<i>Knight Protector</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Knight Protector: Exclusive Excerpt Rue Allyn "Desire raced in his heart, and his head swam." <i>Out of Nowhere</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Out of Nowhere: Exclusive Excerpt Roan Parrish "We kiss so slow it’s like melting together." <i>Follow Me Into Darkness</i>: Excerpt Follow Me Into Darkness: Excerpt Santino Hassell, Roan Parrish, J.R. Gray, J.C. Lillis and Kris Ripper <i>To Catch a Rake</i>: Exclusive Excerpt To Catch a Rake: Exclusive Excerpt Sally Orr “If not a touch, perhaps a pleasing stroke in just the right place?”
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Showing posts by: Sahara Hoshi click to see Sahara Hoshi's profile
Jan 5 2016 11:00am

Don’t Stop the Music: Romance DJs That Will Make You Want to Evacuate the Dance Floor (and Head for the Bedroom)

Spin My Love by Chantal Fernando

Rock star romances and romances with brooding musicians are definitely a thing, but what about a goold ole’ disc jockey who lays down some sweet beats. Below is a list of romances featuring djs and why you’ll want to check them out.

Spin My Love by Chantal Fernando

A novel from the author behind the popular Wind Dragons MC series, Spin My Love is the story of Tane and Giselle. Tane, the hero is a popular DJ who left his past behind and never looked back until his childhood friend, Giselle re-enters his life. It’s kind of hard to be a fan of Tane in the beginning especially since he literally leaves Giselle’s bed cold and empty. However, what’s great is that Fernando writes broody, sometimes remorseful heroes and heroines who have their guard up but leave just enough room for love to re-enter the equation. If you like the friends to lovers trope or are a fan of childhood affections blossoming into adult romance, this is for you.

The Fifteenth Minute by Sarina Bowen

Another romance featuring a male dj literally known as DJ, Daniel Trevi and Lianne Challice offer another great friends to lovers romance. Bowen writes the attraction as a very natural progression. DJ’s stage isn’t a club or bar but rather the arena where his brother plays hockey. Lianne, an actress known for her role in a popular series of movies based on a beloved children’s series is instantly smitten with DJ. The only thing standing in their way is trouble from DJ’s past which I won’t spoil but suffice to say it will hit home for many people who have gone through the “typical” American college experience. Readers who like a hero and heroine who hit it off immediately or appreciate a campus setting will want to pick up the romance between the somewhat brooding DJ and hilarious and witty Lianne.

[He's my favorite DJ? ...]

Dec 16 2015 4:30pm

H&H Bloggers Recommend: Best Reads of 2015, Part 1

The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan

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 1 (of four parts) of our bloggers best reads of 2015—and don't forget to stay tuned for Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4:

Sahara Hoshi:

The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan - Callihan takes one of my favorite tropes, a hero who is willing to court his heroine and go the distance with her in a realistic and very sweet relationship, plus they love trip-hop music which is always a plus.

Never Loved by Charlotte Stein - I love Never Loved, I think I love it because it's a novel that gets why I love New Adult so much, the heroine literally transforms herself into someone new which I think is the point of college.

Rock Redemption by Nalini Singh - There is something so powerful between Noah and Kit that goes beyond romance and into what makes a great relationship, a strong solid foundation. The lengths both characters go through to be with each other are astounding and worth your time as well as attention as a reader.

[The Best Reads of 2015 ...]

Dec 10 2015 9:30am

“Chic” Lit with a Twist: How Clodagh Murphy’s Fiction Subverts Popular Romance Tropes

Frisky Business by Clodagh Murphy

Fall is a great time for pumpkin spice lattes, chunky scarves and books. There’s nothing better than a sunshine-filled morning spent napping and then later devouring the latest read. That’s where I’ve found myself the past few weeks after going through the works of Clodagh Murphy. Recently, I’ve been on a fix of women’s fiction that has included authors like Lucy Sykes and Mhairi McFarlane. After looking for something similar, I came across Murphy’s Frisky Business. Set in Ireland, Frisky Business is the story of Romy Fitzgerald and the search for a one-night-stand who turned out to be the father of her baby, Luke. What’s great about Frisky Business is that it’s fun but it’s not all froth.

