<i>Burned Deep</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Burned Deep: Exclusive Excerpt Calista Fox "Ari is treacherously close to losing all control of her life...and her heart." <i>Dead Ringer</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Dead Ringer: Exclusive Excerpt Heidi Belleau and Sam Schooler "Their struggle to love each other is the stuff of classic Hollywood." <i>Good Earl Gone Bad</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Good Earl Gone Bad: Exclusive Excerpt Manda Collins “I believe this situation calls for a fortifying cup of tea..." <i>All I Want</i>: Exclusive Excerpt All I Want: Exclusive Excerpt Jill Shalvis "Stop kissing strangers, and stop slamming the door."
From The Blog
October 1, 2015
H&H Redesign Update #2
Team H & H
September 30, 2015
5 Romances to Break the Space-Time Continuum
Gwyn Cready
September 30, 2015
Spurts You’ll Never Forget in Spurtember, Part 3
September 29, 2015
Best Reads of September 2015
Team H & H
September 24, 2015
Oh, the Webs We Weave…Characters Keeping Secrets
A.E. Jones
Showing posts by: Maggie Boyd click to see Maggie Boyd's profile
Oct 1 2015 11:00am

Celebrating Love: An Officer and a Gentleman’s Heroine as Romance Type

Zachary "Zack" Mayo and Paula in An Officer and a Gentleman

There’s a post on Pinterest which shows Hermione Granger, Princess Leia, Katniss Everdeen and Bella Swan. The captions beneath the pictures read “I fought a Dark Lord. I led an army. I started a rebellion. I got married.” That last, of course, is meant to be derisive. It is an underlining of the fact that wanting to be married as a life goal is no goal at all.

How does that tie into romances? One of the many reasons that critics disdain romance novels and their readers is that the books are seen as encouraging traditional roles and gender stereo types. They are thought to reinforce that age old adage “You ain’t nothing without a man.” Of course, anyone who has ever read a romance knows that’s just not true. Most contemporary heroines have thriving careers and almost all romance heroines are confident, strong women. Love enhances their lives, not defines it.

[Romance. Romance. Romance. ...]

Sep 22 2015 4:30pm

Choosing Plain: Why Amish Romances Might Be Just What You’re Looking For

The Plain Choice by Sherry Gore

In August the auto-biography The Plain Choice by Sherry Gore came out.  It’s the story of how this self-described motorcycle riding bleach blonde turned her life completely around when she joined the Amish church. An author and businesswoman who has been featured on The Today Show Sherry tells us in her memoir:

We all make hundreds of minor choices every day, but some can change the course of a life. Some choices define who we are or set into motion events too unimaginable to foresee and too overwhelming to understand.

That is something that many characters who appear in the popular Amish Inspirational romances can understand. Quite a few of the books feature heroes and heroines who also choose to leave the Englisch world and become part of the Plain way of life to further their faith, slow down their pace and make meaningful connections with other devout believers.

Such as Morgan, a young girl with a past who finds herself dreaming of a different future when she falls for young Amish man Jacob in Choosing Amish by Samantha Price. Morgan has a criminal record and a tattoo. Jacob has a horse and buggy and a strong faith. The two meet when Morgan visits a relative living in Amish country.  But while Morgan loves Jacob, it seems like a hopeless situation. As her aunt explains:

I can tell you a plain truth: an Amish mann can’t marry an Englisch girl unless he leaves the Amish community. The Englischer will pull the Amish person away from their faith, which is why the Amish stay separate from the outside world.

[Read an Amish romance with these authors ...]

Sep 15 2015 12:30pm

It Was a Dark and Stormy...Romance: 5 Traits of the Gothic Romance Hero

Kirkland Revels by Victoria Holt

My aunt was extremely fond of Gothic romances. I can remember whiling away many an hour in her apartment reading a book with a cover that had a large, sinister looking mansion in the background as a young woman wearing what looked like a nightgown ran down the driveway. Fortunately, the covers have improved since then but my love for the genre has not changed in the least.  I especially adore the heroes – dark, broody men with dark, sinister secrets.

Below is my opinionated opinion on the five traits a Gothic hero simply must have to be swoon worthy.

1. He must be delightfully mysterious. Catherine Rockwell, the heroine of Victoria Holt's Kirkland Revels, explains:

There was a lot I could not understand about him, but that air of mystery about him enthralled me.  There were times when he talked freely about himself, but even at such times I had the impression he was holding back something, some dark secret perhaps, or something he did not entirely understand himself.

