H&H Reads <i>A Breath of Scandal</i> (6 of 6) H&H Reads A Breath of Scandal (6 of 6) Elizabeth Essex Are you ready to be reckless? Join us for the FINAL installment of the H&H Reads A Breath of Scandal <i>Uncensored Passion</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Uncensored Passion: Exclusive Excerpt Bobbi Cole Meyer "Kayla wrapped her arms around his strong neck and hugged him close." <i>Hell for Leather</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Hell for Leather: Exclusive Excerpt Julie Ann Walker "Lord almighty, how he wanted to touch her there, needed to touch her there." <i>The House on Blackberry Hill</i>: Excerpt The House on Blackberry Hill: Excerpt Donna Alward "He felt a shiver of anticipation that had...everything to do with the client."
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Showing posts by: Sahara Hoshi click to see Sahara Hoshi's profile
Apr 14 2014 2:00pm

Beyond Repair by Charlotte SteinCharlotte Stein
Beyond Repair
Ellora's Cave / April 16, 2014 / $5.95 digital

When Alice Evans finds a bona fide movie star on the floor of her living room, she has no idea what to do. Ordinary men are frightening enough, never mind someone as famous and frankly gorgeous as Holden Stark.

However, once she realizes that Holden is suffering behind that famous facade, she knows she has to help. He needs someone like her to give him a taste of sweetness and desire and love. He needs normality. The only problem is—Alice is hiding a secret that is far from normal. In fact, her name isn’t even Alice at all.

And once Holden finds out, the intense connection they are just beginning to build may well be torn apart.

Beyond Repair is hands down my favorite Charlotte Stein book so far. Period. We are introduced to Alice, a 20-year-old, hermit by the beach, as she encounters heartthrob Holden Stark, a.k.a. Captain Amazing. Stein has created a great timid-girl-meets-messed-up-movie-star story. The title, Beyond Repair, does not just apply to the messed-up movie star hero, but also the painfully shy heroine whose secrets we discover later on.

[Could they be a perfect match?...]

Apr 9 2014 1:00pm

Women of rock in romance are not rare like unicorn rare, but they can be hard to find. But they're out there! Let's start off with the aptly titled Rock Chick series by Kristen Ashley. While not all of them play in bands, the women in the series embrace the rock 'n’ roll life style, going to concerts, some fight crime and fall in love with hotties while staying true to themselves.

The most notable rock 'n’ roll female I’ve come across has been Regan Elliot, from Olivia Cunning's Double Time. Regan is so good at guitar that one of the heroes, Trey, mistakes her for the guitarist from his band Sinners. She’s not a singer or eye candy, she’s an honest to god guitar goddess. Oh, and she hooks up with Trey and her roommate, Ethan, so yeah, rock and roll ménage!

A woman who works in rock 'n’ roll, but is not a rocker herself is the heroine of Cunning’s Wicked Beat, Rebecca. Rebecca has an unusual job for a romance heroine—she’s a sound engineer and is working with The Sinners in her brother's stead. The Sinners’ drummer, Eric Sticks falls in love at first sight and the two begin a whirlwind romance with some angst, humor and some sexy role play.

[Nothing wrong with role play...]

Mar 25 2014 1:30pm

Kylie Scott
St. Martin's Griffin / March 25, 2014 / $14.99 print / $3.99 digital

Mal Ericson, drummer for the world famous rock band Stage Dive, needs to clean up his image fast—at least for a little while. Having a good girl on his arm should do the job just fine. Mal doesn’t plan on this temporary fix becoming permanent, but he didn’t count on finding the one right girl.

Anne Rollins never thought she’d ever meet the rock god who plastered her teenage bedroom walls—especially not under these circumstances. Anne has money problems. Big ones. But being paid to play the pretend girlfriend to a wild life-of-the-party drummer couldn’t end well. No matter how hot he is. Or could it?

