<i>The Talon of the Hawk</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Talon of the Hawk: Exclusive Excerpt Jeffe Kennedy "I turned and met his eye, allowed a slight smile." <i>Never Resist a Rake</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Never Resist a Rake: Exclusive Excerpt Mia Marlowe "Rebecca grasped John’s arm and held on for dear life." Now Win <i>This!</i>: Tatiana de Rosnay's <i>A Paris Affair</i> Now Win This!: Tatiana de Rosnay's A Paris Affair Team H & H Enter for a chance to win an ARC of A Paris Affair! <i>The Last True Vampire</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Last True Vampire: Exclusive Excerpt Kate Baxter "He had nothing with which to keep the frenzy in check."
From The Blog
May 22, 2015
If You Love Outlander, You’ll Love Nora Roberts’ MacGregors
Janet Webb
May 21, 2015
Futuristic Breeder Romances
Heather Massey
May 20, 2015
Jenn Bennett’s Roaring Twenties Series
May 19, 2015
Top 7 Ballsy Women in Movies, TV, and Novels
Winter Austin
May 19, 2015
Highland Knits for Outlander Fans
Kate Nagy
May 20 2015 3:12pm

Romance News Roundup: Damon Suede Deal, Rainbow Rowell on Fandom, and More!

Welcome to H&H's daily news roundup! Grab a mug of tea and a scone and let's gossip about what's hot in the romance world right now.

Hot Head by Damon Suede—Deal Alert: Damon Suede's Hot Head is currently $1.00 in e-book at Amazon.* You may recall this novel made it onto our list of 10 Must-Read Male/Male Romances...

—Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl spinoff novel, Carry On (which can be read as a standalone), isn't out until October, but BuzzFeed is already bringing us some great coverage. They sat down with Rowell to discuss the impact fandom and fan fiction have had on her own life and her writing as well as why she thinks “we've been using fiction and story to sort out our lives since always,” which I think many of us can relate to. Want more? Read Rowell's H&H guest post on the most satisfying love stories ever.

—Gearing up for Stephanie Laurens's next Cynster novel, A Match for Marcus Cynster? Bibliophilia, Please has an excerpt to further whet your appetite. Laurens's Cynster romances regularly end up on H&H lists on topics like Top Historical Sex Scenes and the 10 Regency Romances You Should Read. For all Cynsters all the time, read this take on the best books in the series.

Game of Thrones is on notice with many of us right now (read our recap for more on why we're upset about Sansa's storyline), but I can never resist Peter Dinklage, who for Red Nose Day performed Game of Thrones: The Musical in tribute to all the characters who've died in the show so far. Only the teaser has been released for now, but it's a good one!

May 20 2015 2:00pm

From Merchant Heiress to Countess: Cross-Class Romance in Mary Balogh’s Traditional Regencies, Part 2

A Christmas Promise by Mary Balogh

This post is Part 2 of a two-part series exploring the cross-class romances featured in many of Mary Balogh's traditional Regency romances. For the other types of cross-class romances Balogh has written, see here for Part 1.

The Middle-Class Protagonist

In Mary Balogh's three novels with middle-class protagonists, she presents families from the merchant class as warm, loving boisterous clans whose open-hearted affection for one another is contrasted with the formal and sometimes cold family life of their social superiors. The hero of A Christmas Promise (1992), Randolph Pierce, the new Earl of Falloden, has inherited heavy debts along with his title. Joseph Transome, an immensely wealthy coal merchant, wants to see his daughter and heiress, safely married before his death. Transome purchases all of Falloden’s debts and offers to cancel them and to settle half of his fortune on Falloden if the earl agrees to marry Transome’s nineteen-year-old daughter. If Falloden refuses to marry Eleanor within the month, Transome will call in the debts, and Falloden will go to debtor’s prison. Reluctantly, Falloden agrees to marry Eleanor immediately, to bed her within a week of the marriage, and to live in the same house with her for at least the first year of the marriage.