[The gothic romance hero ...]

Aug 28 2015 9:30am

First Look: Nicole Michaels’s Win Me Over (September 1, 2015)

Win Me Over by Nicole Michaels

Nicole Michaels
Win Me Over
St. Martins Paperback / September 1, 2015 / $7.99 print & digital


Callie Daniels is a singular sensation. She owns and operates her own bakery, contributes to a popular lifestyle blog, and is the dance team coach at a local high school. She lives by her own design and is much too busy to consider dating. Mr. Right will have to fit into her life when the time is right...


Football coach Bennett Clark always plays by the rules. He knows that his new colleague Callie is off limits but she's so beautiful-and irritating!-that Bennett can't get her off his mind. She wants him to participate in a charity dance contest, and won't take no for an answer. Soon, what begins as a festive athletic endeavor turns into a heated flirtation on and off the dance floor. Could it be that the free-spirited Callie has finally found a way through Coach Clark's line of defense?

Nicole Michaels’s Win Me Over won my love with the first lines:

Some people had skeletons in their closet; Callie Daniels had tiaras. Literally. Big, tacky blinged-out tiaras. The kind that graced over-teased heads of little pageant girls, took an entire package of bobby pins to hold secure, and were so tall it was amazing they didn’t tip children ass over teakettle. Something she knew from experience because once upon a time she’d been one of those little girls, and if beauty pageant life had taught Callie anything, it was how to put a fake smile on your face. A skill that came in handy when your mother unexpectedly walked through the front door.

This gives us a partial introduction to Callie, a fun quirky young woman who also happens to be incredibly strong and independent. She runs her own bakery, coaches the high school dance team and contributes to a local life style blog. She’s busy and loves it. Her life gives her the kind of satisfaction that:

Almost made her want to spin around her ovens and sing like an animated movie princess. She was only missing the talking wildlife – and the Prince Charming. But that was no matter; she had no use or time for a man.

[Charm your way into my heart...]

Aug 17 2015 9:30am

First Look: Sandra Brown’s Friction (August 18, 2015)

Friction by Sandra Brown

Sandra Brown
Grand Central Publishing / August 18, 2015 / $26.00 print, $12.99 digital

Crawford Hunt wants his daughter back. Following the death of his wife four years ago, Crawford, a Texas Ranger, fell into a downward spiral that left him relegated to deskwork and with his five-year-old daughter Georgia in the custody of her grandparents. But Crawford has cleaned up his act, met all the court imposed requirements, and now the fate of his family lies with Judge Holly Spencer.

Holly, ambitious and confident, temporarily occupies the bench of her recently deceased mentor. With an election upcoming, she must prove herself worthy of making her judgeship permanent. Every decision is high-stakes. Despite Crawford's obvious love for his child and his commitment to being an ideal parent, Holly is wary of his checkered past. Her opinion of him is radically changed when a masked gunman barges into the courtroom during the custody hearing. Crawford reacts instinctually, saving Holly from a bullet.

But his heroism soon takes on the taint of recklessness. The cloud over him grows even darker after he uncovers a horrifying truth about the courtroom gunman and realizes that the unknown person behind the shooting remains at large . . .and a threat.

Catching the real culprit becomes a personal fight for Crawford. But pursuing the killer in his customary diehard fashion will jeopardize his chances of gaining custody of his daughter, and further compromise Judge Holly Spencer, who needs protection not only from an assassin, but from Crawford himself and the forbidden attraction between them.

FRICTION will keep you on the edge of your seat with breathtaking plot twists and the unforgettable characters that make Sandra Brown one of the world's best-loved authors. It is an extraordinary novel about the powerful ties that bind us to the ones we love and the secrets we keep to protect them.

One good turn leads to love in Sandra Brown’s latest novel Friction.  Once more proving herself the grand mistress of romantic suspense Brown expertly combines amore, mystery and action to deliver a book that keeps the reader enthralled till the very end.  

It’s an average day for Judge Holly Spencer. As a family court judge she robes up every day to fight:

A personal crusade for fairness. Neither party should be disenfranchised by lawyer’s tricks.

[But her next case is not as simple...]

