Posts tagged “johanna lindsey

The Girl Who Started Something New

Earlier today, Jayne Ann Krentz revealed the full cover for her upcoming novel, The Girl Who Knew Too Much (written under the pseudonym Amanda Quick) on her Facebook page.

In her next historical novel, Ms. Quick is going to take on a whole new era – the 1930s! Romantic suspense against the backdrop of old Hollywood seems like the perfect recipe for a great story, so I am very excited to see where she takes her latest novel.

The American 1930s is an era that hasn’t been explored all that much in the romance genre. Writers, like Johanna Lindsey, have taken on the Wild West – which makes for a romantic read – but Old Hollywood seems to be left mainly alone…with only some of the older novels by Anne Stuart coming to mind. In fact, Goodreads lists only a total of a little over fifty books set in this time frame – which is a very small number considering how large the romance industry actually is.

And it’s not just the American 1930s that lack exploration, but whole other eras and even countries – with that much left unwritten, imagine how many stories we’ve missed out on. Oh, the lost words!

I hope other historical romance writers begin to expand out of the Regency and Victorian eras in Britain – not that I don’t love those eras, because I do and I will always read more stories set in these times – but for those rainy days when you crave variety, it’s time to tell new stories!

Thank you Amanda Quick for taking on something new and for reminding me that there are always new stories to tell!

The ever grateful,

Rika Ashton

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Booking My Summer…and Then Some!

Hi all,

Soooo it’s been a while, huh?

What can I say? Every time I thought about updating my blog, I was too tired to move…the thought’s about as far as it got. Teaching can drive you crazy it seems. And that sense of accomplishment? Most day’s I just end up waiting for it and it never arrives. Until Friday. And then…HALLELUJAH!

Long tangent short, I’ve been busy. 😦

But not too busy to start pre-ordering my summer/fall/winter reads, which include some of these highly anticipated novels by proven authors:

First up, Blood Kiss by J. R. Ward, Black Dagger Legacy book one:

The legacy of the Black Dagger Brotherhood continues in a spin-off series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author…

Paradise, blooded daughter of the king’s First Advisor, is ready to break free from the restrictive life of an aristocratic female. Her strategy? Join the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training center program and learn to fight for herself, think for herself…be herself. It’s a good plan, until everything goes wrong. The schooling is unfathomably difficult, the other recruits feel more like enemies than allies, and it’s very clear that the Brother in charge, Butch O’Neal, a.k.a. the Dhestroyer, is having serious problems in his own life.

And that’s before she falls in love with a fellow classmate. Craeg, a common civilian, is nothing her father would ever want for her, but everything she could ask for in a male. As an act of violence threatens to tear apart the entire program, and the erotic pull between them grows irresistible, Paradise is tested in ways she never anticipated–and left wondering whether she’s strong enough to claim her own power…on the field, and off.

Second, Siren’s Call by Jayne Castle:

In the mysterious world of Harmony, there are places filled with unexplored marvels. But Rainshadow Island isn’t about to give up its secrets . . .

In the alien catacombs of Rainshadow, there are creatures whose compelling songs lure the unwary to their death. That’s why Rafe Coppersmith, hired to clear out the catacombs for exploration, needs a music talent. He knows the perfect one, but she probably doesn’t want anything do with him . . .

Ella Morgan had once fallen hard and fast for Rafe, but then he disappeared for months and he’s not about to tell her why. Ella, too, has secrets that only her dust bunny knows. She’s not just a music talent, she’s a Siren: a paranormal singer capable of singing men to sleep – or to their deaths.

But once on Rainshadow, Rafe and Ella will learn that surrendering to passion doesn’t come without risks – and fighting fire with fire only adds to the flame . . .

Read number three is none other than About a Vampire by Lynsay Sands:

In New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands’ new Argeneau novel, a vampire accustomed to seducing every woman he meets finds the one determined to resist him . . .

With immortal good looks and scorching charisma, Justin Bricker has yet to meet a woman he can’t win over. His potential life mate should be no different. But instead of falling into his bed, Holly Bosley runs away and ends up mortally wounded. To save her, he has to turn her. And then Bricker learns the shocking truth: Holly’s already married.

