<i>Christmas Brides</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Christmas Brides: Exclusive Excerpt Alexandra Hawkins, Suzanne Enoch, Elizabeth Essex and Valerie Bowman "She rushed up to him and brushed a kiss against his mouth." <i>Gentlemen Prefer Curves</i>: Excerpt Gentlemen Prefer Curves: Excerpt Sugar Jamison "It was him. Carter Lancaster. Her first and only love." <i>Night Sky</i>: Excerpt Night Sky: Excerpt Suzanne Brockmann and Melanie Brockmann "Oh God, I asked him, did I make you kiss me?" <i>Sweeter Than Sin</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Sweeter Than Sin: Exclusive Excerpt Shiloh Walker She can’t ignore the urgent heat between them
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Showing posts by: Chelsea Mueller click to see Chelsea Mueller's profile
Wed
Sep 25 2013 9:30am

First Look: Kresley Cole’s Endless Knight (Oct. 1, 2013)

Endless Knight by Kresley ColeKresley Cole
Endless Knight (Arcana Chronicles #2)
Simon Teen / Oct. 1, 2013 / $18.99 print, $6.49 digital

In the second book of the Arcana Chronicles Evie has now fully come into her powers as the tarot Empress. And Jackson was there to see it all. In the aftermath of killing Arthur, the tarot Alchemist, Evie realizes that a war is brewing between the other teens that, following the apocalypse, have been given powers and its kill or be killed.

Things get even more complicated when Evie meets Death, the mysterious, sexy Endless Knight. Somehow the Empress and Death share a romantic history - one that Evie can't remember, but Death can't forget. She is drawn to the Endless Knight, but is in love with Jack. Determined to discover why she's been granted these powers, Evie struggles to accept her place in a prophecy that will either save the world, or completely destroy it.

Kresley Cole is the queen of manipulating my emotions. It’s really for the best that we don’t date. Endless Knight wrapped me around its little finger and I fell to its every whim. And I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

This second book in Cole’s young adult Arcana Chronicles series picks up immediately where Poison Princess ended. Jack now knows what Evie is, and she’s just truly come into her powers. She can be lethal and they both need to come to terms with that.

[Every hero should be the tiniest bit afraid of his heroine, right?...]

Wed
Sep 4 2013 11:00am

True Blood Season 6 Post-Mortem (Because Vampires Love Word Play)

Sookie and Alcide in True Blood 6x10We survived another season of the madcap supernaturals-in-the-South series True Blood. There was a time when I proclaimed if the show didn’t provide certain things I’d call it quits (mostly those requests were about Sookie and Eric having a real romance in Season 4).

I make similar proclamations each year and every June I’m sucked back into the world of Sookie Stackhouse. This year, though, the season stretched from its source material—the novels penned by Charlaine Harris. While I’m a big fan of the books, this mostly made the season better.

Instead of trying to meet reader expectations, the show did its best to do justice to the characters. True Blood’s season 6 was still full of WTFery, but it didn’t spiral into “what were they thinking” territory until the very last episode.

Let’s talk about what worked (naked Alexander Skarsgard!), what didn’t (ASkars on fire!) and what may come in what was just announced will be True Blood’s final season.

[Now for a look at The Good and The Bad...]

Wed
Aug 21 2013 2:30pm

First Look: Kit Rocha’s Beyond Pain (August 26, 2013)

Beyond Pain by Kit RochaKit Rocha
Beyond Pain (Beyond #3)
August 26, 2013 / $4.99 digital / $16 print

A woman with no future…

Live fast, die young–anything else is a fantasy for Six. She’s endured the worst the sectors had to throw at her, but falling in with Dallas O’Kane’s Sector Four gang lands her in a whole new world of danger. They’re completely open about everything, including their sexuality–but she hasn’t survived this long by making herself vulnerable. Especially not to men as dominant as Brendan Donnelly.

A man without a past…

Bren is a killer, trained in Eden and thrown to the sectors. His one outlet is pain, in the cage and in the bedroom, and emotion is a luxury he can’t afford–until he meets Six. Protecting her soothes him, but it isn’t enough. Her hunger for touch sparks a journey of erotic discovery where anything goes–voyeurism, flogging, rough sex. He has only one rule: he won’t share her.

In Bren’s arms, Six is finally free to let go. But his obsession with the man who made him a monster could destroy the fragile connection they’ve forged, and cost him the one thing that makes him feel human–her love.