Jul 31 2015 9:30am

First Look: Lauren Willig’s The Lure of the Moonflower (August 4, 2015)

The Lure of the Moonflower by Lauren Willig

Lauren Willig
The Lure of the Moonflower (Pink Carnation #12)
NAL / August 4, 2015 / $16.00 print, $7.99 digital

In the final Pink Carnation novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla, Napoleon has occupied Lisbon, and Jane Wooliston, aka the Pink Carnation, teams up with a rogue agent to protect the escaped Queen of Portugal.

Portugal, December 1807. Jack Reid, the British agent known as the Moonflower (formerly the French agent known as the Moonflower), has been stationed in Portugal and is awaiting his new contact. He does not expect to be paired with a woman—especially not the legendary Pink Carnation.

All of Portugal believes that the royal family departed for Brazil just before the French troops marched into Lisbon. Only the English government knows that mad seventy-three-year-old Queen Maria was spirited away by a group of loyalists determined to rally a resistance. But as the French garrison scours the countryside, it’s only a matter of time before she’s found and taken.

It’s up to Jane to find her first and ensure her safety. But she has no knowledge of Portugal or the language. Though she is loath to admit it, she needs the Moonflower. Operating alone has taught her to respect her own limitations. But she knows better than to show weakness around the Moonflower—an agent with a reputation for brilliance, a tendency toward insubordination, and a history of going rogue.

Lauren Willig concludes her highly popular Pink Carnation Series with Lure of the Moonflower, the love story of Jane Woolistan and Jack Reid. Or as they are better known to the public, the Pink Carnation and the Moonflower.

[A charming love story...]

Jul 21 2015 9:30am

First Look: Farrah Rochon’s Stay with Me Forever (July 21, 2015)

Stay with Me Forever by Farrah Rochon

Farrah Rochon
Stay with Me Forever (Bayou Dreams)
Harlequin Kimani Romance / July 21, 2015 / $6.50 print, $4.99 digital

When passion is the perfect storm

Successful career woman Paxton Jones has come a long way from her dirt-poor roots—and the girl with an unrequited crush on high school football star Sawyer Robertson. Gauthier's privileged golden boy was way out of her league…until one passion-filled night. But when a project close to her heart reunites them, Paxton has to rein in her still-smoldering feelings for the devastatingly handsome civil engineer.

Three years ago, Sawyer shared the most incredible night of his life with the woman he'd long admired. Afterward, Paxton left town without even saying goodbye. Now, thrown together on a mission to protect their vulnerable Louisiana community, they clash on everything—except their reigniting desire for each other. As disaster threatens and Sawyer and Paxton put aside their differences for a greater cause, will they find a love that can heal all wounds?

The past informs the present in Farrah Rochon’s Stay with Me Forever. Paxton Jones and Sawyer Robertson had gone to high school together. Back then each had a secret crush on the other, but neither ever acted on their feelings. Until many years later. That one time, that one night. But morning saw Paxton out the door and pursuing a successful career in project management. Now circumstance has thrown them back together, working on a flood protection project in their hometown of Gauthier. It’s a job that is dear to both their hearts.

[Fall in love in your hometown...]

Jul 19 2015 10:00am

First Look: Lauri Robinson’s The Bootlegger’s Daughter (July 21, 2015)

The Bootlegger's Daughter by Lauri Robinson

Lauri Robinson
The Bootlegger’s Daughter (Daughters of the Roaring Twenties #2)
Harlequin / July 21, 2015 / $6.50 print, $4.99 digital

Of all the speakeasies, in all the world…

Mysterious city slicker Ty Bradshaw might have won her father's trust, but everyone knows Norma Rose is the true boss of Nightingale's resort. And it'll take more than that charming smile to shake the feeling that Ty is not all he seems…

He walks into hers

Ty is a federal agent on a personal mission of revenge. But he hasn't figured on falling for a bootlegger's daughter. Suddenly, flirting with headstrong Norma Rose seems far more exhilarating than chasing gangsters!

The Roaring Twenties come to delightful life in The Bootlegger’s Daughter by Lauri Robinson; a tale of what happens when two people on opposite sides of a battle come face to face with love.   

It is 1925 and America is in the grip of prohibition. Clever entrepreneurs have found ways around the laws restricting alcohol and are keeping their customers happy by wetting their whistles. Nightingales, a resort in White Bear Lake Minnesota, is one establishment where the scenery is beautiful and the drink always flows. It is an elegant place, with a quixotic but wealthy clientele. Norma Rose Nightingale, oldest daughter of the owner, remembers when it wasn’t always so.

