<i>The Edge of the Blade</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Edge of the Blade: Exclusive Excerpt Jeffe Kennedy "When he opened his mouth, a hard look in his eye..." <i>Can't Stop Loving You</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Can't Stop Loving You: Exclusive Excerpt Miranda Liasson "All Bella’s critical body parts were humming..." <i>The Roman</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Roman: Exclusive Excerpt Sylvain Reynard "She moaned as he lifted her hips and pulled her down on top of him." <i>Glass Tidings</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Glass Tidings: Exclusive Excerpt Amy Jo Cousins "Eddie was out of the bed and crouched next to him on the floor..."
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December 7, 2016
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KJ Charles, Roan Parrish, Steve Berman, Avon Gale, Kris Ripper and J.A. Rock
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Cover Tuesday: Exclusive Reveals from Fox, Wayne, Howard, De La O, and McLaughlin!
Team H & H
Showing posts by: Maggie Boyd click to see Maggie Boyd's profile
Wed
Nov 9 2016 3:00pm

12 Fantasy Romances to Take You Away

Lloyd Alexander once said that “Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It's a way of understanding it.” This autumn’s crop of fantasy novels give both a bit of escape and insight while mixing them with magic, adventure and of course, romance.

Contemporary Fantasy:

The Ferryman Institute by Colin Gigl

The Ferryman Institute by Colin Gigl has been hailed as a “stunning, fantastical debut novel.” In Greek mythology, the souls of the dead are rowed across the rivers Styx and Acheron, bodies of water that divide the world of the living from that of the beyond, by the ferryman Charon (aka Kharon). In this exciting novel, reminiscent of the comic books Rest in Peace Department by Peter M. Lenkov, Charlie Dawson is a ferryman. He helps the living cross to whatever is awaiting them on the other side. He’s the best there is but he has been at this a long, long time and is frankly burned out. Unfortunately, the afterlife doesn’t come with more career opportunities! Then Charlie keeps Alice Spiegel from killing herself and realizes that the afterlife can come complete with romance:

She interrupted him with a kiss. It wasn’t even remotely close to a good one: it was too short, she didn’t meet his mouth flush on, his eyes were still open, and his lips were still moving as he tried to speak. Frankly, she didn’t care.

There was something special about the way Charlie spoke, something Alice had trouble pinning down. Maybe it wasn’t one thing, necessarily, but some combination that when blended together exceeded the sum of its parts. There existed a spellbinding cadence in his words – yes, spellbinding, that was the right word, because what was it if not magic?- and understated rhythm that undressed the world, exposed it as nothing more than an illusion. He was the magician in reverse, the man who demonstrated with a flourish that his act was real – it was her pain and suffering, her reality that was the cheap trick she’d failed to see through.

His voice enveloped her in a tapestry of woven words while his eyes orchestrated the ebb and flow of his inflection, a conductor flicking the baton in seemingly careless strokes, yet driving a masterful symphony with them. Though doubt and fear and sadness all lingered in the back alleys of her psyche, his voice bore her back in time, back to when she was child capable of believing in impossible things. And in the dying moments of that first kiss, Alice believed in them anew.

[Read more...]

Tue
Oct 11 2016 8:30am

James Rollins Wrote... Romance Novels?! (And He Didn’t Even Know It)

Subterranean by James Rollins

James Rollins would probably be surprised to hear this but for much of his early career he wrote romance novels. Sure, the books were filled with action and adventure, mysterious discoveries and an exploration of metaphysical possibilities. At the heart of each of them, however, lay an amazing, not to be missed, love story.

Take for example his very first novel, Subterranean. On the surface, this is a story of an astonishing archeological find deep below the ice of Antarctica.  Benjamin Brust, ex-military and current spelunker extraordinaire has been called in to be part of a team exploring the breathtaking, inexplicable underground caverns found below Mount Erebus. When Ben first meets the dig supervisor he realizes that this adventure may have more going for it than just fascinating caves and rocks:

From behind him, he heard a woman’s voice. “Whiskey. Neat please.”

