Tag Archives: Christine Feehan

Reflections: Upcoming Books, Fun Stuff and Great Deals You Might Have Missed, Sunday, March 23, 2014

23 Mar

Sorry to have been away so long. We have a lot to catch up on!

Upcoming Books and New Releases

 Anyone who reads this blog knows my undying admiration for Nalini Singh, who has captivated me with both her amazing Guild Hunter series (for urban fantasy or angel fans) as well as the fabulous Psy-Changeling series, which features the SnowDancer Wolves and DarkRiver Leopards and the humans and Psy who interact with them as the world inches closer to a major change. Now Whisper of Sin, a terrific novella that is one of the prequels in the Psy-Changeling series, is available as a stand alone novella for only $2.99 as of late February. Previously only published in the Burning Up anthology (published in 2010 and containing a great novella from Meljean Brook from her Iron Seas steampunk series), this novella tells the story of high-ranked soldier Emmett and how he helps rescue a human in San Francisco’s Chinatown only to realize that she is his mate.

Bella Andre‘s Sullivan series fans will want to make sure that the latest volume of the Sullivans series, Just To Be With You, made it to their mailbox or ereader on March 5th (and if it didn’t, get on it!). Can you believe it’s the 12th book in this hit series? These Seattle Sullivans are just as compelling as their California cousins, with the jaded, successful CEO of Sullivan Investments, Ian Sullivan, about to fall for the gorgeous actress, Tatiana Landon. She’s been waiting for a strong love like this, but with Ian’s history of failed relationships, nothing is going to be easy about this happily ever after.

Donna Grant knows her Highlanders, which is probably one of the reasons she’s begun a new novella series, Rogues of Scotland (love the name). First up is The Craving, which came out on March 6th and features a woman who retreats to her family home in order to mend a betrayed heart, only to find a man trapped by a woman and a gypsy curse in a mirror. Trusting and loving the woman who finds him will take a leap of faith he’s not sure he can give, but it might be the only way to set them both free.

Historical romance writer Katharine Ashe just came out with her first book in a new (self-published?) Regency series, My Lady, My Lord, on March 10th and it looks wonderful. When an intelligent book reading lady is forced to give the time of day to her libertine neighbor, sparks are sure to fly, particularly since he adores torturing her as much as watching fast horses at the races. At only $2.99 for over 300 pages, Ashe fans have quite a bit to rub their hands in glee about.

Kit Rocha‘s unbelievably good erotic dystopian Beyond series finally added Beyond Jealousy this week, and weren’t we all waiting with baited breath? Tattoo artist and former gigilo Ace has wanted Rachel from the moment she left her comfortable, sheltered life and became an O’Kane to settle her father’s debt, but all he’s done is hurt her, especially after he became a couple with a man she had tried a relationship with, the resident hero and former special ops soldier, Cruz. Neither Cruz nor Ace have ever stopped loving Rachel so when the opportunity presents itself for all three of them to come together, the results are combustible, particularly in trying to work through everyone’s emotional baggage while a major turf war erupts in the sector.

We all know what a fangirl I am for anything written by Jennifer Ashley and I have big circles on my calendar for every installment of her Shifters Unbound series. Well, Feral Heat, Jace and Deni’s story, came out this week and it did NOT disappoint! This novella is right between the two full-length novels, Tiger Magic and the upcoming Wild Wolf (April 1st cannot get here soon enough), and is just as phenomenal as every other book in the series. It’s a hot, sexy love story that still manages to propel her fascinating story arc of the shifters attempting to discover how to rid themselves of the collars that keep them second class citizens. This author does not know how to write a mediocre book and I for one applaud her high standards!! Did I also mention this outstanding volume is only $1.99 and it’s not a short novella, but a meaty one equaling a lot of category romance novels. Great writing and an awesome value – I heart Jennifer Ashley!

