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  • Tara Sonin 7:00 pm on 2018/01/10 Permalink
    Tags: , , , anne rice, breath of magic, crystal cove, , daughter of the blood, , erika mailman, , , , , , , , , naomi novik, , , paula brackson, practical magic, , , , , the witches of east end, the witching hour, the witchs daughter, the witchs trinity, toil and trouble, uprooted, , wicked deeds on a winters night, witch and wizard   

    16 Witchy Books You Need This Winter 

    You may think Autumn is the only time for witchery, but we say winter and witches go together like snowflakes and hot cocoa! If January has been keeping you cold, here are some witchy reads that will excite…and maybe even scare you a bit, too.

    A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness
    When factions of supernatural creatures set their sights on a document that could give them the upper hand in a war, a reluctant witch must seek the protection of an equally reluctant vampire, her supposed mortal enemy. Witch stories have a tendency to emphasize the importance of family…but in this case, it could be her own family that wants her dead. Can true love between two warring beings prevail?

    Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman
    The Owens sisters are cursed: the men that they love will always die. But with that curse comes unique abilities—magic—that on more than one occasion, they have used to try and prevent others that they love from falling prey to the same fate. Gillian and Sally grew up as outsiders, always trying to escape the rumors about their family. One of them married, and the other ran away, determined never to do so. But when tragedy brings them together again, the curse is always there to welcome them home…

    Dark Witch, by Nora Roberts
    In this witchy trilogy, Iona Sheehan travels to Ireland to connect with family she has always yearned to know. Reunited with her cousins in the home of her ancestors, Iona is hopeful she’s found everything she’s been looking for. And then she meets Boyle MacGrath: a cowboy with no ties, except the one winding its way around her heart.

    Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night, by Kresley Cole
    In the fourth installment in this paranormal romance series, Mariketa the witch has been stripped of her magic, leaving her with no choice but to seek the protection of her greatest enemy, Bowen MacRieve. Bowen is a tortured werewolf determined never to let his heart belong to another—especially Mari—but soon enough, they cannot deny the passion between them. Forbidden love, evil forces, and magic combine for a riveting tale.

    Breath of Magic, by Teresa Medeiros
    Arian Whitewood is a witch from the seventeenth century…which means she does not belong three hundred years in the future, but alas, that’s where a mysterious amulet takes her. She meets Tristan Lennox, a billionaire with no faith in magic…and so he never expected his reward of 1 million dollars to the person who could prove its existence to ever come true. Outlander fans will love this reverse-time-travel billionaire romance.

    Crystal Cove, by Lisa Kleypas
    Friday Harbor has been a good home to Justine; here she’s found the stability she never had with her untamable mother, Marigold, and she enjoys the safety in her mundane life of running a small hotel. But then, her world is rocked by the truth that her lack of love is the result of a dark curse cast on her at birth.

    The Witch’s Daughter, by Paula Brackston
    One of the most fascinating and engrossing witch tales I’ve ever read: you will not be able to look away from the tale of Elizabeth Hawksmith, a witch who has survived over three-hundred years in loneliness, only to discover a Witchfinder from her past has been stalking her through time, determined to collect on a debt. But this time, Elizabeth can’t run: she has a teenage girl under her care, and something more important than her own immortality to protect.

    The Witches of East End, by Melissa De La Cruz
    The Beauchamp witches try to live a normal life; the fact that they are forbidden to practice magic makes that slightly easier. But when murder and mystery find them in their solitude, they decide the time has come to defy the rules and do what must be done to defeat the evil in their midst.

    Daughter of the Blood, by Anne Bishop
    This high fantasy in which power is manifested through magical gems stars a mysterious Queen who will rise to a power stronger even than Hell itself. Three men seek to find and control the girl who is destined to ascend the throne in a ruthless quest of corruption, greed, and lust.

    Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
    The story of the Wicked Witch of the West begins at birth—born green, an outcast in society, she is nonetheless destined to wield a magic that will make her infamous. This villain origin story is action-packed, beautiful, and romantic.

    The Witch’s Trinity, by Erika Mailman
    This fascinating tale of witchcraft, fear, and history begins in 1507 when a German town is struck by a famine…which one friar believes is the result of witchcraft. Güde Müller has been tormented by visions that she cannot explain…and soon she realizes that her position in the town is compromised, perhaps even by her own family.

    The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman
    This unique story is difficult to describe, but incredibly ethereal, dark, and haunting. A man comes home to Sussex for a funeral, and is drawn to the mysterious house at the end of the road where, as a child, he met a mysterious girl and something magical and dangerous happened to him as a child.

    The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, by Katherine Howe
    Connie’s summer is full to the brim with research for her PhD. But when her mother asks her to help handle the sale of her grandmother’s house, Connie finds herself pulled into a dark mystery involving a family bible, an old key, and a name: Deliverance Dane. Who was she? And why is Connie suddenly having visions of the Salem Witch Trials?

    Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
    A terrifying wizard known as The Dragon kidnaps girls in a small town every ten years—and soon, Agnieszka’s best friend will be chosen. That is, until a twist of fate results in her being chosen instead.

    Witch and Wizard, by James Patterson
    In a dystopian world of governmental control, Wisty and Whit Allgood are siblings accused of being a witch and wizard. Young people everywhere have been torn from their homes and forced to face judgment for this “crime” of magic.

    The Witching Hour, by Anne Rice
    This lush, dark, and gorgeously gory paranormal series introduces readers to the Mayfair witches, whose stories have been told for centuries by the Talamasca. This time, Rowan Mayfair is a neurosurgeon who never knew of her abilities until one day when she brings a man back from the dead. Cursed (or gifted, or both) with the ability to see the dark realm and the evil spirit who wants to come through to the mortal realm, Rowan must find a way to defeat him and protect the world—and people—she loves.

    What witchy books do you love?

    The post 16 Witchy Books You Need This Winter appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Sona Charaipotra 8:00 pm on 2016/11/01 Permalink
    Tags: , anne rice, , , , , , fannie flagg, , , , , , wally lamb,   

    November’s Best New Fiction 

    It’s November, and some delicious dramas are headed for the fiction shelf, along with everygirl allegories and nostalgia trips from heavy hitters. Anne Rice returns with the twelfth tale in her long-running Interview With A Vampire series, and Jeffrey Archer wraps up his Clifton Chronicles series. Fredrik Backman, Wally Lamb and Michael Chabon revive the old man reflecting back on his life genre, while Zadie Smith and Alice Hoffman take on the modern woman. Danielle Steel serves up her sixth book this year, and if you’re in the mood for something sumptuous, add Daisy Goodwin’s latest, Victoria, to your TBR.

    Prince Lestat & The Realms of Atlantis, by Anne Rice
    Before the sparkling teen vampires of Twilight, there was the New Orleans swagger of the Vampire Lestat, the centerpiece of Anne Rice’s so very devourable series about bloodlust and, well, plain old lust, too. Here she presents the twelfth installment in her moody, atmospheric series, this time focusing the old soul as he’s possessed by some even more ancient magic, the Atalantaya, and explores the depths of the long lost city of Atlantis, reckoning with a power that may overcome even the millennia-old vagabond vamp we’ve come to know and love.

    The Whole Town’s Talking, by Fannie Flagg
    Flagg, the author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café (which spawned the Academy Award–nominated movie Fried Green Tomatoes), takes us back into small-town America, this time to the heart of Elmwood Springs, Missouri, where things are anything but dead. In fact, the dearly departed are very much a part of everyday life for the Nordstroms, most especially former mayor Lordor, his head-over-heels mail-order bride, and a clan of interconnected families stretching across generations, more than a century, and four wars. Quirky and quippy, with plenty of heart.

