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Review: ROCK COURTSHIP by Nalini Singh

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

rock courtship cover

Nalini Singh, queen of paranormal romance, has once again delved into the contemporary romance with Rock Courtship (a short novella in the Rock Kiss series) with David and Thea’s story.

The Blurb:

A drummer for the hottest rock band on the planet, David has a single, powerful weakness: Thea, the band’s publicist and the woman who steals his breath away with her every move.

Only problem is, Thea doesn’t date clients—or musicians. Emotionally scarred by a cheating ex, she’s not about to risk her heart with a man who has groupies buzzing around him like flies. Even if his sexy smile ties her up in knots.

What she doesn’t know is that David is a one-woman man…and he’s madly in love with her. David’s determined to prove he’s worth the risk, and willing to court her, step by exquisite step. Thea’s about to discover just how long and hard this handsome drummer can play.

The Review:

Unlike the inferno that was Fox’s story in Rock Addiction, the romance that develops between Thea and David in Rock Courtship is much more of a slow burn that coalesces into an forest fire. ;)

The “Gentleman of Rock” well and truly earns his nickname in Rock Courtship. David has been in love with Thea for a very long time, but he’s been a friend to her much longer. David isn’t afraid of love or to love and we see how gentle, caring, and loyal he is as the story progresses. Ms. Singh did an exceptional job with his narrative and he, much more than Thea, was the protagonist of this story. We see a lot more of David than his love for Thea – we learn about his loyalty to his family, and his friends. The story behind the development of the Schoolboy Choir was explored in more detail in this novel and it was a nice, tongue-in-cheek, anecdote of the band’s friendship:

 “I was thinking about the choir tryout.” All four of them had sung flat and off-key on purpose that day, horrified at the idea of being in the choir. “Remember how Noah kept insisting he was a born singer before butchering the entire piece he was assigned?”

Abe scowled. “Fucker was smarter than I was.”

…David laughed… “You almost got yourself busted.”

“Give me a little credit – I’d never tried to sing off-key before. At least I didn’t pull the ‘I come from a deprived neighbourhood and don’t know what a choir is’ routine.”

David grinned at Abe’s reminder. Making an appearance of wide-eyed innocence, he’d asked to sing a Spanish song for his tryout – then dug out the rudest of the many ditties he’d heard on the construction sites when he’d tagged along with his father. “Best part was the way she actually clutched at her pearls when she realized what I was singing.”

“No, man – best part was Fox having that coughing fit because he couldn’t stop laughing, and Noah ‘helpfully’ translating for  the other kids. That’s when I knew we’d all be friends.” 

Reading about all the mischief that the band got up to as young boys almost makes me wish that Ms. Singh would write a novel about their early years…it would certainly be worth the read.

On the other hand, compared to David’s intriguing past, we didn’t learn anything new about Thea’s when compared to what we had already figured out based on the hints from Rock Addiction. Like David, Thea is loyal and confident. She’s someone who can handle the spotlight, but her strength is a front that hides her vulnerability. It isn’t a spoiler to say that Thea’s ex was a douche who left her afraid to trust another man with her heart, but that’s about all we learn about Thea – well, except for the ex’s name…it’s Eric, by the way.

The only real “mystery” in this novel was the content of David’s memos to Thea, which was actually the reason I wanted to badly to get my hands on this novel. Well, needless to say they were hot!

And here’s a snippet of what I mean by HOT:

…I think you’re hot. Extremely, combustibly hot. If I could, I’d keep you in bed for a week running, naked and mine, and I’d still not have enough. I think every part of you is hot, but I’m particularly turned on by your mind and your legs. You should see the fantasies I have of seducing your mind with my words while I stroke my hands over your legs, rub my fingertips along the inner skin of your thighs. 

The memos only getting hotter after that. ;)

I think HOT also describes this novel overall as well. This novel was David’s book more than Thea and he certainly did it justice. It had a sweet central romance and a plot that fit well into the length it was given – nothing rushed or too slow. My only complaint was that Thea came of as a little lackluster when compared to David, and because romance novels rely on both the complete characterization of the hero and heroine, I ended up giving this novel a rating of three out of five. A fun, respectable read!

