ITV has released an intriguing new trailer for Downton Abbey Series 5 (or Season 5 here in the U.S.) and has also announced the U.K. premiere date: September 21, 2014.
Excited for the new season?
ITV has released an intriguing new trailer for Downton Abbey Series 5 (or Season 5 here in the U.S.) and has also announced the U.K. premiere date: September 21, 2014.
Excited for the new season?
Claire Randall's adventure continues in the first season of what is sure to be a long-running series on Starz based on the beloved historical fiction/fantasy/romance series by Diana Gabaldon, and we are so ready to recap and then discuss every single moment of it.
This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Outlander, including Saturday night's Season 1, episode 4, “The Gathering.” Enjoy!
Claire races through the forest on a misty morning. Sharpshooters on lookout towers take aim. Nope, no escape this time. Claire is running from a fierce horde of children. She takes a tumble and looks up into a kilt, worn the traditional way. Not Jamie, though. Boo. Her guards don’t want to miss the festivities of the gathering, so Claire and the kids will have to explore some other time. The hunting game was more than a pleasant diversion. It let Claire scope out two possible escape routes. Clever girl.
Night's Honor (Elder Races #7)
Penguin / September 2, 2014 / $7.99 print & digital
From the author of Kinked and Oracle's Moon...In the USA Today bestselling author's latest Novel of the Elder Races, a woman finds herself in need of protection—and seduced by honor
On the run from her former employer, Tess knows that she’s vulnerable on her own amongst the Elder Races. That’s why she decides to audition to become the human attendant of a powerful Vampyre of the Nightkind demesne. But while her position affords her the safety she seeks, her protector turns out to be more than she bargained for.
The right-hand man of the Nightkind King, Xavier del Torro is both terrifying and alluring. While his true nature frightens Tess, she can’t ignore the appeal of his innate sense of integrity and self-restraint. Thrown into Xavier’s world, Tess must quickly learn to navigate the dangers—both to her life and to her heart. But the biggest threat comes from her own past .
In this latest Elder Races story, Thea Harrison gives us our first close look at the Nightkind. At the annual New Year’s Eve Vampyre Ball, candidates wishing to become attendants in a vampyre household can get in line and make an appeal for a patron. If accepted, they provide whatever services their vampyre master needs, along with a blood donation of course. In exchange, the vampyre’s bite will give the humans a longer life and a faster healing ability. Since vampyre transformations are meticulously regulated, most human attendants hope that their services will put them on the fast track to becoming a vampyre.
Berkley / September 2, 2014 / $14.00 print, $5.99 digital
From the USA Today bestselling author of True, Sweet, and Believe comes a tantalizing New Adult novel about finding love in the most unexpected ways…
Kylie Warner prides herself on being optimistic, but after finding her best friend in bed with her boyfriend and flunking chemistry, her upbeat attitude has taken a dive. Even an impromptu hook-up with her sexy new chemistry tutor only brightens her mood slightly. After all, it’s not like she’ll ever see the tattooed scholar again…
While he’s a whiz at complex equations, Jonathon Kadisch has trouble when it comes to figuring out women. So when Kylie tells him that she’s pregnant after their night of passion, he’s at a complete loss. He’s prepared to be a good father—unlike his own deadbeat dad—but he’s less prepared to fall for the genuine and alluring blonde bearing his child.
With emotions running high, Kylie wonders if Jonathon’s devotion is out of growing love or looming obligation. And when heartbreak threatens to tear them apart, Jonathon will have to fight for the only girl who’s ever made him feel whole…
Erin McCarthy's True Believers series has always been a little set apart from the typical New Adults. The raw, gritty writing and the forthright way everyone just speaks their mind has been notable from the start, but in the course of four books, the topics explored have grown increasingly heavier, forcing an inherently lovable group of underdogs in a series that really shows the underbelly of college life to grow up very fast. And with Shatter, there's one issue at the forefront: unplanned pregnancy.
Promises Under the Peach Tree
Harlequin / September 1, 2014 / $6.75 print, $4.99 digital
The trouble with Heartache
Nina Spencer swore she was done with Heartache, Tennessee, when she left the town—and her sexy ex, Mack—in her rearview mirror. But when her bakery business is rocked by scandal, she needs a place to regroup. What she doesn't need is Mack Finley reminding her of peach-flavored kisses and the hold he still has on her.
Mack never forgot Nina—not that he didn't try. Yet between caring for his family and organizing the annual Harvest Fest, he's overwhelmed and he needs Nina's help. They can work together without getting swept up in memories and the rush of brand-new passion, right?
