<i>Eleventh Grave in Moonlight</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Eleventh Grave in Moonlight: Exclusive Excerpt Darynda Jones "I wanted to study her reaction since I couldn’t feel her emotions." <i>The Turn</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Turn: Exclusive Excerpt Kim Harrison "Love can hold the world together as a new balance is found." <i>The Room Mate</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Room Mate: Exclusive Excerpt Kendall Ryan "My fingertips tingled with the desire to reach out and touch him." <i>The List</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The List: Exclusive Excerpt Tawna Fenske "Will Simon’s big secret make that the one fantasy that can never come true?"
From The Blog
January 23, 2017
Do You Love Scruffy Men?
Olivia Dade
January 20, 2017
Friday Beefcake: A Love Letter to Men with Dogs & Babies
Jen Wattley
January 19, 2017
Meet-Text? Romances That Began as Text Relationships
Jessica Moro
January 19, 2017
Karen Marie Moning’s Feversong SPOILER THREAD!! (MAJOR SPOILERS)
Jessica Avery
January 18, 2017
Top 5 Highlanders in Romance
Anna Bowling
Showing posts by: Jen Wattley click to see Jen Wattley's profile
Jan 20 2017 2:00pm

Friday Beefcake: A Love Letter to Men with Dogs...and Men with Babies

Men with dogs, or men with babies? Why not both?! We here in Romancelandia are certainly blessed with an array of incredible novel covers, and we've taken up the debate of men with dogs vs men with babies recently. (It seems like dogs is leading the pack...)

Is there anything more heartwarming than a man with an aminal? Or do you prefer a tough, rugged man holding an infant?

But why not rejoice in both options! Enjoy these men with babies and men with dogs to your heart's delight. We hope we get to see more of both of them in the future.

[Oh baby, baby...]

Jan 18 2017 4:25pm

Ivan, Will & Grace: Romance News & Deals from Kit Rocha and More

Grab a mug of tea and a scone and let's gossip about what's hot in romance.

{Did you know you can sign up to receive Afternoon Tea as an e-mail? Sign up to have your daily cuppa delivered straight to your inbox.}

Fresh Outta the Oven

Ivan by Kit RochaHellooooo, Ivan! Kit Rocha (a.k.a. writing team Bree Bridges and Donna Herren) have revealed the gorgeous cover for their third Gideon's Rider novel, Ivan. The Beyond spin-off series hasn't even started yet—Ashwin will be first—and we're chomping at the bit for more of these “holy warrior bikers who police the sectors, protect the weak, crush the bullies, and kill so others don't have to.” (Hot damn!)

—Karen, Jack, Will & Grace will be back on our TV screens soon! NBC has ordered a 10-episode revival of the hit 90s show, set to pick up where we left off at the end of the series. Get your juice boxes ready!

Top Off Your TBR Pile

Deal Alert: Meredith Duran's historical romance Sweetest Regret is $.99 in e-book at Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | etc.* If you only know five things about Meredith Duran, let it be these five from Janga, including that “Her prose is textured, various, and beautiful.”

[Plus a $1.99 Sarah Addison Allen deal and more...]

Jan 13 2017 1:00pm

Take a Weekend Trip to Pemberley (Digital)

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Not all adaptations are created equal.

With the success of the The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, it’s not a surprise that the internet basically exploded with confessional-style webisodes of adapted beloved classics. Some are great, some are not the best, but I have a deep and abiding love for people wishing to take classics and make them over in a way that engages audiences today.  

Pemberley Digital, most noted from The LBD, became the center point for such webisodes and took on a life of its own in a way. These series have taken the chance to expand on the universe and include people of different races, sexual orientations, and creeds, and my personal fave—turning Kitty Bennet into a literal cat that follows Lydia around. So, if you’ve got time over the weekend, settle in for some of my favorite adaptations from Pemberley Digital. 

1.  The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

In case you’re not familiar with The LBD, it’s a modern, web-based confessional video style retelling of Jane Austen’s classic Pride & Prejudice. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries does, for me,  what no other adaptation of P&P has ever been able to do—made me care about Lydia Bennet.

If you’re on the fence about this just know, that each video is around four-five minutes in length. There are 100 episodes, but they go by so quickly, especially once the surly and handsome William Darcy comes into town. It boasts a diverse and wonderful cast, and all the Bennet sisters are sassy redheads.

Seriously, it gets top billing as a favorite Pride & Prejudice of mine, 2kforever.

[Welcome to Pemberley...digital...]

