Tour’s Books Blog

April 22, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: Undercover by Lauren Dane

Lauren Dane is one of the better authors out there doing erotic romance.  In my opinion, she’s far better than the popular Lora Leigh whose motto is “If you love me, you’ll let me fuck you in the ass.”  (Those butt plugs are unisex and I know just where I’d shove them.)  Dane’s a very good storyteller, creative, witty, and capable of drawing original characters and plots and breathing life into her tales.  Her Witches Knot series is a really good urban fantasy series and I loved Enforcer, the first book of Cascadia Wolves and Tri-Mates was very good too.  Strangely, she’s one of those authors who seems to do her best work in the early books of a series and then slacks off.  It’s like she gets tired of her characters or runs out of ideas.  Certainly the Cascadia Wolves had the weakest books as the series went on and the one book that needed to be a standout was Cade’s story, Standoff, and that was average plus it turned a previously well liked character into a person I didn’t like.  Witches Knot faltered off and on after the third book, the exception being Thrice United, which was very good.

Dane has used domination and submission in several of her books to varying degrees with and without ménage.  In Undercover, a futuristic novel, she uses D/s and ménage in combination.  (Why is it, regardless of when or where, males always are into the same kink?)  I have said before, I am just not into the whole BDSM mindset.  Even though Dane never carries her D/s to the extremes of many authors, and does treat her heroines with greater respect for their intelligence and independence, it’s still a hurdle for me.  It makes me feel all snarky and snarky is not a good look for a groundhog.  With that admission in mind – here we go. (more…)

March 7, 2009

The Witches Knot Series by Lauren Dane

TriadMy Grade: B+ to A- (ménage)

A Touch of Fae – My Grade: B+ to A-

Vengeance Due – My Grade: C+ to B-

Thrice United – My Grade: B+ to A- (ménage)

Celebration for the Dead – C+ to B-

Lauren Dane is a really good writer that has two series out there. The Witches Knot series is exclusively at Ellora’s Cave, but her Cascadia Wolves are partly on Ellora’s Cave and partly on My Book Store and More, the store for Samhain Publishing. (My Book Store and More has a very sensitive search feature and it won’t pop titles or authors without punctuation and correct spelling.  It’s kind of irritating.)  Both series are considered ‘erotic romance’, but Witches Knot more so that Cascadia Wolves.

Triad introduces the Charvez witches of New Orleans. Heir to the ‘witch dreamer’ gift, Lee Charvez never bothered with her heritage, but now she’s training with the women of her family. She dreams of a blond haired man and then meets Aidan Bell, an artist that lives in her building and she even bought a painting of his. He’s also a vampire, not a problem for a witch. Just as they begin their affair, dark magic attacks. Because there seems to be an element of wizard magic, Aidan calls on his friend Alex Carter, a powerful wizard in a prominent Chicago family, for help. Vampires don’t share their mates and Aidan yields reluctantly to the need for a triad with Alex to defeat the dark magic being fed by a demon seeking to break the power of the Charvez witches.

Dane creates a very believable group of characters in the extended Charvez family, Aidan Bell and the snooty Carters. The magical ties blend in well enough that the paranormal world is credibly woven with the real world and New Orleans is the perfect setting. The Compact – an agreement between the old gods and the dark world of demons – is the source of the Charvez power and what protects the city and ultimately, the world. It is this thread that ties together the Witch’s Knot series. Dane packs a lot into what is just a short novel. It could easily be expanded to a longer work.

A Touch of Fae is the story of Lee’s younger sister, Emily, or Em as everyone calls her. Quite and underestimated by her more powerful family, Em is a researcher. She tired of being smothered by their protectiveness. Her search for a book takes her to Britain and the private library of a fellow witch. Her rich brother-in-law Aidan puts her up at his hotel in London in his own apartment. She doesn’t know it, but her search is being watched by Conchobar MacNessa, Captain of the Queens Guard – that’s Queen Aine of the Fea. Con is about 10,000 years old and shocked to realize he’s found his mate.

In this book, Dane takes us to Faerie where much of the action happens and that ties into what’s been going on in New Orleans regarding the Compact. It also gets a tie in with the Dark Fae that are allies with the demons if getting the Compact broken. Em comes into her own and ends up being far more powerful than anyone expected, including Em herself.

Em and Con are two very likable characters. The Charvez family plays a smaller role here, but the complex tale moves along at a good pace and Dane scores another winner. My one complaint is the books does not take full advantage of the story possibilities in its all too brief 130 pages.


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