caught up in it all. She is one of the few who Reynaud trusts with his true self. Reynaud is kind of a throw-back alpha and I love how Hoyt handles that type. I adored how all the couples got together at the end. Beatrice makes books and she took Helen’s copies of the fairy tales and made books for all the couples. Great ending to the series.
Maiden Lane Series
Wicked Intentions - 5 Stars
This series is all about interaction between the classes, particularly how the high classes come up against the lowest of the low. Temperance Dews is a respectable widow helping her brother run an orphanage in the slums of St. Giles. Lazarus, Lord Caire, comes to St. Giles to investigate the murder of his mistress. He’s instantly attracted to Temperance and enlists her help navigating the slums. In return, he agrees to bring into society so she can find a benefactor for the orphanage. Lazarus find the touch of others painful and prefers to bind and blindfold his partners. Temperance struggles with her sexuality because the EVILS OF SIN and whatnot. So, obviously the two of them hooking up is crazy hot with him trying to corrupt her and her forcing him to be vulnerable.
Notorious Pleasures - 5 Stars
Lady Hero Batten heads a ladies’ syndicate for the benefit of the Maiden Lane Orphanage. Lord Griffin Reading is a second son who keeps the family from poverty by running an illegal gin distillery. Hero is the sister of a duke is supposed to make an advantageous marriage with Griffin’s brother. There is all kinds of drama in this one. Hero’s brother is on a mission to stop gin production in St. Giles. Griffin’s brother is in love with his mistress. Hero is scared to buck society and follow her heart. Griffin won’t stop until he has Hero for his own. Ahhhhhh, so many feels!
Scandalous Desires - 5 Stars
We first meet Silence Hollingbrook in book one. She is Temperance’s sister. Now a widow herself, she takes up Temperance’s role helping at the orphanage and caring for a baby girl that was left at her door. Mickey O’Conner is a river pirate with many enemies. He leaves his daughter with Silence to keep her safe. When Silence finds herself in danger, Mickey brings her in to his house. He wants Silence but can’t have her until he has taken care of the threats against him. This one is a roller coaster ride: assassins, betrayal, love, secret identities, amazing sex.
Thief of Shadows - 5 Stars
So, this is going to be very vague to prevent giving huge spoilers. Winter Makepeace runs the orphanage in St. Giles. Lady Isabelle Beckinhall is one of his benefactors. She’s a barren widow. He’s a virgin. It’s just fucking fantastic. She seduces him and it is scorching. She fights her feelings for him because she can’t have children. He tells her that he wants her and he’s got enough kids with the orphanage. Very, very sweet ending.
Lord of Darkness - 5 Stars
More vagueness for spoilers. Godric and Megs!! He calls her Meggie Mine. I die. This is the sweetest romance. Godric St. John is a celibate widower and he marries Lady Margaret Reading to keep her from scandal when she gets pregnant and her lover dies. She lived in the country for the first years of their marriage and their correspondence is so darling. She comes to London because she wants a child. They struggle with loving each other without feeling like they are betraying their dead. Love the happy ever after in this one.
I bought 3 books and now have the unenviable task of deciding which to read first:
Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare
Once Upon a Tower by Eloisa James
Seduce Me at Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas
Talk about Sophie’s choice.
I started A Great and Terrible Beauty the other day. I’m about 20% into it and it’s just not grabbing me. Is it worth finishing?
The fourth book in Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove series is coming out soon and her publisher is offering all the books for $0.99!
More info on Ms. Dare’s blog.
These books are great and not to be missed!
This book!!! It’s one of my favorite books, one of the best romance novels I’ve ever read. So it’s getting it’s own post. Sarah Maclean is an awesome new voice in romances. Fresh, fun, smart writing and you should totally check out her other books. But this one, for me, is special.
This book makes me just want to squee I love it so much. It is perfect for many reasons.
Our lady is Callie (aka Calpurnia). She has been playing by the rules of society her whole life. Now 28, unmarried and with an unfortunate wardrobe (thanks, mom), she is tired of being a paragon of virtue and wants a little adventure. Being a practical person, she makes a list of unladylike activities that she wants to experience. Number one on the list is getting a kiss from the rakiest of rakes, Gabriel St John, Marquess of Ralston.
Gabriel isn’t quite sure what to make of Callie when she visits him in the middle of the night. He knows of her pristine reputation and decides to ask for her help in return for a kiss. See, Gabriel’s mother created a huge scandal when he was 10 by running away to Italy. Now his fiesty Italian half-sister is his responsibility and she needs to be introduced to society. Who better to overcome the inevitable gossip, not to mention his own notorious past, than a pristine spinster.
He soon realizes that Callie is up to something. Her actions put her reputation in peril, so he offers to help her complete her list in a way that will avoid scandal. The more time they spend together, the closer they become. Callie revels in her new found freedom and it is a joy to watch her come out of her prim and proper shell. Gabriel is enchanted by her, but is too hurt by his mother’s abandonment to trust in love. The happy ending is super sweet as a result.
Victoria Dahl is one of my new favorite authors and I’ve read almost everything she’s written. I just need to lay hands on a couple of short fiction pieces to complete them all!
Things I love love love about Dahl’s books
She gets a lot of shit of Goodreads for being angsty but it’s one of the things I love about her writing. Relationships are hard sometimes. People have baggage. It’s refreshing to have characters with more substantial problems to address.
I especially enjoy her contemporary romances because they are really true to life. It’s not all PR girls and millionaire playboys. The characters feel like actual people; the stories seem real and uncontrived.
