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“You swept into my life like a raging storm” and “Right now ’tis not our trust that I crave the most,” she admitted.”

Sigh, where do I begin? Our dashing hero is David D’Aubere, Earl of Lynchburg, a landless Earl (is there such a thing?) and great warrior who has sworn fealty to Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou. Margaret is thrilled when David lops off the head of her sworn enemy, and rewards him with a great castle and marriage to an heiress, although the joke is on him when he finds his wife by proxy with the mental capacity of a child. He needs an heir to keep his new lands and just like magic a beauteous servant by the name of Riley crosses his path and he decides to impregnate her and pass the baby off as that of his wife. Are you rolling your eyes yet? Never fear there’s more……

See it’s like this – our beauteous servant is no servant at all, she’s the daughter of the Yorkist Earl of Ewesbury and she and her older cousin crossed the English Channel all by themselves and managed to infiltrate the Lancastrian household as servants. No, I am not kidding – no men at arms or attendants to assist these Medieval Misses, no indeedy. Well, you know the H&H are going to fall madly in love, but with all the secrets between them the path to true love has a bump or two, including the newly crowned Edward IV attempting to seduce our heroine in his “love garden” (his words) and culminating in a grand tourney overseen by our heroine dressed only in her shift….

No, I am not kidding, although at least by the tourney she had finally found herself a headdress and covered all those runaway curls. I could go on, but I’m fairly certain you get the idea. If you’re looking for a good story with some decent writing I suggest you look elsewhere. If you’re looking for a wall-paper romance with no purpose other than constant sex this might do but honestly it was pretty dreadful as you can see for yourself,

“He increased his pace until her moans filled the chamber. The glossy elixir of her body bathed his fingers, and he knew that she was fast approaching her peak…..As his fingers wiggled inside of her, her body began to shake with spasm after spasm of jolting pleasure…..her buttocks lifted, her hidden corridor sealing to his fingers, pulsing and brimming over with a hot lather.”

“Lowering his mouth to her, he kissed the pink rose of her sex……Her whole body melted into a mist as his tongue caressed the swollen kernel hidden within her womanhood. The heat of his breath, mingled with his searching tongue, left her keening with ecstasy.”

Although I do give the author credit for not including any volcanos of honey :p

Could this get any worse? Well yes it can, because there’s a sequel set during the time of Richard III and the missing princes. Stay tuned…….

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***Adult content warning. If you are at work and don’t want the censor alarms going off and notifying the boss what you are really doing I suggest you stop and wait until you get home***

Lol! How’s that for a cover for you. I discovered this book in a round about way (long story, we don’t need to go there) and as a cock-up (pun most definitely intended) my Secret Santa sent me this. I am guessing everyone wanted to see what I could do with it so here we go…..

This “Adults Only” book (there is probably a very good reason the look inside feature is not available on Amazon) is author Tim Desmondes’ take on the old Robin Hood legends. He sets his version in the 1180’s when Henry and Eleanor of Aquitaine are still on the throne. Story wise it pretty much follows the standard lines of being branded as an outlaw, living in the forest with the Merry Men and his true love Maid Marian. Where this does go well off the beaten path is the sexual activities and language in this book, much of which I am too embarrassed to even share here. Perhaps if the author had kept his tongue firmly planted in his cheek and kept it light it might have been a bit more *fun* but as it was it was obnoxious and downright painful to get through – but I took one for the team and slowly carried on.

I will share a few quotes with you and remember – these are the tamest, and the *** at the end of certain words are inserted by me.

After his first romp in the hay with his beloved Maid Marian,

“He was a merry Robin. He had found his Maid Marian who had literally found him to her taste.”

Use your imagination and you can figure out what she was tasting, and be very very glad I didn’t quote from just before that. Very glad.

“He had to take pleasure in those voluptuous boobs. As his sweetheart lay on the bed sighing, he applied his lips to those extended nipples that had popped up perkily to greet his. As he sucked and suckled, Main Marian’s right hand encircled his balls”

It gets worse, but I am not going further.

