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Showing posts by: Stacey Agdern click to see Stacey Agdern's profile
Tue
Oct 21 2014 8:30am

First Look: Jeannie Moon’s Second Chance Hero (October 21, 2014)

Second Chance Hero by Jeannie MoonJeannie Moon
Second Chance Hero
InterMix / October 21, 2014 / $3.99 digital

After her fiancé dies in her arms in Afghanistan, combat nurse Kim Torres decides to get as far away from men and the war as she can. Now a nanny to a little girl, she’s trying to date again, but her heart just isn’t in it. Not even for a man as sexy as Owen Kent…

When Major Owen Kent returns from his deployment with the Marines in Afghanistan, he discovers how much things have really changed. The billionaire CIO’s friends are settling down and having families—things a serial dater like Owen doesn’t expect to do. But he’s also not expecting his friend Harper’s new nanny to be the woman who stole his heart half a world away. Kim may want nothing to do with Owen, but he’s not about to surrender without a fight.

One of the things readers love about romance novels is watching characters go on a healing journey towards love and happiness—inside and outside, thoughts and feelings, no holds barred. Second Chance Hero by Jeannie Moon portrays a healing journey that is emotional, strong and beautiful. And it is, most importantly, the heroine’s journey.

Kim Torres is a tortured heroine in the traditional genre based sense of the term—she’s got serious emotional trauma in her past, some of it deriving from the death of her fiancé, some of it deriving from the fact that he cheated on her, the rest of it deriving from the fact that she found out about his cheating on his deathbed …in Afghanistan.

[Gah, that's a tough pill to swallow...]

Wed
May 29 2013 1:00pm

First Look: Nalini Singh’s Heart of Obsidian (June 4, 2013)

Heart of Obsidian by Nalini SinghNalini Singh
Heart of Obsidian
Berkley / June 4, 2013 / $25.95 print / $12.99 digital

A dangerous, volatile rebel, hands stained bloodred.

A woman whose very existence has been erased.

A love story so dark, it may shatter the world itself.

A deadly price that must be paid.

The day of reckoning is here.

A recently widowed woman was at a function with a couple, and their conversation turned to a mutual acquaintance. The woman began to say some particularly nasty things about the acquaintance, before she realized that there was a shocked expression on the husband’s face. “I said something bad,” she said. “I’m sorry. My husband was my filter.”

Just like this widow’s husband served as her filter, the heroine of Heart of Obsidian serves as the hero’s conscience. Clearly, being someone’s conscience in a contemporary society might bring questions of many sorts. Relationships in contemporary society aren’t meant to serve as the boundary line between good and evil. But nobody ever said that Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series took place in contemporary society. It takes place in a futuristic alternate universe where life and standards are slightly different from our own.

[Remember, always let you conscience be your guide...]

Fri
Dec 21 2012 4:00pm

The Mainstreaming of Female Geek Culture in 2012

The Garden Intrigue by Lauren WilligIt started with the release of Lauren Willig’s Garden Intrigue, an amazing book that switched back and forth between historical and contemporary—perhaps the very last place to find a Star Wars reference. But there was one.

It wasn’t something I really thought about again until June. After seeing Brad Paisley’s geektastic concert at Jones Beach, a country music show peppered with more references to science fiction movies and anime than a person could shake a stick at, I read Virginia Kantra’s Carolina Home. It was a lovely contemporary set in the Carolinas that created a firm foundation for a family series. And yet, for the second time in one month, for the third time that year, I came across an unexpected Star Wars reference. That made me think. The bottom line was that neither the Kantra nor the Willig were marketed to an audience that would be assumed to have the basis to understand Star Wars references. And yet there they remained, untouched.

It was food for thought until October. Because on a table in the middle of the Marvel booth at this years New York Comic Con, there were three different comics. One of them was a comic that was co-produced with Benefit, the cosmetics company. The content was discussed all over the universe, with strong voices on both sides of the debate. But it was there: Marketing comic books to people who up until that point, would never have been considered a target audience for comic books. And at the same time, marketing makeup to people who stereotypes insist wouldn’t be interested in it. Especially not to the degree that spending money on benefit cosmetics would require.