Holly wakes up with a bump on her head, a craving for blood, and a sexy stranger who insists they belong together. She needs Bricker’s help to control her new abilities, even as she tries to resist his relentless seduction. Choosing between the world she knows and the eternity he offers is impossible. But Justin is fighting for his life mate – maybe even his life – and he’ll break every rule to do it . . .

And because I love historical reads as much as paranormal ones, book four is Wildfire in His Arms by Johanna Lindsey:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Johanna Lindsey’s passionate new tale about a gunfighter running from his past who finds his future when he escorts a beautiful outlaw to her hanging. Featuring one of Lindsey’s most intriguing heroes: the dangerous and mysterious Degan Grant from One Heart to Win.

With his work in Montana completed now that the Callahan-Warren feud has ended in marriage rather than bloodshed, Degan Grant sets out for California because it is far away from the home he wants to forget – until the US Marshal who saved his life calls in a favor. All Degan has to do is apprehend three outlaws on the marshal’s list and turn them over to the law. Easy enough, he figures, for a man no one wants to tangle with.

But then a bold young woman crosses his path. Maxine grew up so pretty and attracted so much unwanted attention in her Texas hometown that events spiraled out of control. She will try anything to escape the handsome, enigmatic gunfighter who intends to turn her over to a corrupt sheriff who will hang her instead of putting her on trial.

Saddled with a sassy, spirited young woman who insists she is innocent, Degan must hunt down a vicious killer and keep an old enemy at bay. But forced into intimate proximity with his beguiling prisoner, he finds his desire sparking into a wildfire of passion, and he can no longer deny that it is time for them to risk confronting their pasts so he can have a chance at a future with her in his arms forever.

And that’s all I have on my list for now, with the exception of the upcoming Nalini Singh novels…but that’s a given. 😉

Rika Ashton

(aka Bookworm)


Blurb Reveal: WILDFIRE IN HIS ARMS by Johanna Lindsey

A few days ago I posted about the title for the upcoming Johanna Lindsey novel, Wildfire in His Arms, and now we have a blurb! YES!

#1 New York Times bestselling author Johanna Lindsey’s passionate new tale about a gunfighter running from his past who finds his future when he escorts a beautiful outlaw to her hanging. Featuring one of Lindsey’s most intriguing heroes: the dangerous and mysterious Degan Grant from One Heart to Win.

With his work in Montana completed now that the Callahan-Warren feud has ended in marriage rather than bloodshed, Degan Grant sets out for California because it is far away from the home he wants to forget—until the US Marshal who saved his life calls in a favor. All Degan has to do is apprehend three outlaws on the marshal’s list and turn them over to the law. Easy enough, he figures, for a man no one wants to tangle with.

But then a bold young woman crosses his path. Maxine grew up so pretty and attracted so much unwanted attention in her Texas hometown that events spiraled out of control. She will try anything to escape the handsome, enigmatic gunfighter who intends to turn her over to a corrupt sheriff who will hang her instead of putting her on trial.

Saddled with a sassy, spirited young woman who insists she is innocent, Degan must hunt down a vicious killer and keep an old enemy at bay. But forced into intimate proximity with his beguiling prisoner, he finds his desire sparking into a wildfire of passion, and he can no longer deny that it is time for them to risk confronting their pasts so he can have a chance at a future with her in his arms forever.

After reading this blurb, I need to go back and reread One Heart to Win and refresh my memory as to who Degan is…I think he was the ranch-hand, but I can’t recall for sure. It’s just that this book was released two years ago, before Judith (The Anthony Malory’s daughter) got her novel in Stormy Persuasion and I started salivating about Jacqueline and The Bastard’s story. (Only Jaqueline could refer to her hero as “The Bastard” and get away with it, lol!)

But it’s always fun to reread a Johanna Lindsey novel, so I’m looking forward to reliving the adventure in One Heart to Win before Wildfire in His Arms releases in June 2015. 🙂

Rika Ashton

(aka “Will definitely pay more attention to Degan this time…”)

P.S: Sorry, no cover art yet, but I will hunt that down as soon as possible.


Throwback Thursday: A HEART SO WILD by Johanna Lindsey

Yup, I picked another Johanna Lindsey book for this week’s Throwback Thursday because…

  1. It’s our WordPress Blogiversary!
  2. A Heart So Wild is my FAVOURITE Johanna Lindsey novel…ever!
  3. This fabulously talented writer has another book releasing June 2015 called Wildfire in His Arms…and I am insanely excited!