Eleanor is no more eager for the marriage than is Falloden. Each is in love with a member of his/her own class, and each has firm class prejudices. The earl expects Ellie to be a “loud and vulgar creature,” insensitive and incapable of entering the “the ranks of his class.” She may be a beauty, but he is convinced she will be the very antithesis of the “delicate and delectable Dorothea” with whom he has been in love for the past year. Ellie concedes that Falloden is handsome, but she also believes him to be a “harsh and a proud man . . . the sort of man who lived an idle life . . . a spendthrift and probably a gamer.” She is persuaded he will be nothing like the hardworking cousin whom she had hoped to marry.

[Class, wealth, love and more of Mary Balogh's cross-class romances...]

May 20 2015 12:00pm

The Last True Vampire: Exclusive Excerpt

Kate Baxter

The Last True Vampire by Kate Baxter

Soul Survivor

He is the last of his race. The one true king of the vampires. Michael Aristov roams the nightclubs of L.A. after dark, haunted by his past and driven by his hunger. The last of the Ancient Ones, he alone has survived the destruction of his race at the hands of the slayers. Now he is forced to hunt and feed like a common vampire, a creature of lust. Nothing in this world can fulfill his needs…until he meets a woman who's everything he's ever wanted. And more.

Sweet Salvation

Her name is Claire Thompson. Her blood is so sweet, so intoxicating—the smell alone draws Michael to her like a moth to the flame. Sly, sexy, and seductive, Claire seems to be the only mortal who can satisfy his craving and seal his fate…forever. Can she be trusted? From their very first kiss, the last true vampire sweeps Claire into a world in which darkness rules desire—and where falling in love is the greatest danger of all…

Get a sneak peek at  Kate Baxter's The Last True Vampire (available June 2, 2015) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.


The vampire knew of no one on the face of the earth that he despised as fervently as the Sortiari. Mikhail wondered if his torture somehow assuaged their guilt as the self-proclaimed influencers of Fate? Perhaps it justified the murders they'd tasked their lapdogs to commit? Because as far as Mikhail was concerned, the only thing the slayer had accomplished was to further enrage an already-rabid beast. Careful in his technique, the false priest took great care as he made a show of purifying Mikhail's flesh. A torch burned bright in the dark dungeon, the fire casting inhuman shadows as though revealing the slayer's true face. He touched the flame to Mikhail's skin again and again as he absolved the vampire of sin in preparation for the killing blow.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt...]

May 20 2015 11:00am

Turning the Tables on Paranormal Romance: Jenn Bennett’s Roaring Twenties Series

Grave Phantoms by Jenn Bennett

When you hear the term “paranormal romance” what are the first words that pop into your mind? For the most part I think it’s safe to say that vampires and werewolves would be at the top of almost everyone’s lists. Vampires have become so prevalent that this writer’s block soap “smells like regurgitated ideas and probably a vampire.” Ouch. For the record, I still very much enjoy vampires. Throw in demons, witches, shapeshifters, Valkyries, and Olympians and you’ve covered a healthy portion of the genre. (See H&H’s posts on all-things supernatural creatures here and here.)

The last thing that comes to mind for me is the human element.  Most paranormal series are built around a common supernatural creature or mythology. Jenn Bennett’s Roaring Twenties series breaks that mold. The three-book series centers around a family. A human family. And each book has a different paranormal element.

A member of the Magnusson family is featured in each of the books. Winter is the head of the family and the family business of bootlegging. The series is set in Prohibition-era San Francisco, so bootlegging is a lucrative business and the Magnussons have the biggest house in the best neighborhood to prove it. Lowe Magnusson is an archaeologist and con man, but mostly rakish con man. And Astrid is the kid sister who’s heading off to college soon. The Magnusson name opens doors in San Francisco but they’re begrudgingly accepted into San Francisco’s high society— new money and wealth gained from illegal activity gets the occasional raised eyebrow or nose in the air. Those hang-ups tend to disappear for San Francisco’s finest when it’s time to throw a party.

[Socialites, black magic, and spirits make the Magnusson family unique...]

May 20 2015 9:30am

First Look: Kit Rocha’s Beyond Innocence (May 20, 2015)

Beyond Innocence by Kit Rocha

Kit Rocha
Beyond Innocence (Beyond #6)
Kit Rocha / May 20, 2015 / $4.99 digital

For years, Jared has existed on the fringes of both Eden society and Dallas O'Kane's Sector Four gang. He travels between these worlds, protected by his money and power—money he earned selling his body, and power that comes from knowing secrets. He's untouchable—until he starts a new life gathering intelligence for the O'Kanes.