While Romy searches for the Darth Vader (seriously the guy was dressed like Darth Vader at a costume party) who spawned her aptly named progeny, she also has to deal with being a first-time mother as well as the landlady to some pretty eccentric tenants. Ranging from jokes about Star Wars to entry-level BDSM classes, there’s a lot to laugh about in this book, but there are other characters besides Romy who make things interesting. Kit, for example, Romy’s ex-boyfriend and high-school best friend sweeps back into town and must decide if the life he established away from his childhood home is the kind of life he wants to keep on leading. In addition, there are a number of great relationships between the women in the world Murphy’s built from Romy’s mom to Romy’s best friend and wannabe amateur detective, Leslie. Murphy has taken a trope often seen in many romances and pieces of fiction, “Who’s the father” and subverted it by placing it in an almost comedic light through Romy’s adventures in finding her Darth Vader.

[Don't wait pick up some Chic-lit ...]

Dec 8 2015 9:30am

First Look: Romina Russell’s Wandering Star (December 8, 2015)

Wandering Star by Romina Russell

Romina Russell
Wandering Star (Zodiac #2)
Razorbill / December 8, 2015 / $18.99 print, $10.99 digital

Orphaned, disgraced, and stripped of her title, Rho is ready to live life quietly, as an aid worker in the Cancrian refugee camp on House Capricorn. 

But news has spread that the Marad—an unbalanced terrorist group determined to overturn harmony in the Galaxy—could strike any House at any moment.

Then, unwelcome nightmare that he is, Ochus appears to Rho, bearing a cryptic message that leaves her with no choice but to fight.     

Now Rho must embark on a high-stakes journey through an all-new set of Houses, where she discovers that there's much more to her Galaxy—and to herself—than she could have ever imagined.

In her debut novel, Zodiac, Romina Russell established a world based around astrology where the 12 Greek astrology signs are actually planets where individuals live. After the events of Zodiac, Rho, the main heroine finds herself displaced as she lost both her position and power as the Holy Mother of the planet Cancer. The beginning of Wandering Star, finds Rho licking her wounds and trying to establish a Cancerian settlement on Capricorn. What’s fascinating about Russell’s world is that each sect or established astrological House has it’s own principal values and societal quirks, a set up that is familiar in a way to Veronica Roth’s Divergent world.

[Can you guess which Zodiac signs are making a comeback? ...]

Dec 7 2015 4:30pm

At a Crossroads: The Intersection of Faith and Romance

Craving Flight by Tamsen Parker

Religion and romance don’t often seem to go hand in hand unless the title is labeled as inspirational or marketed in such a way that either the romance or religion is emphasized more so the book fits into one of the two categories. Recently reading Tamsen Parker’s Craving Flight, I got to thinking about the disparity between romance and religion especially those romances not containing Christian religious element and wondered, is there room for religion in romance? The obvious answer, as evidenced by Parker’s novella, would be yes. Tzipporah is a member of the Orthodox Jewish community and has married Elan Klein. What is amazing about this novella is the religious and faith-based elements of the Orthodox Jewish community are there, while still presenting a novel that is equally strong in its erotic elements—namely the BDSM relationship between Tzipporah and her husband. Both elements, the faith community and the kink, stand on their own while working together to create a portrait of a husband and wife who are united in faith as well as in sexual preference.

Another series that directly intertwines religion and sexuality is Robin D. Owens’ Heartmate series, specifically the release, Heart Fire. In Owens’ Celta, the two religions represented are a major faction that worships a male Lord and female Lady, while there is a minor subset known as Cross Folk a.k.a. Intersection of Hope faith, who seem to present their faith as an embodiment of four different stages of life that intersect into one whole.

