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Showing posts by: Brie Clementine click to see Brie Clementine's profile
Jul 19 2013 8:30am

First Look: Lily Everett’s Sanctuary Island (July 30, 2013)

Sanctuary Island by Lily EverettLily Everett
Sanctuary Island
St. Martin's Press / July 30, 2013 / $7.99 print / $7.59 digital

When Ella’s sister decides to reunite with their estranged mother, Ella goes along for the ride—it’s always been the two Preston girls against the world. But Sanctuary Island, a tiny refuge for wild horses tucked off the Atlantic coast, is more inviting than she ever imagined. And it holds more than one last opportunity to repair their broken family—if Ella can open her carefully guarded heart, there is also the chance for new beginnings.

Grady Wilkes is a handyman who can fix anything…except the scars of his own past. When he accepts the task of showing Ella the simple beauties of the island that healed him, he discovers a deep sense of comfort he thought he’d lost. But now he must convince the woman who never intended to stay that on Sanctuary Island, anything is possible—forgiving past mistakes, rediscovering the simple joys of life, and maybe even falling in love.

 Sanctuary Island is Louisa Edwards’s first novel written under the Lily Everett pen name. But don’t expect hot kitchen action, because you will get something completely different.

[Like what?]

Apr 12 2013 1:30pm

The Boys are Back in Town: An Introduction to Male/Male Romance

Tigers and Devils by Sean KennedyThe reasons why so many enjoy male/male romance are diverse, and it's not possible for one person to presume to know or understand them all. The obvious reason is that, because we’re talking about love stories with happy endings, those who enjoy mainstream romance will enjoy m/m romance as well (although if this were universally true, female/female romance would be just as popular).

Some readers enjoy exploring the power and gender dynamics at play in a relationship between two men, and to some, m/m romance is simply another way to read about different people falling in love and join them in their journey. But regardless of the reasons why we read them, the truth is that these novels have become really popular and are a welcome addition to the genre.

So, where to start?

M/m romance is relatively new, at least when compared to the romance genre, yet the amount of authors and books can be overwhelming for someone trying to dip their toes in it for the first time. This is why today I’m going to list a series of recommendations that should appeal to different readers.

[There's a subgenre for everyone...]

Dec 29 2012 2:00pm

Ring in with Romance!: Best of 2012, Day 3

Conor's Way by Laura Lee Guhrke

May old friends be forgot? We don't think so! We're celebrating our favorite reads with five days of the Best of 2012. We asked our bloggers for their favorite recommendations of 2012, with one stipulation, they had to be new to them and not necessarily new to 2012. We know we got a few recommendations to add to our to be read piles and it's a great way to feed those readers you hopefully got for Christmas!

Don't miss out on the shopping list for these great recommendations once you finish reading, and check out the recommendations from Day OneDay Two, Day Four, and Day Five too! Click here to view the Day Three shopping list.



Wendy the Super Librarian:

Conor's Way by Laura Lee Guhrke
Conor's Way by Laura Lee Guhrke won a RITA award back in 1997 for Best Long Historical and it's easy to see why.  A dynamite Irish hero still carrying the scars of his homeland who finds his redemption in a former Southern belle heroine determined to hang on to her family's farm in post-Civil War Louisiana. 

[A Southern belle in need of saving? Sign us up!]

Dec 4 2012 12:00pm

Play Ball!: Celebrating the Home Runs in Sports Romance

Fancy Pants by Susan Elizabeth PhillipsSports romances are a sure bet for romance readers, and it's easy to see why. Sports players are part of our collective fantasies, both in and out of fiction, so they work well as romance heroes. Romance's alpha male—and of all its iterations—are similar to a sports hero;  their personalities are usually larger than life, and they tend to be a bit rough around the edges. Also, these books usually have a lot of interaction between teammates, which means hilarious situations and tons of bromance.

When I think of sports romances, the first name that comes to mind is Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Her Chicago Star series is a must-read for every fan of the genre. But her first sports novel, or the first one featuring a sport player hero, wasn’t about football or hokey, but about golf. Personally, I think it takes a lot to make golf look something other than boring, let alone sexy, but Fancy Pants did just that.

Rachel Gibson and Deirdre Martin made hockey the sport of choice in romance. The Seattle Chinooks and the New York Blades are some of the most familiar fictional teams, at least in our genre. Jill Shalvis is known for her small-town stories, but Double Play and Slow Heat, her baseball books, will always have a special place in my romance-loving heart, and I highly recommend them.


Nov 20 2012 2:45pm

New Adult: What is it, and What Should I Do with it?

Something Like Normal by Trish DollerYoung Adult literature, or YA, is an umbrella term used to describe stories whose protagonists are teenagers dealing with a variety of issues. Some have to do with everyday life, some with sparkly vampires. But what all of them have in common is the main characters’ age, and to a lesser degree its audience, because we know that not all YA readers are, well, young adults.

But what happens when the characters stop being teenagers, but are not quite adults? That’s where New Adult enters the picture.

