Category Archives: Romance

Historical Romance Review: Brazen Ecstasy by Janelle Taylor

Brazen Ecstasy is the best of first four books Janelle Taylor’s in the “Ecstasy/Gray Eagle” series so far.

book review historical romance
Brazen Ecstasy by Janelle Taylor
Rating: five-stars
Published: 1983
Illustrator: Walter Popp
Imprint or Line: Zebra Historical Romance
Book Series: Savage/ Gray Eagle Series #4
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper, Colonial Era Romance
Pages: 496
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon


Historical Romance Review: Brazen Ecstasy by Janelle Taylor

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

This review is of Brazen Ecstasy, book #4 in the Ecstasy/Gray Eagle Series by Kensington/ Zebra author Janelle Taylor.

The Plot

Alisha and Gray Eagle Separated Yet Again!

When Brazen Ecstasy begins, it has been five years since Alisha Williams and Oglala Lakota warrior Gray Eagle first met. Despite numerous hardships–many self-inflicted–they have welcomed a son, Bright Arrow. They are very much in love and happy.

Which–of course–means something will soon shatter their happiness. Two things, in fact.

The first incident is when American soldiers kidnap Bright Arrow in an effort to bring Gray Eagle to heel. This effort fails somewhat as Gray Eagle rescues his son. However, there is tragic news. During the rescue, Alisha was hit on the head, fell into a raging river, and got swept away.

Gray Eagle’s tribe believes she’s dead!

Fortunately–or not–Alisha is rescued by Brave Bear, her former Blackfoot suitor. But Alisha has suffered amnesia from the head injury. She doesn’t remember the last five years of her life.

brazen ecstasy

The Other Woman Makes Trouble

That creates many issues between her and Gray Eagle when he finally decides to search for her and brings her back to the Oglala camp.

Because while Alisha was with Brave Bear’s people, Leah Winston, a white slave with a strong resemblance to Alisha, set her eyes on Gray Eagle.

She does her best to take advantage of Alisha’s absence by ingratiating herself with Bright Arrow.

Then Leah attempts to seduce Gray Eagle– and almost succeeds. But despite the blatant evidence of physical attraction to her–if you know what I mean, and I think you do!–our hero ultimately rebuffs her advances.

For such acts of other-woman villainy, Leah is fated to die later on when trying to kill Alisha/Shalee.

Alisha’s amnesia–plus Leah’s taunts about her (non-existent) affair with Gray Eagle–exacerbates the rift between the two protagonists, who briefly separate–again.

Ah, but love wins out, and in time, the couple reconciles.

A secret is revealed. Gray Eagle and his warriors take their revenge upon the White soldiers for the previous attack. And for a while, happiness comes to Alisha and Gray Eagle.

The Upside

Mrs. Taylor is at her evocative, flowery, lyrical best in Brazen Ecstasy.

The characters are developed, and the emotional level is turned up to 11.

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The arguments that Alisha and Gray Eagle had with each other could have easily happened today, as in 1782–when the book is set. Or in 1983 when the Brazen Ecstasy was first published.

Downside

No matter how evil Leah was, that does not excuse Running Wolf, Gray Eagle’s father, for raping her.

During the quarrels Alisha and Gray Eagle have regarding Leah, his behavior comes across as very childish. Gray Eagle lacks any sympathy and understanding for Alisha’s trauma from her kidnapping.

Sex

very warm heat level

The love scenes in Brazen Ecstasy are a bit more graphic than in the previous books in the series. It’s still not erotica, but there’s a little more pepper in the soup here.

Violence

In addition to the aforementioned rape of Leah and the assault on Alisha, there are other scenes of assault, shootings, and other forms of violence. The violence is not as graphic as in the first book in the series, Savage Ecstasy.

Bottom Line on Brazen Ecstasy

Brazen Ecstasy is the best of Janelle Taylor’s first four books in the “Ecstasy/ Gray Eagle” series so far. (#1 Savage Ecstasy, #2 Defiant Ecstasy, and #3 Forbidden Ecstasy.)

It is not flawless, but it is very, very good.

Rating Report Card
Plot
4.5
Characters
5
Writing
4.5
Chemistry
4.5
Fun Factor
5
Cover
4.5
Overall: 4.7

Synopsis

For four years, green-eyed Alisha Williams had been Princess Shalee, the cherished wife of the Oglala Chief Gray Eagle. Still their love was stronger than the surging white water of a snow-swollen stream and even more powerful then the fiery crimson sun that commanded the earth. But fate envied their perfect love and swept the stunning Alisha down a raging river and out of Gray Eagle’s life…

There was no way Gray Eagle could know that his love was alive when his empty teepee proved she was gone. But the daily torment of his lonely heart and the nightly agony of unfulfilled passion insisted that somehow she had survived destiny’s decree. He had rescued Alisha many times before — somehow he would find her once more. No river was too wide and no journey was too long to find his beloved, to share again their BRAZEN ECSTASY…

BRAZEN Ecstasy by Janelle Taylor
smoke in the wind len goldberg

Category Romance Review: Smoke in the Wind by Robyn Donald

Smoke in the Wind by Robyn Donald features one of her trademark piggishly cruel heroes. In spite of his repugnant deeds against the heroine, this is one of Donald’s better books.

category romance
Smoke in the Wind by Robyn Donald
Rating: four-half-stars
Published: 1988
Illustrator: Len Goldberg
Imprint or Line: Harlequin Presents #1104
Published by: Harlequin, Mills & Boon
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 192
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Category Romance Review: Smoke in the Wind by Robyn Donald

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

Smoke in the Wind by Robyn Donald features one of her trademark piggishly cruel heroes. In spite of his repugnant deeds against the heroine, this is one of Donald’s better books.

Your mileage may vary, as I have a weird penchant for these kinds of crazy stories–when they’re done right. Smoke in the Wind is one of them.

The Characters and the Set-Up

The reason this so-called hero didn’t detract from the story was the refreshingly capable heroine, Venetia Gamble (what a great name!), who had tons of fortitude. Alas, not enough for her to dump the porcine swine and get with a better man.

Venetia is a hot up-and-coming news reporter in New Zealand. Ryan Fraine, a famous documentary filmmaker, is in the Land of White Clouds looking to set up a new TV station. When these two high-powered professionals meet, the temperature is off the charts.

Venetia had been hurt in love before. At only 23, she has a failed marriage behind her. After getting pregnant at 17, her guardians–her aunt and uncle–forced her and her boyfriend into a shotgun wedding. The marriage ended not long after she miscarried the baby. Despite that, she and her ex-husband are on friendly terms.

Ryan is a bachelor who has pumped and dumped every Kiwi beauty from Cape Reinga to Wellington to Bluff. (Impressed with my geographical skills? It’s easy when you have the internet!) He’s a typical Robyn Donald hero, a sexist bigot sizzling with sensual intensity and irresistible to women.

Venetia is a well-adjusted human being, confident in her sexuality. Nevertheless, she’s wary of his “love ’em and leave ’em” reputation.

Ryan sizes up Venetia and thinks because she’s not a virgin: “She’s a very kinky girl/ The kind you don’t take home to mother…”

Venetia tells him she’s not into one-night stands, so Ryan translates that into: “She’s up for a steaming hot, quick fling.”

And Venetia can’t resist him. They’re at it every which way, and though Venetia is gaga for Ryan, our girl plays it cool.

The Plot

Part One

Venetia’s pretense of indifference fools Ryan. It turns out he’s a shallow guy for whom only surface-level appearances matter. Venetia’s relationship with Ryan turns dark when his true colors–fish belly white–begin to show.

He is looking for a wife, just not Venetia in that role. Our girl is perfect for bedroom fun, but she’ll never as the mother of his little Ryans and Ryanas.

You see, Mr. sex on legs has mommy issues as his mother was a businesswoman, i.e., a bad mother who had no time for babies, and his childhood left him traumatized. The dude has a deep-seated hatred towards working women, believing they make poor wives and mothers.

So he will be dumping Venetia in the near future. Very near.

Venetia is an orphan who had been raised by her traditionalist aunt and uncle and grew up with her younger cousin, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth looks similar to Venetia but is the polar opposite in personality. She’s a “sweet” girl with no plans for an icky career, the kind a man like Ryan would take home to meet his family and be proud to call wife.

In actuality, Liz isn’t so sweet at all because when she comes with her family to visit Venetia and meets Ryan, she flutters her eyes at him in feigned innocence, and ball-brains Ryan falls for it. Within weeks, the two-timing scum sucker tells Venetia their “relationship” is over, and he’s marrying sweet Liz.

Venetia is left heartbroken–and pregnant. She quits her job and moves to Australia to live with her grandmother.

Venetia isn’t bitter with the hand she’s dealt. It is what it is.

“I won’t allow you to treat me as if I was an illness you can’ be vaccinated against, she said with an icy composure which hid her fear and despair.

“You won’t be able to stop me,” he said quietly, not bothering to mute the threat. “Because we both know I could take you on that kitchen table if I wanted to. And I do want to.”

Part Two

Years later, Elizabeth passes away. After a period of mourning, Venetia’s aunt and uncle let their beloved son-in-law know of his secret son with Venetia. Oh, yes, those two knew! Like their amoral dead daughter, they did everything to keep Ryan at their Liz’s side.

Ryan flies out to Australia to claim his child and reignite his relationship with Venetia.