Yes, those are the triple threat of exclamation points, which of course only proves that these are very good reasons for choosing to spotlight Johanna Lindsey as a Throwback Thursday author again. 🙂

Courtney Harte is certain her missing father is a alive, lost somewhere deep in Indian territory. But she needs a guide to lead her safely through this dangerous, unfamiliar country, someone as wild and unpredictable as the land itself. And that man is the gunslinger they call Chandos.

Courtney fears this enigmatic loner whose dark secrets torture his soul, yet whose eyes, bluer than the frontier sky, enflame the innocent, determined lady with wanton desires. But on the treacherous path they have chosen they have no one to trust but each other–as shared perils to their lives and hearts unleash turbulent, unbridled, passions that only love can tame.

Best of all, my favourite historical romance novel of all time has a sequel. The second novel of the Straton Family series, All I Need is You, follows the story of Courtney and Chandos’ daughter, Casey. It also an exciting novel, where the female lead is definitely more street smart and ready to kick ass than the hero – though the hero, Damian, does have his moments.

I highly recommend this novel to historical romance fans!

Rika Ashton

(aka “Happy Blogiversary to me…Let them eat cake!’)

 


Throwback Thursday: A PIRATE’S LOVE by Johanna Lindsey

The 2008 cover

It’s no secret that I adore Johanna Lindsey‘s novels. However, there is one exception to that rule – A Pirate’s Love. This is an old school historical romance – yes, I’m talking bodice ripper style! Like all of Johanna Lindsey’s heroines, Bettina is a virgin in the beginning – sex, passion, etc are complete unknown’s to her, while Tristan is an pirate but nothing like the politically correct pirates we’re used to reading in “modern” historical romances. This novel is not for the faint of heart and has been extremely controversial for a long time, just check out the divide between some of the reviews on Barnes and Nobles, Amazon, Goodreads, and others.

Sailing westward toward the Caribbean sun, young Bettina Verlaine obediently sets out to fulfill the promise made by her father – but not by her heart – a prearranged marriage destined not to be…once the notorious Captain Tristan’s pirate ship appears on the horizon.

Abducted by the bold and handsome brigand, the pale-haired beauty surrenders her innocence in the warm caress of the tropical winds — detesting her virile captor for enslaving her. . .yet loving him for the passionate spell he casts over fragile, yearning heart.

As far as heroes go, Tristan’s nothing like what I’ve come to think of Ms. Lindsey’s other heroes – many of whom are funny, charming, intelligent, and all-around likeable. I did not like Tristan – he’s got some MAJOR psychological issues to work out, what he needs in this novel is a therapist not a wife.

Bettina was a bit of a doormat and, I want to say trauma victim because of the heavy content from this novel, but I don’t know. Or rather, I can more accurately say, I don’t remember. I probably read this novel a good 6 years ago, and while I own a copy, I have not dared to pick it up since.

I sometimes wonder if Johanna Lindsey actually wrote this book or if someone – who clearly does not understand what a true love story constitutes – falsely published it under her name…it’s VERY different from her other novels. Like with a gap the size of the GRAND CANYON different! Ms. Lindsey’s a great writer, but this is not her best work – the other 99% of her novels have been hits with me, but this 1% just didn’t make the cut. (Try her Mallory series, if you’re interested in some of her BEST work.)

That said, the powers that be, at Avon have decided to reissue the novel. (I sincerely hope that they decide to upgrade, nay fix, the content as well.)

Here’s the oh-so-innocent latest reissue cover below:

And the original artwork:

As you can see the covers are all pretty different, and none really fit with the dark subject matter of the novel. Of course, this novel was originally published in 1978 and written before that, so the dated views are partly a product of the time in which they were imagined.

Likely.

But that’s just my two cents for his Throwback Thursday…next week’s post should be much happier.

RATING - 2

-Rika Ashton

(aka “This post is also turned into a semi-book review.”)


Cover Lover: Historical Edition

2014 means more reading for me. Only this year, I don’t have to read theoretical papers on the importance of intrinsic motivation – or at least, this year I will have the choice of whether or not I want to read them.