He turned to see who had similar taste in beverages. Whiskey drinking women were as scarce as hen’s teeth. He wasn’t disappointed.

She toyed with the drink set before her, long fingers, short nails, polished. No rings, no wedding band – good. She stood as tall as him, surprising for a woman. Her skin was bronzed, a coppery rich hue that spoke of days under the sun. But what most caught the breath in his throat was her black hair, trailing in lazy curls to her waist.

[Read more...]

Wed
Aug 10 2016 8:30am

Inspire Your Summer Reading with Summer Inspirationals

No Other Will Do by Karen Witimeyer

Matshona Dhliwayo said, “Love is sweet even when what you go through is bitter.” That’s a statement custom made for this summer’s bumper crop of sensational inspirational romances. There might be some trials and tribulations but the love stories are sweet as summer strawberries. No column could do all of them justice but here are a few reads you simply can’t miss:

No Other Will Do by Karen Witemeyer is a childhood-friends-to-lovers romance. Malachi Shaw was a boy with no options; Emma Chandler was a girl with a big heart. When Emma found Malachi freezing and half-starved in the family barn, she convinced her aunts to take him in.  Now Malachi is a grown man with a successful demolition job and Emma has founded a successful woman’s colony in Harper's Station, Texas. The two haven’t seen each other in years but when someone begins to systematically threaten and endanger the women in her care Emma knows there is only one man to call for protection.

When Malachi had been forced to leave the Chandler women to make his own way in the world, he hadn’t planned on returning. His feelings for Emma are powerful ones and unlikely to be returned by such a successful, intelligent and independent young lady. But when she’s in trouble he doesn’t hesitate to head back.

[Read more...]

Sun
Jul 31 2016 12:00pm

Experience Amish History Through Olivia Newport’s Amish Turns of Time Series

Wonderful Lonesome by Olivia Newport

Inpirational romances make up roughly twenty percent of the romance market and of that twenty percent a good thirty percent of the books published and sold are Amish romances. But while many of these books celebrate the close family ties, delicious treats and homespun culture of these fascinating people, few look at the history that formed them into the community they are today. Amish Turns of Time, a series of four books, bridges that gap by providing deep insight into key moments of history that formed the current day Amish and Mennonite churches.

The Amish Head West

The first novel, showcases the settlement aspect of the Amish past. Like many in the early 20th Century, the Amish were eager to expand into the west. Their lifestyle includes both large families and subsistence farming, which means families are often looking for cheap land in order for their growing brood to have acreage of their own. Wonderful Lonesome examines the lives of several people who moved to Colorado in the early 1910s in order to obtain what they were promised was good, inexpensive farmland.  Young Abbie Weaver, the heroine of our story, is excited that her family answered the call to help settle. However, as the years have dragged on and their small community has been without a minister, she sees the divides that have cropped up among the people.  Unfortunately, strife seems to be the only thing flourishing in this drought stricken territory.

The situation is especially difficult for Abbie because Willem Peters, one of the settlers, has been paying her court. Without worship services or singings that courtship has been unfamiliar to both, consisting mostly of buggy rides to and from town.  They know people have hopes of them becoming a real couple:

[Read more...]

Wed
Jul 27 2016 3:30pm

The (Many?) Lovers of Mr. Spock—It’s Not the Size of Your Starship That Counts

 

Spock & Uhura, Star Trek, 2009

Mr. Spock was my first crush. As a six year old watching a sci-fi program for probably the first time in her life, I totally fell in love with the enigmatic alien. That crush has stuck through the years and I still harbor a special place in my heart for this wonderful, cool, logical, intelligent character. I want the best for him. I want love for him.  I’m not alone. Fandom has long shipped Spock with the women who walk in and out of his life and in the 2009 J.J. Abrams reboot of the series many finally got their wish when Abram’s alternate reality universe had Spock and Uhura as lovers.

