<i>Devil's Cut</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Devil's Cut: Exclusive Excerpt J.R. Ward "Only one thing’s for certain: Love survives all things. Even murder." There Be Dragons Here! There Be Dragons Here! Isabel Cooper, Ashlyn Chase and Sara Humphreys Excerpts from Isabel Cooper, Ashlyn Chase & Sara Humphreys <i>One True Pairing</i>: Exclusive Excerpt One True Pairing: Exclusive Excerpt Cathy Yardley "The two pretend to date, fan fiction becomes reality." <i>Perilous Trust</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Perilous Trust: Exclusive Excerpt Barbara Freethy "It was all the control she had right now, and she was hanging on to it."
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Showing posts tagged: Villains click to see more stuff tagged with Villains
Oct 7 2016 2:00pm

Friday Beefcake: A Love Letter to Luke Cage’s Mahershala Ali

Dear Mahershala Ali,

“Everybody wants to be the king,” but you just might succeed.

I know you first from House of Cards as the morally ambiguous Remy Danton. Remy played both sides of the field to his advantage, but it was never really clear where he stood.

With Cottonmouth, we don't have to wonder.

[Read more...]

May 17 2016 9:30am

First Look: Elizabeth Hoyt’s Duke of Sin (May 31, 2016)

Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt

Elizabeth Hoyt
Duke of Sin (Maiden Lane # 10)
Forever / May 31, 2016 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital

Duke of Sin is a darkly humorous and lushly sensual historical romance that attempts to redeem of one of the series most diabolical and debauched secondary characters to date-Valentine (Val) Napier, the Duke of Montgomery. Fans of this series have seen Val sweep in and out of the series like a plague, causing mayhem and slowly planting seeds of discourse. A libertine whose mercurial attitude and fluid sexual appetites only increases his appeal. A diabolical chess master who uses his skills to play a dangerous game that only one person will be allowed win-him. His utter lack of morals and conscience allows him to do whatever it takes to whomever he wants to increase his inventory of blackmail material.

“I am vengeance I am hate. I am sin personified.“

[Ok, Batman...]

May 13 2016 11:30am

From Unlucky to Hot: Comments That Made Our Week

Community Spotlight

We at Heroes and Heartbreakers are so proud of and thankful for this wonderful community. Thank you for always adding a little extra sparkle to our week. In honor of Fan Friday, we want to give a special shoutout to a few of our favorite comments, and the readers behind them. We love your work!

Scarlettleigh has had bad lucks with some of her books:

Scarlettleigh in What Unlucky Things Have Happened to Your Books?

Of course I have dropped books in water, and spilled coffee on them or diet coke. Or pages have come loose from the binding. But the biggest thing that happened to my books was my house fire.

No, my house didn't burn down. But the heat and smoke damaged about 95% of all the items in my house. Books of course we not salvageable.

That is why I really don't have a true keeper shelf anymore.

LindsayAarons talks flawed characters:

LindsayAarons in Why Romance is the Perfect Place to Tackle Tough Issues .

One thing you didn't mention: the best romance novels are about flawed characters coming together, so well-written romance novels can also shed light on reaching a compromise with a significant other, navigating difficult family dynamics, even dealing and normalizing some mental or physical disabilities.

[More discussion in here...]

May 10 2016 8:23am

Bully to Hero—Can the Modern Reader “Buy” It?

Never Sweeter by Charlotte Stein

Two years ago we ran an article about a trend among romance novels that placed former, reformed, and sometimes current, bullies as heroes. This is a trend not at all dissimilar to the “villain to hero” or “reformed rake” trope that is a popular redemption story. However, slapping it into the “Contemporary Romance” category and bringing it to the modern reader makes the trend very real. Many of us have been bullied, or at the very least have seen the emotional destruction that can be caused by a bully. 

In 2014 when we originally ran the piece, we asked “With Sticks and Stones, Can Romance Bloom?” While the answer appears to be yes, for most, the follow-up could be “can romance believably bloom?”

For me, Charlotte Stein's Never Sweeter was a compelling and believable redemption story (and hot, as all Stein books are), but the mere fact that the hero was the heroine's former bully can be a hard pill for readers to swallow. 

