Friday, July 1, 2016

Nika by D.H. Gibbs

Title:  Nika
Series:   Seychatka #1 
Author:  D.H. Gibbs
Publication Date:  March 1/16
Length:  75pgs
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Shelf:  review
My Rating: ★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N

Back Cover Blurb:

Taken off the streets Nika is thrown into an unknown world where she’s held captive. As an orphan, she has been on the run and must find her way out before they discover her secret. But these people held the knowledge of her family and who she is. Will she be able to find out before her secret is revealed?

After hundreds of years, Demyan has finally found the rightful ruler of his race. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know who she is and is doing everything in her power to escape him. Time is running out and Demyan has to convince Nika to take her rightful place otherwise the battle will be lost and his race extinguished.

My Review:

What a unique and catching start to a new series. Gibbs has penned a novella that held my attention throughout. The plot was quite well laid out, allowing me to enjoy every moment of it. There were loads of descriptions that allowed me to picture each aspect of the locale. The passage of time is well marked without leaving the reader feeling jilted. There was also an intriguing history of the world and of the magick within. It really drew me in.

The characters that Gibbs has created really tugged at my heart. I enjoyed getting to know each of them. They were fun and easy to relate to. I also loved the different relationships that we experience throughout and how they build to hint at something more in the future.

I’m definitely anxious to see what happens next in the series. Davis has set the stage for a very intriguing series to come.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Chaos Bound by Sarah Castille

Title:  Chaos Bound
Series:  Sinner's Tribe MC #4
Author:  Sarah Castille
Publication Date:   June 30/16 by St Martin's Paperback
Length:  385pgs
Genre:  romantic suspense
Shelf:  Netgalley
My Rating: ★★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google Play

Back Cover Blurb:

Love is a wild ride.

After enduring months of torture at the hands of the Black Jacks MC, and betrayed by his own club, Holt “T-Rex” Savage, a junior member of the Sinner’s Tribe Motorcycle Club, will stop at nothing to get revenge. But falling for a beautiful woman with dangerous ties to his sworn enemy was never part of the plan…

Raised by the Black Jacks, Naiya Kelly grew up fast, furiously, and with little to lose. But now that she’s put her MC days behind her, she is free to do what she wants—until she meets a man who imprisons her, body and soul. She swore she’d never give her heart to a biker, but Holt is the most passionate, protective man she’s ever known. But will Holt be forced to betray his one true love to exact his revenge?

My Review:

What a story! Castille has definitely knocked it out of the park with this one. Tensions and emotions run high as lives are held in the balance. Castille has created descriptions that pack a punch, creating an atmosphere that the reader can’t miss and adding a sense of foreboding. The plot held my attention as I got up close and personal with the characters.

Holt’s apparent abandonment by the Sinners and the head twist from Viper really made me feel for him. It gave a lot of context for everything that he’s going through. Naiya’s past hurts and present concerns made her a stunning counterpoint to Holt, yet her heart made her a pleasure to get to know. The supporting cast was also a blast. I loved revisiting the Sinners, and the contrast between them and the Jacks was striking.

This novel was fast paced and suspenseful. Castille kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to others but I would recommend reading the rest of the series first for context.

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Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb

Title:  Royal Assassin
Series:  The Farseer Trilogy #2
Author:  Robin Hobb
Publication Date:   May 25th 2010 by Tantor Audio (first published April 1996)
Length:  675pgs / 29h17min
Genre:  fantasy
Shelf:  borrowed
My Rating: ★★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google Play - Audible

Back Cover Blurb:

Young Fitz, the illegitimate son of the noble Prince Chivalry, is ignored by all royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has had him tutored him in the dark arts of the assassin. He has barely survived his first, soul-shattering mission, and when he returns to the court, he is thrown headfirst into the tumult of royal life.

With the king near death, and Fitz's only ally off on a seemingly hopeless quest, the throne itself is threatened.

