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Showing posts by: Chelsea Mueller click to see Chelsea Mueller's profile
Mon
Jun 17 2013 10:07am

Eric and Pam in True Blood Season 6, episode 1, Who Are You, Really?****SPOILERS****

Last season on True Blood things went a bit off the rails for book readers. The Vampire Authority wasn’t a part of Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series. So Bill’s turn into Billith was a complete shock. Will Sookie recover from seeing her former lover go vampire god? Will he go crazy on all humans? Everything along this line will be a surprise. Plus, the writers twisted the faerie plot, too, so Andy’s a dad times four!

This season we get to meet Niall (finally?) and maybe we’ll get lucky and we’ll see the turn of Arlene Fowler a la the book events. Fingers crossed.

[Onward to Season 6!...]

Wed
May 15 2013 9:30am

The Hunt by Andrew FukudaVampire books have ensnared readers for years. Sometimes we think they’re sexy, other times we think they’re scary, but the creature of the night mythos follows a familiar trope.

If you think you might be burned out on vampires, maybe it’s time to try a vampire book done in a fresh way. Authors are changing the game with vampires, modifying the worlds they live in, the ways they can be killed and how they interact with their own kind.

What if vampires thought humans were extinct?

Andrew Fukuda plays with this idea in his book The Hunt. In his world, the few remaining humans have to pretend to be vampires. They go to school and work with vampires and force themselves to fake it. They hide all emotions, conceal goosebumps, never laugh and even fake the vampires’ reaction to something humorous—scratching at their wrist.

[Just be careful how hard you scratch...]

Mon
Apr 29 2013 10:00am

Book addiction image by Emily Carlin via FlickrThe reading community—like any legion of fans—likes to to create its own terms. You’ll find romance readers mentioning PNR (paranormal romance), H/H (hero/heroine, not to be confused with H&H for Heroes and Heartbreakers), HEA (happily ever after) and the like. Usually these are initialized shortenings of popular phrases.

Those bits of jargon are easy to parse out or have a friend explain. Then we come to “book crack.” We’re guilty at Heroes & Heartbreakers of calling out J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series of being cracktastic, but what does that mean?

At their base, all novels considered book crack are addictive. To be labeled with the drug-related moniker, a book must be un-put-downable. Length is no issue with these books. Nine hundred pages? Sleep is not needed the night after the release of the latest title in a cracktastic series.

[Sleep? What's that?...]

Fri
Apr 19 2013 12:30pm

Alexander Skarsgard image by Tobias LundkvistWe recap True Blood episodes each season here at Heroes & Heartbreakers. It’s the perfect fit for us. It’s based on great novels. There are alpha males everywhere. The sex is worth talking about, even if it’s just for “Did you see that?” comments. And every one of us who watches that show has a hero to root for (and some fans of the books are chanting Quinn’s name right now).

However, we can admit the show goes off the rails. There’s plenty of WTFery. So, if you’re not sure about watching Season 6, which will premiere on HBO in June, allow us to give you 20 solid reasons to watch True Blood.

1. Alexander Skarsgard

(Image credit: Tobias Lundkvist / credit info via Askarsgard.com)

ASkars is the Swedish model and actor who smolders on screen as Eric Northman. We dedicated a whole post to scenes in which you see this man naked, because hot damn. He likes being naked in real life, too, and his character brags about his hours-and-hours of sexual prowess. Plus, he fits our romance hero need for the ultra tall.

2. Alexander Skarsgard’s Booty

For serious, folks. Do you want to miss your chance at seeing more of that ass?

[+ 12 more reasons, in case you're not already convinced...]

Fri
Mar 29 2013 12:21pm

heart-shaped vaseIf you’re a long-time Black Dagger Brotherhood fan, you know every book lays the groundwork for the next.

While immersed in the heady, angsty romance of Qhuinn and Blaylock in Lover at Last, I wasn’t thinking about whose story might come next. Instead I was wanting them to get out of their own way to make it work. (Read our spoiler-filled discussion post, if you want the details.) However, the second I hit the last page, my mind started churning scenarios.

What would happen in the next book and would the next love story be the one I wanted most?

