<i>Infamous</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Infamous: Exclusive Excerpt Jenny Holiday "Hunter is all Jesse can think about..." <i>Courtly Pleasures</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Courtly Pleasures: Exclusive Excerpt Erin Kane Spock "Can they create a second chance at love before it’s too late?" <i>Roomies</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Roomies: Exclusive Excerpt Christina Lauren "Will Holland and Calvin to realize that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?" <i>A Duke in Shining Armor</i>: Exclusive Excerpt A Duke in Shining Armor: Exclusive Excerpt Loretta Chase "So why does Olympia have to make it so deliciously difficult for him...?"
From The Blog
November 21, 2017
From Team H&H, With Love
Team H & H
November 21, 2017
How to Advocate for Happily Ever Afters
November 20, 2017
Insight into MaryJanice Davidson’s Deja New
Lucy Dosch
November 19, 2017
Helena Hunting: A Sexy, Angsty, Funny Superstar
Nicola R. White
November 17, 2017
3 Pets from Romance We Wish Were Ours
Tara Leigh
Showing posts by: Clare Toohey click to see Clare Toohey's profile
Mar 13 2012 5:07pm

The Script Gods Decree Castle and Beckett Will Be Together

Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic onstage for the Castle Paley panelThe following will be miscellaneous highlights from our trip through the #CastleChase scavenger hunt, which was followed by an episode pre-screening, trivia contest, and live panel discussion.

Leading and panel images are courtesy of the Paley Center and ABC from the L.A. side of the event. They clearly had fully charged batteries. *sigh*

We began with the NYC scavenger hunt on Twitter, set up by @NY_Comic_Con with 15 clues to be claimed from locations that could be relevant to Castle or crme fans.  We guessed some in advance, but they were too far away, and people were getting to them too quickly. Knowing that eventually one would have to land in the Union Square/Chelsea/Flatiron neighborhood of CrimeHQ, after work Friday, we camped at a genial watering hole and nourished ourselves for the race ahead while pawing at our screens like obsessive kittens to refresh them. At last something came across we thought we were close enough to reach.

To read about Castle’s Paley Center panel and episode screener, visit our sister crime and mystery blog, CriminalElement.com.

Feb 4 2012 2:00pm

Not Just Patriots or Even Giants, They’re Heroes!

Football helmetEven if you’re a romance fan who doesn’t like football—and with all those muscles and tight pants on display, it’s hard for me to fathom why—the guys playing in this Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis are more than just Patriots or Giants. By Lombardi, they’re also romance heroes!

In a romance, it’s the combination of a hero’s personality, obstacles, and the way he fights through them that makes us want to cheer. Without following the sport’s Xs and Os, there’s still a lot of human drama to appreciate, and for better or worse, because these guys are public figures, we find out about it. Here’s just a smattering from both team rosters, displaying enough heroic types and tales (plus bonus siblings for you brother-lovers) to make any heart beat faster.

[This is our kind of sports talk! Are there buff guys ahead?...]

Oct 21 2011 10:07am

The Vampire Diaries Season 3, Episode 6: Can’t Anyone Ever Stay Dead?!

Stefan Rescues ElenaPreviously on The Vampire Diaries: Some crazy stuff went down in Mystic Falls. We’re sure you’re shocked.

(Need to catch up? Visit our TVD recap index for links to past episode recaps.)

Now, on to this week’s recap of TVD 3.06, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” 

*******SPOILERS BELOW*******

Wakey-Wakey, little blood donor.  Now, with even fake-mom Aunt Jenna gone, do you wonder who does all the Gilbert linens? Shouldn’t their picture-perfect house be covered with dust? Elena doesn’t clean!

She should, however, be a pro at vamp-hole cover-up makeup, having seen now-dead-reporter-and fake-Damon’s-girlfriend work it for the cameras.  (I suppose given this week’s events, maybe she isn’t really dead either, though she’s gonna need serious pancake makeup.  Get it?  Pancake? Because she fell to her death?  I kid the deceased, because they never seem to stay that way in Mystic Falls.) Later, Elena will default to an awkward-looking scarf, though she never wears them.  Subtle!

[Has it really only been a year in TVD land?...]

Jul 19 2011 3:30pm

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2: It All Ends...Limply

Some may argue that the Potter stories aren’t romance.  They’re certainly not traditional, adult ones, but here comes my big However.

Over the course of 7 books and 8 movies of bildungsroman, we’re following the natural evolution and maturation wherein young wizards’ and witches’ thoughts turn to love, not to mention witnessing various adult relationships and even marriages.  There are plots and subplots of normal teenage drama in parallel with the paranormal, saving-the-world-sized drama, and that’s part of the charm of the characters and the books.  So, as I approached the final film, there was, I’ll admit, a certain sense of anticipation where the major characters and their romances are concerned.  After seeing the movie, I felt shorted. Too brisk, too distant, too superficial.  Only one of the film’s three relationship moments didn’t let me down.

You know, in order to rant properly, I may have to be Spoilery McSpoilerson!

[Ranting ahead, and SPOILERS!]

Jul 7 2011 8:45am

Holy Linkbait: The Mills & Boon Effect?!

Named for Harlequin’s UK arm. Via the Daily Mail:

...But the ‘rose-tinted’ novels are damaging modern relationships, a leading psychologist claims.

