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Romance Roundup: May 2015!

By (May 16, 2015) No Comment

romance roundup

Our books today take the standard elements of romance novels – the he, the she, the chemistry, the complications, etc. – and add in just about the last ingredient you’d think any romance novel would need: the supernatural. I realize that supernatural romance is still (and possibly forever?) all the rage, but it’s always seemed to me that simple ordinary everyday romance itself is plenty complicated and confusing enough, without werewolves and pixies popping out of the woodwork to spoil those tentative first-date plans.

pather prowlingStill, the gambit is unaccountably popular, as the first of our new romances today amply demonstrates. Panther Prowling by Yasmine Galenorn (Jove) is seventeenth installment in this author’s “Otherworld” series, in which our everyday world of bed & breakfast & Botox & blowj- er, bonding is laid over a mystical realm called Y’Eirialiastar, or Otherworld, a place inhabited by dozens of varieties of supernatural beings. It’s the home of our heroine in this latest outing, a were-cat named Delilah D’Artigo, who’s also the head of a private investigation firm and heavily involved in her sister Menolly’s renovation and rebranding of her new supernatural hangout, the Wayfarer Bar & Grill, which has been redone with plenty of touches of home:

Despite all the Earthside trappings, everywhere I looked, I could see touches from Otherworld, giving the Wayfarer an exotic feel. Star crystals from the mines of the Nebulveori Mountains. Woven lattice tapestries from the shores of Terial, the Eastern Port on the Mirami Ocean. And sand-cast urns holding dried flowers, potted from the dunes of the Sandwhistle Desert. The Wayfarer Bar & Grill had become a beautiful hybrid between the two worlds.

Menolly is also a vampire who’s married to a were-puma, and this is exactly what I’m talking about: any single one of these things could keep a novel busy, but in Panther Prowling, we get twenty on every page. Maybe my disorientation was increased a bit by the fact that I haven’t read an Otherworld novel in years (not since Shadow Rising back in 2012, I think), but this time around even Galenorn’s snappy dialogue couldn’t keep me from longing for a few more FBH (that’s full-blooded humans to you).

That’s much less of a problem with our next book, Rising Fire by Terri Brisbin rising fire cover(Signet Eclipse) for two reasons: first, despite the occasional mystic eccentricity, the book is almost exclusively populated with full-blooded humans living in the real world – in this case, 13th century Scotland, and second, it’s the first book in a new series, so there’s none of the frantic sidelong catching-up that poor Jasmine Galenorn needs to do on every page. Instead, we can get straight into the book’s plot, in which a young woman named Brienne of Yester is living with a an unnatural empathy for fire:

The flames flared higher before her and she could not resist the urge to look deeper into them. Brienne tried to fight their call, tried to fight the strength of it, but lost the battle. She inhaled slowly, trying now to control the fear that simmered in her belly while she moved closer to the fire’s heat. As it called to her, icy tendrils slid along her skin in spite of the heat of the smithy. Shivering and sweating at the same time, she lifted trembling hands from her side and held them out.

It naturally gets her talked about, especially when it blossoms into full-blown pyrokinesis. This prompts the nearest king to assign his best chain-mailed super-hottie, William de Brus, to go and investigate – which, in Brisbin’s confident handling, not only opens the way to romance but also sends the plot into some grippingly dramatic – and yes, supernatural – twists and turns. It’s good cheesy stuff, coming to you without baggage.

binding ties coverThe same can’t be said for our final book today, the promisingly-titled Binding Ties by Shannon K. Butcher (Signet), the ninth of this author’s “Sentinel Wars” novels (following last year’s Willing Sacrifice). The book continues her long-running saga of the war between the heroic Theronai and the, um, sinister Synestryn, with Slayers and demons thrown in for good measure and ordinary FBH practically an afterthought.

This latest chapter features (in addition to a sword on the cover – they’ve all got swords on the covers!)(and gerunds! They’ve all got gerunds in their titles!) the prickly, almost-doomed romance between a Slayer named Lyka Phelan and the Theronai leader Joseph, who’s drawn to her despite having quite a bit else on his supernatural plate:

The grinding pain behind his eyes – his constant companion – grew worse with each problem heaped on the pile. He wasn’t even halfway through his twenty-year term as leader of his people, and th strain was already tearing at him. He bowed under the weight of all the lives that depended on him to be smarter, stronger and deadlier than their enemy. Of all the hundreds of things he needed to accomplish, dealing with a petty human squabble over a children’s class should have been so far down on his list of priorities that he couldn’t even see it … and yet, here he was, drawn into it – not by a sense of duty to the human parents, but instead by the idea of seeing the female Slayer who took up far too much space in his thoughts.

Like Galenorn, Butcher is an old hand at juggling all the details of her extended universe, although she’d need to be an octopus to juggle so much baggage with 100 percent efficiency: despite her best efforts, Binding Ties is really for SFO (Sentinel Fans Only, duh)

Home » stevereads

Romance Roundup: May 2015!