That said, I’m looking forward to the line of historical romances coming out this year. Here are a few of the HR books I know I’ll adore!

The third deliciously sexy novel in the New York Times bestselling Duke’s Men historical romance series, featuring an investigator who sets out to find gypsies—and unexpectedly finds love.

Investigator Tristan Bonnaud has one aim in life—to make sure that his half-brother George can’t ever ruin his life again. So when the pesky Lady Zoe Keane, the daughter of the Earl of Olivier, shows up demanding that the Duke’s Men find a mysterious gypsy woman, he seizes the opportunity to also hunt for a gypsy friend who knows secrets about George. Tristan doesn’t expect to uncover Lady Zoe’s family secrets, as well…or end up falling for the woman who will risk all to discover the truth.

New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands returns to the Highlands of Scotland in her hottest new historical romance yet!

Highlander Campbell Sinclair is no stranger to battle, so when he sees a lad attacked by bandits, he jumps into the fray. He didn’t count on being stabbed. Grateful to the boy for nursing him back to health, Cam offers to accompany Jo safely to his destination. But when he accidentally comes across the lad bathing in the river, Cam discovers that Jo is actually Joan . . . with the most sinful of curves.

Joan promised her mother that she would deliver a scroll to the clan MacKay. But traveling alone is dangerous, even disguised as a boy. When a Scottish warrior lends his aid, she is more than relieved . . . until he surprises her with lingering kisses and caresses that prove her disguise hasn’t fooled him. As their passion ignites, will the secrets of the scroll force a wedding . . . and lead to a love she’s never known?

(UK Cover)

Miss Amity Doncaster, world traveler, is accustomed to adventure and risk. Benedict Stanbridge, a man of science and a spy for the Crown, has faced danger in the darker corners of foreign lands.

Now they are about to face a threat that is shockingly close to home . . .

One does not expect to be kidnapped on a London street in broad daylight. Yet Amity Doncaster barely escapes with her life after she is trapped in a carriage with a blade-wielding man in a black silk mask who whispers the most vile taunts and threats into her ear. Her quick thinking, and her secret weapon, save her – for now.

But the monster known in the press as the Bridegroom, who has left a trail of female victims in his wake, has survived the wounds she inflicts and will soon be on his feet again. He is unwholesomely obsessed by her scandalous connection to Benedict Stanbridge -gossip about their hours alone in a ship’s stateroom seems to have crossed the Atlantic faster than any sailing vessel could. Benedict refuses to let this resourceful, daring woman suffer for her romantic link to him – as tenuous as it may be.

For a man and woman so skilled at disappearing, so at home in the exotic reaches of the globe, escape is always an option. But each intends to end the Bridegroom’s reign of terror in London, and they will join forces to do so. And as they prepare to confront an unbalanced criminal in the heart of the city they love, they must also face feelings neither of them can run away from . . .

And that is my list so far – although there are other authors, such as Julia Quinn, Stephanie Laurens, and Johanna Lindsey (previously posted here) among others, whose novels I can’t wait to get my hands on as well.

Rika Ashton

(aka The Historian)


Bookworming: Stormy Persuasion by Johanna Lindsey

I am – as some of you can probably already guess – UNBELIEVABLY excited for the upcoming Johanna Lindsey novel, Stormy Persuasion. (The only downside is that I have to wait until June 10, 2014 to read it…)

I’m super glad that Ms. Lindsey is getting into the children’s storylines in the Malory series, and since Judith is one of the my fave characters, this novel is the cake and the icing!

James Malory sets sail for America to honor a promise he made to his in-laws: His and Georgina’s daughter, Jacqueline, will have her come-out in America. Judith and Jacqueline Malory are not simply cousins; they are inseparable best friends. Refusing to miss Jacqueline’s come-out in Connecticut, Judith convinces her parents to let her delay her London debut by a few weeks so she can accompany her cousin. Neither girl intends to fall in love during her first Season. But Judith’s plans are overturned when aboard ship she comes face-to-face with the ghost who has been haunting her dreams.

Unknown to the Malorys, deckhand Nathan Tremayne is a smuggler with a noose around his neck. Determined to carry out a covert mission in America that could gain him a pardon, Nathan senses that beautiful Judith Malory is trouble. Somehow the minx knows his secret-and now she’s blackmailing him into doing her bidding. While passions can soar on the high seas, Nathan knows this aristocratic beauty is merely amusing herself with a scoundrel like him.