Lili Fleming walked out of Sector Five with a gun, the bloodstained clothes on her back, and an icy determination to survive. She finds herself in a world where people live hard and love harder, and nothing's more terrifying than how much the O'Kanes wake her up, make her feel—especially Jared.

Emotion is a risk he can't afford, and a complication she doesn't need. But neither can resist the lust simmering between them, and the sparks that could either melt the ice around both their hearts...or get them killed. Because the only thing more dangerous than loving an O'Kane is loving a spy.

With each new book in Kit Rocha’s post-apocalyptic erotic romance Beyond series, I fall more in love with Sector Four. I’ve loved seeing the way couples come together over time in this world, and that the timing always feels right. Beyond Innocence is no exception there.

Like the other full-length novels in this series, the ongoing arc is expanded and the big relationships get deeper. Before Kit Rocha's Beyond Innocence, we mostly saw Jared through Ace’s eyes. They are unofficial brothers. Jared continued servicing the bored women of Eden when Ace quit prostitution. We’ve seen them drinking before, and Ace’s continued pleas to get Jared to join the O’Kanes. It isn’t that simple for Jared.

We’ve also seen some sexual chemistry between these two before Ace finally found his soulmates in Rachel and Cruz. There’s still a sizzle there—more on that in a bit—but Jared is finally unraveled by Lili.

[He meets someone just like him, but she's innocent...]

May 20 2015 8:19am

What Secrets to Success Do You Think Real-Life Couples Could Learn from Romance?

The Right Wife by Beverly Barton

Many times, we as romance readers are told that we are fostering unrealistic expectations of relationships due to our reading. However, I think it's safe to say that there are a few things that real life couples can learn from romance!

A recent study showed that there are two keys to happiness with your spouse: kindness and generosity! As one person noted, “So a happy wife really means a happy life?” This got me thinking about the tips we could learn from romance to influence our relationships in the real world. What would be your suggestions? What books or authors have unleashed a wealth of good advice?

Let us know in the comments!

May 19 2015 5:00pm

Top 7 Ballsy Women in Movies, TV, and Novels (and Why We Need More!)

Atonement by Winter Austin

Today we're thrilled to have Winter Austin on Heroes and Heartbreakers. Winter writes ballsy women—Nic, the heroine of her upcoming book, Atonement, which came out yesterday, is a former marine sniper suffering from PTSD. Nic doesn't want to accept anyone's help and is reluctant to do so when a string of suspicious suicides strike her small town. Winter is here today to talk about other ballsy women in fiction and why we need more of them! Thanks, Winter!

In Hollywood and in fiction, the “Strong Female Character” is finally having her heyday and it’s about time. The world of movies, television shows, and novels are now rife with women who take center stage and take care of business after years of only being sidelined as the love interest or the damsel in distress.

But when executed poorly, this kind of characterization can result in women who are written to behave like men. It’s still somewhat rare to find a great story that offers us a fully realized, complex kickass lady who isn’t emotionless or one-dimensional.

So here are seven favorite strong-willed, independent-minded and tough-as-nails fictional ladies who aren’t afraid to get in touch with their feminine side open up and be vulnerable and caring when it counts. They might have balls but they also have heart, and that’s something we definitely need more of in our movies, TV and books.

[Meet the Ballsy Women of Movies, TV, and Novels...]

May 19 2015 4:10pm

Romance News Roundup: Poldark, Jessica Clare Deal, and More!

Welcome to H&H's daily news roundup! Grab a mug of tea and a scone and let's gossip about what's hot in the romance world right now.

Ross and Demelza in Poldark—We have a premiere date for Poldark in the U.S.! The British miniseries will air in the U.S. on Sunday nights this summer (June 21-August 2) on PBS. Shirtless Aidan Turner and shipping potential are just two reasons we'll be watching!