[Where faith and romance collide ...]

Dec 4 2015 2:30pm

Staying on Top: Preacher by Dahlia West

Preacher by Dahlia West

I was first introduced to Dahlia West’s writing in her Burnout series, specifically the highly-acclaimed title, Shooter. In Preacher, West returns to Rapid City after giving the reader time with her other series, Stark Ink. Jack “Preacher” Prior is a man who is not on a mission, but is happy to rule over his respective roost as the leader of a motorcycle club. The only problem is that the rest of Badlands Buzzards MC don’t want their current president around for long. It’s interesting to have an MC-based story where the character is literally kicked out and left for dead by the MC. What’s even more interesting is where Preacher ends up, at Thunder Ridge, a small ranch run by Erin, an equine rehabilitation specialist.

I liked that Preacher wasn’t a standard wounded man meets struggling woman and things fall into place nicely. In fact, Jack pretty much holds Erin at gunpoint the first time they meet so the way West turns things around is interesting to say the least. What the reader of Preacher has to have is some suspension of disbelief. There is a high body count in this book and it keeps getting higher as the pages go along. However, the suspense and the question of whether or not Jack will return to Rapid City to enact his revenge is compelling. In addition, Burnout fans will appreciate seeing Chris “Shooter” Sullivan and Sarah “Slick” Sullivan return to the spotlight for a little screen time. To be clear, this is a book that stems from the workings of an MC (motorcycle club) but in no way does it positively reflect the workings and dealings of a motorcycle club based on a sense of brotherhood and riding free, like you’d find in Kristen Ashley’s Chaos series. Instead, the Buzzards are very much a criminal organization trying to stay on top in Rapid City.

[It's gritty, sexy, and filled with suspense ...]

Dec 2 2015 4:30pm

Calling the Shots: Belle Aurora’s Lev

Lev by Belle Aurora

Editor's Note: Earlier this month, Sahara named Lev by Belle Aurora as one of the books in her Indie Spotlight. Today she takes a deeper dive into this intense read!

I am not going to lie, this is an over-the-top cracktackular novel in the best way possible. Fans of Kristen Ashley will enjoy the strong, silent and somewhat brooding hero in Belle Aurora’s Lev. Lev is told in the mostly first-person point-of-view by Mina, a young woman who is down on her luck and is literally dying of starvation at the beginning of the novel. As fate and her ill-timed pick-pocketing skills would have it, Mina gets caught red-handed by Lev, the novel’s titular hero, and instead of being sent to the cops, is given a place to stay and a job all under Lev’s supervision. Yeah, what we have here is a classic hero taking care of a down-on-her-luck heroine, which I am always a sucker for. Add in the fact that Mina is an extremely likeable heroine (at least to everyone else in the book) and you’ve got the makings of a fun, over-the-top romance novel.

Lev is an interesting hero. He is portrayed as being distant emotionally due to abuse in his past and it seems that when his trigger is flipped, he can’t control the rage inside him. Somehow, the same emotionally distant hero managed to have an adorable little girl with a woman who is portrayed as a vindictive bitch, something that was sort of off-putting as a reader. However, if the girl’s mother was pure evil, at least her aunt, Mina, Lev’s sister and the rest of the female cast make up for it in leaps and bounds. As a heroine, Mina definitely has some bizarre luck on her side. First, she winds up getting a job after stealing from someone, then that same family has a direct connection with Mina’s biological father and finally, Mina manages to bridge gaps as well as mend fences with everyone including Lev’s jerkface brother. The reader will have to suspend his or her disbelief an awful lot just because the coincidences are a little too perfect to be true. However between Mina’s bubbly personality and Lev’s awkward attempts at affection, it’s hard not to become engrossed in the book.

[Pick up some books from indie writers ...]

Nov 25 2015 4:30pm

Gifts for Book Lovers: Find the Perfect Gift Based on Favorite Reads

Hearts of Blue by L.H. Cosway

Unsure what to get your spouse or significant other? Do they read romance novels? If so, check the title and genre or use our handy gift guide to help us help you with your holiday shopping.