On my ultimate wishlist would be Xcor and Layla’s story. There is a huge emotional upheaval quotient here. By being with Xcor, Layla would be betraying everyone she knows and loves. Could the traitor turn things around for his Chosen? It’s hard to say. I expect their journey requires losses, compromises, and epic sacrifices. As much as I can’t wait for that story, I doubt J.R. Ward is ready to tell it.

[Whose story could she be ready to tell?...]

Sun
Mar 24 2013 11:30am

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon in The Walking DeadWhen a week goes by without Daryl Dixon making an appearance on AMC’s The Walking Dead, there is a Twitter outcry. It isn’t just that viewers connect with his transformation from quiet loner into subtle leader. There is this undercurrent of fandom for Daryl. Yes, we’d like the redneck to be there when the zombies come, but the discussion of Daryl’s winning qualities never fails to shift to how he is “Gas Station Hot” (you can thank author Dakota Cassidy for that term).

That’s right. We swoon for Daryl. In this post-apocalyptic drama Daryl isn’t just the hero, he’s a romance hero. He just hasn’t met his heroine yet.

Don’t believe me? There are five defining traits that make Daryl Dixon a must-lust-after romance hero.

1. He’s lethal.

We like a hero who can get protective. Just think about every member of J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood. They kill to protect what’s theirs. In the BDB case, it’s lessers. Daryl would stop zombies from trying to eat your brain or maniacal wannabe politicians from taking over your house, er, prison.

Daryl can keep you safe. Not only can he shoot a walker with an arrow via crossbow (and reuses it) or bust out a blade when necessary, he’s incredibly resourceful. He’ll stop whatever’s trying to attack you with extreme force.

[Yeah he will!...]

Fri
Mar 15 2013 9:30am

Beyond Control by Kit RochaKit Rocha
Beyond Control
Kit Rocha / March 19, 2013 / $4.99 digital, $16.00 print

She refuses to be owned.

Alexa Parrino escaped a life of servitude and survived danger on the streets to become one of the most trusted, influential people in Sector Four, where the O’Kanes rule with a hedonistic but iron fist. Lex has been at the top for years, and there’s almost nothing she wouldn’t do for the gang…and for its leader. Lie, steal, kill—but she bows to no one, not even Dallas O’Kane.

He’ll settle for nothing less.

Dallas fought long and hard to carve a slice of order out of the chaos of the sectors. Dangers both large and small threaten his people, but it’s nothing he can’t handle. His liquor business is flourishing, and new opportunities fuel his ambition. Lex could help him expand his empire, something he wants almost as much as he wants her. And no one says no to the king of Sector Four.

Falling into bed is easy, but their sexual games are anything but casual. Attraction quickly turns to obsession, and their careful dance of heady dominance and sweet submission uncovers a need so deep, so strong, it could crush them both.

The first in Kit Rocha’s dystopian erotic romance Beyond series Beyond Shame drew numerous comparisons to Sons of Anarchy, only with way more romance and sex.

So much sex.

[Well then let the sexcapades begin!...]

Thu
Mar 14 2013 9:30am

Twice Tempted by Jeaniene FrostJeaniene Frost
Twice Tempted
Avon /
March 26, 2013 / $7.99 print, $6.64 digital

Dating the Prince of Darkness has its challenges...

Leila's psychic abilities have been failing her, and now she isn't sure what the future holds. If that weren't enough, her lover, Vlad, has been acting distant. Though Leila is a mere mortal, she's also a modern woman who refuses to accept the cold shoulder treatment forever–especially from the darkly handsome vampire who still won't admit that he loves her.

Like choosing between eternal love and a loveless eternity...

Soon circumstances send Leila back to the carnival circuit, where tragedy strikes. And when she finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer who may be closer than she realizes, Leila must decide who to trust– the fiery vampire who arouses her passions like no other or the tortured knight who longs to be more than a friend? With danger stalking her every step of the way, all it takes is one wrong move to damn her for eternity.

As romance readers we ask a lot of the hero. Some days we want him to be charming, other days the brutish alpha. He should be caring, but also the bad boy. He should be a leader, but also be willing to follow the heroine because she is his world.

They are unrealistic expectations in our world, but often are acceptable in between the covers of our favorite books. What makes Jeaniene Frost's Twice Tempted so brilliant is that the heroine Leila wants a real relationship with Vlad—as in The Impaler—and she wishes things could work like she fantasizes about.

