A MelanieM Release Day Review: Diplomatic Relations (The Sci-Regency Series #4) by J.L. Langley

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

A Sci-Regency Novel: sequel to My Regelence Rake

Opposites don’t just attract… they sizzle.

A lusty special forces soldier who lives by his own set of rules, Dalton Fairfax decided long ago to stop wishing for his father’s love, and he found his calling. Now that he’s back home and between assignments, he finds himself at loose ends. When the opportunity arises to play bodyguard and help out his country, Dalton jumps at the chance. Not only does it keep him busy, but it just so happens that his charge is the man he saw on leave last month and hasn’t been able to get out of his head.

Heir to a dukedom and a conservative politician, Blaise Thompson strives to prove himself worthy of carrying on the family legacy as the next IN Councilman. However, his closest competitor keeps getting in the way and taking credit for Blaise’s ideas. Maintaining his stellar reputation isn’t easy to do while keeping his outrageous younger brother in line and foiling his rival’s personal attacks. He has no time for a guard and even less time for romance.

When a priceless antique goes missing, Blaise and Dalton discover that Regelence has larger problems than just IN plots. Now the only way to stop a scandal that threatens both of them is to compromise, and they are forced to confront the risk of losing everything… even each other

Diplomatic Relations (The Sci-Regency Series #4) by J.L. Langley marks the first departure from the original stories already published and for me that’s a plus here.  I’m not a fan of the new versions of the original stories.  I’ve done side by side comparisons with the beloved originals and the revised stories are pallid substitutes, imo, for the robust novels they replaced. Everything from the loss of the bdsm element in Aiden and Nate’s relationship in My Fair Captain to the revisionist aspects of the personalities of major characters, I have found these new revised stories to be very flawed for those of us who loved the original novels, characters and their relationships.

But I’m also addicted it seems to the series and need to see how the overall story arc plays out and what happens to various other characters.  So onward I plunge.

Diplomatic Relations is focused on Dalton Fairfax, nephew to Raleigh (aka Cony) consort to King Stephen , which gives readers more insight into that side of the Royal family.  Dalton is or was high society’s black sheep.  Always at the center of scandals, always the rakehell.  His last one gets him a ticket into the Navy and an admonition to grow up and take hold of himself, courtesy of his Uncle Raleigh.

Meanwhile, planetside, there’s Blaise Thompson, brother to the irrepressible Bannon (who appears in multiple stories), trying to adjust to his future as heir to a dukedom and as a politician.
The two become reacquainted when the treacherous plot between Regelence and the IN brings them together when Blaise needs a bodyguard.  That’s a huge simplification of a Intergalactic plot that has been unfolding through four novels, and shows no end in sight.  I really have enjoyed watching this complicated suspenseful, and action-packed element thread through every story.  There have been kidnappings, murder, IT shenanigans, and, high rescues in space.  It’s been grand and shows no sign of letting up.
But let’s trot back to Regelence.  There’s some elements here I liked and some where the continuity again is severely lacking.
That continuity.
In the first three books, the Regency society culture, especially the Ton and High Society was rigid over its rules where its young men are concerned.  Chaperones are a must.  No public displays of affection, even among those affianced.  Three dances at a ball?  That is an announcement of an intent to wed.  Bannon and Trouble’s  (as well as Aiden’s ) in getting rid of their dance cards, while funny, was also running on the edge of ruinous.  The previous books all took note of that… all it took was being “alone” in a room with another man in order to be compromised.   That’s how innocent most of these young men were.  Cloistered and insulated by Regelence’s culture to be virgins until married.  That typified both Aiden and  Payton’s background and attitude.  Plus it’s standard “Regency” fair, whether M/M or  M/F.
But here standards are relaxed to include kissing, PDA, and more which given no declaration of intent, meant that a reputation could or was on the way to be ruined (intentional or not).  This book, unlike the others, doesn’t seem to take seriously the universe in which it’s situated.  The other novels and characters within them understood the gravity of their actions,, said so, and then moved forward.  There is none of taking responsibility here should they get caught. That whole aspect of virtue and its importance in Regency culture is ignored.  Which is curious because the author uses the strictness of Regency morality when she needs to in another part of the story. Just not here. No, the ramifications of one’s actions in this society are intense and swift.  Whether it plays out in the gossip column or in the government.  But Langley applies that when it suits her, in scenes and to certain characters here and there.  And the entire story suffers in my opinion from such an approach.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy Dalton and Blaise’s relationship, because I did. I liked that they balanced each other in their personalities.d But, the shaky framework it exits within is noticeable. Here there are women employed as man servants, something brand new and not brought up as a possibility in the other stories.  One hand, it makes sense in a homosexual society, to include those of the opposite sex as butler etc.  But in the previous stories, they were all men, no mention of women even attaining the roles.  It would have been great to have some groundwork or foundation laid for women in these roles before seeing it here.  It brings up so many questions.  How widespread it this practice.  Is it only in the Thompson family that it occurs?   Like I said…questions.
The ending will make everyone happy, well except for Bannon who has the next story coming out.  There is a excerpt for that after the ending.  I am looking for it it.  Especially as its off planet. What could go wrong?
I’m recommending this story.  Those of you reading it as a new series are loving it as you have nothing to compare it to.  Those of us who love the first series still need to know what’s happening to all the characters and the overall arc.  This does both and gives us a lovely romance to boot.
Meet you all at Bannon’s story.  See you then.
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design: This is a very nice cover.  Brands the series and its bright and light.
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 288 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 164080692X (ISBN13: 9781640806924)
Edition Language English
Series Sci-Regency #4

