<i>Misbehavior</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Misbehavior: Exclusive Excerpt Kathryn Kelly She's about to have the ride of her life... <i>Firebug</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Firebug: Exclusive Excerpt Lish McBride "I tried my best not to admire my friend as he stripped..." <i>Love on the Boardwalk</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Love on the Boardwalk: Exclusive Excerpt Christi Barth "Then she moaned as his tongue tangled with hers..." <i>Hope Burns</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Hope Burns: Exclusive Excerpt Jaci Burton "Now that she was back in his life, he wanted her to stay there..."
From The Blog
September 15, 2014
Karen Marie Moning's Burned News!
Team H & H
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Trailer for Mockingjay Part 1 Released!
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Friday Beefcake: A Venti Hottie, Please!
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D.D. Ayres
Showing posts by: John Jacobson click to see John Jacobson's profile
Mon
Sep 15 2014 2:00pm

Beyond Darkness and Angst: The “New” New Adult

Make It Count by Megan EricksonNew Adult bestseller lists seem to be crowded with books that deal with everything angst.  There are the books about death, the books about assault, the books about broken pasts and broken presents.  There are books about looming, clouded secrets that prevent people from ever having good relationships until “that person” comes along.

But New Adult is so much more than the traumatic past and the dark alpha-male hero.  New Adult can be fun and comedic, too.

Fun New Adult exists, and it’s a story style that is growing in popularity as New Adult books are picked up by different publishers.  It’s also a story style that provides a relief for those that are tired of all of the emotion brought on by dark “realistic” stories that rely heavily on trauma to create character narratives.  These light New Adult books still tackle important character arcs, but they’ll leave you laughing instead of crying, which makes all the difference. 

Make it Count by Megan Erikson

I chose this book as my Best-Of for June here on Heroes and Heartbreakers.  Erikson’s debut New Adult novel is the first in a series about Bowler University.  It features a serious (and nerdy) hero and a determined (but playful) heroine.  The book deals with some heavier issues such as the struggle of living with a learning disability that goes unnoticed in the public school system, but it deals with them in an atmosphere that is humorous rather than sad. 

[Got to laugh to keep from crying!]

Tue
Sep 9 2014 4:30pm

First Look: Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon’s Mending Him (September 9, 2014)

Mending Him by Bonnie Dee and Summer DevonBonnie Dee and Summer Devon
Mending Him
Samhain / September 9, 2014 / $5.50 digital

As his world collapses, love opens his heart.

Robbie Grayson has always felt like a bit of an outsider in the Chester family, though he’s related by blood. An orphan taken in at a young age, he is further set apart by a limp inflicted by a childhood illness.

Nevertheless, he’s content enough with his quiet country life—until a mercurial wastrel named Charles Worthington explodes into it. And Robbie is assigned to play nursemaid to an invalid with an attitude.

Injured in a carriage accident, Charles arrives at the Chester estate drunk as a lord and with empty pockets. Despair consumes him as his broken body slowly heals, but the kindness of quiet, thoughtful Robbie saves him from drowning in self-pity.

Over chess matches and conversation, these polar opposites challenge each other to break out of old patterns, until desire burns through the thin veneer of pure friendship. Yet their passion could destroy the family bonds they value so highly. Especially when someone catches wind of their relationship—and threatens blackmail.

The immense angst of m/m historical romance is hard to beat.  Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon have co-written several of these m/m historical romances, the latest of which is Mending HimMending Him follows two characters, one who lives with disability and one who is recovering from an injury, and throws them together in a place where their attraction is far too electric to ignore.   

[Sparks fly!]

Wed
Aug 27 2014 10:45am

First Look: Lauren Jameson’s Linger (September 2, 2014)

Linger by Lauren JamesonLauren Jameson
Linger
Penguin / September 2, 2014 / $15.00, print / $5.99, digital

On her last night in Nevada before embarking on a yearlong veterinary internship, Scarlett Malone is celebrating—and looking for one night of incredible pleasure. But the man who draws her eye is not her usual type: He’s a cowboy whose alpha-male tendencies tempt her beyond belief. Scarlett can’t understand why she wants this man and no one else, but she’s determined to entice him to submit.…

Dr. Logan Brody lives an isolated life in rural Montana, running a ranch and suppressing his submissive tendencies. Only on his occasional trips does he give into his hidden urges. He can’t deny his scorching attraction to Scarlett or that she makes him want more, but he never lets anyone break him down fully. He’s hers for one night and one night only.

But when Scarlett shows up at Logan’s door as his intern for the year, he realizes that the walls around his heart are about to crumble—and that this sexy dominant woman has no intention of letting him keep control.…

Nothing causes pages to burn quite like a submissive alpha male cowboy and a Mistress determined to make him hers.  Lauren Jameson’s Linger is a stunningly sexy concoction that weaves together two souls with a taste for volcanic-hot sex.  Scarlett Malone is just about to leave her home for a veterinary internship.  City life doesn’t teach a veterinarian all of the in’s and out’s of large animal care, and the only way to get the needed hands-on experience is to work under someone who takes care of those big animals on a day-to-day basis.  This means going out into the quiet countryside of Montana and leaving the hustle and bustle of city life behind.

Before Scarlett leaves for a year, she takes one more night to fulfill her sexual desires.  A rich friend of hers owns one of the hottest BDSM clubs in the area; she has trained to be a Mistress and has more than her share of fans.  That final night, Scarlett enters the club to see a man that she has to have.  A tall cowboy with a beautiful body—a cowboy who may very well be a Master himself—immediately catches her attention.  Scarlett is in luck: her cowboy is a submissive, if an alpha one, and the challenge he will provide her is just what she needs. 

