If you love passion, romance, and murder, you’ve come to the right place. I write the Valentine Mysteries that feature Tess and Jack, a passionate couple who seem to always get involved in murder. The first book, Deadly Valentine, reached the quarter-finals in the Amazon Breakout Novel Award contest in 2013 and received a review from Publishers Weekly saying: “Written with precision and care, this intriguing romance/murder mystery is a fun read that will keep readers guessing until the very end."

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Review: Festive in Death

Festive in Death
Festive in Death by J.D. Robb

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have read every In Death book and novella, and continue to enjoy them. With that said, some books are better than others. Now that Eve and Roarke have been married for a few years, much of the angst that spiced up the books is gone, which makes the books feel a little flat. With that said, I really enjoyed Festive in Death, not so much because of the mystery, which was pretty good, but because we got more of Eve in the real world.

Growing up the way she did, Eve struggles with social norms, which she calls “rules”, such as marriage rules or friendship rules. It was fun to see her better navigate present buying and hosting a party than she had in previous books, although it still caused her a lot of stress. She’d rather be dealing with a dead body than be dressed up and schmoozing.

She made a deal with Sommerset that required her to help in the pre-party preparations, which allowed us to see doing everyday home stuff…at least more every day for someone married to the ultra-rich Roarke.

I loved the present exchange between her and Roarke, again seeing them at home together, without murder necessarily being in the mix.

The murder was well done as well, better than in a few of the previous books. Often it’s easy to know and even Eve figures out the murderer early in the books, which really makes the books about how she proves it. But Festive in Death had a nice little twist, just when we were sure she had the right guy.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and love being able to stay with Eve, Roarke and the rest of the crew over so many years and books (nearly 40 books). However, I do think that Robb will need to pick up the angst in the next book(s) a little bit. Perhaps by bringing murder a little closer to her inner circle.

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5 Factoids about Old Flames Never Die

I did 5 factoids about Deadly Valentine and thought I’d do the same for Old Flames Never Die, book two in the Valentine series. While I wanted to share interesting stuff, I also didn’t want to give away any plot details to avoid any spoilers. Those of you who have read the book, will understand all the factoids.

One fact I left out was that Old Flames Never Die was my first successful attempt at writing 50,000 words for NANORIMO. Of course, it went through many edits after that, but I got the complete draft in one month.

How Hot Do You Like Your Romance?

When it comes to romance, some people like ‘em hot and others not. How much heat do you like in the romances you read? Do you like every little explicit detail or implied sensuality? Take the poll and let me know!

Celebrity Romance

hollywoodstarI’m a die-hard romantic. Since I was a ‘tween, I loved movies and tv shows with romantic couples. And like some people, I got caught up in celebrity romances. I remember thinking how romantic it was when I learned that Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood had married twice. I know many fans of his 80s show wonder and wish about a relationship with his co-star, Stefanie Powers, following Natalie’s and William Holden’s deaths (Holden was the long time flame of Powers’).

Although those are old examples, today people get just as caught up in who’s with who and who’s marrying who. After the movie Twilight was released, fans were thrilled to discover Rob Pattinson and Kristen Stewart were dating and crushed when she was caught kissing another man. I think people are still upset with Angelina Jolie for her part in Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston’s divorce. It seems like I can’t go anywhere without seeing Kanye and Kim or Beyonce and Jay Z in the tabloids.

What I’ve found facinating and annoying is that celebrity gossip is like soap operas: Everyone roots for couples until they’re together. After that, all the news is about whether or not the couple is in trouble. Everyone wants a happy ending, but they want angst more.

I’m not as into celebrity romance as when I was younger, although I would be sad if Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson broke up. And I’m a little sad to hear about Robin Thicke and Paula Patton. I’ve always liked their story because they met as teenagers. But even though I don’t follow celebrity romances much, I know it’s still big news. That’s why I wrote ‘Til Death Do Us Part. It’s my tribute to everyone, like me, who’s ever gotten caught up in celebrity romances.

How about you? Is there a celebrity couple you found yourself rooting for?


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Review: Shadow of Night

Shadow of Night
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was very annoyed to reach the end of A Discovery of Witches only to discover it wasn’t the end. When Shadow of Night came out, I picked it up at the library and started to read, but couldn’t get past the first 100 pages. With the third book out, I decided to try again. This time I finished the book in a weekend.

Shadow of Night picks up where A Discovery of Witches leaves off; Diana and Matthew are time traveling back to 1590. Their goal is to find an ancient text that could explain where non-humans (witches, daemons and vampires) originated and to find a witch who could teach Diana about her abilities (she was “spellbound” by her parents to protect her).

The author has a deep, detailed understanding of Elizabethan times, but in some spots those details slow the story down. Except for one bad attempt at finding a witch tutor, most of the beginning of the book doesn’t stay on plot. Instead we meet historical characters, such as Sir Walter Raleigh and Christopher Marlow, which is fun at first, but starts to get old.

The book picks up steam when Diana and Matthew go to France. Although still very little is done to find the book or learn witchcraft, this section does reveal a lot about Matthew’s past and demons that torture his soul. We also find out why after being married twice in the first book, they haven’t consummated the marriage. That is remedied after a third marriage in this book.

Eventually they leave France and head back to England, where again, things slow down a bit until Diana gets her witch tutors and two children (one teenage witch and a 7 year old pick pocket) are introduced. A visit in Elizabethan England wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Queen herself, which results in Diana and Matthew heading to Prague. Thing slow down again (each time they go to somewhere new, too much time is spent on the settling in aspects), until they actually find the book they’ve traveled through time to get.

At that point, the book moves fairly quickly to the end. Getting back to England, the biggest danger to Diana aren’t witch hunters, but Matthew’s friend and sister. There is a surprising visit from an unexpected guest and the rush to get home (back to current time).

Unlike the first book, Shadow of Night has some resolution when you reach the end. Diana and Matthew make it home and reunite with Diana’s aunt, Matthew’s mother and close friends. However, they still don’t have answers and they’re still in danger, which hopefully will be resolved in book 3.

I enjoyed the book much better the second time than during my first attempt. I like the plot and many of the characters are terrific (I love Matthew’s nephew Gallowglass). At the end of each section, we are brought back to the modern day as Diana and Matthew’s family look for and collect evidence of their time travel (the ramifications of changing history). I like romance, so it was fun to see Diana and Matthew navigate their marriage, including loss, and finally have make love.

However, there are big chunks of the book that slow the story down. The fact that we don’t get to the point of the plot (finding the book and a witch tutor) for hundreds of pages is evidence to that. I feel like this book could have been a third shorter and be better for it.

Historians of science and literature will probably get a kick out of Matthew’s friends, but too often that part of the story gets in the way of the plot. Matthew’s character flip flops and behaves in unexpected ways. The author suggests this is his reverting to who he was in 1590, which makes some sense, but still made it hard to see him as the man he was in the first book.

Overall, I’m glad I read it and will be picking up a copy of the 3rd book, if only to see how it all ends.

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WARNING: Explicit Content
The Delecoeur stories are adventures featuring a romantic couple who sometimes do what people in love do. Part of this story maybe be considered adult content, so if you are not of legal age or are easily offended, you should click the exit button.