[Is the tide turning?...]

Wed
Nov 21 2012 3:00pm

Detectives, and Spies, and SEALs, Oh My!: The Difference Between a Romantic Thriller and a Romantic Suspense

Breaking Point by Pamela ClareOne of the ongoing debates in most romance reading circles is the specific answer to one question: What differentiates a romantic suspense from a romantic thriller? The answer is different depending on who you ask, but as far as I’m concerned, it boils down to the scope of the story. Romantic thrillers are filled with what happens as larger-than-life events take over the lives of people who mostly live their lives on or over the edge. Romantic suspense is personal, encompassing the trouble that happens in someone’s own backyard, whether it’s in their town or in their house.

Pamela Clare’s Breaking Point is a lovely example of a romantic thriller. Our heroine is a journalist who gets kidnapped by representatives of a Mexican drug cartel, one of many women this particular cartel has kidnapped for all sorts of purposes. Our hero turns out to be *spoiler* an undercover federal marshal. The goal is to free our heroine and stop the cartel. Global problems, larger scale: romantic thriller.

To read the full post on The Difference Between a Romantic Thriller and Romantic Suspense, visit our sister Crime and Mystery blog, CriminalElement.com.

Sun
Sep 30 2012 11:30am

Covering Icy Ground: Hockey Settings in Current Books

Offside by Juliana StoneWhen life gives you hockey lockouts—read books set on the rink! Two hockey-centric books releasing in October—Juliana Stone's Offside and G.B Joyce’s The Code—have on-ice feel to them.

Offside is a small-town hockey romance. Juliana Stone uses the hockey atmosphere and combines it with a slice of small town life in a story that will make any romance reader, hockey fan or no, a very happy person. It’s the story of a hometown heroine, BillieJo Barker, who comes home to the guy who she’s always been in love with. Yep. The hometown heroine, a hockey player who's been felled by injury, must now figure out what to do with her life. When she decides to play hockey in her hometown’s men's league, she comes into conflict with most of the town, including one of her sisters. Except of course the guy she’s always been in love with suddenly starts to be her own, personal, protector.

[How serendipitous...]

Thu
Sep 20 2012 12:30pm

Surviving the Hockey Lockout with Romantic Hockey Heroes

True Love and Other Disasters by Rachel GibsonA hockey lockout is awful. As every other sports fandom gets revved up, hockey fans are in for a long haul of…nothing. Hoping that there will be progress in the talks that there hadn’t been before. Hoping something miraculous might happen, but somehow aware that that’s about as likely as Mike Eruzione scoring a hat trick against Henrik Lundquist.

With that in mind, I’m bringing you a two-part series talking about books that might prepare you to weather the long wait.

First, the classics. Some of these books are tried and true, discussed by hockey fans and romance readers everywhere. Some of these books are by authors we love, who’ve made their first hockey book a must read. And one of these books was an author and hockey fan’s first on the road to hockey romance greatness.

1. True Love and Other Disasters by Rachel Gibson

Every single list of hockey romances must include a Rachel Gibson. It’s practically required. This one makes this list because it is memorable for both  on the ice action as well as off the ice. Gibson’s team, the Seattle Chinooks, actually joined the NHL in this book, and we had appearances from real players (I remember seeing Markus Nasulnd’s name in the pages of this book a short time after he retired).

[For the love of hockey...]

Tue
Jul 3 2012 4:30pm

First Look: Virginia Kantra’s Carolina Home (July 3, 2012)

Carolina Home by Virginia KantraVirginia Kantra
Carolina Home
Berkley / July 3, 2012 / $7.99 print & digital

Single dad and fishing boat captain Matt Fletcher deferred his own dreams to support his innkeeper parents and build a future for his sixteen-year-old son. Matt has learned to weather life’s storms by steering a steady emotional course...and keeping a commitment-free approach to love.

