Romance / Erotica
by Margaret Locke
Plot: Despite solid plotting overall, some of the complications thrown at the romantic leads feel forced, as if the author is providing reasons for the couple to fail. Still, the pacing and structure serve the story well.
Prose: This is the perfect marriage between a contemporary romance and a Regency. The miscommunications that result from the clashing worldviews, so well captured in the prose, are by turn humorous and tear-jerking.
Originality: While time-travel romances are not uncommon, this combination of elements—a magical manuscript that creates the spark of true love, a passionate woman so devastated by the scandals of her past that she'll run away to the future for a chance at independence and happiness, and a workaholic whose kind heart only needs to open up to find true happiness—works together in a unique and satisfying way.
Character Development: Although some development happens surprisingly quickly -- Amara's adjustment to the modern world pushes against the limits of believability -- both primary characters are well-built, with histories that make their reactions understandable if not always sympathetic. The rest of the cast is overwhelmingly supportive, so much so that the drive of the story relates to internal conflict, which concludes in a neatly tied up epilogue.
Blurb: A satisfying mash-up of contemporary romance and Regency with a determinedly independent heroine and a workaholic-with-a-heart-of-gold sure to please fans of both subgenres.
by Charity Parkerson
Plot: Parkerson is at her strongest here when crafting romantic tension between two men who each believe the other is straight. Though that tension drives the first third of the book, and the pathos of the final third hits the right emotional chords, the intentional miscommunication of the middle section bogs down the narrative.
Prose: The straightforward text is sure to meet audience expectations for the genre, though it offers little in the way of nuance or sophistication. Still, it is peppered with humor and plenty of high-voltage sexual encounters.
Originality: Though never delving too far into the world of MMA fighting or the martial arts both men are passionate about, the backdrop of fight training, injury recovery, and touring to prove worthy of challenging the reigning champion gives a hint of unique flavor to a tried-and-true formula. A few twists along the way—especially the health risks—provide surprises before the expected happily ever after.
Character Development: Brian and Terry's relationship insecurities, and Terry's unwillingness to fully face his health condition, are the deepest flaws either of these "innately good" men have. But their niceness and generosity is never irksome—it just leaves little room for character growth beyond their relationship.