RATING - 3

-Rika Ashton

P.S: There’s an excerpt of Rock Courtship up on Ms. Singh’s website and to read my review of the first novel, Rock Addiction, check out the Romance Reader at Heart blog. :)

© All excerpts in this post are property of Nalini Singh and may have been shortened to avoid spoilers. 

Review: THE PRINCE WHO LOVED ME by Karen Hawkins

Disclaimer: Rika’s Musings received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

What happens when Cinderella meets Karen Hawkins in The Prince Who Loved Me? Well, let’s just say that it involves plenty of classic Hawkins humour, a curse-wielding grandmother, and a prince who redefines the word HOT!

The Blurb:

A handsome, rakish prince who doesn’t believe in true love meets a stubborn lass who will settle for nothing less…In a lighthearted retelling of a classic fairy tale, bestselling author Karen Hawkins gives Cinderella a Scottish twist!

Prince Aleksey Romanovin enjoys his carefree life, flirting—and more—with every lovely lady who crosses his path. But when the interfering Grand Duchess Natasha decides it’s time for her grandson to wed, Aleksey finds himself in Scotland, determined to foil her plans. Brainy, bookish, and bespectacled, Bronwyn Murdoch seems the perfect answer—she isn’t at all to the duchess’ taste.

Living at the beck and call of her ambitious stepmother and social butterfly stepsisters, Bronwyn has little time for a handsome flirt—no matter how intoxicating his kisses are. After all, no spoiled, arrogant prince would be seriously interested in a firm-minded female like herself. So . . . wouldn’t it be fun to turn his “game” upside down and prove that an ordinary woman can bring a prince to his knees?

The Review:

The Prince Who Loved Me was funny, witty, and romantic. I enjoyed reading fairy tales as a child, but Ms. Hawkins’ twist on the classic tale of Cinderella is a fun read for adults. It may not have wicked stepsisters, but a matchmaking (and adorably meddlesome) grandmother leaves plenty of room for some hilarious drama!

Alexsey was a prince after my own heart. He might be a bit of a rake, but he’s a rake who enjoys reading! He seduces Bronwyn’s mind, and that pretty much makes him the sexiest thing since the invention of the printing press. ;)

The stranger’s smile widened into a grin, his teeth flashing white. His bold jaw, forged of raw masculinity and shadows by the lack of shave, indicated a determined character, confirmed by the nose of a caesar. High cheekbones slanted beneath eyes that held the hint of an exotic flare, and his skin was the golden hue of someone who’d spent many hours outdoors.

And now this paragon was walking towards her…

Alexsey was an intriguing characters since the moment of his first introduction, but when he promises to build Bronwyn a library – yes, a library – he pretty much wins over my heart.

“I will give you everything your heart desires. New gowns, a library full of books…”

And Bronwyn was completely deserving of Alexsey’s love. Despite being socially-awkward and a little shy, Bronwyn is surprisingly adventurous and courageous once she’s given her heart. Although both her stepmother and Alexsey’s grandmother erected barriers that may have discouraged any other girl from seeing her lover, Bronwyn’s determination meant she was able to overcome the obstacles. She certainly didn’t let any locked doors keep her trapped for long.

Ms. Hawkins’ also did a wonderful job of juxtaposing Alexsey and Bronwyn’s passionate love story, with the more chaste narrative of “The Black Duke” dispersed throughout the novel, at the beginning of every chapter. The heroine of the story-within-a-story, Lucinda, is more of a wilting violet and her self-afflicted helplessness is a great foil for Bronwyn’s character.

Behind Lucinda, the curtains stirred as a hand holding a knife appeared. With a harsh cry, Sir Mordred leapt from behind the curtains and plunged the knife toward Lucinda. Time froze. The youthful innocent stared in horror as the knife seemed to slowly arc toward her pure, untouched heart! And in that second, balanced so precariously between life and death, she thought of the one man who held that very heart, though he might not know it – brave Roland.

The flowery language that Ms. Hawkins purposefully uses to describe events in Lucinda’s story is a shared source of humour for the readers and the characters in The Prince Who Loved Me, making Bronwyn and Alexsey all the more complex and “real” to the reader.