Naturally, there are nay-sayers who prefer to see this beloved character as a romantic loner, a man whose only close relationships are the platonic ones he has with Captain Kirk and Doctor McCoy. However, that idea of a Lone Ranger style Spock is in many ways a myth. A close look at the original Trek TV series shows that he did, in fact, have several romantic (or almost romantic) relationships over the course of that original five year mission. Here are just a few of the loves (and near loves) of First Officer Spock:

[Spock needs love, too...]

Tue
Jul 19 2016 3:15pm

Magic Hinges to a Magical World: Fantasy Romances You Should Be Reading

Withering Rose by Kaitlyn Davis

“The Bookshop has a thousand books,
All colors, hues, and tinges,
And every cover is a door
That turns on magic hinges.”

― Nancy Byrd Turner

Magic hinges to a magical world, that’s what a good fantasy romance novel provides. And fortunately for those of us who love them, fantasy romances are “in” right now. All of us have probably indulged in the more popular series like Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson, Karen Marie Moning’s Fever novels and Ilona Andrew’s Kate Daniels books but what do you do when you’ve read all the big names and are still anxious for more?

Here are a few fantastic fantasy romances that might not have made it on to your radar yet:

[Get swept up in the magic!]

Wed
Jun 29 2016 4:00pm

Swedish Import: Simona Ahrnstedt’s All In

All In by Simona Ahrnstedt

Swedish author Simona Ahrnstedt makes something old new again in her contemporary romance All In. Set in the cutthroat world of Sweden's financial elite, this is a tale where the stakes are high and the greatest commodities are love and loyalty.

As a precocious tween I was a big reader of the epic romances of the Nineteen-eighties. Stolen from the bookshelves of my mother’s friends, these novels were stories with such scope and magnificence it took 500 sweeping pages to reach our HEA. They often involved rich, glamorous people leading dazzling, decadent lives. All In is just such a tale.

David Hammar is a self-made man. A corporate raider who has climbed to the very top of his profession, he is set to make the biggest hostile take-over of his life – Investum. A company owned by an old, aristocratic family whose home is a castle, this firm is ripe for the picking and David is determined to be the man to do it. However, one piece is missing from his perfect plan. He needs one member of the family to turn traitor. To that end, he arranges a meeting with Natalia De la Grip.

[High stakes romance...]

Mon
Jun 13 2016 3:30pm

“I Think I Need You, Too”: Pat and Tiffany’s Unconventional Love Story in Matthew Quick’s The Silver Linings Playbook

Sometimes great love stories don’t come packaged as romances. While the traditional route to the epic romantic novel is a female author spinning a tale of a hero and heroine charting the course to a happily ever after, sometimes a man will write a tale that tugs perfectly on the heartstrings. Such is the case of The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick. A book about lost souls and second chances, Mr. Quick takes hero Pat Peoples and heroine Tiffany on a bumpy, rocky, perilous trip to a happy right now ending that will leave the reader breathless, not from its’ perfection but its’ poignancy.

Both Pat and Tiffany have loved and lost before. Each of them had believed that the stars had aligned, the gods had been good and that their lives were on the course they were meant to be on. When tragedy strikes, their reactions are deep and scarring, destroying all they had built before the world spun on its axis and took everything they had ever dreamed of away from them. Damaged is a good day for them; decimated and destroyed is their average.

[But even in darkness there's a silver lining]

Wed
Jun 8 2016 8:30am

This Won’t Be the Best Day of Your Life: When Weddings Go Wrong in Romance Novels

Only Beloved by Mary Balogh

In the brilliant and witty How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran, the author assures us that wedding days are not the happiest days of our lives. “Weddings,” she tells us, “do women no good at all. They’re a viper’s pit of waste and despair.” While most romance novels celebrate perfect days, several recent books seem to highlight just what Ms. Moran is saying. These fictional brides might indeed wind up with Mr. Wonderful but getting through their special day is nowhere near as fun and easy as Brides magazine would have you think.

