This past weekend was book club and not only did I get to chose the book, I got to host the shindig! I love my good friends, good books and good food and wine! Throw in a couple episodes of Game of Thrones and you have a winner! (seriously HBO, are you making any series that doesn't sport some serious nudity/sex/kink with a side of hot men???) Having heard from a couple others about this series that so excited me, I'll give you my take and then lead on a bit.
Harlequin Nocture, the paranormal line of Harlequin Romance, gathered together four of today's hottest paranormal romance writers and gave them a premise: an evil sorcerer has taken over the land, killed the king and queen and their four children have been scattered in the hope that one day they will reunite and overthrow the evil that has invaded their land.
Gena Showalter, Jill Monroe, Jessica Anderson and Nalini Singh all take on the task of telling the story of one of the royal heirs fates. I was so excited by this cast of writers and the (forgive the nerd alert) concept of four writers with one task, each writing in their own voice, to tell the tale that that character spoke to them. It was a huge risk and sounds alot like a college writing assignment but it works phenomenally well!
Lord of the Vampires, Gena Showalter, Harlequin Nocturn, August 2011
Unfolding the tale of Nicholai, the eldest heir, the "Dark Seducer", must woe a woman from another land to save him from his imprisonment. Jane Parker, convalescing in her cabin after a nearly fatal car accident, seems an unlikely heroine for this fairy tale prince. Her strength, loyalty and love are as emotionally moving as her will to survive. Their chemistry rocketed off the page. Oh to be trapped in a cabin in Oklahoma....with him! I enjoyed the fantasy elements but was thrown off at points with the back and forth between worlds. You have to appreciate the dark edgy humor that Showalter's fans adore. Hers is a sexy story, her alpha slightly tainted but redeemable and her heroine humble and bringing sexy back to the brainy girls team!! Definitely a five chocolate covered strawberry read.
Lord of Rage, Jill Monroe, Harlequin Nocturn, September 2011
Anyone who can incorporate a Goldilocks beginning, a Princess bride middle and a berserker has to be ace in my book! Lord of Rage tells the tale of Princess Brenna, ripped from her realm in Eldon by her parents dying magic, lands in the nameless woods only to stumble upon a cabin, eat and drink, collapse and chair and fall asleep in a giant bed....of a berserker who arrives home with his two younger brothers after chores one morning. The push-pull attraction the two hold for one another will suck the reader in immediately. Elements of magic, hearkening to another time and place make the story fantastical and yet timeless. Brenna must win over the cantankerous Osborn, figure out how to battle the evil that has found her and find her way back to her own realm. The wit and sexual tension are in perfect balance and make for a total page turner. The best part lies in the fact that Brenna whose background story is known somewhat to readers who started with Showalter's first installment, are expounded upon and cleverly reshaped by Monroe's skillful crafting. One doesn't take away from the other but builds upon it, making the series as a whole a true group effort, even in the individual stories.
Book one was great but Book two is outstanding - book three is out (and amazing) and book four releases on ebook tomorrow.....woohoo! I give Lord of Rage a mighty five chocolate covered strawberries....bring on the final battle!