<i>A Desperate Fortune</i>: Exclusive Excerpt A Desperate Fortune: Exclusive Excerpt Susanna Kearsley "Had I a husband whom I loved, that love alone would lead me to deny him, lest my actions bring him also into danger." <i>Force of Attraction</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Force of Attraction: Exclusive Excerpt D.D. Ayres "Her pulse ticked up with equal amounts of excitement and anxiety." H&H Quickies #8: Lavinia Kent Presents... H&H Quickies #8: Lavinia Kent Presents... Lavinia Kent "And then the woman was naked, the robe falling in a puddle of silk behind her..." <i>Under the Lights</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Under the Lights: Exclusive Excerpt Shannon Stacey "That fruity scent of hers was the smell of forbidden fruit."
From The Blog
March 29, 2015
Paranormal Romance Best Bets for March 2015
Jane Kriel
March 27, 2015
Best Reads of March 2015
Team H & H
March 26, 2015
Unusual Historicals Best Bets for March 2015
Wendy the Super Librarian
March 24, 2015
The Rise and Popularity of the Billionaire in Romance Novels
Katy Evans
March 23, 2015
Qualities of the Perfect Romance Hero
Nichole Severn
Showing posts by: Sahara Hoshi click to see Sahara Hoshi's profile
Feb 25 2015 2:00pm

Telling the Truth in Blood: Anne Bishop’s Others Series

Written in Red by Anne BishopWarning: This post contains SPOILERS for Anne Bishop's Others series.

Written in Red, the first book in Anne Bishop's urban fantasy series, starts off almost like many a romantic suspense novel: a mysterious character is on the run from her captors. What makes this scenario totally different, however, is where she finds refuge.

Readers are introduced to Meg Corbyn, a character who is mentally not quite a girl but not quite a woman on the run from those who have held her prisoner. There is magic in Meg’s blood—she is a cassandra sangue which translates to “blood prophet.” That means Meg gets glimpses of the future. The only problem? You have to cut Meg’s skin to do so. And there are a limited amount of times a cassandra sangue can be cut before she goes insane.

Meg ends up fleeing to the Lakeside Courtyard. There, Meg meets Others leader and shapeshifter Simon Wolfguard. To make a long story short, the two form a friendship where Meg now serves as the Liaison for the Others (vampires, shape shifters, etc.) who want human goods. Meg is basically a UPS store for the Others. As the leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, Simon is one part Meg’s boss, one part Meg’s friend, and one part Meg’s potential love interest.

[Love interest, did you say? Hmm!...]

Feb 19 2015 10:30am

First Look: Jackie Ashenden’s Living in Secret (February 24, 2015)

Jackie Ashenden
Living in Secret (Living In...)
Samhain / February 24, 2015 / $4.50 digital

Lawyers Connor and Victoria Blake had a high-powered marriage to match their meteoric careers—until a secret from Victoria’s past came back to haunt her. A year after it all fell apart, Victoria is ready for a new job, a new town.

Instead of signing the divorce papers, though, her husband has a tempting proposal—one week of no holds barred before moving on with their lives. She’s never stopped wanting him, but he’s always kept the deepest part of himself locked away.

Connor already endured one brutal betrayal in his life, and Victoria’s cut him to the core. But during a naughty game of one-upmanship with a sexy stranger, he sees a different woman, whose warmth and passion he craves like a drug.

In one week they expose dark passions that set them both free. But amidst searing desire that should fuse them together, Connor is coming to the brink of a decision to choose what’s more important. The last secret he’s holding inside, or the woman he can’t let go.

If there was an alternative title for this book it’d be “How to Fix Your Passionless Marriage with Really Hot Sex.” This is the third installment in Jackie Ashenden’s Living In … series and probably the most intriguing out of the three. The first two books explored sexuality and sensuality while dealing with some serious topics. Living In Shadow’s Luc dealt with the repercussions of being forced into service as a child soldier, while Living in Sin’s Kahu dealt with the painful past of building a life from poverty as well as prostitution.

[Secrets galore!]

Dec 18 2014 5:30pm

I Dream of Genies in Romance Novels from Showalter, Cassidy, and More!

