Monday, 25 June 2012

The Evolution of the Romance Novel

Well, I'm not sure where 'Flaming June' went.  All I know, is that here in England it's been 'Flaming 'orrible June'.  Anyhoo, July arrives on Sunday, and during the month, Kook's Nook will be entering REVIEW JULY.   In other words, I will be posting reviews on books I have read as,  at the end of July comes the two words every parent of school children dread.......School Holidays!!!!

Yes, it's that wonderful time of the year when our darling DNA are off school for 6 or 7 long, wonderful weeks.  The fridge gets emptied on a daily basis, and cries of "I'm bored or I'm hungry" reverberate around in your head.  Especially on the day after school actually finishes.

Anyhoo, before review July starts, I am sure (unless you have been hiding under a rock somewhere) that there is a big 'hoo har' going on with the explosion of erotica recently and where it  belongs.  Is it romance? Is it erotica or is it just porn?  Three questions easily answered.  However, just to clarify things.  What is written on Kook's Nook is MY point of view.  No one elses.  I thought I'd get in my four penneth so to speak.
I personally have not read or will name the work that has prompted this post, but how I see romance novels, is  on a line.  At either end are Amish/Christian Romance/Jane Austen and the 'Hard Core xxxx' books.

Falling midway between the two are a mainstream publisher with many different genres.  Several vere towards the Amish and Christian side and others midway towards the Hard Core side. 
So yes there is room for them.  Yes they can be classed as romance IF there is a HEA or HFN.
Erotica novels or lets call them 'Romantica',  are selling like hot cakes and yes they are a phenominal success.  I have read loads of them.  When I was in my late teens I read Black Lace books (no longer in print now) and for me they hit the spot so to speak.   Now with e-readers and e-books available.  You can have a whole library of them on one book, and hide the e-reader away from little eyes that may glance over your shoulder and ask the dreaded question "What does that mean mummy?"  Hence the books I currently display are Amish fiction and the others are hidden behind my chair.
Don't get me wrong, I have been trying to find out where my writing fits and having a few confidence crisis along the way.  I have some wonderful author friends who write towards either end of the 'scale' and they are exceptionally talented in what they write.

My writing tends to vere towards the Amish Fiction side.  The love scenes in the book I have sold to a publisher were cut down, but there is still a bit of  detail especially when Rhean and Laura kiss.  Let's face it, Rhean is a 34 year old male virgin.  He is going to kinda rocket it off into space if Laura touches him in a certain area.  As to whether the publisher will keep that scene in, is up to them.
I started out reading the (yes I am going to say it)  M&B/Harlequin books.  Heck I have a number eight silhouette romance book in my box upstairs, one of the very first I read.  I found out about the practicalities of love-making from Forever by Judy Blume, and I still avidly look on websites and charity shops for the Temptation line.

I am exceptionally lucky thanks to Facebook, to actually talk to  some of my favourite Authors and even get signed books by them which are dearly loved and cherished.  I have authors that I am loyal to and as soon as there is a new one out, I will either pre-order or ask them nicely for an ARC, of which I am really grateful.  Several M&B authors in recent months have blown the envelope wide open and have taken the medical, historical and modern romance novels to new levels.  It's very exciting as a reader to see this happening, but as a writer, well its rather nerve-wracking to see the bar raised higher and higher.
Now back to the post subject.  The evolution of the romance novel.  Writing is individual and fiction of course comes from the writer's imagination, no matter how pure or inventive it is.    Over the past hundred years or so, the romance novel has reinvented itself so many times.  In victorian times, Jane Austen books were read avidly. With the heroine pretty much fainting if she caught a glimpse of her hero's ankle or chest.   Speed forward to 2012, and the heroine is now looking at her naked hero standing in all his glory, and the first thought that pops into her mind is "Oh, is that it?  Hmm I wonder what he can do to me..."

Basically, the answer is in the mirror.  It's you.  The reader and the writer.  What happens next is totally in your hands.

So there it is.  The end of my blog posts for June.  I guess I had better scoot and get on with reading so that there are plenty of reviews to annoy you with.

Hugs and kisses, and above all........KEEP IT KOOKY!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Engtangled Presents.................

Coming soon from Entangled Publishing, a new line,  Check these brilliant new reads out!

For a thrilling read, delve into darkness, slide into pure sexiness, this is the line for you.

So, take a walk on the wild side, and dive into one of Entangled Publishing's new lines.

