Review of My Regelence Rake (Sci-Regency #3) by JL Langley

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Yes, I know this should have come later but I couldn’t help it.  I loved this book.  The contest winner will still be announced on Friday.  Enjoy.

Rating: 5 stars

Prince Colton Townsend has loved Lord Sebastian Hastings since he was fifteen.  The Captain of the Guard is everything Colton has ever wanted.  He’s handsome, dashing, and an excellent horseman.  His affections have never been returned by Hastings but Colton has never figured out if that was because the Captain sees him still as a young boy instead of a man or perhaps because Sebastian has declared never to remarry.  Still his crush  continued right up until the day he and his brothers spied Captain Hastings in a tryst in a garden during a ball.  Now  Colton decides to focus only on his horses and opening a racing stable will help him forget about his love for the Captain of the Guard.

Lord Sebastian Hastings’ schedule changed from busy to overwhelmed when asked by King Steven to provide security for all of the Royal Family on a constant basis, including Prince Colton.  Sebastian isn’t certain when exactly he became aware of how handsome the young man had become.  Sebastian knew the young Prince had a crush on him as the lad followed him around like a puppy when younger.  But lately, Colton has seemed distant, even downright curt and that bothered Sebastian more than he wanted to admit.  Then an argument with Colton over disobeying his orders flared into a kiss, and then another and all of Sebastian’s carefully erected barriers began to fall.

During a visit to Tattersalls to bid on horses for his stable, Colton and Sebastian find an abused horse and determine to save it.  The consequent events turn the horse’s abusive owner into a enemy who spreads rumors about the men and their relationship throughout society.  When the nasty gossip causes people to shun Colton at a ball, Hastings acts to quell the rumors by asking for Colton’s hand in marriage.  But instead of solving things, the marriage is only the beginning of the problems for the couple, as Sebastian is keeping secrets from Colton, an old flame reappears, and a family close to the Admiral and Sebastian have disappeared, perhaps murdered as part of the INS conspiracy against the throne. Colton  hopes that one day he will have a marriage like his fathers, one with two men deeply in love with each other.  Colton knows his marriage is only halfway there.  Now if only Sebastian would help make the rest come true.

With My Regelence Rake JL Langley has done it again.  She has given us a book not only worth the wait but one that leaves us immediately clamoring for the next in the series as soon as we have finished reading it.  All the elements that make this series so addictive are present and accounted for.  Great world building – check, outstanding characters – check, hot, hot sex – check, ongoing intrigue and mystery – check and finally romantic love – oh absolutely check.  Yes, all there and then some.  We are back on the planet Regelence after the events in The Englor Affair which took us off planet in search of more information about the political unrest being instigated between the planets.  Each subsequent book  finds new suspects in the sinister  happenings in the INS (the galactic navy)  and points to corruption at the highest levels of the service.  The royal Townsends of Regelence are being backed into a corner and no one is certain who is to be trusted.  And with each new piece of evidence that appears, another mystery surfaces to widen the scope of the investigation and make the infiltration of the royal family defenses an easier target.  As she builds the suspense, Langley ups our anxiety for the safety of the people we have come to care about greatly.  The terror of loss is never far from our thoughts when Aiden is giving chase down a alley way or Sebastian is attacked in the streets.  Is it part of the conspiracy or something entirely different?  Langley keeps us guessing and on the edge of our seats the entire time.

And then there are all those marvelous characters we have come to love over the series and new ones as well.  Everyone is present here, except perhaps for Simon and Payton.  Yes, this is Colton and Sebastian’s book and their romance is terrific.  We have watched Colton grow up in the last two books and the tantalizing glimpses we had of Sebastian come to fruition here.  Sebastian is a complex character.  His background is muddied and his marriage, which left him a widower, unhappy. Together they form a new endearing couple for us to cheer for. But we also get a closer look at the relationships of Nate and Aiden, and Steven and Raleigh.  We see clearly how well Nate and Aiden have settled into a marriage still so passionate and full of love but now time has allowed them a new security in with all things shared between them as a loving established couple.  Steven and Raleigh are here, demonstrating their love and passion in ways  both humorous and joyful while still exhibiting the strength of their feelings for their children and family.  How I love these two and I am thrilled JL Langley will give them their own story.  The real surprise here?  A closer look at Trouble and Rexley’s relationship.  Even now, I just feeling giddy over the scenes and revelations about them in MRR.  I will not spoil this for you all but trust me, it is worth the price of the book alone for these reveals!  Oh, and I have to mention Apollonia, the star of the stable and a new favorite character of mine.  I want one just like her.  She is adorable and a great addition to the family.  JL Langley’s characterizations never feel anything less than real, their emotions always come across as authentic as ours and their relationship issues ones we can relate to and understand.  All these and more are reasons why the author’s characters stay with us long past the end of the books.