Ever since I saw the television series I Dream of Jeannie on Nick at Night, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of someone having the ability to grant wishes. Luckily for romance readers, there are plenty of genie or djinn romances to choose from.

Heather Demetrios's Exquisite Captive is a recent Young Adult title that tells the story of Nalia, a young jinni who was owned by Malek and is offered freedom by the mysterious Raif, a leader of a revolution. Part mysticism and part young adult glamour, readers will enjoy being brought back and forth between Nalia’s former life as a captive and her current life as a free-spirited young woman deciding life on her own terms.

Before there was On Dublin Street, Samantha Young published Smokeless Fire, part of the Fire Spirits series. The book follows a young girl’s entrance into a complicated struggle between multiple factions, all the while dealing with a broken friendship and a complex love interest.

[It's like a magical boss-secretary trope...]

Dec 9 2014 10:30am

First Look: Katy Evans’s Ripped (December 9, 2014)

Ripped by Katy EvansKaty Evans
Ripped (Real)
Gallery / December 9, 2014 / $15.00 print, $7.99 digital

Pandora assumed getting her heart broken by her bad boy ex could only happen once—until Mackenna Jones comes back to town for the biggest concert of his career. They say girls are getting pregnant just thinking about the Crack Bikini tour and it's destined to be a huge hit.

Oh, it'll be a hit alright—when Pandora comes out swinging. She and her friend Melanie are determined to humiliate him onstage. But when they're caught by security and her ex is summoned, Mackenna decides not to press charges if she'll join him on tour and follow certain conditions—rules designed to give him the upper hand and keep her in close contact with him once again. Soon, the passion they once shared is reignited, and no matter how much Pandora wants to hate him, her hard exterior starts to crack.

And worse: Mackenna knows it, too. But he hasn't uncovered all her secrets... 

Before we begin, let’s just get the band name out of the way, Crack Bikini. Yes, the hero is part of a band named Crack Bikini. All good? Let’s continue. Fans of Katy Evans’s Real series will be familiar with Brooke’s prickly friend, Pandora. Pandora may seem like a woman with too much baggage and no excuse on her shoulders, but in Ripped you find out why she’s so jaded. The short answer is Kenna. Kenna and Pandora were young lovers with large plans, but things didn’t work out. Pandora didn’t give Kenna the instant “I love you,” that he needed, so he took off and got on the train to music stardom. Now Crack Bikini is in Pandora’s town and she wants revenge. Revenge leads to a reunion and the two are back arguing and at times snuggling between the sheets.

[Ripping our hearts out in the process?]

Dec 2 2014 10:30am

First Look: Monica Murphy’s Owning Violet (December 2, 2014)

Owning Violet by Monica MurphyMonica Murphy
Owning Violet (Fowler Sisters)
Bantam / December 2, 2014 / $15.00 print, $4.99 digital

I’ve moved through life doing what’s expected of me. I’m the middle daughter, the dutiful daughter. The one who braved a vicious attack and survived. The one who devoted herself to her family’s business empire. The one who met an ambitious man and fell in love. We were going to run Fleur Cosmetics together, Zachary and I.

Until he got a promotion and left me in the dust. Maybe it’s for the best, between his disloyalty and his wandering eye. But another man was waiting for me. Wanting me. He too has an overwhelming thirst for success, just like Zachary—perhaps even more so. He’s also ruthless. And mysterious. I know nothing about Ryder McKay beyond that he makes me feel things I’ve never felt before.

One stolen moment, a kiss, a touch . . . and I’m hooked. Ryder’s like a powerful drug, and I’m an addict who doesn’t want to be cured. He tells me his intentions aren’t pure, and I believe him. For once, I don’t care. I’m willing to risk everything just to be with him. Including my heart. My soul.

My everything.

Sometimes neither the hero nor heroine are very likeable at the start of a novel. That’s the case in Monica Murphy’s Owning Violet; neither Violet, who lets her current boyfriend cheat on her, nor her potential hero Ryder, who sets out to use Violet to get ahead in the company, are likeable at first. But what’s so great about Murphy's Owning Violet is how the characters change over time. I admit I thought Ryder was going to be an unredemptive jerk. Yes, he’s got a sordid past that drags him down, but there wasn’t a lot going for him when he announces his plan to sleep his way to the top. Violet comes across as a wishy-washy heroine who lets herself go along for the ride, abut s the story progresses you want to cheer for her as she exhibits more and more of the backbone that she lost along the way.

