Welcome!

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."

I hope you'll stick around and come back for all news, info, events, fun facts and more related to reading, writing, romance, chocolate and more.

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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What Would You Ask??

I’d love to have dinner with Nora Roberts. And Stephan King. In fact, I’d like to have a meal or even just coffee with any author. It’s why I love going to book festivals and writing events. Often it doesn’t matter what they write or if I’ve ever heard of them. I still love to hear them talk about writing, their books, their characters etc.

I’m no Nora Roberts or Stephan King… etc… but perhaps some people out there might be interested in asking questions about my writing, books, characters etc. So I’ve gone ahead and turned on the Ask the Author option at GoodReads.com for the next few days and you can ask a question. Wonder why Tess’ favorite lingerie is Carine Gilson, over La Perla and other couture options? Although I don’t want to give any spoilers, I’d be happy to answer questions about the Valentines and their world, writing, publishing etc. All you have to do is visit my GoodReads profile and scroll down to “Ask the Author” and ask your question.

Ask the Author Jenna Harte

It’s not as exciting as lunch with a mega-super-star author, but it can still be fun! And if you’re not on Goodreads or aren’t a friend of mine there yet, please connect with me!

Review: Out of Bounds

Out of Bounds
Out of Bounds by Dawn Ryder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall I enjoyed this book. I liked how Sabra didn’t succumb to the lust immediately, as often happens in romance books with domineering men. And I like that she challenged Tarek, forcing him to meet her half-way. The love scenes were hot and there is a little bondage and spanking, but it’s more of an aside, not a significant part of the book. I would have liked to have read a little more about Tarek’s inner transformation in terms of seeing Sabra as a long term relationship, but overall, it was a fun, summer read.



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Valentine Mysteries on Special this Holiday Weekend!

Valentine Mystery Series

The 4th of July is mostly known for hotdogs, ice cream and fireworks, but like any other form of summer fun, reading is often involved as well. If you’re looking for romance and mystery this holiday weekend, pick up all four of the Valentine books, on special this weekend.

July 3 through July 5 get Deadly Valentine for free!

July 4th through July 6 get Old Flames Never Die on sale starting at $0.99 cents on Friday (this is a countdown deal so the price will go up each day).

July 5th through July 7 get With This Ring, I Thee Kill on sale starting at $0.99 cents on Saturday (this is a countdown deal so the price will go up each day).

July 8 through July 8 get ‘Til Death Do Us Part on sale starting at $0.99 cents on Sunday (this is a countdown deal so the price will go up each day).

Have a wonderful, safe Fourth of July!

Writing Inspiration from Nora Roberts

Over the weekend I watched a few Youtube interviews of Nora Roberts (I’m a big fan of the J.D. Robb books) because I think her writing pace and story telling are awesome. It made me think of a research project I’d done for a short book about her and the inspiring quotes I’d discovered. Here are couple I saved:

I love this comment about writing love and murder:

“It’s just as much fun to murder someone off as to marry them off.” Houston Chronicle

With 200 books, I’m not sure anyone has as many stories rattling around in their head as Roberts, but I know I have quite a few and would love to be able to start writing and just keep going:

“I always have stories running around in my head. Once I start putting them down on paper, I just keep going; I just keep writing.” Book Reporter.

This one is posted at my computer! When asked by Claire E. White at Writers Write about how she writes love scenes, Roberts said

“Exactly the same way I approach writing any other scene. Action, reaction, motivation, emotion, all have to come from the characters. Writing a love scene requires the same elements from the writer as any other.”

In the end, writers write:

“You’re going to be unemployed if you really think you just have to sit around and wait for the muse to land on your shoulder. That’s not the way I work. I build a story.” WTOP.

 

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.