The secondary cast of characters was equally as interesting as the main characters and there were certainly enough twists and turns in this novel to keep the reader wondering what was going to happen next and who would do what. Two characters in particular – and I won’t say who for fear of spoilage – kept me guessing what their motives were.

Overall, I can say that no one has every written a reinvention of Cinderella quite like The Prince Who Loved Me. Full of a colourful cast of characters and hilarious conflict, it certainly has my vote as a fall must-read with a rating of four out of five.

RATING - 4

Which fairy tale retelling do you think Ms. Hawkins should write about next? 

Prince Who Loved Me graphic

Preorder through Barnes and Noble, Amazon,or Chapters.

-Rika Ashton

(aka Self-Proclaimed Librarian of Oxenburg)

© All excerpts used in this post are property of Karen Hawkins, and may have been shortened to avoid spoilers.

Throwback Thursday: DEVIL IN WINTER by Lisa Kleypas

This week I thought I’d shine the spotlight on my favourite Wallflower book by Lisa Kleypas, Devil in Winter, as a part of Throwback Thursday.

Four young ladies enter London society and band together to each find a husband. Has the third “Wallflower” now met her match?

A Devil’s Bargain

Easily the shyest Wallflower, Evangeline Jenner stands to become the wealthiest, once her inheritance comes due. Because she must first escape the clutches of her unscrupulous relatives, Evie has approached the rake Viscount St. Vincent with a most outrageous proposition: marriage!

Sebastian‘s reputation is so dangerous that thirty seconds alone with him will ruin any maiden’s good name. Still, this bewitching chit appeared,unchaperoned, on his doorstep to offer her hand. Certainly an aristocrat with a fine eye for beauty could do far worse.

But Evie’s proposal comes with a condition: no lovemaking after their wedding night. She will never become just another of the dashing libertine’s callously discarded broken hearts – which means Sebastian will simply have to work harder at his seductions … or perhaps surrender his own heart for the very first time in the name of true love.

Evie and Sebastian’s novel is one of my all-time favourite love stories. I get this funny, warm feeling in the pit of my stomach every time I read it. I never expected Sebastian to be such a sweetheart, especially since he was a pseudo-villain in one of the earlier novels in the series, It Happened One Autumn. But I adored Evie from the minute she was introduced. She’s funny and courageous. I love how she finds the strength to stand up for herself, but at the same time not being afraid to ask for help.

The romance in the book is swoon-worthy, and the dialogue is wicked-sexy between Evie and Sebastian.

“It’s impossible,” he snapped.

“Why?”

“Because I’m Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent. I can’t be celibate. Everyone knows that.”

This book has been in my top-ten since the moment I first opened it. Words can’t express the sheer amazing-ness of this novel.

Sebastian is definitely one of my favourite alpha heroes of historical romance, who are some of yours?

-Rika Ashton

(aka Alpha Stalker)

Cover Reveal: WHEN DARKNESS ENDS by Alexandra Ivy

It must be Alexandra Ivy Day today, because we received TWO big announcements in less than 5 hours. First, Ms. Ivy announced her plans to expand her Guardians of Eternity world with a new series kicking off with Marked by Darkness and now we get to feast our eyes on the drop dead gorgeous cover for When Darkness Ends, which is not the final book of the series but the final book before Ms. Ivy starts to self-publish the series.

I saw the cover earlier on Wicked Scribes, but WOW!

Is he it beautiful or what?

-Rika Ashton

(aka Insatiable Cover Lover)

This Just In…Alexandra Ivy’s New Series!

Alexandra Ivy just announced that she will be starting a new series, set in the Guardians of Eternity world. Marked by Darkness kicks off in June 2015. This one also features another story from the Mark of the Vampire series by Laura Wright.

mbd

Yes, there will be more Levet!

Who’s excited?

-Rika Ashton

(aka Novel Informant)

Cover Reveal: ROCK COURTSHIP by Nalini Singh

Welcome to the exclusive cover reveal for Nalini Singh‘s Rock Courtship! That’s right David – famously known as the “Gentleman of Rock” – and publicist Thea have their own story and we finally get to see what was written in those mysterious memos. I have a feeling that it’s going to be HOT! ;)

And speaking of hot…check out this cover:

rock courtship cover

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s new contemporary romance novella is pure hard rock and scorching heat…

What happens when the Gentleman of Rock decides to play dirty?