Book seven of Eloisa James‘ Desperate Duchesses series will come out on March 25th, and Three Weeks With Lady X looks like a keeper. A bastard son of a duke needs to marry a woman with a serious reputation and he turns to Lady Xenobia India, an independent woman who quickly becomes the focus of his efforts. But this woman is no wallflower to go into a marriage of convenience, and the gentleman in question finds he must give everything to get everything if she’s to agree to his terms. Keep in mind if you pre-order this puppy and provide proof of your purchase with a picture of a receipt or a screenshot of your browser screen confirming your purchase, James is having a contest for a lucky reader to get special bonus content sent directly from her!

Also out on March 25th is the next book in Nora Roberts‘ latest trilogy, The Cousins O’Dwyer, Shadow Spell. This fantastic series has a strong paranormal story arc linking an Irish brother and sister and their American cousin to their long ago Irish ancestors. With evil sorcerers, plenty of magic and an abundance of animal familiars set in the Irish countryside, Roberts’ fans get to see this writer in her element once more. Don’t worry about having to wait too long for the final volume. The third book, Blood Magick, will be out on November 4th and is already available for pre-order.

March 25th is clearly a big day for romance, since Lori Foster’s next book in her Love Undercover series, Dash of Peril, also debuts. This series is outstanding, and I for one am eager to see construction business owner Dash help his brother’s frosty lieutenant take down nefarious human traffickers with a little heat on the side. Mrrrrooowww. If you haven’t yet indulged in this series, get your butt in gear as there are sexy alpha males galore as well as beautiful woman who inspire fierce protectiveness and love in the worst of circumstances. So good!!

It’s never too early to begin looking at the spring releases (and pre-ordering them to lock in great prices). Elle Kennedy has an addition to her Killer Instincts series coming down the pike on April 1st, and fans of “mercenaries with a heart” stories will want to take note of Midnight Pursuits. The fourth in this highly rated series has a rookie to the group assigned to assist a loner deep in Eastern Europe on a mission gone horribly wrong. While she usually has no use for working with someone, this former Marine has a skill set that she can definitely use…and the heat between them seems to have the added bonus of warming her cold heart.

In addition to the Cousin’s O’Dwyer paranormal novel mentioned above, Nora Roberts also has one of her romantic suspense novels, this one entitled The Collector, due out in hardcover on April 15th. When a professional apartment sitter is the sole witness to a heinous crime, the brother of the main suspect seeks her help as he knows his sibling could not possibly be responsible. The two are drawn closer as they come closer to discovering the actual perpetrator, hopefully before it’s too late.

Historical romance author Amanda Quick announced she will be publishing a stand alone novel, Otherwise Engaged on April 22nd, featuring her usual brand of bold heroine (this one a world traveler) who finds herself the target of a madmen obsessed by her name being linked to that of a gentleman scientist. That the man in question is also a spy for the crown thickens the plot and he has no intention of her reputation suffering – or of the fiery beauty getting hurt – due to his actions.

Paranormal doyenne Christine Feehan will be publishing the third book of her Sisters of the Heart series (a spin off grouping that takes place in the same town as the Drake Sisters books), Air Boundon May 27th. Each book focuses on one of six women who have come together as part of a special grief support group for women who have lost someone to violent crime. The heroine of this book not only suffered with her paranormal ability by growing up in a special government facility, but also recently lost her mother at the hands of a murderer. Kidnapped and aboard a ship, she finds herself at the mercy of an intriguing captor, one who intended to use her for his own purposes, only to find himself drawn to her instead.

Maya Banks‘ KGI series fans need to circle June 24th on their calendar as that is the publication date for the next novel in this wildly successful series, When Day Breaks. When a wounded and scarred Afghanistan veteran is assigned to protect a stunning model with a violent stalker, no one could have predicted that these two people would find something in common. But serious heat and attraction exists and neither party is about to let a murderous stalker get in the way.