An Alisa Release Day Review: Diplomatic Relations (The Sci-Regency Series #4) by J.L. Langley

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

A Sci-Regency Novel: sequel to My Regelence Rake 

Opposites don’t just attract… they sizzle.

A lusty special forces soldier who lives by his own set of rules, Dalton Fairfax decided long ago to stop wishing for his father’s love, and he found his calling. Now that he’s back home and between assignments, he finds himself at loose ends. When the opportunity arises to play bodyguard and help out his country, Dalton jumps at the chance. Not only does it keep him busy, but it just so happens that his charge is the man he saw on leave last month and hasn’t been able to get out of his head.

Heir to a dukedom and a conservative politician, Blaise Thompson strives to prove himself worthy of carrying on the family legacy as the next IN Councilman. However, his closest competitor keeps getting in the way and taking credit for Blaise’s ideas. Maintaining his stellar reputation isn’t easy to do while keeping his outrageous younger brother in line and foiling his rival’s personal attacks. He has no time for a guard and even less time for romance.

When a priceless antique goes missing, Blaise and Dalton discover that Regelence has larger problems than just IN plots. Now the only way to stop a scandal that threatens both of them is to compromise, and they are forced to confront the risk of losing everything… even each other.

I was super excited about this book. I have read the original three books more than once and I’ve read all the codas and short stories. I had given up hope that the series would be continued.  Then when I saw the first three were re-releasing I was overjoyed with the prospects of a new book. I went in to this with high hopes.  I’m very happy to say that this met my expectations and then some.
I was initially unsure when I read the blurb because I had figured the book would be about one of the other Townsend brothers. This one is about their cousin Dalton. After I started it I realized it was a great way to stretch out the series and introduce new characters. And, I loved Dalton. Like a lot.
Dalton is more of a handful than any of the other boys and he’s a rake in every way.  But he’s a good guy at heart and once he starts to fall for Blaise he’s totally committed. Blaise was also a really done character. He’s Dalton’s opposite. Blaise is quite proper, is a virgin and very much cares what people think.  I liked that Dalton didn’t try to corrupt or change Blaise. He was very respectful of Blaise’s beliefs. The chemistry between the two jumps off the page. This was more slow burn than the previous books.
There is the ongoing plotline of the corruption in the galactic alliance and there is also a plotline where Dalton & Blaise have their eyes opened to the poverty on their planet.  Both plots were fast paced and entertaining.
It’s a fairly low angst book and the relationship is really sweet and lovely.  There are some very romantic moments between these two.  These two ended up being my favorite couple so far in the series.
For fans of the series I have great news. There’s another book already planned and there is an excerpt at the back of this book. There is also what seems like a set up for another book running through this story. It’s a match up I’m super excited about. I’m not telling you who either couple is though….you’re going to have to read this and find out.
I have no complaints about this story. I loved it from beginning to end and was really glad to be back in this world, with these characters.
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design: I love this cover. I think it’s very eye catching and attractive and the models are a good representation of Dalton and Blaise.
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 288 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 164080692X (ISBN13: 9781640806924)
Edition Language English
SeriesSci-Regency #4

An Ali Release Day Review: My Regelence Rake (The Sci-Regency #3) by J.L. Langley

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Second Edition
A Sci-Regency Novel: sequel to The Englor Affair
Sebastian Hastings, Viscount Wentworth, is captain of the Royal Guard by day and scandalous rake by night. To protect the royal family of Regelence from the plots of the Intergalactic Navy, Sebastian makes it his priority to personally oversee their safety.Prince Colton Townsend is done pining after the roguish viscount and focuses his attention on his second love—horses. Following his dream of owning a racehorse breeding farm distracts Colton from his heartache… until Sebastian begins shadowing him.

When a good deed at a horse auction sparks public rumors, Colton just might get the man and the marriage he’s longed for. But Sebastian’s duties and secrets keep him walled off from those who would get close.

To reach Sebastian, Colton takes one last risk that might break his heart….