Meanwhile, the treacherous Red Ship Raiders have renewed their attacks on the Six Duchies, slaughtering the inhabitants of entire seaside towns. In this time of great peril, it soon becomes clear that the fate of the kingdom may rest in Fitz's hands - and his role in its salvation may require the ultimate sacrifice.

My Review:

Hobb has penned an unforgettable second instalment in this intricately crafted series. World building continues, expanding on the world that we first visited earlier in the series. The descriptions were exquisite, allowing me to visit each and every part of this world. The intrigue kicks up a notch, creating a sense of foreboding and a great deal of suspense.

The characters were also unforgettable. I loved the different personalities and fury types that we met and got to know better. I love how everyone had their part to play, even if it wasn’t necessarily revealed right away. I won’t comment on the individual characters as that would risk giving away too much of the plot, just know that the cast was fantastic and did the story justice.

This is the type of story that you want to devour from cover to cover but can also put down for a while and come back to it without forgetting a single detail.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Dragon's Heart by Jessie Donovan

Title:  Dragon's Heart
Series:  Lochguard Dragons #3
Author:  Jessie Donovan
Publication Date: June 23/16 by Mythical Lake Press, LLC
Length:  112pgs
Genre:  paranormal romance
Shelf:  review
My Rating: ★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google Play

Back Cover Blurb:

Lorna MacKenzie lost her mate nearly thirty years ago. Dedicating her life to her children, she brushed off the thought of ever finding love again. After all, Jamie MacKenzie had been her true mate. Who could ever replace him?

Ross Anderson came to Lochguard to be near his daughter and fight his cancer. Over the last six months, he's become close to one particular dragonwoman. However, he doesn't want to pursue her as a dying man. But now that his cancer is gone, Ross is determined to win Lorna's heart.

As the pair fight their growing attraction to one another, the only question is will Lorna open up to Ross or forever hold on to the memory of her first love?

My Review:

Donovan takes a look at a different side of dragon culture with this one. I loved how she highlighted different aspects of their lives while also telling an excitingly romantic tale. The world that she presents is breathtaking and the lives of the characters are endlessly exciting.

Ross & Lorna are quite the pair throughout this novella. The banter and true emotion between them was so much fun. I love the way that Ross helps Lorna see herself through his eyes. They way that they complement each other, yet also still stand on their own was great. Also, the family based concerns that they both have were quite reassuring, showing just how similar dragons and humans can be. Ross and Fraser’s moment was so real. It wasn’t all emotional and touchey-feeley, but rather truly showcased both of their personalities and concerns.

As a whole, this was a unique and touching look at Ross & Lorna while still being a hot dragonshifter tale.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Her Highland Rogue by Violetta Rand - Giveaway

Title:  Her Highland Rogue
Series:  Wild Highland Guardian
Author:  Violetta Rand
Publication Date:   June 28/126 by Loveswept
Length:  179pgs
Genre:  historical romance
Shelf:  review
My Rating: ★★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google Play

Back Cover Blurb:

Errol MacRae’s days of gallivanting across the Highlands are nearing an end. His father’s health has taken a turn for the worse, and rumors are swirling that the crown intends to transfer ancient lands into the hands of the MacKenzies, the clan the MacRaes are sworn to defend. Errol expects to lead his men into battle soon. So he isn’t pleased when his father instead sends him to retrieve a beautiful flame-haired lass who has fled into the mountains.

Orphaned as a young girl, Aileana vividly remembers how the MacRaes rescued her and welcomed her into their clan. For ten years, she has served them loyally—until the night she’s nearly despoiled by one of the laird’s captains. Aileana risks her life and her reputation to seek refuge in the snowcapped peaks of the Five Sisters, the one place that has always felt like home. But after the strong-armed, strong-willed Errol tracks her down in a blizzard, she finds herself tempted to risk something even more dangerous: her heart.