—Deal Alert #1: Jessica Clare's Playing Games is currently $.99 in e-book at e-tailers such as Amazon, iBookstore, and Barnes & Noble.*

—Deal Alert #2: Mary Jo Putney's Silk and Shadows is $2.99 right now in e-book at Amazon.*

—Alish Rai has shared the cover for and an excerpt from the second book in her Pleasure series, Serving Pleasure. Want more? Visit our Alisha Rai tag here.

—Deal Alert #3: Jill Sanders' Last Resort is currently $.99 in e-book at e-tailers such as Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, and Amazon.*

*We don't know how long deals will last, so get 'em while you can!

May 19 2015 2:00pm

Cover Tuesday: Piper J. Drake, Jackie Ashenden, and Claudia Connor!

Today we're thrilled to reveal the covers for books from Piper J. Drake, Claudia Connor, and Jackie Ashenden.  These ladies are bringing the feels with their tough and brooding heroes (and heroines)! First up is Piper J. Drake's romantic suspense novel, Extreme Honor. Then, Jackie Ashenden makes her heroine pick between passion with a biker or duty to her new family in Hold Me Down. Finally, a man and a woman find strength—and love—with each other in Claudia Connor's Worth It All. 

[Take a Peek Inside for the Covers...]

May 19 2015 1:35pm

First Look: Jeffe Kennedy’s The Talon of the Hawk (May 26, 2015)

The Talon of the Hawk by Jeffe Kennedy

Jeffe Kennedy
The Talon of the Hawk
Kensington / May 26, 2015 / $15.00 print, $13.50 digital

Three daughters were born to High King Uorsin, in place of the son he wanted. The youngest, lovely and sweet. The middle, pretty and subtle, with an air of magic. And the eldest, the Heir. A girl grudgingly honed to leadership, not beauty, to bear the sword and honor of the king.

Ursula’s loyalty is as ingrained as her straight warrior’s spine. She protects the peace of the Twelve Kingdoms with sweat and blood, her sisters from threats far and near. And she protects her father to prove her worth. But she never imagined her loyalty would become an open question on palace grounds. That her father would receive her with a foreign witch at one side and a hireling captain at the other―that soldiers would look on her as a woman, not as a warrior. She also never expected to decide the destiny of her sisters, of her people, of the Twelve Kingdoms and the Thirteenth. Not with her father still on the throne and war in the air. But the choice is before her. And the Heir must lead…

The third installment of Jeffe Kennedy's Twelve Kingdoms fantasy series tears sharply and deeply into the books' mythology as well as into the heart of its core family. The Talon of the Hawk, Ursula's story, doesn't hesitate to draw blood and, in the process, proves also to be incredibly healing.  

All three sisters' stories have dealt with unlocking the true potential of who you are, and Ursula's journey is perhaps the most heightened and the most emotionally intense, because so much of her identity is tied up in being the dutiful heir to a tyrant king. She doesn't take chances like Andi does and she's not beautiful like Amelia, so who is she? Just a cipher, an extension of Uorsin, or a fully realized woman and person with her own worth? Yes, it is a man―Dasnarian mercenary captain Harlan―who sees that woman and that person and makes her aware of herself as an individual, but it's not as simple as lust or love fixing her issues. Harlan may be the catalyst for her self-awareness, but it's Ursula who has to painstakingly evolve ― and Kennedy makes sure the reader feels every beat and step of that process. Even before Harlan starts to seep into Ursula's consciousness, she chooses to don the Heir's Circlet and her mother's jewels as a message to her father. The seeds of growth are there. It's just that they need to be tended and encouraged.

[Ursula will have to fight her issues to have a shot at happiness...]

May 19 2015 11:00am

Keeping Warm on a Cold Scottish Night: Highland Knits for Outlander Fans

Claire from Outlander in her knits

Fans of the Starz network’s ongoing adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s wildly popular Outlander saga – and they are legion – tend to wax rhapsodic over three particular aspects of the show. First, the sizzling chemistry between series leads Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan as time-traveling Claire and her strapping Scottish protector-turned husband Jamie. Second, the cinematography, which superbly depicts the beauty and wonder of the Scottish Highlands. And third, the absolutely delicious knitwear flaunted by many of the major (and not-so-major) characters.