    This Was A Man, by Jeffrey Archer
    The seventh and final book in the Clifton Chronicles series brings the drama to a startling conclusion that starts with shots fired—by whom and why?—and ends with a twist that will leave fans wishing for more. Alliances are created, bent, and shattered, and of course there’s plenty of love and loss. The arrival of the stunning conclusion to Archer’s soapy saga is the perfect time to binge-read the whole series, if you haven’t started it yet.

    The Award, by Danielle Steel
    Shelf staple Steel’s latest—her sixth this year—follows young Gaëlle de Barbet into the thick of German-occupied France in the 1940s, as her best friend Rebekah and her family are carted off to horrific fates. Just a teen, she joins the French resistance, determined to do for others what she could not do for her friend. In the aftermath of war, the novel follows the protégé as she becomes a Dior model, mother, and museum curator, living to honor those who were lost even as she’s wrongfully marked a German collaborator.

    Victoria, by Daisy Goodwin
    A coming of age story about a queen. A thoughtful and thorough companion to Goodwin’s Masterpiece Theater collaboration with PBS, the novelized Victoria draws on the stellar storytelling Goodwin employed in recent bestsellers like The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter while also borrowing from the diaries of Queen Victoria, which the author began studying as a student at Cambridge University. Luxury, romance, politics, and plenty of drama—fans of Goodwin’s work will eat this one up.

    I’ll Take You There, by Wally Lamb
    Lamb, perhaps best known for his stunning She’s Come Undone, follows a 60something film critic who must reexamine his own history in this flash-backing This Is Your Life-style take on his history. It’s presented to him by two spirited (quite literally, they’re ghosts) Hollywood dames who show him scenes from his life in order to illuminate his future path. These windows onto his past reveal tensions with the women in his life, including his daughter, sister, and a pageant queen with a family connection.

    Swing Time, by Zadie Smith
    Smith’s hotly anticipated return, her first novel since 2013’s NW, is a jazzy, rhythmic rumination on dance and destiny, friendships and fate, following the connection between two mixed-race girls who connect in a class and become intertwined by the love that binds them as not-quite-sisters—bonds of understanding, connection, competition. The unnamed narrator and her best friend, Tracey, are mirrors and foils, and in their relationship find stunning grace and keen hurt. A deeply felt narrative that’s worth the wait.

    And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer, by Fredrik Backman
    From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove comes this novella full of hope and history, the story of one man’s life and precious memories, which will soon be lost as he loses his mind’s light. But as they fade, new moments become memories, ones he shares with his son and his grandson, who learn to let go even as they hold on tight to the stories he shares.

    Faithful, by Alice Hoffman
    Hoffman, author of The Marriage of OppositesThe Dovekeepersand other bestsellers, chronicles the story of Shelby Richmond, remarkable only in her ordinariness, until a tragedy strikes that splits her life forever into before and after. A survivor’s story, Faithful is a portrait of a modern young everygirl, one guided and guarded by something special. Grief, faith, healing, and the strength to keep going drive this novel, a sparkling take on an largely unextraordinary life.

    Moonglow, by Michael Chabon
    Pulitizer Prize winner Chabon follows up bestselling Telegraph Avenue with Moonglow, a deathbed confessional inspired by the author’s own grandfather’s tales. Here, he follows narrator Mike’s now-deceased Jewish grandparents through their travails in midcentury America, juxtaposing their love story and the drama of immigration with the details of a country at the edge of war and the technological revolution, creating a bright, vivid portrait rich with detail.

    The post November’s Best New Fiction appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Tara Sonin 2:00 pm on 2016/04/21 Permalink
    Tags: anne rice, , , dragon bound, , , , , , , , the claiming of sleeping beauty, the white queen   

    5 Fantasy Romances Game of Thrones Fans Will Love 

    My favorite saying as Spring begins to bloom is “Winter is Coming.” That’s because the small-screen Game of Thrones returns to television for its sixth season on Sunday, April 24th. Known for gory, no-holds-barred battle scenes as characters vie for the Iron Throne, there’s also a ton of romance to be found in both the television and book versions of the series—however short-lived those rendezvous might be. (I miss you, Ygritte!) Looking for a book to grip your heart as tightly as the series that has captured millions of viewers? Check out the list below.