In Australia, Venetia had been raising their son John and had a flourishing career as a novelist. When Ryan demands what’s his, she’s shaken but fights with all her iron will.

But Ryan will not be deterred. he knows their sexual bond was never severed and uses it to his benefit.

Despite his ruthless behavior, Ryan is self-aware, and his intense reactions toward Venetia stem from his inability to control his feelings for her. His marriage to Elizabeth wasn’t exactly what he wanted, even if he had thought it was. A man like Ryan thrived on passion, Elizabeth was just blech. Ryan married Liz because he saw her as a more idealized version of the sexually-secure working woman he rejected. Ryan’s strict standards for a partner stem from his unresolved mommy issues.

His desire–his love–for Venetia conflicts with all his self-imposed beliefs.

Meanwhile, Venetia’s grandmother is a supportive and wise character who adds depth to the story and provides a voice of reason amidst the chaos.

There’s a scene where Venetia bump into her ex at a dance, and they spend a pleasant time together, making me think, “Wouldn’t it have been a nice twist if she ended up with him?”

But no, Ryan is too vital a force to be ignored. One issue I had is Ryan never really expresses regret for his marriage to Liz. She was not emotionally deep, but she was genuine in her love for him, so he was content to have made her happy for a few years. (This made me want to throw an egg at Ryan, but almost 50 cents an egg right now, I wouldn’t waste valuable protein for a smeg head like him.)

Ryan’s cruelty towards the vulnerable Venetia is both riveting and gut-wrenching. Venetia is a fearless and determined woman who refuses to let Ryan break her spirit… Even as he captures her in the end. So, it’s mostly a happy ending, right?

In the end, Ryan acknowledges his feelings for Venetia, that he loves her. He fought against it because of inhibitions and childhood trauma.

“You wear your independence like a banner. I like to look at you and know that I can kiss you free of it any time I want to. It’s like owning my own small falcon that comes only to my hand, and gives up her freedom only for me.”

Final Analysis of Smoke in the Wind

Smoke in the Wind is a terrible romance but a riveting read that will leave you breathless. Ryan is par-for-the-course as far as Robyn Donald’s heroes go. (Okay, maybe one of her top 5 worst heroes. She really knew how to write a lot of dickhead male main characters.)

The dominant/submissive dynamic between Ryan and Venetia is both intense and fascinating. Venetia is strong and resilient, overcoming her traumatic past and standing up for herself. The plot is well-crafted, with twists and turns that kept me engaged, even as I despised Ryan.

It’s Venetia who makes this Harlequin Presents shine. Ryan is both vicious and self-aware, reflecting the depth of his inner turmoil. Despite his porcine nature, he is a well-written, complicated, and intriguing character.

Ryan and Venetia’s sexual relationship is as extreme as the muted BD/SM powerplay in Harlequins can be, a dominant/submissive one, with Ryan exerting his control over Venetia.

Smoke in the Wind is a roller coaster ride of emotions, with a heroine who is capable and determined to overcome the challenges life throws at her. Despite Ryan’s cruel actions, Venetia refuses to be a victim and rises above the situation, proving that the heart can survive enormous pain.

Overall, Smoke in the Wind is a must-read for fans of intense, passionate romance. The multi-faceted characters, thrilling plot, and nail-biting drama make this an HPLandia stand out.

Rating Report Card
Plot
4
Characters
4.5
Writing
4.5
Chemistry
4
Fun Factor
4.5
Cover
4
Overall: 4.3

Synopsis:

Her response to him was frightening… Venetia Gamble had felt desire before. The result? Such a disastrous marriage that she felt she wanted never to experience desire again. And she hadn’t–until now. Ryan Fraine, famous documentary filmmaker, was in New Zealand to set up a new television station.

From the moment they met, Venetia, herself a TV reporter, knew this man could make her suffer as she never had before. So she shied away from his blazing sensuality. Yet there was something else, something in the very core of her soul that wouldn’t permit escape…. 

SMOKE IN THE WIND by ROBYN DONALD
valentine's day ideas

24 Super Sweet Valentine’s Day Ideas for Couples & Friends to Enjoy

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, Valentine’s Day can be a fun day (or night). Here are 12 ways couples and 12 ways friends can appreciate this day dedicated to love together.

valentine's day activities

12 Romantic Valentines Day Ideas for Celebrating This Year

Celebrating Valentine’s Day with your partner is special, no matter what activities you engage in. But if you’re looking for something unique or are stumped for ideas, we’ve got a dozen off the tops of our heads that might thrill you!

  1. Taste finger foods or desserts together.
  2. Write love letters to each other and exchange them over a candlelit dinner.
  3. Make a surprise scavenger hunt for your partner, with clues leading to a special gift or sexy surprise.
  4. Plan a surprise weekend getaway to a romantic location, such as a cozy cabin in the mountains or a beachfront resort.
  5. Go on a hot air balloon ride.
  6. Take a dance class together and learn a new style of dance.
  7. Have a movie night at home and watch sexy films together. We recommend Secretary starring James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal.
  8. Cook a romantic dinner together at home, with candlelight and soft music.
  9. Read your favorite romantic passages from romance novels to each other. See who can last the longest: who gets turned on first… or who laughs first!
  10. Have an erotic game night at home with your favorite board games or card games, only the loser of each round strips off a piece of their clothing!
  11. Plan a surprise picnic in a picturesque location or indoors. Make clothing optional.
  12. Recreate your first date. If you can’t make it to the same destination, recreate it at home with what ever’s handy!
valentine's day activities for friends
Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

12 Activities for Friends to Enjoy on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to get together with friends and celebrate the day of love. Here are 12 fun activities that you and a friend can do together to make the holiday special.

  1. Get ready for a movie marathon featuring romantic comedies or romantic films.
  2. Put your cooking skills to the test and whip up something special together.
  3. Take a day trip taking pictures of your hometown’s or nearby cities’ tourist attractions.
  4. Pamper yourself and your bestie with an at-home spa day that includes pedicures, manicures, and facials.
  5. Dine out at a fancy restaurant. You’re guaranteed a great night out with your BFF as your date.
  6. Throw a crafting party and make some DIY gifts together, such as a scrapbook or photo album, to remember your special moments together.
  7. Enjoy a game night with friends, whether tabletop games, RPGs, or video games!
  8. Spend some quality time volunteering together in the community.
  9. Learn a new hobby like dancing or cooking together.
  10. Explore nature on a hike surrounded by tranquil scenery.
  11. Go out for a night of dancing or karaoke. Be silly, go wild and have fun!
  12. Sample different wines or cocktails for a memorable tasting experience!

Your Opinion

How will you be spending this Valentine’s Day? Will your date be with your romantic partner or your best friend? Or will you be relaxing with yourself? Or is Valentine’s Day just another day on the calendar for you?

Please drop a comment, and let’s talk romance!

climb the highest mountain

Historical Romance Review: Climb the Highest Mountain by Rosanne Bittner

Climb the Highest Mountain by Rosanne Bittner
Climb the Highest Mountain by F. Rosanne Bittner
Rating: five-stars
Published: 1985
Illustrator: Robert Sabin
Imprint or Line: Zebra Historical Romance
Book Series: Savage Destiny Series #5
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Family Saga, Historical Romance
Pages: 448
Format: Paperback, eBook
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon


Historical Romance Review: Climb the Highest Mountain by Rosanne Bittner

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

This review is of Climb the Highest Mountain, book #5 in the Savage Destiny series by Rosanne Bittner.

The Plot

The year is 1864. The Civil War is coming to an end, and more white migration west is going to soon affect Abigail Trent Monroe, her husband “Cheyenne” Zeke Monroe, and their seven children.

The more immediate threat to the Monroes comes in the form of Englishman Sir Edwin Tynes, their new neighbor.

While that is going on…

The Monroe Children’s Lives Take Major Turns

Wolf’s Blood, the Monroes’ oldest son, is seriously injured at the massacre at Sand Creek, becomes embittered, and joins his uncle, Swift Arrow, and the Sioux in fighting against white encroachment.

Daughter LeeAnn is kidnapped by Comanches and Zeke goes to rescue her.

Meanwhile, back in Colorado, the eldest Monroe daughter, Margaret becomes sexually involved with one of Tynes’ cowboys, who refuses to marry her.

After this, Margaret tries to disavow her Indian heritage and becomes a prostitute. Margaret later marries a man, Morgan Brown, a mulatto, who buys into the Monroe ranch to help the family get back on their feet financially.

On an even sadder note, the youngest daughter Lillian, whose health has always been fragile, passes away.

These events drive a major wedge between Zeke and Abbie.

Zeke’s Brother, Dan, Finds Love…Again

Zeke’s white half-brother, Dan, is back in the West and in the Army, but without his wife, Emily, and daughter, Jennifer, he’s starting to become attracted to Bonnie Beaker Lewis, whose husband was killed by Indians.

Later, Emily dies, giving Dan and Bonnie an opening to act on their feelings. Dan and Bonnie later marry.

As For Zeke and Abbie?

Zeke sleeps with Anna Gale, a former prostitute now boarding house owner, while he is debating whether to leave Abbie and his family due to all they have endured.

However, he and Abbie reconcile and they become a family again.

For now…

The Upside

I’m repeating myself, but Ms. Bittner is exceptional at digging deep into the soft underbelly of the emotions of her characters, both good and bad. It’s an emotional roller coaster, but Ms. Bittner’s fans–of which I am one–know it’s worth it.