Newcomer Allison Carter came to Dare Island to escape the emotional demands of her wealthy family. The young teacher aims to build a life here, to make a lasting place for herself. She doesn’t want to be another Woman Who Once Dated Matt Fletcher. It’s both tempting and dangerous to believe she can be something more.

Then Matt’s brother Luke makes a sudden return home, with a child of his own—and a request that will change all their lives. With a child’s welfare at stake, Matt must turn to Allison to teach him to let go of the past, open his eyes...and follow his heart.

Expectations. Whether spoken or unspoken, they make people’s lives difficult. In Virginia Kantra’s Carolina Home, both the hero and heroine have to deal with sets of expectations that complicate their lives in difficult ways.

[Nothing worth having ever comes easy, though, right?...]

Fri
Jun 1 2012 12:00pm

First Look: Erin McCarthy’s Jacked Up (June 5, 2012)

Jacked Up By Erin McCarthyErin McCarthy
Jacked Up
Berkley / $7.99 / June 5, 2012
 
She’s holding tight. He’s hanging loose.

Eve Monroe is a stock-car PR pro who puts her career first—until an on-track wardrobe malfunction reveals more than the sexy smile of jackman Nolan Ford. The video’s become an internet sensation, and it’s Eve’s job to calm the sponsors and put a spin on the unexpected exposure.

And they both have the same drive.

It may be a public relations job, but now that Eve’s seen what’s under Nolan’s crew suit, it’s gotten personal. After a few dates she has Nolan pretty revved up. If only she’d learn to relax and enjoy it. Nolan’s sure that the spontaneous birthday bash he’s throwing for Eve in Las Vegas should loosen her up. Somewhere between cocktails and a smoking-hot motel-room derby, it does more than that. Now Eve’s wrestling with feelings she never expected, as everything about her personal jackman gets harder than she ever imagined.

Though sex is an important part of a relationship, anybody who’s in one realizes that the most important things are the intangibles, the things one can’t quantify or qualify. Jacked Up by Erin McCarthy shows this in spades. Spicy, hot, and funny though it may be, the book tells the story of the heroine’s self discovery, spurred on by the support and understanding of the man with whom she’s involved.

[Self-discovery! Sounds...naughty!]

Sun
Apr 22 2012 11:00am

First Look: Lynn Kurland’s All for You (April 24, 2012)

All for You by Lynn KurlandLynn Kurland
All for You
Jove / $7.99 / Apr. 24, 2012

FALLING THROUGH TIME IS DANGEROUS…

Peaches Alexander is thrilled to receive an unexpected invitation to a weekend party given by the handsome, eligible Duke of Kenneworth. The only problem: Stephen de Piaget, a stuffy medieval studies scholar who seems determined to get in the way. Peaches has absolutely no desire to get involved with Stephen, until a quirk of Fate sends her hurtling through time…

UNLESS THERE’S SOMEONE TO CATCH YOU.

Stephen de Piaget has been leading a double life: respectable professor by day, knight-in-training during holidays and summer terms. When Peaches goes missing, Stephen knows he’s the only one who can rescue her from medieval peril. Little do they know that the greatest danger they’ll face won’t be the business end of a sword, but their own unruly hearts….

A fairytale, usually speaking, is all about finding one’s very own handsome prince. But it’s easy for people to hide secret bits of themselves behind a façade. Sometimes it’s the truest heart, sometimes it’s the hole where a heart should be. And it’s hard to tell the difference; society often does its best at setting up what it deems the handsome prince.

[Handsome is as handsome does...]

Wed
Apr 11 2012 9:30am

Matzah For Thought: Judaism, Empathy and a Taste of the Passover Seder

Touched by an Alien by Gini KochOne of the things I love about the service/meal that serves as the spiritual center of Passover, the Seder, is the forum it provides for discussion. It’s very easy for Seder participants to get lost in a topic and continue discussing it, as it’s said one group of Rabbis did, until the early morning hours. In honor of those discussions, I give you some interesting Passover style food for thought.

“I am a Jew because in every place where suffering weeps, the Jew weeps.” —Edmund Fleg

This piece is taken from one of my family’s favorite readings from our Passover Haggaddah, called “I am a Jew.” And reading it got me thinking.