The husband-and-wife writing team of Ilona Andrews have been blogging for months about a paranormal romance they have been working on for Avon Publishing – and the link is finally live! The official name is Burn For Me and it will be the first of their Hidden Legacy trilogy which the authors have confessed is more like a paranormal political thriller versus the paranormal heroic journey/police procedural of the Kate Daniels series (which is phenomenal). As the only thing I wish for in the Kate Daniels series is a little more sexy times between Kate and Curran, I was thrilled to hear that the heat level is a bit more “fan yourself” in this upcoming work. The only bad news? We’ll have to wait until October 28th for it to come out, but with the current ebook price at a mere $4.99 for almost 400 pages, it’s worth pre-ordering now in case the price raises a little closer to the fall.

Contests and Giveaways

Paranormal author Robin D. Owens is embarking on an urban fantasy series starring a woman who can see ghosts and the sheriff who finds himself drawn into her life, all with a Western setting. The aptly named Ghost Seer (series with the same name) is debuting on April 1st and from now until March 24th, you can enter a contest on Goodreads to win a copy of the book. With the second book due out in early September, fans of instant gratification won’t have long to wait to see how this storyline develops.

You can win a signed copy of the first book in historical romance writer Elizabeth Hoyt‘s Prince series, The Raven Prince, which came out in both in 2006 and then was reissued under a new (and gorgeous) cover in 2012. When a widow in dire financial straits is almost mowed down by a aristocrat in desperate need of a secretary, problems for everyone seem solved, except that the Earl’s newest secretary takes exception at his decision to visit a brothel to assuage his “manly” needs…and so she decides to be a mystery woman who will take care of his every wish, in and out of the study. Enter before March 31st to win your autographed copy!

Category romance fans who enjoy the secret baby trope will definitely want to put Andrea Laurence‘s His Lover’s Little Secret (a Harlequin Desire novel out on April 1st) on their to-read list. When a millionaire has a chance run in with the lover he never forgot, he can do the math and realizes her little son is his child – and he’s not about to let either of them go. But while the mother of his son might be willing to let him into their life, she’s not about to give into his bossy ways and let him into her heart again. Enter by March 31st for a chance to win a copy.

Fun Stuff

If you are looking for a fun activity for a bachelorette party or your best friends’ sleepover, look no further than Pornogami: A Guide to the Ancient Art of Paper-Folding for Adults. Actually written by a master of the art of origami, this guide takes a beginner through making fun looking spermatozoa all the way to a realistic vajayjay. Do I hear a drinking game coming out of this book? You bet I do.

Allison Yates at the Kinsey Confidential blog has an intriguing post about the recent startling mannequins which appeared in the American Apparel stores on Valentine’s Day who clearly were sporting bushy pubic hair amidst all their provocative underwear. The rubbernecking by passers-by was purportedly astonishing (and these are jaded New Yorkers we are talking about) but Yates dissects some fascinating trends and insights regarding our culture’s view of sexuality and body hair.

Librarian and romance lover Amy Alessio put up a wonderful article in honor of St. Patrick’s Day on the Romance University blog featuring some perennial favorite books featuring Ireland (or sexy Irish heroes and heroines). From J. D. Robb’s Roarke to Mary Jo Putney’s Irish setting in Sometimes a Rogue, she’s picked some winners worth reading.

I’m a big fan of the Etsy shop, Spunky Fluff, who produces amazing signs with heart-inspiring sayings to adorn your walls. Whether it’s “How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You” or “Suck It Up Buttercup” these wall adornments always seem to contain heart and humor. With the majority of stock ranging between $40 to $60 and around 12 x 18 inches, these signs come in colors to match any decor and are truly unique items that will inspire a smile and a sigh each day.

Great Deals

There are a lot of good boxed sets and there are a LOT of “meh” boxed sets, but this one looks fabulous! Fated Mates: The Alpha Shifter Boxed Set offers readers twelve shifter books by authors such as Adriana Hunter, Georgette St. Clair and Eve Langlais among others – for only $.99! Just out on March 4th, the description page warns that the special price is for a limited time (and then it will go to $9.99, still a bargain) so get it at the special price while it lasts.