My Review:

This tale is historically awesome. I love how Rand develops the time period in question. It was an unforgettable expense and the perfect balance between fiction and reality. Rand has created a novella that was sweet and hot at the same time. I love the ebb and flow of the dialogue. It's natural and easy to follow without being of this time. This is the type of story that leaves you smiling and sets you daydreaming, even amidst the chaos.

I can't comment much on the characters in this tale without giving away too much of the plot. It was comical when these two finally got together. I love how history and the plot came together in a fantastic and heartwarming moment. I will say that they were captivating and the type of characters that I truly wanted to get to know. Rand’s character development definitely does them justice.

This novel is a fantastic mix between history and romance. It's a must read for anyone who enjoys the genre.

Enter now to win in this fantastic giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift card.
Contest is open to residents of Canada and the US only, where applicable by law. 
Entries close at 11:59pm July 8/16. 
Winners will be drawn July 9/16. 
Winners will be notified via email to the email provided to the giveaway and will have 72h to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Interview with author AJ Nuest

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 
Sure! I’m an award-winning author and editor who lives in the middle of a cornfield in NW Indiana. Like, literally. In the middle. I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful children who, in exchange for three meals per day and laundry service, have agreed to hang out and inhabit the halls of my lunacy. Poor souls. Meanwhile, an underground coup has been percolating. The dog just informed me the cats are vying for dictatorship.

Q ~ What’s something that you never leave home without? 
Lipstick…and my cell phone.

Q ~ If you were stuck on a deserted island, who and what would you want with you and why? 
Oh, I’d definitely want my family with me. Both my kids and my husband. The four of us…we’re so close. A tight knit team that just has the best time together. Now that my kids are a bit older, we usually spend most of our time cracking each other up. As a family, we’re hilarious. No joke. And if we work together toward a common goal, we’re unstoppable. It’s awesome to see us in action because we know one another’s strengths and weaknesses so well. We’d have that island set up with food and shelter in under a day. Seriously, no problem. I’d also want my laptop with me with and unlimited battery supply. So, you know, I wouldn’t end up writing in the sand with a stick.

Q ~ What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? 
 Change, and become like a child. It’s from the Bible, Matthew 18:3, and speaks to humbling oneself to enter the kingdom of Heaven. But, to me, there is so much more hidden in those six words. Just think about it. If everyone viewed life through the eyes of a child—with hope, wonder and faith—the world wouldn’t be in such a bad place. It’s simple. Just change.

Q~ Who is your favorite literary hero(ine) and why? 
Ooooh…tough question. I’m gonna have to pick two because I love both of these women. Dagny Taggart from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged because she never gives up. Never. Despite all the BS thrown at her that woman displays a strength I envy, and the determination to do what is right regardless of how she has to fight every single step of the way. Also, Phedre no D’Launay from Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart series. Holy crap. Phoedre is actually a renowned courtesan in this series, who starts with basically nothing to her name. An orphan. No family or money. By the time her journey is complete, she is a powerful woman who is a close advisor to the queen

Q ~ Ebooks, paperbacks, or hardcovers? 
Wellll…all of the above but, honestly, a hardcover is my favourite. Just something about the weight of the book in my lap, the smell of the binding and the soft texture of the pages under my fingertips. Best smell in the world is when I first walk into the library. LOL

Q ~ How did you begin writing? Was there a single catalyst or a series of events? 
No. Well, maybe. I always knew I would be a writer. And by always, I mean I knew at about the age of five. Writers are born with the condition. It’s not something we choose, writing is a part of who we are. Sorta like eye color or being right or left handed. But I also knew I needed to experience life a little before I began. So that I could reference things I’d been through—emotionally, physically, mentally—in order to create authentic characters and scenes in my stories. It wasn’t until my youngest started kindergarten that I sat down to write my first story.