“…Queen Eleanor’s eyes fairly bugged out when they bored in on the bulge in Robin’s tights. She was not disappointed. Unless the outlaw wore falsies he very much lived up to her expectations.”

Falsies? I am sooooo not going there.

“As Robin stared, amazed and in awe, at the most beautiful tits in the Westerns world, Eleanor gazed, awestruck, at the most esthetically gorgeous c*** and balls she had ever encountered. Although he was her subject, Robin took the initiative and bolted directly to that pair of nipples that were winking at him across the room……..Neither minstrelsy nor history record the intricacies of who did what to whom in what was undoubtedly the greatest f***fest of the eleventh century.”

**scratches head** 11C? Kind of makes the Alan Savage novels look good. Almost.

“The queen smiled to herself. She well knew how Robin could shoot with his glorious personal arrow.”

“Matching his Saxon c*** to Eleanor’s Aquitainian c*** that evening, the Battle of Hastings was re-enacted with victory achieved by both sides.”

I do not want to know. I do not want to know. I do not want to know. The book continues on with the rest of Robin’s story including his meeting with the Lionheart (oh I was sooooooo scared what he was going to do there – but whew it didn’t happen) along more pages and pages of someone else’s poetry and/or old ballads. Perhaps if you’re into reading porn this might appeal but otherwise I’d give it a pass. Bad, unbelievably bad.

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Adj. 1. ungulated – having or resembling hoofs; “horses and other hoofed animals”

Lol! When I spotted this word in a very weird sex scene I assumed it was merely a bad typo – until I looked up the meaning. Clearly my limited imagination was not grasping everything the author was trying to convey. Probably just as well it went over my head. Sir Alex de Beaumont has pledged to go on crusade with Edward Longshanks (soon to be Edward I), but he fears telling his new bride and slips out quietly after consummating the union. He disappears and is believed dead, but returns just as Lady Katherine (Kat) is preparing to wed again. Kat not being your typical meek and dutiful Medieval Miss she declares her husband to be a “treacherous bastard” among other names and denies her husband her bed (why the King and the priests didn’t insist she be an obedient wife and submit to her husband…..). Alex is part alpha male and part wimp and pleads with Kat to allow him the chance to regain her trust – but if he can’t he’ll go to the Pope and get an annulment (how on earth he thinks he’ll get that when even Kings had a hard time getting one of those I’ll never know….).

There’s also a mystery surrounding the attack on Alex and his imprisonment, and the threats on his life continue upon his return to court and include a couple of baddies referred to as Scarface and One Eye (how original). Of course Kat gets involved despite Alex’s efforts to keep her in the dark and just like any other well bred medieval noblewoman she can pull the dagger from her boot and throw it with daring precision as well as being able to tumble the bad guy over her shoulder, rides astride like a man (at court, no less while attending on the Queen) leap tall buildings with a single bound…..

Um, just kidding about the last one. This is a silly silly plot filled with more holes than swiss cheese, very bad sex scenes in minute excruciating detail (although some are so OTT they’re laugh out loud funny at times),

“After long delicious moments he added his thumb and pressed against her engorged bud. She cried out loud, her juices bathing his fingers.”

“her breasts peeped out like twin melons, lushly abundant and full. He wanted nothing more than to pluck the sweet flesh to readiness, to suck and plunder her breasts with his lip and tongue.”

 

Add to that a heavy-handed use of words in an effort to make it all sound authentic – “prithee”, “forsooth”, “verily” “aright” and others (at least there wasn’t a bunch of “woe is me”). Whew. I lost count at how many times Alex “snarled” and “growled”, let alone how many times we had to hear about the tips and buds of Kat’s bountiful breasts. Gag me. Oh and since it’s a purply prosed romance novel we must have an abundant overuse of the word honey:

“He shouted out as his essence exploded inside her. Simultaneously her honey-drenched muscles contracted tightly around his shaft again and again………Kat cried out as her flesh throbbed and her honey flowed, the little contractions inside her milking his seed into her womb.”