There have been some interesting examples in paranormal romance over the past few years, where a Jewish heroine is shown to have empathy for her paranormal hero’s struggle; whether it’s due to faith or the fact that by nature of their history, Jewish people are seen to understand the struggle of the oppressed. Here are two different examples of this idea.

[For your consideration...]

Fri
Mar 16 2012 9:30am

Fresh Meat: Suzanne Brockmann’s Born to Darkness (Mar. 20, 2012)

Born to Darkness by Suzanne BrockmannSuzanne Brockmann
Born to Darkness 
Random House/Mar. 20, 2012/
$26.00 HC, $12.99 digital

In the not-too-distant future, the Obermeyer Institute (OI) has made a revolutionary discovery: With special training, humans can tap into the brain’s hidden powers (telepathy, telekinetic powers, super strength, and more). The training is strenuous, though, and it works only for those with natural potential. Tough girl Mac has that potential, and she’s a devoted member of the OI. But there’s one rule she can’t help but bend. Her boss thinks celibacy is key to their work. Mac’s learned differently—an active sexual life enhances her powers. And when she meets Shane, a sexy former Navy SEAL, the sparks are instant. But after the two spend an amazing night together, Mac finds out that Shane’s a new recruit at the institute. How can she mix business and pleasure? 

Suzanne Brockmann’s Born to Darkness is, on its surface, a story about a rather dangerous near future world where people with special mental abilities use their powers to make a difference. A phrase about power and responsibility sounds rather appropriate here. Except as much as I love that kind of story and that kind of concept, that isn’t all that’s going on here.

[What else can we expect? Do tell!...]

Sat
Feb 18 2012 5:30pm

The Thin Pink Line between Romance and Science Fiction: Linnea Sinclair and Jack Campbell

An Accidental Goddess by Linnea SinclairWhen two different authors take on the same central plot line, the results are never the same, and sometimes, it’s important to examine the similarities as well as the differences. So when I discovered that RITA-winning Science Fiction Romance author Linnea Sinclair and NYT best-selling author of Science Fiction Jack Campbell riffed on the same central plot idea, it was a chance too good to pass up. 

Linnea Sinclair’s entry is Accidental Goddess, the story of Captain Gillaine “Gillie” Davre, who inadvertently time traveled over 300 years into the future, only to discover that legend has turned her into a goddess. Jack Campbell’s entry is Dauntless, the first book in the Lost Fleet Series, the story of Captain John “Black Jack” Geary who is rescued 100 years after his “last stand” to discover that he has become a legendary hero.

[We can be heroes...]

Tue
Dec 13 2011 2:30pm

Fresh Meat: Maria V. Snyder’s Touch of Power (Dec. 20, 2011)

Touch of Power by Maria V. SnyderMaria V. Snyder
Touch of Power
Mira, $14.95/$10.99 digital, December 20, 2011

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan absorbs their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Fifteen Realms, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life….

[No pressure or anything...]

Tue
Dec 6 2011 9:30am

The Eight Characters of Chanukah, from Lora Leigh, Jeaniene Frost, Megan Hart, and More!

Touched by an Alien by Gini KochI’d like to take the opportunity of this wonderful Chanukah holiday to honor those authors who have written about Jewish Characters in leading roles. Because despite pressure, market or otherwise, these brave, trailblazing authors have demonstrated that diversity shouldn’t be just skin deep.

1. Kitty Katt-Martini from Gini Koch’s Alien series

Yep. Kitty’s strength and Jewishness come into play in a large way throughout the course of this series. Her innate understanding of a people’s consistent quest for religious freedom helps her to understand the situation that the book’s A-C’s, including central hero Jeff, find themselves in.

2. Delilah Gould from Chasing Stanley by Deirdre Martin

Delilah is a wonderful character, and one thing Deirdre Martin does in this book is demonstrate the problems of stereotyping and contemporary Anti-Semitism through the actions of various characters in this book to and towards Delilah. She is a strong heroine, and her fabulous hockey-playing hero stands by her, no matter what.