[Owning a backbone?]

Nov 25 2014 7:30pm

First Look: G.A. Aiken’s Light My Fire (November 25, 2014)

Light My Fire by G.A. AikenG.A. Aiken
Light My Fire (Dragon Kin #7)
Kensington / November 25, 2014 / $7.99 print & digital

The trouble with humans is that they're far too sensitive. Forget you put a woman in the local jail for a few months—and she takes it so personally! And yet she is the one trying to assassinate the queen. And now I'm trapped with Elina Shestakova of the Black Bear Riders of the Midnight…gods! That endless name!

But what am I to do? I am Celyn the Charming with direct orders from my queen to protect this unforgiving female.

Even more shocking, this unforgiving female is completely unimpressed by me. How is that even possible? But I know what I want and, for the moment, I want her. And I'm sure that she, like all females, will learn to adore me. How could she not when I am just so damn charming?

How do you keep a series relevant after so many books? G.A. Aiken seems to have the answer. Her Dragon Kin series has gone through the primary family members introduced in the series opener as well as touching on some cousins and other relatives. Light My Fire sort of brings the series home with the story of Celyn the Charming and Elina Shestakova. The romance between Celyn and Elina is hilarious, from the moment the pair meets to the time Celyn throws Elina in prison and leaves her there…for months.

[More like quench my fire, amirite?...]

Nov 22 2014 3:15pm

First Look: Gena Showalter’s The Darkest Touch (November 25, 2014)

The Darkest Touch by Gena ShowalterGena Showalter
The Darkest Touch (Lords of the Underworld)
Harlequin / November 25, 2014 / $7.99 print, digital

Fierce immortal warrior. Host to the demon of Disease. Torin's every touch causes sickness and death—and a worldwide plague. Carnal pleasure is utterly forbidden, and though he has always overcome temptation with an iron will, his control is about to shatter.

She is Keeleycael. The Red Queen. When the powerful beauty with shocking vulnerabilities escapes from a centuries-long imprisonment, the desire that simmers between her and Torin is scorching. His touch could mean her end, but resisting her is the hardest battle he's ever fought—and the only battle he fears he can't win.

Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series has reached national as well as international fame, spawning a spin-off and a manga series. What’s so compelling about each book in the series is not only watching the heroine and hero come together, but it’s watching the hero’s internal struggle. Each of the Lords is unique as he or she is possessed by a demon. In The Darkest Touch, fan-favorite Torin, keeper of Disease, finally gets his chance at a happily-ever-after.

Torin’s demon is unique; Disease has rules that comes with it such as no-hand-to-hand, skin-to-skin contact, or otherwise a plague spreads. In addition, the disease that manifests itself is unique each time. If Torin touches an immortal who might weaken but survive the disease, he or she still becomes a carrier for whatever strain Disease decides to produce at that point. Enter Keelycael, the Red Queen, the last of an enigmatic species called Curators and powerful enough to take Torin as well as Disease on.

[Look who's finally met his match...]

Nov 11 2014 5:30pm

What to Expect When You’re Expecting...Gena Showalter’s The Darkest Touch

Gena Showalter's The Darkest Touch, Torin's story, is one of the most anticipated books in her Lords of the Underworld series. Why? Because he shouldn’t be able to touch any body without spreading death and disease. And it was revealed in earlier installments that he was pretty much a virgin. We’ve seen him on and off in the series with the female Lord, Cameo. Initially, the two were supposed to end up together, but Showalter nixed that idea. Here’s a list of what we can expect in the exciting installment of Showalter’s LOTU universe:

1.     Tortured heroes and more tortured heroes—The Lords of the Underworld universe is based on the idea that these super-soldiers opened Pandora’s box and now must suffer the consequences of their actions by having the demons inhabit their bodies. With most of the Lords now experiencing an HEA, there will be a lot of focus probably on the remaining two who are unpaired: Torin and Cameo. Don’t expect things to come easy for Torin, even if he meets his heroine. The angst and suffering yet later redemption the heroes find in their heroines/partners are a trademark of this series.