The Downside

Not much to criticize here in Climb the Highest Mountain. I’d love to see the Monroes be happy, but I doubt that will happen.

Sex

Ms. Bittner’s love scenes are typically unimaginative.

Violence

One thing Ms. Bittner’s readers come to expect from her books is plenty of violence, and Climb the Highest Mountain certainly doesn’t disappoint in that regard. Assault, rape, shootings, killings, they’re all here.

Climb the Highest Mountain
Climb the Highest Mountain, Reprint

Bottom Line on Climb the Highest Mountain

Frequent readers of Rosanne Bittner’s books know what they’re getting from her work. It’s all here in Climb the Highest Mountain (Savage Destiny Series Book #5): exceptional emotionalism, and rawness.

It’s not always happy, but it’s great nonetheless. 

Rating Report Card
Plot
5
Characters
5
Writing
4.5
Chemistry
4.5
Fun Factor
5
Cover
4.5
Overall: 4.8

Synopsis

Ever since her gaze locked with Lone Eagle’s over a crimson campfire, young Abigail Trent knew her fate lay with the virile Cheyenne scout. She had married him, borne him children, and endured all the hardships of the rugged frontier. But even though so many years had passed, each night found the white squaw melded to her Indian mate, burning with the need to prove their passion again and again.

Now new troubles rose to challenge them: Homesteaders poured into the unmapped territory, determined to wrest the land from the forbidden lovers and their “heathen” people. Abbie and Lone Eagle had conquered greater threats than this, surviving bandits and outlaws, fevers and wounds. They would overcome this danger, too, as together they struggled for their own way of life and fiercely embraced their savage destiny.

Climb the Highest Mountain by Rosanne Bittner
transcendence

Pre-Historical Romance Review: Transcendence by Shay Savage

 stone age romance transcendence
Transcendence by Shay Savage
Rating: five-stars
Published: 2014
Illustrator: Unknown
Book Series: Transcendence #1
Published by: Shay Savage LLC
Genres: Historical Romance, Pre-Historical Romance, Science Fiction/ Futuristic Romance, Time Travel Romance
Pages: 312
Format: Audiobook, eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonThriftBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Pre-Historical Romance Review: Transcendence by Shay Savage

We’re Reviewing a “Modern” Romance for Opposite Day

[NOTE: This “Opposite Day” review was intended to post yesterday. Unfortunately, personal responsibilities came first, and my plans for the day fell apart. I had originally intended to post four articles related to this topic. I still might publish them, as Opposite Day is an upside-down, inside-out, topsy-turvy occasion. — J. Diaz, 1.26.2023]

It’s Opposite Day today, January 25, 2023. So instead of a review for an old-school retro romance novel, we’re discussing something more modern: a caveman romance.

Okay, sure, the following book was published eight years ago. It’s not the hottest new read. Still, this is one of our favorite love-stories from the last 23 years. As far as we old dinosaurs at Sweet Savage Flame are concerned, it’s modern! (The date of publication is, anyway. The setting for this romance is the Paleolithic Stone Age.)

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

Shay Savage’s Transcendence is no great work of literature; I admit that. It’s Twilight fan-fiction with a twist.

The plot is not complex. This is a romance novel about a time-traveling teen girl who finds love thousands of years in the past with a caveman who acts like her protective puppy dog.

I have never read any of Stephenie Meyer‘s Twilight books nor have I seen the films. I’ve never desired to, although I did read a sample chapter long ago. Even so, I know more about the series than I care to.

If the names of the main characters weren’t Ehd (Edward) and Beh (Bella), I never would have caught on. Other than the hair colors and the fact that the hero is *OMG* so possessive, I don’t see any similarity between the two romances. There are no feuding groups, love triangles, baseball games, or battles.

It’s a primal story of a brutal, natural world, a lonely man, a frightened woman, and their enduring love for one another.

The Characters

Transcendence is told from the first-person perspective of a prehistoric young male named Ehd. His family is dead, so he lives alone, surviving through his strength and hunting skills. Interesting to note that Ehd lacks the ability to speak, but he can think and reason.

One day Ehd comes upon a beautiful young female who, for no apparent reason, seems terrified, She produces a lot of loud, shrieky noises with her mouth.

This frightened woman strikes a “primitive” chord in this primitive male, and he wants to protect her. Even more, he desires to pair-bond with her.

Ehd calls the woman Beh. Over time, they learn to communicate with one another using a fusion of body language, facial expressions, and sound. Beh astonishes Ehd with her capabilities. She can create fire and build structures his mind could never have conceived. Ehd recognizes how valuable this astounding female’s worth is.

The Plot

Ehd had been so lonely, with no clan to help him survive the cold nights, he had almost starved to death. Beh alone was more capable than a good-sized clan! With her skills and knowledge, and Ehd to protect and provide, they could create a clan of their own.

Ehd’s sole purpose is to please Beh, to keep her safe, and hopefully mate with her so he can put his baby inside her.

The reader’s perspective is limited to what Ehd experiences. Since the reader–presumably–has a higher IQ than Ehd and should be familiar with aspects of living in the present world, it’s evident that Beh is no cavewoman. She is a girl from the 21st century who accidentally finds herself catapulted back to the dawn of humanity, somewhere in the mid-to-late Paleolithic Era.

How could that happen?

80% of the book is just Beh and Ehd alone, dealing with the severe environment.

There’s almost zero spoken dialogue throughout, except for a few grunted words. (Which melted my heart!)

Transcendence is a simple, bare-bones love story between a young, frightened girl and a young, frightened male trying to survive in a heartless world. Together.

My First Impressions

I loved this book! I can’t believe the intensity this made me feel. Sure enough, I cried like a baby reading it. Must have been my time of the month. (If that comment offends you, you are on the wrong site).

Transcendence is a remarkably straightforward and increasingly repetitive story. I’m not knocking its simplicity, as I adored this romance. To be frank, however, it was written on a sixth-grade reading level. The terms baby, mate, or put a baby in my mate show up on every other page!

Transcendence was quite basic and crude, with a minimal plot, but it had its charms! I suppose it appealed to my inner 12-year-old, a being I did not know was still in existence.

More likely, it shares a startling similarity with the film I consider to be the most romantic ever (with a happy ending): “Quest for Fire.”

caveman romance
Quest for Fire

In a caveman romance, it makes sense that the hero is all:

“You, my woman. I, your man. We are mated. I protect you. I throw you over my shoulder. We make many babies.”

Some Book Blogger Paraphrasing Grunts into Words

That attitude doesn’t work for me in contemporary romance or most other genres. But here in the Stone Age, it works; it makes sense.

About the Unique Hero

I’ve seen many readers label Ehd an Alpha male, but he came off as totally Beta to me. Maybe my definition of an Alpha male isn’t jiving with the accepted definition of the word.

He was a caveman, yes, but an eager-to-please, genuinely nice one. Alphas are independent males who, through their strength, vitality, or charisma, convince other men to follow them to their deaths. They can seduce women and make them hyper-ovulate with just a steely glint in their sensual eyes.

Ehd wasn’t independent at all. The loyal guy he was, he wanted nothing more than to be with Beh, forever by her side.

Ehd was constantly thinking:

“I want protect mate. I never let mate out of sight. I growl at all who comes near mate.

“My penis is hard.”

Still that book Blogger Lady

He reminded me of my dearly loved and long-departed American Eskimo dog. He was poofy, insanely loyal, hated being alone, loved to cuddle, barked at all strangers, and had constant erections when he was happy.

eskimo dog
My old American Eskimo doggie, standing by, ready to defend his pack from all sources of danger, be it squirrel, bird, or UPS delivery man.

Some readers have assumed that Ehd is a Neanderthal, with a sloping forehead and a mouth full of huge teeth. But in her introduction to her book, Shay Savage states he is part of the early “Homo-Sapien” species. It’s just that he lacks the ability to speak. Artistic license and all that.

So rather than looking like this:

romance caveman quest for fire
Handsome fellow, eh?

Ehd looks more like this:

caveman romance
He cleans up nice for a caveman.

Final Analysis of Transcendence

Shay Savage’s Transcendence was a unique experience, told from a rare (for me, anyway) male 1st-person-POV. This worked on adding a sense of confusion to the story.

A young girl is propelled back in time, and we, the readers, must put the pieces together to figure out what’s going on.

As much as I loved this caveman romance, I hope there is no sequel or one of those alternate POV sequels. (Ugg. There is).

The story finishes rather definitively. There are some hanging questions, but the ending was an ending for me. It was both a bittersweet and happy ending. One of the best endings I’ve read in a long time.

What can I say? Sometimes a story appeals beyond all rationalization and reason.

I loved Transcendence.

“ehd luffs beh”

-ACTUAL QUOTE FROM TRANSCENDENCE BY SHAY SAVAGE
SPOILER ALERT ⚠
Do NOT Read This Unless You Really, Truly Want To

The ending: after many years together, producing many children and grandchildren, Beh dies of old age and illness while Ehd holds her in his arms, lets the fire in the cave burn out, and dies lying next to her, heartbroken. Just like a loyal doggie would.

Rating Report Card
Plot
5
Characters
5
Writing
4.5
Chemistry
5
Fun Factor
5
Cover
4
Overall: 4.8

Synopsis

It’s said that women and men are from two different planets when it comes to communication, but how can they overcome the obstacles of prehistoric times when one of them simply doesn’t have the ability to comprehend language?

