Thursday, February 22, 2007

Love & Lies

Manipulative men – in real life, any man who would use or play games with me would find himself in the hospital getting my foot surgically removed from their rear end. In romance, however, the men who manipulate, while often walking the fine line between good and bad (but not evil), are often so darn sexy that I just don’t care. True, their heroines often give these men their comeuppance, but what is it about these romance bad boys that send shivers down my spine?

Case and point: I just finished reading Lora Leigh’s Harmony’s Way (which is a fantastic book, by the way) and one of the main secondary characters, Jonas Wyatt, completely captured my attention. For those not familiar with Leigh’s Breed series, in a nutshell Jonas is a Lion Breed (scientifically created humans with animal DNA spliced in – a very oversimplified definition) who can and will lie, scheme, and manipulate anyone and everyone in order to ensure the safety of his race. He, like all the other Breeds, has a very tortured past which we don’t know much about. In the books he has been in (Kiss of Heat, The Breed Next Door, Megan’s Mark, and Harmony’s Way), Jonas doesn’t hesitate to use others to get his way. Despite all this, I couldn’t help but absolutely fall for him and he’s become my favorite of Leigh’s Breeds, second only to the delicious Bengal Breed Cabal.

Another of those sexy manipulators is Rehvenge from J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Rehv is part vampire, part sympath and has the ability to manipulate the emotions of those around him, which if you’ve read Lover Awakened, you know he will do in order to get what information he wants. While Rehv has just a touch of evil in him, his absolute love for his mother and sister, and his kindness towards another vampire, Marissa, made my heart melt for him when I might have otherwise wanted to kick him.

What about heroes who manipulate their one true love? In Kresley Cole’s A Hunger Like No Other, Lachlain, a werewolf, doesn’t hesitate to bully and manipulate his heroine, Emmaline (who’s half valkyrie, half vampire), to get her to stay with him. But his schemes are tempered by his growing love for Emma and the fact that he’d spent well over a century being tortured by the king of the vampires. If you’re a fan of historicals, Chirstina Dodd’s latest, The Prince Kidnaps a Bride, has a hero, Rainger, who deceives and manipulates his heroine, Sorcha, to get what he wants. Again, Rainger had spent years being tortured by his enemies, and his goal is to save his kingdom from the hands of an evil usurper.

So I leave you lovely readers with these questions:
Do manipulative men in romance novels make you swoon or make you sick?
Does there have to be a reason behind their actions (ex: in my case most of them have tortured pasts or are trying to protect their people)?
Who are your favorite manipulative men?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

What’s in a name?

This morning I came across the title of a new book by an author I have never read before. The book is How to Abduct a Highland Lord by Karen Hawkins. The title immediately struck my fancy so this afternoon I went out and purchased the book. I haven’t had time to start it yet, but on my walk home I started thinking about the various authors who now reside on my “auto-buy” list that I first picked up on a whim because a great title caught my eye.

This method of choosing new authors isn’t new to me. I started reading Julia Quinn after I came across The Viscount Who Loved Me and found the title amusing. Eloisa James is another author now on my auto-buy list after Duchess in Love caught my eye one day.

For some reason, I haven’t yet had many conversations over book titles with people. There is talk a plenty about whether or not someone will buy a book with a “trashy” cover, but no one I know has ever rejected a new book for a bad title.

And does anyone else get excited when one of their favorite authors has a really great book title? Some of my personal favorites are Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Side of the Moon and the upcoming Devil May Cry, Eloisa James’s Much Ado About You (I’m a sucker for a Shakespeare reference), Kresley Cole’s No Rest for the Wicked, and one of the classics – Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.

So for my very first blog, I leave these questions to you lovely readers:
Will a good title induce you to try an author you’ve never read before?
Will a bad title turn you off from a book?
And what are your favorite book titles?