Romance Authors Expand Their Story Worlds

Hi readers! It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to write, lots of great things brewing over here. However, I received two amazing email updates from some of my favorite authors and just had to share!

Lady Bridget's DiaryThe first comes from Maya Rodale, who is launching a new series with the first book, Lady Bridget’s Diary, coming out in February. I can’t wait! I’ve written about how Rodale has incorporated transmedia elements into her writing and previous series and it looks like she’ll continue to do that with this new series. So for those of you who love to live in the world of your favorite characters, you are in for a real treat!

As part of her recent newsletter she shared the latest edition of the London Weekly, her fictional regency newspaper, which includes the juiciest tidbits teasing her new book and series. It’s a fun, quick read that will leave you rubbing your hands together in greedy anticipation of being formally introduced to Lady Bridget early next year. Remember to pre-order from Amazon to get the book delivered immediately on release day!

The Rogue Not TakenAnother author who is coming back to the romance scene with a new series is fan-favorite Sarah MacLean. Her Scandal and Scoundrel series kicks off this December with the first book, A Rogue Not Taken. This road trip romance re-introduces us to two characters who made brief appearances in her Love By The Number Series, Sophie Talbot and Kingscote, “King,” the Marquess of Eversley. If you can’t wait until December for the book release, MacLean is giving her readers a little something to whet their appetites – a romance roadmap illustration, which shows all the major stops along the way for Sophie and King. WARNING: This map does contain what I consider to be some spoilers or plot points, so if you like the surprise of not fully knowing where the characters go and encounter, you may want to wait until after you read the book. I allowed myself to read the first few bullets, but then decided to stop because I love living in-the-moment with MacLean’s characters and plot.

December Releases

Some of my favorite authors are putting out December releases that you may want to pre-order including Stephanie Laurens who is releasing a new historical adventure series with The Lady’s Command. Tessa Dare also has a new novella out, perfect for a Christmas read, Lord Dashwood Missed Out, from her Spindle Cover series.

New Favorites

The Madness of Lord Ian MackenzieEarlier this fall I decided I wanted to go on a Scottish Highlander binge. To be honest, it was inspired by Tessa Dare’s When a Scot Ties the KnotCaptain Logan MacKenzie may be one of my favorite heroes. Ever. So I highly recommend.

Back to my desire for more Highlanders in my life – I ended up doing some researching on Goodreads and rolled the dice on a new author (to me) Jennifer Ashley. She has an eight book series featuring one the most fabulous Scottish families I have ever read about, The Mackenzies. The first book, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, first had me a bit nervous if I was going to like the hero. Not because he is unlikeable, but because he is a very different kind of hero. That’s all I will say besides the fact that you WILL fall in love with Ian Mackenzie. The series is still going strong too, so I highly recommend you start reading now!

Happy Reading!

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Review: The Tempting of Thomas Carrick by Stephanie Laurens

The Tempting of Thomas Carrick - Stephanie Laurens - Review

It’s been a while since I’ve been back in the world of the Cynster Clan. I’ve missed them. A big fan of the original series (and you can read all about THAT here), I was so thrilled to hear that Stephanie Laurens was fulfilling every fan’s wish by writing the next generation of Cynster stories. I love even more than she started with Lucilla, Richard and Catriona’s daughter.

To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I was so enamored by the original family that I wasn’t sure how I’d feel moving onto the love stories of grown their children. However, when I read By Winter’s Light, Stephanie’s holiday novella, I knew that I was going to really enjoy reading Thomas and Lucilla fall in love.

Below is the book description (albeit a shortened version) and my review follows!

Book Description via Amazon:

Thomas Carrick is a gentleman driven to control all aspects of his life. As the wealthy owner of Carrick Enterprises, located in bustling Glasgow, he is one of that city’s most eligible bachelors and fully intends to select an appropriate wife from the many young ladies paraded before him. He wants to take that necessary next step along his self-determined path, yet no young lady captures his eye, much less his attention…not in the way Lucilla Cynster had, and still did, even though she lives miles away.

For over two years, Thomas has avoided his clan’s estate because it borders Lucilla’s home, but disturbing reports from his clansmen force him to return to the countryside. Duty to the clan leaves Thomas no choice but to seek help from the last woman he wants to face.

Strong-willed and passionate, Lucilla has been waiting—increasingly impatiently—for Thomas to return and claim his rightful place by her side. She knows he is hers—her fated lover, husband, protector, and mate. 

Lucilla sees that Thomas has yet to accept the inevitability of their union and, despite all, he can refuse her and walk away. But how can he ignore a bond such as theirs—one so much stronger than reason? 