Ehd’s a caveman living on his own in a harsh wilderness. He’s strong and intelligent, but completely alone. When he finds a beautiful young woman in his pit trap, it’s obvious to him that she is meant to be his mate. He doesn’t know where she came from, she’s wearing some pretty odd clothing, and she makes a lot of noises with her mouth that give him a headache. Still, he’s determined to fulfill his purpose in life – provide for her, protect her, and put a baby in her.

Elizabeth doesn’t know where she is or exactly how she got there. She’s confused and distressed by her predicament, and there’s a caveman hauling her back to his cavehome. She’s not at all interested in Ehd’s primitive advances, and she just can’t seem to get him to listen. No matter what she tries, getting her point across to this primitive but beautiful man is a constant – and often hilarious – struggle.

With only each other for company, they must rely on one another to fight the dangers of the wild and prepare for the winter months. As they struggle to coexist, theirs becomes a love story that transcends language and time.

Transcendence by Shay Savage
CATEGORIES: , , , , , ,

***

velvet night ennis

Historical Romance Review: Velvet Night by Jo Goodman

Velvet Night by Jo Goodman
Velvet Night by Jo Goodman
Rating: three-stars
Published: 198
Illustrator: John Ennis
Imprint or Line: Zebra Lovegram
Book Series: War of 1812 Series #2
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 496
Format: Paperback, eBook
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon


Historical Romance Review: Velvet Night by Jo Goodman

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

This review is of Velvet Night, book #2 in the “War of 1812 Series” by Jo Goodman. The review for Book #1, Passion’s Bride, later reissued as The Captain’s Lady, is available on the blog.

The Plot

Velvet Night begins in England, 1805. Kenna Dunne, 13, the heroine, lives with her father, Robert; her stepmother, Victorine Dussault Dunne; her brother, Nicholas; and her stepsister, Yvonne. On this night, the Dunne is hosting a masquerade party at their family estate, Dunnelly.

The festivities will be brief. Before the night is over, an unknown criminal murders Robert.

Fast forward ten years. Kenna, now 23, is visited by Nicholas’ long-time friend Rhys (pronounced Reese) Canning, this book’s hero. And the person whom Kenna believes killed her father.

As the Velvet Night goes on, multiple attempts are made on Kenna’s life. She and Rhys draw close and eventually become lovers. Soon after that, she is kidnapped and brought to a brothel. Before the worst can happen, she is saved by Rhys’ “friend,”–who is also a madam.

Later, Kenna and Rhys marry, and he takes her to America, to Boston. After his father and brother were killed in a fire, Rhys inherited his family’s shipping business in the city. He has brought Kenner there to keep her safe from danger.

When they arrive in Boston, Kenna and Rhys make friends with Alexis Quinton-Cloud and Tanner Cloud (the heroine and hero of book #1 in this series, Passion’s Bride/The Captain’s Lady); they own Garnet Shipping, the very competitors of Canning Shipping.

Kenna and Rhys also make enemies in Boston’s business and social circles.

Unfortunately, the threats against Kenna don’t stop after she arrives in America. Her life is in peril several more times. The bad guys kidnap her once again before her father’s killer’s true identity is revealed.

Rhys saves her, as the hero always does in these books. They unmask and dispose of the killers.

Kenna and Rhys have their Happily Ever After.

The Upside

Kenna and Rhys are fairly nice characters.

The Downside

Velvet Night reminds me very much of oatmeal or rice with nothing added: okay on some levels, but very bland.

Velvet Night by Jo Goodman

The scenes that are supposed to be exciting (e.g., the many attempts on Kenna’s life) aren’t. Plus, there is little chemistry between Kenna and Rhys in or out of bed.

The “mystery” surrounding the killer of Robert Dunne is pretty easy to solve. I figured out who it was by the 25% point of the book.

Sex

A few love scenes, none of which are particularly hot or sensual.

Violence

There is some assault and battery. Then shootings and killings. The violence is not graphic.

Bottom Line on Velvet Night

Velvet Night is a very pale sequel to Passion’s Bride/The Captain’s Lady. Jo Goodman’s previous Zebra historical was far superior to this lukewarm romance novel.

Rating Report Card
Plot
2.5
Characters
3.5
Writing
3
Chemistry
3
Fun Factor
2.5
Cover
4
Overall: 3.1

Synopsis

HE BETRAYED HER FATHER
Ever since she was a girl, flame-haired Kenna Dunne had hated handsome Rhys Canning for lying about killing her father. Now, even though she hadn’t seen him since the war ended, the vengeance–seeking beauty swore to make the smooth-talking scoundrel confess his crime. But the moment she cop fronted him, all Kenna could do was stare breathlessly at his magnificent body, his ebony hair, and his entrancing eyes. Se knew she should denounce him as a murderer, but somehow all she could do was caress him as her lover…

SHE BROKE HIS HEART
As an American spy, Rhys could never reveal the truth to the fiery Kenna without jeopardizing his mission. It was best that he never again see the provocative temptress … but she d raged in his blood for years and now it was time for the reward or his patience. The brash colonial crushed her lips beneath his and molded his strong hands to her lush curves. Even though he knew she’d detest him forever after this evening, Rhys had waited too long to keep from recklessly plunging into splendor during this long luscious VELVET NIGHT.

Velvet Night by Jo Goodman
romance novel stats

Link: 40+ Romance Novel Sales Statistics [2023]

romance reader stats

Romance Novel Readers and Sales Stats

What is the average romance reader like? Just who, exactly, reads romance? What is the total number of romance novels sold each year? And what are the most popular best-selling “romance novels” of all time? All these questions have been answered, and now we have even more questions about the romance genre.

We’re posting this fascinating article from the Wordsrated website written by Dimitrije Curcic. It has over forty statistics on the current state of the genre. There’s a lot of food for thought here, and certain issues that we’ll address in upcoming articles.

Some things to note are that romance readers consume books voraciously, with over 78% completing at least one book a month (I’d say most romance fans read greater than just 12 books annually).

The vast majority read on their Kindles, e-readers, and phones, as opposed to “dead-tree” books.

Romance readers are getting overwhelmingly getting younger each decade. 65% of them have read the genre for fewer than twenty years. That certainly explains why old-school romance isn’t held in high regard by most genre aficionados. When blogs and book reviewers publish their lists of “The Best Romance Books…” invariably, most romances are recent, having been published no more than 15 years ago. Although a rare Lisa Kleypas, Julie Garwood, or Judith McNaught will pop up every now and then. Not to mention Pride and Prejudice!


40+ Romance Novel Sales Statistics [2023]

October 9, 2022 by Dimitrije Curcic

  • Romance novels generate over $1.44 billion in revenue, making romance the highest-earning genre of fiction.
  • Romance reached 19 million printed units sold over the last 12 months as of August 2022.
  • Sales of printed romance novels have increased by 36% compared to 2021.
  • Over 33% of books sold in mass-market paperback format were romance novels.
  • Romance was the fastest-growing genre of fiction over this period, contributing to 66% of adult fiction growth in 2022.
  • However, e-book romance novel sales declined by 16% over the same period.
  • Ebook sales account for 60% of total romance unit sales.
  • Since July 2020, the rolling 12-month growth of romance novel sales was never under 0, reaching a 2-year high of 4.7% in July 2022.
  • According to Penguin Random House, romance book sales had increased by more than 50% in 2021.
  • Total unit sales for romance novels reached 47 million in 2021, including print and digital formats.
  • This is a 24% increase compared to 2020, which recorded 37.9 million sold units.
  • During 2021, romance sales accounted for 18% of total adult fiction sales, making romance the second highest-selling fiction category.
  • Romance novel sales grew by 49% in 2021 compared to 2020 in the UK.

What are the best-selling romance novels of all time?

  • Fifty Shades of Gray (2011-2021) by E. L. James is the best-selling romance novel series of all time, reaching over 150 million copies sold.
  • Pride And Prejudice (1813) By Jane Austen came in second with over 120 million copies sold. This is also America’s favorite book, according to WordsRated’s survey of over 78,000 Americans.
PosTitle (Year)AuthorCopies sold
1Fifty Shades of Grey, Series (2011-2021)E. L. James150 million
2Pride and Prejudice (1813)Jane Austen120 million
3The Notebook (1996)Nicholas Sparks105 million
4Gone With The Wind (1936)Margaret Mitchell30 million
5Outlander (1991)Diana Gabaldon25 million
6Love Story (1970)Erich Segal20 million
7The Time Traveler’s Wife (2003)Audrey Niffenegger2.5 million
8Jane Eyre (1847)Charlotte Brontë2 million
9Romeo And Juliet (1564)William Shakespeare500,000
10Anna Karenina (1877)Leo Tolstoy300,000

Diversity in romance novels

  • Authors’ diversity in romance novels is very unbalanced:
    • 92.2% of romance novels published in 2021 were written by white authors.
    • 7.8% of romance novels published in 2021 were written by BIPOC authors.
  • Romance novel readership is also dominantly white:
    • 73% of romance readers are white/caucasian
    • 12% are African-American
    • 7% are Latino/Hispanic
    • 4% are Asian/Asian American

Who reads romance novels?