More about DEAD SEXY’s Launch Titles

Her Forgotten Betrayal, by Anna DeStefano

Remembering will save her life. But will the truth destroy their love forever?
When the CEO of a global technology empire retreats to her ancestral mountain home to heal from a brutal shooting, she discovers the danger has just begun. The FBI suspects her of selling top-secret government research, and has sent an undercover agent to find evidence of her treason. Still suffering from amnesia, she is at the mercy of nightmares that soon morph into something much more terrifying—a determined enemy, plotting to make sure she never regains her fragile memory. When a handsome stranger sweeps in from the cold, claiming to be her protector—and her former lover—she suspects he’s not telling her the whole truth about his sudden appearance on the mountain. As their unwilling attraction blossoms to sizzling passion, she begins to trust him…unaware that he is about to repeat the most painful betrayal of her past—a past she doesn’t remember…a past that just may kill her.

No Hero, by Mallory Kane

A darkly handsome New Orleans detective who insists he’s no hero is blindsided by his one-time lover, a sexy investigative TV reporter, who exposes his secret troubled past to the whole world…and nearly costs him his job. When the at-risk teens he mentors start turning up dead, his vow to protect the other kids hits a major snag…his only clue to finding the determined killer is held by the one woman he never wants to see again. Compelled to work together to solve the vicious murders before another child dies, their passion reluctantly reignites, and their mutual mistrust slowly turns to respect as she realizes there’s much more to being a hero than outward appearances, and his deeply wounded heart gradually opens to the possibility of love.

Sacrifice of Passion, by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez

A tall, dark, single-dad Texas rancher finds himself facing more than his stubbornly silent son when the chupacabra, a supposedly mythical blood-sucking beast, starts killing his livestock—and stalking the town’s newly returned veterinary assistant, the sensual woman who ran from the altar and broke his heart twelve years earlier. Determined to purge his sizzling memories of her from his all-too-vivid imagination, he seeks her help to get to the bottom of the disturbing animal mutilations, only to have her break through to his sullen son…and rekindle the love he’d thought was lost forever. But her refusal to share a terrible secret sends her running straight into the lair of the chupacabra, plunging her back into her worst nightmare, and forcing them both to confront the wrongs of the past—in order to stay alive for the future they desperately want.

Deadly Secrets, Loving Lies, by Cynthia Cooke

Family secrets must be kept, and painful wounds must be ignored.

After an all-out assault by a vicious terrorist bent on destroying her entire family, a former government agent must break the strict rules she has always lived by when she emerges from hiding to reluctantly accept the help of her all-too-sexy ex-lover. Running a deadly race against time, they rush to rescue her kidnapped sister, find her missing father, and bring the notorious villain to justice. But nothing ever goes as planned. Bullets fly, danger abounds, and their passion reignites even faster than the lies are flowing. But their stubbornly held secrets just might spell the end of their rekindled love and hopes for the future…as well as their very lives.

Enjoy and keep it kooky xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Friday, 1 June 2012


I was extremely lucky to get an advanced copy by Michelle, and I fell in love with those enigmatic eyes straight away.  Believe me what's inside is, well I would compare it to one of my cheats chocolate mousse.  Rich, velvety, and a surprise in the middle. I had to keep reading till the end.  Just could NOT put it down.  I was lucky in that my 3 year old slept throughout.

Set in 1305/1306, the setting is rich in history, and starts with Lady Marguerite living in her fiance's keep,  hearing a man screaming in pain.  She awakens and finds Callum, bleeding, with the man who
was screaming unfortunately passed away.  Callum is unable to speak to her, to tell her of his pain.  She tends to his wounds and their tumultuous relationship begins....

Callum is no ordinary Highlander, he is skilled in archery and is a virgin, which makes him unique as heroes go.  He is also strong in heart and mind, and determined to make Marguerite his own.

Marguerite is torn between duty towards her father to make an advantageous marriage, but torn between that and her love and desire for her silent Highlander.  She is deeply in love and wishes to be with him, however knows her duty to her father.Through battles, wounds and secrets and family reunions, Callum and Marguerite come together in a blaze of passion.  Both deeply in love with each other, it makes their relationship all the more poignant.

Rich in historical fact and fiction, I really could NOT put this book down.  I don't like giving away spoilers but even a historical buff like me was surprised at one revelation.  I could just see Christopher Lambert in the part of Callum, with his hair flying as he shoots arrows to protect his brothers and the woman he loves.

An amazing book, corker of a cover and I absolutely loved the rollercoaster of Callum and Marguerite's romance.  I cannot thank Michelle Willingham enough for giving me the priviledge of reading this advanced copy.

Available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Mills and Boon and Harlequin US in July

For more information on Michelle and her amazing Highlanders please visit

or on Facebook!/michellewillinghamfans

and of course twitter!/michellewilling