    Kushiel’s Dart, by Jacqueline Carey
    What do many of the characters on Game of Thrones have in common? They’ve been chosen; tasked with a destiny to fulfill or a prophecy to bring to life before their enemies can seize the throne instead. Phedre, the main character of Jacqueline Carey’s scintillating Kushiel’s Dart, has also been chosen. She has been brought up in service to the angel Naamah, living as a courtesan, trapped until she can repay her debt to her owners. But Phedre is no ordinary courtesan: she has been marked by a blood red spot on her eye, blessed (or cursed) to experience pain as pleasure. When a mysterious noble named Anafiel Delaunay purchases her bond from the Night Court, she is inducted into a world of conspiracy, power, and lust beyond her imagination. Tasked with using her talent to spy on the hearts and minds of dangerous men and women, Phedre soon realizes that the security of her kingdom may not lie in the wars waged by kings and queens, but in the kiss of a simple indentured servant. The first book in the Kushiel’s Universe series has all the eroticism of a tantalizing romance—with the conflict and worldbuilding of an epic fantasy.

    The White Queen, by Philippa Gregory
    Did you know that George R.R. Martin based A Song of Ice and Fire on the War of the Roses, a real series of wars fought for the English throne by two powerful families, the Yorks and the Lancasters? Whether you’re Team Stark or Team Lannister (coincidence how similar those two names sound to the original English families? I think not!), you should definitely read The White Queen by Philippa Gregory. When Elizabeth Woodville is widowed, her family is shamed into obscurity for supporting the Lancaster claim to the throne. But Elizabeth is not content to remain lost to the history books; her family comes from a long line of myth-weavers and sorceresses, including her mother, who convinces Elizabeth that she will rise again in status. Which she does, when she wins the heart of King Edward IV, the York claimant to the English throne—the man her first husband died trying to defeat. Elizabeth and Edward fall in love and marry in secret, but soon her ambitions become weighted with the obligations and fears of a Queen in a kingdom constantly on the brink of war. Passionate, mysterious and with a hint of magic, Phillipa Gregory’s The White Queen will delight any Game of Thrones fan who wants the women to win it all.

    Dragon Bound, by Thea Harrison
    Speaking of women who should win it all, Game of Thrones fans have been waiting for Daneyrus Targaryen to fly her dragons across the narrow sea and conquer Westeros—but also, since her first husband Drogo died, she hasn’t really had any romance. (To be fair, she’s had a lot of other things on her mind, such as, you know, her untamable dragons and also reclaiming the Iron Throne.) But if Dany happens to start an OKCupid profile looking for her next boyfriend, she should consider Dragos Cuelebre, the love interest in Thea Harrison’s Elder Races series. A dragon shifter, Dragos is the ultimate paranormal hero: possessive, powerful, and passionate. The object of all these things is his mate, Pia, whom he meets in the first book, Dragon Bound.

    Dragon Bound begins with Pia, a half-human half-wyr (aka dragon) living under the radar and trying to stay out of trouble. That is, until she is blackmailed into stealing a precious relic from a powerful dragon—and when she gets caught, in exchange for her life, Dragos claims her as his. The steamy scenes in this book will make the time between Game of Thrones episodes fly by! (Get it? Fly, because dragons.)