2.     Sassy, yet vunerable, heroines—Readers of the series have seen surprise appearances by Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark heroines, and Showalter writes her heroines in the same vein. The women are sarcastic and unpredictable, yet all of them have vulnerabilities that make them somewhat relatable no matter what awesome powers they might possess.

[Would you said phenomenal cosmic powers?]

Nov 3 2014 9:30am

First Look: Charlotte Stein’s Intrusion (November 4, 2014)

Intrusion by Charlotte SteinCharlotte Stein
Intrusion (Under the Skin)
Avon Red Impulse / November 4, 2014 / $2.99 digital

I believed I would never be able to trust any man again. That kindness was only for fools and would lead me down that same terrible path into darkness. I thought so with every fiber of my being—and then I met Noah Gideon Grant.

Everyone says he’s dangerous. He never comes out of his house—a place that looks like it could be featured in Serial Killers Monthly. But the thing is … I think something happened to him too. I know the chemistry between us isn’t just in my head. I know he feels it, but he’s holding back. The pleasure he gives me is unreal—if only I could give something in return. If only he would let me in. I think I can make him feel something good. And for the first time in forever, I want to.

He’s made a labyrinth of himself. Now all I need to do is dare to find my way through.

If there is one thing Charlotte Stein is a master of, it’s the slow burn in romance, specifically building up sexual tension until you and her protagonists cannot take any more. Stein’s latest, Intrusion, is no exception. Her latest hero is definitely quixotic; the first time the heroine meets him, he's walking around at night. He’s unusually perceptive, his hair is a mess, and he’s not quite there all the time. Yet something draws the heroine to Noah, despite the fact that she initially thinks he’s a dognapper. 

[Sounds ruff!...]

Oct 28 2014 4:30pm

Raising Them Right: The Best Parents in Romance Novels from Quinn, Dane, Kleypas, Banks, and Moning!

The Bridgertons Happily Ever After by Julia QuinnParents/guardians play important roles in everyone’s lives and especially those of fictional characters. Though with the rise of New Adult, parental involvement in romance novels seems to be going the way of Disney films, with little to no parental involvement at all. Based on some crowdsourcing via Twitter and HeroesandHeartbreakers.com, here’s the parents who readers said are the best and why:

Violet Bridgerton from Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series:

This was one of the overwhelming favorites from readers. Violet Bridgerton is apparently a saint. After all, she has eight kids to look after and their assorted cousins, in-laws and a corgi (corgi!), too. Some have requested she get her own HEA and after doing a little research, Violet gets a story in “Violet in Bloom” part of Quinn’s The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After explaining how she met the love of her life, Edmund.

Edward and Polly Chase from Lauren Dane’s Chase brothers series:

Another overwhelming response came for this pair. The four Chase brothers certainly seem like a handful: one’s a sheriff, one falls in love with a down-on-her luck woman and two have to convince their respective heroines that they love them. Tie this is in with the standard hot sex and a little suspense for which Dane is known and you’re off to the races. Raising four boys plus guiding them in the trials and tribulations of love isn’t easy, but Polly and Edward provide a stable home and great guidance making this parenting pair a reader favorite.

[Great parents=Great Kids...]

Oct 20 2014 5:15pm

Could You Love a Hedgehog?: Unusual Shifters in Young Adult and Adult Romance from Aiken, Singh, Kenyon, and More!

When we think of shifters in paranormal romance we typically think of bears, wolves, etc. However, the world of shapeshifting opens up a lot of possibilities for the reader and for author’s imaginations.

For example, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’s Hawksong introduces Danica, an avian shapeshifter and her nemesis/love interest, Zane, a cobra shapeshifter. Hawksong is a young adult paranormal with a Romeo and Juliet set-up. Atwater-Rhodes doesn’t stop there; her follow-up books in the series include wyverns, wolves and falcons.

Avian shifters aren’t unusual to young adult or adult romance. Nalini Singh has included them in her Psy-Changeling series, and one of my favorite side characters of hers is Tijan, the Rat. Nevertheless, avian shifters are unusual enough that they’re worth talking about, and even more unusual is an avian shifter gay romance, such as Kim Dare’s Avian Shifter series. The avian shifters have a clear class system, as demonstrated in Duck!, Magpie and others. Usually the weaker bird of the two is the sub (these books include BDSM, also) and the stronger bird like a hawk or predator bird is the dominant. 

