Tag Archives: Romance

Author Interviews
June 6, 2016 posted by Nichole

Book of the Month: Author Interview with Nalini Singh

 

Book of the Month

allegiance of honorThe “unparalleled romantic adventure”* of Nalini Singh’s New York Times bestselling series continues as a new dawn begins for the Psy-Changeling world…

The Psy-Changeling world has undergone a staggering transformation and now stands at a crossroads. The Trinity Accord promises a new era of cooperation between disparate races and groups. It is a beacon of hope held together by many hands: Old enemies. New allies. Wary loners.

But a century of distrust and suspicion can’t be so easily forgotten and threatens to shatter Trinity from within at any moment. As rival members vie for dominance, chaos and evil gather in the shadows and a kidnapped woman’s cry for help washes up in San Francisco, while the Consortium turns its murderous gaze toward a child who is the embodiment of change, of love, of piercing hope: A child who is both Psy…and changeling.

To find the lost, protect the vulnerable—and save Trinity—no one can stand alone. This is a time of loyalty across divisions, of bonds woven into the heart and the soul, of heroes known and unknown standing back to back and holding the line. But is an allegiance of honor even possible with traitors lurking in their midst?


 

Can you tell us about the newest Psy-Changeling book, Allegiance of Honor, in 40 words or less?

 

It’s a book about family, about friendship, and about holding on to honor and what is right even when evil and darkness attempt to shatter those bonds.

 

This next book will feature everyone, not just a main “couple,” correct? Will everyone make an appearance or will certain favorite couples have more page time?

Everyone will make an appearance, but I realized as I was writing this book that certain people needed to “anchor” the story so that the story threads remained strong even as we caught up with different people. As a result, the anchors naturally get more page time, but I did my best to make sure we got a peek into everyone’s lives!

Do you know how many books will be in the Psy-Changeling series? Is it something you intend to end in the near future or can we expect several more books from this world?

 

I generally tend not to know how many books there will be in a connected series – I think more in terms of how much story there is left to tell. And in the case of the Psy-Changeling series, there is so much more of the story yet to tell—and there are so many characters who I can’t even bear to think about leaving behind. I’ll be writing this series for a number of years yet.

 

By far, my favorite couple is Hawke and Sienna. Do you have intentions of ever giving them another book or possibly featuring them in a novella?

I don’t have any plans in that direction at this point in time—but they will continue to show up in the books as needed, and so we’ll see them growing together as a couple.

I just finished Wild Invitation and loved all the side stories that didn’t have their own novel. Do you have intentions to write another full length novella with several different stories?

WILD EMBRACE comes out in August.  It features four new Psy-Changeling novellas. You can read an excerpt here. More excerpts to come soon! (Incidentally, if any of your readers are new to the series and would like a taster, WILD EMBRACE would be a good choice.)

I’m so curious of Kit will get his own book? I had originally thought that you were going to pair him with a certain someone, but that didn’t end up happening since she’s mated to someone else…. Do you know who he’s going to end up with?

Kit is very young yet. As a young male with the potential to be alpha, he has to grow into his skin even more than other men his age. He’ll choose his heroine when he’s ready, and then I’ll write their story – it may not be for a while yet, given his age.

Out of all of the couples/characters in the Psy-Changeling series, do you have a favorite?

No, I really don’t. They’re like family and friends to me. I adore them all in different ways.

Out of all the books, do you have a favorite?

I always say it’s the one I’m writing at any point in time, as that’s the one that has my total focus and attention—and that answer is the absolute truth. I am totally into whatever book I’m working on at the time. I live it. Breathe it. Dream it.

If you twisted my arm for a more specific answer, I’d say Slave to Sensation – it’s where the entire Psy-Changeling series began. STS led me into this incredible world that I cannot imagine leaving.

If you could give Allegiance of Honor a theme song, what would you choose?

I often (but not always) get obsessed with a song for a book. For example, it was Beyoncé’s Halo for Shield of Winter, Adele’s Skyfall for Heart of Obsidian, and Imagine Dragons’ Demons for Rock Redemption.

I didn’t have a song obsession while I was writing Allegiance of Honor, but afterwards, I heard Rachel Platten’s Stand By You and I think it’s a great song for this book—because the story is all about standing by each other no matter what.