Q ~ What’s the best interaction you’ve ever had with a fan? 
Oh, this was a cool day. I’ll never forget the time I ran into a woman at the grocery store. She stopped me in the middle of the aisle, pulled my book from her purse, flipped to a page she’d marked and read my own words back to me. I think I stood there with my mouth hanging open for a full ten seconds. She then went on to say how much that passage had moved her. How she’d connected with the heroine and the moment I’d created meant. That is a day I will never forget.

Q ~ What are your biggest influences in life? 
 Who are your biggest supporters? Life, in itself, IS my biggest influence. LOL Everything I see, hear, touch, taste and smell eventually makes it into a book. That’s the way writers are, I think. We’re always cataloguing our experiences for later reference. As for support, I have a fabulous group of writer pals that are always at the ready to offer any advice I might need. I’d be lost without those wonderful friends, but I also must mention my husband and family. They are here, with me, while all the writing is going on. They listen to me complain, share in my joys, and sometimes even talk to me as if my characters are real. That makes all the difference.

Q ~ Why did you choose to write romance as your primary genre? 
I think it’s Mark Twain who is credited as saying, “Write what you know.” I know great love so, for me, the choice was obvious. Of course, Hemmingway said, “Write drunk, edit sober” so what do I know?

Q ~ When you write, do you try to reach a specific word count or simply write until you are done? 
It totally depends on the situation. If I’m on a deadline, I have to approach my time at the computer like a job and write for word count. Like, you wouldn’t go to your job and not finish what you absolutely have to, right? You do the tasks handed to you by your boss and get them completed before leaving for the day. If I’m not on a deadline, I write until I feel like stopping or I simply run out of daylight. LOL

Q ~ Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release and what inspired you to write it? 
The Golden Key Legacy is my last release, a time travel fantasy romance which came out from HarperImpulse earlier this year. It’s available in serial novella format (sorta like a TV show) and also as a complete standalone collection set. The reason I wrote it was to continue with the world I’d created in The Golden Key Chronicles, which I had written for HI in 2015. I’ve always had a “thing” for fantasy and couldn’t wait to write one. It’s the genre I read for pleasure, so getting these books published was honestly a dream come true for me. :)

Q ~ What music did you listen to while writing? 
I don’t. I can’t, really. I get too distracted by the lyrics because I have such a horrible word addiction. Generally speaking, my best writing happens while I’m double-tasking. Like, cleaning or gardening—something mundane that doesn’t require thought. I do those things and continuously return to my laptop to get the words down as the book is streaming in the background.

Q ~ What type of characters did you find yourself especially drawn to and why? 
Tortured. LOL Characters that know themselves but also learn something new during their journey to happily ever after. I also love writing exceptionally strong women. Probably because I am one and those are the heroines I connect with most. I’m not the type to sit around, waiting for someone else to come and rescue me. Just get out of the way and let me do it myself. Whether my heroines are a 14th century knife-wielding sorceress or a quick-change con artists looking to exact a little revenge, they’ve all got one thing in common. Power to the SHE!

Q ~ If you were stranded on a desert island with one of your characters (from any novel you’ve written) who would you choose and why? 
Oh, Lord. Seriously? I can’t pick just one. Okay, contrary to having some buff, dark-haired tower of simmering testosterone-fuelled strength with me (although that sounds pretty darn good), I’d probably pick Iman Diller, the dear friend of my heroine in a yet unpublished book entitled Flicker. He’s a cross between Mary Poppins and Mr. Magorium. We’d fish while discussing the meaning of life. I’d never run out of questions with Iman.

Q ~ Do you have a favourite character (or two) in your latest series?  What is it that draws you to them? 
I love, love, love Caedmon and Rowena in The Golden Key Chronicles. I think they are probably my favourite, followed closely by Detective Kelly Riordan and Eden Smith in Dirty Deeds, the first book in a series I have coming out from Lyrical Press in January, 2017. In both cases, the way they fight is awesome. I love creating tension between my hero and heroine and these couples…there is just something about them that is epic. I love the way they drive each other nuts. 

