Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Chocolate Pine Cones – a recipe inspired by Christmas Camp

To make these Christmas pinecone treats, all you will need is:

  • Cooking Chocolate
  • Cornflakes (any brand)
  • Butter
  • Icing sugar
  • Cocoa powder
  • Cupcake cases

Makes 10 or so pinecones

Method:

1. Melt some chocolate in a bowl either in the microwave on in a glass bowl over hot (but not boiling) water.

2. Mix the cornflakes into the melted chocolate, covering them completely. Spread onto a tray in the thinnest layer possible and pop in the fridge for at least 15 mins.

3. Mix 100g of butter with 200g of icing sugar and 50g of cocoa power. Keep mixing until the ingredients combine and form a thick butter icing. The thicker the better!

4. Get an empty cupcake case and your cold and set chocolate covered cornflakes from the fridge.

5. Spoon a blob of icing into the bottom of the cupcake case. Break off small chunks of the cornflakes and stick into the icing at all sides, building higher and higher.

6. Spoon another smaller dollop of icing onto top and stick more chunks of cornflakes on all sides. Stick a final piece of cornflake on top.

7. Pop back in the fridge for as long as you can possibly wait. (I recommend overnight.)

Before serving, you can sprinkle with icing sugar to get that snowy winter effect, or simply leave plain.

Exclusive Author Q&A with Kelly Elliott

Bestselling author Kelly Elliott just launched the first book in a brand new series – and because she rocks, she’s also done this exclusive Q&A for all her readers. Keep reading for the scoop on Seduce Me, and more  . . . 

*****

What’s been your favourite cover of all the books you’ve published, and why?

Oh, that is like asking who your favorite child is! I would probably have to say Wanted. It was my first book I published so it will always have a special place in my heart. The cover for Seduce Me is a close second. I simply adore that cover.

What are your best conditions to read in?

Snuggled up on an oversized chair, a blanket, some hot tea, and my chocolate lab by my side.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

Somewhere in the mountains overlooking a beautiful blue lake.

*****

What was the inspiration behind your new series?

I started writing Seduce Me about three years ago as a side project only. Just a fun story to write that didn’t have any pressures of deadlines or anything like that. My publicist saw I was getting burned out and she was the one who suggested it. I probably spent more time re-writing that book than any book I have ever written, because I had the time to play with it. The story line came to me one day when I was driving and I saw a young couple standing outside an office building in downtown Austin. I was at a light and I watched them walk up to each other and kiss. The way they both looked at each other you just knew they were in love. And from that one simple encounter, my mind started going. I imagined where they worked, what they did for a living, their names. I pretty much had the first part of the book plotted out in my mind before I even got home.

Why have you set this series in Austin, Texas?

One reason is I’m from Austin. The second reason is I was inspired by that one couple on that one street corner in downtown Austin. I knew the book had to be set in Austin.

Have you got a motto you live your life by? If so, what is it?

“Every day of your life is an opportunity to be a blessing to someone.” I truly believe everyone needs some sort of helping hand each day of our lives.  It could be something as simple as holding the door for some and wishing them a good day. You always have a chance to be a positive in someones world.

*****

Which of your characters would you most like to meet in real life?

That is easy! Charleston Monroe, from Seduce Me. She is probably one of my favorite characters I’ve written to date. I love how strong she is, yet vulnerable at the same time. Plus I like her name…and her cat.

Have you always written books? How did you get started?

I knew I wanted to be some sort of writer early on when I was in high school after reading Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I was told by a college professor that I wrote in circles and would never make it as a writer. So, I gave up on that dream and tucked away deep down inside.

Story telling has always been something I loved to do and I did it often in all sorts of ways. Maybe it is the Irish in me!  I filled journals with short stories that I never shared with anyone. Once they were filled up, I threw them out. I kept a journal when I was pregnant with my daughter and filled it with little stories about how my day was. Then I kept another one after I had my daughter. Any excuse to write, and I was writing.  A friend of mine read the journal I kept after Lauren was born and begged me to publish it, but I tucked it away for her to read someday. Then one day I got an idea for a story on my way home from dropping my daughter off at school. I came home, opened my laptop and three weeks later I had Wanted written. The hardest thing I had to do after that was share it with the world. Best decision I ever made.

If childhood Kelly could see you now, what would she be most proud of?