Name: Lock Me Up Bracelet

Inspired by: 50 Shades of Grey, Charlotte Stein’s Taken, and L.H. Cosway’s Hearts of Blue.

Why it’s a great gift: Perfect for the guy or gal who you want to make sure who’s love you have a lock on. This accessory is inspired from the covers of both the 50 Shades series as well as Cosway’s Hearts of Blue. The reference to Charlotte Stein’s Taken may be a little less obvious, but basically the hero locks up the Zooey Deschanel-like heroine who views the handcuffs as more of a connector and less of a restriction. The kink factor is pretty obvious for Shades of Grey fans, but for those who haven’t read Hearts of Blue, the heroine is a police constable and the hero is involved with things that are less than legal, also the cover literally shows the two clasping hands bound together by handcuffs so you can take it to be a literal or figurative symbol of their love.

[The perfect book gifts for loved-ones ...]

Nov 17 2015 4:30pm

Indie Spotlight: New-to-You Books from Belle Aurora, R. Lee Smith, and More!

Lev: A Shot-Callers Novel by Belle Aurora

We're celebrating independent women (and men..and publishers)! On a seasonal basis, our bloggers will be offering up a list of their favorite books coming from independent and self-publishers outlets. Tune in every three months for another look at the indie books that got our hearts racing.

Lev: A Shot-Callers Novel by Belle Aurora

Fans of Kristen Ashley will find a lot to love in Lev. The story of Mina, a 24-year-old woman who is literally taken of the streets by the novel’s hero, Lev, turns into a story about love and redemption. Lev is an interesting hero as he doesn’t appear to fall into the standard emotional spectrum, the way he processes things and his interactions with Mina are different from anything else in his life. In addition, he’s definitely a possessive, alpha care-taker type so there’s a definite fantasy fulfillment of hot alpha male taking good care of the female he will come to love. It’s a very cracktacular book, high on entertainment value but a little low on the believability scale, still a super fun read for readers looking for a great read with drama and big personalities.

Broken Heart Syndrome by Susie Tate

The first in a series of books following doctors in the United Kingdom, Susie Tate has crafted what I like to call Grey’s Anatomy meets the romance novel. There is a ton of medical knowledge in the book as Tate herself is a general practicioner, but there is also a fantastic love story surrounding major misunderstandings. The novel’s heroine, Frankie has had a crush on Thomas G. Longley since university. The only problem is Frankie is super shy and Tom takes that to mean Frankie’s an ice queen. Fast forward ten years later and Frankie’s stuck working in cardiology with Tom as her boss! Tom kind of comes off as a jerk and Frankie is a super likeable heroine who tries her hardest to make the best of what seems to be a bad situation. Broken Heart Syndrome is perfect for readers who like boss-employee or workplace romances or like romances set around a technical field. The medical knowledge shines through just as much as the main couple and expect all the swooning when the pair actually enter a relationship.

[Indie authors are one-of-a-kind ...]

Nov 13 2015 9:30am

First Look: T. Gephart’s Slide (November 16, 2015)

T. Gephart
Slide (Black Addiction #1)
T. Gephart / November 16, 2015 / $15.00 print, $3.99 digital

Touring as an opening act for a huge rock band and landing a record contract means you’ve hit the big time, right? 

Sadly, neither of those things gave Rusty Crawford, lead guitarist of the band Black Addiction, worldwide fame and fortune. Which was a shame because he had the lifestyle down to a fine art—without the clichéd stint in rehab. 

Even being back in the Bronx, paying his dues didn’t rattle the charismatic axe man, ladies loved him and men wanted to be him. Fate would just have to catch up. Seemed like fate had more than just a platinum album planned for his future. 

Alison Williams had the perfect life. Or at least she did until her world came crashing down around her, in the most epic way. 