When the unthinkable happens in Connecticut and the elder Malorys’ hands are tied, Nathan takes command of a dire situation. Captaining his own ship, he turns the tables on Judith, as he steers them into some intense Caribbean heat where he will fight with all his mettle to win the right to her heart.

I swear, it’s like Ms. Lindsey read my mind when she starting writing this book! Now, excuse me, while I go hyperventilate from excitement!

Rika Ashton

(aka, “I’m Having a Fangirl Moment!”)


Book Love: Summer 2013 Releases and a Sneak Peek of MACRIEVE

It’s Summer! And for me, that means reading (and school, but mostly reading). Fortunately, there is a long list of anticipated books releasing this summer. (Not to mention movies, but that’s a post for another time.)

So for your reading pleasure, here’s a list of the books I have been most anxiously waiting for:

1. One Heart to Win by Johanna Lindsey. Ms. Lindsey only releases one book a year, so I always mark my calender for when the next one is due – this one hits the bookstores on June 11th.

Some young ladies marry for money and social standing, a few lucky ones marry for love – but Tiffany Warren is marrying to end a feud. Honoring her mother’s promise, Tiffany reluctantly travels west to meet her estranged father and his enemy’s eldest son, rancher Hunter Callahan. Once the Warrens and the Callahans are united by marriage, both clans will stop squabbling over a disputed strip of land.

In the chaos of a train robbery Tiffany seizes a golden opportunity: By assuming the identity of her father’s new housekeeper she can live with the father she never knew and assess his true character, as well as that of the neighboring cowboy to whom she is betrothed. But, too late, Tiffany discovers that the rivalry between the Warrens and the Callahans has escalated when the Callahans steal the Warrens’ housekeeper as soon as she steps off the train!

Now, Tiffany, who is pretending to be Jennifer Fleming, finds herself living in the enemy camp, under the same roof as her fiancÉ. All too soon she learns her intended is a handsome, sweet talking charmer whom she has to fight off because he can’t keep his eyes – or his hands – off Jennifer. After Tiffany’s charade is exposed she refuses to marry Hunter to end the feud. As Hunter goes about claiming his rightful bride-to-be, he knows that although he loves two women – proper, elegant Tiffany as well as spunky, passionate Jennifer – he has only one heart to win.

2. Deception Cove by Jayne Castle. The first novel of the Rainshadow series introduced us to the potential characters of the second novel and, now, here they are!

As a light-talent, Alice North has the rare ability to make things disappear, including herself—a gift that comes in handy during her magic act with her dust bunny Houdini.

Business mogul Drake Sebastian is day-blind, since his sight was nearly destroyed in a lab accident. But he’s the one man who can see Alice when she disappears—and he needs her.

On Rainshadow Island, two dangerous Old World crystals are missing, igniting a paranormal storm. Drake thinks Alice is the key to finding them, and proposes they head there, but only after a Marriage of Convenience.

Alice’s honeymoon on Rainshadow is guaranteed to be memorable, as the island—and the passion between her and Drake—is about to explode…

3. An English Bride in Scotland by Lynsay Sands. If you have read any of Ms. Sands novels before, then you know that this one will make you laugh out loud!

Annabel had planned to become a nun. But when her mother arrives at the Abbey to bring her home to marry a Scottish laird – her runaway sister’s intended husband – her life takes a decidedly different turn.

And though Annabel isn’t the wife he’d planned for, strong, sexy Ross McKay is taken with his shy, sweet bride.

Annabel knows nothing about being a wife, running a castle – or the marriage bed. But her handsome new husband makes her want to learn. When Annabel’s life is threatened, Ross vows to move the highlands itself to save her and preserve the passion that’s only beginning to bloom.

4. Macrieve by Kresley Cole. Alpha heroes and kick-ass heroines! I pretty much devour whatever Ms. Cole writes.

A Beast In Torment

Uilleam MacRieve believed he’d laid to rest the ghosts of his boyhood. But when a brutal torture revives those ancient agonies and destroys his Lykae instinct, the proud Scot craves the oblivion of death. Until he finds her—a young human so full of spirit and courage that she pulls him back from the brink.