I hope she would be proud of how I have stayed true to myself during this whole process. And if I could give childhood Kelly a piece of advice, it would be not to listen to that college professor and follow her dreams.

*******

Seduce Me is out now, and available to buy in paperback or eBook

Royal Romance competition

To enter simply like and share the competition post the competition post on the Piatkus Facebook.

This competition is run by Little, Brown UK. If you have any issues please email: competitions@littlebrown.co.uk

Terms & Conditions:
1. This is a prize draw for one person to win A Promise of Fire, The Palace of Lost Dreams and Too Wilde To Wed . To enter simply like and share the competition post on the Piatkus Facebook.
2. The winner will be selected at random from the entries received in accordance with these terms and conditions by a member of the Little, Brown Book Group marketing team, whose decision will be final.
3. The winner may see their entry posted on the Little, Brown Book Group (hereinafter the ’Company’) website and on other websites and social media accounts.
4. There is no purchase necessary to enter.
5. The prize draw opens at 09:45 am GMT on 16.05.2018 and closes at 11:59 pm GMT on 20.05.2018. Any entries received outside these specified times and dates will not be eligible for entry into the competition.
6. The prize draw is open to anyone aged 18 or over in the UK, except employees of the Company, their families, or anyone professionally connected to the competition either themselves or through their families.
7. Only one entry per person allowed. Second or subsequent entries will be disqualified. Entries will not be accepted via agents, third parties or in bulk.
8. The Company is not responsible for contacting or forwarding prizes to entrants who provide unclear or incomplete information or for entries lost, misdirected, delayed or destroyed.
9. The Company reserves the right to alter the prizes or cancel the prize draw without notice. No cash alternatives to prizes will be provided.
10. The winner’s name will be published in a direct email to them, as well as the competition page on the Piatkus Entice website, confirming they are the winner. They then have 7 days to claim their prize. If they have not responded via email in 7 days, a new winner will be chosen.
11. The Company will make available the name and county of the winner to anyone who requests this information by writing to the following address Carmelite House, 50 Victoria Embankment, EC4Y 0DZ.
12. The email addresses of entrants may be shared with companies within the Hachette group of companies but will not be shared with other companies outside the Hachette group. It will be used by the Hachette companies to send you news about books, products and promotions. You will be given the option of opting out in those emails if you don’t want to receive any further news.
13. By entering the prize draw you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.
14. This competition is being organised by Little, Brown Book Group, Carmelite House, 50 Victoria Embankment, EC4Y 0DZ.
15. These terms and conditions and any disputes or claims (including non-contractual disputes or claims) arising out of these terms and Conditions shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of England, whose courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction.

Five forbidden love stories

Inspired by the heartrending forbidden love story at the heart of J.R. Ward’s The Chosen, we’ve chosen (ho ho) five of our film favourites . . .


Shakespeare in Love
: Will Shakespeare is suffering from a bad case of writer’s block, and it seems like inspiration will never come – that is, until he meets Viola. Arresting, brilliant and one of his greatest admirers, their love quickly blossoms but is challenged by mistaken identity, backstage drama and the dastardly Lord Wessex . . . A funny, fresh and contemporary take on Shakespeare and his writing, we’ve seen this film countless times and still love it.


Moonlight:
arguably the best film of 2016, Moonlight sheds new light on the forbidden love trope as we follow a young boy, Chiron, coming to terms with his sexuality and racial identity against a backdrop of poverty and violence in contemporary Miami. When he forges a friendship with the charismatic Kevin, Chiron begins to realise just who he is – even if circumstances conspire against their burgeoning relationship. Quietly profound and gorgeously realised, this is a film for the ages.


The English Patient:
When amnesiac WW2 pilot Lazlo de Almásy is pulled from a plane wreckage in North Africa, he finds himself under the care of the beautiful but troubled nurse Hana, who helps him to remember his love affair with the married Katharine Clifton before the war. One of the most sumptuous romantic epics of recent times, and as heartbreaking today as it was on initial release.


All That Heaven Allows: a 50s melodrama that has inspired many other tales of forbidden love (including Fear Eats the Soul and Far From Heaven), the film focuses on the plight of a middle-class widow Cary Scott who falls in love with her much younger gardener (played by Rock Hudson), to the consternation of her snobbish friends and family. Tissues at the ready . . .