[Color us intrigued...]

Oct 16 2014 1:00pm

Drawn Together: The 5 Anime Series You Must Watch This Fall

Ouran Highschool Host ClubFall is upon us making it the perfect time for pumpkin spice everything and binge watching TV shows. If you are a romance or anime fan and need something to watch, consider the following:

Ouran High School Host Club

This is the ultimate reverse harem story. “Reverse harem” refers to a pairing of a female lead with a bevy of male heroes as opposed to the regular harem anime, a guy surrounded by a ton of girls. The plot is pretty ridiculous. Haruhi, our protagonist, is a working class student at an upper class school. One day she stumbles into Music Room 3, home to an after school club run by rich kids, The Ouran High School Host Club. A host club is a place where men or women pay for the company of extremely attractive individuals. In this case, the affluent men of Ouran High have gotten together in an extremely ridiculous hobby much to the frustration of our heroine.

Why should you watch it? It has every trope that makes anime, especially shoujo anime, including cross-dressing, twins, glasses-fetishes, non-glasses fetishes, and the ultimate fangirl character. Plus, seeing Haruhi navigate the ridculousness of her rich peers while falling in love is plain fun.

[Ah, l'amore...]

Oct 15 2014 9:30am

Under the Radar: Paranormal Romance Series to Love

Feral Sins by Suzanne WrightOctober is the season and the perfect reason to pick up a new paranormal romance. The shelves are lines with recognizable names: Aiken, Laurenston, Ione, Kenyon, Singh, Showalter, and Cole, but there are some other paranormal romances that would appreciate some reader love.

The Phoenix Pack Series by Suzanne Wright

Fans of G.A. Aiken and Shelly Laurenston’s humor will enjoy the adventures of Trey, Taryn and the rest of the pack. The first book, Feral Sins, features one power-hungry alpha, a latent female shifter with attitude and a marriage of convenience. The prose is snarky and on-point which sets up the future books between pack members. Furthermore, readers will enjoy how Wright explores the complexities of what it means to be “alpha” or “submissive” within a pack.

Midnight Liaisons Series by Jessica Sims

The alter-ego of Jessica Clare or Jill Myles, Sims’ books revolve around the concept of a paranormal dating agency. What happens when a human gets thrown into the mix? The answer is found in the first book, Beauty Dates the Beast. Bathsheba and Beau (seriously those are the names) are a great couple and sparks fly when a literal cougar shifter is on the prowl for his mate.

[Can we sign up?!...]

Sep 24 2014 11:00am

First Look: Nalini Singh’s Rock Courtship (September 30, 2014)

Rock Courtship by Nalini SinghNalini Singh
Rock Courtship
TKA Distribution / September 30, 2014 / $2.99

A drummer for the hottest rock band on the planet, David has a single, powerful weakness: Thea, the band’s publicist and the woman who steals his breath away with her every move. 

Only problem is, Thea doesn’t date clients—or musicians. Emotionally scarred by a cheating ex, she’s not about to risk her heart with a man who has groupies buzzing around him like flies. Even if his sexy smile ties her up in knots. 

What she doesn’t know is that David is a one-woman man...and he’s madly in love with her. David’s determined to prove he’s worth the risk, and willing to court her, step by exquisite step. Thea’s about to discover just how long and hard this handsome drummer can play.

Is chivalry dead? Not necessarily is the answer in Nalini Singh’s novella, Rock Courtship. Featuring David Riviera, “The Gentleman of Rock,” and Thea, Molly’s sister and Schoolboy Choir’s PR maven, Singh combines her newfound rockstar contemporary success with elements of the relationship building that permates her Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter novels. I am going to flat out say that Rock Courtship had me swooning at every page. Why? The answer is David.

[Oh, tell us more!]

