HomeReviewsInterviewsStoreABlogsOn Writing
Azteclady reviews, Lauren Dane's Standoff

Standoff, by Lauren Dane

This is the fifth installment in Ms Dane’s Cascadia Wolves stories, originally published digitally only by Samhain in January 2008. It was also the first story of hers that I read. While I enjoyed this book when I read it first, rereading it this week highlights how far Ms Dane’s writing has come in the intervening four years.

First, a warning: this is an erotic romance, with graphic language and graphic sex throughout. If either offends you (or if you are a minor), you are better off not reading either the review or the novel. Thanks.

Here is the blurb from the print edition:

It’s the law of the Pack—or anarchy. (more…)

After two weeks, I’m finally putting down my impressions from the insanity that is a book signing involving more than a couple hundred authors, and ten times as many fans1. As I mentioned before, the energy in that ballroom (conference room? whatever it was) was extraordinary.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me backtrack a little.

ann-aguirre-rt-09-3Ann Aguirre picked me up early on Saturday, so that we would have some time for breakfast before she had to start setting up for the signing. We had met face to face, for the first time after over a year of emailing and chatting, only that Tuesday. Let me tell you that Ann is a very funny person, as well as very down to earth. Hell, she made us dinner and everything!

(Yes, epic failure of my hostess skills-don’t tell my mother, please)

Anyway, Ann had to be inside the… well, the ginormous room for quite a while before, first, the convention attendees, and then the general public could enter, so I waited in line for a while. What does one do when standing around without a book (really, it would have been a bit like bringing a lump of coal to a mine, you know), but people watch? And so I did. (more…)

Relentless, by Lauren Danerelentless

The second book set in Ms Dane’s Federation universe, Relentless is an excellent romance novel, focusing on building the relationship between its main characters, Roman, head of the House Lyons, and Abby Haws, unranked barrister.

Published by Berkley’s Heat imprint, Relentless is considered an erotic romance, with explicit and graphic sexual content; therefore, all minors-as well as adults who have issues with strong language or sexuality-should avoid the review and the novel.

Without further ado, the back cover blurb:

In this erotic universe, passion knows no rank…

Since the first settlers came through the portals from Earth, fifteen Families have held the rule of the Federation Universes in their hands. There’s never been a better time to throw out the old and usher in a new order, giving voice to the unranked. Abbie Haws has spent her life battling the system. A fighter by nature, she’s always been too busy and too driven to pay much attention to finding love. But when she’s granted an audience with Roman Lyons, the head of House Lyons-a man who stands for everything she hates-her instant attraction catches Abbie off guard…

It’s common knowledge that the Known Universe revolves around the world Ravena-and that Ravena revolves around Roman Lyons, bred to lead since birth. Roman dreads this meeting with a defiant-if stunning-rabble-rouser. But sometimes headstrong personalities in the conference room make for hot-and-heavy, guilty trysts in private…

Now, Abbie will show Roman the parts of her world he wouldn’t otherwise get to see. And he’ll give her a glimpse of the Families’ age-old traditions and unleash a sexuality he’s never given rein to before.

(more…)

Undercover, by Lauren Dane

This erotic futuristic romance is Ms Dane’s print debut, but the fact that she’s been writing for years is evident in the quality of her craft. I was privileged to get an ARC of Undercover, which made me really happy as a well written ménage à trois is one I enjoy very much (particularly in the M/f/M incarnation, as is this one).

With that said, the usual warning: this novel is not meant for minors; any adults who object to any sort of relationship deviating from the typical one man, one woman would not enjoy either the novel nor my review; there is graphic sex, some BDSM, and what could be considered offensive language.

(more…)

Today we welcome the talented Lauren Dane!

Ready to be grilled? :evil 😀 :

How long have you been writing? (i.e., “since before I could write” or “I just started when…”)

I’m one of those, “Oh I’ve always loved to write” people but I’m also a practical girl so while I wrote for my college newspaper and had a ‘zine with my husband and did the odd poem and short story here and there, I never planned to be a writer. I went to law school instead, LOL.

But then through a host of things happening in my life I ended up on a lot of bed rest when I was pregnant with my daughter and thought, “Hey, maybe I’ll give that writing thing a try.” My husband brought home a second hand laptop and I wrote Triad.