 

Harold and Maude: forbidden love is all about breaking down taboos, and this offbeat cult comedy does so with aplomb. When death-obsessed 20-something Harold meets the free-spirited septuagenarian Maude, an unexpected romance blossoms – and though society seems unwilling to accept them, this eccentric couple couldn’t care less.

Free excerpt from Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dragonmark . . .

Tomorrow Sherrilyn Kenyon‘s amazing Dragonmark comes out in paperback! Read an excerpt below… 

—————

Samothraki, Greece 9501 BCE
“The bastards cut his throat. Severed his vocal cords entirely.” Materializing from the frigid depths of his lair, Falcyn cursed as he saw his brother, Maxis, dragging Illarion into his dark den behind
him. For years they’d been searching for their youngest dragon-brother, who’d been captured by humans for who knew what nightmarish horrors. But no trace had ever been found of the young dragonet.

Until now.

So large that he barely fit through the cave opening, Maxis released his hold on their baby brother and allowed Illarion to sprawl across the floor. Blood seeped over his yellowish-orange
scales. Both of his wings lay broken and useless against the cold earthen floor. His breathing shallow as he struggled desperately to stay conscious, Illarion blinked his serpentine yellow eyes slowly. Painfully.
So much needless misery—it radiated from the child to the core of Falcyn’s being. And it made his own eyes turn vibrant red as bloodlust rose
within him. Knowing he couldn’t tend his brother in his native dragon body, Falcyn shifted into the hated form of a human. The moment he did so, Illarion let out a gurgling hiss and rolled into an attack position even though it had to be agony for him to move.

“Easy, little brother.”

Falcyn spoke in their native drakyn—the true language all dragons spoke. One that sounded feral and unintelligible to humans. He held his hand out toward Illarion as a peace offering. While he might temporarily wear the skin of a man, Falcyn was and would always be a dragon in his heart and soul. “You know me. I need this form to heal you. Now calm yourself before you do more harm.”

A single crystalline tear fell from the corner of Illarion’s serpentine eye.

In that moment, Falcyn hated humanity more than he ever had—something he wouldn’t have thought possible. He reached to stroke Illarion’s gray-scaled snout. “Shh . . .”
Illarion backed up, then collapsed. Maxis gasped as he gently nuzzled the much smaller dragon and tucked his own wings against his body. Ignoring the fact that Max was a giant beast of a dragon who
could swallow him whole in his current incarnation, Falcyn shoved Max’s head away. “He’s passed out from the pain, Yaya. Now move your hulking arse so I can help him.”

Max shuffled back to make more room. “Will he live?”
“I don’t know. Where did you find him?”
“I didn’t. He found me.” Guilt and agony haunted Max’s eyes. “He can no longer Bane-Cry. The bastards took his ability to call us when they slit his throat.”
Falcyn ground his teeth as even more unmitigated rage tore through him. “Then we will teach him a new way to call for us. One they won’t be able to stop.”

Max nodded and looked away. “This is my fault.”
“Don’t!”
“It is and you know it. My mother gave him to the humans to get back at me for what I said to her. Had I cooperated . . . given her what she—”
“She would have screwed over the world, and he still would have paid for her cruelty. The lilitu are without the ability to care for their young. You know this. My own mother watched as they sacrificed me on my birth. All it did was teach me that we’re in this life alone, cradle to grave, and make me bitter and disgusted.”

Max swallowed before he spoke again. “Is that why you can take human form when no other dragon can?”

Falcyn didn’t answer his question. It was the one thing he would never speak of. To anyone. No one needed to know anything about him. Not even those he considered his brothers. Nor was he the only dragon who could shift . . . But there were many things his brothers and sisters didn’t need to know about this world.

“His physical injuries are not so bad,” he said, changing the subject. “We should be able to heal him.”
“But?”
“He’s only a child. I fear for the mental damage they’ve wrought.”
“As do I. They were using him to fight in their wars. Riding him like he was a thoughtless beast.”
Falcyn winced. Too bad Illarion hadn’t been a full-grown drakomas. That was the fury the humans deserved. Not the small child who lay helpless at his feet. One who’d been unable to fully fight them and give them the fyrebreath and dragon’s fury they deserved. In that moment, he felt the demon within him rising. It wanted to set fire to the world and watch it burn to cinders. If mankind had any idea how often they tempted him toward destruction they’d never sleep again. Times like this, it took everything he had not to give in to that darkness that burned inside him, calling for the hearts and souls of all sentient beings. Even the gods.