“The honey-drenched walls of her sheath contracted around his fingers.”

 

In the end, it’s just a fluffy wall-paper romance in a make believe historical setting that’s really only there for the purpose of filling it with OTT sex scenes which includes lots of oral sex (I could swear that would have been considered a sin and they should have been running for the nearest priest to confess but what do I know?). If that’s what you like in a book, this might be the one for you. Otherwise, I’d skip this. Wish I had.

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Judging by the cover, I knew it was a fluffy romance going in to it but I did see a good review on Dear Author so I decided to take the plunge. It started off well enough, set towards the end of England’s Civil War between Stephen and Maude, our heroine the daughter of a recently deceased Earl on the run from the Evil Baron who wants to force her into wedlock meets up with Tall Dark and Handsome Hero who saves her from the baddies in the nick of time and *sigh* true love begins. Pretty much your same old same old fluffy romance plot, some nice banter at first between them and despite some glaring discrepancies I thought I’d do OK with it all.

Then in the midst of the Dark and Stormy Night that went on and on and on as our heroine (hair flowing freely and unattended by any ladies whatsoever) escapes from the Evil Baron’s clutches by saddling a warhorse all by herself and slipping out of London undetected (!!) until she’s thrown from her horse in the middle of nowhere surrounded by the Evil Baron’s Evil Knights – but never fear Studly Hero to the rescue of our damsel in distress. Now remember all these events take place during a long October evening (I know the nights are longer that time of year but still!) – hero takes lady to some safe house and he rides to a castle to conspire against King Stephen.

Of course our heroine can’t stay put and wet and bedraggled she gets herself a horse and rides out and ends up at the same castle our hero is at. She’s greeted by the owner, no wife or other woman in sight and is taken to a bedroom by the male owner – no woman of the household to escort this earl’s daughter. No indeedy. Of course our hero accidentally runs into her, they suck face and then escape and he takes her to an old Saxon stronghold (gad, there’s a lot of castles within horse-ride range, aren’t there?), where he meets up with his cronies working to support Henry’s bid to bump Stephen off the throne.

Whew, tired yet? Maybe they had horse freeways back then for speedy night travellers. Maybe it was the medieval ‘burbs’ and all those places were right around the corner from each other. Oh hell, it’s only a romance so I’m not supposed to nitpick and I determined to slog through it all until…

…..the prose turned the most awful shade of purple as the two lovers shared the bed starting at page #133,

“He slid a wicked hand under her waist and lifted her hips into his. Hot, sizzling spurts of fire burgeoned in her womb. More. She wanted more.”

Onto page #134,

“He slid his hands over her hips, down to her trembling thighs. Pushing them ever so slightly apart, he slid his fingers up her inner thigh, until he hovered against the pink folds dripping with slippery juices.”

Gag me. Onward,

“His confident fingers searched….”

Confident fingers. OK….

Page #263 and he’s backed her up against a wall in the castle, lifted her hips up and we have this,

“Leaning forward, he ran his tongue along the hot, wet seam of her womanhood……..Dizzy with victory he slid his hand up and glided gently along the hot, pink seam, plied back her folds and licked again…….She erupted in a howl of such pleasure he almost spilled himself……He spread her apart further with his fingers and nuzzled deeper into the hot slippery cave of pulsing pink flesh…..She flung her head back so hard it hit the wall, her fingers restlessly tugging in his hair, a whimpering-wet goddess of passion.”

“She flung her head back so hard it hit the wall”. Heh, once again we have a whole new definition of wall banger, which is what I hereby christen this book as I throw it across the room. If all you’re looking for in your historical romance is a prettified wall paper setting book and plenty of over the top sex then this book might suit, but if you want a bit more substance in your romance I’d search elsewhere.

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….and that’s because I did not find it here. I have to fess up, when I read Harriet’s review wherein she gave it five stars and called it a “profound historical romance” along with the comment “never slows as William feels like he has three (his natural hardened sword) and often four (his metallic sword) legs throughout much of the plot”, I just had to go and see for myself (I do love it when Harriet gets frisky and tries to slide something by the Ammy censors).