  • 82% of romance readers are women, and 18% are men.
  • 45% of romance readers have a college degree.
  • The average romance reader is 42 years old.
  • Romance readers are getting younger
    • 10 years ago, the main romance-reading group was women ages 35 to 54.
    • Today, the main romance-reading group is women ages 18 to 54.
    • 44% of readers purchasing a romance book are ages 18 to 44.
  • 70% of romance readers discover the genre between ages 11 and 18.
  • 35% of romance readers have been fans of the genre for more than 20 years.
  • 59% of romance readers are married or living with their partner.

Reading habits of romance novels readers

  • 29% of romance readers carry a romance novel with them most of the time.
  • Romance readers usually finish a novel within seven days.
  • 46.4% of romance readers read at least one novel per week.
  • 78.3% of romance readers read more than one novel per month.

SOURCE:

romance novel sales statistics/
hugging day

Celebrating National Hugging Day: Spread Love with a Hug!

hugging day

What Is National Hugging Day?

Did you know today, January 21st, 2023 is National Hugging Day? Sweet Savage Flame is spreading the love by sending virtual hugs to all. We will delve into this “holiday” and discuss the many benefits hugging provides for emotional, mental, and physical health.

Plus, we have tips on how to celebrate and spread love through hugs. And, of course, some gorgeous romance covers featuring couples with their arms wrapped around one another.

National Hugging Day is all about sharing love and affection with hugs. It’s a day to remind us of the importance of human contact in our lives and the power it has to make us feel connected, loved, and supported.

Whether you’re looking for feel-good vibes or romantic ideas for celebrating this special day, we have some special ideas in store. So grab your partner (or stuffed animal), get ready to give out some big hugs, and let’s get started!

Benefits Of Hugs For Mental And Physical Health

A hearty embrace is one of the best and simplest ways to show your loved ones that you appreciate and care for them. Not only does it warm hearts with its act of love, but it also has a range of mental and physical health benefits.

Studies have shown that hugging can relieve stress, reduce depression, and boost the immune system. Hugs release oxytocin, a hormone that helps build trust in relationships and can help lower blood pressure levels.

Go ahead; give someone you love a big hug today! You never know how much it may benefit their mental and physical health down the road.

Tips To Celebrate National Hugging Day

National Hugging Day is a special day to show some love and appreciation for the people around us. Celebrating this “holiday” is easy.

We have some tips on how you can spread love and make it an extra special one.

  • Give hugs to your friends and family members, or even acquaintances.
  • Invite friends, neighbors, and family over for a group hug!
  • Spend time with someone who needs a hug.
  • Host an unexpected hugging party at your home or workplace and invite everyone who could use a good hug.
  • Share pictures with loving messages on social media platforms to spread positivity.

Remember that even small gestures like giving someone a hug can make all the difference in their day!

Romance Novels and Hug Day

For this National Hugging Day, why not show the special people in your life how much you love them with a hug and a good romance book? Gift a friend a special book you know they’ll enjoy.

Reading is one of the best ways to bond with those close to us, so why not give them a cozy hug while sharing an exciting story of love, adventure, and heartfelt moments?

Romance novels take us on an emotional journey full of passion, connection, and understanding that can both bring us closer to our loved ones and make us feel more connected with ourselves.

Nothing quite beats the combination of loving embraces and romantic stories to bring joy into our lives!

Ways To Spread Love Through Hugs On National Hugging Day

Let’s take a moment to spread love and joy through the simplest of gestures. A close embrace can bring an instant feeling of warmth and comfort to the person receiving it. It’s the perfect way to show someone that you care.

Whether it’s with your friends and family or even strangers in the street (we don’t really recommend that last one; we kept it in to emphasize a point), a hug can brighten up anyone’s day.

Be sure to share the love with plenty of squeezes; after all, it’s National Hugging Day!

The Clinches With Hugs

Here are a few covers we thought we’d share since we can’t give our readers genuine hugs.

Each couple (in one case, a couple) has a unique form of embracing. What do you think is going on in their heads?

blind passion tadiello
the eden passion
scarlet lady ginsburg cover flowers
adora san julain

Final Words on Hugging Day

National Hugging Day is the perfect occasion to show love and appreciation for the special people in our lives.

Beyond biology, it’s also a powerful way to connect with others on an emotional level. Hugs can be romantic, friendly, caring, or comforting.

With a simple hug, we can send positive vibes and emotions of closeness that are indescribable.

Your Opinion

At Sweet Savage Flame, we like to get silly about things and celebrate the little pleasures in life. National Hugging Day reminds us that even small gestures like a hug can have the potential to spread love, joy, and happiness all around us!

What do you think o this “holiday”? Did you hug someone special today?

As always, please drop a comment, and let’s talk romance!

Link

HOW TO TELL IF A HUG IS ROMANTIC

Historical Romance Review: The Captain’s Vixen by Wanda Owen

The Captain's Vixen by Wanda Owen
The Captain's Vixen by Wanda Owen
Rating: two-stars
Published: 1980
Illustrator: Unknown
Imprint or Line: Zebra Historical Romance
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper, Forced Seduction, Pirate Romance, Romance with Rape Element
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooksOpen Library (BORROW FOR FREE)
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon


Historical Romance Review: The Captain’s Vixen by Wanda Owen

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

Sometimes one can tell when a book is the first an author has written. The stories don’t seem finished, characters arrive and are then written out without rhyme or reason. Such is the case with The Captain’s Vixen the debut by Wanda Owen. This was not a great first book.

The Plot

Part One: Our Hero and Heroine Meet and Fall in Love

France is on the brink of war in 1805. Andre Cartiers, a French resistance fighter, is concerned enough about what is happening in his homeland to send his two daughters, Olivia, 18, and Elise, 16, to England to live with their Aunt Colette.

Taking the girls to England is English sea captain Landon “Lance” Edwards. Lance is also a peer of the realm in England, but he and his father don’t get along, so Lance rarely uses his high-society connections.

Lance and Elise meet on the trip from France to England. They are attracted to each other, and soon after they make love and agree to marry.

Alas, the fact that Elise is stunningly beautiful and Lance is both handsome and a ladies’ man is both a blessing and a curse for the couple.

Almost every man who meets Elise falls in love or lust with her. Sadly, this results in her being raped three times and nearly raped on two other occasions! The first attempted rape occurs at the home of one of Colette’s friends, the Wentworths. Their son, Robert, tries to rape Elise before being beaten severely by Lance who comes upon the act and prevents it. Unfortunately, Lance can’t prevent Elise from being raped by her Uncle, Edwin Herrington.

Part Two: Kidnapped and Separated

The second rape occurs when Elise is kidnapped by the crew of a pirate, Joaquin Ruiz, aka “El Diablo.” One of Ruiz’s crewmen rapes Elise before Ruiz takes Elise under his protection as his unwilling mistress.

Elise was kidnapped as part of Ruiz’s plan to get revenge on Lance for his affair with Ruiz’s wife, Felicia. Ruiz had found Lance and Felicia in bed together. Lance stabbed Ruiz and escaped. Felicia was not so lucky, as Ruiz killed her that night and has been planning his revenge since.

Elise plays along as Ruiz’s mistress to stay alive and get back to Lance. Unfortunately for her, he tells Elise that Lance is dead; obviously not true as he is this book’s hero.

Lance is desperately searching for the two, however, he just misses catching up with them.

Finally, Elise gets the chance to escape Ruiz. Taking her lady’s maid, Lita–whom she adopted into her employ in Havana, Cuba–with her, Elise tries to flee from Havana when the women are set upon by ruffians at the docks. One of them rapes and kills Lita.

The Captain's Vixen by Wanda Owen

Part Three: A New Man for the Heroine?

Elise fairs a little better as she is beaten and nearly raped again before she is rescued by a kind stranger. He is Clint Barron, an American planter and seaman. Barron takes Elise back to his ship, and tends to her, before taking her to his home in New Orleans.

During their travels, Elise and Barron become lovers. Remember, she believes that Lance is dead.

Lance, meanwhile, has tracked Ruiz to New Orleans and eventually kills him. He then makes the acquaintance of a friend of Barron’s, Zach Hart, and his daughter, Susan. Lance and Susan become lovers and they flirt with the possibility of marriage.

That all changes, when Lance attends a party at Barron’s and is shocked to see Elise alive and well. He overhears her talking about her upcoming nuptials with Barron and becomes enraged, leaving the party.

When Elise tries to explain she thought he was dead, Lance–who is seriously drunk at this time–rapes Elise.

Conclusion: They All Live Happily Ever After… Or Do They?

Despite his assault upon her, soon afterward Lance and Elise realize that they love each other. And have their “Happily Ever After”.

Or do they?

There is a sequel to this turkey, called Rapture’s Bounty. So their “Happily Ever After” is going to be delayed a bit.

The Upside

Well, Ms. Owen’s writing can only improve from here. As stated earlier, The Captain’s Vixen was clearly her first book and it shows.

The Downside

From characters appearing and then disappearing to storylines being explored and then summarily dropped, there are multiple problems with The Captain’s Vixen.

The two biggest issues for me are: #1 the endless misogyny and #2 the” hero” Lance rapes Elise and she forgives him! I don’t see why Ms. Owen had to resort to the type of abuse she forced Elise to endure here.

Plus, I have a HUGE problem with the “hero rapes the heroine and she forgives him” part of some romances. This happened far too often in older romance novels.