That was what made it so hard to relate to Maxis. Part Arel, he was the direct opposite. He saw only good inside even the most corrupt. It was sickening, really. The way his brother wanted to help others. That innate need Max had to protect and to serve. It was ever revolting. Now Illarion had been given his first taste of humanity. And like Falcyn’s, it had been a most bitter meal. If the dragonet did survive this, he wouldn’t have Max’s blood in him that would want to protect the human vermin who’d tortured him. Illarion’s father was the Greek god Ares. A war god. The humans had no idea what they’d been toying with. With the blood Illarion carried, he would become one of the strongest of their kind once he reached his majority. A dragon of fierce, unmatched powers.

Falcyn’s hand lingered at the brand on his brother’s back where the humans had marked Illarion like cattle. It festered and bled. Sadly, it would leave as bad a scar on his body as this entire ordeal had left on his brother’s psyche. May the gods have mercy on them all. . . .

For Illarion would not.

—————

Need to read more? We feel your pain! Order the PB below, and keep watching Piatkus Fiction for upcoming Kenyon competitions….

Amazon

Waterstones

Hive

WHS

 

The War Bride, Pamela Hart Excerpt

To celebrate Pamela Hart‘s gorgeously romantic novel The War Bride being shortlisted in the Epic Romantic Novel category for the 2017 RoNAs, we’ve got an excerpt from it for you! Enjoy!

Prologue
13 January 1920

There didn’t seem to be a band playing. And only a few people on the wharf at Dawes Point. A handful of Army types, a man in a suit waiting with a taxi, and the normal number of stevedores lounging around, grabbing a smoko while they waited for their cargo to arrive.

Frank was surprised. The last time a war-bride ship had docked – when his mate Smitty’s girl came out – there had been crowds, an Army brass band, streamers and shouting and crying – even a man with a placard saying, ‘Welcome to your new home, Mavis’. He’d thought about making one of those for Margaret, but now he was glad he hadn’t. He felt silly enough, clutching a bunch of roses in a sweaty hand.

He hoped he’d still recognise her. Two years and four months was a long time, and women did things with their hairstyles. Clothes were different. But surely Margaret’s tall, slender form would stand out the way it had at Reading train station, when they’d said goodbye. Surely he couldn’t mistake that lovely, soft smile of hers for anyone else?

It was hot already, and humid, as Sydney summers always were, but he was ruefully aware that the sweat running down his back wasn’t only from the heat.

Wound tighter than a watch spring, he was. Two years and four months and no giving in to temptation, no matter what. A married man, and he’d stuck to it, and God hadn’t it been hard! But today . . . the house he’d found for them was all ready, the bed made with brand-new sheets. A thorn pricked his thumb and he loosened his grip; not long now.

The SS Waimana loomed closer; still painted in its camouflage colours, even now, fourteen months after the war had ended. Frank blinked, confused. There weren’t any passengers lining the rails – no, wait, there were a couple on the top deck, holding up some kiddies to see. Where were the women? This was supposed to be a war-bride ship. It should have been packed to the gunnels.

The ship was tied up and the gangplank put across the gap. A trickle of passengers came down, but the only young woman who emerged was a redhead. She winked at him as she went past, her hand tucked into a corporal’s arm. That was all – the others were a family group and a couple of men in suits.

Where was Margaret? He checked the letter from the Repatriation Committee again, for the tenth time; yes, the Waimana, arriving January 1920, check shipping news for arrival date. Which he had. Surely she hadn’t got off at Fremantle or Melbourne? Maybe most of the women had been going to Melbourne, and that was why the ship was nearly empty. That would be it. But where was Margaret?

Who could he ask? An Army sergeant was checking off the corporal and his redhead from a list. With the enlisted man’s instinctive avoidance of authority, Frank went instead to a sailor who was securing the mooring ropes at the bow of the ship.

‘My wife was supposed to be on this ship,’ he began.

The sailor hawked and spat into the greasy Harbour water. ‘Soddin’ women.’

Frank ignored his comment.