What series’ would you recommend for readers who love the Psy-Changeling series?

I tend to recommend more on the emotional “feel” of a book or series than because of similarities in story themes, so while not all of these books are paranormal, I think they give the reader the same happy book feeling that I hope my books inspire.

 

Trilogy: Orchid, Amaryllis, Zinnia by Jayne Castle (I love JC’s futuristic paranormals, but this trilogy is among my favorites of her work).

The Elder Races series by Thea Harrison (kicks off with the wonderful Dragon Bound)

La Vie En Roses series by Laura Florand (Once Upon A Rose is my favorite in the series so far)

The Chronicles of Pern by Anne McCaffrey (This is a classic sf series that first showed me what it is to build a world that feels so real I wanted to visit. If you haven’t read it, do!)

In Death series by JD Robb (One of my favorite series of all time.)

Envy Chronicles by Joss Ware (A different kind of zombie apocalypse! This is an excellent series that seems to have flown under a lot of people’s radar.)

The Iron Seas series by Meljean Brook (Meljean has such an amazing imagination and I love this steampunk world of hers).

 

I think I’ll stop there, because I could definitely keep going!!

 

Thanks for stopping by YaReads!

Thank you for the interview.

 

 

Below are some additional interview questions provided by the publisher:

Is Allegiance of Honor the end of the Psy-Changeling series?

 

No, it’s not. :) I ADORE this world and the characters and I have so many Psy-Changeling stories yet to tell. (I’ve often joked that I’ll be writing this series until I’m ninety-eight!)

 

 

Where do you see the Psy-Changeling world going from here?  Who is the next book about?

 

(Slightly spoilery answer to follow if you’re just starting the series).

 

Allegiance of Honor sets up a lot of possibilities for the future. There are many avenues I could take. However, for me, this arc is all about what happens not just to the Psy, but to the world, now that Silence has fallen and all the rules have changed.

 

We’ve had the immediate aftermath books, both of which focused on the Psy race (Shield of Winter & Shards of Hope), but what about the wider long-term future? Because Silence existed for a reason. The Psy still have these incredible abilities that have the potential to drive them murderously insane, and the world is still a fractured triumvirate. And there are players about whom we know very little, like the falcons and BlackSea.

 

As for who’s book is next, I’m not ready to announce it yet because I want to be certain this character is ready – but I think you’ll be pleased. 😉


NaliniI’ve been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There’s no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I’ve worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer’s mill.

 

Read below for an excerpt from Allegiance of Honor:

Excerpt from Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh

 

Lucas had had to chase Naya around the aerie at bedtime last night—her walk might still be a little shaky, but she was a rocket when it came to crawling. Dressed only in a diaper, she’d laughed uproariously and said a loud, firm “No” each time Lucas caught her and put her in her crib.

After which she’d clamber out—she’d figured out how to escape a month earlier—and the game would begin again. Of course, since Lucas was a cat, he’d been having just as much fun as their daughter. Sascha, meanwhile, had sat in the living room with a cup of hot chocolate and just indulged in the sight of her mate playing with their cub.

She’d had to pretend to be stern when Naya ran over and pleaded her case with loud sounds and wild gesticulations of her hands. “No, Naya,” she’d said, biting her tongue in an effort not to laugh. “It’s time for bed. Go with Papa.”

At which point, Naya had growled at her, eyes sparkling with mischief.

And Sascha had cracked, laughing so hard she’d had to put down her hot chocolate before she spilled it. Lucas had shaken his head as Naya plopped down on her diaper-covered butt and joined in, clapping her hands at having made her mommy laugh. “No discipline.” Lucas had mock-growled at her before picking up their misbehaving baby. “And you”—a growly nuzzle that made Naya laugh harder and pat his stubbled cheek—“time for bed.”

He’d finally got her to sleep—by walking around with her pressed up against his bare chest.

Today, their cub was playing in the living area just outside the kitchen nook. Sascha had locked the aerie door to ensure Naya wouldn’t undo the latch and go out onto the balcony, and Lucas had childproofed the entire main area of the aerie, so Naya was free to roam as she liked. A lot of the time she practiced her walking skills. And no matter how often she fell down, she started back up again after a little break.

