Sexy Romances with scary kinks for Halloween

October 29, 2021 ebooks, Reviews Comments (0) 985

It’s almost Halloween, and the season of spooky comes to an end. I’m going to miss it, but thankfully, there are sexy books to indulge in the shivery feeling of fear all year round.

Fear can be a great aphrodisiac, as long as you feel actually safe while experiencing the kick of adrenaline. Playing with fear can be as incongruous as watching a horror movie with your date (ah, the memories… 20 years ago, I watched Scream on my very first date with my husband), riding a rollercoaster, or something as elaborate as creating a kinky scene.

If that’s already too real for you, worry not: I’ve got you. Below are a few romance book recs containing scary kinks and fear play, including my latest release, Skulls & Scares. This novella is part of my new Masters of The Manor series, which centers on the Masters of a private BDSM Club, The Manor (duh), in a rainy little town in the Pacific Northwest: Rainfall. Continue Reading

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10 Great Age-Gap Romance Novels

August 23, 2021 Reviews, Uncategorized Comments (0) 1714

Age-gap romances are a whole category of their own inside the romance genre. I can either eat them up like candy or sneak a peek and run the other way. It depends on the specific constellation in the book in question, but maybe some of it depends on my own biases, too. It’s a complicated relationship.

Next month, my 20th anniversary with my husband is coming up. As my kids like to remind us (frequently, with the judgement only teenagers muster over their parent’s life choices), we have a little age gap. All things considered, a seven-year difference isn’t the world and hardly even counts as a contender in the age-gap romance category. But given my barely legal age of 18 when we married, I get why my kids find it gross. I would blow a gasket if one of them started seeing an older person at their current age. Continue Reading

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Review: Captive in the Underworld by Lianyu Tan

January 14, 2021 Reviews Comments (0) 1800

Once in a while, I crave dark romance. Not often, mind. It’s a sudden thirst, and one or two books later it’s already sated. I don’t know what speaks to me, or which deep, weird corner of my mind needs this fix. But there it is.

When I discovered this gem, I wasn’t even looking for dark romance but for retellings of the Hades and Persephone myth. (Seems counter-intuitive, but I’ll go into that another time.)

A genderbent F/F dark romance retelling of Hades and Persephone? YES, PLEASE. I preordered Lianyu Tan’s debut novel, and friends, I was not disappointed!

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Fairy Tale Retellings: King Thrushbeard

December 16, 2020 About Romance, Reviews Comments (0) 1566

King Who?

Whenever someone asked me what my favorite fairy tale was, I would answer “King Thrushbeard.” It’s a lesser known little tale that has nothing to do with STDs and no, it isn’t another name for Bluebeard either, although there might be similarities in its theme.

Today, my answer to the question above would be different, but during my formative years, this little tale left a considerable impression. The baby kinkster in me was probably drawn to the powerful theme of punishment underlying it. Continue Reading

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Review: A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole

May 16, 2019 Reviews Comments (0) 2428

Alyssa Cole’s A Prince on Paper is the third full length novel in her Reluctant Royals series. I loved A Princess in Theory. I loved, loved, loved A Duke by Default. And I couldn’t wait for A Prince on Paper to come out. I preordered it the minute I finished A Duke by Default. Continue Reading

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Review: Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole

May 10, 2019 Reviews Comments (0) 1952

Can’t Escape Love is a novella in Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series. It follows Reggie, twin sister of A Duke by Default heroine Portia. Reggie is a  geek with mobility devices, and falls for Gus, puzzle aficionado and escape room designer on the autism spectrum.

Without knowing, they had a vital influence on each other’s life, pushing them to pursue their passions, without ever even seeing each other. That’s the beauty of the internet right there! Without fandom and the friends I made through it, I wouldn’t be here writing either. Continue Reading

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The Handmaiden: Pornography, Gaslighting, and Uncle Bluebeard

April 17, 2019 Reviews, Uncategorized Comments (0) 9856

The first time I read Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith, I was struck by its beautiful prose. The novel’s adaptation The Handmaiden (2016) achieves something similar with its lush aesthetic. Its beautiful, calm shots hide a thick plot of layered manipulation.

The Handmaiden transports the plot of Fingersmith from Victorian England to Korea in the 1930s under Japanese occupation. Despite this change in location and time, the movie follows the book’s plot closely — until it doesn’t. When reading, I wasn’t prepared for the big plot twist at the end of the first part of the book. The movie kept the three-act-structure of the book, and I knew what was coming. And yet, director Park took the twist and twisted it again so cleverly that I was as surprised as with the book.

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Roadhouse Blues by Malin James

July 11, 2017 About Me, Reviews Comments (4) 2772

This is a reaction to reading Roadhouse Blues by Malin James, not a review, and as such, it’s messy and as much about myself as it is about the book.

I was not prepared. Continue Reading

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Cupcakes and Bees

February 26, 2017 About Me, Reviews, Uncategorized Comments (0) 1435

This will be a bit of a all-over-the-place kinda post. There will be some legal talk about beekeeping, sinful baking, and some book review quickies.

First, I switched projects once again. As I got stuck writing Durwin’s story, I decided to work on something else instead. So now I’m working on a fun romp of a first draft I finished quite a while ago. Editing! Fun! Wow, I really love me some commas. And those over-complicated, never-ending, convoluted sentences! The draft is a mess, and after going through it a first time, I was ready to give up and move on. On the other hand, I had tons of fun rereading it. Which means:

No giving up this time, Jo!

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Tiny Beautiful Things: Love Letter to a book that thoroughly gutted me

September 15, 2016 Reviews Comments (0) 1920

This isn’t a review. Rather, it’s a love letter to Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed, and also an overdue Thank-You-note.

Two years ago, one of my very dear friends from the Internet (YES, YOU CAN MEET REAL PEOPLE ONLINE, AND IT’S AMAZING) sent me a package for Christmas. In it was a jar of cherry marmalade, a dish towel with a cherry print, an interesting sort of popcorn that tasted mind-blowing to my un-American taste buds, a mug with a “Write like a motherfucker” print, and, most importantly, a book that held the key to the motivating but mysterious mug: Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things. Continue Reading

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