That was in 2004 and I’ve been fortunate enough to build something with my writing since.

Would you share your THE CALL story with us? The catch: one paragraph 😀

I had “the email” experience with my earlier books, which was wonderful but when I sold my first single title to Berkley I got the actual “call” from my agent. I hadn’t been expecting it and when I heard it was her, I said, “You’d better be calling to tell me you sold something,” as a joke. She laughed and said, “Well, I am.” I burst into tears and sat on my stairs while my kids milled around wondering why I was weeping like a baby, scribbling details on piece of paper I still have to this day. (more…)

What happens in Vegas, anthology by Jodi Lynn Copeland, Anya Bast, Lauren Dane and Kit Tunstall.

The universe seems to be determined to show me how wrong I’ve been in avoiding short stories, by shoving some really good ones in front of me. Mind you, no complaints from this corner. What happens in Vegas is the first erotic stories anthology from Spice Books.

Behind closed doors, the real games begin…
Winning it big. That’s the name of the game at Las Vegas’ Liege Hotel and Casino, where the hottest fantasies hinge on a roll of the dice… and the tantalizing knowledge that anything could happen before sunrise.

Each story is around a hundred pages long—well under my usual comfort zone—and while some missed the mark with me, a couple hit it dead center. Bear in mind, as always, that what bothered me may very well be what other readers like best about each story. So, without further ado, here are the reviews. (I included the short blurbs from the back cover for each story in its review.)

“Hot for you” by Jodi Lynn Copeland

Cocktail waitress Carinna wants a man to tie her up, not tie her down. Little does she know that her most willing partner yet has something else planned for this fiery Latina bombshell.

A quick summary: Carinna and Jake have been best friends since childhood, until one fateful night four months prior to the story, when they fall in bed. Jake panics and leaves, Carinna is more upset about it that she’d like to be, since she a) is commitment phobic, and b) only wants to have her close friendship with him back.

Ms Copeland uses a new-to-me technique for this story: first person voice from both protagonists, alternating the point of views from both hero and heroine while moving the plot along seemed very fresh and interesting to me. Furthermore, the underlying story felt rather sweet to me—he knows he wants forever with her, she only wants friendship (perhaps with some fringe *cough* benefits) and doesn’t want to hurt him.

I had three issues with this story, though. First, the word choices through most of the intimate scenes put me off as being a bit too crude. I don’t consider myself to be prudish and, with one marked exception, it’s not the (sexual) actions described that bothered me, but the words used to describe them. Second, the exception: there is one particular incident, near the end, that yanked me even further out of the story. For me, it crossed the line between consent and violence, and completely colored my take of the story as a whole. Third and last, much is made of Carinna’s issues with relationships and trust, yet it would seem that she overcomes them pretty much from one moment to the next in the ending.

All in all, this one missed me completely—without that one scene, the grade would have been considerable higher. This one is 4 out of 10 for me.

“Stripped” by Lauren Dane

Dahlia is a burlesque dancer with a brain for business and a bod for sin. Her latest admirer may be a sweet-talking Casanova, but despite what he thinks she’s not giving anything away free.

Dahlia is a working class, small town girl with ambition and the determination to go places. In business, she has confidence and a sense of self-worth. In her personal life, though, she is insecure, marked by experiences with men who have thought her nothing more than a trophy.

Nash comes from a wealthy family; both his brother and his mother are quite the snobs, fixated on social class and financial worth. He is the exception, working hard at earning his own money, instead of living off a trust fund. While his attraction to Dahlia seems very natural to him, it’s his feelings for her that surprise him—and his inner dialogue endeared him to me. At one point, he and Dahlia exchange presents:

“Good God, she’d made him a shirt. Made it with her own hands and creativity. Crap, his presents didn’t even compare to her thought and effort. He was a fortunate man.”

I really liked the fact that, despite the short page count (just over a hundred) this story covered several months in the protagonists’ relationship. Since the hero and heroine meet on the first couple of pages, it made it that much easier for me to believe that they would be able to work on their issues enough that, by the end of the story, a future together was not only possible, but very much likely. (more…)