A drummer for the hottest rock band on the planet, David has a single, powerful weakness: Thea, the band’s publicist and the woman who steals his breath away with her every move.

Only problem is, Thea doesn’t date clients–or musicians. Emotionally scarred by a cheating ex, she’s not about to risk her heart with a man who has groupies buzzing around him like flies. Even if his sexy smile ties her up in knots.

What she doesn’t know is that David is a one-woman man…and he’s madly in love with her. David’s determined to prove he’s worth the risk, and willing to court her, step by exquisite step. Thea’s about to discover just how long and hard this handsome drummer can play.

nalini bioRefreshingly enough, the “Gentleman of Rock” is actually fully dressed on the cover, which only makes him more fun to mentally undress! ;)

The good news is that it’s not too long a wait for the novella – it releases on September 30th, only a few more weeks to go. :D

But if you’re like me and completely impatient, you can stop by Ms. Singh’s blog to find out how to sign up for ARCs of Rock Courtship. (I’ve already gotten my copy – yes, they work fast – and I’ll be posting a review soon.) And if you haven’t already read it, book one of the Rock Kiss series, Rock Addiction, was released earlier this week.

So what are we thinking of this cover? Love it, hate it, or couldn’t care less?

-Rika Ashton

(aka Cover Lover)

Throwback Thursday: HER MASTER AND COMMANDER by Karen Hawkins

This week’s Throwback Thursday features the first book I read by Karen Hawkins: Her Master and Commander! I read this book a very, very long time ago, but Ms. Hawkins’ writing – imbued with her classic sense of humour – has made it very memorable and I thought I’d share it as this week’s pick.

Just ask Reeves!

Dying without legitimate issue, the late Earl of Rochester set his butler extraordinaire, Reeves, to find his wild, illegitimate children and “civilize” them. Reeves must seek out the first o the earl’s arrogant sons, Captain Tristan Llevanth, a one-time pirate, and teach him how to be a gentleman.

A will of steel…

Tristan Llevanth gave up his free-wheeling life as a pirate to fight at Admiral Nelson’s side. Wounded, Tristan will never again sail the seas he loves. Life has not more challenges. Or so he thinks, until Reeves brings a certain outspoken lady into the captain’s uncultured household…

An iron-clad spirit…

Reeves believes Tristan needs a spark to relight the fires of his soul. And who better than the lovely Prudence Thistlewaite, the bane of the captain’s existence? Prudence wants nothing to do with her wickedly handsome, ill-tempered neighbor. Still, she cannot refuse the outlandish sum Reeves offers to smooth Tristan’s rough edges.

Can Prudence tame the rakish captain?

Or will Tristan gain what he most wishes, to become…

Her Master and Commander

This book is full of laughs and wicked banter between Tristan and Prudence. No one can write character chemistry like Ms. Hawkins and certainly no one can replicate her sense of comical timing. If you haven’t read anything by Ms. Hawkins or if you’re a lifetime fan, this is one book you can’t miss!

-Rika Ashton

(aka Master and Commander of All Things Bookish)

Throwback Thursday: THE CAPTAIN OF ALL PLEASURES by Kresley Cole

Kresley Cole is one multi-talented author. Before delving into the paranormal romance genre with her Immortals After Dark series and young adult books with The Arcana Chronicles…and way, way before her erotic romance Game Maker series, Ms. Cole wrote historical romance. First published in 2003, The Captain of All Pleasures (book one of the Sutherland Brothers series) was Ms. Cole’s very first – and might I say, award-winning – novel.

In her exhilarating debut novel, Kresley Cole captures the drama, passion, and boundless adventure of the high seas—as one fiery lass finds herself caught in a tide of torrid romance.

Raised as a free spirit aboard her American sea captain father’s majestic clipper ship, willful Nicole Lassiter has never encountered an obstacle she couldn’t overcome—until she meets Captain Derek Sutherland. His sizzling kisses leave her longing, but after they share a night of passion, his subsequent disdain makes her blood boil. Nicole vows to take her revenge—by helping her father beat Sutherland in a high-stakes competition: the Great Circle Race from England to Australia.