With her future no longer a certainty she finds herself out of her comfort zone and into unchartered territory—a place where Rusty Crawford likes to spend most of his time. 

Will the charming and ridiculously hot rock god help her find her feet, or send her further down the rabbit hole? 

One thing was for sure; both of them were in for the ride of their lives. 

There are plenty of rock n’roll books out there but the ones that seem to be the strongest are coming from Australian and New Zealand authors in the vein of Kylie Scott, Nalini Singh, and T.  Gephart. Slide kicks off the beginning of a new series following, Black Addiction, the band that opened for the subjects of T. Gephart’s last series of books, the band Power Station. Readers familiar with Gephart will remember that the vocalist of Black Addiction, Angie, hooked up with Power Station’s keyboardist, Jason. Now it’s Angie’s best friend, Rusty’s turn at his happily ever after as the guitar god meets his match in the form of Alison, a girl who think she’s got things all figured out until life comes crashing down around her.

[Rock out with this book ...]

Nov 5 2015 4:30pm

Putting the Menage in Marriage from McKenna, Elgsborg, and More!

The Silk Tie by Lily Harlem

Love and marriage, go together like a male, male, female romance, ok so that’s not the lyrics to the song but it should be in the case of these books. After glomming Cara McKenna’s Crosstown Crush, I came away thinking about the dynamics that are needed to pull something like Mike and Sam’s fantasies off. First of all, Sam goes about arranging things pretty neatly and luckily finds a somewhat normal third partner in the form of Bern. I have to be completely honest, I am Team Bern all the way, but what I love about Crosstown Crush is that it addresses the logical conclusion that people can develop feelings for each other when they sleep together, something Bern, Sam and Mike all have to address. What was interesting about Crosstown Crush is that there was the need for Mike to be present in some form when Sam and Bern were having sex. This idea is echoed in Lily Harlem’s The Silk Tie.

In The Silk Tie, rather than dealing with a cuckolding fantasy, Hayley founds out her husband Gabe wants to experience male-male sex for the first time and finds out the her husband fantasizes about his new client, Brent. What’s interesting about The Silk Tie is that Brent, the third in the relationship, is the one to insist that Hayley be present during Gabe and Brent’s encounters. In addition, Gabe initially protests to Brent touching Hayley but changes his mind when he realizes it’s a bit hypocritical. Unlike Sam in Crosstown Crush, Hayley doesn’t know about her husband’s desire right away and has to discover it for herself. There seems to be less psychological turmoil in The Silk Tie as Hayley and Gabe have ten years of marriage between them as well as the fact that neither of their kinks ever pushed one towards possibly leaving the other like Mike hiding his kink did to Sam in Crosstown Crush. Instead, there’s more of a sense of, “Is this what you want? Ok, we’ll figure it out,” vibe from Hayley, Gabe and Brent.

[Every marriage can use a lil spice ...]

Oct 13 2015 3:30pm

First Look: Sarina Bowen’s The Fifteenth Minute (October 13, 2015)

The Fifteenth Minute by Sarina Bowen

Sarina Bowen
The Fifteenth Minute (Ivy Years #5)
Rennie Road Books / October 13, 2015 / $3.99 digital

Just because she's famous doesn't mean she's happy.

Freshman Lianne Challice is known to millions of fans as Princess Vindi. But sometimes a silver screen sorceress just wants to hang up her wand, tell her manager to shove it, and become a normal college student.

Too bad that’s harder than it looks.

She’s never lived a normal life. She hasn’t been to school since kindergarten. And getting close to anyone is just too risky — the last boy she kissed sold the story to a British tabloid.

But she can’t resist trying to get close to Daniel “DJ” Trevi, the hot, broody guy who spins tunes for hockey games in the arena. Something in his haunting, dark eyes makes her need to know more.

DJ's genius is for expressing the mood of the crowd with a ten second song snippet. With just a click and a fade, he can spread hope, pathos or elation among six thousand screaming fans.