Jan 6 2017 12:00pm

Katherine Johnson’s Amazing Work—and Romance—Take Flight in Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures starring Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae, and Octavia Spencer

This post contains spoilers for the film Hidden Figures... 

I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Hidden Figures in theaters this past Wednesday. It's a movie I recommend everyone put on their watch list. If you're unfamiliar, it's the story that centers around three incredible black women and the work they do in regards to the 1960s space race. It's a piece of hidden Americana that's incredibly significant. Katherine G. Johnson, played by the incredible Taraji P. Henson, did much of the heavy lifting in regards to the complex and intricate mathematics that successfully launched John Glenn and the Friendship 7 into outer space. 

The through line in the film is the struggle between knowing what to do and being utterly competent in a world and climate that keeps you separate from everything else. The film takes place in Virginia in 1961 in the segregated south as tensions continue to grow between the “way things have always been” mindset and the undeniable need for civil rights.

One of the best things about this film is the life that's given to these women. They are not automatons, simply calculating trajectories or solving compelx equations, they have lives—rich inner lives, families, stories, and a camraderie that's so genuine it's a pleasure to watch. 

[Read more...]

Jan 5 2017 2:00pm

7 Reasons Why Pitch Needs a Season Two

Kylie Bunbury as Ginny Baker in Pitch

Pitch is an anamoly of a show for me, because I don't usually fall so fast or so hard for a show. Y'all, my insta-love affair with Pitch happened fast, and I don't think I'll ever be the same. I quickly fell for the story of Ginny Baker (played by the incredible Kylie Bunbury)—a badass, relentless, hurt, vulnerable, and deeply cared for black woman who happens to be the first female pitcher for the MLB.

For those of you who are sportsball averse, I will tell you that MLB sits as a backdrop—an important one—to the heart of the story: Ginny Baker and her relationships, the most important of which (in my humble opinion) is with her catcher Mike Lawson (played by the incredible Mark-Paul Gosselaar).

And even though I’m a tried and true Ginny x Mike shipper, they're not the only reason for needing more of this show—right now. Pronto. I need more Evelyn and Blip. I need more Oscar and Al. I need more Amelia and Eliot. I need more of my fictional Padres and their colorful commentary. 

This show is far too good to only get one season. 

Here’s 7 reasons why we need a season two of Pitch:

[Read more...]

Dec 12 2016 4:45pm

Best Romances of 2016: 32 of the Love Stories We Couldn’t Shut Up About

What were the best romance novels of 2016?

The staff of Heroes and Heartbreakers is lucky that romance is our day job. From covers to TV and movie couples, to our favorite bew books and comfort reads, 2016 introduced some romances that will find their way onto our keeper shelves!

Jennifer Proffitt's Top Romances of 2016

Never Sweeter by Charlotte Stein

Stein tells a beautiful story that will challenges your perceptions of what is forgivable and how to forgive—both yourself and those who have wronged you. You wouldn't think the story of a bully and the bullied would have so much lightness and heart to it, but Stein tackles the subject in a meaningful, sweet, and sexy way with her signature style. 

From Sanctum with Love by Lexi Blake

It was around this time last year that I was first recommended Lexi Blake's Masters and Mercenaries, and it quickly became apparent that I would NEED Kai's story at some point. From Sanctum with Love delivers in spades a story that is everything this sadist deserves and everything my little reading heart could want: office romance, thrilling suspense, and melt-you-eyeballs sensuality. Read the whole series if you haven't, because you'll be panting for Kai's story too!

Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen

I’m from farm country but live in the city, so day dreaming of farm life isn’t something I think I’d be naturally drawn to. However like many Sarina Bowen books, she changes everything for me. The men in Bowen's Bittersweet are built for hard work, they’re dedicated to their land and to their women, and they know it takes a lot of work to make something grow—just what you want in a romance hero. We know happy-ever-afters are guaranteed in romance, but nonetheless, Bowen managed to keep me on the edge of my seat whether they would really make it work. Spoiler alert: there are no bittersweet endings here. 

[Read more...]

Dec 9 2016 11:00am

Well, This is Awkward: Pitch 1x10 Ginny/Mike (Bawson) Heart-to-Heart

Source: darlinginmyway.tumblr.com

Show/Episode: Pitch Season 1, Episode 10, “Don't Say It”
Ship(s): Ginny/Mike (Bawson)

Pitch 1x10 Captain's Log

No. I will not enteratin the thought that this show might not come back for Season 2. You know why, Pitch fans? Because everything is in upheveal and my heart just can't take it, so I need this show to come back and fix it because I don't even know, guys. I don't even know.