Stubborn, determined baby.

Peeking out from the kitchen, Sascha found her concentrating on stacking the colored alphabet blocks Faith and Vaughn had given her as a gift. Beside her sat a more than slightly ragged wolf plush toy, aka “The Toy That Shall Not Be Named.” Hawke had given that to Naya when she was a newborn, and it remained her favorite snuggle toy, much to her father’s despair.

Though Lucas did enjoy it when Naya went leopard on the toy, growling and “fighting” with the wolf. Then he’d smile and say, “That’s my girl.”

 

Find Nalini online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

Posted by arrangement with Berkley Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Nalini Singh, 2016.

 

 

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adult books
May 5, 2016 posted by Nichole

Book Review: First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost

First DropThe night is not safe for mortals.

Denise MacGregor knows all too well what lurks in the shadows – her best friend is half-vampire Cat Crawfield – and she has already lost more than the average human could bear. But her family’s dark past is wrapped in secrets and shrouded in darkness – and a demon shapeshifter has marked Denise as prey. Now her survival depends on an immortal who craves a taste of her.

He is Spade, a powerful, mysterious vampire who has walked the earth for centuries and is now duty-bound to protect this endangered, alluring human – even if it means destroying his own kind. Denise may arouse his deepest hungers, but Spade knows he must fight his urge to have her as they face the demon nightmare together…

Because once the first drop of crimson falls, they will both be lost.

My Review:

First, I would like to give a big thanks to my secret sis for getting this book for me!!!

Funny thing, I didn’t realize that this book was a companion to the Cat and Bones series. I haven’t read that series, but my mom owns all the books, so I know of it. It didn’t bother me at all to read this without having read the previous series, but it might bother some readers because it does go into a lot of detail that previously happened. So just keep that in mind if you’re super into reading everything in order.

I started out really loving this book. I loved the characters, the plot and the supernatural feel to the whole entire book. I also really enjoyed reading about Spade’s character! Holy hotness! I LOVE SPADE! I can’t even begin to say that enough. Sexy is not a strong enough word!

Denise’s character bothered me throughout most of the book. For some reason, I just wasn’t that big of a fan of hers. I thought she came across much older than she was described, whined a whole ton of a lot, and just wasn’t a very good fit for Spade. Therefore, I didn’t really feel that they had much chemistry together. I don’t think that every reader is going to feel the same way about Denise as I do, but I want it out there that I DID NOT like her.

This book is super insta-lovey. I would have enjoyed to see more chemistry and a relationship build up throughout the book. I was also taken off guard because I thought that this was going to be a series. Instead, it’s a standalone. I probably could have figured that out by looking it up before I actually read the book. Insta-love isn’t really my thing…

Something that really confused me in this book was the ultimate show down. Something really big happens at about 65% of the way through this book. I felt that particular scene was the ultimate showdown, which it wasn’t, so I was left feeling that the rest of the book was a little drawn out and forced. When it came down to the second big showdown, I felt that it was weak compared to the first one and lacked drama and suspense. The last 30% of the book really was just kind of cheesy and forced.

Overall, I did like this book. I’m a little let down that this is a standalone and not a series, especially because I thought that so much was forced into one book. That being said, I am very excited to read Bones and Cat’s story, especially because I know that’s a fairly large series.

I would definitely recommend this book to adult paranormal lovers! It really was a good book and I sucked it down in about three days!

Pages: 371

Publication Date: February 9th, 2010

Publisher: Avon

Rating: : ★★★½☆

Waiting on Wednesday
May 28, 2014 posted by Emma

Waiting on Wednesday #81

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

 

The Murder Complex (The Murder Complex, #1)

 

An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.

 

The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

Published by Greenwillow Books

To be released on June 10, 2014

Book Reviews
May 23, 2014 posted by Emma

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1)In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assasin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

 

I decided to check out The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson after hearing that this book was the next best historical fantasy series and after also hearing a few comparisons to The Winner’s Curse, which has been my absolute favorite read of 2014 so far. So obviously, I had to give it a chance!

Unfortunately, it ended up not really being my cup of tea. This is such a hard review to do because I’m 100% positive that this book is going to have A TON of fans and that people are going to fall in love with Lia and her story. But I wasn’t one of those people, sadly. I ended up DNF-ing about halfway through, which I hated to do because I could tell it was an awesome story, but there were too many things that bothered me.