Sex

There are a few love scenes where Lance DOESN’T rape Elise. They are relatively tame and barely lukewarm as far as sexual heat is concerned.

Violence

There are the aforementioned multiple rapes on Elise, plus a beating. Her maid is also raped and killed.

Lance kills Ruiz. In addition, Lance and Barron have a fistfight over Lance’s violation of Elise. Nothing is described in over-graphic detail, however.

Bottom Line on The Captain’s Vixen

Parts of Wanda Owen’s Zebra bodice-ripper, The Captain’s Vixen, are good. But the rape of Elise by Lance and her forgiveness really turned me off.

Rating Report Card
Plot
1.5
Characters
2
Writing
2.5
Chemistry
1.5
Fun Factor
1.5
Cover
3
Overall: 2

Synopsis

Captain Lance Edwards had sailed the seas and obtained women ever since he was a lad, and no woman had ever resisted his masculine magnetism — no one but the luscious, jet-haired Elise. Passionately attracted to the strong-minded beauty, Lance struggled to overcome the resistance. Now he vowed to possess her and win her love, for he was bewitched by . . . The Captain’s Vixen!

The Captain’s Vixen by Wanda Owen
romance-review-tangled-web-by-janice-bennett/

Historical Romance Review: An Intriguing Desire by Janice Bennett

historical romance
An Intriguing Desire by Janice Bennett
Rating: two-stars
Published: 1989
Illustrator: Walter Popp
Imprint or Line: Zebra Regency Romance
Book Series: Spy Duo #2
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Era Romance
Pages: 356
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon


Historical Romance Review: An Intriguing Desire by Janice Bennett

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

This review is of An Intriguing Desire, the “sequel” to Tangled Web, both by Janice Bennett.

The Plot

In Tangled Web, readers were introduced to Therese de Bourrgerre and Charles Marcombe, the heroine and hero of An Intriguing Desire, as supporting characters. Here they take center stage.

As An Intriguing Desire begins, Therese shows up at Charles’ home to ask him another favor: to help her rescue one of her fellow Frenchmen from Bonaparte’s clutches. (Therese and Charles have a history together.)

Charles refuses to help her for many reasons, so Therese decides to go it alone.

That decision, however, doesn’t go the way Therese wants, as she is kidnapped by the man, Chevalier de Lebouchon, and taken to France.

Charles decides to undertake a dangerous rescue mission to free her. He does, but they spend much of the time bickering in between nearly getting and getting caught.

They come to discover an even bigger plot against British national security and thwart that plan.

In the middle of a firefight between British and French soldiers in Portugal, Therese and Charles finally realize they love each other. They later get married and have their Happily Ever After.

The Upside

Therese and Charles were the two most interesting characters in Tangled Web, so I looked forward to seeing them in their own book as lead characters. It’s a Regency book. The intrigue is mildly interesting.

The Downside

I’ve never found character development to be a strength of Ms. Bennett’s books, and An Intriguing Desire does nothing to change that view. I’ve yet to read a book by Ms. Bennett where I’ve truly cared about the characters.

Sex

Other than a couple of passionate kisses and some heavy petting, there is no sex.

Violence

Most of the violence takes place late in the book. A British soldier is killed in the fighting, and Charles kills de Lebouchon. The violence is not really graphic.

Bottom Line on An Intriguing Desire

In An Intriguing Desire, the intrigue is not intriguing enough, and there is no desire. Another disappointing Janice Bennett book.

Rating Report Card
Plot
2
Characters
1.5
Writing
2
Chemistry
1.5
Fun Factor
2
Cover
4
Overall: 2.2

Synopsis

Therese de Bourgerre couldn’t believe the man before her was the dashing spy she had known and loved in Paris. This was a man who had given up all hope. It was her duty to reawaken his passion without losing her heart. A delightful Regency from the author of Midnight Masque.

AN INTRIGUING DESIRE by JANICE BENNETT
rhapsody SQAURE

Covers of the Week #86: Women on Top

women on top

Theme: Women on Top

With all the variety of poses for romance covers, the rarest to spot is the woman on top of the hero. Clinch covers show couples embracing in various positions. Standing up, laying down, in bed, on the floor, on the seashore… Every situation imaginable has been pictured on the covers of romance books.

But seeing the heroine in a dominant position or laying on top of the hero is hard to find. Believe us, we searched and searched.

And indeed, we were fortunate to come upon a selection of covers where the exception is the rule.

The Covers

The heroines in these romances are running the show! For the week of Monday, January 9, 2023, to Sunday, January 15, 2023, this Covers of the Week displays an assortment of covers featuring the women laying on top of their heroes.

Women on Top Covers (from Left to Right, Top to Bottom)

Your Opinion?

What do you think of this week’s theme of women on top? Do any of the covers stand out to you as a favorite? Have a recommendation for a future Covers of the Week theme? Let us know, and we’ll try it out.

As always, please drop a comment, and let’s talk romance.

year 2022

Sweet Savage Flame’s Best of 2022

2022

Sweet Savage Flame Looks Back at 2022

The old year is over, and a new year has begun. We’re excited about the fun stuff we have coming up for this blog! Sweet Savage Flame and lovers of retro-romance books have lots to look forward to in 2023.

In the meantime, let’s look back at our highest-ranking articles and our five star reads from 2022.

Our Top 5 Articles


21-cover-artist-to-know

Cover Artists

21 Old-School Cover Artists Every Romance Reader Should Know

This articles lists some of the best romance cover artists of all time. It is limited to historical romance illustrators who primarily worked in the last third of the 20th century, however. These 21 entries provide a starting point for the novice learner.


rob ashton

Cover Models

Male Romance Cover Model: Rob Ashton

In the 1990s and the 2000s, Rob Ashton was, for a while, the new King of romance cover models after Fabio officially retired from modeling for romance covers. Our article covering his life and career was one of the more popular posts of 2022.

Rob Ashton was a stunning figure of a man at six feet tall and 200 lbs. with long black hair and hazel-green eyes. He was of Cherokee Indian, English, and Irish descent, a beautiful combination. Sadly, Ashton’s career and life ended too soon.

We’ll be highlighting the careers of more cover models in 2023.


barbara cartland movies

Romance Novel Movies

Romance Novels on Screen: Barbara Cartland

We wrote a few articles in 2022 about retro romance books that were adapted to the screen in the 20th century. Of the three published, the Barbara Cartland posting resonated most.

Five of Cartland’s books were adapted for television films. Most are available to watch on YouTube.

  • The Flame Is Love 
  • A Hazard of Hearts 
  • The Lady and the Highwayman
  • A Ghost in Monte Carlo
  • Duel of Hearts


hard to find romance novels

Rare Books

Most Expensive and/ or Hard to Find Out-of-Print Romances

In another post that was a big hit, Sweet Savage Flame covered some of the hardest-to-find and most expensive romance novels. Demand for these rare books is always in flux, affecting asking prices, so a new article about the used-paperback market is on the horizon.

  • Judy Cuevas – Dance $150 – $300
  • Beverly Jenkins  Indigo (Original 1996 Avon edition) $200 – ??? GOOD LUCK!
  • Beverly Jenkins – Night Song (Original 1994 Avon edition ) $150 – ??? GOOD LUCK!
  • Lisa Kleypas – Where Passion Leads $250 – $500
  • Lisa Kleypas – Forever My Love $100- $250
  • Christine Monson – Stormfire $100 – $250 & GOOD LUCK!
  • Francine Rivers – Hearts Divided $150 – $200
  • Francine Rivers – This Golden Valley $90 – $200
  • Francine Rivers – Sarina $100 – $200
  • Nora Roberts – Promise Me Tomorrow $90 – $150
  • Day Taylor – The Black Swan $100 – $150
  • Rosalind Welles – Entwined Destinies $150 – $300

Our 5 Star Romance Reviews of 2022

Sweet Savage Flame posted over 100 book reviews in 2022.

As we read old-school and vintage romances, some of these are bound to be re-reads. But many of thsee old romances we enjoyed for the first time in 2022.

Let’s take a look at these fantastic love stories written 25 to 45 years ago that we reviewed and rated as 5-star reads last year.


5-Star Contemporary/Category Romance

Unfortunately, this year we were so busy with multiple projects that we didn’t get a chance to read as many contemporary romances as we had planned.

Therefore, only three books were rated as 5-star reads, and they are all category romances we’ve read before. In 2023,we’ll get to more retro contemporary romances.

devil in silver room
Devil in a Silver Room, Violet Winspear, Harlequin, 1973, Don Sinclair cover art

5-Star Historical Romances

ride the free wind
Ride the Free Wind, Rosanne Bittner, Zebra, Robert Sabin cover art

As for historical romances, fortunately we read plenty of those in 2022. We don’t DNF, so there were several clunkers. Mostly we had a pleasant year of nostalgic reads. There were a dozen 5-star reviews from our staff–which is considerable, since we’re nitpicky!