[Back to the “good ol' days”...]

Jun 28 2015 10:30am

First Look: Shona Patel’s Flame Tree Road (June 30, 2015)

Flame Tree Road by Shona Patel

Shona Patel,
Flame Tree Road
Mira / June 30, 2015 / $14.95 print, $8.99 digital

From the acclaimed author of Teatime for the Firefly comes the story of a man with dreams of changing the world, who finds himself changed by love

1870s India. In a tiny village where society is ruled by a caste system and women are defined solely by marriage, young Biren Roy dreams of forging a new destiny. When his mother suffers the fate of widowhood—shunned by her loved ones and forced to live in solitary penance—Biren devotes his life to effecting change.

Biren's passionate spirit blossoms as wildly as the blazing flame trees of his homeland. With a law degree, he goes to work for the government to pioneer academic equality for girls. But in a place governed by age-old conventions, progress comes at a price, and soon Biren becomes a stranger among his own countrymen.

Just when his vision for the future begins to look hopeless, he meets Maya, the independent-minded daughter of a local educator, and his soul is reignited. It is in her love that Biren finally finds his home, and in her heart that he finds the hope for a new world. 1870s India. In a tiny village where society is ruled by a caste system and women are defined solely by marriage, young Biren Roy dreams of forging a new destiny. When his mother suffers the fate of widowhood—shunned by her loved ones and forced to live in solitary penance—Biren devotes his life to effecting change.

Epic romances such as Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds or Belva Plain’s Evergreen no longer enjoy the popularity they once did but Shona Patel makes a strong effort in bringing them back with her latest novel about colonial India, Flame Tree Road.  In this story which crosses countries and centuries, we meet Biren Roy and the three amazing women who change his life.

[It's a love that stretches across two continents...]

Jun 14 2015 10:30am

First Look: Melanie Dobson’s Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor (June 16, 2015)

Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor by Melanie Dobson

Melanie Dobson,
Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor
Howard Books / June 16, 2015 / $14.99 print, $10.99 digital

When Heather Toulson returns to her parents’ cottage in the English countryside, she uncovers long-hidden secrets about her family history and stumbles onto the truth about a sixty-year-old murder.

Libby, a free spirit who can’t be tamed by her parents, finds solace with her neighbor Oliver, the son of Lord Croft of Ladenbrooke Manor. Libby finds herself pregnant and alone when her father kicks her out and Oliver mysteriously drowns in a nearby river. Though theories spread across the English countryside, no one is ever held responsible for Oliver’s death.

Sixty years later, Heather Toulson, returning to her family’s cottage in the shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor, is filled with mixed emotions. She’s mourning her father’s passing but can’t let go of the anger and resentment over their strained relationship. Adding to her confusion, Heather has an uneasy reunion with her first love, all while sorting through her family’s belongings left behind in the cottage. What she uncovers will change everything she thought she knew about her family’s history.

Award-winning author Melanie Dobson seamlessly weaves the past and present together, fluidly unraveling the decades-old mystery and reveals how the characters are connected in shocking ways.

Set in a charming world of thatched cottages, lush gardens, and lovely summer evenings, this romantic and historical mystery brings to light the secrets and heartaches that have divided a family for generations.

Sometimes life really does give you a second chance. In Melanie Dobson’s Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor we watch as two women get love wrong, then right.  

[A past and present unite and it's love...]

Jun 5 2015 9:30am

Love and Outlaws: Karen Witemeyer’s A Worthy Pursuit

A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer

I love books where respect between the hero and heroine plays a key role in the relationship. That is the case in Karen Witemeyer’s A Worthy Pursuit where two characters who start on the opposite side of an issue find themselves trusting—and then loving—their opponent.

Headmistress of Sullivan's Academy for Exceptional Youths, Charlotte Atherton is the very picture of law abiding citizen, a model of proper behavior. But when her boss makes a deal to sell out the children of the school, Charlotte finds herself fleeing with three of the most vulnerable students in the dead of night. Just like that she has gone from paragon of propriety to woman on the run.