Sep 9 2014 11:00am

First Look: Nalini Singh’s Rock Addiction (September 9, 2014)

Rock Addiction by Nalini Singh

Nalini Singh
Rock Addiction
TKA Distribution / September 9, 2014 / $3.99

A bad boy wrapped in a sexy, muscled, grown-up package might be worth a little risk…

Molly Webster has always followed the rules. After an ugly scandal tore apart her childhood and made her the focus of the media's harsh spotlight, she vowed to live an ordinary life. No fame. No impropriety. No pain. Then she meets Zachary Fox, a tattooed bad boy rocker with a voice like whiskey and sin, and a touch that could become an addiction.

A one-night stand with the hottest rock star on the planet, that's all it was meant to be…

Fox promises scorching heat and dangerous pleasure, coaxing Molly to extend their one-night stand into a one-month fling. After that, he'll be gone forever, his life never again intersecting with her own. Sex and sin and sensual indulgence, all with an expiration date. No ties, no regrets. Too late, Molly realizes it isn't only her body that's become addicted to Fox, but her heart…

Rock Addiction is Nalini Singh’s first foray into the self-publishing sphere, but this is not her first contemporary. Her early Harlequin contemporaries addressed some of the same themes in Rock Addiction, such as implied class differences and being in the spotlight versus wanting to hide from it.. Similar to her earlier Harlequin titles, the sexual experience is on a whole different plane with the experienced rock star and the everyday woman. Fox knows what he wants and is ready for it—his pursuit of Molly is akin to what a reader might see in the Psy-Changeling series when a pair has a mating bond. Fox is most definitely the pursuer. Molly is definitely the pursued.

[The hunter gets captured by the game?]

Aug 1 2014 2:00pm

First Look: Cara McKenna’s Lay It Down (August 5, 2014)

Lay It Down by Cara McKenna

Cara McKenna
Lay It Down (The Desert Dogs)
Signet / August 5, 2014 / $7.99 print / digital

Backbreaking days, wild nights, and the hard hum of steel between your thighs...

That’s a life well lived, according to the Desert Dogs—four friends who call Fortuity, Nevada, their badlands home.

Vince Grossier is the self-crowned outlaw king around here. But when Fortuity’s slick new mayor invites a shady casino development to town, the invaders’ cutthroat takeover tactics quickly turn deadly. With police turning a suspiciously blind eye, it’s up to the locals to fight back, and Vince is on the front line. The pretty photographer hired by the developers might be the key to infiltrating the enemy. And a temptation too good to pass up.

Finally free of a controlling ex, Kim Paget’s not looking to be taken for a ride—not on the back of some tattooed roughneck’s bike and definitely not in his bed. But when she finds evidence that her bosses are rattlesnake-dangerous, Kim must entrust her safety to the man who threatens danger of a whole different kind.

Cara McKenna’s Lay It Down is different than any other prior work of hers I’ve read before, including the books under the Meg Maguire name. The plot is simple; something’s not right in the town of Fortuity and local badass, Vince Grossier, wants to know why. Grossier is also opposed to a casino development project that has started in Fortuity, and becomes entangled with Kim, a freelance photographer hired to take pictures of the surrounding area. Add in the element of a good friend’s death and Vince has enough to be suspicious of the casino development and those associated with it.

[We'd be suspicious too...]

Jul 21 2014 1:30pm

First Look: Kylie Scott’s Lead (July 29, 2014)

Lead by Kylie ScottKylie Scott
St. Martin's Press / July 29, 2014 / $14.99 print / $3.99 digital

As the lead singer of Stage Dive, Jimmy is used to getting whatever he wants, whenever he wants it, whether it's booze, drugs, or women. However, when a PR disaster serves as a wake-up call about his life and lands him in rehab, he finds himself with Lena, a new assistant to keep him out of trouble.  

Lena's not willing to take any crap from the sexy rocker and is determined to keep their relationship completely professional, despite their sizzling chemistry. But when Jimmy pushes her too far and Lena leaves, he realizes that he may just have lost the best thing that ever happened to him. 

Kylie Scott’s Stage Dive series has taken the world by storm. While the first two books were a blend of humor, romance and angst, Scott’s Lead takes a more serious tone in this friends-to-lovers story. Focusing on Stage Dive's tortured lead singer, Jimmy, who is battling alcoholism and substance abuse, Scott presents a heroine in the form of the quirky and hilarious, Lena, Jimmy’s sobriety companion.