Carrie Ann Ryan has got a terrific book bundle for the first three books in her Dante’s Circle series, featuring paranormal creatures who find their future in the form of humans with a bit of the otherwordly in them. Usually these books go for $3.99 each, but you can get over 650 pages of the three novels together for only $2.99 right now. Yowza! Grab it before the fourth book, Tangled Innocence, comes out in April.

Tawny Weber‘s fun short, Rules of Engagement, is only $.99 and it’s a good example of the great brand of military hero you get when signing on board for a Weber romance. When a woman who has always crushed on her brother’s best friend finds herself being propositioned for hot sex in a moonlight garden she says, “yes!” knowing she’s not his type. While the hero has always steered clear of the feisty due to the sister card and the fact that she’s nothing like the petite, little woman types he’s preferred in the past, he’s a little astonished to discover what his “rules of engagement” have been designed to discover – the perfect woman for him – might have been all wrong all this time.

Six well-known romantic suspense authors – Elisabeth Naughton, Alexandra Ivy, Cynthia Eden, Laura Wright, Katie Reus, and Joan Swan – have banded together to produce the Sinful Seconds Boxed Set (meant to follow their other highly successful set, Wicked Firsts). Out on St. Patrick’s Day, you’re the one who will feel lucky reading quality books from these best-selling authors, it’s only $2.99 (and the preceding boxed set has been marked down to a mere $.99) so read the descriptions and see if these tempting novels should be in your ereader.

Fans of romantic suspense (particularly ones who enjoy the occasional paranormal element) will want to pre-order the great bargain, Dangerous Dozen Romantic Suspense Box Set while it’s only $.99 for twelve books by authors like Paige Tyler, Maureen Child, Tawny Weber, Nina Bruhns, and Charity Pineiro among others. Nothing like getting 3300 pages (no, that is not a typo) for this kind of bargain, right? Undercover cops, investigative reporters and determined shifters pepper these pages, but that price seems to have a deadline, so I plan on ordering this long before its April 7th release date and encourage you to do the same!

That’s it for this week. Happy reading! 🙂

Oyster Brings a Netflix-like Model to Romance Reading

23 Oct

I was thrilled to find out that a new platform has come on the market for readers, Oyster. Looking to Netflix as a subscription model, readers pay $9.95 per month and have access to all of Oyster’s library (about 100,000 in copyright books), with the ability to “play” any book they want – books don’t download onto your device (which I imagine means you need to have a connection at all times).

For heavy readers this becomes an affordable alternative, particularly as more and more publishers release titles onto Oyster’s platform. Having read about Oyster and watched videos about how it works, I nevertheless wanted to have a better sense of what it could offer romance readers, but I wasn’t willing to pay for a month in order to test the water. Lucky for me, Oyster recently announced a free month to trial the platform for people wanting to test it out (in honor of their iPad app release).

A major caveat before downloading the app – originally designed for the iPhone, the iPad version of the program is meant to be enlarged using the 2x button. This means that users not running the latest iOS are going to notice highly pixelated text which makes it hard on the eyes. People running iOS 7 on their phones and iPads will have no problem.

The iPad is a natural first device upon which to launch considering its level of infiltration in the market.

But what does Oyster have to offer romance readers? I found the offerings to be diverse and hitting several big name authors – Amanda Scott, Debbie Macomber, Lisa Kleypas, Sarah Maclean, Julia Quinn, Katherine Ashe, and Tessa Dare were some of the historical romance authors (they even have most of Kathleen Woodiwiss‘ backlist) and paranormal authors like Christine Feehan, Jeaniene Frost and Lyndsay Sands were represented as well. A few erotica books were in there, as well as category romance from Crimson Romance’s imprint, and romantic suspense authors like Carla Swafford and Elizabeth Lowell.