With this trend coming back again, can you believe a bully as a hero? Is it all in the execution? Have there been books that have changed your mind (one way or the other)?

Let us know in the comments!

Also of interest: 
Are you more willing to forgive a hero than a heroine? 

Dec 2 2015 9:06am

What Is Your Preferred Term for Antagonists?

Moriarty in The Librarians

I prefer the term “antagonist.”
-Moriarty in The Librarians

The word antagonist and villain are words that sound so literary when referred to in romance—thought literary analysis of romance has its time and place. However, when we're talking about our most recent read and referrring to the Big Bad, sometimes villain is just too...cartoony.

With so many words at our disposal in the English language, what are some of your favorite ways to refer to the trouble maker in a book?

Apr 8 2015 1:40pm

Villainess to Heroine: Do They Exist?

Ain't She Sweet by Susan Elizabeth PhillipsI have been pondering this very question for a couple of months now after I noticed the rise in villains becoming heroes. Happily Ever Afters are not just the realm of the honourable anymore; particularly with in paranormal romances I have noticed an increase in the bad guys getting the girl. In fact this has become one of my favorite tropes (read Lothaire by Kresley Cole and you'll probably be a convert as well). To me, the appeal of this trope is that the villains-hero retains an element of his evilness, yet our heroine can often see past this evil persona to the person beneath. Most villains are, after all, not born evil, but instead become evil due to circumstance.

My thinking is this: if villains are becoming heroes, is there hope for a villainess becoming a heroine? If so, how are they being portrayed? Are authors making the former villainess completely redeemable? Do they, after years of so-called “evilness,” have a change of heart and become “good.” Also I'm using quotation marks because defining someone as purely “good” or purely “evil” seems a little to simplistic; instead, what this trope allows the writer and the reader to explore is more complex, three-dimensional characters. Characters who have, sometimes, taken the wrong path, or multiple wrong paths, or even characters who have no interest in being “good” in the traditional sense of the word.

[Ain't nothing traditional about a kickass lady...]

Jan 13 2015 4:11pm

Romance News Roundup: Sabrina Jeffries & Loretta Chase Deals, Sexy Villains, and More

Welcome to H&H's brand-new daily news roundup! Grab a mug of tea and a scone and let's gossip about what's hot in the romance world right now.

How the Scoundrel Seduces by Sabrina Jeffries—Deal Alert #1: Sabrina Jeffries' How the Scoundrel Seduces (The Duke's Men #3) is listed at $1.99 in e-book on e-tailer sites such as Amazon, and Barnes and Noble (and $2.99 at iBooks). (Daily warning: We have no idea how long any of the deals we mention will be available.)

—Deal Alert #2: If you haven't read Loretta Chase, here's a golden opportunity: the e-book edition of her beloved historical romance Lord of Scoundrels is currently $1.99 at e-tailers including Barnes and NobleAmazon, and iBooks. (We've talked a lot about Lord of Scoundrelsfind out why here.)

—On the heels of winning its first Golden Globes awards, megastore-turned-studio Amazon has announced that it has ordered a TV series from controversial director Woody Allen (his first TV show ever, in fact).

[+more hot scoop...]

Oct 31 2014 2:00pm

Trope of the Month: Villains to Heroes

Lothaire by Kresley ColeAcademically put, tropes are “common or overused theme[s] or device[s],“ which makes them sound like cliches, which makes them seem like a bad thing.

But they’re totally not! Romance novel fans all have their favorite—not to mention least favorite—tropes, from friends to lovers, chick in pants, secret baby, marriage of convenience, opposites attract, May-December, boss-assistant...the list goes on.

Each month, we’ll be picking a romance novel trope and ask you to offer recommendations falling under the trope rubric (again with the academic talk!).

It's good to be bad. And sometimes, a character is so bad...they're a villain! But everyone loves to reform a bad boy (or girl!), and those same villains are just looking for someone to understand them...okay that might be too kind for some of these characters, but let's have you weigh in!