Too bad his college career is about to experience the same quick fade-out as one of his songs. He can't get close to Lianne, and he can't tell her why. And the fact that she seems to like him at all? Unbelievable.

I’ve been reading The Ivy Years series since hearing the buzz early on Twitter and from other sources, starting with the impeccable The Year We Fell Down, and I am happy to say that the magic continues in book five books and puts the reader back on campus. Featuring fan-favorite Lianne Challice, who first appeared in The Shameless Hour, and Daniel, “DJ” Trevi, also featured in The Shameless Hour, Sarina Bowen asks the question of what do you do when the boy who needs to stay under the radar is attracted to a girl who has lived her life entirely in the limelight?

[Pick up a book from this new adult series ...]

Sep 30 2015 10:00am

First Look: Nalini Singh’s Rock Redemption (October 6, 2015)

Nalini Singh
Rock Redemption (Rock Kiss #3)
Nalini Singh / October 6, 2015 / $15.29 print, $4.99 digital

From New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh comes the next contemporary romance in the Rock Kiss series…

Kit Devigny could have loved rock guitarist Noah St. John. Their friendship burned with the promise of intense passion and searing tenderness…until the night Noah deliberately shattered her heart. 

Noah knows he destroyed something precious the night he chose to betray Kit, but he’d rather she hate him than learn his darkest secret. All he has left is his music. It’s his saving grace, but it doesn’t silence the voices that keep him up at night. Chasing oblivion through endless one-night-stands, he earns a few hours’ sleep and his bad boy reputation. 

When a media error sees Noah and Kit dubbed the new “it” couple, Kit discovers her chance at the role of a lifetime hinges on riding the media wave. Wanting—needing—to give Kit this, even if he can’t give her everything, Noah agrees to play the adoring boyfriend. Only the illusion is suddenly too real, too painful, too beautiful…and it may be too late for the redemption of Noah St. John.

Be with me. These are the three words that define probably the strongest and most gut-wrenching installment in Nalini Singh’s Rock Kiss series yet. Noah St. John has some demons and Katherine “Kit” Devigny knows it. In fact, Noah does something pretty horrible to Kit that all but destroys the close intimacy as friends that could have become something more. To avoid spoilers, I am just going to say Noah is in a bad way at the beginning of the book and Kit is an amazing heroine. People will remember Kit as someone who put off Molly, Fox’s heroine, in the first Rock Kiss book. However, I’m happy to say Singh clarifies and clears up the tension between the two women to the point where Molly has become Kit’s confidant.

[Rock this tension ...]

Sep 11 2015 1:00pm

Every Woman Needs an Everywoman: In Defense of the Mary Sue

The Will by Kristen Ashley

What is a Mary Sue heroine? You know her; you actually like to read about her and pretty much know she walks on water. Mary Sue heroines tend to be the extremely likable, friendly and often having multiple heroes fall in love with her (or him) hero/heroine. As readers demand more relatable, flawed heroines, I argue that there is still a need for a Mary Sue heroine for the following reasons.

Basically, a Mary Sue heroine encompasses a fantasy that if promoted sociologically and embedded into the common culture, could be dangerous in the long-run for the portrayal of women. Much like the manic pixie dream girl could be said to be a culmination of a young adult male hero’s desires, the Mary Sue heroine is a woman that readers can project themselves onto. She does things well and she does them flawlessly or when she does have flaws, they are endearing to a point where conflict resolution is achieved pretty easily.

[Mary Sue is a reader's dream girl ...]

Sep 4 2015 1:00pm

It’s All in the Ink: Tattoos and Their Symbolism in Romance Novels

Beyond Jealousy by Kit Rocha

Not going to lie. This post was inspired by me watching Ink Master on TV. Especially this season, because there are so many badass female tattoo artists, but to the point, tattoos actually have a lot of symbolism in romance novels. For example, Kit Rocha’s Beyond series clearly uses tattoos to demarcate who belongs to the O’Kane clan. First there is the basic O’Kane mark that members get upon joining the rulers of District Four, but then you have the stylized name tattoos that come with making a permanent commitment. What I like about these tattoos is that they are equal opportunity so that the male and female characters both get them. My favorite description of a group of O’Kanes receiving their tattoos comes from book four in the series, Beyond Jealousy, especially the character, Rachel’s tattoo. She is in a relationship with badasses Cruz and Ace, as a result her tattoo includes both their names as well as some delicate flowers that have some crazy vicious forms, very nice stuff.

