Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Book Tour for Savage Love by Raquel Taylor (Review)

Today I bring to you a steamy m/m paranormal read set in a futuristic world.  Keep reading to learn more about Savage Love by Raquel Taylor through the author's discussion of what makes for a good m/m romance as well as my review.  Make sure to visit the other blogs hosting this tour to learn even more about this book and its new-to-me author too!

What Makes a Good M/M Romance........
A good M/M romance has the same qualities that made any other romance good. The job of the author is to create characters that readers want to see be together. If the author writes erotica, then the job becomes two-fold because not only do the readers want to see the characters be together but they want to see them touch one another in intimate ways that reach through the realm of the physical and burn hot enough to touch the soul. If a writer can achieve these things, then they have written a good romance and that, ultimately is the goal.
Personally, I do not see a difference between M/M romance and any other kind. Love is, very simply, love. My goal is to create love between whatever characters I’ve decided to attempt to put together. And truthfully, sometimes they don’t fit. I believe all writers, at some point or another, have met those characters within themselves that they thought would be perfect for one another and the two couldn’t stand one another. Like people, characters have life and, if you are very careful or very lucky or both, they will fall in love within the pages of the tale you are telling. Gender doesn’t really have anything to do with whether two characters fall in love or not.
I consider myself a romance writer with a distinct lean toward the erotic. The heat level I am trying to achieve in any story that I write is always the same. I want to create people who cannot keep their hands off each other. I want to create people so deeply in love that they cannot live without one another. I need them to need one another—physically, emotionally, and completely. Is that the dream? Even if we have abandoned it, it was there once upon a time for each of us—the need to have someone as close to us as breath, someone we could trust, someone we could love without fear. In creating characters in answer to that need, the gender of the lovers has never been something I’ve been concerned about. I want the love. I want the passion. I want the need that inspires the painful honesty that it takes for someone to admit to someone else: “I love you. I need you.”
Are there differences between boys and girls? Yes, there are. A writer must adjust. It is my humble belief if you make those differences the goal of the story, though, then you are going down the wrong path. While those differences must be recognized, love is the goal. How you achieve that love, how many obstacles you throw in the path of your lovers, and how they conquer those obstacles is up to you.  The obstacles to aM/M relationship may be different than those for a M/F relationship depending on the setting that you choose, but in the end, love is the symphony that you are playing for the audience that chooses to listen. If you remember that, then you cannot fail to bring something beautiful to life.
I’ve read M/M romances for years. I have a passion forYaoi/Manwa like you wouldn’t believe, and, in my spare time (of which there has been a lot lately), I write naughty stories for people who appreciate my brand on that genre. I’ve seen flaws (or what I see as flaws anyway) that I’ve wanted to correct. First of all, there is a great tendency for M/M stories to end in tragedy for one of both parties. I do not read romances to cry my eyes out at the end. I do not want to be left asking: “Why couldn’t those two people just be happy, huh?” I know that all stories do not end well. Shakespeare is one of my favorite authors and he had a lock on tragedy. However, the tendency for M/M romances to end in tragedy is extremely high. Two examples that I can give you are: The King and the Clown and Legend of the Blue Wolves. The King and the Clown is a beautiful Asian thing, and Legend of the Blue Wolves is an anime. Both will rip your heart right out of your chest. Still, you will be happy that you saw them. The love is there. It’s undeniable, and while I’d like, very much, to slap the writers for hurting me in that way, I can do nothing but appreciate the beauty of the delivery of these particular stories.
Secondly, boys are not girls. If you’re going to write M/M, make sure that’s what it is, and not M/Pseudo-female. A boy is a boy even if his hair is long and his eyes are big and he likes to wear dresses part-time. Time and again, I’ve read stories where one of the characters was only missing a pair of breasts to complete him. While I realize that there are some lovely guys out there that truly feel this way, and I would like nothing more than read or write about something like that, it’s not what I mean here. I’ve read several manga where the author stopped in the middle of the story and made a note like: “Wouldn’t it be cute if he was a girl in this particular love scene?” Harsh as it may sound,I’ve put  books down for that.
So, in writing M/M romance, let my boys be boys and let their love be deep, heartfelt, and fervent. It would help if they lived together, to a ripe old age, and died in each other’s arms, but I’m not telling you what to write there, simply what I’d love to read. I focus on the love, grow it in their hearts like flowers, and water those throbbing, crimson heart-flowers with lots of passionbecause we are people and when we are fortunate enough to find that marvelous otherpassion.
Write people who fall in love…Hard…Tangled like a spider’s web…and make them love it. That’s what makes good romance.