The genre may still account for almost half the novels bought, but its idealised love and sex give readers false expectations, insists relationships expert Susan Quilliam.

And although the stories can be enjoyable and fun, they encourage unreal expectations of a life of unbridled passion and trouble-free pregnancies, she added...

(So true! The last one I read made me believe I’d grow longer, stronger nails in just 7 days. )  Further, according to a TV agony aunt, “A huge number of the issues we see in clinics and therapy rooms are influenced by romantic fiction.” Yes, indeedy, and a huge amount of the stupidity I confront on a daily basis radiates from people who’d mistake advice columns for questions from real people, not sock puppets (interns) writing as Fergus from Ferngully. Quick, there’s a house fire, I’ve swallowed poison, my Aunt Fanny has a giant pain—write the advice columnist and twiddle!  Also mentioned, most usefully, is how condom-hostile romance readers are.  Um.... it’s only implied, however, that their/your/our sex ed is pretty lacking. Nevertheless, you will be relieved to know:

“I’m not arguing all romantic fiction is misguided, wrong or evil,” said Miss Quilliam.

Whew!  Read it all, and feel free to do a spit take and snort with your coffee, because this article stinks to me like pernicious linkbait.  What do you think?

Jun 28 2011 4:49pm

Testicles, Aphrodisiacs, and the Royal Couple

The Royal CoupleIf you didn’t know there was a World Testicle & Aphrodisiac Cooking Championship, then you may doubly suprised to hear that this Royal Pair (don’t think it, you naughty things) will be the objects of dedication for the competing chefs. The author of Cooking with Balls advises that cooked testicles are mineral-rich to aid the couple’s fertility and conception.  So, bone appetít!

May 20 2011 9:30am

Modern Women in Jeopardy: What Gives?

The Perils of PaulineRomantic suspense comes in many different flavors, and its taste has changed over the years. While we’re not here to tell you what is the Best, one of the most popular styles of mass-market/e-book romantic suspense is priced for easy consumption, delivering high-octane action, romance with spice, and dangerous mayhem based upon the Heroic Rescue of a Woman in Jeopardy. Does that last part twang a little old-school for a contemporary plot? Well, this Twila Twenty-First Century (think Thoroughly Modern Millie, only with Internet access) finds a lot to applaud in these modern updates to the Perils of Pauline.

1) Smart Women. Simpering and screaming from a rail tie is pretty ineffectual, but these heroines have education, professional lives, and a range of accomplishments. They contribute equal intellectual horsepower, and occasionally, body counts to the mystery's resolution.

[And then there are those badass heroes...]

May 13 2011 12:46am

The Vampire Diaries Season 2 Finale: More Close Calls Than Closeness?

Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder in The Vampire DiariesPreviously on The Vampire Diaries... Aunt “Best Roomie and Most Lax Guardian Ever” Jenna (Sarah Canning) went all red-shirt/Ensign Liebowitz on us last episode, sacrificed to help Klaus (Joseph Morgan) transition to were-vamp, a unified form to render him almost invincibly bad-ass. Worst “Didn't Know He Was My” dad John Gilbert (David Anders) did his job as temporary ziploc baggie to keep Elena's soul fresh, and...he's dead, too. Werewolf Jules—dead!  

Klaus' Original Vamp brother Elijah (Daniel Gillies), whose hair always evokes Spandau Ballet for me—that's old-school emo—allowed this process to culminate, rather than gack the vulnerable fanged puppy, because Klaus promised to take him to their family's bodies, which Elijah had believed scattered at sea.  We'll assume because Originals aren't easy to kill without the wooden stakes of the One Tree Hill, that Elijah thought he could bring his family back to life, because, otherwise, WTF's up with the easy distraction?! Hey, Elijah, there's a squirrel...how about some gum...oh, no, don't worry about killing the most dangerous being on the planet as only you can do and only at this moment.  Whatevs.  You'll get to it later.

[Be warned! Henceforth, SPOILERS and opinions gush with arterial force!...]

Apr 8 2011 8:45am

For the Love of . . . Poetry by Number?!

The Scientific Approach to ArtWikiHow is great for things like How to Tile a Bathroom Floor or even How to Choose a Good Office Plant. But How to Write a Love Poem? Really? And...does it work?!

Obviously, we had to find out. And by “we,” I really mean, “my coworker Clare.” Here's what she took away from the article, step by step:


When I first saw you , I really liked your pants.  My stomach feels weird when I’m near you.  Being together, I know it’s forever.


When I first spied you, Gerome, I coveted your sparkly jeans.  My stomach heaves like crazy when I smell you.  Being together and warm, I know it’s forever.


When I first spied you, Gerome, your sparkly jeans fit you like sequined banana peels.  My stomach heaves like nausea at the violence of your scent, because ripe fruit does that to me.  Together and warm now, forever,  it’s like we’re wearing the same skin.


Spied on you / Gerome Sparkly Jeans / with your Sequined Banana / Heaves, Nausea, Violence / then Together / Warm Forever / I’m wearing your Skin


(Says Clare of her masterpiece: I know it was supposed to be a love poem, but it went kind of Silence of the Lambs on me. Must be the directions’ fault!)

So what do you think? Anyone else out there want to give it a whirl? We promise not to laugh. Much.

Magnetic fridge poetry image courtesy of Minimalist Photography via Flickr