[Don't we all...]

Fri
Mar 1 2013 1:30pm

Paranormal romance guyHave you stuck a toe in the paranormal romance waters and found yourself wanting to sink to its depths?

It’s understandable. There’s a brilliant escapism with paranormal romance. The swooning is there, as you expect, but most everything is on a grander scale. The alpha males are turned up to eleven, thanks to their non-human status. The black moments involve fighting against one’s nature and/or being forced to accept it. More often than not there’s blood.

And a whole lot of primal passion. Who doesn’t want that?

If you’re one the road to becoming a paranormal romance aficionado, let H&H show you where to start. Here are some of the quintessential PNR series; these are the books you’ll find fans reference all the time. The ones we compare new authors to and the ones we re-read.

And, yes, it’s more than just vampires.

[So—they don't all bite?...]

Tue
Feb 5 2013 3:30pm

Vampire Academy by Richelle MeadEvery time a beloved book gets made into a movie there is a flurry of negativity. The fear that the movie will ruin all we hold dear makes us lash out. Remember when Robert Pattinson was cast as Edward for the Twilight films? There was a very popular online petition to get him booted. He didn’t look like the Edward readers had envisioned. However, his mega chemistry with Kristen Stewart won people over (mostly).

Sometimes, though, casting directors and producers just get it right. I believe this is the case with the film Blood Sisters, based on Richelle Mead’s epically awesome Vampire Academy. Yes, they changed the name of the film. Let’s be honest, “Vampire Academy” has always been a little hokey and not the most apt for the entire series (they’re only at school in the first three books).

Earlier this week the casting choices for the three main characters from the book were named. We have our Rose, Lissa (Lucy Fry), and Dimitri. And I’m feeling good about it.

[Oh, re-ally? Spill!...]

Thu
Jan 31 2013 11:16am

Oliver Queen in Arrow Season 1 episode 12Last week, Thea quit being the awesomely insightful sister and became the CW cliché. By that I mean, of course, she did illegal drugs and wrecked a really expensive car in the process. We finished the episode with her getting arrested for driving under the influence of some street drug called Vertigo. To say Oliver was displeased would be true, but he will bring the vehement anger on the dealers instead of getting all mad big bro on Thea.

Let’s find out what happens when you give drugs to Arrow’s baby sister, shall we?

(Need to catch up? Don't miss H&H recaps of the pilot episodeepisode 1.02episode 1.03episode 1.04episode 1.05episode 1.06episode 1.07episode 1.08episode 1.09episode 1.10, and episode 1.11.) Plus, read Jennifer Proffitt's report on the Arrow cast panel at NYCC!)

***SPOILERS TO FOLLOW FOR ARROW 1.12, “VERTIGO”***

The episode opens with Oliver as Arrow hunting down a bad guy in a rainy alleyway. He clearly is forcing him to run away. The guy ends up on top of a building, and Arrow demands to know who supplies this dealer with Vertigo. His simple statement of “whoever you fear, fear me more” makes the dealer give up The Count as the name. Somehow I doubt he’ll be teaching us our numbers, though.

[Will defeating this guy be as easy as 1, 2, 3?...]

Sat
Jan 26 2013 11:00am

House Rules by Chloe NeillChloe Neill
House Rules
NAL / 
February 5, 2013 / $15.00 paperback, $9.99 digital

At the tender age of 27, Merit became a sword-wielding vampire. Since then, she’s become the protector of her House, watched Chicago nearly burn to the ground, and seen her Master fall and rise. Now she’ll see her mettle—and her metal —tested like never before.

It started with two . . . Two rogues vanishing without a trace. Someone is targeting Chicago’s vampires, and anyone could be next. With their house in peril, Merit and her Master, the centuries old Ethan Sullivan, must race to stop the disappearances. But as they untangle a web of secret alliances and ancient evils, they realize their foe is more familiar, and more powerful, than they could have ever imagined.

There are two main things that make Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series standout. The crazy will-they-won’t-they tension between vampire Merit and Master vampire Ethan Sullivan is the first. The second is the robustness of the characters. Every person in Neill’s world is vibrant and real. You want to be friends with them, you want to know what’s going on. In many ways, Neill’s Chicago is an edgier, urban Bon Temps.

[Move over Sookie Stackhouse, Merit's in town!...]

