As a confirmed book addict, who marks the calendar when my favorite authors come out with new books, I was taken aback by just how many long-awaited books had April release dates. After being sufficiently wowed, I decided to undertake a month-long book odyssey. Crucial TV-viewing was interrupted, proper tribute to the family cat was put on hold, and other highly important daily activity came to a screeching halt while I wallowed in romantic literary delicacies. It was hard, but somebody had to do it.
My all-time favorite romance writers, Cynthia Eden and Jennifer Ashley, are both very versatile authors who tackle stories in a wide array of genres and sub-genres. Both authors are also very prolific without sacrificing quality for the sake of quantity. Both BITTER BLOOD by Cynthia Eden and WHITE TIGER by Jennifer Ashley feature shape shifter heroes but the settings and journey that both sets of characters take differ. I love Cynthia Eden’s shadowy New Orleans noir with a paranormal twist. Eden’s “Blood and Moonlight” trilogy has an exciting mix of dangers around every corner, characters that experience a constantly changing reality, and paranormal villains in all their fangy glory. However, in spite of that turmoil, Cynthia Eden has crafted an epic love story with a hero and heroine who have an unshakable faith in each other and their love. BITTER BLOOD ties everything together enough to satisfy fans of the series and provides that thrill that only paranormal romance can. Jennifer Ashley’s “Shifters Unbound” series has the excitement fans crave but with solid, stellar storytelling, a little humor and a definite focus on the love, strength, and importance of family. WHITE TIGER starts off with one sexy white tiger shifter fighting for his family, and it ends that way too. Everything in between is a showcase for Jennifer Ashley’s brilliant assortment of characters. The relationships between pack members, and even non-pack members are what make this series and story shine. It doesn’t hurt that the love story in WHITE TIGERR is marvelous as well.
PLAY FAIR by L.P. Maxa and TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT by Erika Kelly are both two fabulous books about rock stars that center on family, but they are wildly different yet equally enjoyable. Although there are many tear-jerking, sentimental moments in PLAY FAIR, in general I consider L.P. Maxa’s “Devil’s Share” series to be delightful brain candy. Each Devil’s Share rock star bad boy experiences his own epiphany and moment of growth over the course of the series. The main characters operate as a tight knight, fun, sometimes goofy, family and their affection for each other really comes across as you read about them. I recommend PLAY FAIR if you’re looking for a fun rock star-themed read with a little bit of emotional pull to bind the story together. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Erika Kelly’s “Rock Star Romance” series has ridiculously hot guys with a surprising amount of emotional depth. However, what stands out to me in TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT is the kick-ass heroine and her honesty in the face of difficult situations. Mimi is attracted to Calix but she doesn’t play coy and sets her own terms for their relationship. Erika Kelly also makes every supporting character in TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT flesh and blood, very believable, and a gem. You will get very emotionally invested in an Erika Kelly romance.
HIS RUTHLESS BITE by Brooklyn Ann and GOOD DUKES WEAR BLACK by Manda Collins have the least in common of any of the books in this group of awesome April books, but they are both outstanding. HIS RUTHLESS BITE is a paranormal historical about vampires with a hero who suffers from what I consider to be “the Mr. Darcy effect”. Gavin Drake is a lord vampire – so not only is he a toff, but he has supernatural as well as societal power. Gavin has the reputation for being ruthless and immovable when in reality, like the much maligned Mr. Darcy, he’s a better man than he’s thought to be. HIS RUTHLESS BITE is great for fans of historical romance that like common tropes like “marriage of convenience” but want a little something spooky and otherworldly to mix things up. There are no paranormal aspects in GOOD DUKES WEAR BLACK by Manda Collins exquisitely blends romance and mystery, in a story about a missing woman and the ease with which some members of society were dragged off to insane asylums. I love the gothic vibe in GOOD DUKES WEAR BLACKK coupled with the strong female characters.
Vaughan Hewson in DIRTY by Kylie Scott and Asher Knight in RETURN OF THE BAD BOY by Jessica Lemmon are both incredibly sexy musicians who come to a crossroads in life. One other key similarity is that, while the many characters in each book are very different, the strong friendships are amazing. Vaughan and Lydia meet in a most unconventional way in DIRTY, move in together and then pounce on each other with sexy results. Gloria and Asher in RETURN OF THE BAD BOY are combustible together and try and take another crack at get their relationship right after many epic fumbles. I love both authors and, as with so many of my favorite books on this list, these books are character-driven and the characters driving the story are exceptional. Along with the intense emotional impact, both books have a lot of humor thrown in to lighten the mood. Kylie Scott and Jessica Lemmon are two superb contemporary romance authors for fans to keep an eye out for.
HIS ROYAL PRINCESS by Jessica Clare is the only book I’ve read this month, and in a very long while, about royalty. Normally Jessica Clare writes my favorite stories about sexy billionaires and, as Jessica Sims, about sexy paranormal characters. In HIS ROYAL PRINCESS, this is a little bit of a departure in that this story features a heroine who can more than match the hero for wealth and status. Actor Luke Houston and Princess Alexandra are great characters and HIS ROYAL PRINCESS has all the trademark heat and sense of fun that so many Jessica Clare romances have. This is a perfect short, sweet treat well worth checking out.