[Challenge accepted...]

Thu
Jul 31 2014 1:15pm

First Look: Catherine Mann’s Shelter Me (August 5, 2014)

Shelter Me by Catherine MannCatherine Mann
Shelter Me
Berkley / August 5, 2014 / $7.99 print & digital

Nestled in the sunny fields of Tennessee lies the McDaniel family’s Second Chance Ranch Animal Rescue. Two new arrivals are on their way, but only one is the four-legged kind.

Staff Sergeant Mike Kowalski wants only one thing after he gets home from Iraq: to sleep in a king-sized bed with clean sheets. But first, he has to hand off his fallen commander’s dog, Trooper, to his family without handing off his heart to Sierra….

Sierra McDaniel needs a break. Her family life is crazy, and when she’s not mucking out kennels, she’s slogging through grad school. Sierra certainly doesn’t want another dog, especially one that reminds her of her father. And she definitely doesn’t want to see Mike with that charming smile of his….

But Trooper has a mission of his own. Before too long Mike is moving to the ranch to lend a hand—and hoping for his own second chance with Sierra.

Catherine Mann’s Shelter Me is the start of a new series featuring Second Chance Ranch, a local animal rescue run by Lacey McDaniel. Lacey is the ultimate military wife, now widow, and her family has been irrevocably shaped by the military, and the loss of her military husband. Her son Michael, a teenager, is going farther and farther into a dark place, while her daughter Sierra is a graduate student who finds herself more and more involved with her mother’s animal rescue. Lacey's father-in-law is a veteran with intensifying Alzheimer’s. Lacey takes in animal after animal after animal in an attempt to save something in her life, all the while fighting insomnia and a dangerous tendency to drink too much to numb the pain.

[Enter our hero...]

Tue
Jul 8 2014 4:30pm

Feels Like the First Time: My First Romance Novel—Diana Palmer’s Rogue Stallion

Rogue Stallion by Diana PalmerRomance has this thing about first times.

Everyone has their first time with a romance novel. Some of us remember them, and others don’t. Sometimes it’s something as simple as a plot trope or a particularly strange sex scene. Whenever people discuss romance together, particularly their first romance, I wonder how mine reflected the way that I read romance today—and how, invariably, reading romance ties me to those that read it before me in my life.

When I was thirteen, my mother still read a fair amount of Harlequin Intrigue novels (she’s since moved on to more suspense and single title romantic suspense), but Harlequin books were a big thing for her for years. I always got fascinated by the package that would come once a month with several books in the category line. Around this time, they also rereleased the Montana Mavericks collection, which my mother also ended up ordering on subscription. My mom would read some immediately and let others languish in her closet for weeks. This was before I realized that category authors wrote very different romances despite having a similar template, and that just reading one line could get very old, very fast.

I really wanted to read a romance. Something about the dude ranch yellows and the men in stetsons called to me. I loved the western setting, the dude ranches and flat grounds a far cry from the Pennsylvania dairy farms and forested mountains in which I grew up. So one day, I went down to the closet my mom stashed her books in and pulled out the book labeled number one in the line: Rogue Stallion by Diana Palmer.

[Let's start at the beginning, we hear it's a very good place to start...]

Wed
Jun 25 2014 2:00pm

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: A Guide to New Adult Male/Male Romance

Apple Polisher by Heidi BelleauAs a reader who loves the New Adult genre and also loves a good dosage of M/M romance within it, I often find myself seeking out New Adult novels that feature M/M romances, or M/M romances that could also be labeled as New Adult. Being LGBTQ in one’s college and post-college years is something that affects many people. It’s a time where many people decide to come out, and a time when many people who are already out discover the complexities of their identity. It’s often also a better environment for LGBTQ people afraid to come out at home, though that isn’t by any means a universal truth. I want to share some New Adult M/M romances and authors that, I think, hit the nail on the head when it comes to showcasing an M/M romance with characters in that age group.

The Rear Entrance Series and The Professor's Rule

Heidi Belleau continually challenges traditional expectations in M/M romance and presents characters from diverse backgrounds and personality types. She also does everything with a clear sense of research; I never read her books feeling like they revel in caricatures or stereotyped ideas, and that says a lot about her skill in writing. Heidi Belleau’s Rear Entrance Video series, which includes the books Apple Polisher, Wallflower, and Straight Shooter, feature college students who room together in a house.

[(Sexual) Tension runs high when you live together...]

Thu
Jun 12 2014 4:30pm

What Can Romance Learn from New Adult?

Love Show by Audrey BellNew Adult, as it matures, is finally being accepted as a genre/subgenre that affects the romance community. Its crossover appeal to romance readers has become plain, as evidenced by its presence on the ebook bestseller lists. With so many New Adult books getting published and pushed to romance readers, it begs the question: what is it about New Adult that makes it important for the romance genre?

New Adult books don’t read like the traditional genre romance novels we’ve come to know and love, but they don’t read like their other close cousins, young adult novels, either. New Adult as an appearing genre has a few things that romance could learn from. Not all of its differences are bad; some of them could very well be the answer to some of the staleness come romance readers have commented on over the past few years.

Live in the Present

The difference between present and past tense is one that gets noted between these two genres all of the time. When you read books like Audrey Bell’s Love Show, you immediately get pulled into the story because of the first-person present tense. New Adult books live heavily in the moment. While many readers find first-person present tense a difficult tense to do well, it’s a staple of the New Adult genre.

[And maybe should be in romance a little more often?]