Nicole’s scheme is thrown overboard after her father is wrongly imprisoned, yet she remains undaunted—taking to the high seas with her father’s ship. But a storm wrecks her plans, and she finds herself a virtual prisoner aboard Sutherland’s vessel. And while her mind tells her she should escape, her body urges her to surrender.

I discovered Ms. Cole’s “historical” side before jumping into her paranormal worlds. This novel was fun, adventurous, and romantic and certainly worth its RT Reviewer’s Choice win!

If you haven’t tried Ms. Cole’s historical romances, I urge you to start with this one! :D

-Rika Ashton

(aka Captain Derek’s First Mate)

Throwback Thursday: LONDON’S PERFECT SCOUNDREL by Suzanne Enoch

This week’s Throwback Thursday pick is a novel that I haven’t read in a very long time, but one that started my lifelong love affair with Suzanne Enoch – really, what else could it be but London’s Perfect Scoundrel?

A determined young lady vows to give one of London’s infamous rakes his comeuppance — but when the rogue turns the tables, who truly learns a lesson in love?

The ton gossips call him “Saint” — but the Marquis of St. Aubyn has well earned his reputation as London’s perfect scoundrel.

Evelyn Ruddick knows she should avoid him at all costs–but the strikingly beautiful lady wants to aid the children of the Heart of Hope Orphanage, and he heads the board of trustees. Evie is determined to teach the charming, arrogant man a lesson in compassion, but it won’t be so easy–especially since his touch is setting her desire aflame, making Evie yearn to submit to his passionate instruction…

The idea of joining in her “project” is unthinkable, but this enchantress refuses to give up! So what else is there for a self-respecting rake to do but seduce the lady? Yet soon it is he who is being seduced by Evie’s tender heart and fiery blushes. Could the temptation of long, passionate nights in her arms bring about the impossible? Could the disreputable Saint at long last be reformed?

If you haven’t read anything by Ms. Enoch yet, then this is a good book to start with. The only thing better than a reformed rake…is watching one get his comeuppance! ;)

-Rika Ashton

(aka The Very Unreformed Lady Rake)

Release Day Madness!

We’re wishing a happy release day to Jayne Castle (aka Jayne Ann Krentz) and Jeaniene Frost!

Jayne Castle’s futuristic paranormal romance, The Hot Zone – book three of the Rainshadow series – is in bookstores today.

The world of Harmony has its wonders, one of them being Rainshadow Island. Just beneath its surface, a maze of catacombs hides a dangerous secret……

Halloween—with its tricks and treats—is a dust bunny’s dream come true. Just ask Lyle, Sedona Snow’s faithful sidekick. But for Sedona, it’s a nightmare. Though her new job managing a small hotel and tavern on Rainshadow is helping her move on from her tragic past, a bizarre disaster down in the catacombs has brought a pack of rowdy ghost hunters to her inn.

And now, Sedona’s ex has arrived on the island, claiming he wants to get back together, just as a newcomer appears to have a strong interest in her. Cyrus Jones is the new Guild boss in town. He has his own agenda when it comes to Sedona, but even the best-laid plans are no match for the passion that springs up on Rainshadow….

And Jeaniene Frost’s new adult novel, The Beautiful Ashes – book one of the Broken Destiny series – is also hitting the shelves today.

In a world of shadows, anything is possible. Except escaping your fate.

Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been gripped by visions of strange realms just beyond her own. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is trapped in a parallel realm. And the one person who believes her is the dangerously attractive guy who’s bound by an ancient legacy to betray her.

Adrian might have turned his back on those who raised him, but that doesn’t mean he can change his fate…no matter how strong a pull he feels toward Ivy. Together they search for the powerful relic that can save her sister, but Adrian knows what Ivy doesn’t: that every step brings Ivy closer to the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could doom the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side and Adrian on the other. And nothing but ashes in between…

We are very excited  to get our hands on both novels! Happy reading!

-Rika Ashton and Chaos Ashton

(aka Bookworms)

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