Q ~ Do you have anything in the works at the moment? Care to give us a hint about it? 
Yes and YES! Right now, I’m writing my second romantic suspense to fulfill a three-book deal I recently signed with Lyrical Press. And holy CRAP! I love this series! I can’t even begin to tell you how much I have fallen in love with these characters. All of them. They are sharp and strong and tortured and totally and completely sexy. LOL I just cannot wait for the first book to hit. In fact, Dirty Deeds, A Likely Story, is up for pre-order already (, but there’s no cover yet. Still waiting. Generally takes forever. I can share the blurb, though! SQUEEE!

An Eye for an Eye
As owner of Dirty Deeds, a tech-savvy company specializing in the age old art of revenge, Eden Smith knows first-hand that secrecy is critical. But when a dead body washes up on the shores of Lake Michigan clutching her business card, Eden’s well-constructed world begins to fall apart. Apparently, she’s not the only one with a passion for payback, and staying alive to outsmart a killer has become her most important job of all.

A Game for a Game
Hardened homicide detective Kelly Riordan is convinced Eden Smith is hiding more than she’s willing to admit. Years on the force have taught him that nothing is what it seems, and that couldn’t be more true than when it comes to investigating the alluring owner of a revenge-for-hire business. But revealing her past could put everything Eden has worked for in jeopardy. And trusting a man like Riordan goes against the very instincts that have kept her alive this long.

Q ~ Do you have any conferences/book signings/events coming up? 
None right now, but that could easily change at any moment.

Q ~ If you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would it be? 
READ. Read everything you can get your hands on. Read stories from authors you would like to emulate. Read books on the craft of writing. Read articles on industry trends and what readers are looking for. Read, read, read…and never, EVER give up. Keep writing every day even if it’s only one sentence. Write, read and never give up on your dreams. Do those three things and you’ll get there. I promise.

About AJ Nuest:
Multi-published award-winning author and editor, AJ Nuest, resides in Northwest Indiana with her loving husband, two beautiful children and a bevy of spoiled pets. Her four-part serial fantasy romance, The Golden Key Chronicles, was recently named the RONE Time Travel Romance of 2015 by Ind’Tale Magazine, and her contemporary romantic comedy, She’s Got Dibs won First Place in the Heartland Romance Author’s Show Me the Spark! Contest, 2013.

She and the cat are currently vying for dictatorship. The cat is winning.
Best links to find AJ:Join AJ’s Reader Club and get in on FREE books, contests and more - Join AJ’s Street Team 
Follow AJ’s FB Author Page - Follow AJ on Twitter 
Website is currently being updated but can be found here:

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Riverbend Road by RaeAnne Thayne

Title:  Riverbend Road
Series:  Haven Point #4
Author:  RaeAnne Thayne
Publication Date:   June 21/16 by HQN Books
Length:  384pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  review
My Rating: ★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google Play - Audible

Back Cover Blurb:

Return to Haven Point, where New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne proves there's no sweeter place to fall in love.

Protecting the streets of Haven Point isn't just a job for police officer Wyn Bailey, it's a family tradition. But lately she's found herself wanting more, especially from her boss—and overprotective brother's best friend—sexy chief of police, Cade Emmett. The only problem is getting Cade to view her as more than just a little sister.

Cade's hands-off approach with Wyn isn't from lack of attraction. But his complicated past has forced him to conceal his desire. When Wyn is harmed in the line of duty, Cade realizes the depth of his feelings, but can he let his guard down long enough to embrace the love he secretly craves?

About the author:

New York Times and i bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne loves words. Her love affair started as soon as she learned to read, when she used to devour anything she could get her hands on: cereal boxes, encyclopedias, the phone book, you name it! She loves the way words sound, the way they look on the page and the amazing way they can be jumbled together in so many combinations to tell a story.