I guess for me, the biggest problem that I had was with the main character herself, Lia. She’s a princess and as is expected of her, she’s betrothed to the prince of a neighboring country in order to ensure safety and security for her kingdom (and her loved ones). However, Lia has apparently had enough of living a stifled life, so she decides to leave the prince at the altar and make a run for it with her maid servant to live amongst the commoners. This is hard for me because as a girl living in 2014, I can of course look at Lia’s situation and think, Oh my god, an arranged marriage sounds absolutely awful, I totally get why she ran away. But then thing is…this book ISN’T set in the 21st century. This is in a medieval time when this is a normal thing??? And Lia is the key to securing safety for her people and her family, but she basically just says “eff it!” and runs off in search of a simple life and true love, where she mouths off to random strangers and doesn’t give too much of a crap for how her family is dealing with the aftermath (even her brothers, who she claims to love SO much). I’m going to be honest, it disgusted me a little bit how selfish she was and I had a really hard time empathizing with her when it all blew up in her face. I was just kind of like…how did you not see this coming?

The second issue that I had was the romance. When Lia makes a run for it, two people come after her: the jilted prince she was supposed to marry, and an assassin from a neighboring kingdom ordered to kill her. She naturally goes for one of the guys, and I’m not going to say who but if you’ve read any YA I’m sure you can guess. And I was cool with her choice cause I was kind of digging that guy too, until he basically just loses his head after ONE encounter with her and turns into a sensitive pile of mush. WHICH IS FINE. Except it was totally out of character for this guy and happened waaaay too fast. And from there on, a huge chunk of the book was devoted to her romances with these two guys and not a whole lot else, other than her cheerily slaving away over peasant tasks. The guys were basically obsessed with her and seemed to pop up at literally EVERY opportunity to help her or save her or shoot her brooding looks. They were desperate, basically. And to be honest that’s not really my thing…I prefer a nice, slow build, personally.

HOWEVER, the writing was absolutely beautiful. As much as I wasn’t a fan of the story, I could definitely appreciate how gorgeous of a writer Mary Pearson is, oh my goodness. The scenes were perfectly described and I felt every character’s emotion so vividly. She is incredible and definitely someone to look out for. Even though I didn’t like this book, I’m 100% open to trying a future book.

All in all, I think a lot of people will like this book. If you’re a little (okay, a lot) cynical like me and not into cheesy romance/love triangles, then maybe you won’t. But I don’t think Mary Pearson has to worry cause I’m going to guess most people will eat this up. Definitely check it out!

Pages: 492

Date Published: July 15, 2014

Publisher: Henry Holt

Rating: DNF

Book Reviews
April 26, 2014 posted by Emma

The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4) – Richelle Mead

The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4)Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives.

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn’t over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there’s still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure — and re-education — looms larger than ever.

 

Okay, so I’m a huge fan of Richelle Mead. The Vampire Academy series is probably one of my absolute favorite series to ever have existed. And then when I heard that she was writing a spin-off series, obviously I flipped out. I’ve been absolutely loving the Bloodlines series so far, and I’m extremely happy to report that The Fiery Heart definitely doesn’t disappoint.

I wasn’t the hugest fan of Sydney in VA (or really in the beginning of this series either), but she’s 100% converted me. Don’t get me wrong, I love Rose. She’s probably the most badass heroine out there, but the fact that Sydney is so different, and yet still a total badass, makes me really happy. I love that she shows people that you don’t have to beat people up and be an expert at wielding a stake to kick major ass. She shows how strong she is with her intelligence, her logical thinking, her determination, and her loyalty in The Fiery Heart maybe more than ever, and I absolutely LOVE her for that! Her character development has been absolutely insane throughout the course of this series, and I’ve adored every second of it.