Siobhan Fraser (an Irish name for a Scottish lass, how odd) discovers that her father has been kidnapped by the evil Pierre de la Roche who covets the hidden treasure of the Knights Templar, including the Spear of Destiny – whoever controls the spear can rule the world (raising your eyebrows in disbelief yet?). Coming to her rescue is Templar Knight Sir William Keith as the two find the hidden map to the treasure and the adventure begins. *Yawn*

I really didn’t have high expectations going into this, but I certainly didn’t expect to find such a jumbled mess of cartoon cut-out characters, including an evil baddie in the mold of Snidely Whiplash – I kept waiting for him to twirl his mustache (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

Never fear, it gets worse. Our plucky heroine is able to travel anywhere and everywhere ALONE with our hero with nary an eyebrow raised by anyone, she gets a quick lesson in swordplay and she’s able to swing the broadsword like a man, leap tall buildings with a single bound…..

Actually that’s really our hero who just like Superman can outfight any evil baddie who crosses his path, including fighting his way through forty (yes 40) armed men with nary a scratch – let alone that scene where they’re both hanging by a thread above a spike filled dungeon. Did they have spike filled dungeons in the 14C?

But to top it all off is some of the most insipid dialog I’ve come across in a while,

“We are one.”

“I never imagined it could feel so good”

“I’ve never felt like this before”

Just the kind of talk I look for to liven up a sex scene. Not. Frankly the sex scenes were pretty crappy for your standard bodice ripper romance. No chemistry there. In the end, it’s just a big fluffy piece of preposterous nonsense – imagine the Saturday morning cartoons set to a book. But never fear – there’s more coming soon as this appears to be the first in a series. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ll pass. Get it from the library if you must, I’m glad I did.

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Queen of Love picks up where Eleanor of Aquitaine left off. Eleanor is now married to Henry II and Queen of England and she starts dropping children left and right – including the future Richard I and the infamous John Lackland, and continues as their now grown sons revolt against their father, Richard’s crusade and marriage to Berengeria, and into her old age and John’s rule and the murder of his nephew Arthur.

I found the first person narrative as an aging Eleanor reflects back her life really bogged this book down – there is just too much telling and not showing. Although when Savage does have Eleanor in the thick of things that *showing* is downright hilarious . From seducing her husband’s mistress Rosamund Clifford in the bath,

“…as she moved towards the steaming tub, pushing up her sleeve, added, “Not with your hand, girl. With your ass.'”
“My hand coursed up her thigh and over her left buttock, then moved up to her shoulder………I brought my hand out of her hair and back to her shoulder, then slid it in front, down to her breast, to cup it and hold it, and gently pinch the nipple.”

“…the fact that we had shared a bath, because after she had soaped me I had her in the tub on top of me, and as the water had flowed out our mutual desires had flowed in….”

To her relationship with a young William Marshal (oh my that wardrobe error),

“…and released the cord holding his hose. This promptly slipped about his ankles. Or certainly tried to do this. But it was impeded, and so, with dainty fingers, I helped it on its way…….. And I realised that the entire business would have to be in my hands. Well, it was, most literally.”

Then there’s her relationship with Blondel the lute player (I mean come on, she’s over 50 already and still getting it), although she did have to share him with her son Richard (well, maybe sharing is the wrong term – Richard picked up after mom was done).

But the hands down laugh out loud moment was Eleanor giving sex-ed lessons to her future daughter-in-law Berengeria. Knowing Richard’s taste for men, she was very very careful to give her a blow by blow of anything she could do to encourage him along the path to marital harmony, as well as any orifice that one might use to encourage his interest in one of the female persuasion. I’ll spare you those details -you don’t want to know, trust me. Although we do have Eleanor discussing the marriage with her long-time maid and friend,

“But this girl is our last hope, she must be to Richard what Richard wants and requires.”
“She doesn’t have a penis, your Grace.”