The second book in the Stage Dive series from Kylie Scott features my favorite hero of the year so far, Malcolm aka Mal, the playful and flirty drummer of Stage Dive. Anne, the heroine of Play, is an acquaintance of Evelyn, the heroine of the first book in the Stage Dive series, Lick. Anne is down on her luck as far as roommates and money are concerned, so when she meets Mal she becomes caught up in a whirlwind relationship that will change her life.

[Life-changing is good, right?]

Mar 15 2014 2:00pm

Desperately Seeking Shapeshifter by Jessica SimsBears are the next werewolves and werecats. Skeptical? Hear me out: Many writers have featured bears in a number of their books. Early adopters of the werebear protagonists and prominent figures in the paranormal romance community include Sherrilyn Kenyon, whose Bad Moon Rising and No Mercy feature members of the beloved Peltier clan, which has been a fixture in the Dark Hunter universe for quiet a while, but have more recently been in books within the overall Dark Hunter canon.

Jessica Sims’s Midnight Liaisons series features a bear hero in Desperately Seeking Shapeshifter and the same hero’s jilted fiancée from an arranged marriage in Bear Naked, a Midnight Liaisons novella. The bear hero, Ramsey, and the novella heroine, Nikolina, come from a pretty conservative bear clan.

The use of the bear clan or pack or whatever as a conservative society can be found in other novels such as D’Elan McClain’s Fang Chronicles: Mandy’s Story. Mandy falls in love with a bear and the two are mates, but werewolf Mandy has to get used to the male-dominated as well as conservative bear clan.

The idea of bear clans having a strict set of codes and morals isn’t limited to romance fiction. Just look at Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass; the armored bear, Iorek Bryninson, lives in a society determined by a number of codes, including those of honor.

[Bears always command respect...]

Mar 3 2014 2:45pm

The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternCircus-themed romances are few and far between, but a few stand out as literary gems—and then there are some that would make the Ringling Brothers blush.

The first book that stands out in most people’s minds is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which is a Romeo and Juliet story with dueling magicians, Celia and Marco. You’ve got magic, history, and a rich backstory, all of which has put this book on the best-seller list.

A common theme in circus romances is the idea of the hero or heroine running away to look for a fresh new start. The nature of the circus is by and large nomadic, the performers and workers literally pick up and go on to the next destination. For many heroines (and in a few cases a hero), this presents a unique opportunity to start fresh with a group that they want to be a part of.

For fans of young adult, Kendall Ryan writing as Ryann Kerekes presents The Cirque about a good girl ballerina named Ariel and a bad boy knife thrower named Gabriel. For those of you who found the knife throwing scene in Divergent suspenseful, basically take the sexual tension between Tris and Four, add the circus to it and you’ve got The Cirque. Ariel is a good girl looking for adventure while Gabriel is running away from his problems. The Cirque is a tightly written young adult novel that presents the circus as a backdrop for angst and romance.

[Run away and join the circus...]

Feb 26 2014 10:30am

Murder of Crows by Anne BishopAnne Bishop
Murder of Crows
Penguin / March 4, 2014 / $26.95 print, $10.99 digital

After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.

The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murder of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard—Lakeside’s shape-shifting leader—wonders if their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or a future threat.

As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now, the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet—and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.

As an urban fantasy novel, the romance in Anne Bishop's Written in Red took a backseat to the fast-paced action and snippets of Courtyard life that involved Meg settling into life outside the Controller’s evil clutches. Murder of Crows sees Meg coming more into her own and trying to define the different relationships around her. As a heroine, Meg is an extremely young 24, having no prior experience with life outside of the cassandra sangue prison. With Simon’s Other nature, the Wolf and skinship are an intimate part of who he is, yet the pair put clear parameters around what can and cannot develop between a human and an Other, especially given Meg’s limited life experience.

[Good luck with that, guys...]

Feb 23 2014 11:00am

Scott Pilgrim vs. The WorldWhen the film version of the comics series Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was released in 2010, I dove into Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series, which takes place over six black and white volumes. This post isn’t a recap of the series, but rather how Scott Pilgrim is literally and figuratively the perfect new adult hero, or more particularly, heroine (not in terms of age, but trope).