A Beauty In Chains

Seized for the auction block, Chloe Todd is forced to enter a terrifying new world of monsters and lore as a bound slave. When offered up to creatures of the dark, she fears she won’t last the night. Until she’s claimed by him—a tormented immortal with heartbreaking eyes, whose touch sets her blood on fire.

A Full Moon On The Rise

With enemies circling, MacRieve spirits Chloe away to the isolated Highland keep of his youth. But once he takes her to his bed, his sensual mate becomes something more than human, evoking his savage past and testing his sanity. On the cusp of the full moon, can he conquer his worst nightmare to save Chloe . . . from himself?

(And for your early reading pleasure a 34-page free sneak peek of the novel. It’s a PDF file.)

5. The Darkest Craving by Gena Showalter. A friend got me hooked on this series, and I’m too addicted to ever kick the habit.

Having endured weeks of torture in the bowels of hell, Kane wants nothing to do with his beautiful rescuer, Josephina Aisling. The half-Fae female threatens to awaken the demon of Disaster inside him-a beast he’s determined to kill, no matter the price.

Josephina is hunted by a brutal enemy-her royal family-and Kane is her only source of protection. He’s also the only male to ever set her aflame, and even he succumbs to the heat.

But as they navigate the treacherous world of the Fae, they are forced to make a choice: live apart…or die together.

6. The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh by Stephanie Laurens. I love her Cynster family series and I’ve been waiting for this story for a while.

The Honorable Miss Mary Cynster always gets what she wants. As the last unwed Cynster of her generation, she is determined to remain in charge of her life and of the man she will marry. At the very bottom of her list of potential husbands is Ryder Cavanaugh, the daring and devastating Marquess of Raventhorne, an overwhelming and utterly unmanageable lion of the ton. But destiny has a different plan.

Ryder needs Mary as his wife, not just because she is delightful, fiery, and tempting, but because he values all she could be. When fate and circumstance hand him the chance, he claims Mary as his marchioness . . . only to discover what he truly desires is not just to take her hand in marriage, but to capture her heart.

7. The Vampire with the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrelyn Sparks. The series has been a bit of a hit and miss for me so far, but I’m open to giving this book a chance.

He’s out of control

Dougal Kincaid has something to prove. After being injured in a battle with the Malcontents, he’s ready for active duty protecting unsuspecting mortals from these villainous vampires who want to rule the world. But first he has to get control of himself . . . because just the sight of a certain lovely doctor has his injured hand doing some peculiar things, not to mention the sizzling sensation that burns along his dragon tattoo . . .

Vampires? Vampires?! As a scientist, Leah is having trouble believing that these immortal creatures exist. But there they are, standing in front of her, asking for help in solving a genetic puzzle that can save mankind. There’s even one in a sexy kilt! Just one look into Dougal’s gorgeous green eyes sets her pulse racing. But can she trust him – and the overwhelming desire that refuses to be ignored . . . ?

8. What the Duke Desires by Sabrina Jeffries. I’ve read everything that Ms. Jeffries has written under this pseudonym and I have yet to be disappointed.

Maximilian Cale, the Duke of Lyons, accepted long ago that his kidnapped brother was dead. When a cryptic note from investigator Tristan Bonnaud claims otherwise, Max seeks out Tristan’s sister, Lisette—and is infuriated to learn that Tristan has also mysteriously vanished. Have the siblings perpetrated an elaborate hoax? Or is the fiercely protective beauty as innocent as she claims them to be?

Fearful that the powerful duke will destroy Tristan’s career in his zeal for the truth, the clever Lisette convinces Max to accompany her to Paris in a joint search for their loved ones. But their journey takes a seductive twist when they pose as an ordinary husband and wife—not an English duke with a tarnished family name and the illegitimate daughter of a viscount—and discover an exhilarating passion free from the damning secrets of the past. With the line between danger and desire enticingly blurred, they discover that some mysteries, like those of the heart, are answered tenfold in the bliss of a true and trusting love.

