To be honest, I had thought I had a review on hand for October … but it turned out to be not a review. And then I haven’t felt like I’ve been reading much lately. Some good books but more books that were just okay in that I wasn’t mad I read them but … I don’t know that I’d recommend them widely. I have however, but re-reading a lot of books this year … and recently began another binge re-watch of The Story of Yanxi Palace. This … very well may be my seventh (if not more) rewatch. Granted certain parts I forward through – but it’s an intensive experience.
Anyway, the October suggested prompt was “Flirting with Danger” … and I thought about it for a bit, and felt like the closest recent book I’ve read, or more accurately re-read would be Carter’s Flame by Tiffany Patterson. Although I think it’s more a straight contemporary romance than a romantic suspense. The hero is former special forces, and currently a firefighter working in the rescue squad. He meets the heroine when he rescues her from her car after a crash.
Carter and Michelle are great. Michelle is a single mother, and Carter goes all in on having a built in family. If you like really possessive alpha heroes, than Tiffany Patterson will be your new catnip. I personally love smitten heroes, so when I first discovered Tiffany Patterson’s book, I literally read her entire backlist in one go. (At the time it was a little over 30 books and I think it took me about three to four weeks.) What I like about her heroes is that they’re smitten and jealous, possessive but not controlling. They’re very “hey back off my woman, asshole” … but they don’t try to control her. For her part, Michelle “flirts with danger” because the father of her son is someone … well, it’s a spoiler but not a major factor – someone she thought she was in a relationship with, but she was actually his sidepiece. (She was only 19, he was a predator. She was vulnerable and obviously young. Thee ex provides for her son in paying for the tuition of his very expensive private school… and that’s it – however he threatens her with withdrawing that support or worse taking custody if she dates anyone else. This actually really annoyed me because it would be highly unlikely for a court to take away a child from his sole custodial parent, but it becomes a whole thing. I get the drama but I irked me. While this isn’t my area of legal practice, I know more about it than the average [legal] bear. Carter’s “flirting with danger” is pretty obvious what with running into burning buildings and such.
For the relationship itself, there’s very little danger. Like I said, Carter (and most Patterson heroes) are all in once they meet their loves/are ready for a relationship, and they will systematically destroy any barrier to it.
As for The Story of Yanxi Palace … it’s a Chinese historical drama set during the Qing dynasty. The heroine is a palace maid set on revenge, and honestly her entire life is just careening from one danger to another. She’s very bold, angry and petty in the best ways … and smart. She can’t stand injustice and is so steadfast. Yingluo is crafty but also lucky. Help comes when it’s most needed, but things are not easy for her – at all. It’s probably my favorite series ever though, so I’ve rewatched it a number of times since first seeing it. I watched it shortly after it first came out … I know Ilona Andrews watched it (I think some time in 2019 and blogged about it but for the life of me I can’t find details now…) Anyway the fact that it has a happy ending is a big part of why I like it so much. And I’ve a vengeful bitch so playing the long revenge game is something I respect. Fully.
Here’s the cover and back cover copy of Carter’s Flame if you’re interested.
I was born into a world of wealth and privilege. My birthright was to be at the helm of one of the world’s leading energy companies. But that wasn’t my purpose in life. Sitting behind a desk of a fortune 500 isn’t what gets me going. I’ll leave that life to my brothers. No. It took me years to find my true purpose. Saving lives. Walking into the depths of hell to pull out survivors. It’s what gets me out of my bed in the morning, and eventually, it’s what led me to her.
On a day that, to her, must’ve seemed like the wrong place and wrong time, is where I met my destiny. Michelle Clarke. Our worlds collided and I knew instantly that she was mine. Everything in my life up until this point has been preparing me for her.
The eight years I spent in special forces.
And the last six years spent as a proud member of the Williamsport Fire Department’s Rescue 4 squad.