New Adult fiction became its own genre when an explosion of self-published titles took the world by storm. It encompasses a more specific set of characters and circumstances: The protagonists are older, usually college-aged, and at a point in their lives where transition is the key world. These are truly coming-of-age stories where the characters find themselves at that crossroads point where adulthood begins. They are living alone for the first time, looking for jobs, experimenting with their newfound independence and deciding what to do with their lives. Love is also experienced in a whole different way; relationships maintain that volatile quality of their teenage years, while taking on a more serious tone when sex and commitment mix with responsibilities.

[Ah, yes, the responsibilities...]

Sep 25 2012 4:30pm

Play with Me!: Romance Novel Heroines and Their Sex Toys

Into the Storm by Suzanne BrockmannI read Romance because I like love stories, exploring different relationships and meeting new people. I also like sex and reading about it. I particularly enjoy reading about women who revel in their sexualities and feel empowered by it. It makes me happy to see women who enjoy sex.

Of course, not every romance heroine is like that. To most, achieving sexual freedom is part of their journey and the heroes are the ones in charge of taking them there. Romance heroines usually find emotional and physical fulfillment at the end of the book and not by their own hands. So when I come across one that starts strong in the sexual department, I know I’m getting an interesting reading experience.

Here are some heroines whose sexual lives are as rich and diverse as their multicolored dildos. These women believe that it’s perfectly fine to masturbate and have sex toys—even if you’re not an Erotic Romance character.

[Girls just wanna have fun...]

Aug 26 2012 1:00pm

First Look: Meljean Brook’s Riveted (September 4, 2012)

Riveted by Meljean BrookMeljean Brook
Penguin / September 4, 2012 / $10.98 print, $9.99 digital

A century after a devastating volcanic eruption forced Iceland’s inhabitants to abandon its shores, the island has become enshrouded in legend. Fishermen tell tales of giant trolls guarding the land and of seductive witches who steal men’s hearts. But the truth behind the legends is mechanical, not magic—and the mystery of the island a matter of life and death for a community of women who once spilled noble blood to secure their freedom.

Five years ago, Annika unwittingly endangered that secret, but her sister Källa took the blame and was exiled. Now Annika serves on the airship Phatéon, flying from port to port in search of her sister and longing to return home . . . but that home is threatened when expedition leader David Kentewess comes aboard.

Determined to solve the mystery of his own origin, David will stop at nothing to expose Annika’s secrets. But when disaster strikes, leaving David and Annika stranded on a glacier and pursued by a madman, their very survival depends on keeping the heat rising between them—and generating lots of steam . . .

Riveted is the latest installment in Meljean Brook’s Steampunk series, The Iron Seas. So far we have traveled the seas with The Iron Duke and the sky with Heart of Steel, but this time the action takes us all the way to Iceland. And with a heroine like Annika as guide and companion, we’re guaranteed a fantastic adventure.

[Let the adventure begin...]

Aug 2 2012 9:30am

Top 5 Sex Scenes in Contemporary Romance from Howard, Hart, Crusie, and More!

Feet in bedWhen I think of contemporary romance, sex isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. To me, this is a genre filled with passion, but its sex scenes tend to blend together. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of steamy moments, but you will notice that what makes these scenes remarkable isn’t the heat, but the emotion.

Frenemies have good sex too: Alyssa and Sam in The Defiant Hero by Suzanne Brockmann

These two showed undeniable chemistry from the moment they met (even when they hated each other), and had lots of steamy sex throughout the series. But my favorite scene will always be their first time: Alyssa gets a bit drunk and after a series of not-so-unfortunate events they end up in bed, handcuffed to each other and with chocolate syrup all over themselves. What makes it even better is that it’s a sex scene told from the POV of a hero who’s clearly head over heels in love with his heroine.

[OK, you’ve hooked me, I’m a sure thing...]

Jun 18 2012 2:00pm

You Just Keep Me Hanging On: Cliffhangers in Romance Novels

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins*****Note: since we’re talking about cliffhangers, there will be spoilers.*****

Endings are tricky things. They can make or break a book. A reader may forgive a weak beginning, but never a weak ending. More often than not, endings are the part of the story that stays with us after finishing the book. But what happens when the ending isn’t an ending at all? I don’t think there’s any other literary device that elicits stronger reactions than the cliffhanger. Some love it, some hate it (well, let’s face it, most hate it), but everyone has something to say about them.

Are you a fan of The Hunger Games? How did you feel when you finished the first book? Wait, better yet, how did you feel when you finished Catching Fire? I sat there for ten minutes, looking around me thinking “wait, what?” I was shocked that after such a huge buildup we got nothing but uncertainty. And that’s the problem with cliffhangers. There’s a buildup in the story, and it doesn’t matter if there’s a big confrontation at the end, you can’t drain the anticipation because you’re left with even more questions and expectations. Endings should be release valves, but cliffhangers replace that valve effectively taking away our release.

[Hanging by a moment here with you...]