‘Margaret Dalton?’ he asked.

The sailor looked at the sky and sucked his teeth, thinking. ‘Brown hair? Good looker? About so high?’ He measured against himself. Frank nodded.

‘Yerse, I remember her. There were only a couple without their blokes. She came on board, but she took herself off again. Women – always changing their bluidy minds.’

He’d felt cold like this when he’d been shot, at Passchendaele, in the streaming mud, trying to crawl under barbed wire. The shock had gone through him the same way, exactly.

‘Took herself off . . .’ he managed.

The sailor shrugged and made fast, then circled him to get back on board.

‘Life’s a shit, eh?’ he said as he climbed the gangplank.

Frank threw the roses into the gutter as he walked away. Walked and walked, hot in his good suit (his only suit) and his shiny shoes.

Part of him wasn’t surprised. He’d always known that Margaret was too good for him. Too beautiful, too kind, too loving. He wasn’t worth that kind of girl; a nameless orphan with nothing more than what his two hands could make. But she hadn’t seemed to realise that. Had seemed to think they were on a par, that she was making a good bargain. Had seemed to look forward to a life in Australia.

When she’d walked with him to the station to see him off to the front, she’d cried silently, surreptitiously rubbing the tears away from her face, not wanting to make him feel any worse. They’d only been married a month, then, and parting had been so hard. When they’d kissed goodbye, her soft mouth had been salty with tears.

She’d loved him then, he was certain.

Two years and four months was a long time. Long enough, it seemed, for her to change her mind, even if it was at the last moment.

He’d had letters; but not for a while, now he thought about it. A few months. Maybe that should have made him realise. Made him prepare himself, instead of being side-swiped like this.

She should have warned him. Told him she’d had doubts. He could have reassured her. Hell, he would have gone to England to fetch her if he’d had to.

Unless someone else had changed her mind for her.

The thought of Margaret with another man hit him low and hard, and left him gasping.

He needed a drink. There was a pub on the corner. Not one he’d been in before, but it was open. He went in and hesitated, then ordered a whisky. Beer wouldn’t chase away this shaking feeling inside him; wouldn’t put him solidly on his feet again.

One whisky didn’t, either. He had another, and another. A vague sense that he was spending too much money sent him out the door, jingling the coins in his pocket, along with the key to the house he’d prepared so carefully for Margaret.

It made him sick to think of living there alone. Made him walk faster, as if to outdistance the thought.

He stopped for breath and realised that he’d walked a long way; had taken a familiar path, to Stanmore, and Gladys.

Well, why not? Hell, he’d been faithful the whole time, and what did he have to show for it? Anger rose up in him, finally chasing away the cold, sick dread. If Margaret didn’t want him, there was one who did. Who always had. And there was no reason now that his daughter couldn’t have a proper father.

That thought was the first good one he’d had. It would be wonderful to see more of Violet.

He turned into Cavendish Street and walked up to number 64, Mrs Leydin’s boarding house, where Glad had a room for her and Violet. For a moment, before he knocked, he was afraid that she wouldn’t want him, either. That she’d throw him off because he hadn’t chosen her over Margaret, despite the fact that Margaret was his lawful wedded wife. He was frozen with that fear, for a moment; that he’d be back to being alone in the world, as he always had been until that miraculous day that Margaret had said she would marry him. Alone and forsaken. But he wasn’t alone. Violet would always be his.

His knock would have woken the dead.

It was still early; Glad was on second shift at the biscuit factory, and she hadn’t left for work yet. She answered the door and put her hand to her heart as she saw him; did he look that bad?

‘She didn’t come,’ he said.

Her pale little face flushed and she took his hand almost shyly. ‘I’m sorry,’ she said. That was Gladys. She was sorry, always, at anything that caused him pain. She really loved him. Tears came to his eyes but he didn’t want her to see, so he pulled her into his arms and hugged her. Violet came running out of their room and crowed with delight to see him.

‘Papa!’ she yelled. She barrelled into his legs and he swept her up with one arm, still holding Gladys tightly with the other. He kissed Vi’s cheek and she threw her little arms around his neck. There was nothing like that feeling.

Gladys leaned her head against his shoulder; her love and acceptance soothed the raw wound of Margaret’s rejection.

‘You and Vi should move in with me,’ he said. ‘We’ll be a proper family.’