All of it was preparation for her. And nothing, not her reluctance, not my brother, and not even her son’s father will stand in the way of what belongs to me. My job is to rescue people and put out fires, but I will set anyone who stands in our way, ablaze. I will happily pour the gasoline and light the match and set all of this shit aflame, just to ensure she is where she belongs … with me.
And if you’re interested …
Here’s a link to start you out on Yanxi Palace. From what I’ve seen of it the translations are overall quite good. This is actually my first time watching the series with English subtitles. There are a few things I’d quibble about but all told they aren’t that serious. And they’re much better than many others I’ve seen generally. (Definitely whatever was put up on Amazon Prime is some like terrible bootleg version.)
Anyway I’d love if more of you read Tiffany Patterson and watched Yanxi Palace because I have things to discuss.
Hi friends! So I was all “I’m definitely going to be on top of writing TBR Challenge reviews in 2022!” And like … I just hesitated typing 2022 because my fingers wanted to type 2021 and that’s how things are going, described in the gentlest way.
I’ve been doing very little reading the past few months, in a way. And in another … well, I’m fixating – hard. I listened to the same audiobook, once a day if not more, for well over a month. I’ve shifted to the same audiobook for a week (or so), on repeat, but they’re comfort re-reads. In January I went back to Beverly Jenkins historicals. <3 (Indigo, Vivid, Night Hawk…)
Which … gets me to this. While my TBR both languishes and grows – you’re all readers – you get it – I just … have no focus. And I’m not even branching out on comfort reads because what if I pick up a book I loved 20 years ago but it’s just terrible now? (Maybe it just wasn’t that good, maybe it was super racist and I had no idea. I don’t know.)
… So yeah. You’re almost paralyzed with “what ifs.” But also trying a new book just … is too exhausting and what if it’s not good and then you wasted time and then also have to figure out what else to read to avoid it.
That’s enough of that.
ANYWAY. I said I went back to Beverly Jenkins re-[and re and re and re] reads…. and what came to mind for “the sexiest low key scene” – I mean it’s a grand gesture but it’s not something you’d normally think of as sexy. It’s when Galen quotes scripture to Hester in the church.
… if you’ve never read Indigo you might be thinking “uhhhhhh Lime?” But come on. Imagine it’s 1858, and the most handsome man you or anyone else has ever seen stands up in church and quotes.
“Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse…thou hast ravished my heart… Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense …” “Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue…Thy navel is like a round goblet which wanteth not liquor…The joints of your thighs are like jewels…”
Which are from Chapters 4 and 7 of Song of Solomon. It made me think of the infamous Darcy hand flex in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice that is regularly trotted out in social media and people lose their minds over. It’s iconic.
So my question is … what is the tamest/most innocuous yet sexiest/most “*fans self*” scene you’ve ever read? What’s your favorite one in a book or movie?
Inquiring minds wish to know!
And if you’ve never read Indigo … do yourself the favor and start now. Now!
As a child Hester Wyatt escaped slavery, but now the dark skinned beauty is a dedicated member of Michigan’s Underground railroad, offering other runaways a chance at the freedom she has learned to love. When one of her fellow conductors brings her an injured man to hide, Hester doesn’t hesitate…even after she is told about the price on his head.
The man in question is the great conductor known as the “Black Daniel” a vital member of the North’s Underground railroad network. But Hester finds him so rude and arrogant, she begins to question her vow to hide him.
When the injured and beaten Galen Vachon, aka, the Black Daniel awakens in Hester’s cellar, he is unprepared for the feisty young conductor providing his care. As a member of one of the wealthiest free Black families in New Orleans, Galen has turned his back on the lavish living he is accustomed to in order to provide freedom to those enslaved in the South.
However, as he heals he cannot turn his back on Hester Wyatt. Her innocence fills him like a breath of fresh air and he is determined to make this gorgeous and intelligent woman his own…
Yet…there are traitors to be discovered, slave catchers to be evaded and Hester’s heart to be won before she and Galen can find the freedom that only true love can bring.