With my almost Pavlovian response to story arcs with reunited lovers, it is no surprise Joanne Rock’s Promises Under the Peach Tree caught my eye. Along with this favorite trope, I discovered realistic conflicts about lovers’ expectations and divided loyalties.
Screwdrivered (Cocktail #3)
Gallery / September 2, 2014 / $15.00 print, $7.99 digital
By day, Viv Franklin is a tough-as-nails software engineer who designs programs and loves hospital corners. By night, Vivian’s a secret romance-novel junkie who longs for a knight in shining armor, or a cowboy on a wild stallion, or a strapping firefighter to sweep her off her feet. And she gets to wear the bodice—don’t forget the bodice.
When a phone call brings news that she’s inherited a beautiful old home in Mendocino, California from a long-forgotten aunt, she moves her entire life across the country to embark on what she sees as a great, romance-novel-worthy adventure. But romance novels always have a twist, don’t they?
There’s a cowboy, one that ignites her loins. Because Cowboy Hank is totally loin-ignition worthy. But there’s also a librarian, Clark Barrow. And he calls her Vivian. Can tweed jackets and elbow patches compete with chaps and spurs? You bet your sweet cow pie.
In Screwdrivered, Alice Clayton pits Superman against Clark in a hilarious and hot battle that delights a swooning Viv/Vivian. Also within this book, an answer to the question of the ages: Why ride a cowboy when you can ride a librarian?
In her latest novel in the Cocktail series, Alice Clayton is having a good time poking a little fun at the romance reader. We are a fanciful group always looking for a happily ever after with that one special person, but can we enjoy a laugh at our own expense?
Here in the States, August is the last month of freedom before the kids go back to school and the parents can celebrate a return to normalcy. It’s also the month where we all try to grab that last gasp of summertime fun before the weather turns cooler and we settle in for what we hope will not be a long, hard winter.
Why not fill your beach bag and/or your favorite digital content device with some tasty not-your-usual historical offerings? While there are a bumper crop of cowboys this month (yeehaw!), there’s still plenty of variety to tickle even the most fickle of fancies.
Slave Girl by Lisa Cach
A sex slave who’s never been touched… National bestselling author Lisa Cach spins an erotic, passionate novel about a young Roman Empire slave who’s intended to become her king’s concubine—until a rugged barbarian prince takes her heart…and more.
Lovely Nimia is a slave to King Sygarius, who’s grooming her to be his consort as soon as she reaches full womanhood. And that time is very close. Nimia is forced to attend shocking lessons in the erotic arts; lessons that leave her body aroused and her mind conflicted. Because while she’s attracted to Sygarius’s power and eroticism, her spirit rebels at being his slave.
Then one of Sygarius’s allies comes to visit. Smart and ambitious, Clovis burns to take over Sygarius’s kingdom—and the beautiful Nimia. And though her virginity is meant for Sygarius, Clovis takes it with her enthusiastic consent.
When Sygarius learns that she is no longer a virgin, Nimia flees for her life. But can she find Clovis before the wrath of Sygarius—and imminent death—finds her first?
Powerful. Dominant, Unforgettable. He demands submission at all costs.
Cage fighter, Gabriel Devereaux, a man of barely leashed power, is known as the Bayou Beast.
There is one woman he will do anything , pay any amount to possess.
Karina Armistead, has come a long way from the innocent girl Gabriel used to know. An internationally known singer, she can have anything she wants. But everything tells her that getting involved with the Bayou Beast may leave her wrecked beyond repair.
Little does Karina Armistead know, but Gabriel has decided that she will be his.
He will destroy anything or anyone who stands in his way.
Get a sneak peek of Mallery Malone's Take Down (available September 2, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of Chapter 1.
It was the perfect place to beat the shit out of someone.
A rowdy ring of men of questionable morals and even more questionable hygiene filled the dilapidated warehouse. Dim fluorescent lighting high above barely illuminated the cracked concrete floor. There was no ring, no cage, no referees. No medical personnel on standby. In this run-down warehouse in Macao, you came to fight at your own risk.
Dark Blood (Dark Series #26)
Berkley / September 2, 2014 / $26.95 print, $12.99 digital
At long last you are truly back with us...