I didn’t like that so many non-romance books were mixed in (because it makes it look like Oyster doesn’t know what the definition of the genre), but it is true that romance readers often cross-genres, particularly with mystery, historical fiction and women’s fiction – nevertheless, I don’t want to see them when I’m looking for romance. There’s plenty of contemporary romance, romantic comedy and inspirational romance and they even divide up historical romance, highlighting Regency and medieval titles. It’s pretty snazzy.

Could there be more titles? Sure. But the above authors are damn good ones and there was a nice mix of books I’ve read and books I want to read – considering I read around 350 romance novels a year, I find this pretty snazzy and I’m sure it will only get better as Oyster will have to acquire more titles in order to stay competitive, particularly with other subscription read services about to launch.

So take a look at Oyster (for free) to see if you’ve got the hardware to see if it has something to offer you as a romance reader. I think that you’ll find it may offer readers a wonderful romance library to draw upon (for only $9.95 a month.

Countdown to Christmas: Dark and Stormy Nights Need a Holiday, Too, So Check Out A Very Gothic Christmas For Delicious Shivers Down Your Spine

16 Dec

A Very Gothic Christmas with novellas by Christine Feehan and Melanie George (Pocket Books, January 11, 2002)

I’m not sure people really understand what makes a book “gothic” literature any more. Beginning with Horace Walpole‘s The Castle of Otranto in 1766, this genre combines horror and romance and is characterized by dark, brooding settings and often a paranormal element. Most romance readers have read works like Charlotte Bronte‘s Jane Eyre, Bram Stoker‘s Dracula, and Daphne du Maurier‘s Rebecca, enjoying both the books and the many film adaptations. Gothic literature continues into the modern day with some of the novels of Stephen King and Anne Rice easily falling into this literature category.

The way to know if you are reading a gothic romance is the observation of key elements. Strong archetypes are present in these stories: a virginal heroine, a tortured Byronic hero, the often twisted representation of religion and the presence of looming, forbidding gothic architecture, complete with secret passageways. Presence of the supernatural (while also having the real threat come from more corporeal villains) is combined with the frequent threat of rape or incest, as well as a heroine with a sensitivity to what’s going on around her when others do not perceive any danger.

I think that there is a strong percentage of romance readers who loved incredibly scary ghost stories growing up, the kind told with flashlights under your chin and the need to have clumps of your girlfriends go to the bathroom together afterward since God knows what was lurking behind the toilet tank. I think there is more gothic romance in YA literature, but we’ve inherited elements of gothic literature in much of the vampire romance subset (a lot of vampire literature is also gothic literature) and also some romantic suspense. I was still excited to see, when browsing for Christmas themed romance novels, this dual novella anthology from Christine Feehan and Melanie George. Both authors hit the gothic romance nail right on the head, with these stories prepared to send delicious shivers down your spine, both from the standpoint of the looming threat posed and the sexual tension between the hero and heroine.

“After the Music” by Christine Feehan (Christmas #1)

Magic in the Wind (Drake Sisters #1) by Christine Feehan (Berkley, September 2005)

Jessica was 13 when her mother went to work for rock star sensation Dillon and his troubled wife Vivian. She was happy to help her mother with the housekeeping and nanny chores to the couple’s newborn twins, Tara and Trevor. Vivian was troubled from the start but her latent instability rapidly degenerated into sexual infidelity, Satanic rituals and drug use endangering everyone around her. By age 18, Jessica and Dillon had feelings for each other but never verbalized or acted upon them due to his married status and her age. Nevertheless they were best friends with the common bonds of music and love of his children.

But one cataclysmic night, Vivian’s excess endangered Jessica in a way that sent Dillon over the edge, attacking his wife’s degenerate guests. The night ended with Vivian shot dead and six of her guests (and her) burned in the fire that reduceed Dillon’s home to ashes. Jessica managed to get the five year old children out of the house but Dillon suffered burns to his hands, arms and torso after rushing back in the house to save her and his twins as he didn’t know they’d escaped the inferno. In the subsequent medical treatments and two-year long trial (which absolves him of any guilt of the fire or the deaths), Dillon pushed away Jessica, her mother, and his children, giving them money to live comfortably but clearly wanting nothing to do with them as he became a recluse no longer producing music.