Welcome to the world of Nyw’Gaia where genetically engineered werewolves and vampires have battled for centuries. They fight to the death. They, most certainly, do not fall in love…
An illegally made vampire in his father’s Nosferatu army, Prince Skyy Hi’daat leaves the city of Nocturne for the lush alien domain beyond.  He finds this world filled with exotic inhabitants who would just as readily kill him as look at him. He is unprepared for the desire he feels in facing the werewolf that is supposed to be his natural enemy. Ravished and then rescued, his vengeance knows no bounds for the creature that dared put his filthy paws upon him.
Cathedron is the city of Arachnae’s greatest champion. On a deadly stealth mission to infiltrate Nocturne and discover the source of the infection that is eating the world, he finds he cannot help but hunt Nocturne’s gorgeous dark prince. Skyy’s scent ignites his desires in a way that is strictly criminal. Remembrances of Skyy’s body fires his blood against every law, against his own common sense. The wolf is determined to have the vampire again and make Skyy his forever.
Against the heat of the passion that threatens to consume them both, Nyw’Gaia is dying. An ancient darkness is infecting the denizens of the world and killing everything in its path. Their love is forbidden, but only their love can save Nyw’Gaia now.
The wolf was covered in the pierced and tattooed designs so prevalent amongst the ruins of the First Colony. The markings denoted a complete surrender to savagery, a negation of even the faintest hint of civilization. Skyy had seen designs like them in the museums and art galleries of Nocturne. They were an intermingling of the human-like designs of the First Colony along with the artwork of the aliens that had populated the planet before the first human settlers had landed hundreds of years before. The werewolf wore inked bands across the hard muscles of his arms that might have favored the Celtic designs brought from Old Earth had they not been populated with ja’anaszi stones—tiny glittering jewels that radiated with the uncanny inner light found at the mined core of Nyw’Gaia. Ja’anaszi stones were illegal in the City of Nocturne, the tiny rocks imbued with a narcotic so strong it had been known to kill on contact. Once placed upon the flesh, the stones bonded with the skin and needed the aid of a skilled surgeon to be removed. Often whole limbs were lost in the procedure. And the werewolf wore enough of them to kill an entire human district. The stones were known to be a glittering white, the light inside them throbbing to the heartbeat of the wearer. The stones the wolf wore were an uncharacteristic blood red.
Raven hair slid in a straight black wave down the creature’s shoulders and inky eyebrows arched over long black lashes. His finely sculpted face, complete with smooth cheeks and high cheekbones, was the home of arched raven eyebrows, which rose to peaks over those incredible eyes. There was something so wild about the look of him that it captivated Skyy.
He could not look away as the wind picked up the long inky cape of the werewolf’s hair and played with it, jangling the multi-colored beads and tangerine feathers that decorated it. The picture was both spellbinding and incredible and the new vampire’s mind took its sweet time processing it all, down to the silver metal and ja’anaszi stone collar that decorated the beast’s throat. Still, not quite used to his new perceptions, Skyy found this creature as fascinating as the Trinity and his body reacted to its presence in much the same manner as he had reacted to the Three Moons. The beast sparkled, the blood red stones embedded in his flesh glittering like sustenance and Skyy was suddenly filled with the dark hunger that denoted what he was, but there was something else to it…a certain and undeniable lust of a completely carnal nature.

Raquel Taylor has created an intriguing paranormal read with lots of action, both romantic and suspenseful, that kept me immersed from the start though I wasn't always sure of what was happening.  After a confusing start to the story that lays the groundwork for what's to come readers are thrown into the middle of an ongoing war between vampires and werewolves.  It's a hatred festered by humans who are guarded by vampires in a city walled off from the outside world.
Into this city werewolf Cathedron secretly enters as there's danger afoot from an infectious disease creating mindless creatures hungering for blood.  The Infected are rapidly taking over the city while the King tries to keep the danger hidden as he has a more important and nefarious plan in play that his unwitting son Skyy plays a major role in.  As two creatures never meant to mingle find love, death gets even closer as the city gets overrun and a prophecy starts to unfold in a heart-pounding and bloody conclusion to an intensely erotic m/m read.
From the moment they meet each other in a battle to the death Cathedron knows that Skyy isn't like other vampires.  He's drawn to the scent of life that Skyy gives off and from that moment on he knows his heart is lost to this supposed enemy.  He's also convinced there's more to Skyy's lineage than what Skyy even knows as he has traits of creatures only known about it books.  Cathedron puts his life on the line to enter the city to learn the truth and to save the man he's come to care about and whose love might very well save the world.  Cathedron is super sexy and likes being in control.  He makes Skyy face very tough issues but remains by his side to deal with the emotional fallout.  
Skyy has always felt separate from those around and been told repeatedly by his father of his unending disappointment in him.  In a desperate attempt to find comfort and affection he decides to let himself be turned into a vampire by the man he feels a connection to.  Little does Skyy know that his entire existence has been planned out from the start and he's just a pawn to a bigger ending.  Though he claims to hate Cathedron from the first time they meet his heart and mind can't forget him.  He feels himself slipping and the only thing holding him together is Cathedron.  His heart actually beats in his presence and he wants nothing more than to stay locked in a room together while ignoring the outside world.  Cathedron makes him feel like he's a part of something and worthy of love.  The sexual tension between them is palpable from the very start which leads to a very drawn out sexual encounter that scorches the pages....and my retinas.  Their scenes are aggressive with sexual dominance being a large part of their play but are also romantic in the intense glances and heartfelt verbal interactions.
From start to finish this is an engaging story that's a bit confusing due to its elaborate mythology.  Each scene is vividly depicted though which makes it easy to immerse yourself in the narrative. There's pulse-pounding action and scorching sexual encounters from the two likable leads and you can't help but root for them to reach their HEA.  Ms. Taylor has created a unique read that has me intrigued for what she'll come up with next.
My rating for this is a C+
*I received this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Raquel Taylor enjoys writing love stories with an erotic edge. Secretly, and under a crazy pseudonym, she writes multitudes of homoerotic fanfiction based on myriad anime worlds. She does this for the love of the written word. She does this for the love of the carefully crafted worlds and characters that others have created. Most importantly, she does it in order to satisfy a need she sees in the readers of fan fiction.
Outside of this rather clandestine operation, Raquel writes love and erotica in whatever form that pleases her. She truly believes that love conquers all. With pen and keyboard she creates worlds where only love can bring light to the darkness. She creates lovers who need one another and she brings them to readers who want to experience those worlds and those people.
She writes for the love of it, against all odds. And she will never stop creating.
You can visit Raquel’s worlds at: www.theroguepublisher.com
TWITTER:  @roguepublishing

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