By (May 16, 2015) No Comment

romance roundup

Our books today take the standard elements of romance novels – the he, the she, the chemistry, the complications, etc. – and add in just about the last ingredient you’d think any romance novel would need: the supernatural. I realize that supernatural romance is still (and possibly forever?) all the rage, but it’s always seemed to me that simple ordinary everyday romance itself is plenty complicated and confusing enough, without werewolves and pixies popping out of the woodwork to spoil those tentative first-date plans.

pather prowlingStill, the gambit is unaccountably popular, as the first of our new romances today amply demonstrates. Panther Prowling by Yasmine Galenorn (Jove) is seventeenth installment in this author’s “Otherworld” series, in which our everyday world of bed & breakfast & Botox & blowj- er, bonding is laid over a mystical realm called Y’Eirialiastar, or Otherworld, a place inhabited by dozens of varieties of supernatural beings. It’s the home of our heroine in this latest outing, a were-cat named Delilah D’Artigo, who’s also the head of a private investigation firm and heavily involved in her sister Menolly’s renovation and rebranding of her new supernatural hangout, the Wayfarer Bar & Grill, which has been redone with plenty of touches of home:

Despite all the Earthside trappings, everywhere I looked, I could see touches from Otherworld, giving the Wayfarer an exotic feel. Star crystals from the mines of the Nebulveori Mountains. Woven lattice tapestries from the shores of Terial, the Eastern Port on the Mirami Ocean. And sand-cast urns holding dried flowers, potted from the dunes of the Sandwhistle Desert. The Wayfarer Bar & Grill had become a beautiful hybrid between the two worlds.

Menolly is also a vampire who’s married to a were-puma, and this is exactly what I’m talking about: any single one of these things could keep a novel busy, but in Panther Prowling, we get twenty on every page. Maybe my disorientation was increased a bit by the fact that I haven’t read an Otherworld novel in years (not since Shadow Rising back in 2012, I think), but this time around even Galenorn’s snappy dialogue couldn’t keep me from longing for a few more FBH (that’s full-blooded humans to you).

That’s much less of a problem with our next book, Rising Fire by Terri Brisbin rising fire cover(Signet Eclipse) for two reasons: first, despite the occasional mystic eccentricity, the book is almost exclusively populated with full-blooded humans living in the real world – in this case, 13th century Scotland, and second, it’s the first book in a new series, so there’s none of the frantic sidelong catching-up that poor Jasmine Galenorn needs to do on every page. Instead, we can get straight into the book’s plot, in which a young woman named Brienne of Yester is living with a an unnatural empathy for fire:

The flames flared higher before her and she could not resist the urge to look deeper into them. Brienne tried to fight their call, tried to fight the strength of it, but lost the battle. She inhaled slowly, trying now to control the fear that simmered in her belly while she moved closer to the fire’s heat. As it called to her, icy tendrils slid along her skin in spite of the heat of the smithy. Shivering and sweating at the same time, she lifted trembling hands from her side and held them out.

It naturally gets her talked about, especially when it blossoms into full-blown pyrokinesis. This prompts the nearest king to assign his best chain-mailed super-hottie, William de Brus, to go and investigate – which, in Brisbin’s confident handling, not only opens the way to romance but also sends the plot into some grippingly dramatic – and yes, supernatural – twists and turns. It’s good cheesy stuff, coming to you without baggage.

binding ties coverThe same can’t be said for our final book today, the promisingly-titled Binding Ties by Shannon K. Butcher (Signet), the ninth of this author’s “Sentinel Wars” novels (following last year’s Willing Sacrifice). The book continues her long-running saga of the war between the heroic Theronai and the, um, sinister Synestryn, with Slayers and demons thrown in for good measure and ordinary FBH practically an afterthought.

This latest chapter features (in addition to a sword on the cover – they’ve all got swords on the covers!)(and gerunds! They’ve all got gerunds in their titles!) the prickly, almost-doomed romance between a Slayer named Lyka Phelan and the Theronai leader Joseph, who’s drawn to her despite having quite a bit else on his supernatural plate:

The grinding pain behind his eyes – his constant companion – grew worse with each problem heaped on the pile. He wasn’t even halfway through his twenty-year term as leader of his people, and th strain was already tearing at him. He bowed under the weight of all the lives that depended on him to be smarter, stronger and deadlier than their enemy. Of all the hundreds of things he needed to accomplish, dealing with a petty human squabble over a children’s class should have been so far down on his list of priorities that he couldn’t even see it … and yet, here he was, drawn into it – not by a sense of duty to the human parents, but instead by the idea of seeing the female Slayer who took up far too much space in his thoughts.

Like Galenorn, Butcher is an old hand at juggling all the details of her extended universe, although she’d need to be an octopus to juggle so much baggage with 100 percent efficiency: despite her best efforts, Binding Ties is really for SFO (Sentinel Fans Only, duh)