Romance Review: Devil’s Bargain

Hello Everyone!  Vivienne Ylang, here.  I just finished a wonderful book and I wanted to tell you about it.  Devi’s Bargain by Jade Lee was delightful.  There is even a puff on the back by our very own Thea Devine saying that it was “A luscious bonbon of a read – the education of an innocent; hot, sensual, romantic and fun!”  I couldn’t agree more, and likely wouldn’t express it as well.

Now, I didn’t actually choose this book.  A friend gave it to me and I’m not sure where she got it.  To tell you the truth, I’m a bit of a romance snob.  I’ve read hundreds of romances, quite probably more than 1,000, over the last 25 years.  I often judge books by their cover.  At least when it comes to selection.  If the author is not one I recognize, then the cover is what gets me to decide whether or not to pick it up and read the back.  It may not be fair, but it’s the truth.  I suspect that’s the case for a lot of people, which is why publishers put so much effort into the covers.  This cover is not one that would have prompted me to pick it up off the table in Barnes & Noble.  In fact, I selected it off my To Be Read shelf in the dark with no thought to what book I would have in hand. 

But I ended up with Devil’s Bargain the other day and I’m thrilled it worked out that way.  The characters, Lynette and Adrian, quickly became quite likeable.  I doubted it in the first chapter or so, but again, I was likely still influenced by my erroneous, snap, pre-judgement of the cover. 

If you like a good romance story pick this one up.  If you like a bit of heat with your romance, without the overt eroticism of a Beatrice Small or EL James (both of which I enjoy from time to time), buy the Devi’s Bargain

And the thing that pushed me to write this review – Ms. Lee does a wonderful job of adding complication and higher stakes for her characters.  I read this in paper form (as opposed to an e-book) and there was a thin stack of pages left when I remembered the classic line, “How’re you gonna write your way out of this one, Joan Wilder?”  But Ms. Lee did it quite well with just a handful of pages left.

I’ve started writing my new WIP (currently titled Some Times) and while I’m writing the beginning, I’m plotting the middle.  I had skipped the middle when I was writing my outline because that’s the hardest part of the story for me.  I know how it starts, I know how it ends, but the piece after the second turning point up to the third has me flumoxed.  I know I need to add complications and raise the stakes for my characters but for the life of me I can’t think of any.  

Isn’t that terrible?  What kind of a writer am I?  Hello Doubt Monster, long time, no see! Ugh!  And the worse part is, being stuck plotting the middle has caused me to lose motivation in writing the beginning.  Sigh.  So the next thing I’m going to do is go back to the drawing board.  Literally.  I shall go somewhere with delectable eats (Panera?)  and brainstorm things that could complicate the lives of my main characters.  I shall re-read their GMC statements (Goal, Motivation and Conflict) and find nuggets of problems to throw their way. 

Perhaps I’ll review some work by Suzanne Collins.  She’s meaner to her characters than anybody I’ve read in a while.  All Peeta wants is to live happily ever after with Katniss.  All Katniss wants is to save her little sister.  All Gale wants is for Katniss to pick him.  If you’ve read the Hunger Games trilogy, you know how all that works out.  Stephenie Meyer did a nice job with complications, too.  Just when you think everything is hunky dory, ooops, Bella gets a paper cut. 

Today’s Secret: Read Devil’s Bargain by Jade Lee.  I really liked it.

Today’s Question: How do you come up with complications and higher stakes to challenge your characters?

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5 thoughts on “Romance Review: Devil’s Bargain”

  1. Hi Viv, that’s a great post and review. Has me curious, sounds just like what I enjoy. Sweet romance, not too erotic, when does it take place? I write history, and have scarce time, so I try to read in my genre. Thanks for the insights.

  2. I sat with Jade Lee at the RT conference. We both have the same last names. :) But write completely different things. ;) It made for good conversation when buyers came to the table.

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