Review: Scandalously Yours by Cara Elliott

scandalously yoursReviewed by Jen

It’s nice to have a different kind of heroine from time to time in historical romance. Olivia is smart, independent, and passionate about what she believes in. She does things her own way, thanks to a father who raised his daughters to think for themselves and gave them both the knowledge and the life experiences to do just that. It’s a shame that her strengths have kept Olivia on the shelf, but they are the very things that make her a perfect match for John, the Earl of Wexham. [Read more…]

Review: Sinfully Yours by Cara Elliott

sinfully yoursReviewed by Janell

This Regency novel, the second in a series about sisters who secretly have brains and use them to form opinions and write things, is about Anna and Devlin. Anna’s family was poor, and she was groomed to catch a rich man for a husband to save them all. Her manners are impeccable, her reputation is spotless, and her suitors are wealthy. However, in the previous book, her older sister landed a man of wealth and now Anna is off the hook. [Read more…]

Review: Too Dangerous to Desire

Reviewed by Jen

Cara Elliott wraps up her Lords of Midnight trilogy with this second-chance-at-love story featuring the “Hellhound” Cameron and Sophie, the sweetheart of his youth.  When they were teenagers, Cameron had hoped to marry her, but she refused, forcing herself instead to honor her obligations to her ailing father and two young sisters. Circumstances forced Cam to leave to town immediately after she said no, and they have not seen each other for all these years.

It’s only by chance when Cam and Sophie cross paths again.  He accidentally stumbles on a meeting she is having with a blackmailer.  Seeing her leaves him powerless to walk away and he insinuates himself back into her life by helping her with her blackmail problem.  And in the course of doing so, their old attraction returns… and it grows into something much more.

In their time apart, Cam turned into a rake and a highend thief. He is very cynical about love and sees himself as no-good.  Sophie, on the other hand, considers herself staid and quite boring. But reuniting with Cam makes her want to break out of that shell.  She regrets giving him up before, and she won’t allow herself to live with the regret of missing an opportunity to be with him again.

I liked both main characters, though it got old to hear the heroine keep referring to herself as “simply Sophie” or the like, driving home her plain, dependable nature. Even worse were all the Hellhound reference for Cam… about dogs and paws and hounds.  What started as a play on words was driven into the ground and it stopped being cute ages before the puns were finished.  These issues aside, however, I did enjoy the book.  The characters were consistent and both grew over the course of the story.  The arc surrounding the blackmail and Cameron’s legitimacy was solid and engaging. And the romance worked both emotionally and sexually.  There’s a good sexual undercurrent between Sophie and Cam from the beginning and the consummation delivered on its promise.

This is book three in the series, but it works easily as a standalone.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by Forever

Click to purchase: Amazon
Too Dangerous to Desire
by Cara Elliott
Release Date: November 20, 2012
Publisher: Forever

Naughty or Nice Blog Tour

Cara Elliott and Jennifer Delamere are here today, chatting as part of their Naughty or Nice tour. Help me welcome both ladies to the blog!

Jen: I really enjoyed both of your books. I’ll admit, I usually gravitate toward the naughtier end of the spectrum, but tell me about why you chose the heat level you did for your stories.

Jennifer: I love reading all sorts of romances, whether “sweet” or spicy. However, I never could picture myself writing the more graphic love scenes. One of my favorite authors, Mary Stewart, could get a lot of mileage just from the moment the hero and heroine kiss. My favorite classics, including books by Jane Austen, evoke lovely and sigh-inducing romances with even less. My goal was to write books that were rich with the sizzle and excitement of romance while leaving the more explicit details to the reader’s imagination.

Jen: Jennifer, I didn’t realize until after I finished with your book and visited your website that you are an inspirational author. Talk to me about the place spirituality has in your books and what made you choose to incorporate that into your writing.

I didn’t actually set out to write an inspirational romance. In truth, it was after my book was underway that I realized that’s what I was writing. I’ve been a Christian and avid student of the Bible for many years. It’s so intrinsic in my life that I see now it was bound to flow out in my writing.

I think An Heiress at Heart could be better described as a romance with inspirational elements, and it should easily appeal to everyone. Basically, I decided to write the kind of book that I personally would want to read. I took inspiration from all the things I loved–the rich vocabulary of the classics, the bubbly fun of romantic comedies and Hollywood musicals, and the heady emotions of romance. The inspirational elements stem from the characters’ own Christian world view, which was prevalent among the Victorians. I just allowed the story to follow its own path.