Stone Hammond is hired by one of the children’s grandfathers to find the missing kids and their kidnapper. He spends his days dealing with outlaws so he’s not too worried about having to apprehend one spinster schoolmarm on the lam. His only concern is making sure the children in her care haven’t suffered any harm. He gets more than he bargained for though when he receives a rifle blow to the head while scouting her location. He hadn’t expected to first meet the lady in question trussed up like a turkey at gunpoint! He’d rather hoped their positions would be reversed. His initial impression of her has him wondering if he truly understands the situation he’s gotten himself into:

Most people were quick to justify their questionable actions by placing the blame on another. Charlotte Atherton was tempted. He could read the conflict in the way her lips parted ever so slightly, as if the words pressing from the inside had breached the first level of defense. Until she swallowed them.

Respect for her swelled in him.

[He also couldn't resist wanting more...]

May 16 2015 2:00pm

Love, History, and Family in Deeanne Gist’s Tiffany Girl

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist

Deeanne Gist delivers a novel that is rich in both love and history in her latest book Tiffany Girl. Flossie Jayne’s story is one that highlights the difficulties that women once faced in regards to independence. When our story begins she is working as an assistant to her mother, a very successful dress maker who names the elite of New York among her clients. Flossie doesn’t really enjoy sewing and does it only so that money can be earned for her to attend the School of Applied Design. It is Flossie’s dream to be a painter and she is certain that the studying she is doing at the school will lead to her success.  Then her mother drops a bombshell.

Your father has decided to withdraw you from the School of Applied Design.

Flossie’s argument is immediate and vehement. She and her mother do all the work, why on Earth should she not have the joy of spending some of the money? Her mother’s response is simple and infuriating to Flossie.

You and I don’t have any money. It’s all his.

Flossie wants to go on strike until her father agrees to allow them to take part in the financial decision making but her mother refuses to go along. Just when Flossie is resigned to leaving art school Louis Tiffany comes to the facility looking for glass workers. While this is not Flossie’s area of expertise she and Mr. Tiffany get along so well that he offers her a position. Her parents are livid – young ladies of her class do not do menial labor for money. Flossie, determined to have the money needed for art school, leaves home and heads to Klausemeyer’s boarding house and begins her life as a New Woman.

[Flossie has to shake off the hate and follow her destiny...]

Apr 29 2015 4:30pm

Little (Old) Women: The Women of Rosamunde Pilcher Multi-Generational Stories

September by Rosamunde Pilcher

One afternoon after reading Glamour magazine a friend called to tell me about a book that was being recommended and that she felt I simply must buy. That book was September and it was my introduction to Rosamunde Pilcher. My friend was right to recommend the book—I absolutely loved it and subsequently glommed all of Pilcher’s previous works. As a writer she has the unique ability to infuse her novels with a warmth and wit you will rarely come across on the printed page. She creates absolutely memorable characters and fascinating romances and offers interesting insight into the female heart. Needless to say I was very excited when I learned that her work was being re-released and a whole new generation of readers would get a chance to read it. 

While Pilcher writes what is generally termed women’s fiction, most of her books contain at least one HEA. Her romances tend to be sweeping, heartfelt and take many, many pages to reach a conclusion. They contain all the ups and downs of a real life relationship. And they often have a helping hand.

The author loves to do multi-generational stories which show the beauty of different age groups interacting together and learning from each other. The backbone of this circle of family and friends tends to be one of Pilcher’s signature characters- the grand old lady. In the author’s novels the grand old lady serves as a matriarchal figure that dispenses wisdom and makes sure true love finds its way in the lives of the younger folk. The grand old lady is a staple of romance novels such as Phoebe from Jeffe Kennedy’s Mark of the Tala, Drucilla Fleetwood from Amanda Quick’s Dangerous, or Aunt Mari from Slightly Married by Mary Balogh. She is a strong woman and full of character. A great example of this character, captured in just a few lines is Elfrida, from Winter Solstice:

[Bring the wisdom...]

Apr 25 2015 11:30am

First Look: Mary Burton’s Be Afraid (April 28, 2015)

Be Afraid by Mary BurtonMary Burton
Be Afraid (Morgan Family #2)
Zebra, April 28, 2015, $7.99 print, $5.84 digital

The Fear Is Terrifying

When police rescue five-year-old Jenna Thompson from the dark closet where she's been held captive for days, they tell her she's a lucky girl. Compared to the rest of her family, it's true. But even with their killer dead of an overdose, Jenna is still trying to find peace twenty-five years later.

