Sunday, Bloody, Sunday: Our Paranormal Tea Party

bloodthirsty teaOur LadySmut Paranormal Tea Party on FB last Sunday was fuuuuuuuuuuun!

Joey W. Hill and Kate Douglas were our special guests. It was a part of #Romance15, the online romance festival put out by our publisher, Harper Collins UK.  I know what you’re thinking — yes, we enjoyed our frivolous little online gathering, but what exactly did we learn from the experience?

Welp.  Joey Hill is awesomely nice – and I learned that she has a LOT of other paranormal out there that’s not just vampires. (Witches and mermaidsoh my!) I am going to read up and report back to you on that.

I learned that there is no fan like fans of werewolves/shifters.  In honor of Kate Douglas I asked fans to post their fav wolf references and kicked things off with Duran, Duran’s HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF.

If that doesn’t bring back the mid-80’s to you, nothing will!

Fan responded back with Florence and the Machine’s HOWL:

Love that wolf thang!

The Paranormal tea party was also a opportunity to post photos of bloody tea cups and women wearing adorable little tea cup hats. (Thank you Liz Everly!)

#Romance15 -- online festival held by those wacky brits at HarperCollins UK
#Romance15 — online festival held by those wacky brits at HarperCollins UK

Speaking of Joey Hill – if you don’t know about her (and how could you not? But maybe you’ve been living on mars–I dunno) We got to chat with her about her dominant vampire queen who gets together with a submissive hero.  How did she get away with it?  I mean, let’s face it, most authors couldn’t, because most romance readers like their men very dominant.  But this is a no less intense romance series.  Joey indicated that what does it for readers is the point where her human servants are bound to their vampire mistresses/masters for good.  And they want that.  They’re ‘all in’.   It’s a kind of “I promise to live for nothing and no one but you” perverse romantic ideal.  A romance hero who’s ‘all in’ definitely sends out alpha vibes.

Kate Douglas, meanwhile, is kicking off a whole new series for St. Martin’s Press. This time her series is with werewolves as opposed to her wolf shifter romances.  So in her posts she was asking us how we like our werewolves. Bitten, cursed, or born that way?

We were all over the map.  One thing we agreed upon is that we love broody heroes – but don’t like them too angsty.  Tread carefully with that cursed thing, Kate.  One reader said “bitten – I love biting.” Yes, dear reader! Yes to biting. (Unless you’re in first grade and some horrid little boy is biting you.)

I'm more a vampire romance reader m'self.
I’m more a vampire romance reader m’self.

Of course, our tea party wouldn’t be complete without weighing in on the big question of the universe.  Why do some women like vampires while others only like werewolves?

The difference seems about controlled power vs. primal release.  Joey W. Hill is into the controlled power.  Although her vampire queen may be fragile and like a twisted china doll in some respects, she is still definitely in control.  Joey also goes to the BDSM side of life–this too is all about having control. Kate Douglas on the other hand likes the primal thing – a different kind of “all in”. Uninhibited, in the moment, raw.

Let me pause a moment to say that when you describe it that way, I clack my teeth with happy desire. I admit I lean more to the vampire side in general.  But I don’t know, I also like my people au natural and the wolfie side of romance seems to uphold a no fuss, no muss approach to life.

I hope the next time we party you join with us.  Meanwhile, I’m giving out a copy of our anthology to anyone who answers the eternal question in the comment section below: vampires or wolves?

Vampires or wolves? Either way...bite me.
Vampires or wolves? Either way…bite me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Bloody World & A Reluctant Seduction: BLOOD SEDUCTION by Pamela Palmer

Hello Kittens!

I owe you — shoulda posted yesterday.  Let me make it up to you: here is a review of Pamela Palmer’s A BLOOD SEDUCTION.

Pamela Palmer is an author who has interested me ever since she came to the Virginia Festival of the Book last year and spoke words of wisdom.  I noticed she had a die-hard core of fans in the audience who, from their hoots n hollers were there to see her, only her.

A BLOOD SEDUCTION is the first in her new VAMP CITY series.  For those of you who grok her Feral Warrior series, A LOVE UNTAMED is also coming out soon.

In A BLOOD SEDUCTION Our heroine Quinn starts off experiencing ever-increasing weirdness in her life, while hovering over her younger computer-geek bro and his would-be girlfriend Lily.  People are disappearing from D.C. and soon enough, Lily is one of them.  Searching for Lily with brother in tow, Quinn is sucked into Vamp City — an alternative dark  world to D.C. where cruel vampires rule, and humans are slaves.  (I mean, it’s literally dark — there is no sun) There are also werewolves lurking in the swamplands and other fey creatures treading about that are no help to Quinn at all.  Soon she’s fighting to find her brother, to save her brother, and along the way to escape rape, torture, and becoming immortal (and thus stuck) in Vamp City.

Along the way she slams into Arturo. As we see, Quinn adapts to her circumstances.  Part of that adaptation is the building connection between her and Arturo.  No matter how little either of them wants to get involved, it’s just happening between them.

In this new series, Pamela does several things that I really like.  She explores the kind of Urban Fantasy where old, new, and really old mix together.  We’ve got modern day yellow jeeps mixing with civil-war era frocks n decor.  Some gladiator style entertainment is tossed in as well.

Palmer creates a world so harsh that the hero is quite horribly flawed and yet still a nice guy by comparison.  No “oh at first he seemed so awful and dangerous, but really he’s not”.   [I am usually quite peeved by that kind of backsies move in romance novels.]  No, Arturo is a slippery character that Quinn most definitely shouldn’t trust.  But she doesn’t have a choice.