9. How to Entice an Enchantress by Karen Hawkins. Okay, so strickly speaking this one comes out in September, but I figured why put a limit on Summer. 🙂

Reclusive Viscount Kirk, horribly scarred by a tragic accident that stole the life of his beloved first wife, is a man defined by fury. For years he’s eschewed society, growing abrupt and curmudgeonly. But now, when he’d given up on life, he’s fallen madly in love with the refreshingly naive daughter of his neighbor, dainty and charming Dahlia Balfour. Desperate to win her attention, Kirk calls in a favor from the Duchess of Roxburghe and asks that she transform him into a fashionable suitor for Dahlia’s hand. But what’s easy to change on the outside, isn’t as easy to change on the inside…

Dahlia’s always dreamed of a fairytale romance. Although Viscount Kirk is only seven years her senior, because of his cantankerous ways and lack of social graces she thinks of him as her “older neighbor,” and is blissfully unaware that he sees her as anything other than an acquaintance. She is shocked to see him at the duchess’s grand house party, trying to fit with the very societal rules he so frequently mocks. Surprised by his attention, irritated at his bald honesty, and intrigued that he finds her worth the effort, Dahlia regards Kirk as the opposite of Prince Charming. Without the pretty words and grand gestures she yearns for, can true love find its way into her unwilling heart?

10. My Notorious Gentleman by Gaelen Foley. For those of  us who love the occasional darker toned read, there is Ms. Foley. (And this cover is stunning!)

Shy, warm-hearted Miss Grace Kenwood knows she has no chance of tempting her new neighbour, Lord Trevor Montgomery. Every eligible beauty is swooning over the brooding former spy. Even though he once kissed her senseless, he can have no interest in someone like her. Yet somehow, the seductive rogue unleashes her own inner devil . . .

Every lady loves a hero but Trevor has no interest in any of them – except for the refreshingly candid Grace. If he had a heart left, Grace might steal it. She insists he’s better than he thinks. He’s sure she’s absolutely wrong. Until danger threatens, and Trevor rediscovers how easy it is to be a hero . . . for the right lady.

11. Warrior’s Moon by Lucy Monroe. She is one of my newest, most favourite authors and I highly recommend the Children of the Moon series to fans of paranormal-historicals.

After being rejected by Caelis, Shona was forced to marry an English baron. Now she’s on the run from the deceased baron’s heir. Determined to protect her children, she heads north to Balmoral Island, to the only family she has left. And runs into the one man she never wants to see againand the only one who might be able to save her.

As powerful and charismatic as ever, Caelis has been charged with saving his pack from the corrupt laird ruling them. This time, however, he refuses to abandon his sacred mate. He lost Shona once and swears he will never be separated from her again. Passion and love urge Shona to join him. But she has to wonder if she truly comes before the pack, or if nothing has changed at all.

And that concludes my list of Summer reading recommendations. I’ll be posting a Fall/Winter reading list soon, with releases from Nalini Singh, Lynsay Sands, Jeaniene Frost, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jennifer Ashley, Julia Quinn and more!

What are some of your highly anticipated books for Summer 2013?

-Rika Ashton

(aka, “Kids are the future! Read books!”)


Johanna Lindsey: My First Historical Romance Author

The first historical romance book I ever was The Heir by Johanna Lindsey, almost 6 years ago. After that I quickly devoured all Johanna Lindsey romances. Not all her novels are historical romances, but most are. The exceptions: Warrior’s Woman, Keeper of the Heart and Heart of a Warrior, in the “Deep Space” trilogy and Until Forever, a time-travel romance (set in both contemporary and medieval England), are wonderful in and of themselves, but it is her historicals that stand out to me. Not just because they are so numberable compared to her other works, but because of the way they’ve changed over-time.

book cover of   The Heir    (Reid Family, book 1)  by  Johanna LindseyAfter I read The Heir, I immediately made a grab for the sequel The Devil Who Tamed Her. The Heir was a Cinderella-esque romance. It had great characters, awesome plotline, huge misunderstandings, a hero I loved and hated and a villainess I loved to hate. The heroine, Sabrina, wasn’t beautiful with the exception of her eyes – violet eyes. Yeah, I know what your thinking, violet eyes, HUGE eye-roll moment there. Some people would have put the book down then and there. I was too young to care about this then and continued reading the story for the romance factor alone.

Boy, am I glad that I did! 🙂

If I hadn’t read this novel, despite the use of violet eyes, I would have missed out on one of the best historical romance novels I have read to date. As a whole, it seems like a deceptively light read but there’s so much more to it than basic plot.