It’s been over a year since her mother died and twenty-six year old Jessica has done a great job raising Dillon’s children and forging a career as a talented sound engineer. Thirteen-year-old Tara and Trevor are fun, intelligent, and devoted to Jessica, but she’s worried for their safety. Her mother’s death was ruled an accident but Jessica has her suspicions, particularly after strange circumstances endanger her and the children. With Christmas a few weeks away, she makes the decision to brave the stormy weather and hire a boat to take the three of them to Dillon’s private island, an island where he has built a masterpiece to Gothic architecture not far from the ruin of his previous home.

The man who greets them is not the sunny, talented star of the past, but a truly tortured man (gothic hero, *check*) whose scars prevent him from playing the guitar and producing the music that was his life’s blood. The members of his former band (including the twins’ Aunt Brenda, Vivian’s sister, married to one of the band) are all in the house working with Dillon to produce a new album. Dillon hears music in his head all the time, but getting other people to realize his visions is an exercise in frustration.

Which is nothing to the frustration of seeing Jessica again. He feels like a monster in front of his children and her, but it’s minor to the longing he feels for all of them. Jessica – now a full-blown, stunning woman – calls to him, her presence always bringing light into his life. The vision of them as a family haunts him, breaking down his walls until he begins to see what his life could be. The fact that she is also able, in a way no one else seems capable, of helping him translate his musical dreams for others to understand and play makes his life worth living. But Jessica insists that there continues to be a real threat from one of the people living in Dillon’s home. Someone wants her and the children gone from his life, even if it means killing them.

I’ve read other Feehan books before and enjoyed them but I still was floored with the masterful writing in his novella. It’s rare for me to read a mystery where I can figure out who is the villain, but Feehan kept me guessing as she ladled suspicion on one character after another. Jessica and Dillon are a hot couple with a strong emotional and physical connection and the scene where they finally give into their passion for one another is both sexy and moving. The secondary characters are excellent, but Feehan nails the gothic setting with her description of the island and the mysterious happenings which continue to occur, endangering the children. Like the traditional gothic heroine, Jessica is virginal (she never wanted anyone but Dillon) and also sensitive to the paranormal and mysterious happenings around her, even as other people scoff at her suspicions.

“Lady of the Locket” by Melanie George

Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down containing a novella by Melanie George (Pocket Books, February 2005)

This novella will appeal to to fans of Karen Marie Moning‘s Highlander series as it involves a similar time travel romance resulting in a passionate romance between a highlander from the past and a modern woman.

Rachel Hudson is not exactly in the Christmas spirit. It’s only a few days to the holiday and she’s alone in front of a dark castle not far from the bloody battlefield of Culloden. Her parents met one Christmas at this very castle, falling in love and married here exactly one year later. This Christmas would have been their 30th wedding anniversary and the whole family was going to celebrate it right here, but fate had different plans. Her mother died of cancer and her father followed her about a month ago, dropping dead of a heart attack. She’s here with the permission of the son of the castle owner to spend the holiday and spread their ashes on this place which meant so much to them.

Let in by the offsite caretaker, she’s immediately riveted by the portrait of the castle founder, Duncan MacGregor. It was painted in 1745 not long before his death and she’s left a little breathless at the compelling, handsome man with burning blue eyes. The castle itself is drafty and dark, with spotty electricity and the reputation of being one of the most haunted places in the world. Wanting to know more about Duncan, she cuddles up with a history book she picked up and discovered that his enemy, the head of the Gordon clan, is responsible for burning down the ruined East Wing in an act of revenge after being wounded by MacGregor. People believe he perished in the fire and that his malevolent ghost haunts the castle to this day.