Thu
Jan 24 2013 11:23am

Oliver Queen in Arrow season 1, episode 11Last week, we found more reasons to love Diggle, including seeing him push Oliver into making the right decisions. Laurel’s dad plans to use her—without her knowledge—to track down The Vigilante. Tommy continues to be The Good Guy. Will he prove to be more than a milquetoast character? Will Oliver find a new girl to hook up with, maybe another assassin? Will Laurel figure out that Oliver is The Vigilante? Will we finally see where Walter is being held captive?

So many questions!

(Need to catch up? Don't miss H&H recaps of the pilot episodeepisode 1.02,episode 1.03episode 1.04episode 1.05,episode 1.06episode 1.07episode 1.08episode 1.09, and episode 1.10. Plus, read Jennifer Proffitt's report on the Arrow cast panel at NYCC!)

Onward to the highlights from “Trust but Verify.”

The episode opened with an armored vehicle heist in the middle of the night on an open road. Bold thieves are just the kind made for Arrow.

[Par for the course...]

Tue
Jan 22 2013 11:02am

Tamsin in Lost Girl Season 3, episode 2, SubterrfaeneanThank fae—Lost Girl is back! Be sure to check out all of our recaps, from Season 1 and Season 2 to the most recent episode of Season 3 aired in the U.S. on the SyFy Channel. All caught up? Good. And now, on to the recap for last night’s Season 3 premiere, episode 3.02, "Subterrfaenean.”

Spoiler Policy: Please remember that there is a strong NO SPOILERS policy for any and all comments. We are ONLY DISCUSSING episodes of Lost Girl that have ALREADY AIRED IN THE UNITED STATES (the U.S. is currently a week behind Canada's schedule). Be kind and respectful by not ruining it for those who have yet to watch the newest Season 3 episode. Thanks!

**********SPOILERS**********

Regular Lost Girl reviewer Kiersten Krum has handed the recap duties over this week. I believe that means we can get handsy with Dyson while she’s gone. If you’re ready to find out where Lauren and Bo sit after that baby talk last episode, see if Dyson has a chance to get back with our favorite succubus and discover who has the best outfit (Kenzi or Vex), then let’s hit the highlights of “Subterrfaenean.”

[Let's do this thing!...]

Sat
Jan 19 2013 11:00am

Blood Rights by Kristen PainterThe trend tides are changing. It happens constantly. Right now headlines proclaim the birth of New Adult, the death of vampires (heh) and the love/hate relationship readers have with bossy billionaires.

What no one is talking about in these sweeping “here’s what people like now” discussions is what happens when a genre grows so quickly as to confuse readers. This could apply really anywhere, but right now I’m watching my beloved urban fantasy subset become a pitted minefield of tropes, far-reaching limits and wary new readers.

As the genre defined by a city backdrop so vibrant to act as a character itself took hold with readers, we got more and more fantasy novels starring bold, strong women and alternative histories. It made many a female fantasy reader happy to finally have a female protagonist who was independent and didn’t let the romance element of the book overwhelm her.

Publishers started gobbling up these books, which for long-time “low” fantasy readers was a mega win. Unfortunately, the genre has grown so much we now face the same big problem of all other fiction: formulas. We have heroines with the same backstories (outcast from their species, orphaned, crippled by their supernatural gifts) meeting the same types of Big Bads.

[So, let's take a look at something a bit different!...]

Thu
Jan 17 2013 12:25pm

Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen in Arrow 1.10

(Need to catch up? Don't miss H&H recaps of the pilot episode, episode 1.02, episode 1.03, episode 1.04, episode 1.05, episode 1.06, episode 1.07, episode 1.08, and episode 1.09. Plus, read Jennifer Proffitt's report on the Arrow cast panel at NYCC!)

When we left Arrow last month it was on a bit of a cliffhanger; Tommy’s dad was playing Green Arrow copycat. Moira’s secret rich people club kidnapped Walter—and she let them. We started to learn a little bit more about the list, but Oliver was laid up in the hospital after his run-in with Merlin Sr.

Did the midseason premiere give us answers (and abs)? Read on.

*******SPOILERS*******

See, the CW knows us. They know there is this healthy demographic of female fans, and that explains why the backstory montage includes more than one shirtless workout scene. Oh, CW, I heart you.