But The Truth

On leave from her forensic artist job, Jenna returns to Nashville, the city where she lost so much. Instead of closure, she finds a new horror. Detective Rick Morgan needs Jenna's expertise in identifying the skeletal remains of a young child. The case jogs hazy half-buried memories—and a nagging dread that Jenna's ordeal hasn't ended.

Is Even Worse

Now other women are dying. And as the links between these brutal killings and Jenna's past becomes clear, she knows this time, a madman will leave no survivors. . .

Mary Burton gives us another chilling, thrilling romantic suspense novel in Be Afraid, her second book detailing the lives and loves of the Morgan family. In this latest release, Detective Rick Morgan meets feisty Jenna Thompson and while the middle of a murder investigation might seem like a strange time to start a romance, for these two damaged souls, love is the perfect antidote to all the darkness they are dealing with.

[Let love—and light—in...]

Feb 2 2015 2:00pm

Find a Nice Boy: 5 Heroines Deal with the Pressure to Marry

Together Tea by Marjan KamaliThe age old question of, “So when are you getting married?” is one that most single women can relate to – with sympathy. Those who live in what Ami Bera calls “hyphenated America” are no exception to this rule. Many times, for those from more traditional cultures, the pressure to marry is even greater. Modern romance authors play this for laughs while looking at the serious subject of what happens when a modern American girl meets up with her family’s traditional values.

Mina Rezayi, the heroine of Marjan Kamali’s Together Tea, wonders just what is wrong with her mother.

Darya loved to calculate the statistics of available Persian bachelors, factoring in their attributes, family histories, education, the probability for divorce. She had her very own system of assigning numbers to certain qualities. Five for good teeth. Minus 10 for having only a bachelors and no graduate degree. Plus 20 if it could be proved that they were kind to their mothers. Plus 7 if they didn’t hold their forks like shovels.

When Mina explains that she’s not interested in marriage, her mother starts talking to the bedspread.

[Mom's gone round the bend!]

Jan 31 2015 3:00pm

First Look: Liz Tolsma’s Remember the Lilies (February 3, 2015)

Remember the Lilies by Liz TolsmaLiz Tolsma
Remember the Lilies
Thomas Nelson / February 3, 2015 / $15.99 print, $9.99 digital

Interred by the Japanese, missionary Irene Reynolds comes across a mysterious note while working at the censor’s office. She memorizes the parts she must black out and delivers it to wealthy nightclub owner Rand Sterling. Before she knows what’s happening, she’s drawn into a web of secrets and danger.

Rand Sterling wants nothing more than to reopen his nightclubs once the war ends. But slimy Frank Covey wants his hand in the till—and has news that could threaten Rand’s reputation if it became public. More importantly, beautiful and intriguing Irene Reynolds cannot discover this information if he expects to persuade her to become his wife.

When Irene is attacked by a sinister Japanese guard and their secrets are exposed, they must learn the true meaning of forgiveness—if they can stave off starvation until the American troops bring freedom.

The glamour of the 1930s Champagne Crowd collides with the 1940s realities of war to create an intriguing read in Liz Tolsma’s Remember the Lilies. Hero Rand Sterling is the backbone of the Champagne Crowd in his part of the Orient. He worked hard and saw his dream become a reality, and now owns two highly successful nightclubs in the Philippines.

[Remember when?...]

Jan 29 2015 6:15pm

Matchmakers of Unusual Kinds from Macomber, Evanovich, and More!

Daddy's Little Matchmakers by Kathleen Y'BarboMost of us have heard the song “Matchmaker” from Fiddler on the Roof: Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match/Find me a find/Catch me a catch. In this heartfelt ditty, a young woman is asking for help from a professional.

Romance novels have their fair share of matchmakers—people who aren’t necessarily professionals, but who are determined to find an HEA for a loved one at whatever the cost.  Some of these matchmakers stand out from the crowd. They aren’t just an interfering mama or a buttinsky grandma but ghosts, pets and children like to get involved in playing Cupid too. And some of them use unorthodox methods.  

Such as Ella, Hailey and Brooke Wilson from Kathleen Y’Barbo’s Daddy’s Little Matchmakers.  While child matchmakers certainly abound in romance, these three bring a unique twist. They may be in elementary school, but they know a desperate case of someone in need of romance when they see it and their dad certainly fits the bill. So they take out a classified ad:

[Spunky little things, aren't they?]