Another thing that I loved in this book was her relationship with Adrian. I honestly think that their relationship has got to be one of the healthiest that I’ve seen yet in YA fiction. Neither of them really have their stuff together one hundred percent, but they love each other for it. It’s repeated so many times that they make each other better, they strengthen each other. Their relationship is more than just something fueled on teenage passion and lust. They went from being true, genuine friends to something honestly so beautiful. I love that they’re there for each other for the other person to lean on, while at the same time encouraging them to be the best person they can be. I guess what I’m trying to say is that they believe in each other, and there’s something so mature and honest about that. BUT don’t worry, there’s plenty of steamy, romantic scenes too, thank GOODNESS!

Okay, but here’s the thing, right? There’s something that happens in this book that I can’t really talk about without giving away a huge spoiler. It has to do with something that Adrian did in his past, and I just want to say that I’m really NOT okay with it. A lot of people will be able to gloss over it and say, “Yeah, but he’s changed! He’s not that guy any more!” And I definitely agree that he’s not, but it’s honestly really problematic and something that can’t be overlooked. I’m not saying it changed my opinion of Adrian, but it made me take a solid step back. It just, ugh. Yikes. Gave me a very yucky feeling in my stomach, for sure.

And then the ending?! Oh my goodness, what a cliffhanger. I was absolutely SHOCKED! And I’m so scared for what’s going to happen to Sydney in the next book, oh man. Definitely prepare yourselves for this one, guys, cause it’s a heartbreaker!

All in all, I did really love this book. I thought it was maybe the strongest one yet, and I can’t wait to see what Richelle has in store for the next one!

Check out this series immediately, if you haven’t already!!

Pages: 420

Date Published: November 19, 2013

Publisher: Razorbill

Rating: ★★★★★

Contemporary
February 27, 2014 posted by Nichole

Full Measures by Rebecca Yarros

19383432Three knocks can change everything…

“She knew. That’s why Mom hadn’t opened the door. She knew he was dead.”

Twenty years as an army brat and Ember Howard knew, too. The soldiers at the door meant her dad was never coming home. What she didn’t know was how she would find the strength to singlehandedly care for her crumbling family when her mom falls apart. 

Then Josh Walker enters her life. Hockey star, her new next-door neighbor, and not to mention the most delicious hands that insist on saving her over and over again. He has a way of erasing the pain with a single look, a single touch. As much as she wants to turn off her feelings and endure the heartache on her own, she can’t deny their intense attraction.

Until Josh’s secret shatters their world. And Ember must decide if he’s worth the risk that comes with loving a man who could strip her bare.

 

There’s so much that I want to say about this book. First, it was off the charts amazing. Second, it was so entirely heartbreaking. And third, can I please go back in time and reread it again? Or can there just be a second book? I want more! Holy crap…I am in LOVE with Rebecca Yarros’ writing style. This lady has TALENT! I normally am not the biggest fan of New Adult books, but I read every. single. word. of this one.

I’m not one to cry in books, but I was fighting back the tears within the first couple chapters of Full Measures. The writing style and the concept of the book was so raw and real. I would lay in bed at night and keep periodically holding my breath to make sure that my mom was still breathing in the next room. The loss that this poor family felt over the death of their husband/father was shattering to me in more ways that one. I actually did end up crying toward the very end of the book. I guess I can add this to the very small list of books that have made me cry.

When it comes to NA books, I typically can’t stand the female leads. That was so not the case with Full Measures. I absolutely adored Ember from the very beginning. She was such a strong female lead, and I loved being in her head. Most of all, I loved watching her step up for her family and not take any crap from anyone. She was so brave. So powerful. So strong. I loved her. I could just stay in her head all day.

As much as I loved Ember, no one was as brilliant as Josh. He was, by far, the star of this book. I think that I may actually have a new book boyfriend to add to my list. This man radiated hotness in every single scene he was in. Hell, even when he wasn’t in a scene, I was still drooling thinking of him! My GOD…I LOVED him! I need more time with this man.

In most ways, Full Measures follows the typical outline of an NA book. It starts out with some background, goes into a full out romance, and then there’s a fight and a make up at the end. I’m not spoiling anything for anyone. That is the typical outline of an NA book. However, Full Measures managed to take it one step further and actually blindside me with a twist. I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t. I was not prepared for what happened at ALL. This is the first NA book that has actually managed to make me reread what happened and still be like WHAT?! Major kudos to Rebecca Yarros.