[And soon-to-be life companion?]

Jul 19 2014 12:07pm

First Look: Mina Vaughn’s How to Reprimand Your Rock Star (July 21, 2014)

How to Reprimand Your Rock Star by Mina VaughnMina Vaughn
 How to Reprimand Your Rock Star
Pocket Star / July 21, 2014 / $4.99 digital

Thea is a star basketball player at UConn on track to be Rookie of the Year. That is, if she can stay focused on the game. Lately that hasn’t been going so well, as her knee has been bothering her. But that’s not the only thing on her mind…

Ever since rock star Keaton Lowe surprised her in the girl’s locker room, Thea can’t stop thinking about him. On top of his status and enticing ways, he seems to know everything about her. But some of his actions cross the line, and Keaton needs to be punished. Will Thea keep her head in the game, or get distracted by her other favorite pastime—reprimanding her rock star?

As the follow up to How to Discipline Your Vampire, Mina Vaughn takes a foray into the world of New Adult and adds a bit of female domination to the mix. Thea, short for Athena, is a star basketball player at the University of Connecticut; she’s also a freshman who comes across the sexy rock star, Keaton Lowe. After a sexy interlude in the locker room sparks fly.

[Rock on!...]

Jul 4 2014 10:00am

Beyond Borders: Loving Outside Your Country in Romance Novels!

Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha YoungOne of the first times I encountered a romance where people from different countries meet and fall in love was Sharon Creech’s Bloomability: Girl goes to awesome international boarding school, meets boy and comes of age. It makes sense that romance authors would like to take people from two entirely different cultures and throw them together. For example, the Dublin Street series by Samantha Young features two romances where an American citizen falls for a Scotsman: the first book in the series, On Dublin Street, and the third book, Before Jamaica Lane. On Dublin Street's Joss is a heroine with a tragic past and Braden is the perfect alpha male counterpart. Meanwhile, Nate and Olivia in Before Jamaica Lane present a great friends-to-lovers story all set amidst Scotland’s capital.

If you’re a fan of Irishmen you need to pick up Edie Harris’s Stripped, a great little novel about a make-up artist heroine (love the diversity in her job) and a new European heartthrob, Declan. Fiona is a reluctant heroine, so Declan finds the process of taking down her walls that much sweeter. Together, the pair sizzle while Fiona tries (and mostly fails) to keep things professional with Declan.

[Don't worry, we won't call HR...]

Jun 27 2014 9:30am

First Look: Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Oblivion (July 1, 2014)

Beautiful Oblivion by Jamie McGuireJamie McGuire
Beautiful Oblivion
Atria / July 1, 2014 / $16.00 print, $7.99 digital

Fiercely independent Camille “Cami” Camlin gladly moved on from her childhood before it was over. She has held down a job since before she could drive, and moved into her own apartment after her freshman year of college. Now tending bar at The Red Door, Cami doesn’t have time for much else besides work and classes, until a trip to see her boyfriend is cancelled, leaving her with a first weekend off in almost a year.

Trenton Maddox was the king of Eastern State University, dating co-eds before he even graduated high school. His friends wanted to be him, and women wanted to tame him, but after a tragic accident turned his world upside down, Trenton leaves campus to come to grips with the crushing guilt.

Eighteen months later, Trenton is living at home with his widower father, and works full-time at a local tattoo parlor to help with the bills. Just when he thinks his life is returning to normal, he notices Cami sitting alone at a table at The Red.

As the baby sister of four rowdy brothers, Cami believes she’ll have no problem keeping her new friendship with Trenton Maddox strictly platonic. But when a Maddox boy falls in love, he loves forever—even if she is the only reason their already broken family could fall apart.

When I first received a Kindle a couple of Christmases ago, I devoured and still devour independently written stories. That was my first experience with Jamie McGuire’s previous work Beautiful Disaster. I liked Abby and Travis so much that I picked up the sequel, Walking Disaster, and now we come full circle with Beautiful Oblivion. There is something cracktastic about the world she has created and the characters who inhabit it, and Beautiful Oblivion's Cami and Trent are no exception.

[What makes them so...beautiful?]