There’s a truck in the opening scene with a bumper sticker that reads “Stay Safe at Night, Sleep with a Fireman.” I think this adds credibility that Arrow was made for H&H readers.

[As if there were any doubt...]

Sun
Dec 30 2012 1:00pm

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

May old friends be forgot? We don't think so! We're celebrating our favorite reads with five days of the Best of 2012. We asked our bloggers for their favorite recommendations of 2012, with one stipulation, they had to be new to them and not necessarily new to 2012. We know we got a few recommendations to add to our to be read piles and it's a great way to feed those readers!

Don't miss out on the shopping list for these great recommendations once you finish reading, and check out the recommendations from Day One, Day TwoDay Three, and Day FiveClick here to view the Day Four shopping list.

 


Heather Waters:

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Rowell’s young adult debut impressed me so much, I immediately purchased her adult novel, Attachments (another enjoyable read). Teenage outsiders Eleanor and Park, each dealing with wholly relatable problems, quickly win you over individually and only become more compelling together.Their story is funny, sweet, sad, and heart-melting—sometimes all at once.

[The best combination possible!]

Fri
Dec 14 2012 3:30pm

Nightshifted by Cassie AlexanderThere is a classic romance trope of the virginal heroine meeting the experienced hero and learning all about sex with him. (And magically it’s perfect that first time!) While there can be appeal there, I’d much rather see realistic women in my romance novels.

Women can be harder on the sexually experienced heroine. We even see authors including bits of the character explaining an active past in an effort of justification. I don’t blame those authors as our culture has built a stigma around women who know what they want in the bedroom.

Luckily, the tide is turning. We’ve begun to see more books released with heroines who aren’t ashamed of their bodies or desires.

And it’s pretty excellent.

Cassie Alexander’s Nightshifted has an unapologetically sexually active heroine. Edie works the nightshift at a hospital taking care of sick supernaturals. Makes it hard to meet a nice guy and harder to maintain a relationship. In the novel, we see her blow off steam by getting dolled up, heading to a nightclub, and bringing home a very sexy man.

[Bringing home the bacon AND the beefcake!...]

Thu
Dec 13 2012 10:59am

Oliver and Laurel in Arrow season 1 episode 9 Year’s End*******SPOILERS*******

Last week Helena (a.k.a. Huntress) had to dash my 'ship dreams by dumping playboy-turned-superhero Oliver/Green Arrow. I get it. The show would be boring if any aspect of their lives were easy, but damn you Helena!

That said, it’s time to move on. As Diggle told Oliver, when the right one comes along, he’ll be ready. Me, too, Ollie. Me, too.

Enough bemoaning the burning of my 'shipping dreams. Let’s get to the talking about the mid-season finale of Arrow (and Stephen Amell’s abs, if we’re lucky).

(Need to catch up? Don't miss H&H recaps of the pilot episodeepisode 1.02episode 1.03episode 1.04episode 1.05episode 1.06episode 1.07, and episode 1.08. Plus, read Jennifer Proffitt's report on the Arrow cast panel at NYCC!)

This week’s opening was a jaw-dropper, even for an obvious fake-out. It appeared as though Arrow murdered one of his former victims. No “you have been judged” talk. Just three arrows to the chest. (C’mon, copy cat, Oliver has more style.)

[Who could it be?...]

Mon
Dec 10 2012 2:08pm

Dexter and Hannah in Dexter Season 7**********SPOILERS**********

You know, I’m used to shipping the underdog relationship in my favorite TV shows. Hell, I’m a Damon/Elena shipper for The Vampire Diaries and if you’ve been watching, you know how that show’s writers enjoy playing with my emotions.

But I didn’t think Dexter could crush me on the relationship front.

Damn it.

If you haven’t watched Sunday’s episode of Dexter—Season 7's episode 11, “Do You See What I See?”—stop reading now. What follows is spoiler-heavy with dashes of ranting and wishful thinking.

This season of Dexter has been a bit of a throwback for the protagonist. He’s rediscovering his murderous ways—and his motivations for them. A big part of that is meeting Hannah McKay. When she was a teenager, she went on a killing spree with her then boyfriend, Wayne. They were able to say it was all Wayne and she was a duped 15-year-old.

[As you do...]