Ms. Dora Debbins from Only Beloved by Mary Balogh never expected to marry. A music teacher in a country village she is happy with the life she has built for herself. Then George Crabbe, the Duke of Stanbrook surprises her with a proposal. Dora is delighted to accept and soon finds herself in London, planning a society wedding and celebrating a deliciously warm and friendly relationship with George. Her wedding day dawns bright and clear and seems likely to be a wonderful experience. And then:

A voice broke the silence from far back in the church before the Bishop could resume –a male voice, distinct and loud and slightly trembling with emotion. It was a familiar voice, though George had not heard it for a number of years.

“I can show just cause.”

And somehow it seemed to George that he had been expecting this, that it was inevitable. There was a collective gasp of shock from the pews and a renewed rustle of silks and satins as the members of the congregation, almost as one body, swung about in their seats to see who had spoken. George turned too.

[Duh duh DUH]

Sat
Jun 4 2016 9:30am

Missing Downton Abbey? Try Doctor Thorne

Julian Fellowes’ Downton Abbey was an important part of my television life for the last six years. Always eager to know what was going to happen, I would read Naz’s recaps here at HeroesandHeartbreakers as the shows aired in England. This meant I knew what was going to occur long before the shows aired in America but I didn’t care. Downton is enriched by multiple viewings. On occasion a few of the important details of an episode are lost in the large story line. When you know that story line and focus on the background, a whole new level of magic shines through.  

Amazon Prime is now offering Fellowes fans a new experience in the pride and pomposity of the British upper classes.  Adapted for the small screen by Mr. Fellowes and directed by Niall MacCormick, Doctor Thorne, an 1858 novel by Anthony Trollope, is a Victorian era story which will feel familiar to any romance reader. Similar in style and tone to a Jane Austen novel, Doctor Thorne examines the role of money in marriage and whether or not love should be a part of that equation. This is a fabulous, not to be missed production, with all the beautiful settings, period charm, and fabulous costuming that Mr. Fellowes is known for.

[Pretty women in pretty dresses...]

Thu
May 19 2016 8:30am

First Look: Jeffe Kennedy’s The Pages of the Mind (May 31, 2016)

The Pages of the Mind by Jeffe Kennedy

Jeffe Kennedy
The Pages of the Mind (The Unchartered Realms #1)
Kensington / May 31, 2016 / $9.95 print, $7.99 digital

Jeffe Kennedy stunned me with her powerful tale of a magical people in her novel, Mark of the Tala. A story of promised mates and hidden sorcery, it is one of my favorite fantasy romances of all time. She returns now to that world with the first book in a new series, The Pages of the Mind, which introduces us to a beautiful tropical island, fated mates, and dragons.

Readers will remember quiet but strong castle librarian Dafne Mailloux from the author’s The Twelve Kingdom Series. When the story opens she is fretting over a prophecy regarding four armed men who are to appear before the newly crowned queen of the Twelve Kingdoms. They are harbingers of change but whether for good or bad the prophet didn’t know.

[We're guessing it's going to be easy to figure out, either...]

Mon
May 2 2016 10:15am

Here Comes the Baby Carriage: Mothers to Look Up to in Inspirational Romance

Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin

We are doubtless all familiar with the playground chant that describes the road to maternity—first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes you with the baby carriage. While modern mothers may choose to forgo the second part of this childhood rhyme, most roads to motherhood do still start with the initial step: first comes love.

Reminding us of just how wonderfully fun and exciting that first step to parenthood is are some recent releases from Inspirational romance authors, just in time to celebrate Mom on her special day.