Her love of reading and writing those words led her to a fifteen-year career in journalism as a newspaper reporter and editor. Through it all, she dreamed of writing the kind of stories she loved best. She sold her first book in 1995 and since then she’s published more than 40 titles. Her books have won many honors, including three RITA® Award nominations from the Romance Writers of America and a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews

RaeAnne finds inspiration in the rugged northern Utah mountains where she lives with her hero of a husband and their children. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at

My Review:

Thayne Had me laughing from the 1st page and near tears before the end of the first chapter. Her world and scene development made the story extremely enjoyable for me and I loved how each aspect came together fully. The plot was seamlessly crafted, which allowed me to experience the tale while becoming wrapped up in the lives of the characters. I loved the slight suspense that ran through the story as well. It didn't overshadow the current events but definitely did create an extra level within the story.

This was definitely a very character driven novel. The main characters both captured my heart in different ways. I loved her sass and belief in herself. His battle with what he believes are dishonourable thoughts and the secrets he keeps added an air of vulnerability to an otherwise strong and indestructible individual. And the supporting cast was a great deal of fun as well. I loved how much they all added to the tale and how much I liked them all.

Thayne has created a fun and heartfelt novel here. This one can easily be read on its own or as part of a memorable series.

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Guest Post with author RC Matthews

Rules by RC Matthews

Samantha couldn’t afford to lose her job. All she needed to do was follow the fifteen non-negotiable rules the owner of Midnight Blue laid out for his employees. Simple, right? That’s what she thought, too. Until he caught her eye from across the crowded bar. Rule #1: Don’t sleep with the patrons. Rules, schmules. Who needs rules?

Coming up with the fifteen non-negotiable rules for Midnight Blue employees was a lot of fun. My hero, Damon Baxter, is a bit of a control freak. What billionaire isn’t? So for the first time ever, I added an ‘Appendix’ with the fifteen rules and then sprinkled a handful of them into the storyline for a lot of giggles. Sexy panties are a recurring theme, too. But you’ll have to read the book to find out more about that one!

Too bad that my heroine, Samantha Rayne, has an aversion to rules…and the billionaires who dictate them. She grew up with a billionaire father, brushed elbows with his rich colleagues, and dumped her controlling billionaire fiancé after he broke her heart in pursuit of a business deal. So while Damon might not care if Samantha breaks his rules, she isn’t sure that she’s ready to break her own. Rule #1: Don’t fall in love with wealthy, controlling men. And nothing says controlling like a list of fifteen non-negotiable rules.

Breaking His Rules is a billionaire romance with 146 pages of pure escapism. Some might call it unrealistic. Me? I say it’s a hella good time!

Title:  Breaking His Rules
Author:  R.C. Matthews
Publication Date:   May 19/16 by Tule Publishing
Length:  146pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
My Rating: ★★★★★
Book Links: my reviewGoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Google Play

Back Cover Blurb:

When I landed the best bartending job in downtown Chicago, the rules were as clear as the Grey Goose martini I mixed for him. Don’t sleep with the patrons. I had no problem with that. Money didn’t impress me. But Damon Baxter’s eyes did. Midnight blue, just like the name of his nightclub. The way they undressed me made me consider risking the most sought after job in the service industry. Nailing the position had been hard. Obeying the rules? Even harder.

Good thing I like it hard. I was never one for following orders. For one night with him, I would have sold my soul to the devil. And that’s exactly what I did. Let me tell you, hell in the company of Damon Baxter was blissfully hot. I offered him a single night of pleasure, but when he demanded another in that deep and sexy whisper, what could I say? He was my boss, and I always aimed to please…when it pleased me.

He didn’t care that I broke his rules. But was I ready to break my own?

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Guest Post with author RJ Blain

Sex, Story, or Both: A Discussion of Intimate Relationships in Paranormal Fantasy by RJ Blain

The paranormal fantasy genre has developed an interesting problem. Paranormal fantasy, be it romance, suspense, or any other sub-genre, has become a catch-all for erotic paranormal fiction.