When we first meet Scott, he’s dating the high schooler, Knives Chau. All of his friends think this is a bad idea but he goes about it anyway until he meets manic pixie dream girl Ramona Flowers. Scott’s stuck in a Peter Pan rut; he’s fine living with his friend Wallace and not making much progress in his life. It’s not until he meets Ramona and has to face down her seven evil exes that he progresses on with his life.

How does this parallel the new adult prototype,you ask? In New Adult romance, the hero (or more often the heroine), continues about the day to day until something or usually someone acts as the catalyst for change. For example, take Jamie McGuire’s hugely successful Beautiful Disaster; it’s not until Abby meets the over-the-top Travis that her life changes into a world of emotional angst. How often does the back blurb of a New Adult romance novel read, “X was just living a blase college life until Y came along” or how often does the story of a protagonist come of age while taking on some emotional or actual life journey?

[Now that you mention it...]

Feb 7 2014 12:40pm

Carnal Secrets by Suzanne WrightSuzanne Wright
Carnal Secrets
Montlake / February 11, 2014 / $12.95 print, $9.99 digital

Half-shifter Shaya Critchley may hold a submissive role in her pack, but she’s done taking orders. After her Alpha wolf mate refused to claim her—but committed to interfering in her life—she took off. Now she hides from him, posing as a human in a town full of anti-shifter extremist groups. She thinks he’ll never find her again, and that suits her just fine. But she’s wrong.

Nick Axton can barely control his feelings for Shaya, but he could never claim her—not if he truly cares for her. The degenerative brain condition he keeps secret would ultimately leave her with a burden rather than a mate. But when Shaya runs away, Nick can’t bear the thought of never seeing her again. After tracking her down, he discovers Shaya’s feisty and passionate side in the process…a side he’d never seen before.

Under the menacing gazes of territorial local packs and violent human extremists, Nick vows to finally claim the spirited Shaya…and despite her initial resistance, Shaya just might find his fiery determination to be the ultimate aphrodisiac.

The third book in Suzanne Wright’s Phoenix Pack series tells the story of Shaya running from the mate claim of brooding alpha, Nick Axton. Shayla is the best friend of the heroine from Feral Sins. In Wright’s world, wolves’ true mates can be determined by something as simple as a first look and such is the case between Nick and Shaya. Once Nick rejects the claim, however, Shaya puts herself out of sight, but not out of mind for Nick.

[Go get her back, Nick...]

Feb 3 2014 11:15am

Every Part of You: Tempts Me by Megan HartMegan Hart
Every Part of You: Tempts Me
St. Martin's Griffin / February 4, 2014 / $1.99 digital

Simone Kahan's been watching Elliott Anderson through her office window for months. He likes to bring women back to his office for late-night trysts, and Simone enjoys her voyeurism until one night, Elliott appears to go too far with his date. The other woman might not be into spanking, but Simone is, and when she meets Elliott in the elevator later that night, she makes sure he’s intrigued enough by her to ask her to go with him to the party he no longer has a date for.

Thrown together by circumstances he’d never have imagined, Elliott isn’t sure what to think about Simone. She’s nothing like the women he normally dates, but something about her draws him in until he can’t stop himself from wanting her…until their goodnight kiss becomes something harder. Harsher.  Simone responds to his rough hands as no woman ever has, and Elliott’s not ready to pursue what he’s always told himself is wrong.

Megan Hart writes ethereal erotica. Her prose is both real and completely accessible, yet seems almost a kind of fantasy when you read it. As a result, I decided to give the first part of this serial a chance despite my love for a more complete story. The setting is simple; Simone is a voyeur who works in the same building as Elliot. Simone likes it rough, Elliot likes to give it rough. After viewing a disappointing date on Elliot’s part, Simone makes herself available for a night with Elliot.