The writing team known as Kit Rocha has outdone themselves with Beyond Pain. The third book in the duo’s dystopian erotic romance series goes for emotionally charged sex scenes in lieu of the multiple partners scenarios from previous books and managed to create something even steamier.

[Steamier, you say?...]

Mon
Aug 12 2013 10:38am

True Blood Season 6, Episode 9 Recap: Takes a Funeral to Tame the Beast Within

Eric and Steve Newlin in True Blood 6x09, Life MattersEverything is edging toward an epic finale for True Blood’s Season 6. Last week we started to see the big picture set in motion. Vampires—including Pam, Tara, Jessica and the delicious James—are in the room Bill saw in his vision. Will they meet the sun? Sookie finally agreed to help Bill with Warlow, but when they returned to the fae realm Eric had already found the half fae/half vampire and fed from him.

Will Eric be able to save Pam, Willa and the others? Will he take vengeance on Sarah Newlin (please!)? Will Warlow recover and help?

It’s the next to the last episode of the season. (Missed an episode? We've got your fix right here: Catch up with recaps of True Blood episodes 6x016x02, 6x036x046x056x066x07, and 6x08.) Read on for the recap of Season 6's episode 9, “Life Matters.”

HIGHLIGHTS

Sookie calls off her deal with Bill. Warlow needs all the blood he has left. In a general weird moment, Sookie bites her own wrist to feed Warlow. Can we all agree that’s not normal? She doesn’t have fangs. I would bet that woman has a safety pin on her or something.

[This is Sookie Stackhouse we're talking about here...]

Wed
Jul 31 2013 9:30am

5 Reasons Bloodlines’ Adrian Ivashkov Would Make an Awesome Boyfriend

The Fiery Heart by Richelle MeadIf you’re a regular reader here at Heroes and Heartbreakers, you may know I 'shipped Rose and Dimitri in Richelle Mead’s highly successful Vampire Academy series, which is about to be a movie(!).

In that series we met Adrian Ivashkov. He was a little old to be hanging around high schoolers without, you know, a reason. He was that charming older guy who somehow always had booze.

He was hot and a bad influence.

Things change, though. People change. They grow. I can bravely say, several books and a spinoff series later, that the Adrian Ivashkov I read about in Mead’s Bloodlines series is boyfriend material.

1. He’s someone who wants to be a better person.

I’m not saying the man doesn’t have faults. Adrian has used alcohol as a coping mechanism for the side effects of his Spirit abilities (the good kind of vampires in Mead’s world wield magic, too—earth, air, fire, water or spirit). He wants to be better, though. Meeting Sydney, the heroine of the Bloodlines books, is enough to make him want to better himself.

I’m not just talking about quitting drinking. Though, Sydney would really like that. She worries. He wants to be someone worthy of her love. This isn’t about changing who he is, but him choosing to make better life decisions in the name of love. Sometimes actions speak louder than words, and Adrian can be a man of action.

[What else draws you in?...]

Mon
Jul 29 2013 11:35am

True Blood Season 6, Episode 7 Recap: Walking in the Daylight

Sookie and Arlene in True Blood Season 6, episode 7Last week we saw Sookie (maybe?) flip her view about Warlow and take him off to the land of the Fae. Sam gave Emma to her grandmother, which didn’t seem to be enough for Alcide, who is still in crazy packmaster mode. Eric, Nora and Willa are working on escaping from Vamp Camp. Pam, Tara and Jessica are still surviving, but for how long? And we finally discovered the plan for that local Tru Blood plant.

Missed an episode? We've got your fix right here: Catch up with recaps of True Blood episodes 6x016x02, 6x036x046x05, and 6x06. And now, onto the recap of last night's episode 6x07, “In the Evening”:

****SPOILERS****

It’s confirmed: They are shipping Tru Blood contaminated with Hep-V to stores, and—not surprisingly—will be giving it to those locked away in Vamp Camp, too. Willa goes back in to warn Pam while Eric escapes with Nora.

Pam’s starting to think a little more of her new sister—probably because she’s toting a severed arm around Vamp Camp—but advises her to keep the details of the Hep-V to just their inner circle.

[Leave it to Pam...]