Werewolf fiction usually includes werewolves having sex—a lot of sex.

Vampire fiction usually includes vampires having sex—a lot of sex.

Name almost any creature beneath the paranormal umbrella, be it dragons, elves, or fae, and they’re likely written so you get a very personal and up-close view of their sex lives.

It’s gotten to the point where some readers are checking reviews for if the book contains sex… and walking away if they’re looking for a good story. This is terrible to me, because there are a good many books that have the story and the sex. Unfortunately, there are just as many that have the sex and leave the story at the front door.

A perfect example of this is in werewolf fiction.
1. Wolf smells, hears, or feels mate nearby.
2. Wolf hunts their fated mate down.
3. Wolf overcomes some form of hurtle, has hot, kinky sex with their fated mate.

Rinse and repeat, over and over.

I’ll openly admit it: I enjoy a good fated mate story as much as the next person. Some authors do this trope very well. They’re enjoyable reads. But, however much I like some stories, there’s a single uncomfortable truth I face over and over.

There are only so many ways to write a sex scene. The mechanics are basically the same. Some scenes are steamier than others, of course, but it ultimately becomes an interruption of story while the characters jump each other in bed, on the kitchen table, in the woods, or wherever they might be when they finally chase their partner down.

So often, paranormal romance has devolved into stories of primitive lust rather than relationships.

I can’t write sex to save my life—nor do I want to. I prefer reading and writing about the build-up to any intimate relationships, and as often as not, if the character just isn’t the type of person to be into romance—or a completely clueless dunce when it comes to sex—I won’t include intimacy at all.

In my debut UF, Inquisitor, I wrote about a hundred+ year old virgin. This drives some readers absolutely insane. She was brought up believing the first man she slept with would be the man she spends the rest of her life with.

Life is very long for someone like her. When it comes to sex, she’s naïve, innocent, and shy. If she had a mated fate (which doesn’t happen in my world) she wouldn’t know what to do with him even if he took his pants off and begged her to take him right there, right now.

She was brought up that way, and because she’s so old, she’s never surpassed that limitation of herself.

At least yet.

Inquisitor taught me there are readers who either absolutely must have sex in the books they read… or absolutely hate sex in the books they read.

There are those who don’t care either way, too, but they’re usually a lot less vocal about their opinion.

The second book in the series, Winter Wolf, also has a notable lack of sexual relationships—it’s not the right type of book. It’s a race against time type of story. The third book in the series, Blood Diamond, takes a totally different approach. There’s sex, but it’s all off the page.

The sex is nice, and it’s actually a large part of Blood Diamond, but to this day, I feel the inclusion of the actual act would have taken away from the book as a whole.

My stories aren’t about the sexual satisfaction of the characters. It’s about the relationships leading up to the sexual satisfaction. When I originally started writing urban fantasy, I didn’t like the idea of writing sex in my stories. Personal decision. I wasn’t comfortable with it—and being completely honest, I wasn’t comfortable with sex being such a front-and-center event in so many paranormal fantasies.

I wanted story, not sex, and too, too often, sex trumped the story—or the sex was added to an otherwise amazing story, and it didn’t live up to the build-up, which is very disappointing.

There’s definitely room for both, but it takes a truly masterful author to accomplish writing a great story with equally great sex. Far too often, one or the other suffers.

When I find that rare story with the perfect balance, it’s immensely satisfying to read.

Where do you stand? Do you prefer the story with the sex? Without the sex?

Or do you, like me, keep searching for the perfect story that manages to do both without sacrificing one for the other?

About the author:

RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.

When she isn't playing pretend, she likes to think she's a cartographer and a sumi-e painter.

In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Should that fail, her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until she is satisfied.

Find out more about RJ Blain on her website.

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