So popular have these gorgeous designs become that entire blogs, Pinterest boards, and Facebook pages have sprung up to honor the costumes themselves and their indefatigable designer, Terry Dresbach (who, it is said, had less than two months to develop and create all the costumes for the show). And while purists may sniff that many of these knits are seriously anachronistic – evidently, eighteenth-century Scotswomen favored neither capelets nor shrugs – many if not most fans who knit merely shrug their shoulders and say “Whatever. Where can I find the pattern?”

…Many places, as it turns out. A number of knitwear designers have produced patterns or collections that were directly inspired by Outlander; others have published patterns that evoke Scotland or the turbulent era in which Jamie and Claire have their adventures. Here are some of the best.

[Find your favorite knits from the TV show Outlander...]

May 19 2015 9:30am

First Look: Melissa Cutler’s Game Changer (May 19, 2015)

Game Changer by Melissa Cutler

Melissa Cutler
Game Changer (Bomb Squad #3)
Penguin Intermix / May 19, 2015 / $4.99 digital

Welcome to Destiny Falls, New York, home of Bomb Squad—an ice hockey team full of rugged military heroes. An once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has the team captain packing his bags for greener pastures, but saying good-bye to the woman who’d captured his heart is easier said than done…

After being wounded in combat, Brandon Theroux lives every day like it’s his last. He never could have imagined that the sleek mechanics of his prosthetic leg would open so many doors, including minor celebrity status as a fitness model and a well-earned reputation as a rakish playboy. The only door it hasn’t opened is the one to Harper Johnson’s bedroom.

Harper has too much self-respect to join the ranks of Brandon’s “carpe diem” conquests, but when she needs someone to keep the peace in the tavern she owns, Brandon offers his help—as long as she agrees to a very tempting trade. It isn’t long before the two realize that a deal struck between friends who can’t keep their hands off each other has the potential to be a whole lot hotter than either of them is prepared to handle.

Sometimes when I read that a wounded warrior is the hero, I mutter, another day, another hero. I wonder what will be different about this one. Is there a fresh perspective possible? Without giving anything away, YES, Melissa Cutler's Game Changer really is a game changer because both Brandon and Harper are wounded inside and out, but they heal from within first and then lovingly, sexily, create a sensual space for each other that is different than anything I’ve ever read.

Dancing with the Stars has given the world sexy, agile, muscular former military men who have come to terms with their injuries. For Brandon it almost seems like his disability is a door-to-the-bedroom opener. His forever friend (and not with benefits), Harper, is a gun-toting, bar-owning, take-charge heroine! She’s older than the hero but that’s simply stated, not agonized over or examined exhaustively. Back to the gun-toting – we meet Harper as she defends her bar from some miscreants, thinking,

It might be a man’s world, but that was only because not enough women were properly armed. She loaded the rifle as she walked, then unlocked the front door and threw it open.

[Bars, guns, sex in the backseat and this is Upstate New York...]

May 19 2015 8:14am

What’s the Hardest Thing You’ve Ever Had to Read or Watch?

This weekend brought some of the hardest moments to watch in television—what with THAT scene in Outlander 1x15, or THAT OTHER scene in Game of Thrones 5x06.  For readers of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, many people said that scene was even harder to watch than it was to read. 

In fiction, we've seen people knee-capped, tortured, murdered, and so much more. Sometimes those moments have us cheering and cringing along with the characters (depending on what side we're on). What has been the hardest thing for you to read in a book or watch onscreen?

Psst, also, if you really want to rub salt in the wound, check out our Delicious Despair collection where our bloggers talk about those moments in books and on screen that rip our hearts out!

May 18 2015 6:00pm

First Look: Mary Kay Andrews’s Beach Town (May 19, 2015)

Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews

Mary Kay Andrews
Beach Town
St. Martin's Press / May 19, 2015 / $26.99 print, $12.99 digital

Greer Hennessy is a struggling movie location scout. Her last location shoot ended in disaster when a film crew destroyed property on an avocado grove. And Greer ended up with the blame.

Now Greer has been given one more chance—a shot at finding the perfect undiscovered beach town for a big budget movie. She zeroes in on a sleepy Florida panhandle town. There's one motel, a marina, a long stretch of pristine beach and an old fishing pier with a community casino—which will be perfect for the film's climax—when the bad guys blow it up in an all-out assault on the townspeople.