This was another enjoyable installation to this series.  This one focuses on Colton who we haven’t seen a lot of in the previous books.  I found that I really liked his character and I found both he and Sebastian to be entertaining.
This book was a bit different than the first two stories..  There was less of the IN plot and more focus on the couple and the romance.  We also get to see the previous couples and more of the various side characters.  I enjoyed seeing these other glimpses of characters and it seems to be setting up the future books in the series.
I originally read this many years ago so I don’t remember much from my first read.  I know things have been edited because I noticed a big difference in the first two books between the original and these new ones.  This one though, I just don’t remember enough to be able to compare.
Overall I found this to be a really good read.  It could be read as a standalone but you would miss some of the back story and the connections between the characters.  I do hope that these new re-releases mean that the author is finally going to release more books in this series.
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design I love these new covers.  I think they look great and are very eye catching.  They are a big improvement over the previous covers in my opinion.
Sales Link:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, Second Edition, 300 pages
Expected publication: November 23rd 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published October 2nd 2012)
Original Title My Regelence Rake
ISBN 139781640806900
Edition Language English
Series Sci-Regency #3
Characters Colton Townsend, Sebastian Hastings setting Regelence

An Ali Release Day Review: The Englor Affair (The Sci-Regency Series #2) by J.L. Langley

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Anxious to escape the confines of Regelence society, if only for a little while, Prince Payton Townsend poses as an admiral’s aide to further investigate a dangerous conspiracy. Payton plans only to use his computer skills to help navigate the tangled web of mystery and deceit on planet Englor, then return home, but he finds himself drawn to the charismatic Colonel Simon Hollister.

Simon, however, is no mere soldier—he is heir to the throne of Englor, and his life is meticulously planned to include a bride and heir. Unlike Regelence, the Regency society on Englor disapproves of same-sex relationships, and Payton and Simon’s attraction plays out in a daring secret affair, one Simon never expected would grow into love.

Risking scandal and certain ruin if they are discovered, Payton and Simon uncover more about a common enemy and a deadly plot that imperils both their worlds. But in this game of interplanetary intrigue, love might be the ultimate casualty….

I really love this series.  I had read them years ago when they first came out but jumped at the chance to re-read the new releases.  I always worry about in doing re-reads that the book may not stand the test of time.  That maybe my tastes have changed too much.  I’m happy to report this book was just as good the second time around.
I love the world this author has created.  It’s still one of the most unique I’ve read.  This takes place on Englor rather than Regelence as book one did.  The author does very good world building without overwhelming the reader with data dumps.  I could picture it all clearly in my mind and it felt very much like historical London.
These two are my favorite couple in the series.  They are a great mix and they compliment each other.  Simon and Payton have some really tender and sweet scenes with each other.  I was rooting for them the entire time.  I especially loved how things ended with them.
I’m hoping these new releases and new covers mean that the author is going to write more in this series and we can see what happens to the other Townsend boys.
 
This cover was done by Tiferet Design and I love it.  I think it is gorgeous and it perfectly fits the main character’s descriptions.
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 2nd edition, 254 pages
Expected publication: August 28th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published November 2008)
Original TitleThe Englor Affair
ISBN 1640806881 (ISBN13: 9781640806887)
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Sci-Regency #2
Characters Simon Hollister, Payton Townsend settingEnglor, 4830

JL Langley on Characters, Writing, and her new release ‘My Fair Captain’ (author guest interview)

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My Fair Captain (Sci-Regency #1) by J.L. Langley

Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook and Paperback | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is  happy to have J.L. Langley here today talking about writing, characters, and one of our favorites stories, My Fair Captain.  Welcome, J.L.

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with J.L. Langley ~

 

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?  

It actually depends on the character, but I’d say there is always something of me in my characters. I find the ones that are most different from me are the toughest to write.  In my upcoming story, Diplomatic Relations, Blaise gave me absolute fits because he is so different from me. I had a hard time trying to put myself into his mindset and think like him. Fortunately, I do have a very good friend and critique partner that identified with Blaise very easily and helped see things the way he did.

  • Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?  

No research doesn’t play a part in my genre choice at all. I always start with characters, I’m very character driven, but I do love research.  Like most authors, I find myself losing hours and hours in research because I love to learn new things. 

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?  

Not at all.  As a child, I read Judy Blume. Sadly, I didn’t read as a teen. I know that sounds so bad, but it’s true.  I think English Lit really soured me on reading. I do NOT like literature as a general rule. Especially the things we read in High School. I can sum high school literature up in one word: depressing. I learned really early on in jr. high school that Cliff’s Notes were my friend! I’m not sure I actually read any books after I discovered Cliff’s Notes. Sadly, college literature was even worse. I wanted to throw the book at the professor for making me read, The Lottery. Trust me, he got an earful! And I’d still like to have a few words with whomever wrote the screenplay for Seven.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?  