Some romance novels use tattoos for magic. For example, Melissa Marr’s Ink Exchange features the protagonist Leslie, getting a tattoo that binds her to Irial, fairy king of the Dark Court. Basically the tattoo then allows Irial to feel Leslie’s emotions and unexpectedly he finds himself in a bond with a teenage girl, who let’s face it, all teenage girls have a wide bevy of emotions.

[Show me your tattoos...]

Aug 31 2015 10:00am

She Blinded Me with Science: Girl Geeks and Science Nerds from Crane, Sheridan, and More!

Skin Game by Ava Gray

How many heroines are too smart for their own good? Not enough I say! Looking at heroines who really know what they’re doing and how to implement their smarts into different scenarios is a tricky thing. You don’t want the heroine to seem like a know-it-all, but you also want her to be able to stand her own ground. One of my favorite nerdy heroines in a profession I would never touch with a ten-foot-pole is Ava Gray’s (Ann Agurrie’s) Mia Sauter. Part of the Skin series, Mia is a forensic accountant (I’m allergic to math) and a damn good one at that. In fact, she’s so good that she goes unnoticed except for the hero, Addison Foster a.k.a. Thomas Strong a.k.a. it’s complicated. The man of many faces that Mia encountered not too long ago is the same man discouraging her from pursuing her contract for the sake of his revenge. Is Mia going to stand for that? Not likely! I loved that Mia was not only as sharp as her leading man, but also stood her ground in terms of her ability and capability of holding it together against the main baddie. I also loved that her ability with numbers and patterns was handy in more than one instance in the book, especially her epic chess battle with the antagonist.

A newer to me author, because I live under a rock, is Carolyn Crane and her suspense novel, Behind the Mask. The romance between legendary mercenary, Hugo Martinez and co-leader of the Associates as well as botanist, Zelda, tears apart what you think you know about romantic suspense and then puts it all back together. I loved Zelda as she is not only a field agent, but her scientific specialty botany, really comes into play especially when people accuse her of messing with the local crop of flowers vital to a small South American town. The flowers are made-up by the author, but the way Zelda holds her own and conducts scientific experiments using a control  and multiple samples hits the very heart of what scientists do on a day to day basis.

[Nerdy heroines rock...]

Aug 28 2015 12:00pm

Come to the Dark Side: Dark Romances for the Reluctant Reader

Beneath the Burn by Pam Godwin

When I first got into reading romance, my focus was on the happy, splashy covers of good looking couples who seemed to be having fun. Little did I know that years later—as in high school—I would be drawn to something darker and a little more bittersweet kind of a like a milk chocolate eater trying the bitter taste of dark chocolate for the first time. Even though I’m not a connoisseur of dark romance, I think I have a few titles if you want to dip your toes in to the reading deep end.

I love Pam Godwin’s Beneath the Burn, it has everything you could want including a sexy rocker, a fearless heroine and one hell of a suspenseful plot. Basically an escapee from a monster of a man, Charlee falls back into his hands but not after a fateful encounter with Jay, a source of light in the darkness surrounding Charlee’s life. What I like about Godwin’s writing in this book is that the abductor and his abduction aren’t romanticized. I have a hard time with darker romances that contain dubious consent. Charlee and Jay are a match made in a twisted heaven if only they can escape the ghosts of both their pasts.

[No HEA, but close enough...]