  1. My Name is Clary Brown by Charlotte Keppel
  2. River of Love by Rosanne Bittner
  3. Lone Star Surrender by Carol Finch
  4. The Golden Sovereigns by Jocelyn Carew
  5. White Lion’s Lady by Lara Adrian (aka Tina St. John)
  6. Ride the Free Wind by Rosanne Bittner
  7. Cherish Me, Embrace Me by Sylvie F. Sommerfield
  8. Dangerous Obsession by Natasha Peters
  9. Rebel Vixen by Dana Ransom
  10. Defy Not the Heart by Johanna Lindsey
  11. Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey
  12. Captive Angel by Deana James

5-Star Classic Review

the sheik
The Sheik, E. M. Hull, 1919

The Sheik by Edith M. Hull

One standout from 2022 is having read the 1919 classic The Sheik by Edith Maude Hull. We reviewed this seminal romance in April and cannot give it enough praise. Yes, the modern -day reader may label it “problematic” or “toxic,” but we got a kick out of it. It’s a great romance in our eyes.

The Sheik is the grandmother of the bodice ripper. If not for the closed-door bedroom scenes, this book would have fit right in with the romances penned in the 1970s.

In 1921, the silent film adaptation of the novel starring Agnes Ayres came out. The Sheik catapulted Rudolph Valentino’s career into movie stardom.


Your Opinion

We’re looking forward to looking back in time in 2023. Expect plenty more reviews for old-school romance novel, plus articles and best-of-lists.

How do you think we did in 2022? What would you like to see in 2023?

As always, please drop a comment and let’s talk romance.

Historical Romance Review: Autumn Dove by Sylvie F. Sommerfield

book review historical romance
Autumn Dove by Sylvie F. Sommerfield
Rating: two-stars
Published: 1989
Illustrator: Pino
Imprint or Line: Zebra Historical Romance
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Native American Romance, Western Romance
Pages: 478
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon


Historical Romance Review: Autumn Dove by Sylvie F. Sommerfield

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

This review is of Autumn Dove by Sylvie F. Sommerfield, a standalone Zebra romance from January 1989.

The Plot

Starting in 1865, on the Kansas/Colorado border, readers meet Zachary Hale Windwalker. Zach, who is half-white and half-Cheyenne, is trying to discover who is running guns to the plains Indians. This, plus, stirring them up to fight the whites who come into the area.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, D.C., Tara Montgomery, 19, has just lost her parents in a carriage accident. With nowhere else to turn, she decides to go west to live with her brother David, a soldier stationed at Fort Lyon.

She signs on to a wagon train, which Zach is leading. He doesn’t want her there, for several reasons, which are quickly revealed.

As the train makes its way west, Tara and Zach become lovers, but also at odds with each other.

The wagon train makes its way to Fort Lyon, where Tara discovers David isn’t there; he’s on assignment from the Army.

We also learn a bit more about Zach; his mother, Karolyn, who was white, was a teacher. She fell in love with Zach’s father, Waiting Wolf. When Karolyn passed, Waiting Wolf married a Cheyenne woman, Singing Grass, Zach’s stepmother, and they had a son, Little Raven.

Little Raven soon gets into trouble sneaking into the fort. He and Zach are arrested and sentenced to hang. They escape as Zach takes Tara hostage.

Readers also meet Tara’s older brother, David, 25. David has issues he’s trying to resolve in his life as well. He’s in love with a Cheyenne woman, Small Fawn. He doesn’t know how his parents–whom he doesn’t know are dead–or Tara will handle this news.

In the end, the gunrunner is caught. David marries Small Fawn. Tara and Zach have their Happily Ever After.

Upside

The best part of Autumn Dove is the second half of the book. It is here that Tara and Zach realize that they love each other and she is able to get him to let go of some of his bitterness regarding his treatment at the hands of white people.

Downside

In order to get to the second half of the book, however, one has to go through the first half, and the first half is…meh.

There is no emotional juice here, at all. There is also no character depth or development. Mrs. Sommerfield never made me care about any of the characters, beyond the fact that they were in the book.

It feels very much like Mrs. Sommerfield fell into the “Readers Are Supposed to Care” trap. In Autumn Dove, Mrs. Sommerfield believes “Readers Are Supposed to Care” because:

  1. Tara lost her parents and has to go to live with her only other relative, David, her brother.
  2. Zach is hurt by being shunned by whites for being half-white, half-Cheyenne.
  3. David is concerned about being shunned and his life because he is in love with Small Fawn.

It is possible I COULD have cared about any or all of those things if Mrs. Sommerfield gave me a reason to do so. She didn’t. The ending of the book is highly disappointing, not to mention boring.

Sex

Multiple love scenes involving Tara and Zach, and one involving Small Fawn and David. None of these love scenes are exciting, interesting, or hot. These love scenes have all the heat of cold water.

Violence

Assault, attempted rape, battery, kidnapping, and “off-screen” killings. The violence is not graphic.

Bottom Line On Autumn Dove

Mrs. Sommerfield tilled this ground-and in a much better way-in her earlier book, Savage Rapture.

Autumn Dove is a major disappointment.  

Rating Report Card
Plot
2.5
Characters
2.5
Writing
2.5
Chemistry
1
Fun Factor
1.5
Cover
4
Overall: 2.3

Synopsis:

HATE COLD AS THE WINTER SNOW
When her parents died without a cent, innocent Tara Montgomery had no choice but to head for Fort Lyon to reunite with her soldier brother. The independent miss never dreamed of the journey’s perils – and the worst was her suntanned, buckskin-clad wagonmaster Zach Windwalker. His disdain of women traveling alone infuriated her; his grisly stories of Western life annoyed her. But Zach’s masterful lips upon her sensitive flesh drove her to distraction. Even as Tara swore to dispise him forever, the passionate pioneer was guiding his hands to her buttons, her chemise…and to the wildly beating heart beneath!

LOVE HOT AS THE SUMMER SUN
Half-breed frontiersman Zach Windwalker didn’t need a tempting morsel like Tara Montgomery in his life – not when he was on the verge of trapping the gunrunners who were supplying the Cheyenne. The virile tracker planned to almost seduce the untouched beauty to scare her back to Washington D.C. But at the moment the strong-willed male should have pushed her away, he pulled Tara even closer. With only the vast plains and distant hills as witness, Zach was as single-minded as the invincible American eagle as he swooped down with unwavering passion upon his unresisting, gentle AUTUMN DOVE.

AUTUMN DOVE by SYLVIE F. SOMMERFIELD
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Sweet Savage Flame

Old School Romance from Avon to Zebra

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Sweet Savage Flame is all about loving old-school romance novels. You know, those trashy, campy sex romps your mother, grandmother, or older uncle read? Perhaps you might have read one or two yourself!

From vintage books to bodice rippers and from epic historicals to short-length category romances, we unashamedly love them all! The plots were sometimes shocking, even not politically correct. These are books that had their day, and we look back at the past with fondness, not scorn.

Besides, we can’t get enough of retro-romance covers! Many talented artists illustrated gorgeous clinch images, so we show off stunning artwork every Sunday with our Covers of the Week feature.

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Book Reviews

Easy access to the latest Sweet Savage Flame reviews of retro-romance novels is available below for your convenience.

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Is This Your First Time Here?

We have a vast inventory of references, with thousands of images, plus over 500 pages, blog posts, and book reviews.

Don’t know where to start? Below are a few quick links to some popular Sweet Savage Flame pages and articles.

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Our Mission for Old-School Romance

Sweet Savage Flame cherishes the old-school era of the romance genre. Specifically, our focus is on books published from 1972–the year Avon released Kathleen E. Woodiwiss The Flame and the Flower–to the beginnings of the 21st century.

We’re serious about documenting the history of modern English-language romance novels. In addition, we’re happy to provide a wide variety of readers’ perspectives.

At Sweet Savage Flame we discuss everything about the authors (including our personal favorites), the publishers, and the cover artists who made it all happen. Our blog explores a range of genre-relevant topics. Best of all, we review lots of retro-reads from crazy bodice rippers to sweet vintage romances.

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FAQ Section

Do you provide trigger warnings for off-putting subjects?

The books we review are not always politically correct. Many readers born 30 or 20 years may be shocked by what we read and find entertaining. In some extreme cases, we do add “content” alerts. However, this is rare.

We try to add tags that identify tropes or plot points of the reviews near the bottom of the page.

Sweet Savage Flame is not a site for young children, so it’s up to the reader to determine if they want to read any of our reviews.

Do your reviews contain spoilers?

Short answer: Yes. Sometimes a book needs to be spoiled to properly review it.
Plus, as these are older works of fiction, not too many sites discuss them, so we like to go as in-depth as possible.

We provide spoiler warnings for every review, whether “spoiler-free,” “mild spoilers,” or a “full spoiler alert.”

Does Sweet Savage Flame review new books or ARCS?

We don’t accept ARCs as we’re not a book blog for new books.

Since we focus on romance novels published up to around 2000, the books reviewed here have been published, for decades, are often out-of-print, and are copies we already own.

Do you accept guest reviewers or bloggers?

Yes! Sweet Savage Flame is always looking for new voices to express their thoughts on old-school and vintage romance.

If you’d like to guest blog or even review/ post on a regular basis, we’d be more than willing to work with you.

All we ask is that you provide your own books and limit your reviews to books published from 1970 to 2000–although we do accept some classic romances or post-World War II vintage reads and books up to 2004.

Please see our CONTACT page and submit a comment. We’ll be in touch

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Historical Romance Review: Angel Heart (aka Texas Angel) by Victoria Thompson

historical romance review
Angel Heart by Victoria Thompson
Rating: four-stars
Published: 1988
Illustrator: TBD
Imprint or Line: Zebra Lovegram
Book Series: A Hired Gunslinger #1; The Cowboy and the Lady #4
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Western Romance
Pages: 522
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon


Historical Romance Review: Angel Heart (aka Texas Angel) by Victoria Thompson

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

This review is of the western historical romance Angel Heart by Victoria Thompson. It is also known as Texas Angel, book #1 in the A Hired Gunslinger” series. Originally this was released as a Zebra Lovegram.