With that thought in her mind as she drifts off to sleep, Rachel is awoken by the thunder of a vicious electrical storm and the sounds of battle. When she hears someone calling out, she worries that there might be a person caught in the storm and runs out in her pajamas to look for them. She ends up by the castle’s ring of stones dating back to the Druid era, the stones where Duncan MacGregor was ultimately killed and buried. Just as a bolt of lightening blasts the stone engraved with his name to pieces, she sees a man on a black horse emerge and run straight for her.

Landscape near Inverness, Scotland

It’s Duncan, of course, come straight from battle and angry that he cannot find his men. His first thought is that the sodden Rachel is a witch sent by Gordon, but as he follows her into his home – annoyed by her testy response to his ordering her about – he quickly realizes that his home is different. Very different. As it sinks in that he is no longer in his own time, her compassion reaches him, enough to unleash the passion he has felt from the first moment he spotted her. But unlike any woman he’s ever come in contact with before, she refuses him, although he can clearly see she wants him.

For Rachel, it’s self-preservation. In all her twenty-seven years, she’s never felt this overwhelming attraction to any man and as she’s begun to accept that this is the Duncan MacGregor from the eighteenth century, she knows he’ll have to leave and return to his own time at some point. Terrifyingly, it becomes quickly apparent that Duncan’s presence has given Gordon’s ghost power as well, and the enemy actually manifests and attacks them both at various points, intent on taking both their souls. For Duncan and Rachel, their coming together is bittersweet as they realize they have each found their soulmate but cannot keep them.

Stone circle in Scotland

Christmas Eve is especially poignant, with Duncan making her a snowman (she had mentioned her family’s tradition) and she gives him her mother’s locket which has Rachel’s picture in it. As the power of Christmas Day pulls Duncan back to the exact moment Gordon burns down the East Wing of the castle, Rachel is left bereft, although an expected person finds her after she thinks she’s lost everything she ever wanted.

Notice how this edition of Rebecca indicates it’s “a classic tale of romantic suspense”. While that may be partially true, it’s really a gothic romance.

George makes it very clear from the first page that this is a gothic romance, having Rachel look at the forbidding castle and think that it’s a place for Heathcliff and then quote her favorite passage from du Maurier’s Rebecca. While Rachel is not a virgin, she does say that the orgasm Duncan gives her is her first (astonishing at twenty-seven – did she go to a doctor?). With Gordon’s ghost, the paranormal element (to say nothing of the time travel) is well satisfied, and this castle is as dark and forbidding as they come. There were a few points at which I wish Rachel had a little more backbone, but I could easily empathize with her being a buttoned-up person who thought love like her parents possessed would never find her. She’s overwhelmed when that kind of passion turns up in her own life, particularly such a doomed love. I loved the ending and could easily picture Rachel being able to talk about what happened to her and moving on with her own life.

Melanie George is unique among the authors I review in that she appears to have fallen off the face of the earth after her last book was published in 2006. No website or social media presence (and other people have tried to figure out if she even still belongs to the Romance Writers of America) makes it seem like she never existed. This is so sad as her books appear to still be popular and I definitely enjoyed the writing in this story. I would love to see her still have a website with her booklist and some information even if she didn’t plan on writing anymore. I think all readers understand that sometimes life’s circumstances cause people to stop writing, but a little website with key information is still an acknowledgment that you appreciate your readers continuing to buy your books. With the advent of ebook backlists, readers can find you more easily so it’s not like no one knows who you are, even without a new book on the Barnes & Noble shelf twice a year. Christine Feehan fortunately is going strong with her Drake Sisters saga (and other series) and her website is an example to other romance authors. I just wish she was on Twitter!

This taste of gothic romance has given me a desire for more, and prompted me to think about the genre in general. I loved the way the magic of the holiday blended with the love in these two couples and think that this excellent book deserves to be on everyone’s Christmas shelf! Many thanks to Christine Feehan and Melanie George for reminding us why gothic romance can still send shivers down our spines. 🙂


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