[Mmm, and where does one find a hockey-playing hero?...]

Tue
Aug 23 2011 4:30pm

Bookstore Beat: September 2011

The end of summer is approaching, which means the new releases for September will be at Posman Books.

This September, Maya Banks will spread her wings a little bit more and release her first historical, In Bed with a Highlander. Historical readers will also be happy to find a brand-new Cynster novel by Stephanie Laurens, Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue, the first in a new trilogy. A Night to Surrender begins Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove series. And Lynsay Sands has a new historical release The Deed.

[So many exciting new releases to covet, so little time...]

Mon
Aug 8 2011 4:30pm

Bookstore Beat: Mid-August 2011 Report

Confessions of an Improper Bride by Jennifer HaymoreSo what’s bringing people down to New York City’s Posman books in the midst of this crazy August heat? Plenty of cool things to read:

Miranda Neville’s Amorous Education of Celia Seton and new-to-us author Jennifer Haymore’s Confessions of an Improper Bride are making historical readers across the board very happy. Liz Carlyle’s newest, The Bride Wore Scarlet, is fueling sales of Carlyle’s backlist titles, including No True Gentleman, Two Little Lies and the first in this new series, One Touch of Scandal.

Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Retribution and Thea Harrison’s Storm’s Heart are topping paranormal readers’ lists. Readers are also looking to catch up with Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series and titles they’d missed by Jessa Slade and Molly Harper.

[But wait, there are more!...]

Fri
Jul 22 2011 5:00pm

Bookstore Beat: August 2011

August 2011 Bookstore BeatWhat can we say about August reads that we also hear on the weather every day? Hot, steamy and exciting. But at least when books make you sweat, it’s in a good way.

Romantic Suspense veteran Stephanie Tyler leads off the contemporaries with In the Air Tonight. Fans of small town series will adore Sophie Gunn’s Sweet Kiss of Summer. August also marks the return of contemporary favorite Louisa Edwards with the first book in her new series, Too Hot To Touch.

[You may also like...]

Sat
Jul 9 2011 11:37am

The Bookstore Beat: Mid-July Report

Bookstore Beat Mid-July ReportPeople have been asking questions about what readers are looking for, but after taking a peek at what’s been selling in early July at Posman Books, the answer is not as clear as people might like.

There is constant debate between whether readers prefer darker or lighter historical romances, but after seeing how well both Loretta Chase’s Silk is for Seduction and Meredith Duran’s A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal are doing, it’s rather clear that readers enjoy both. And of course, the beautiful writing contained in Grace Burrowes’s The Soldier is definitely worth a look.

[And also worth a look...]

Wed
Jun 22 2011 4:20pm

The Bookstore Beat: July 2011

July Bookstore BeatJuly’s new releases are unexpected, exciting and in some ways, bittersweet. But most of them are all about the series.

Contemporary readers get the unexpected this month, a reissue of one of J.R. Ward’s early contemporaries, An Irresistible Bachelor. They also get series conclusions from both Christie Ridgway with Can’t Hurry Love and Linda Lael Miller with The Creed Legacy, as well as highly anticipated continuations in the form of Cindy Gerard’s With No Remorse and Susan Sey’s Money Shot. Rounding out July’s new contemporary releases is Jane Graves’s Black Ties and Lullabies.

[Is there anything quite like adding to your TBR pile?...]

Tue
Jun 7 2011 11:21am

Bookstore Beat: Mid-June 2011 Report

Mid-June Bookstore BeatSummer is here, and Posman customers are coming in to pick up not only the new releases, but also older titles that they might have missed during the course of a busy year. So here are some recommendations for new titles titles—and some you might have missed.

In contemporary, it’s small-town or beach books, like Robyn Carr’s Harvest Moon, or Lisa Dale’s Slow Dancing on Price’s Pier. Customers who enjoy these books might want to pick up Stephanie Bond’s newest series, which started with Baby Drive South. Robin Wells’s RITA nominated title Still The One might also be a good fit in this category.

[And then there’s what’s hot in historical and paranormal...]