Review

I remember being a young tween and wishing I could look into a crystal ball and see what life had in store for me. As someone who likes to plan and organize I would have felt reassured to know that good things awaited me in the future. Alas, while I did not have that luxury, our heroine, Lucilla Cynster, does. Since she met Thomas, and perhaps for a time before that, she has always know he is hers. Never wavering in her confidence, Lucilla takes advantage of the close proximity and unfortunate situations that bring Thomas back to his homelands and his clan in Scotland. Although resistant to Lucilla and his growing feelings, Thomas quickly recognizes the immediate chemistry and continues to tempt them both while bonding over trying to solve the unexplained and slightly bizarre happenings plaguing the Carrick clan. Of course, working together gives the couple ample opportunities to resist (and then to relent) to temptation, both physically and emotionally.

What I found so intriguing about this particular story is the confidence Lucilla has that Thomas is her one and only and that she is responsible for helping lead him (and them) down their destined path. This, of course, backfires, because who their right mind (man or woman) wants their life to be picked out for them without a say in the matter? But what was truly interesting was the difference between Lucilla and Thomas’ feelings. For example, with her unshakeable confidence and inner knowledge telling her Thomas is “it”, Lucilla’s path to love seems a bit easier from the outside. She’s open to falling in love and fully expects a partnership like the one her parents share. She is more concerned with how to help Thomas come to that realization than about examining whether or not he really feels the same way (or could feel the same way). It of course leads for a great plot as Lucilla has travelled so far down the road of love only to look back and see Thomas several paces behind. Thomas, on the other hand, has a long way to go before admitting he’s in love or even in like. Traumatized by his parents death at a young age, Thomas doesn’t expect, nor want, to fall in love with his wife. It’s an absurd idea. His fears are the main block between recognizing and accepting that the chemistry he shares with Lucilla is only an indication of so much more. With so many heroines and heroes across the romance genre doubting themselves and their feelings, it was a refreshing change to see a heroine who absolutely knew what she wanted, what was destined, and what would make her happy…

…Of course the fall for Lucilla when things don’t work out the way she intended (at least at first) is that much harder…and make the love shared between them that much sweeter.

I also have to say – that this book included some of the longest steamy scenes I’ve read in a while. So if you enjoy the steamy, this is definitely a book for you!

Personally, Marcus, Lucilla’s twin brother, stole the show for me. He is such an interesting and contemplative character and I can’t imagine spending all this time investing in a space and in a community and knowing that it’s not your final place – and he handles it with such grace – as far as we know! I’m also dying to know who is really behind all the attacks within the Carrick clan. Stephanie is letting that mystery linger until the next book, which is out in April.

Also – if you haven’t take the time to appreciate the cover art work – please do! I really loved the cover and inside artwork for this book.

Overall, Stephanie does a great job reintroducing us to the Cynster clan, while still letting us know that the next generation is going to be vastly different than the last. She breathes life into these characters and their stories. Considering we’ve moved from the Regency to the Victorian era, I’m really interested to see how these stories evolve for the London cousins and the rules by which they live and love.

Why the Romance Series is SO Addicting

I came across this great Romance University article a while back and have been meaning to share it! As many of you know, I am a big fan of the romance series. Be it historical, contemporary, suspense – if it’s a series I’ll dig in. In fact, I don’t think I read any authors who don’t write series with the exception of Nora Roberts who writes one-off contemporaries still. However, almost all of my favorite authors continue their story and characters through out several books. I.love.it.

This RU article looks at why series are so addicting and why both authors and readers crave them. Some of the reasons include attachment, familiarity, and investment. All of which I agree with. I’ve written time and again that it’s hard to let go of characters, places, and stories once that final page has been turned. As readers, we feel like family. We can imagine ourselves at the family reunions and gathering, falling in love with the heroes/heroines, and finding our very own happily ever after.

Looking for some fantastic series that continue to live on? Here you go!

Stephanie Laurens

I fell in love with the Cynster clan a very long time ago. While several of Stephanie’s books have linked back or featured guest appearances by Cynster family members and their off spring, she just released The Tempting of Thomas Carrick, the first in the Cynster: Next Generation series. I owe you all a review, but the story brings back some of our favorites while introducing the youngest members of the family and their quest for love.

Stephanie Laurens - Th Cynsters

 

Julia Quinn

I was introduced to Julia Quinn through her Bridgerton series while I was still in college. They’re funny, heart-warming, and downright entertaining. They include all the best that Julia offers and they are still one of my favorite families. And good news! Julia recently teased in an interview that her next book will bring the Bridgertons back into the spotlight. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with and who we will be falling in love with.

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Bella Andre

When I came across The Sullivan Series by Bella Andre my heart stopped in pure glee. Not only are there so many books in this series (we started with an original family of eight siblings and have now branched into Sullivan cousins in Seattle) but books are still coming as we speak. Bella’s next release is in April and there are still so many siblings and cousins to write about…I’ve even heard rumors of Sullivan’s in Maine and New York. While this series technically spans several families, readers still get to visit with some of our original favorites and there is nothing quite like a Sullivan Family reunion!

Bella Andre - Sullivans

What are some of your favorite romance series or families?