Here are some recommendations:

  • The Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas
  • Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
  • Lothaire by Kresley Cole
  • Kiss of a Demon King by Kresley Cole
  • Never Kiss a Rake by Anne Stuart
  • Emily Thorn of Revenge
  • Klaus of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals
  • Raw by Belle Aurora
  • Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
  • Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh
  • Secrets of a Scandalous Bride by Sophia Nash

We know we're missing a few quintessential villains/villainesses (we blame Friday brain), so let us know who would make your list of the top villains to heroes/heroines! Do you like the villain-to-hero trope? Do you really believe that villains can become heroes or heroines, or do you find them totally irredeemable? Let us know your favorites and chime in with your thoughts!

Jan 24 2014 6:15pm

Friday Beefcake: Anti-Heroes

At Team H&H, we've learned if a guy is hot and just a little bit evil, he's probably an anti-hero. With Klaus and Caroline having their big moment last night on The Vampire Diaries, we thought it was a good time to appreciate those men that we love to hate...and drool over.

Share pictures of your favorite antihero beefcake in the comments!

[There's more with that came from...]

Oct 10 2013 3:00pm

A Man with a Plan: The Romance Novel Villain

Heart of Obsidian by Nalini SinghSome of the best villains in literature are men with a grand plan, whether it is revenge or world domination. These men have set their goal, usually from a young age, and have spent their lives setting their plans into motion and creating their own rules for achieving that objective.

In the following paranormal series, our villains have also set themselves above those villains who would destroy the innocent just for pleasure. These are villains who will cross into the dark grey shadows but never go so far that we can’t secretly root for them. And once we know their ultimate goals, we can’t help but love them, evil deeds and all.

This year Nalini Singh gave us Heart of Obsidian, finally revealing the name of The Ghost. The Ghost has been working behind the scenes pulling the strings and attempting to take over the psy-net. Kaleb Krychek knew at a young age that he needed reach the level of the psy-counsel and he had set his goal towards becoming a member, going so far as disposing of opponents whenever necessary. He has been building his power both politically and psychokinetically since his teens. Everything Kaleb has done to gain his power, we find out, has been done so he can locate the one person who means something to him.

[With great power...etcetera etcetera etcetera...]

Sep 3 2013 2:00pm

Villainesses in Romance: The Rival, the Evil Vagina, the Bad Mutha, and More!

Angelina Jolie as MaleficentFemale villains in romance novels come in a class of their own. For example, it’s fairly simple to pluck a male baddie out of the bargain bin at the Obsessively Misogynist Murderous Rapist Barn to provide some last-minute conflict, but female villains with actual rap sheets are relatively rare.

But that doesn’t mean that they can’t be effective and dangerous adversaries; female villains tend to be more intellectual, and their weapons rely on carefully-chosen words or manipulations. The wounds they inflict, therefore, are often internal. Instead of attacking a protagonist outright, they’ll simply wear away at their self-esteem, their confidence, their trust in themselves and the world around them.

That being said, after spending years reading romance (for science!), I’ve noticed that the majority of female villains tend to fall into one of these five types:

[And the first kind is...]

Aug 6 2013 11:30am

Power Hungry and Hot: Best (Meaning Worst) Anti-Heroes

Siege and Storm by Leigh BardugoI’ve just read Siege and Storm, Leigh Bardugo’s second book in the Grisha trilogy. Semi-spoiler here for anyone who hasn’t read the whole first book, Shadow and Bone: the Darkling is in the running for best villain of the decade. He’s cruel, wicked, scheming and entirely hot. Even if he ended up physically scarred as his soul, he’d still have the hotness factor. Bardugo knows it too. She said in an interview on Amazon that she’d love to meet him, “Because he's gorgeous and mysterious and dangerous and all those fun things.”

But he is entirely evil. He kills innocent people—a lot of them.  

Bardugo’s character occasionally shows signs of humanity that make him appear less of a monster, but damn. Who knows? He might demonstrate vulnerability just to gain Alina’s sympathy. He is no good. Even his mother knows that. I can’t see him tamed and sweet, like many so-called villains. I could imagine him broken, perhaps, and even secretly grateful for having his control removed, but that’s not the same.

You got your characters who’re all about the power, like sometime bad-guy Johnny Marcone in Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series. Yet Marcone doesn’t quite end up purely evil because he has a few humanizing quirks. He’ll never harm a child and goes out of his way to protect kids. That little softy touch gets him bumped off the list.

[Nice guys need not apply...]