This book is also connected to Texas Triumph book #2 in Ms. Thompson’s “The Cowboy and the Lady series.

The other books in the latter series were #1 Texas Treasure and #3 Texas Blonde, which have been previously reviewed at Sweet Savage Flame.

The Plot

Part 1 of Angel Heart

As Angel Heart, or Texas Angel, begins, the hero of the book, Christian “Kid” Collins–who was a supporting character in Texas Triumph–is engaged in a gun battle at the home of his sister and brother-in-law, Rose and Pete Hastings, with gunslicks hired by Harlan Snyder, a ruthless rancher.

Sadly, Rose, Pete, and their unborn child have been killed. Christian is seriously wounded when he tries to escape. He is found by Comanche Indians and taken to the Diamond R ranch, home to Angelica Ross and her younger brother, Robbie. The Comanche brought him here partially due to their respect for Angelica and Robbie’s late father, Cameron.

While nursing him back to health, Angelica and Christian discover they have a mutual foe in Snyder, and Angelica asks for Christian’s help to fight him. He agrees to do so.

However, they will also have to fight their attraction for each other. They don’t, and Angelica and Christian become lovers. After which, he proposes to her, but she refuses. Despite this, Christian agrees to stay on to help Angelica with Snyder as well as help the Diamond R fulfill an Army contract to provide beef to Indian reservations.

Part 2 of Angel Heart

To that end, Christian calls in some help from his friends from the Circle M ranch in Texas Triumph. These are not ordinary ranch hands. The men are some of the most notorious gunslingers in Texas.

In concluding a successful cattle roundup, Angelica and Christian’s relationship deepens. However, he is now reluctant to marry her. This is not due to Angelica’s earlier rejection; it has more to do with Christian’s shame over his family and his concerns about what his future will be. And whether or not he has one, given his history as a gunman.

He and Angelica also gain a new enemy, a prostitute named Sunny Day. The backstory: Sunny was being sexually and physically abused by Snyder when Christian intervened to stop it. He and Sunny slept together–as in, they slept in the same bed but did not have sex.

Afterward, Sunny interpreted these acts as Christian being in love with her and wanting to protect her from Snyder’s wrath. Christian, obviously, viewed things differently. Hurt and angry that her dream isn’t going to happen, Sunny hooks up with Snyder’s newest hired gun, Tom Rivers, who was brought in specifically to kill Christian.

Part 3 of Angel Heart

Rivers makes this attempt at a party, where he tries to goad Christian into a gunfight. Christian refuses, and Rivers tries to shoot him in the back. In a surprising turn of events, Rivers is shot and killed by Miles Blackmon, a friend of Christian’s.

After a legal inquiry, the shooting is ruled justifiable. This angers Snyder, who makes his final move, kidnapping Angelica and Robbie. Christian saves Angelica, killing Snyder in the process (Robbie was taken to another location and released)

In the end, Christian shares his fears with Angelica, who helps him get beyond them, and “Kid” Collins “dies.” That’s the story the townspeople of Marsden’s Corners, Texas, tell two gun-slicks who come to town to kill Christian. They both leave without violence.

Angelica and Christian have two children, with another third on the way–and celebrate their Happily Ever After.

angel heart texas angel thompson
Angel Heart later rereleased as Texas Angel

The Upside

Angel Heart is a rare book where the hero is more emotional than the heroine. Emotional heroes are something of a trademark of Ms. Thompson’s historical romances. Angelica and Christian are a well-matched couple: two people who believe that they are too flawed to be loved by anyone.

When they find each other, they discover that this is not the case.

The Downside

There isn’t a huge amount of character development or depth here. The supporting characters are pretty one-dimensional. It’s never really explained–other than the fact that he’s a greedy evil bastard–why Snyder wanted to court Angelica or why he wanted to kill Christian so badly.

Sex

The love scenes between Angelica and Christian are very mild and not very exciting.

Violence

There is assault, battery, shootings, and a fire. The violence is not graphic.

Bottom Line on Angel Heart (aka Texas Angel)

There are some areas that could use improvement, but the romance novel, Angel Heart, later reissued as Texas Angel, is a solid western historical by Victoria Thompson.

Rating Report Card
Plot
4
Characters
4.5
Writing
4
Chemistry
3
Fun Factor
4
Cover
4
Overall: 3.9

Synopsis

HEAVENLY PLEASURES
Ever since Angelica’s father died, Harlan Snyder had been angling to get his hands on her ranch, the Diamond R. And now, just when she had an important government contract to fulfill, she couldn’t find a single cowhand to hire on–all because of Snyder’s threats. It was only a matter of time before she lost the ranch…. That is, until the legendary gunfighter Kid Collins turned up on her doorstep, badly wounded. Angelica assessed his firmly muscled physique and stared into his startling blue eyes. Beneath all that blood and dirt he was the handsomest man she had ever seen, and the one person who could help her beat Snyder at his own game–if the price were not too high…

DEVILISH DESIRES
Before Kid Collins knew what hit him, he had somehow agreed to act as a hired gunfighter–and for a lady. Or at least she looked like a lady, with her carefully pinned red hair and proud green eyes. But no lady would be trying to run a ranch on her own, let alone take on the likes of Harlan Snyder. She needed Kid Collins’ help, all right, but his help came with a price attached.

Angel Heart (aka Texas Angel) by Victoria Thompson
embrace the wild land sabin

Historical Romance Review: Embrace the Wild Land by Rosanne Bittner

book review historical romance
Embrace the Wild Land by F. Rosanne Bittner
Rating: five-stars
Published: 1990
Illustrator: Robert Sabin
Imprint or Line: Zebra Historical Romance
Book Series: Savage Destiny #4
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Native American Romance, Western Romance
Pages: 446
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon


Historical Romance Review: Embrace the Wild Land by Rosanne Bittner

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

This review is of Embrace the Wild Land, book #4 in the “Savage Destiny series” by Rosanne Bittner.

The Plot

It is now 1861, and Abigail Trent Monroe and her husband, “Cheyenne” Zeke Monroe, and their seven children are living happily in what is now present-day Colorado. Which means something bad is going to happen. It does when the Monroes travel to an Army fort. A soldier tries to rape Abbie, and Zeke later kills him.

Meanwhile, Zeke’s white half-brother, Danny, goes back east to join the Confederacy in the Civil War. In another development, Winston Garvey, ex-U.S. Senator and “Evil White Man,” is trying to find out the name and whereabouts of his half-Indian son.

As troubles mount for Zeke, Abbie, the Cheyenne, and all Indian tribes, Danny is severely wounded during the Civil War. Garvey’s son, Charles, and some of Garvey’s men have a confrontation with Zeke, Abbie, and their family. The Monroes win the confrontation.

However, the elder Garvey puts the information together and realizes that the Monroes know about his other son. This leads to Garvey sending men to kidnap Abbie, who is later emotionally, mentally, physically, and sexually abused by Garvey and his henchmen.

As the book progresses, Zeke finds Danny, and one of his other half-brothers, Lance. (A third half-brother, Lenny, was killed in the Civil War.)

Zeke also makes some peace with his biological father. Zeke and his eldest son, Wolf’s Blood, deal out justice to Garvey and his men, and Zeke and Abbie re-find each other and, for a little while, are happy again.

The Upside

As always, Ms. Bittner draws tremendous pictures with her words. She brings me, as a reader, into the lives of the Monroe family. Ms. Bittner makes me see not words on a page, but real people, with real emotions.

The Downside

At times, Ms. Bittner’s writing is formulaic. I’ve already described this in earlier reviews.

Sex

The weakest part of Ms. Bittner’s writing is her love scenes, which are neither particularly sexy nor imaginative to me.

Violence

Ms. Bittner, however, has a great imagination for violence, and it definitely shows up in Embrace the Wild Land. As usual, there are multiple scenes of shooting, assault, sexual assault, and killing. Toward the end of the book, it’s especially graphic.

In Ms. Bittner’s world, the bad people always get their comeuppance. Unfortunately, not before seriously hurting the good people.

Bottom Line on Embrace the Wild Land

Embrace the Wild Land isn’t my favorite book by Rosanne Bittner, but it’s still darn good. 

Rating Report Card
Plot
5
Characters
5
Writing
5
Chemistry
3.5
Fun Factor
5
Cover
4.5
Overall: 4.7

Synopsis

Pioneers poured into the West; Civil War ravaged the East. But as upheaval racked the continent, the Cheyenne brave Lone Eagle and his courageous white woman Abigail Trent rediscovered their desire in the peaceful New Mexico territory. Their family grew with the years and it seemed that the troubles that had tormented them would never return to invade the ranch by the wide Arkansas River.

But the chaotic world burst in upon them, separating them again. Lone Eagle had to leave the ecstasy he found in Abigail’s arms for the horror of the white man’s war. Though fresh sorrows would always plague them, the Cheyenne warrior and his determined wife believed in their love. Though they were forced apart, they knew that somehow they would be reunited and free once more to share their chosen Savage Destiny.

Embrace the Wild Land by Rosanne Bittner
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