 

Priceless.

As in the first book, Eleanor does it with just about everyone but the Pope and Thomas Becket (although for a while I was afraid that was going to happen). But it’s not just Eleanor who gets to play around – her sons Richard and Geoffrey both get to diddle with the French King. Read these two books for the laughs only and not for the history.

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Despite a cover that has all the appearances of a serious historical novel, well all I can say is don’t judge a book by it’s cover . This is the first of two books Savage has written on the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine, and is written in the first person as an older Eleanor reflects back on her life. Just a brief run down for those not familiar with her life – heiress to the Duchy of Aquitaine, she is married to the very pious King Louis of France (he was the second son and was intended for the church until the elder brother died), they go on a disastrous crusade and after bearing only two daughters Louis has the marriage annulled and she goes on to marry the future Henry II of England, where this book ends.

Although according to the book jacket this is part of a “colourful romantic series”, I’ve got to tell you – enter at your own risk. Eleanor does it with just about everybody except for the Pope, Abbe Suger, the eunuch and a monk or two, starting from the age of twelve (!!) when her governess leads her into the arts of pleasure:

Albina had been appointed my governess following Mama’s death…….Albina had never married, but she was definitely experienced. She it was who now undertook to instruct me in the business of being a woman and the duties of a wife. Well, I can’t say I much cared for the second half of her schooling…….and proceeded to tell me the facts of life. Well! My first reaction was consternation, that anyone, and particularly any man, should be allowed – and apparently encouraged – to make as free with my body as Albina indicated and was demonstrating.”

“As to the ways of myself or my maidservants, I was not in the least curious. Albina had taught me that our desires were mutual – in fact they were happy to tell me theirs, and their various means of satisfying them, in hopes of pleasing me – but however often we romped together our conversation always returned to the same subject, that of male codpieces and what might lie beneath them and what use may be made of such a remarkable apprutenance. As may be imagined, those of my attendants who actually claimed to possess personal acquaintance with such entrancing objects were in great demand, even if I was always uncertain as to whether they should be whipped for lying or wantonness.”

And then there’s the escapade with a young page (mind you, she’s still 12/13 years old) that leaves a telling stain on her skirt and raises eyebrows in the laundry (think Monica Lewinski):

I will let you put your hand beneath my gown if you will untie your codpiece.”…… “he slipped his hand up my calf, carressed my knee, and moved it higher to my thigh…….I allowed Alfred full freedom, even to reach the silky down he was seeking…….he was full to bursting……”

Oh but we’re not done yet, let’s not forget the female bath attendants at Constantinople:

I would be lying were I to claim that I did not feel a pang, several pangs, of alarm, when these girls began soaping my breasts and buttocks, sending their hands between my legs to arouse the most intense emotions. But I recalled the old saying that when in Rome…and Constantinople was far grander than Rome.”

Her uncle Raymond (ya’ll remember Deep Throat?):

“…my uncle knelt on the bed beside my shoulders, threw his other leg across me, and kneeling astride my breasts, allowed his weapon, huge and poised, to caress my face”

I’ll spare you the rest. Whilst on crusade she encounters the twelve year old Saladin:

Saladin had me on my knees like the veriest bitch. Indeed, had he commanded me, I would have barked. Perhaps I did.”

Woof woof. On to Geoffrey of Anjou (oh my).

“Soon enough he was banging away again. Fortunately twice in rapid succession was sufficient even for the Angevin, at least in the short run….”

Although the hands down laugh out loud moments were at the end where she takes up with Henry’s mother the formidable Empress Matilda. Priceless.

Outside of the OTT sex scenes the rest of the novel is rather dry and suffers badly from the use of the first person narrative. Eleanor comes across as quite vain and full of herself and an entirely unsympathetic character. Read this one for the laughs and not for the history. I do have a copy of the second book, Queen of Love and I am curious to see what Savage does with the rest of Eleanor’s life. Wonder what she does with the Lionheart? William Marshal? Rosamund Clifford? Stay tuned….

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