Greer slips into town and is ecstatic to find the last unspoilt patch of the Florida gulf coast. She takes a room at the only motel in town, and starts working her charm. However, she finds a formidable obstacle in the town mayor, Eben Thibnadeaux. Eben is a born-again environmentalist who's seen huge damage done to the town by a huge paper company. The bay has only recently been re-born, a fishing industry has sprung up, and Eben has no intention of letting anybody screw with his town again. The only problem is that he finds Greer way too attractive for his own good, and knows that her motivation is in direct conflict with his.

Will true love find a foothold in this small beach town before it’s too late and disaster strikes? Told with Mary Kay Andrews’s inimitable wit and charm, Beach Town is this year's summer beach read!

Every year I look forward to Mary Kay Andrews’ latest release. Her books typically come out toward the beginning of summer, and are labeled “Perfect Beach Read”.  That terminology has different meanings to different people.  However, if it means entertaining, then the publisher has hit the nail on the head.

[Two larger than life personalities find life's sweeter together...]

May 18 2015 5:05pm

Romance News Roundup: Lisa Kleypas Cover, Lauren Dane Deal & More!

Welcome to H&H's daily news roundup! Grab a mug of tea and a scone and let's gossip about what's hot in the romance world right now.

Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas—Lisa Kleypas's Cold-Hearted Rake has a cover! Jezebel released the cover along with a Q&A with the author. We're *pretty* excited to read a new historical from Kleypas, though of course first up readers are getting Joe Travis's book, Brown-Eyed Girl, because we are spoiled like that.

—BuzzFeed Books was also at the Romantic Times convention in Dallas this past week and today published the post “20 Reasons to Read & Write Romance Novels.” Recognize any faces?! And tell us, Why do YOU read and/or write romance? Then, head over to their post “17 Misconceptions Romance Readers Want to Clear Up Right Now.” Oh, yeah.

—Love Nalini Singh? You won't want to miss her exclusive Author Spotlight in the H&H newsletter this Wednesday! Don't yet receive the weekly newsletter? You can become a member of the site here—then just check “Yes” to sign up for the newsletter and start getting exclusive goodies like this delivered straight to your inbox!

—Deal Alert: Lauren Dane's The Best Kind of Trouble is currently $1.99 in e-book at e-tailers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBookstore. We don't know how long the deal will last, so get it while you can! For more at H&H, visit our Lauren Dane tag.

May 18 2015 4:10pm

Love Is In the Air: Not-Your-Usual Historical Romance Best Bets for May 2015

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist

Spring, when a not-so-young-anymore girl’s fancy turns to…..more historical romance! There’s a nice variety of historical romance this month to help you shake up any impending Regency ruts that may have befallen you, but never fear! There are still some English settings to make even the most hearty Anglophile content.


Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist

As preparations for the 1893 World’s Fair set Chicago and the nation on fire, Louis Tiffany—heir to the exclusive Fifth Avenue jewelry empire—seizes the opportunity to unveil his state-of-the-art, stained glass, mosaic chapel, the likes of which the world has never seen.

But when Louis’s dream is threatened by a glassworkers’ strike months before the Fair opens, he turns to an unforeseen source for help: the female students at the Art Students League of New York. Eager for adventure, the young women pick up their skirts, move to boarding houses, take up steel cutters, and assume new identities as the “Tiffany Girls.”

Tiffany Girl is the heartwarming story of the impetuous Flossie Jayne, a beautiful, budding artist who is handpicked by Louis to help complete the Tiffany chapel. Though excited to live in a boarding house when most women stayed home, she quickly finds the world is less welcoming than anticipated. From a Casanova male, to an unconventional married couple, and a condescending singing master, she takes on a colorful cast of characters to transform the boarding house into a home while racing to complete the Tiffany chapel and make a name for herself in the art world.

As challenges mount, her ambitions become threatened from an unexpected quarter: her own heart. Who will claim victory? Her dreams or the captivating boarder next door?