    The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, by A.N. Roquelaire
    The relationships on Game of Thrones—even the non-romantic ones—are often charged with sexual energy. That’s because most relationships are about power: who has it, who fears losing it, who seeks it. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by A.N. Roquelaure (aka Anne Rice, a venerable force in the romance and fantasy genres) is a retelling of a classic fairy tale that we all know and love—but instead of waking to a happily ever after, Beauty wakes to find herself the pawn in an illicit game. A Dominant Prince has made her his slave and decrees that he is taking her back to his kingdom as payment for peace. This read is heavy on the BDSM and not for the faint of heart, as Roquelaure focuses less on describing the beautiful fantasy world and more on describing the devious activities Beauty and her Prince participate in. Taught the art of servitude by using her flesh as a canvas for her Prince’s contentment, Beauty is brought from innocence to awakening. As you read, I bet you will be, too.

    Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
    Last, but certainly not least, I recommend Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, a romantic adventure of a woman caught between time and space—and the love of two men. When Claire Randall reunites with her soldier husband following a long separation during World War II, they visit the Scottish Highlands on a trip, both hoping to make up for lost time. Instead, the magical stones of Craigh na Dun cause Claire to travel back through time to the Highlands of the 1700’s—a time of warring clans and tension with the English crown. When she meets Jamie Fraser, a Scots soldier with a bounty on his head, she does not expect to fall in love…and yet over time, her desperation to return to her own time transforms into a certainty that she belongs nowhere else but in Jamie’s arms. Game of Thrones fans will appreciate the depth of historical detail, hint of magic, and breakneck pace in Gabaldon’s series—and when you’re done with all the books and Game of Thrones season 6 ends, there’s another gorgeous TV series you can get hooked on!

  • BN Editors 4:16 pm on 2015/06/11 Permalink
    Tags: 1970s fever, alex haley, anne rice, , , , , , joni mitchell, , marvin gaye, natalie babbitt, pink floyd, , rocky, rubik's cube, , taxi driver, , tuck everlasting   

    July 16: #TBT 1970s 

    Have a hankering for a 1970s-themed #TBT? Head on over to your local Barnes & Noble on July 16, and don’t forget your fringe, platforms, disco, shag carpet, and far-out Farrah Fawcett ‘do. From books and movies to music and toys, we’ve rounded up some of the best pop culture swag from the ’70s. Can you dig it?

    Interview with the Vampire (Vampire Chronicles Series #1), by Anne Rice
    Nearly 20 years before Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise embodied the roles of vampires Louis and Lestat, the characters came to life on the page in Anne Rice’s first book in the Vampire Chronicles series. In the novel, 200-year-old Louis tells his story to a reporter known only as “the boy.” Louis is a compassionate vampire, initially only wanting to feed on animals rather than murder humans to survive. He eventually succumbs to the dark influence of Lestat, who made Louis into a vampire. But after Lestat transforms a child into a vampire, Louis and the young girl hatch a plot to flee. Can Louis make peace with his immortality and actually escape Lestat?

    Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach
    Jonathan Livingston Seagull is no ordinary bird. “Seagulls, as you know, never falter, never stall. To stall in the air is for them disgrace and it is dishonor.” Unlike other gulls, Jonathan doesn’t only fly for functionality—getting from the shore to food and back—he just loves to fly for the sake of it, and is willing to fail. In this brief fable, Jonathan stretches himself to the limits of his abilities, which doesn’t make him very popular with the rest of his flock. Whether reading the book for the first or 50th time since its 1970 publication, readers will find themselves inspired by Jonathan and his search for a higher purpose.

    Roots: The Saga of an American Family, by Alex Haley
    Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, Roots is one of those books that’s not only an outstanding novel, but an incredibly important one. Published nearly 40 years ago, the book seamlessly blends historical fact with narrative fiction. Based on the author’s own family history, the story details the experiences of Kunta Kinte, an African in the 18th century who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the United States. It then follows his family’s line over the next seven generations all the way to Haley in the modern-day 1970s. The book captures both the rich history and culture of Africa and the horrific pain and loss suffered as a result of slavery. It’s not just a history of Haley’s family but of all Americans of African descent.