Aug 25 2015 8:30am

First Look: Emma Chase’s Sustained (August 25, 2015)

Sustained by Emma Chase

Emma Chase
Sustained (Legal Briefs #2)
Gallery / August 25, 2015 / $15.99 print, $7.99 digital

Emma Chase, New York Times bestselling author of the Tangled series, returns with a brand new funny, romantic, sexy story!

A knight in tarnished armor is still a knight.

When you’re a defense attorney in Washington, DC, you see firsthand how hard life can be, and that sometimes the only way to survive is to be harder. I, Jake Becker, have a reputation for being cold, callous, and intimidating—and that suits me just fine. In fact, it’s necessary when I’m breaking down a witness on the stand.

Complications don’t work for me—I’m a “need-to-know” type of man. If you’re my client, tell me the basic facts. If you’re my date, stick to what will turn you on. I’m not a therapist or Prince Charming—and I don’t pretend to be.

Then Chelsea McQuaid and her six orphaned nieces and nephews came along and complicated the ever-loving hell out of my life. Now I’m going to Mommy and Me classes, One Direction concerts, the emergency room, and arguing cases in the principal’s office.

Chelsea’s too sweet, too innocent, and too gorgeous for her own good. She tries to be tough, but she’s not. She needs someone to help her, defend her…and the kids.

And that—that, I know how to do.

A lot of people fell in love with Emma Chase’s male point-of-view novel, Tangled. That success led to a number of sequel titles and now the spin-off series, The Legal Briefs. As much as I enjoyed Overruled, the first book in the series, I was really chomping at the bit for Sustained. Sustained brings back the all-male point-of-view that readers fell in love with in Tangled. Specifically, you have the great formula of an asshole hero, Jake Becker, defense attorney, pitted against loving aunt, Chelsea McQuaid, legal guardian to six children.

[It's Jake vs. The Family...]

Aug 20 2015 12:00pm

I Saw the Sign: Romances Based Around Astrology

Zodiac by Romina Russell

Who didn’t love to look up their Zodiac (Greek or Chinese) sign as a kid and some people still follow horoscopes today, that’s why it’s not surprising that astrology and romance seem to be a pair written in the stars.

For New Adult and Young Adult readers, Romina Russell’s aptly named Zodiac series is perfect for those who like a bit of science fiction and fantasy with their romance. Following the story of Rho, a young Cancerian, readers join her on a journey to rid the star system of the nefarious 13th sign while trying to discover what makes her and the other signs unique but similar. Readers will love the love triangle in this book and the fact that Rho has to make mature decisions from a young woman’s standpoint.

Pegged as Sailor Moon meets the popular Lumberjanes, the Zodiac Starforce series is a comic to watch. Written by Kevin Panetta and Paulina Ganucheau, Zodiac Starforce s a little bit magical girl genre meets real life high school angst. Following Emma Martin and her group of strange and a little bit estranged friends, the girls must band together to fight the forces of evil and balance school life. Not so much a romance as it is a female-centric comic about friendship, I’m including it because of the me in high school who very much wanted to transform into a killer costume to fight evil.

[It's all about the signs...]

Aug 11 2015 1:00pm

5 Quotes from Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dragonbane to Make You Sigh, Gasp, and Laugh

Dragonbane by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Welcome to the Dark-Hunter series, Dragonbane! Last week, Dragonbane became the 19th book to join the Dark-Hunter family. Sherrilyn Kenyon always brings the laughs, the gasps, and “hell, yeahs,” and Dragonbane is no different. With that in mind, we asked H&H blogger Sahara Hoshi to share the quotes that made her gut flip and twist with their signature Kenyon flare...

The Dragonbane quotes that really stand out to me involve trademark Sherrilyn Kenyon features: a betrayed hero, a conflicted heroine, and some overall snark. The Dark-Hunter world expands with each new installment of the series, yet the tone that made the earliest books so popular remains consistent throughout, which is great to see.

*Note: This post contains SPOILERS for Dragonbane! Make sure you've finished the book before reading these quotes!

[And the 5 quotes are...]