HEA all the way!  As you can probably tell from my answer above. I read for two reasons: to learn (as in how to do something or what happened in the past. I don’t want a moral lesson) or for entertainment. Nothing makes me madder than wasting my time and getting a bad ending. I’m like that with movies too. If I want real life, I’ll watch the news. When I read, I want to be entertained. I want to feel wonderful and refreshed when I’m done.

 

  • Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?  

If I had to pick I’d have to say Julia Quinn. I absolutely love everything she writes. She has a wonderful sense of humor and her books are always romantic. She’s a very character driven writer. Growing up? Judy Blume? She had a pretty good sense of humor as well and I do tend to include humor in my writing.

  • How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?  

As a reader, I didn’t like ebooks to begin with.  I wanted a paperback, or preferably a hardback. I wanted that keepsake. Now I won’t read a book if I can’t get it in ebook. Which oddly enough it’s kind of ironic because I love libraries and being surrounded by actual, physical books. There is just something about the smell of them. I definitely see a day where ebooks are the only books.  More and more we gravitate to the electronic. Since I’ve been published I’ve seen a huge shift.  When I first started my print books always sold more than my ebooks, but now? I kind of surprised publishers still do print, they just don’t sell much anymore.

  • Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

My Regelence Rake is my favorite.  As to why? I’m not really sure. Oddly enough though those are not my favorite characters. 

  • If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?  

I don’t think so. The more flawed the better. You can redeem just about any character. After reading Larissa Ione’s, Rough Rider, I’m certain of that. Talk about incredible conflict and incredible character development. Larissa is amazing and that story especially is awe inspiring. <bows at Larissa’s feet>  She definitely redeemed the unredeemable.  

  • What’s the wildest scene you’ve imagined and did it make it into a story?  

Hmmm…  this isn’t exactly the same thing, BUT… the scene in the Broken H where Shane hears Jamie and Gray in the kitchen and one of them, Gray, I think, says, “suck the head!” And Jamie yells, “eewww… No I don’t like the taste. Stop pushing my head!” It actually happened in RL.  My youngest BIL and I were in the kitchen at a New Year’s Eve party and he was fixing a beer for my husband. I happened to come in as he put the lime in the Corona then added the salt.  It started foaming and the rest his history. We noticed the room got very quiet and we looked up and everyone was standing at the door staring at us.  Needless to say, the beer got all over the floor and everyone died laughing. It then dawned on my BIL and I how the whole exchange had sounded He looked over at me and sighed and said, “This is going in a book, isn’t it?” 

  • Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.  

Nope. I don’t drink. But I have gotten up in the middle of the night and written ideas down when I was still asleep. Needless to say, they have never made it into books, but they are always entertaining to read the next morning. Lets see there was one about a vampire turtle who shot spider webs…  seriously! I read it the next morning and was like O_O  Really?  I couldn’t stop laughing.

 

My Fair Captain Blurb

When Intergalactic Navy Captain Nathaniel Hawkins goes undercover to investigate the theft of an IN weapons stash, the mission raises painful memories from his past. Using a title he fled nearly two decades earlier, Nate once again becomes the Earl of Deverell, heir to the Duke of Hawthorne, in order to navigate the ins and outs of a Regency world. But planet Regelence—where young lords are supposed to remain pure until marriage—has a few surprises for Nate, not least of which is his attraction to Prince Aiden. 

A talented artist, Prince Aiden Townsend isn’t interested in politics and the machinations of society gentlemen, and he adamantly rejects the idea of marriage and a consort. Aiden wants the freedom to pursue his art and determine his own future. But the arrival of the dashing and mysterious Deverell awakens feelings of passion and longing the young prince can’t deny.

As Nate uncovers a conspiracy reaching far beyond the stolen weapons, his future is irrevocably altered by the temptations of a life he never thought he could have. Drawn into the web of intrigue, Aiden is in danger of losing his life… and his heart. 

 About the Author

J.L. Langley said her first words at six months of age. By the time she was a year old, she was talking in complete sentences and, as most of her family and friends will tell you, she hasn’t shut up since. After becoming an accomplished motormouth, J.L. set out to master other avenues of self-expression, including art, and dance.

 

She attended the University of Texas, where she majored in art, and worked as a dance instructor on the side. Her love of artistic expression in dance landed her a career in which she taught and performed for over twenty-five years. After marriage to her junior high school sweetheart and the birth of their children, J.L. decided to try her hand at writing. To date, she has several successful novels and a handful of novellas to her credit.

 

She lives in Texas, where she was born and raised, with her real life hero, their rowdy two boys, two even rowdier German Shepherds and ten goldfish, one of which is named Jaws. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found with her nose in a book, appreciating the communication skills of other writers.

Social media links:

Website: http://www.jllangley.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjllangley

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jl_langley