Jan 21 2015 10:30am

Love, Loss, Sisterhood, and Motherhood in Kristin Hannah’s Novels

Home Front by Kristin HannahStephen King once said, “Life turns on a dime. Sometimes towards us, but more often it spins away, flirting and flashing as it goes: so long, honey, it was good while it lasted, wasn’t it?” Kristin Hannah seems to have placed this philosophy at the heart of her novels, showing us how love and loss are often two sides of the same coin. In her intense, emotional tales she focuses on strong women facing multiple challenges and realizing that the only way through their travails is to move forward and embrace love.

Such is the case for Jolene Zarkades of Hannah’s Home Front. Jolene grew up fast and hard. The daughter of two alcoholics, she was surprised at how sad it made her when a drunk driving accident took them both from her forever. She is proud that she has been able to provide a far different life for her girls than the one she had. Her husband, Michael, an attorney is a kind, if sometimes absentee, father.

She is a pilot for the National Guard, a job she is able to share with her best friend, Tami. Tami was the sister Jolene had never had. They’d been teenagers when they met—a pair of eighteen-year-old girls who had joined the army because they didn’t know what else to do with their lives. Both had qualified for the high-school-to-flight-school helicopter-pilot training program.

[Not too shabby, ladies...]

Jan 7 2015 4:00pm

Proud to be an American—With a Hyphen: Heroes and Heroines Torn Between Two Cultures from Martin, Sorenson, and More!

Ami Bera once said, “Our nation is built upon a history of immigration, dating back to our first pioneers, the Pilgrims. For more than three centuries, we have welcomed generations of immigrants to our melting pot of hyphenated America: Italian-Americans; Irish-Americans; Jewish-Americans; Mexican-Americans; Chinese-Americans; Indian-Americans.”

Unfortunately, romance bookshelves traditionally have been woefully short of characters that fit this criterion. That is changing though and these days’ romance heroes and heroines come from many different kinds of backgrounds. 

But as those characters have discovered, life on the hyphen can be anything but easy. Many times, you feel torn between two cultures, the culture you grew up in (America) and the one that your parents or grandparents remember. Finding love can be even tougher as you battle traditional styles of courtship, such as arranged marriages, in order to find true love on your own terms. Making courtship and romance even harder is the question of whether or not you must marry within your culture to find someone who understands you or if love can truly build a bridge that overcomes cultural differences.

Heroine Lindsey Owyang from Kim Wong Keltner’s funny and thought provoking The Dim Sum of All Things would love to be off the hyphen. A large part of Lindsey’s character has been built by her learning to straddle the line that keeps her from either being fully Chinese or fully American. An even larger part of it has been defined by how she responds to how it feels to be an outsider in the place where you were born and raised just because your physical ancestry makes you different.

[More than skin deep...]

Jan 1 2015 7:00pm

First Look: Robin Kaye’s A Little On the Wild Side (January 6, 2015)

A Little on the Wild Side by Robin KayeRobin Kaye
A Little on the Wild Side
Sourcebooks Casablanca / January 6, 2015 / $7.99 print & digital

A woman who gets what she wants…

Bianca Ferrari-ex-supermodel turned successful business woman-seems to have it all: beauty, brains and a career she loves. And she did it all by herself...through sheer force of will and ruthless determination. So when her life is suddenly turned upside down, it's hard for her to admit that going it alone may not be an option...

A man who knows what she needs...

Sexy, rugged and down-to-earth, Trapper Kincaid has a knack for attracting all kinds of women-mostly the wrong kind. When he finds out that the exhaustingly independent and drop-dead gorgeous Bianca is in serious need of help, he knows he's the man for the job. But Bianca isn't going to make it easy...

How long does it take to fall in love? For Trapper Kincaid and Bianca Ferrari of Robin Kaye’s A Little on the Wild Side, the key number is 72 hours.

Trapper runs his relationships on a strict series of rules:

1. Never have sex with a smart woman.
2. Never have anything but casual sex.
3. Never spend more than seventy-two hours with a woman.
4. Never see the same woman twice.
5. Never talk about family.
6. Never give a woman your number
7. Never lead a woman on.
8. Never promise more than you can deliver.
9. Never discuss anything that can be misconstrued.
10. Always wear a condom.

[Some rules are made to be broken...]