First Comes Love

Two people burned in the past find that love can be an Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin’s latest novel. Lillian Avery is a woman in a man’s world. One of the few female pharmacists to graduate from her class she knows she only got a job because Pearl Harbor meant the men are all enlisting for the War. She heads to Boston determined to prove that the she may have gotten the position because the boss was desperate but she’ll keep it due to merit.

Ensign Archer Vandenberg went against his family’s wishes when he joined the Naval Academy and set out to sea. A rich man, he wants nothing to do with the trappings of wealth and is bitter that women seem more interested in his pocketbook than his character. Then he meets Lillian and begins to hope that not all women are gold diggers.

This woman wasn’t like the society girls angling for the best husband or the shopgirls digging for gold.

Not Lillian Avery. She’d gone to college to learn, not to snag a man. She had a career and plans and dreams and didn’t need Arch Vandenberg or his wealth. And his good looks and charm didn’t seem to affect her.

If he could win the heart of a woman like her, it wouldn’t be due to his name or looks or money, but due to who he was inside.

[Isn't that what we all want?...]

Sun
Apr 3 2016 9:00am

First Look: Simone St. James’s Lost Among the Living (April 5, 2016)

Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James

Simone St. James
Lost Among the Living 
NAL (Penguin Group) / April 5, 2016 / $15.00 print, $9.99 digital

Since 2012 Simone St. James has been the gold standard for gothic romance. Her novels—full of ghosts, ghouls and romance—always provide a sensual yet chilling read. With Lost Among the Living she cements her position as one of the top writers in this market.

There are several factors which make up a good gothic: a haunted house, a ghost with something to say, an independent, isolated heroine, and family secrets. Lost Among the Living takes that formula and makes it fresh and exciting by adding an unexpected twist.

Like many other women, Jo Manders lost her husband in the Great War. Unlike many of them, she has no benefits to make getting along without him any easier because Alex has never officially been declared dead, just missing. To make ends meet she has been forced to accept a job from his Aunt Dottie, who treats her with scorn, condescension and backhanded affection in equal measures. Jo had feared the job would last only the length of that esteemed lady’s trip through the continent so it is with a mixture of surprise, joy and trepidation that she receives the invitation to continue on as companion in Dottie’s home, Wych Elm House.

[Gothic romance golden award goes to ...]

Fri
Mar 25 2016 8:30am

1001 Nights with Scheherazade-Inspired Reads!

Alberto Vargas, Scheherazade (1921)

The song “Arabian Nights” from Disney’s Aladdin tells us “Arabian Nights, like Arabian days, are hotter than hot.” One of the hottest tales to come out of the desert is the story of Scheherazade, the storyteller who saved her own life by weaving tales of such enchantment that for three years the king spent just one more night with her so he could hear one more story. When she ran out of tales, she found she no longer needed them. The king who killed each wife at dawn after their wedding night had fallen in love with his enthralling word smith.

Of course the modern woman would have a lot of trouble finding this tale romantic. The “hero” of the piece is a mass murderer who holds his heroine’s life hostage to his whims. Fortunately, that is no stumbling block to a clever author! They look at the whole of the love story and see something which is worth cherishing: At the heart of the tale is a clever heroine who volunteered for a dangerous job, because she wanted to help her people and save her hero from himself. All of which is definitely the stuff of a romance novel plot.  Several books dealing with Scheherazade have been released recently. Here are some of the best:

[Arabian Nights with these beauties ...]

Thu
Mar 17 2016 8:30am

First Look: Sandra Byrd’s Bride of a Distant Isle (March 22, 2016

Bride of a Distant Isle by Sandra Byrd

Sandra Byrd
Bride of a Distant Isle
Howard Books/March 22, 2016/$14.99 print, $10.99 digital

Many dream of a handsome prince who will come to their rescue, a fantasy which is the impetus for Sandra Byrd’s Bride of a Distant Isle.