Gist has been slowly moving away from the inspirational subgenre with her last couple of releases taking on a more secular Americana feel.  But fans shouldn’t fear that she’s gone full-blown Fifty Shades on us, she’s still writing some of the strongest sweet romances around.  I liked the Tiffany historical tidbits, and the fact that the characters behaved in an era appropriate manner.  However my favorite parts of this story centered around the boardinghouse that the heroine lives in. 

[More Not-Your-Usual Historical Romance Novels...]

May 18 2015 2:00pm

Game of Thrones 5x06 Heart-to-Heart: Game of Faces

Game of Thrones 5x06 Jamie and Bronn

This post contains SPOILERS and speculation from all aired episodes of Game of Thrones, including last night’s Season 5, Episode 6, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.” Enjoy!

Game of Thrones 5x06 Jaime/Bronn Captain's Log

Show/Episode: Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 6, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”

Ship: Jaime/Bronn

Game of Thrones open with the story of Arya. Due to the length of her hair and her new height, it looks like some time has passed with her at the Black annd White Hall. She’s beginning to question her training. Why is she still cleaning corpses and why is she sleeping on a bed of stone—okay, that’s actually my question because that looks like it hurts? She’s desperate to begin the game of faces. The young girl, Waif—who is so annoying—asks her who are you, in response to Arya’s inquiry. Waif gives her back-story and asks is it a lie, am I lying? Which gives Arya food for thought. Jaqen wakes Arya in the middle of the night and asks who are you? She attempts the girl’s tactic and states her life story. Jaqen lashes her with the whip for her wrong answer. She’s over this game and her patience is wearing thin. Cut to Arya cleaning in the hall, this training so far is composed of a lot of cleaning. A young, ill girl is brought in by her father; she suffers everyday and the father has no idea who else to do with her. Arya lies to her and in a cold, calculating move tells the girl that she was also sick and drank from the water to heal. When the young girl dies, Jaqen watches silently. Jaqen leads Arya to a hall filled with many faces. This is what they do to the corpses. They keep the faces. Arya is no ready to be no one but, is now ready to become someone else. And isn’t that what GoT has been about. Playing the game and becoming who you need to be in order to win?

Tyrion and Jorah are still on their own journey together. Tyrion delivers the sad news that Jorah’s father died at the wall and their small moment of bonding is immediately ended. Jorah moves on and appears to be stoic in the wake of the news. As they continue their pace, they’re captured by a ragtime group of misfits who, want to sell Tyrion’s penis. It seems that a dwarf’s penis has magic and I’m pretty Tyrion could have used that in a line or two, lol. Jorah and Tyrion convince them they’re better as fighters and instead will be taken to the pits.

[Could things get any worse?]

May 18 2015 12:00pm

Then He Kissed Me: Exclusive Excerpt

Maria Geraci

Then He Kissed Me by Maria Geraci

Lauren Donalan was once Whispering Bay’s golden girl—the rich, bubbly blonde cheerleader who married the high school football star. When her mediocre marriage falls apart, she returns home and starts a vintage clothing business, determined to prove she’s more than just a pretty face with a trust fund.

Nate Miller may have been a nerd in high school, but now he has a beautiful girlfriend and is set to take over Doc Morrison’s medical practice. Still, the good folks of Whispering Bay find his no-nonsense approach more than a little unsettling, leaving his future in town a great big question mark. And things go even further downhill when his well-intentioned marriage proposal goes awry.

Lauren doesn’t need a man to complete her, yet when she finds herself set up on a date with Nate, she can’t help but notice how sexy and confident he is. In fact, every time the former introvert kisses her, she sees fireworks. But, only a big love will make Lauren change her mind about commitment. As Nate attempts to win Lauren over, a real estate co-op threatens Lauren’s business—and Nate’s ex still has a thing or two to say about their previous relationship. Now Lauren has to decide to go big or go home, in business, as well as in love.

Get a sneak peek at  Maria Geraci's Then He Kissed Me (available May 19, 2015) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

It was chilly now, but her jacket kept her warm enough that she wasn’t miserable. Plus, there was something sort of nice about being on the beach with Nate. Neither of them said anything. They just kept walking, the cold salt water tickling their toes anytime they got too close to the gulf. Walking on the beach had been a good idea. Her head began to clear from the effects of too much wine and rich food, and she was shocked to discover that she was sorry the night was almost over. It occurred to her that this was probably the only time she’d ever be alone with Nate Miller, at least, in this sort of private setting, and she found herself curious.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt...]