So much happened in this episode, that I feel like I watched so many different things, but they all seemed to flow together so spectacularly that I don't feel cheated on anything except for the knowledge of whether or not I'm going to get more of this show.

Don't do this to me, Fox. We're good people. We deserve nice things.

The Highlight Reel:

[Read more...]

Nov 27 2016 10:30pm

A Final Choice: Poldark, Season 2, Episode 9, Romelza Heart-to-Heart

Show/EpisodePoldark, Season 2, Episode 9* (US)
Ship(s): Ross/Demelza (Romelza)

*Editors Note: This is Episode 9 as broadcast by Masterpiece PBS in the U.S. This episode originally aired on BBC One as Episode 10.

Poldark 2x09 Captain's Log

Well, we've reached the end of the line for Poldark season 2, and I am both sad and satisfied. This season was hard, mostly due to the stupidity of one Ross Poldark, but alas, it looks like our favorite idiot is learning.

And just in time, too.

The Warleggans, Elizabeth and George, are now installed in Trenwith, much to the dismay of the remaining Poldark women Verity and Aunt Agatha. Wheal Grace is truly prospering, and Ross is very happy to show Demelza that they've got money now, but that's not what Demelza wants.

Oh Ross. 

A lot happened in this final episode of the season, and I think—I think—Ross and Demelza are going to be okay.

Here are my Top 5 Moments from this episode:

[Read more]

Nov 20 2016 10:30pm

What’s Good for the Goose: Poldark, Season 2, Episode 8, Romelza Heart-to-Heart

Show/Episode: Poldark, Season 2, Episode 8* (US)
Ship(s): Ross/Demelza (Romelza)

*Editors Note: This is Episode 8 as broadcast by Masterpiece PBS in the U.S. This episode originally aired on BBC One as Episode 9.

Poldark 2x08 Captain's Log

I can no longer type out what we all know about Ross Poldark. If you're in any doubt to what sort of man Ross has behaved like this past season, just take a look at my previous recaps. It hasn't gotten any better. In fact, it's goteen worse! Last week, Ross did the unthkinable and cheated on Demelza. Sweet, pure, too-good-for-this-world-and-Ross Demelza. This week, Demelza gets to have a bit of revenge of her own, but she can't quite do it because she deeply cares for Ross. 

Elizabeth went from post-poning the wedding to marrying George in a hurry once she figures out Ross isn't a man who knows what he wants.

Ross goes back and forth between what he wants and the whole situation is just really sad for Demelza.

What an idiot you are, Ross.

Here are my Top 5 moments from this week's episode:

[Read more...]

Nov 18 2016 11:00am

Mike Lawson is in Love, Mark It: Pitch 1x08 Ginny/Mike Heart-to-Heart

Source: tacos.tumblr.com

Show/EpisodePitch, Season 1, Episode 8, “Unstoppable Forces & Immovable Objects”
Ship: Ginny/Mike (Bawson)

Pitch 1x08 Captain's Log

First, let me apologize in advance, because I'm not exactly sure how much of this review is going to be coherent. Currently, between words, I've taken to screaming, getting up and walking around my house, and shaking my head, and rewatching the preview for next week fifteen times in a row. 

This episode was a gem, y'all.

First, it needs to be said that I love a good bottle episode. They're low budget from a production standpoint, but high anxiety/emotional realism from a viewer standpoint. Lots of character development can happen in a bottle episode.

And this episode left me elated. I'm going to try and pull it together and give you something comprehensible. No promises.

There are a lot of variables at play here. Ginny's brother has returned and it seems he's up to no good (yikes on bikes), Mike is thinking about waiving his no trade clause (UM WHAT?!), and Ginny's really showing how much of a rookie she is (I adore her).

All with the backdrop of a rain delay (in San Diego, really?) and an improptu session of Kangaroo Court.

Let's jump into this week's Highlight Reel:

[Play ball!]

Nov 13 2016 10:30pm

Past Decisions that Haunt: Poldark Season 2, Episode 7, Romelza Heart-to-Heart

Show/Episode: Poldark Season 2, Episode 7 (US)
Ship: Ross/Demelza (Romelza)

*Editors Note: This is episode 7 as broadcast by Masterpiece PBS in the U.S. This episode originally aired on BBC One as episode 8.