Zev Hunter was an elite warrior, a dark-blood dealer of death to rogue Lycans who preyed on mankind. He was a loner, never given to personal attachments, and damned fierce at his job. But Zev begins to question his past and his purpose when he awakens in the darkness of the sacred cave of warriors—and is soothed back to consciousness by the sensuously familiar voice of one woman, the woman who has haunted his fantasies for centuries. She was Branislava, member of the Dragonseeker clan…
Mother Earth called the ancients to witness your rebirth…
For this half-mage, half-Carpathian temptress, the ritual of awakening Zev to the council of warriors was the only way to save him. Locked away for his own protection, the time has now come for his rebirth, for his blood to stir with that of the ancient warriors before him. He has been assured by Branislava that their fates are entwined, that their spirits are woven together for eternity and that his new purpose in life is beyond imagining.
Now, with a blood-sworn vow of honor, mercy and endurance, and under the influence of a siren as bewitching as Branislava, Zev begins to wonder what his purpose is, what it means for the future of the Carpathians and what it is about his rebirth that he has to fear…
Dark Blood is (amazingly!) the 26th book of Christine Feehan's Dark Series. It is the last of a trilogy in the series and this time around, the Dragonseeker Branislava has rescued the Lycan Zev Hunter from death, literally. He slowly awakes from death through his connection to Bronnie (or Branka, as he nicknames her) to find out that not only is he not dead, he is of mixed blood and his warrior expertise is needed.
The Wishing Tide
NAL / September 2, 2014 / $15.00 print, $9.99 digital
Five years ago, Lane Kramer moved to Starry Point, North Carolina, certain the quaint island village was the place to start anew. Now the owner of a charming seaside inn, she’s set aside her dreams of being a novelist and of finding love again. When English professor Michael Forrester appears on Lane’s doorstep in the middle of a storm, he claims he’s only seeking a quiet place to write his book. Yet he seems eerily familiar with the island, leaving Lane wondering if he is quite what he appears.
Meanwhile, Mary Quinn has become a common sight, appearing each morning on the dunes behind the inn, to stare wistfully out to sea. Lane is surprised to find a friendship developing with the older woman, who possesses a unique brand of wisdom, despite her tenuous grip on reality.
As Lane slowly unravels Mary’s story and a fragile relationship between Lane and Michael blooms, Lane realizes the three share a common bond. But when a decades-old secret suddenly casts its shadow over them, Lane must choose between protecting her heart and fighting for the life—and the love—she wants.
With some books, it is difficult to pick just “one thing” to highlight. The Wishing Tide by Barbara Davis is one of those books. The characterization, the plot, and the setting all synergistically complement each other, resulting in a beguiling, romantic, dark, and comedic story.
Today we're pleased to be joined by author Sandy Hall, whose A Little Something Different tells the story of an unfolding romance through fourteen different viewpoints (including a squirrel and a park bench). Everyone in the book, it seems, has an opinion about the couple in question, and of course that leads right into what Sandy is talking about today: OTPs, or One True Pairings. Thanks, Sandy!
The Good News about OTPs!
Hello my name is Sandy and I am a fangirl. (Hi, Sandy.)
My novel, A Little Something Different, is told from fourteen different points of view. These POV characters are all different—different ages, different races, and different species. But they all have one thing in common: They all want to see the two main characters, Gabe and Lea, get together.
Gabe and Lea are their OTP, or in laymen’s terms, One True Pairing.
I think almost everyone has an OTP, even if they don’t think about it in those terms. The couple that you root for in whatever fandom you’re a part of, the one couple that you want to see come together and succeed. They are your endgame dream and you don’t want to miss a minute of it.
One Night More
Zebra / September 2, 2014 / $6.99 print, $7.59 digital
Savvy, hard-riding, rule-breaking—they’ll go anywhere and do anything it takes to protect and serve. But this U. S. Marshal has just met his match—and playing for keeps is one sizzling game…
Getting saved from disaster by a handsome stranger—Harper Allen has no problem with that. But when he leaves without a word or a clue to his real identity, the newbie reporter writes it off as the best one-night-stand she’ll ever have. Until a year later, when Harper comes face to face with the man assigned to hide her from a senator’s killer…
Galen Kelly hasn’t forgotten a single sensual minute of his night with Harper . . . or that she betrayed him. With the FBI also on their trail, he’s got to pretend he’s never met her or risk both their lives. But as danger closes in, Galen may not be able to protect himself from taking the biggest risk of all…
One Night More is the first in Mandy Baxter's US Marshal series, and filled with intense, fast-paced action and scorching-hot sexual chemistry between the hero and heroine. The intensity of their attraction had me immersed deep inside their minds and emotions.
Academically put, tropes are “common or overused theme[s] or device[s],“ which makes them sound like cliches, which makes them seem like a bad thing.