‘Yes,’ Glad said. She smoothed his hair back and smiled at him. There was a hint of sadness at the back of her eyes, but he concentrated on the smile, mirroring it until the sadness disappeared. ‘A proper family.’

The War Bride is available to buy now! Get it here:

Ebook

Amazon

Waterstones

WHSmith

And Pamela’s newest book, A Letter From Italy is published in ebook tomorrow!! Pre-order here!

Five Tips for a Lovely Regency Christmas

Holiday celebrations have changed significantly over the past 200 years, but our Regency ancestors knew how to have a fine time at Yuletide. The custom of putting up a Christmas tree (or hanging one from the ceiling) had yet to catch on. Rum had already been invented, however, and this more than compensated for the lack of Christmas trees. Santa Claus was Father Christmas, and he wore flattering full-length green robes rather than that silly red get-up. No flying livestock, either. No Grinch, not even a Tiny Tim.
However did they manage days of yore? (Other than the rum?) It took planning, diligence, and a big bowl of wassail, but manage they did, as follows:

1) They hung mistletoe EVERYWHERE. Mistletoe was suspended from the rafters, from bonnets, from hat brims, and from awnings. We know this because every historical romance author who ever wrote a Christmas story tells us so (including present company).

 

 

 

2) About that wassail. Recipes lovingly preserved through the ages inform us that wassail was concocted of hard cider, nutmeg, ginger, flirtation (some recipes call for a lot of this), mischief, cinnamon, and laughter. Once the wassail had been properly appreciated, the next joy to be experienced during the Regency holiday was…

 

 

 

3) Sleighriding. Thanks to an obliging volcano, some of the Regency winters were truly impressive. Much glee was to be derived hitching up Olde Thunderbolte to the sleigh and taking off across the arctic countryside at a brisk canter. Windchill factors hadn’t been invented yet (fortunately), but no matter. Enterprising Regency folk coped with the pleasure of a winter headwind by snuggling VERY closely under those lap robes. As a consequence, most children in the rural parishes of Regency England were born in September. (I am making that up, though three of my four brothers were born in September, and my mom’s birthday was December 30. Go fig.) If sleighriding paled, there was always the…

4) Frost Fair on the Thames! The Victorians dredged and narrowed the Thames river channel, an inspired gesture in the direction of flushing the figurative London potty. The downside (well) of their engineering genius is that the river, having a faster current, hasn’t frozen solid since the Regency. No more Frost Fairs for us, though we do have the food hall at Harrod’s. I still think ice skating from booth to booth would have been a cool way to Christmas shop. And finally…

5) Mustn’t forget the plum pudding. No plums, of course, but that sucker was probably 180 proof by the time Mama brought it flaming to the table. One serving of plum pudding and even after a day of sleighriding or shopping the frost fair, your toes would thaw instantly.

All of which is to say, that with enough love and laughter, no matter the century, the holidays are still the holidays—but I do think we could use a little more respect for the traditional use of mistletoe!

The Black Dagger Brotherhood in 60 Seconds

excited awesome screaming happy dance jonah hill

Rhage is back! Or, he will be in just a few short days.

With J. R. Ward’s The Beast about to hit shelves we thought we’d better get in some prep work. So we’ve called in Black Dagger Brotherhood expert Gemma Harding of  Book Mood Reviews to give you the lowdown on J. R. Ward’s fabulous series in 60 seconds*. Here are her answers to our pressing questions . . .

  1. What’s the single most important thing we need to know about the Black Dagger Brotherhood series?

That this 13, nearly 14, book series is seriously addictive and with each book you are drawn further into the world.

 

  1. In five sentences tell us what the series is about. Go:

The Black Dagger Brotherhood series started off as a paranormal romance series about a band of warrior vampires who not only protect humanity, but also their own race from a group of demon like beings called Lessers. It has evolved from each book being a standalone paranormal romance, where a particular male character ended up getting his happy ever after with the love of a good woman (whether vampire, mortal or other), to that of a very complex and heavily plotted urban fantasy series, with romantic elements. The world has widened, with other supernatural species such as sympaths and shadows now a big part of the universe. The series is still about The Black Dagger Brotherhood fighting against their enemies, but it is not just the Lessers and also has politically motivated coups against The King, Wrath,  to keep the characters on their toes. This is all against a backdrop of a group of male vampires trying to protect the women they love and the family they have built.