Tumble Creek Series
Talk Me Down - 4 Stars
Molly Jennings needs inspiration for her next erotic novel and distance from her creeper ex, so she goes back to her hometown. Ben Lawson, the police chief, is more than happy to help her find her muse. He has a secret creative side. There’s gossip about Molly’s work. She is being stalked and Ben must stop whoever it is before they hurt her. Eee! And the sex!! A great jumping off book for the series.
Start Me Up - 5 Stars
Lori gave up her dreams to stay home and help her dad with his auto body shop. Quinn, Molly’s brother, is too focused on work to have time to relax and enjoy his success. He helps her realize that it’s not too late to go after what she wants. She helps him slow down and enjoy life. I loved that Lori’s appreciation for erotica informed Quinn’s sexual advances. There is a good amount of kink. Also the cover takes it’s cue from a smoking hot scene in the book.
Lead Me On - 5 Stars
Jane, Quinn’s assistant, covers up a wild past with a good girl persona which is why William Chase is the last guy she should be attracted too. He’s hot, tattooed and blow stuff up for a living. The sex is scorching. Jane and Chase work together to prove that Jane’s brother is not a murderer and in the process Jane comes to terms with her past.
The Wicked West - 4 Stars
This is actually Molly’s book inspired by Ben. Sheriff Hale likes to dominate and Lily Anders is more than happy to submit.
To Tempt a Scotsman - 4 Stars
A historical series with kink! Be still my heart I really enjoyed all these books. First up, Alexandra Huntington. She caused a scandal that resulted in the death of Collin Blackburn’s brother in a duel. They meet, sparks fly and he realizes there is more to his brother’s death than he previously thought. This one gets sad before it ends happily.
A Rake’s Guide to Pleasure - 5 Stars
Emma Jensen bursts onto the scene intent on turning a 600 pound inheritance into a cozy next egg through judicious gambling. She only has a few weeks to work before the ton discovers her secret past. The Duke of Somerhart has been burned by a treacherous woman and now keeps himself under a tight leash. Hart is suspicious of Emma but drawn to her despite himself. Of course they clash and that just turns up the heat between them.
One Week As Lovers - 4 Stars
Nicholas shows up in the previous books as a secondary character. Here he is impoverished and needing an escape from the scandal of his broken engagement. In retreating to his country estate, he reunites with Cynthia, a childhood friend. She is desperate to escape her family, who essentially have sold her to a depraved nobleman. Nicholas has some issues from being abused as a teenage and it manifests in wanting his sexual partners tied down. Needless, this leads to some hot domination sex. Cynthia helps him work through his issues. Super sweet ending.
York Family Series
A Little Bit Wild - 3 Stars
Marissa is interested in sex and decides to take things into her own hands. Unfortunately the man she chose to experiment with is not one she wished to marry. Enter Jude to save the her from sure ruin. He is below her socially and they grapple with the scandal. Their mutual attraction wins the day.
It’s Always Been You - 4 Stars
This was one of the most heartbreaking romances I’ve read. Aiden believes that his true love died at sea on her way to marry a plantation owner in India…until he seas her in a small harbor town. Katie thought she had been abandoned by her family and Aiden. She returns to England in secret after the mysterious death of her husband. When Aiden crashes back into her life, Katie is unsure but can’t deny her love for him. God, at one point, she cries that she wasn’t a horse to break to a new rider and, oh, man, it hurts. All this makes the happy ever after that much sweeter.
Donovan Brothers Brewery Series
Good Girls Don’t - 4 Stars
I loved this series. Tessa Donovan runs a brewery with her brothers. She has the thankless task of keeping the family together despite her brothers’ constant fighting. So, when their brewery is broken into, she gets close to the lead detective to keep the blame from finally driving her brothers apart. Luke doesn’t have the best reputation and Tessa seems too good for him. Really loved how Tessa was always ribbing him about his Law and Order-esque activities.
Bad Boys Do - 5 Stars
Jamie’s reputation as a sex pot bites him in the ass when he inadvertently leaves the brewery vulnerable to a break-in. He’s tired of his brother shutting him out of responsibility and decides to go back to school to help him organize his plans for the brewery. Olivia shouldn’t have the hots for her students but Jamie is a revelation after years of living her ex’s life at the expense of her own. She helps Jamie with his business as well as dealing with his guilt that keeps him from being close to his brother.
Real Men Will - 5 Stars
One of my favorite books ever!!! So damn hot the pages practically burn. After years of being the head of the family and trying to keep the brewery on track, Eric’s feeling the stress. So, when sex shop manager Beth mistakes him for Jamie, Eric takes the opportunity to forget his responsibilities for one night. Of course, the truth comes out and Beth is none too pleased. That night was the best sex of her life though. She has always despaired of her vanilla tendencies in an industry of adventurous kink. Loved that Beth and Eric supported each other during difficult times while having amazing sex. Check out The Guy Next Door for “Just One Taste” to see how things started between them.
Close Enough to Touch - 4 Stars
Grace is a tough city girl who runs away to Jackson to get back on her feet. She didn’t like the sacrifices she made to succeed in Hollywood and wants a chance to start over. Cole is recovering from an injury that puts his dreams of owning a ranch in jeopardy. He sees past Grace’s barriers to the hurt inside. She tries to keep the relationship purely sexual but their connection is too deep for that. A great start to the series
Strong Enough to Love - 5 Stars
A short story about Grace’s boss, Eve. Eve has struggled to move on with her life since Brian left. He was separated from his wife when she fell in love with him and had to watch him go back to his wife. Two years have passed and Brian and his wife have realized that they just aren’t going to work. Eve doesn’t want to let him back into her life, but gives him one night. Hot and sweet.