    Carrie, by Stephen King
    Before Stephen King was an incredibly famous and prolific author, he was an English teacher struggling to make ends meet. As an aspiring writer, he was hard on himself. In fact, the draft pages of Carrie, King’s first published novel, wound up in the trash. King’s wife, Tabitha, fished them out and encouraged him to finish the story—and the rest is horror history. Carrie White is a peculiar girl, abused by her fundamentalist Christian mother at home and bullied by kids at school. But no one has any idea what Carrie is really capable of. She ultimately uses her telekinetic powers to exact bloody revenge on her mother and the entire school.

    What’s Going On, by Marvin Gaye
    Marvin Gaye’s influential and groundbreaking 1971 album, What’s Going On, is one of the best in history—Rolling Stone put it at No. 6 on its Greatest Albums of All Time list. With rich vocals, melodic grooves, and current social and political themes, Gaye’s album marked a major change for Motown and soul music as a whole. Between songs like the titular track, Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology), and Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) this album deserves its spot in frequent rotation.

    Blue, by Joni Mitchell
    Some might balk at the comparison, but decades before Taylor Swift started airing all of her relationship dirty laundry (or before she was even born), there was the incomparable Joni Mitchell pouring her poor heart out on the 1971 Blue album. On the album, the fourth from the Canadian singer-songwriter, Mitchell sings about longing, heartache, and heartbreak laid bare. In 2000, Blue earned a spot on the New York Times’ list of the most significant albums of the last century representing “turning points and pinnacles in 20th-century popular music.”

    The Dark Side of the Moon, by Pink Floyd
    Sure, you may have gone to that simultaneous playing of The Wizard of Oz and Pink Floyd’s 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon one time in college in someone’s blacklit dorm room, but that experience doesn’t do true justice to this brilliant, psychedelic musical trip. Buy it now on vinyl and revel in the richness and weirdness of Pink Floyd’s creation. Producing singles like Time and Money, the album—the band’s ninth—was a great success both commercially and critically, topping the Billboard charts and earning a spot on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

    Exodus, by Bob Marley
    Bob Marley recorded Exodus during a tumultuous time in his own life, having just been forced to leave Jamaica for the UK after escaping an assassination attempt. It’s an album that had a major impact not only on Marley’s career but on music as a whole. Reggae, rock, blues, funk—Bob Marley’s 1977 album has it all. And with standout songs like Natural Mystic, Three Little Birds, and One Love/People Get Ready, it’ll be a welcome addition to anyone’s music library.

    Taxi Driver
    Critics are always listing this dark thriller directed by Martin Scorsese among the greatest American movies of all time. Released in 1976, the movie stars Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle, a former Marine who suffers from insomnia and is now living in New York City and working as a taxi driver. His thoughts eventually devolve into madness, violence, and guns, but with a vigilante bent, as Travis attempts to change the world for the better in his own twisted way.

    The 1976 boxing film written by and starring Sylvester Stallone inspired the nation, with people in theaters literally cheering for the little guy to beat the odds. Stallone plays Rocky Balboa, a working-class, small-time fighter in Philadelphia who eventually gets a chance to go up against heavy-weight champion Apollo Creed. In the end, Rocky proves that he can go the distance—as did this movie, which garnered 10 Academy Award nominations and three wins including Best Picture.

    Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
    Judy Blume’s 1970 book is the quintessential tome about girls on the brink of adolescence. Sixth-grader Margaret Simon has just moved from New York City to the New Jersey suburbs. She really wants to fit in at her new school but feels totally out of her element when the other girls start talking about boys, bras, and periods. Plus, she’s sorting out all of her feelings around God and religion. She talks to God like a close confidant about everything in her life, but now she’s wondering if maybe she’s been doing it wrong this whole time. An amazing book for anyone who’s ever been—or even known—a preteen girl.

    Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
    Published in 1971, Go Ask Alice purported at the time to be an actual diary written by an anonymous, drug-addicted teen. Whether or not it’s based in fact, the truth remains that the book is a powerful piece of writing that stays with readers long after they’ve finished it. Go Ask Alice is a cautionary tale about a 15-year-old girl who is unwittingly served a soft drink laced with LSD at a party. She’s soon totally hooked on drugs, and her life spirals out of control in a haze of pills, heroin, and sex. Addiction ultimately takes everything from the nameless diarist, including her virginity, dignity, home, and, in the end, her life.

    Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt
    In this modern classic published in 1975, 10-year-old Winnie Foster runs away from home and discovers the Tuck family, who have the gift of eternal life after drinking from a magical fountain of youth. But is living forever really a blessing or a curse? Author Natalie Babbitt examines that question and others around life and death in this moving and imaginative book that remains a favorite for young readers 40 years after its publication.

    Rubik’s Cube
    Everyone remembers having at least one of these frustratingly clever little puzzle cubes around the house. And if you’re being honest, you probably also remember at least trying to peel off some of those 54 green, red, yellow, blue, white, and orange stickers to “solve” the puzzle when hours’ worth of twisting and turning that cube didn’t pay off. Invented by Ernő Rubik, the toy was originally marketed as the Hungarian Magic Cube, and it’s sold hundreds of millions of units worldwide.

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  • Sara Brady 8:46 pm on 2015/04/28 Permalink
    Tags: a.n. roquelaure, anne rice, bdsm, , , sleeping beauty   

    Anne Rice Is Making Fairy Tales Sexy Again in Beauty’s Kingdom 

    After a 20-year hiatus, Anne Rice has returned to the erotic fairy tale series she writes under the pen name A. N. Roquelaure. Filled with intense sexuality to match their lurid plotting, the decidedly adult take on Sleeping Beauty predated Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, and she didn’t come out as their author until the 1990s, when she was an established name. The first three novels have enjoyed renewed popularity and a boost in attention in the wake of the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon (there’s even a TV series in the works that, if faithful to the books, will make Game of Thrones look like Blue’s Clues), and it’s not hard to see why the author is returning to this world.

    Beauty’s Kingdom finds the heroine and her husband, King Laurent, rediscovering the kingdom where they began their sensual adventures 1983’s The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty. The story continued in 1984’s Beauty’s Punishment and 1985’s Beauty’s Release, which concluded with Beauty and Laurent’s marriage. In Beauty’s Kingdom, Beauty and Laurent agree to take the throne of Queen Eleanor’s realm after she and her son, the crown prince, die at sea. Beauty and Laurent accept Eleanor’s throne in order to continue the system of “naked pleasure slavery” under which they met and fell in love—but their kingdom, they decree, will now only accept willing slaves, and will give the slaves more choice in what BDSM activities they’re involved in.

    When Rice began writing the Beauty novels in the early ’80s, her goal was to explode the genre of “women’s romances,” with a few sex scenes scattered throughout, and write a book where sexuality dripped from every page. The world she created is entirely about sexual fulfillment—her focus isn’t on backstory or plot, but on getting right to the naked times, which might be jarring to contemporary erotica fans more accustomed to the deep character angst and in-depth exploration of gender roles of Kit Rocha or Alisha Rai’s work.

    Feminist critiques of the Sleeping Beauty story have often focused on the lack of consent in the legend, which Rice took a step further with the opening of The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, in which a prince wakes Beauty from her enchanted slumber by stripping her naked and having sex with her while she’s unconscious. The series went on to explore a whole range of sexual encounters, including rape, but perhaps in a reflection of the last two decades of erotica and modern expectations, Beauty’s Kingdom makes explicit its discussion of consent and integrates that as a necessary part of the characters’ continuing sexcapades.

    The Beauty series was revolutionary for its time, and satisfied many fans who found what they were looking for in her erotic world of pain, pleasure, and submission. The closure those readers (and a legion of new ones) will receive in Beauty’s Kingdom was a long time coming.

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