Poldark 2x07 Captain's Log

Wheal Grace has a massive cave in, George Warleggan is closing in on what he wants, and Ross takes things a step too far in this week's Poldark.  In typical Ross fashion, he doesn't think to long before he gets himself in a terrible bind, and the repurcussions are bond to be dire for the remainder of the season. Elizabeth's own folly is in question of course, and the whole thing is just one big nightmare. Dwight is reeling about the loss of Caroline, and everyone is on the knife's edge of pure drama in this week's episode. Ah, the dire situations of a Georgian Cornwall.

Here are my Top 5 Moments:

[Read more...]

Nov 11 2016 11:00am

Ginny is Mike’s Person: Pitch 1x07 Ginny/Mike Heart-to-Heart

Show/Episode: Pitch, Season 1, Episode 7, “San Francisco”
Ship: Ginny/Mike (Bawson)

Pitch 1x07 Captain's Log

Sometimes when a show tries to pack multiple elements into 44 or so minutes, narrative threads get lost. One thing I enjoy about Pitch week after week is that stories come full circle in their allotted time. Very rarely are pieces just left dangling for us to cobble together later. This episode made a few things happen: Ginny got to slow down a bit (which I can't tell you how happy it makes me that she's surrounded by people who care for her. Not ball player her, but her, Ginny Baker), we got a bit on Mike's background (and now he's my new woobie), and patriarchical norms got a swift kick to the nads. Overall a really well balanced episode. Mike behaved childishly, Livan's finally here, acting like a hotshot rookie, and everyone got naked. Just not the way we want them to—yet. 

Here's this week's highlight reel:

[Read more...]

Nov 6 2016 9:30pm

A Storm is Brewing: Poldark Season 2, Episode 6, Romelza Heart-to-Heart

Show/Episode: Poldark, Season 2, Episode 6
Ship(s): Ross/Demelza (Romelza)

Poldark 2x06 Captain's Log

In the wake of Francis's death, The Poldarks have to learn how to get by without him. Mostly Elizabeth, who was born and raised a lady, needs to learn how to survive. Luckily, Ross and his misplaced guilt are there to muddy the waters and confuse everyone and leave people in doubt of where their true feelings lie. 

So, we're basically right on track for lots of heartbreak. 

Ross is back to forgetting how important Demelza is and all the things that she does to be sure that Elizabeth is taken care of and I'm already exhausted by this love triangle.

Any way, here are my top 5 moments from this week's episode:

[Read more...]

Nov 4 2016 10:00am

Where’s Ginny? Pitch 1x06 Ginny/Mike (Bawson) Heart-to-Heart

I feel all the feels. As this show progresses, it gets better. Honestly. This weeks' episode worked on so many levels I will be devastated if this show ends too soon. To watch Ginny, a young black woman with an insane amount of pressure on her shoulders be carefree, but also deeply cared about is such a wonderful departure from the norm. Giving her amazing friends, and having her meet someone who doesn't want to take advantage? Yeah, this show is special.

While this episode didn't have very many Ginny x Mike scenes, it was still an  amazing shipping episode, and they're setting up an exploration of what's going on between them. That much I have to believe, because there are too many obvious signs to miss. Plus! The EPs keep teasing about the insane amount of chemistry between Mike and Ginny. So, we're on that road. 

And right now, we've stopped in my favorite town—angstville. 

Here's the highlight reel of our time in angstville:

[Read more...]

Nov 3 2016 3:46pm

Judith McNaught’s Whitney, My Love Is Now in E-Book (Among Others!): Romance Deals & News

Grab a mug of tea and a scone and let's gossip about what's hot in romance.

{Did you know you can sign up to receive Afternoon Tea as an e-mail? Sign up to have your daily cuppa delivered straight to your inbox.}

Top Off Your TBR Pile

Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaughtDeal Alert: Judith McNaught's controversial classic historical romance Whitney, My Love, a Westmoreland Dynasty saga novel, is available for the first time in e-book for $2.99 in e-book at iBooks | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | etc.* Other McNaughts newly available in e include A Kingdom of Dreams, Until You, Miracles, Double Standards, Remember When, Paradise, Perfect, and Once and Always.

Deal Alert: Abbi Glines' football New Adult romance Until Friday Night, Book 1 in the Field Party series, is $1.99 in e-book at Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Amazon | etc.* Beau Vincent of Glines' The Vincent Boys made our list of the Top 10 Hottest Jock Heroes.

Deal Alert: Eve Langlais's humorous paranormal Bunny and the Bear, Book 1 in the Furry United Coalition series, is FREE in e-book at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | etc.* Before you jump in, here's 10 things you should know about Eve Langlais.