First of all, Sabrina’s eyes play a much larger role than just a unique characteristic to make her stand out – because frankly speaking, after the initial reaction to her eyes, Sabrina returns to the role of wallflower very quickly considering who she hangs out with. The way Lindsey describes her eyes, in a way that makes them both unique and unremarkable is interesting. Sabrina considers them her one redeeming feaure, and is quite realistic in thinking so because the rest of her is quite plain.

Ophelia began to look appeased until Mavis said in supposed innocence, “It looks to me like she’s garnered a few admirers, but then I’m not surprised. She does have remarkably beautiful eyes.”

“Those peculiar eyes of hers are hardly a saving grace, Mavis, when she’s utterly drab otherwise,” Ophelia replied tersely. But she immediately regretted her harsh tone, which might make her sound jealous, which she wasn’t, of course.

Her eyes are important, not because they make the hero notice her but because they make the villainess, Ophelia, notice her. Sabrina eyes are the one characteristic she has that match can level her beauty to Ophelia’s, and the only trait that she possesses that can inspire Ophelia’s jealousy. For most people, it’s not Sabrina’s eyes that are important or make them like her, but instead her personality and sense of humour. She can make them laugh, and this is what draws them to her, just as it draws the hero to her.

The hero, Duncan, is great and very interesting considering his initial reaction to both the Ophelia and Sabrina. You see, my dear readers, Ophelia is Duncan’s betrothed and extremely, classically beautiful. She’s vain and spoiled, but since Duncan knows none of this in the start, he falls for her pretty face. The attraction is short-lived, however, as she opens her mouth seconds after meeting him and insults him. Both Duncan and Ophelia in no way want to be married to each other…but things get complicated in the middle of the novel.

Duncan is a vert realistic character. Yes, he does fall for Ophelia’s pretty face – for all of 5 seconds – but it’s Sabrina’s personality that he falls in LOVE with. I found this the most romantic aspect of the novel. Added to the fact that both Duncan and Sabrina are friends before they realise their mutual love for each other also emphasises the “real” factor. No, no love at first sight here folks.

Cover of The Devil Who Tamed Her EXP by Johanna LindseyOphelia, is another very complicated character in this novel. Here we see her as a villainess, but in The Devil Who Tamed Her, the sequel, she is the heroine. From villain to heroine makes for an interesting dynamic. And though I was not entirely convinced of her good nature, even by the end of her novel, I was convinced she was changing. Ms Lindsey had to work hard to make Ophelia look even remotely good and keep her in character, but somehow she did. Ophelia may not be the greatest heroine ever contrived, but she is the most realistic. Because, to speak bluntly, how many of us are all good? Have never felt jealousy, rational or otherwise? Never manipulated anyone? I know I have, and I can relate to that part of Ophelia in The Devil Who Tamed Her.

That is not to say that all of Ms Lindsey’s novels are masterpieces. In fact, some of her older works can effectively be described as “bodice-rippers” and one of the worst being A Pirate’s Love. Those of you who have read it will know what I’m talking about, and those of who have not read it I have one thing to say: WARNING! EXTREMELY SEXIST HERO AND MOMENTS. This is a much older novel and extremely dated, so I would recommend reading it, if at all, with extreme caution.

On the other hand, I would recommend reading her newer novels, especially the “Mallory” series. This is a wonderful series, funny and charming, with great characters and much stronger heroines than her older novels. The most objectionable thing, at least to some, in this series would have to be the age difference between some of the heroes and heroines. (I didn’t find it too daunting, because the characters were so great that I was rooting for them despite this fact and at times, the age difference was forgettable.)

Another thing I like about Ms Lindsey’s novels is the writing style. Her books range from light-hearted to dark reads. Nice dynamic, because even though I prefer light reads, she makes the darkness in novels work in a way that keeps me turning the page instead of having to put down the book.

For first time Johanna Lindsey, I would recommend starting with The Heir if you’re looking for a light read, or Glorious Angel for a darker read. Warning about Glorious Angel, it was published in 1982, so some parts may seem dated but it’s not untowardly sexist like A Pirate’s Love.

I will leave you with that and the question, “Who was your first historical romance author?”

Rika Ashton (aka The Reminiscent)