But they’re totally not! Romance novel fans all have their favorite—not to mention least favorite—tropes, from friends to lovers, chick in pants, secret baby, marriage of convenience, opposites attract, May-December, boss-assistant...the list goes on.
Each month, we’ll be picking a romance novel trope and ask you to offer recommendations falling under the trope rubric (again with the academic talk!).
Sometimes you love someone, but you can't be with them—whether it's war, personality differences, or anything in between. However, these are romances, so they won't be separated for long!
Here are a few recommendations for this trope off the top of our heads:
Do you like the separated spouses trope? What do you think are some books that epitomize this trope? How do you think it differs from other “marriage” tropes?
It's the unofficial end of summer in the United States with Labor Day coming on Monday, giving Americans a day off.
An extra day to do whatever you want—sounds amazing, right? So make sure you take some time for yourself and do what you like doing best—reading, naturally! (What did you think we meant?)
So what are you planning to read on your long weekend?
The Laird (Captive Hearts)
Sourcebooks Casablanca / September 2, 2014 / $7.99 print and digital
He left his bride to go to war...
After years of soldiering, Michael Brodie returns to his Highland estate to find that the bride he left behind has become a stranger. Brenna is self-sufficient, competent, confident-and furious about Michael's prolonged absence.
Now his most important battle will be for her heart
Brenna is also hurt, bewildered, and tired of fighting for the respect of those around her. Michael left her when she needed him most, and then stayed away even after the war ended. Nonetheless, the young man who abandoned her has come home a wiser, more patient and honorable husband. But if she trusts Michael with the truths she's been guarding, he'll have to choose between his wife and everything else he holds dear.
In her most recent novel, The Traitor, Grace Burrowes accomplished the difficult challenge of rehabilitating Sebastian St. Clair, formerly a professional torturer in Napoleon’s employ. The Laird is a book for anyone who found The Traitor too-light-hearted. The story of Sebastian’s boon companion Michael Brodie and Michael’s long-estranged wife Brenna, The Laird details sensitively yet frankly with a very dark topic indeed: the sexual abuse of a child. Although Burrowes is not gratuitous in her handling of this topic, neither does she pull any punches. This has been your trigger warning.
Even with the modern disease model, there's so much societal shame around addiction that romance authors probably approach it cautiously as a potential conflict. As Leigh Davis pointed out in her article on addicted heroines, we're more likely to see it in heroes than heroines, and we're more likely to see it as a situational response to some other trauma.
Looking at romance heroes with addictions, it seems that we also tend not to see them in active recovery. Perhaps because of the way masculinity is associated with strength, self-sufficiency, and control, romance heroes are more likely to successfully tough it out and go it alone; often they've basically recovered before the story really begins. Typical examples of more macho recovery are Joe in Shannon Stacey's Exclusively Yours, who quit drinking cold turkey after breaking his brother's nose in a rage, Zane in Cut and Run by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux, who flushes his pills and stays clean, “because that was what Ty had wanted,” or Declan in Kresley Cole's Dreams of a Dark Warrior, who declares that he'll never shoot up again because, “I don't need to suppress my strength or get mindless again — I need to be strong and clear to protect what's mine.”
It's not usually that simple; just taking the first step of seeking help can be very hard, even for a supernatural warrior. In Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward, vampire Phury goes to his first NA meeting and, “all he could think about was getting gone again.”
In this month’s New Adult roundup we see plenty of rockers. But even among the non-rockers and rockers alike, the common theme is choices. These characters are in some tough situations and they must make up their minds in order to move forward.
Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover focuses on Miles and Tate’s budding relationship. Fast burning through the lines of friends with benefits, they embark on journey of rediscovery. Featuring a mature narrative with rich characters, Ugly Love weaves a tale of taking chances, choosing to move beyond the past, and finding forgiveness.
Shifting Shadows (Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson)
Penguin / September 2, 2014 / $26.95 print, $12.99 digital
Mercy Thompson’s world just got a whole lot bigger…
A collection of all-new and previously published short stories featuring Mercy Thompson, “one of the best heroines in the urban fantasy genre today” (Fiction Vixen Book Reviews), and the characters she calls friends…
One of the stories in Patricia Briggs's new Mercy Thompson collection, “Silver,” takes place long before Moon Called, and it's the story of Ariana and Samuel’s first meeting, the first half of the story that continues in Silver Borne. It tells the very difficult background of Bran and Samuel and how they came to be how they are now. Silver is a painful story because the reader is given a glimpse into Bran’s story before he was the all-powerful Marrok. It is a little humbling to find him down and hurting.