Throughout most of Full Measures, I had rated it a solid 5 stars. However, I docked it one star due to the slight decline during the last 75-100 pages.  After the shocking twist happens it’s still good, but loses a little heat. I did still really enjoy the book, but I just wanted a little more from it. I also would have liked a few more sexy scenes thrown in, as well as a few more cute scenes. So, the book was amazing, but it just needed a little more to make it perfection.

Overall, I loved it. I would totally recommend this one! If you’re a fan of J. Lynn…..well….then this book is right up your alley!

 

Pages: 301

Publication Date: February 10th, 2014

Publisher: Entangled

Rating: : ★★★★☆

Book Reviews
March 31, 2012 posted by Kiona

The Queen’s Lady (The Lacey Chronicles #2) — Eve Edwards

England, 1584.

When beautiful Lady Jane Rievaulx begins her service to the Queen at Richmond Palace, she is thrilled to see the court’s newest arrival…Master James Lacey.

No matter that Jane was previously courted by the eldest Lacey brother—James is the one who has won her heart. For his part, James cannot deny his fascination with Jane; his plans, however, do not allow for love. He is about to set sail on a treacherous journey to the Americas, seeking absolution for what he sees as past sins. But when Jane is forced into a terrible situation by her own family, only one man can save her. Will Master James return to his lady before it’s too late?

Before Jane Rievaulx’s elderly husband passes away, he secures a place for Jane as one of the Queen’s ladies as a way to protect her from his spiteful sons and her selfish family. The last person Jane expects to see at court is James Lacey, the brother of her ex-fiance and the man she still finds herself madly attracted to. Though James feels as if Jane has betrayed his family, he can’t help the feelings she reignites in him. Still, even if he wants to, he cannot be with Jane, for he doesn’t believe himself deserving of love. But when Jane finds herself in a precarious predicament, James might be the only person capable of saving her.

The Queen’s Lady is filled to the brim with court intrigue, passionate romance, dastardly evil plots, and dashing heroes. Jane faces every imaginable obstacle a woman in sixteenth-century England can face. Though she is a strong, independent woman, even heroines sometimes require saviors. But though she feels James Lacey cares for her, she’s not sure he’s up to the task. Luckily for Jane, she has friends who will stop at nothing to help her maintain her freedom. The characters in this novel are richly developed and many of the scenes switch viewpoints, allowing us to gain a more well-rounded view of not just Jane and James, but also Milly, Diego, Christopher Turner, and other minor characters. While shifting perspectives between numerous characters can sometimes feel unnecessary or frustrating, this literary device works perfectly for The Queen’s Lady. We switch frequently enough as to receive important information and further develop important secondary characters, but not so much that we lose focus of who the main characters are. And understanding both the minds of Jane and James is immensely helpful and rewarding. Eve Edwards masterfully portrays each character distinctly, emphasizing traits that make them unique and engaging. Plus, Edwards strikes a beautiful balance between the shorter, humorous scenes that diffuse the tension of the longer, more dramatic scenes.

James’s and Jane’s impending romance is completely swoon-worthy. You’ll root for them from the very first chapter onward. Jane’s cunning wit and sharp tongue allow her to put into words the sly comebacks we generally tend to come up with days after we need them (and subsequently beat ourselves up over). Plus, the setting of 1584 England means every barb and every romantic admission is said so eloquently that you’re sure to fall in love with the language just as much as the characters. Even better: though this is a historic fiction piece, Edwards dishes up a major plate of girl-power, along with a dash of damsel-in-distress for zest. The female characters here are strong, intelligent, and capable of some serious sass — and I love every minute of it!

In addition, if one romance isn’t enough for you, Edwards also provides the endearing love story of one of Jane’s best friends, Milly, and James’s manservant, Diego. With Milly and Diego, Edwards tackles the topic of biracial relationships in historic England, a topic I haven’t seen addressed much but appreciate in The Queen’s Lady for the questions it raises. This book certainly provides a lot to think about and really opens my eyes to specific customs and traditions I hadn’t previously been privy to. For anyone who enjoys historic fiction or tales of all-consuming romance, The Queen’s Lady is a must-read.

Pages: 336
Publication Date: April 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Rating : ★★★★½

Teaser Quote: “Jane plucked a handful of ivy leaves and threw them at him. ‘Why can’t you just love me?’