Plot Type: Soul Mate Romance (SMR)
Ratings: Violence—4; Sensuality—4; Humor—2-3
Publisher and Titles: St. Martin's Press
1 How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days (3/2017)
2 So I Married a Sorcerer (8/2017)
|MAP OF AERTHLAN|
Sorry about the line down the middle of the map. I couldn't
prevent it because the map covers two pages of the book.
The series heroines are all young and beautiful women who have been raised by the nuns who run the Convent of Two Moons on the Isle of Moon. Their religious beliefs are centered on Aerthlan's two moons, as are those of the fishermen and their families who live on the neighboring Isle of Mist.
Each hero is a handsome, brave young man who grew up in one of the countries on the mainland: Eberon, Tourin, Norveshka, or Woodwyn. The countries are ruled by kings who are constantly at war with one another. On the mainland, the kings are too macho to worship a female god, so they worship the sun, a male god. There is also Rupert's Island, which is ruled by the pirate and sorcerer, Rupert, who is the hero of the second book.
Twice a year, the two moons align (or embrace) and if a child is born that night, he or she receives some sort of supernatural power. These gifted children are called the Embraced. The power-mad kings do not want anyone to have special powers that they don't have, so in their four countries, the Embraced are considered to be abominations who are immediately killed by the kings' assassins. A few parents have been able to send their Embraced children to safety to the convent on the Isle of Moon, where they are raised with no knowledge of or contact with their families. The families pretend that the children died at birth so that they are not punished by the kings. This series tells the stories of five of the Embraced young women, one novel at a time: Luciana, Brigitta, Gwennore, Sorcha, and Maeve.
In the first novel we get clues as to the homelands of the five girls: the family of Luciana (book 1 heroine) is from Eberon. Brigitta (book 2 heroine) looks like the people from the kingdom of Tourin. Gwennore (book 3 heroine) has the lavender-blue eyes and pointed ears of the elves of Woodwyn. Sorcha, with her fiery red hair, probably came from Norveshka. That leaves Maeve, who (based on some not-so-subtle clues in novel 1) probably has relatives on the Isle of Mist.
NOVEL 1: How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days
As one of the Embraced―one born with magical powers―the beautiful, innocent Luciana escaped certain death after her father hid her away on the Isle of Moon. Now, nineteen years later, her father has returned with a frightening request. He will be executed unless Luciana returns to the mainland and marries a man feared throughout the land: a terrifying brute known as the Beast.
The primary villain is King Frederick, a clichéd, one-dimensional, power-mad sociopath who adds absolutely nothing to the value of the story. He has either killed or banished all of his relatives because he fears that they might try to take the throne away from him. At a certain point in the story, Leo becomes Frederick's immediate successor. Leo has absolutely no interest in the throne, but Frederick doesn't believe that. Frederick can't imagine anyone not wanting to be the supreme ruler of Eberon so he keeps coming up with new ways to get rid of Leo. Frederick had hoped that as Lord Protector of the Realm, Leo would be killed in battle like his father was, but so far that hasn't happened.
The Romance: In the primary story line, the slowly blooming romance between Luciana and Leo bumps along painfully at first but then picks up speed in the second half of the book. One of their main problems, of course, is that Leo is afraid to touch Luciana for fear that he will kill her with his electricity. (The resolution of that problem is predictable from the very beginning of their relationship.)
The Twin Sister: Luciana can see and talk with her dead twin, Tatiana, who turns out to be a spoiled brat who (at first) makes fun of Luciana and has no interest at all in helping her adjust to life on the mainland. Fortunately, Tatiana eventually has a change of heart and the two become friends.
Leo and Luciana's Family Histories: Both grew up without a mother (and Luciana had no parents at all during her childhood). Luciana manages to make contact with her mother's ghost and get the whole story on what happened when she was born. There are a number of angst-filled scenes involving flashbacks to Leo's early years.
Leo's Friends: They play different roles in his life and one has a special gift that he keeps secret from everyone but Leo. I'm guessing that at least one of them will be the hero of a future book. The interactions among these friends are the source of lots of sarcastic "bro" humor.
The Assassination Attempts: At a certain point in the story, the King begins to send assassins to kill Luciana, so Leo has to come up with inventive ways to protect her and outwit the killers.
Click HERE to read or listen to an excerpt from How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days on its Amazon.com page. Just click on the cover art for print or the "Listen" icon for audio. If you haven't read the sixteen LOVE AT STAKE novels, you should give them a try. Click HERE to read my reviews.
Growing up on the Isle of Moon, Brigitta knew that she was born with the magical powers of the Embraced―even if she did not know how to wield them. But she has finally learned the truth: Brigitta is the lost princess of the kingdom of Tourin. She was sent into hiding as an infant to escape the wrath of her half-brother, the king. And now he knows just where to find her.
NOVEL 3: Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon
Gwennore has a talent. An Elf able to track down the cause of an illness and heal it, she’s a valuable asset to her people. But when the kidnapping of a young girl thrusts Gwennore into the very heart of the realm of the dragons, she discovers not only a place of power and magic, but also a haunted land, plagued by an ancient curse that all but ensures extinction to the royal family. But when she meets the smoldering General Silas Dravenko, they strike a bargain—save the country from its cursed illness, and he will return the kidnapped girl. She’s been raised never to trust a dragon, but never did making a deal with the devil feel so good.