Mon
Jul 15 2013 10:24am

True Blood Season 6, Episode 5 Recap: What God Wants

Ben and Sookie in True Blood 6x05****SPOILERS****

On last week’s True Blood we saw Alcide sink deeper into the hole of Packmaster bad decisions and were stunned when Sookie took action at the end. We’re all worried about the fates of 1, 2, 3 and 4—Andy’s girls—and what Bill might do to Jessica after the fact.

Faerie lives are in danger. We may have spotted Warlow. Will the shifters come out of the proverbial closet? Will Willa end up back at her maker’s side?

Missed an episode? Catch up with recaps of True Blood episodes 6x016x02, 6x03, and 6x04. And now, onto the recap of last night's episode 6x05, “Fuck the Pain Away”:

HIGHLIGHTS
Before we get into this too far, does anyone else see the “strong sexual content” and “nudity” advisories as show teasers? Because I swear I start trying to guess if it’s going to be Sookie shacking up or a mass werewolf strip-down the second those “warnings” pop up on the screen.

The episode picks up where our last one ended: Sookie calling out Ben as Warlow even with her legs wrapped around the good-looking guy. Ben admits to being Warlow, but also professes his love for Sookie, says they’re destined to be together. Sook isn’t buying it. We continue to see her take control of her life as she calls out the obvious question: “Then why did you kill my parents?”

[Love means never having to say “I'm sorry I killed your parents”?...]

Mon
Jul 1 2013 10:51am

True Blood Season 6, Episode 3 Recap: The World is Changing

True Blood's Jessica****SPOILERS****

Things have changed so much in just two episodes of True Blood, it’s hard to guess where this third episode will take us. Last week we met a new half-faerie guy (hot!), Eric put Governor Burrell on notice (nerdy Northman!), Alcide was acting out of character (packmaster influence?), we met Sookie and Jason’s faerie grandfather (Niall!) and Bill communed with Lilith (clothed for the first time ever!).

Need to catch up with what's been going on in Bon Temps? Check out last H&H's recaps of True Blood episode 6x01 and episode 6x02.

And now, onto the recap of last night's episode 6x03, “You're No Good”:

HIGHLIGHTS

Eric was ready to bite the governor’s daughter in a very private place—with the intention of killing her thusly—but stops when she offers up information on the vampire experiments. He takes her just before the SWAT team arrives. I do believe that counts as Eric’s “Game on, Governor.”

Bill is now seeing the future and says he has seen all vampires burn. He wants to save them; he has to save them.

[Bill to the rescue???...]

Wed
Jun 26 2013 9:30am

Real Life Meets Fiction: But It Was Hot in the Book!

Bookmarked page image courtesy of flossyflotsam via Flickr Creative CommonsI recently devoured Tessa Bailey’s His Risk to Take. It was a romance with a lot of buzz from Heroes and Heartbreakers bloggers and readers alike. I tore through that book like there was no tomorrow. I even found myself falling for the hero Troy and mentally urging the heroine Ruby to quit being difficult and just love him. That’s all great. Totally normal reaction to a romance, right? We should want them to be together.

Here’s the thing: As the afterglow of book consumption faded, I wondered what on Earth was wrong with me. I shouldn’t have found the things Troy did sexy. I shouldn’t have been happy about it. He’s overbearing and bossy. But through the magic of Bailey’s writing I understood and even appreciated his incredibly overprotective actions.

While I certainly credit Bailey for giving enough of Troy’s point of view for me to understand why he sought control—his goals are always about her safety, and he does have reasons to believe she’s in danger—I think there’s more to it than that. I think we, as readers, can fall for characters who behave in ways we’d never accept in real life.

[What's the appeal of fiction vs. real life?...]

Mon
Jun 17 2013 10:07am

True Blood Season 6, Episode 1 Recap: Like an Evil, Naked Superman

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

Unique Vampires: Fukuda, Kagawa, Ward and Frost

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

Just Say Yes?: The Makings of Book Crack

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

20 Reasons We Can’t Wait for True Blood Season 6

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

Black Dagger Brotherhood: Which Couple’s Next?

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

The Walking Dead’s Daryl Dixon: Romance Hero?

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

First Look: Kit Rocha’s Beyond Control (March 19, 2013)

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

First Look: Jeaniene Frost’s Twice Tempted (March 26, 2013)

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 101: Ward, Ione, Singh, Kenyon, and Frost

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 Movie Casting: It’s Going to be Okay!

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

Arrow Season 1, Episode 12 Recap: Thea’s After-School Special

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?...]