Born on the wrong side of the blanket, Annabel Ashton has spent her whole life being above reproach. Her mother’s family has grudgingly supplied a stipend for her that supplements what she earns as a teacher at the Rogers School for Young Ladies in Winchester but it has been ages since her cousin invited her to the family home, Highcliffe Hall at Milford-on-Sea. When she does visit it is for a sad occasion indeed; it seems her cousin is in deep debt and the house must be sold.

She quickly discovers, however, that this is not her cousin’s only plan to alleviate his financial problems. His good friend Mr. Morgan is at the house party as well and seems to be confident that he will be spending a great deal of time with Annabel.

He closed the costly gilt-edged book from which he’d read and handed it toward me. “A gift. You can read it as we travel to London.”

“Thank you.” I twisted the cameo ring on my first finger, as I often did when discomfited. “You will accompany us?”

He nodded. “Perhaps it will be better put to say that you’ll finally be coming with me.”

[Court me, Court me! ...]

Tue
Mar 1 2016 9:30am

First Look: Siri Mitchell’s Flirtation Walk (March 1, 2016)

Flirtation Walk by Siri Mitchell

Siri Mitchell
Flirtation Walk
Bethany House/ March 1, 2016 / $14.99 print &  digital

Growing up with a reprobate has left Lucinda Pennyworth looking out for a hero in Siri Mitchell’s Flirtation Walk. Her dad had worked every con there was, always promising her big riches and a new life after one last swindle. When she receives a letter while at finishing school advising of his death she is both frightened and relieved: Frightened because she has no money, relieved because she can do what she has always wanted to do and marry a respectable man and settle down into a mundane daily existence. Having no other recourse she heads to Buttermilk Falls, home of her mother’s people. She’s never met them but she’s hoping they will have mercy and take her in anyway.

She arrives just in time for Sunday lunch. And since her uncle teaches at West Point, she arrives just in time to meet two of the senior cadets.

[She needs him and he needs her ...]

Sun
Feb 21 2016 10:00am

Out of This World Sci-Fi Romance Novels Set in Space!

Starflight by Melissa Landers

I’m a big fan of shows like Star Trek and Firefly and movies like Star Wars.  Unfortunately the one thing these shows often lack is a central love story. Sure, there are hookups and the occasional romance but they aren’t the focus of the tale. Since I’m also a big fan of romance novels I’m always on the lookout for books which remind me of my favorite sci-fi series or movies but rectify that fatal flaw. The last five years or so have been the ideal time for that as romance authors have been getting their geek on and delivering some scintillating science fiction romance reads. Here are a few of my favorites.

Fans of Firefly aren’t going to find a better book to love than Starflight by Melissa Landers. In this story rich kid Doran Spaulding was the pretty-boy quarterback who made Solara Brooks’ life miserable in school. But she hadn’t needed him to put the cherry on top of her bad luck sundae—her first boyfriend is the one she can thank for the prison ink that permanently marks her as one of the scum of society. When her only chance to get off planet and rebuild her existence is to work as Doran’s indentured servant on a luxury liner, she accepts the challenge. When some sarcastic banter leads to an unfortunate stun gun incident, both teens find themselves on board the SS Banshee, a far cry from the first class opulence of their last berth.

On the Zenith, furniture could be moved, but that ship was larger than most high-rise hotels. The Banshee offered only four levels, and the combined engine room and cargo hold occupied one of them.

[Sci-fi romance that takes you of of space ...]

Wed
Jan 27 2016 2:00pm

Linda Castillo’s Kate Burkholder and John Tomasetti: Romance Power Couple!

Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo

Romance has its share of crime fighting super couples. There’s the dynamic duo of Eve and Roarke from the In Death series by J.D. Robb;  There’s Francesca Cahill and Calder Hart of Brenda Joyce’s Deadly Series; Brisbane and Lady Julia from the Lady Julia Grey series by Deanna Raybourn and Lady Emily and Colin Hargreaves from Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily series.  All of these couples have the advantage of having their romance grow over the course of many books. I’d like to add another long running couple to that list: Kate Burkholder and John Tomasetti from the Kate Burkholder mystery series.