May 18 2015 11:00am

Outlander 1x15 Heart-to-Heart: Dark Times

Outlander 1x15 Claire

Show/Episode: Outlander 1x15: Wentworth Prison
Ships: Jamie/Claire

Outlander 1x15 Jamie and Claire Captain's Log

This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Outlander, including the most recent Season 1, Episode 15, “Wentworth Prison.” Enjoy!

Jamie has never been nearer to death. Though Tarran MacQuarrie attempts to distract Jamie from the matter at hand with literal gallows humor, it doesn’t work. Jamie isn’t afraid of the rope, but what Claire will think of him for getting himself hanged. Got his priorities straight, our Jamie. There’s no chatter, no background noise at all to leaven the grimness of this scene, and even MacQuarrie’s patriotic speech is cut short as his neck breaks…mostly. No sooner is the rope around Jamie’s neck than Black Jack Randall rides in and orders Jamie’s execution stopped. Jamie’s expression says it all – there has got to be something sinister behind this reprieve, and, as we find out, there certainly is. Book fans, you know what’s coming.

Claire, however, does not. She has one thing in mind and one thing only; to get Jamie out of there by any means necessary. If that means posing as a distant relative and convincing the pious warden, Sir Fletcher, that she’s concerned Jamie can’t write his mother final farewell, then that’s what she’ll do. Not as easy as she thought, as Sir Fraser thinks meeting a dangerous criminal is too dangerous for a fine lady, but he will entrust Jamie’s effects to her. Can she get them to his next of kin? Claire keeps a stiff upper lip long enough to accept the box, but staggers outside and collapses, with sobs and vomit, her agony palpable.

Also palpable is the disgust she and Murtaugh feel over Angus and Willie’s losing all their money at a game of dice…until they learn the money was lost to prison guards, who gave up some priceless information. Sir Fletcher always takes time to dine and read his Bible in private, which will give Claire a shot at finding the keys.

[But she must not waste anytime.]

May 18 2015 9:30am

First Look: Astrid Amara’s Song of the Navigator (May 26, 2015)

Song of the Navigator by Astrid Amara

Astrid Amara
Song of the Navigator
Samhain Publishing / May 26, 2015 / $15.99 print, $4.99 digital

Worst Possible Birthday: Being sold into slavery by none other than your lover.

Tover Duke's rare ability to move anything instantly across light-years of space makes him a powerful, valuable asset to the Harmony Corporation, and a rock star among the people of the colonies. His life is luxurious. Safe. Routine.

He has his pick of casual hookups passing through Dadelus-Kaku Station. His one brush with danger of any kind-the only bright spot in his otherwise boring life-is Cruz Arcadio, a dark-haired, hard-bodied engineer whose physical prowess hints he's something much more.

When a terrorist abducts Tover, hurling him into a world of torture, exploitation and betrayal, it's with shattering disbelief that he realizes his kidnapper is none other than Cruz. As Tover struggles to find the courage to escape his bondage, he begins to understand the only way to free his body, his mind-and his heart-is to trust the one man who showed him that everything about his once-perfect life was a lie.

Warning: This story contains descriptions of extreme violence and assault. It also contains graphic sexual depictions. It also has a lot of birds. And pirate movies from the future. And romance.

This is the book I have been waiting for. An incredible science fiction romance featuring two men. Science fiction and male/male are some of my favorite sub-genres in romance, therefore, for me Astrid Amara's Song of the Navigator was an instant must-read.

An essential ingredient for any good science fiction, in my opinion, is an imaginative, in-depth yet relatable world. Of course I want a world that is interesting, unique and alien, but I also want to be able to connect with that world’s problems! Be it through the issue of social injustice, political turmoil or economic espionage. In Song of the Navigator the idea of Navigators (humans able to move objects and people through space and time through vocal vibrations) immediately intrigued me, partly because Tover is a gifted and valued improvisational Navigator but also because of the role they occupied in society.

[They'll move more than objects through space...]