Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day Reading: Drowning by Jassy DeJong Review & Author Guest Post

by: Jassy DeJong
Publisher: Astor+Blue Editions Now Available!!!
Source: Physical copy received from Publisher
Erotic/Romance for readers aged 18+
Add Drowning to your Goodreads to-read list here.

Erotic. Exotic. Emotional. Drowning sizzles as one woman is stretched to the breaking point by the strength of her vows and the intensity of her seething primal desires.
Sensuous but stifled New York City photographer Erin Mitchell thinks going to South Africa on assignment will be the perfect getaway. But when a flash flood washes away Erin’s vehicle and she is stranded at a luxury safari lodge, Erin’s romantic working vacation takes an interesting turn. She awakens from her near-drowning and meets her rescuer, Nicholas—hot and brilliant, successful and caring—not at all like her abusive husband. At Leopard Rock in the steamy South African heat, Erin faces the toughest choices of her life. Nicholas is ripped, he's smart and he's "no strings attached." The question of whether to give in or not to give in drowns Erin’s senses as she struggles with two impossible goals: ignore the exquisite physical charms of her host, and conceal every last detail whenever her controlling husband calls. On the other side, Nicholas faces impossible choices of his own, as his bon vivant playboy lifestyle may just possibly collide with feelings more powerful than lust.
Purchase Your Copy:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Astor+Blue  

My Thoughts: 
This is the perfect read to keep you company for Valentine's Day!

Drowning was a fantastic romantic getaway, that kept me up through the night (could easily be devoured in one sitting). Erin was a great narrator, although I must admit I found it hard, at first, to read her thoughts and I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but than I realized- it's because Jassy writes the English language so well, it truly shined through in Erin's narrative as her word choice was quite eloquent throughout Drowning, and I suppose this isn't something I encounter a lot in my romance books haha, but I really liked it.

The beginning is a bit disorienting (mush like Erin's state of mind) as she recollects her drowning experience and although the Jassy's novel opens with Erin recounting her brush with death by drowning (very fitting given the title :)) there's not much action in this novel, as it is very much character-driven, but Jassy does an amazing job of portraying three very individual characters in this love triangle. 

Right from chapter one, we see that Erin and Vince have a very hostile marriage (I think this helps the reader sympathize with her and Nick's affair). Erin was a great character and I enjoyed watching her grow into her own, not needing to be defined by the relationship she was in. 

I fell in love with Nick, he exudes confidence and it is so sexy. He's truly a take-charge man, who doesn't play games and let's Erin know from the get-go what he wants from her. I think many readers will swoon over this man. The romance is quite steamy as this is labelled in the erotic genre, and I really enjoyed the development of the relationship between these two.

But will Erin be able to say good-bye to Nick and return to her new husband? Well you're just going to have to read to find out! ;)

Along with well-developed characters, Jassy does a great job of describing the lush forest and wild-life of the South African setting, I could easily imagine myself at the Leopard Rock Lodge!

If you're looking for a steamy romance to curl up to this Valentine's day, I highly recommend Drowning, I know it will be a re-read for me! :)

Happy Reading!!!

About the Author:

Jassy de Jong was inspired to write her first novel, Random Violence, after getting hijacked at gunpoint in her own driveway.  She has written several other thrillers including Stolen Lives andThe Place for Fallen Horses. De Jong also edits a hair and beauty magazine.  She lives in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg with her partner Dion, two horses and two cats.

The Origins of Valentine's Day
(Warning to readers: this post contains some graphic violence and nudity)

I confess... I love Valentine’s Day.

Some call it over-commercialized. I say that’s just as well. Thank goodness for all those entrepreneurs out there, designing cards with hearts and glitter, and making teddy bears on sticks and ruby pendants and chocolates with red wrappers, and growing long stemmed roses. I mean, what would we give as gifts otherwise? Easter eggs? Pumpkins?

Some call it schmaltzy. Well, what do you expect? It’s a day celebrating love. Soppy, doting, romantic, couply love. It’s all about hand holding, intertwined fingers, long, deep gazes into each other’s eyes. It’s about saying, “You’re so amazing,” and getting the answer, “No, you’re so amazing, and then saying, “I’m so glad I met you,” and hearing, “No, I’m so glad I met you. Here, have some more champagne.”

I googled the origins of Valentine’s Day... I had a confused idea it was something to do with a saint rescuing a lot of animals, which sounded loving and very appropriate for a day filled with so much caring. But I found out I was wrong. The animal rescuer was St. Francis of Assisi and his celebration day is on October 4.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t quite have the romantic roots I hoped it would. The ancient Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia from February 13-15. During this time they sacrificed a goat and a dog, and then, while drunk and naked, whipped the women with the hides of the slaughtered animals. Say what? I’m struggling to see the romance in that. Apparently the women believed that a good beating made them more fertile, so they eagerly lined up for their punishment.

There was a matchmaking lottery as part of the festivities, where names were drawn out of a hat. If the match was right, the couple would get together for the duration of the festival.

Of course, it wouldn’t be ancient Rome if there weren’t some executions involved. History tells us that Emperor Claudius II executed two men, both called Valentine, on February 14th, during different years of his reign. Why on the same day? Who knows? But as a result, the Catholic Church began commemorating this day to honor their martyrdom.

It seems a big leap from whippings and slaughterings, to restaurants with elegantly designed menus featuring oysters, with tables set up for two. But seriously, aren’t we lucky in today’s modern times to be able to unwrap a carefully chosen gift while waiting for our heart shaped chocolate mousse to be served, instead of watching somebody flaying a dead goat before they start flogging us with the skin?

Valentine’s Day. It’s all about gratitude.

Oh, and love, of course.

Thank you so much, Jassy, for stopping by and sharing the origins of Valentine's day with us. I learned quite a lot, haha, and thank you, Astor+Blue Editions for the copy of Drowning.

Happy Valentine's Day Reading, Everyone!!!

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