[Just one night?...]

Jan 8 2014 10:30am

Bully by Penelope DouglasMost little girls are told at some point that if a boy is picking on her, that means he likes her. But what happens when bullying goes from juvenile to adolescence to adulthood? A few new releases are tackling the topic.

Penelope Douglas's New Adult book, Bully, tells the story of Tate, a young woman who has been tormented by her former friend, Jared (Douglas has donated part of the profits from the book to PACER.org, an anti-bullying organization). At its heart, Bully is the story of two friends whose relationship becomes tempestuous and rife with angst. Jared previously went out of his way to make Tate’s life unpleasant and her only real reprieve was when she was studying abroad in France. Since it is a romance, love blossoms and readers later find out the reasoning behind Jared’s actions. Douglas follows up with Jared and readers are even given further perspective in a follow-up book, Until You.

[Bully to love interest?...]

Jan 2 2014 1:00pm

See Jane Score by Rachel GibsonErotica is a huge part of the romance genre, so it makes sense that a romance novel's hero or heroine might themselves write a sexy, scandalous novel. Oftentimes, these heroes and heroines lead double lives—mild-manner Jane Doe by day and sexy writer at night or whenever they’re at their computer.

Speaking of Jane Doe, probably categorized more as a sports romance and less by the nature of the heroine’s profession is Rachel Gibson's See Jane Score. Jane Alcott is a writer who gets assigned to the sports beat for the Chinooks hockey team and is attracted to the sexy Luc Martineau. In addition to writing about sports, Jane moonlights as a writer of erotic fantasies which are super popular. As Honey Pie, she’s a hit, in real life she is skating on thin ice while covering the Chinooks. Will she score a hat trick in life and as a writer?

The double life of an author is also a point of contention in romance novels, but in some cases it can bring couples together. Bella Andre’s Ecstasy features Candace and Charlie, two erotica authors who are paired together at a writing conference. Charlie offers to mentor Candace and what starts as tutelage quickly burns up the pages and the sheets.

[Can you handle the heat?...]

Dec 20 2013 5:00pm

Written in Red by Anne BishopMay old friends be forgot? We don't think so! We're celebrating our favorite reads with four days of the Best of 2013. We asked our bloggers for their favorite books of 2013, with one stipulation, they had to be new to them and not necessarily new to 2013. We know we got a few recommendations to add to our to be read piles and it's a great way to feed those readers you hopefully get for Christmas!

Check back every other weekday between now and Christmas for all of the blogger recommendations! See the recommendations for Day 1Day 3, and Day 4.

Sahara Hoshi:

Anne Bishop's Written in Red
Cranky wolf shifter meets fun and adorable magically gifted heroine, what's not to love?

Nalini Singh's Heart of Obsidian
The heroine has an amazing name and the hero isn't too shabby either.

Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl
For every time you squeed or sighed over something and nobody understood you, finally there's a book for it.

[Who's next!]

Dec 18 2013 11:00am

Price of a Kiss by Linda KageHeroes and Heartbreakers has covered the topic of male escorts in romance novels before, but since then, there have been more examples of male prostitutes/male escorts as the hero. (Be warned going into this post, male prostitutes tend to have ridiculous names.)

New Adult readers will fall in love with Linda Kage’s Price of a Kiss. The friends-turned-lovers story is full of twenty-some-odd angst and drama as well as Reese, the witty heroine. Reese is smart, sassy and sticks to her guns about her best friend and the story’s gigolo, Mason. Mason does sell his body for honorable reasons, but his profession is obviously a sore point between the two would be lovers.

Fans of NA sensation Abbi Glines are treated to a hero who sells himself for sex in Just for Now. Part of the popular Sea Breeze series, Preston is a bad boy who has it bad for his friend’s sister, Amanda. The selling-himself-for-sex thing is the main point of conflict between the two protagonists in addition to the whole dating the brother’s friend trope common in romance novels.

[Pay the toll to Click to read more...]