[+Scandal premiere date & Wonder Woman trailer...]

Oct 30 2016 9:30pm

Mind Those Redemption Arcs: Poldark Season 2, Episode 5, Romelza Heart-to-Heart

Poldark, Season 2, Episode 5

Damn, damn, damn!

Poldark 2x05 Captain's Log

That is precisely how this episode of Poldark can be summed up. Damn the Warleggans, damn Elizabeth, and damn Francis for never learning how to swim. This episode started off much too light and airy to do anything but go wretchedly downhill and fast. One of the many things I love about Poldark is that they don’t dawdle in terms of time. The next episode can be months or years in the future, and given the number of episodes per season, they’re able to pack a lot more drama in a shortened time frame.

This week we jumped ahead one year. Baby Jeremy is a toddler, Wheal Grace is doing well, and Caroline is almost of age. This episode was heartbreaking and I can’t believe I’m going to say it, but, I’m really going to miss Francis Poldark. Never let it be said that Poldark doesn’t know how to convincingly do a redemption arc.

Here are my top 5 moments from episode 5:

[Read more...]

Oct 28 2016 10:00am

2 Ginny/Mike Moments from Pitch 1x05 That Hurt My Heart

Ginny, Mike, and Blip in Pitch 1x05
Source: supagirl.tumblr.com

My heart hurts a little after last night's episode, but it's okay. The life of a shipper is always uncertain, and I also really love angst, so I'm totally here for this direction of heartbreak that's on the horizon. Ginny and Mike's relationship is very much mentor/mentee at the moment, but you can't ignore that their relationship is building towards something significantly more.

The range of emotions this episode made me feel was vast, and the shipper moments were more periphery than anything else, but they still made me feel all the feels. 

There are a couple of moments in particular that really my heart hurt, but in the best of ways.

[Shipper heartache ahead...]

Oct 25 2016 2:00pm

First Look: Tracey Livesay’s Along Came Love (October 25, 2016)

Along Came Love by Tracey Livesay

In Tracey Livesay's Along Came Love, she handles a number of elements that I generally don't care for in my romance novels in a way that had me unable to put this book down. 

Along Came Love follows two secondary characters from Love on my Mind, and I recommend reading that first for context, also because it's really good. 

India and Mike are as opposite as they come. Indi is a child of the foster system, and doesn't like to be tied down to one place. She takes offbeat, vagrant sorts of jobs that allow her to make the money she needs to get to the next big moment, or the next place she wishes to see.

 Mike is a chief officer in a billion-dollar tech company he started with his best friend. He comes from a stable and loving home with an overbearing father he aims to please. Indi's mother dropped her off at a hospital when she was four years old.

[Read more...]

Oct 23 2016 9:30pm

A New Baby and the Sea: Poldark Season 2, Episode 4 Romelza Heart-to-Heart

Poldark 2x04 Captain's Log

Ross continues to be a bit (read: a lot) of a jerk while trying to wriggle out from the choking grasp George Warleggan has on Wheal Leisure. Ross has taken to some...not so legal activities—smuggling—and a very pregnant Demelza is not happy about it. Francis is still very useful, and Elizabeth is surprised by Demelza’s cold shoulder. There are sweet moments, and there are painful moments. And through it all, we’re really just rooting for Ross not to screw up and for Demelza to remain as incandescent as she ever is. This episode’s got sniping, anger, and a baby. So settle in while I bring you my top 5 moments from a pretty spectacular episode.

[Read more...]

Oct 18 2016 10:00am

Ross Poldark, Problematic Fave: We Love Him Even When We Want to Kick Him

Ross Poldark is a good man. And he's also not a good man. He's caring and passionate. He's also stubborn and willful. He's a fully rounded and explored character, and in the Poldark TV series, Ross Poldark is nothing short of a study in contradictions. He's compelling, and there are few characters on television right now that make me want to both wring their necks and protect them from harm. Ross straddles that line flawlessly.

Ross eschews the social order, yet benefits from coming from a distinct lineage in the face of self-made men, e.g. George Warleggan. Ross deeply loves and cares for Demelza, but still holds a significant longing for first love Elizabeth—a fact that's bound to get him into significant trouble.

He has financial problems, but he's too stubborn to ask for assistance.

He could have a relatively easy life, but chooses to make some really dumb decisions and make things as difficult as possible for himself and his family.

But, we love him anyway. He's an undeniably flawed hero, but that makes him even more enticing to watch and root for, and sometimes root against.

[Read more...]