Pamela Palmer knows how to keep her readers turning the pages.  Brace yourself, though, this novel is definitely part of a series.  Nothing is really resolved by the end–probably because everyone is too busy scrambling around to simply stay alive. Palmer is remorseless in her willingness to let her characters almost succeed in finishing their goal or mission and then dragging them right back to the beginning again.  She creates an adaptable heroine, a very flawed yet understanding hero–and by trapping them in Vamp City she shows us that she is one very cruel author.  ;>

 

 

Lover Eternal: What if Beauty & The Beast and Shakespeare met in one little ole’ kick ass romance?

Lover Eternal is the second book in the Brotherhood of the Black Dagger series.  The series is about the brotherhood of some vampire warriors who get all hyper-alpha when they bond to a female. They also have lots of H’s in their bad-ass names. (And there are lots of reviews that satirize these names.  Don’t get me started.)

In Book one, their leader assumes the throne, and they become a more cohesive lot than they were before.

So it’s all very over the top, (which I love, btw).  Even if you don’t love over-the-top romance in general, you just gotta stand back and admire that J.R. Ward just GOES for it.  Hormone-drenched, urban fantasy, kick-ass romance to the nth degree is her specialty .  Even the sexless villain falls in love (more about that later).

So in this book, our hero is Rhage.  Rhage has a little problem–as you could guess from his name: he was cursed to bear a beast within him.  The thing manifests itself whenever he gets a little too intense – either through fighting, losing his temper, etc.

When this happens (spoiler!) he turns into the beast, eats the bad guys (yuck!) and suffers indigestion afterwards. Oh, and he’s also hot.  Really, super, madly, crazy-hot.  He is beauty & the beast in one complete package.  Not only that, BUT he has to sleep with women – a lot of them, all the time—or the Beast will come out and totally harsh his mellow.  Yet he wonders what it would be like to settle down with a woman of worth, he confides to a fellow warrior.

SO, that’s the sich when he runs into Mary–a woman of worth.  Mary’s done good works in life, but she also suffers from bad luck.  In fact, her health sucks.  Yeah, she’s dying. When she winds up in the Brotherhood compound through a series of coincidences, she runs into Rhage when he’s recently post-beast and he’s basically a total dick to her.

AND THIS IS WHERE J.R. WARD EARNS THE BIG BUCKS.  She does stuff throughout her books that you can look at objectively and know in our normal world that it would be just gross. I mean, in this situation, Rhage is not quite himself.  He’s kinda blind, he’s kinda feeling sick in his tum-tum; what he should really be doing is lying quietly in his bed until he’s himself again.  Only, the bad-ass warriors in this series don’t take sick days. So when he’s staggering his way down the hall (to do what it’s not very clear) he encounters Mary.  Once he hears her voice and smells her, it drives him mad.  Soon he’s all over her like white on rice and he’s basically being Chester the Molester.   But you know, she responds.

With any other author I might have thrown the book down at this point, but J.R. Ward gets me to read onward.  First of all, he’s beyond gorgeous, and she was just wishing the other day for a guy to be totally into her, just once, before she dies.  Second of all, it’s been a long time for her.    But wait: the best part is this—no woman would actually volunteer to date a guy like this after such a first encounter, even despite her unwilling arousal and awareness of his (ahem!) attributes.  Yet Mary doesn’t remember the encounter.  The vampires take away her memories of the night.  So when someone she knows calls and arranges a blind date to meet Rhage (he calls himself Hal) she doesn’t know that he’s already decided to bond with her just after one blind grope.

[Is the name Hal a nod to Henry the V? Like from back when he was Prince Hal in Henry IV part two? We get the sense that Rhage is just the same kind of play-hard playboy now redeemed by maturity and suffering.]

The second time he sees Mary does he grope her again? No, instead he’s the perfect date.  And here’s why we love romance: we love it because this stuff doesn’t happen in real life.  Mary cannot believe that the gorgeous guy is into ordinary, little her.  And she is ordinary, in the best of all possible ways.

Meanwhile, he IS into her.  Really, really into her. Why? Because in J.R. Ward world vampires are hyped-up men on hormone-occtane.  They meet the ‘right’ woman and it just goes hormone-ily sideways.  They have no control over their physical response, and it’s so powerful, so motivating for them, that they usually just give in and go with the flow.  In this situation, Rhage doesn’t question for a second his attraction to Mary.  He was semi-blind when he was sliming himself over her before, so he’s surprised to see she looks nothing like he expected, but that’s okay, he’s going to sit down and get to know her, giving her 100% of his attention.

It’s this good behavior, following the sexed-up bad, that just gets me so hooked.

Meanwhile, poor Mary is simply unable to believe he doesn’t have another agenda.  Suddenly, she’s Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Mary: “Do I have to spell it out for you? I’m an average looking woman with a below average life span.  While you, you’re healthy, strong, beautiful…”

He tells her the ways in which he likes her, but as Helena would say:  Never did mockers waste more idle breath.

See—it’s not a silly romance—it’s Shakespeare!

Mary’s just not sure about him, and can’t quite accept that he likes her–especially when he gets all removed and dispassionate while getting her hot n bothered.

And that’s the big problem with Rhage n Mary: they can’t quite seem to knock boots.  The beastie inside doesn’t want to let Rhage have all the fun, and Rhage is scared to death he might hurt Mary if he can’t control the beast.   The beastie threatens to come out around her, and Rhage doesn’t know how to engage with Mary, keep the beast down, and do the deed all at the same time.

Mary meanwhile, is really, really dying fast.  Which is sad.

Sigh.

They work it out of course, but you’ll just have to read the book to find out how.

NEXT WEEK: I’ll review an even BETTER book, the next one in the series: LOVER AWAKENED.  (Squee…this is the one with the well done villain.)