 

  1. What’s your favourite book in the series?

My favourite book in the series is still Lover Mine, which is centred around John Matthews (or JM), a half vampire/ half human relation to Wrath’s wife Beth, and Xhex a half sympath/ half vampire warrior working for the sympath King Rhevenge. This is the book, for me at least, I saw a change in the direction of the series. It wasn’t as heavily centred on the two leads and Ward seemed to be starting to go down the Urban Fantasy route. Plus, it was the start of my love for a certain pairing.

 

  1. Who’s your favourite character?

My favourite character changes all the time, but the character who always returns to the top of the list has to be Vishous, or V as he is known in the books. He is the Son of the Scribe Virgin (sort of the goddess of the race) and a mean S.O.B called The Bloodletter. V has the right balance of being a sarcastic, mean kick-ass fighter and a really deep and sensitive guy. This is especially true when he meets his other half, Jane, and the continual bromance he has with Butch, an ex-cop turned vampire. (Told you that it was complex).

 

  1. Why do you love J. R. Ward’s books?

For me, I think it is because Ward is trying to continually evolve and change the series with each book. Ward can really write great alpha males and is able to make each of them different and stand out. Each character has their own fears and vulnerabilities, and although that they do prevail, it isn’t without sacrifice. Ward isn’t scared to take risks with her plots and although there have been a few books in the series that I haven’t loved, I still keep reading because she knows how to dangle a carrot under the readers’ nose to make them need to read the next book in the series.

 

  1. Complete the following sentence: If you like x, y and z, you’ll love J. R. Ward

If you like Hot Vampire Warriors, some steamy Romance and kick-ass action, you’ll love J. R. Ward.

 

Many thanks to Gemma for kicking off our celebrations for The Beast and sharing her love for The Black Dagger Brotherhood!

We can’t wait to see what everyone thinks of the book . . . so this week and next we’ll be reminiscing about Rhage, the brothers and our love of all things Ward over on Facebook. Come join us.

 *so, maybe more than 60 seconds, but you can never have too much J. R. Ward.

The best things about being a romantic

The season of romance is upon us as the 14th February looms ever closer. Hearts, flowers, chocolates and cherubs. What’s not to love?!being a romantic

Over the years I’ve realised a few things about being a romantic and why it can be so great! Here’s my top 5 favourite things.

Optimism – never giving up on love

I forever believe that love is out there for me! The idea that love will be a constant in life is the best feeling. After a bad date I pick myself up and tell myself there is something better out there for not only me but everyone! My optimism can sometimes splay into OVERLY optimistic, which, truth be told can be a rather large downside, with friends thinking I’m absurd. But hey, life is too brilliant to not find someone to share it with, right?

Treating others

When you’re a romantic you love planning special things for those you care most about. Whether it be making their favourite meal or planning a surprise trip, we romantics LOVE this stuff. The best part though is how happy it makes others too. Knowing someone’s done something special for you is a great feeling and everyone deserves to feel like this. So romantics out there, continue to spread that pink, glitter coated love.

Feeling like you’re in a Disney film

Now this one may not be universal, but for me when romance is swirling around my head, I like to think of myself in a Disney film, birds singing and mice helping me design a dress for a ball (ok that last one might be a step too far). However, what I do love in Disney is that it all works out and everyone lives happily ever after, which is a lovely turn out for the books. Really, this is idealistic view is at the core of every romantic and that is AWESOME!

Always having great stories to tell

Whether your romantic ideas play out well or not, you’ll always have a great story to tell. Like that time I cooked a lovely meal for an old boyfriend and as I went to serve it, dropped it all over the floor and his lap. Embarrassment levels were high at the time, but the story went down very well with friends. He wasn’t so impressed with a scorching lap of pasta though.

Being the one people come to for romantic advice

I love sharing my romantic advice with friends and even strangers (if I can make them listen!) But what I love most is when friends come to me for advice and I can help them create an amazing surprise for someone. It’s great to turn non-romantics to the side of love and help someone make the best surprise.

 

All in all, I think we can agree being a romantic is pretty great. We’d love to hear about your favourite romantic stories, so share away on our Piatkus Entice Twitter and Facebook pages!

Love, Aimee