Jun 11 2012 1:15pm

A Busman’s Holiday (or When Characters Have the Same Job You Do)

Birthright by Nora RobertsMy dad is a doctor, and years ago we got hooked on the TV show ER. We used to watch it together as a father-daughter bonding experience. Worst. Idea. Ever. He was critical of every single tiny little detail and drove me so crazy I was having murderous thoughts (although I finally got my answer as to why my parents never watched TV together). I promised myself I’d never to become that person, you know, the annoying friend/boyfriend/aunt/father who keeps complaining about inaccuracies and sucks the fun out of everything.

Flash forward several years later, and now I have major in Archaeology and a thing for Romance Novels. Archaeology is quite a romantic profession; we all have that idea of jungles, sweaty guys frolicking in the dirt and falling into a pit full of snakes. Which can be quite an accurate description, though in real life frolicking in the dirt in the middle of the jungle is not nearly as fun as it sounds, and the pit full of snakes is one tiny snake behind a glass on a detour we took to visit a local zoo once.

[Write what you know; read what you DON’T know?...]

Jun 5 2012 4:00pm

The Ginger Hero: Romance’s Redheaded Stepchild?

Kevin McKiddYou have 30 seconds to come up with as many redheaded romance heroes as you can, ready? Go!

Not so easy, right? What if I ask for dark-haired heroes, or even blonds?

Brown and black are undeniably the most popular hair colors of choice for romance heroes. Blonds are not as common, although I can easily think of a few. But redheads are very scarce. And I wonder why. In real life, dark is the predominant hair color. But we’re talking about fiction, and writers—not genetics—are the ones in charge of hair colors. There must be a reason why authors are not choosing to make their heroes ginger.

Part of the problem has to do with stereotype. Redheaded men are often portrayed as either nerds or bullies. And I bet that when I say the words “redheaded men” you’re more likely to picture Carrot Top than Kevin McKidd. I also wonder if the lack of redheads reflects real-life preference; are women less attracted to ginger men than they are to dark-haired or blond men?

[Where have all the redheads gone?...]

May 15 2012 2:00pm

Dude, Where’s My Lit? The New Incarnation of Chick Lit Is...Dude Lit?

Ashton Kutcher — Dude, Where’s My Lit?Chick Lit follows a pretty consistent formula: The stories are about women who find themselves at a crossroads, or whose lives are in a slump, and how they take action and decide to deal with it. There are breakups, makeovers, different jobs, new friends, love, and funny situations. They are all about the journey to become a different and better person, and they are usually told from the heroine’s POV.

But what happens when all the ingredients for a great Chick-Lit story are there, but the main character is a guy? Lately I’ve read books whose main character is a man who goes through a self-discovering journey that make me feel like I’m reading a “Chickless” Chick-Lit story, or, as I’ve come to think of it: Dude Lit.

[I think How I Met Your Mother’s Ted would totally qualify!...]

May 3 2012 2:00pm

Beyond Roberts and Phillips: Best Current Contemporary Romance Authors

Her Best Friend by Sarah MayberryI like reading about people falling in love and their personal journey towards their happy ending; that’s why I read romance in the first place. I don’t need serial killers, vampires or dukes to make my day—two regular people will do. So it’s no wonder that Contemporary Romance is my favorite subgenre.

Choosing my favorite authors is hard. So instead of talking about how much I love authors like Nora Roberts and Susan Elizabeth Phillips, I’ll talk about other writers who may not be that well-known or have written so many books, those whose careers are relatively new and yet have won me over to the point of considering them some of the best current contemporary romance authors.

I can’t say the word Contemporary without thinking of Sarah Mayberry. This Australian author has written about a diverse array of topics that go from alcoholism to Alzheimer’s, and she hasn’t failed to deliver yet. She’s particularly good at writing friends-to-lovers stories so if you’re a fan of the trope I would recommend Her Best Friend or, if you like steamier reads, Anything for You.

[And that’s just the tip of the iceberg...]

Apr 13 2012 1:00pm

Oh No He Didn’t!: The Cheating Hero

A cheating hero—is this really a controversial subject? Or do we all pretty much agree that a cheating hero is a deal breaker when it comes to romance novels? We don’t need Tiger Woods or Jesse James as reminders that cheating is a part of relationships everywhere, and that trying to pinpoint the universal reasons why someone cheats is impossible, since every case is different and should treated individually.

But as different as each case may be, it’s wrong. Cheating is one of those things that make me feel really uncomfortable both in real life and in fiction. But when you read romance, sooner or later you will come across the subject because exploring relationships is a huge part of the genre, and cheating is something that lots of couples go through in the course of their relationship.

So how do I feel when I encounter a cheater in my book? What do I do when the cheater turns out to be the hero? Had you asked me a month ago my answer would have been an emphatic “I stop reading right there, cheating heroes are unacceptable." But since then, I’ve read two books with two different type of cheating heroes, and surprisingly I enjoyed them a lot.

[How did that happen?...]