Does this book, all hot and sexy, all romance and love have a happily ever after?  Why yes it does!  But JL Langley also raises some much larger questions about the INS and those arraigned against the Townsends and their allies.  She has left us some mystery concerning Sebastian and his family, given us a far more complex Rexley than I had imagined, and as to that missing family? Well, they too have a larger part in this conspiracy puzzle JL has created and now there is an encrypted computer chip to decipher.  So the mystery snowballs along with the romance.  How I love this series.  More please, JL, much, much more!

Cover:  Another hot cover by Angela Waters to go along with those of  My Fair Captain and The Englor Affair.  Definitely some of the hottest naked torsos in the business.

Favorite Series Covers and Cover Artists!

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Book covers have always fascinated me.  Some repel me, others draw me in immediately.  Think “ooh, shiny, pretty…” lol.  Others intrigue me by their content or graphic design, while others leave me “meh” or confused. When I think of series covers that are successful, all they have some of the same elements incorporated into their design.  The first being I can tell the books belong together at a glance, they have a cohesive design element consistent in every cover.  The fonts stay the same.  Each cover contains the same overall design with small changes that  don’t affect the overall picture they present to the reader.

So we are looking for consistency, cohesiveness, clarity and recognition.  Designs that convey a sense of connectedness between the books. Look over my choices and see if you agree with me. Many of my favorites series also have some of my favorite series covers. Yes, I have let quite a lot out but I need something for the next cover post, don’t I? Lets get started.

1. Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban, now being written by Abigail Roux,cover design by Mara McKinnon:Simple and elegant.  The central object, which is prominent in each storyline, is changed out with each book.  I can tell a Cut &Run book in a heartbeat.

2. Lost Gods series by Megan Derr, design by London Burden. Each cover is a map of the kingdom the story is set in.  The color is important as it is a prime element for each kingdom and its culture.  Blue for the kingdom of Kundou, a land to whom the sea is all important.  It’s people have hair in all shades of blue and green, the color of water.  The orange/red cover of Burning Bright is self explanatory and so on. Subtle, expressive, simple on the surface yet contains hidden meanings just like the books.

3. Sanctuary Series by RJ Scott, artist/cover design by Reese Dante.  Each cover depicts the two men who will be the novel’s romantic couple, usually one is a Sanctuary op.  The design stays the same with the men being switched out.  The models are  consistent with the descriptions of the men inside.  Reese Dante  does the fantastic design.

4. Dance With The Devil series by Megan Derr, design by London Burden.  Effective use of a simple graphic design where the object floating in the center of a black cover is switched out for each new book. Again the main element is important  to the storyline. Effective, elegant, and easy to recognize that the books belong together without having to resort to the publishers note.

4. Cambridge Fellows series by Charlie Cochrane, cover design by Scott Carpenter: All the covers have a lovely vintage feel to them, sepia toned with elements such as furniture, buildings and mens clothing from 1900’s included on the design. Unfortunately, the last cover from Samheim had a more modern looking model which threw off the design. The newest title in the series has a completely different look as it was published at the different company. Can you pick it out?

3.  Superpowered Love by Katey Hawthorne, artist P.L. Nunn:  Just wonderful art by PL Nunn, the covers really set the stage for the stories within.  I just love these.  Again while the content changes, the style is the same and makes the books easy to identify.

4. Infected series by Andrea Speed, art by Anne Cain, cover design by Mara McKinnon: These covers blow me away.  Intense, dramatic, with that hint of menace.  Outstanding.  They are offered to download at Andrea Speed’s website.  I grabbed them, you will want to as well. Andrea Speed’s website http://www.andreaspeed.com.

5. Cattle Valley Series by Carol Lynne, art by Anne Cain.  It doesn’t matter if it is Book 2, Book 12 or Book 23, you can tell it is a Cattle Valley book immediately due to the great design and artwork by the wonderful Anne Cain.  This series is branded, folks! Total E Bound does more of a series branding than any other publisher or so it seems to me.

6. Sci-Regency Series by JL Langley, cover by Anne Cain.  Sigh!  I love Anne Cain and her artwork.  Especially her cover for My Fair Captain.  That one is so drool worthy that I have to bring out the towels. Yeah, I know TMI!  But just look at that chest!  And the same goes for the other two books in the series, the last of which, My Regelence Rake, is to be released in October 2012.

7.  Leopard’s Spots series by Bailey Bradford, artwork by Posh Gosh. What a lush, rich group of covers,  They are like a feast for the eyes, I just don’t know where to look next.  The design pulls your eye around the cover, so nothing is missed.  Just superb.

So that’s my short  list. What is yours? Yes, I see the same artists over and over on covers I like.  Anne Cain, PL Nunn, Reese Dante, Posh Gosh and London Burden.  Lately I have also noticed Alessia Brio too.  I know I have missed so many great artists, help me fill in the blanks.  And don’t forget to leave a comment and be entered in the contest.