Jen: Do you think there’s a place for sex in inspirational romance?

Jennifer: I do, actually! Obviously, though, there are caveats. As a romance writer, I don’t want to shy away from exploring the very real emotions and physical reactions that are a natural part of falling in love. There’s plenty of room for what I call the “sizzle” without the characters actually making love. Readers of inspirational romance expect sex to take place in the context of a marriage, and I prefer to write that way too. As it happens, in my next book the hero and heroine are married, but it is a marriage of convenience. What that book will have in common with traditional romances is that when the hero and heroine finally make love, it won’t be gratuitous. It will be a significant moment when they realize their love and commitment to each other. It may not be described as graphically as in many traditional romances, but I believe the reader will not be disappointed.

Jen: Cara, Writing sex: fun or challenging? Or something else? How do you tackle writing a love scene?

Cara: Oh, that’s a very interesting question. Actually it’s a little of all three! Showing the growing physical attraction and “chemistry” between my hero and heroine as they fall in love is, for me, an integral part of their relationship, and how they are right for each other. The challenge is to make the scene resonate with their deepening emotional engagement, rather than sound like an instruction manual for, um, assembling a lawn mower—if you know what I mean! So it’s a delicate balance of describing the intimacy, yet keeping it very romantic.

Jen: Cara, A lot of authors tend to use euphemisms in those scenes. Are there any you hate? Make you laugh when you’re reading?

Cara: Well, “throbbing manhood” is one euphemism that always makes me roll my eyes. But you know, I feel that it’s a real art to write an explicit scene well. A great one creates a magic that has the reader thinking about the special moment, not the actual words used.

Jen: To both authors: Give everyone one reason to love your hero and your heroine. Why will we want them to find their HEA?

Jennifer: Lizzie comes from a poor but respectable family, but she has a “past.” She made the mistake of falling for a wealthy rogue, who in the end seduced and abandoned her. That was a lot to overcome in Victorian England, especially if later you find yourself in love with a clergyman…. Unlike Lizzie, who has known love (and heartbreak), Geoffrey has just fallen in love for the very first time. He’s dealing with a lot of emotions he’s never felt before. Unfortunately, Lizzie is (supposedly) the widow of his deceased brother. The laws in England at that time would not have allowed them to marry, and Geoffrey is amazed at himself for seriously contemplating going against the mores of the day because he cannot bear the thought of living without Lizzie. Those are some pretty serious roadblocks standing between two wonderful people and their happily ever after.

Cara: Both my hero and heroine made decisions in the past that drove them apart, but they have the courage to overcome their fears and try again for happiness. Life can be very daunting at times, so I think we all love the idea of second chances, and take heart in believing true love can triumph over past mistakes and misunderstandings.

Thanks to Jennifer & Cara for visiting the blog today! Be sure to check out Heiress at Heart & Too Dangerous to Desire this month!

Review: Too Wicked to Wed

Reviewed by Jen

Lady Alexa finds the life of a proper lady of the ton both boring and constrictive. But she finds ways to bring a little excitement into her life. Like dressing up in a man’s clothes for a poker game among gentlemen. It’s there she wins half of Connor’s brothel from his drunk friend.

Alexa and Connor have met before… shared a couple of fiery kisses. And now with her winnings, she is thrust into his orbit in a way neither ever expected.

Connor is having a string of bad luck. His brothel has been robbed –someone is targeting him and his business. Someone even takes a shot at him, and it’s only because of Alexa’s presence and quick thinking that he survives. The two escape to his country home for safety and it’s there that their mutual attraction begins to grow into something more.

Alexa is a great heroine. She is smart, capable, and she is not afraid to get her hands dirty. Connor needs a little work in the hero department. He fights his feelings for Alexa tooth and nail –and even when it’s clear that he’s in love with her, he can’t bring himself to admit it. But the two of them make a good match.

Despite the fact that it took Connor a while to come around, I enjoyed the romance. I especially liked watching Alexa break down Connor’s walls. The passion between the two of them was pretty good as well. There is plenty of action and mystery surrounding the plot against Connor and his business. (Though I think the villain reveal –and especially the motivation– was pretty weak. It was probably the only part of the book I didn’t like.) 4 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon or The Book Depository
Too Wicked to Wed
by Cara Elliott
Release Date: November 1, 2011
Publisher: Forever