In the first novel, Sworn to Silence, they are not happy to meet each other. Fifteen years after she left the small town of Painters Mill, Kate has been asked to return as Chief of Police. Soon after she arrives she finds herself working the case of a serial killer. Such a case is never easy but Kate’s own past history and the lack of support from the town council make the situation even more difficult. She is not pleased when the City brings in additional help in the form of John Tomasetti.

“Kate.” The mayor pushes away from his bagel and rises. “This is Agent John Tomasetti with BCI.”

I make no move to approach him or shake his hand. Flushing, the mayor turns his attention to the man. “Agent Tomasetti, this is our Chief of Police Kate Burkholder.”

His gaze is level as he crosses to me. I notice several things about him at once. His eyes are as dark and hard as black granite, beneath heavy brows. He’s got a poker face, his expression is impossible to read. I guess him to be about forty years old. He’s looking at me as if I’m some standup comic whose jokes are falling flat. I don’t want him here and he knows it.

[The Kate Burkholder series is one to fall in love with ...]

Mon
Dec 21 2015 2:00pm

H&H Bloggers Recommend: Best Reads of 2015, Part 2

Radiance by Grace Draven

Each month, we ask our bloggers to share the best thing they’ve read (or things, plural, if our bloggers declare a tie ’cause they just can’t choose). It doesn’t have to be a new book, as evidenced below; just something that made the month sparkle a bit more.

It's the end of the year now, and so we've asked them for their top three books that made the year in reading so memorable. Without further ado, here's Part 2 (of four parts) of our bloggers best reads of 2015—and don't forget to check out Part 1, and stay tuned for Part 3 and Part 4:

Maggie Boyd:

My number one pick for Best of 2015 is Radiance by Grace Draven. I've re-read this book numerous times since purchasing it and have recommended it to anyone who stands still long enough to listen. It's the story of an arranged marriage between two different species - Brishen Khaskem is a prince of the Kai, a second son whose only marital worth is to secure an allegiance. Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, is valuable only as a pawn in a strategic marriage. To the Kai, the Gauri look repellent with their round eyes, square teeth and mollusk colored skin. To the Gauri the Kai look like monsters with their razor sharp claws, fang like teeth and eel like coloring. But brave hearts and compassionate souls are the makeup of our hero and heroine and they forge a bond that transcends cultural boundaries and resonates with love.

[More greats reads for the end of the year ...]

Mon
Dec 14 2015 9:30am

Centuries, Countries, Cultures: Epic Romances Lead to Epic Loves

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCulloughHeroic, long, grand, monumental are the words used to describe an epic. Webster’s tells us that epics tell a story about a hero/heroine or about exciting events or adventures which are very great or large and usually difficult or impressive. In the '80s, epic romances such as The Far Pavilions by M.M. KayeThe Thorn Birds by Colleen McCulloughPrincess Daisy by Judith Krantz, or Evergreen by Belva Plain abounded. Covering the life span of a single character, these huge volumes recorded the loves and losses of men and women leading thrilling, turbulent lives.

In the '90s, the genre moved toward shorter books which concentrated on the courtship period of a couple. There were fewer separations and lots more emphasis on the HEA. But for readers still longing for that over-the-top, majestic, sweeping saga-style story there is good news. Epic romances are still on the shelves, in more abundance than you might think.

The first story that comes to mind is one that is undoubtedly familiar to most readers—the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. In Outlander, heroine Claire Randall is told “Some individuals are chosen by God to affect the destinies of many.” When Claire travels back through time she finds herself falling in love with Jamie Fraser, a Scots warrior and their epic, enduring love story changes the future of many. Their romance is far too epic for any one novel and is told over the course of eight books (so far).

[Sink your teeth into one of these babies...]